Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Journal assignment for Wednesday, March 8

Read "Why Is Finland Able to Fend Off Putin’s Information War?" and consider how this article and the perspective it shares relates to the discussions we've had about education in Finland. How does this seem potentially relevant to aspects of 1984 that you've noticed? Discuss any ways that the kind of "fake news" and misinformation campaigns that are ongoing in our current political climate (both in the US and globally) might be related to things we see in 1984, and ways that these connections may or may not be relevant to issues of education. Respond in your journal in two or three substantial paragraphs. Don't worry about nailing your ideas down; it's okay to explore, make connections, and raise further questions without coming to conclusions.

(I've also created a shorter version of the article linked above, in case you're pressed for time.)

You also have the option of completing the original journal assignment for today: Write three paragraphs or so comparing elements of Brave New World and 1984 (all the chapters we’ve read so far) that seem to connect or contrast in striking ways. Consider any elements and aspects of section one, chapters I–V, and be sure to consider the way that romantic love and sexual relationships are manipulated by the two different governments of each book (particularly as depicted in chapter VI of 1984). Also: Hannah Arendt! Also: 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

In-class writing for Thursday

"You've got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art." ––Mustafa Mond

Which would you choose?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Thoughts for rest days and walking days

A couple of ideas I've come across recently that might be worth considering, in light of our "relaxation/recuperative" time and our walking time:

Reflective personal writing as a way to understand yourself and achieve your goals. Jordan Peterson, the teacher and researcher at the center of this story, "wondered whether writing could be shown to affect student motivation," particularly when students "combine expressive writing with goal-setting. Students reflect on important moments in their past, identify key personal motivations and create plans for the future, including specific goals and strategies to overcome obstacles. Peterson calls the two parts 'past authoring' and 'future authoring.'"

Walking is good. Is walking without shoes better? An idea that's new to me: "earthing."

Friday, January 27, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reading for Thursday, January 26

For Thursday, we will read excerpts from the work of Charles Fourier, several writers inspired by Fourier, and a brief excerpt from The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, pages 192-205 and 227-228 of The Utopia Reader. If you don't have the reader, you can find a PDF of the excerpts here.

Respond to Fourierism in two or three paragraphs in your journal. Feel free to respond with any thoughts that struck you particularly as you read the excerpts of Fourier and his devotees Brisbane and Saint-Simone, but one thing you might consider exploring is the question why his ideas were so inspirational to many would-be utopians who came after him. Also briefly comment on the Communist Manifesto excerpt and any relation you see between its ideas and Fourier's.

Also, related to our discussion of books to read together from our reading list, check out recent news on a spike in sales for George Orwell's 1984.