Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Drudgery & Joy of Liberal Art

Dear Colleagues,

A few years ago, a faculty committee at Harvard produced
a report on the purpose of education. “The aim of a liberal
education” the report declared, “is to unsettle presumptions,
to de-familiarize the familiar, to reveal what is going on
beneath and behind appearances, to disorient young people
and to help them to find ways to reorient themselves.”
(David Brooks—who goes on to praise institutions and
institutional values in “What Life Asks of Us.”  NY Times, Jan, 27 )
Recite out loud:
A.      Conferences papers presented.
B.       Conference panels chaired.
C.       Conferences attended.
D.      Other invited lectures or talks.
E.       Refereed articles published.
F.       Books and book sections published.
G.       Book Reviews published.
H.      Other publications.
I.         Articles or books submitted for publication.
J.        Articles or books worked on.
K.      Internet publications
L.       Websites, blogs, etc. maintained (relevant to profession)
M.     Performances, Exhibitions, and other creative work completed.
N.      Performances and other creative work worked on.
O.      Academic seminars or colloquia attended.
P.       Seminars, colloquia, etc. that you participated in as an invited participant.
Q.      Workshops attended.
R.       Guest lectures for other WWC courses.
S.       Any paid work as a professional in your field (consulting, etc.)
T.       Unpaid professional service (reviewing manuscripts, serving as an external evaluator, etc.)
U.      Other—please specify
Glennis  Redmond could perform this List Poem & it would sound spectacular.
She’s got VOICE & would make a dictionary sound good.
Anyone would call this list:  professional & traditional indication of faculty
development &  work-program beyond the classroom  Shipping our beans
and produce across state lines for non-local foodback. 
        (Don’t take your guns to town, son;  leave your guns at home.)
Henry Jensen used to advocate  in-house  conferences.
St Johns College publishes its own in-house quarterly 
           Eco-logical: both of those practices. .     
Imagine a list as long as the one above that counter-aimed at  developing
the Amateur Within &  Collaborative Genius, which  you may recall from
my quoting Keith Sawyer many times, urges an environment that encourages
failure,  one that recognizes  the liability of too much clarity:  neither of
which notions  stoke the kind of  symposium, colloquium, conference,  
refereed journal, books & parts of books & reviews of books-a-million
that have collectively been talisman for scholarly habit & habitats for
There:  we would have IT:  
Thesis      (professionalism) on the one hand
                      (the dominant paradise)
Anti-thesis (amateurism) on the other hand
          (diametrically if not diabolically opposed)
An ongoing wrestling match: cerebral & affective fight-club, Gold’s Gym
of  Heart & Mind  sparking our local intellective & cross disciplinary fires.
Sustained and sustaining our sustainability..  
I confess I’ve made no head-way trying to re-amateur-ize WWC and don’t
expect to.  Everyone’s  Doctorial, & the P in the Phdegree  is not to be taken
literally. Professionalism uber alles. No one’s going to  respond to a cry for
more amateurism! more amateurism!
Size don’t matter. One size fits all.
Pint-sized  will act like the Big Boys
who  set the standard on what-it-is to
be a professional.  .
Nobody else seems to find these LIST-STANDARDS
(ARSE and Teacher/Course)  bothersome:
re-accreditationally driven
sounds-like-a-university only not

&  I’m just trying to send up some counter point to
maybe put IT in play.
          My Ice Cream Parlor in Hell Service Project.
               (without doing injustice to hot or cold)

If those giving conference papers and writing books and parts
of books and refereed articles and reviews, chairing  symposia,
attending workshops etc. would send me abstracts, précis,
summations…I would  be happy to try to conceptualize it all
and spam-it-out for the sake of argument and analogies across
the  curriculum:  local food for thought and aimed at,
among other things:   
1. unsettling  presumptions,
2. de-familiarizing the familiar
3. exposing what goes on  beneath and behind appearances
4  so as to disorient  our young people and
5. help them to find ways to reorient  themselves.
Supplemental criteria for  the practice of liberal education
not listed above in the Glennis Redmond edition.

xxxooo, Sam

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