Schooling, Self, and Society

Primary Number: CLAS 20095-01

ConStudies Number: CNST 30433

ConStudies CRN: 32475

Primary CRN: X

Instructor: Bloomer, W. Martin (MBLOOMER)

Day/Time: MW 12:30pm-1:45pm


Location: X

Liberal education is one of the greatest cultural achievements of the long Western tradition. But what's the point? And what exactly do we mean by liberal education? Is it education for free people or education to make people free? A people, a group, or just the individual? Privilege or liberation? We will ask why you are pursuing a liberal education. And study where it came from, how it has developed, what are its practices, and what are its justifications. We shall divide our focus between the theory and practice of education. Theorists will include Plato and other ancient, medieval, and early modern thinkers, but we shall devote considerable time to American experiments with liberal education (proponents, critics, opponents). Here we shall read selections from Booker T. Washington, John Dewey, Mortimer Adler, but also the Brazilian Paulo Freire, bell hooks, and contemporary self-described culture warriors. On the practice side: we will consider the materials and conditions of education at various places and times. We shall also practice ourselves some of the ancient and early modern techniques (of writing, reading, memorizing, and performing).