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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: February 3, 2006
Latest Update: February 19, 2006

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Texts for Your Choosing

Texts:

Required: I have chosen not to require a text. That doesn't mean that I don't want you to read. I do. But we are going to approach this subject broadly. I want you to be able to choose your reading, and to read according to your own personal comfort level, so that prior barriers will not interfere with your present learning. All the readings I expect you to cover will be provided on the Dear Habermas site. Then, I ask that you choose your own reading, with both cost and time considerations that fit your particular circumstances.

Text Materials Accesible through the Dear Habermas Site: Readings

  • Communication

    • Hirschman, Albert O. The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy. The Belknap Press of Harvard University. Cambridge, Mass. 1991. ISBN: 0-674-76868-X (paper). Rhetoric of Reaction at Amzon.com. Hirschman is a well-known and well-respected social scientist who wrote this book from his experiences on a committee of scholars charged with helping liberals and conservatives communicate effectively for governance purposes during the Reagan administration. He discovered that both Republicans and Democrats tended to respond to one another not in terms of reasoned argument, but in partisan rhetoric. Because we will try to guard against such rhetoric, I should appreciate your understanding at least the basic arguments Hirsschman makes here. Talking To, Not at, Each Other. Summary of main theses - onsite. 1993 article by Hirschman on The Rhetoric of Reaction The Americn Prospect.

    • Minow, Martha. Wicked Little Unstated Assumptions - onsite, from Martha Minow Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law. Cornell University Press. 1990. At pp. 50-78. Minow clarifies the need for tracing our defintions to their underlying assumptions. Unstated assumptions important to our discussions. Notice that Kathleen and I both questioned the source for Greg's definition of the purpose of government. (Messages Nos. 9525 and 9535 on transform_dom.)

    • Jonathan Lear. Open Minded. This is the text from which I took the expression, "the arrogance of knowingness," on which many of our discussions are based. Brief summary of jeanne's interpretation for that.

  • Liberal and Conservative: What Happened to Left and Right, and Where Do New Social Programs Fit?

    • Politics Oral speeches and book excerpts, many free, that you can listen to. Several pieces offered on both liberal and conservative politics.

    • don't think of an elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate By George Lakoff. Chelsea Green Publishing. White River Junction, Vt. 2004. ISBN: 1-931498-71-7 (pbk) This is the book I read till 2 a.m. when I finally managed to pull it out of the chaotic pile on my desk. Lakoff makes some very interesting theoretical points that we all need to be aware of, regardless of whether we espouse the left or the rigtht. He manages to explain why the facts may not matter in some of our political debates. They don't matter because they are conflicting with the contextual understanding. If the context is patriotic, and framed by fear of attack on the homeland, conflicting facts violate our need to eliminate cognitive dissonance, and are simply dropped in favor of the contextual frame we hear them from.

      Good analysis. What does it tell us? That we have to be alert to stay aware. It also tells us that most of us are not listening in good faith. We're processing the facts that support our frame, and we're tossing the facts that might lead us to consider our social issues more deeply. If I ever heard a plea for illocutionary discourse, here it is. This book cost me $10 at Vroman's in Pasadena. Wow! Was it ever worth it, even though I lost a night of sleep. It's short and sweet and powerful. It's written for Progressives, but that doesn't mean that Conservatives don't need it. Because the conservative position is largely a corporate position, and because corporations in capitalism are the ones who have developed the communication skills of advertising, the conservatives had a leg up on this one. But my bet is that most republicans and conservatives don't really understand this process of framing. We all need to learn it, if we're going to have democratic governance discourse.

      Framing the Dems: How conservatives control political debate and how progressives can take it back By George Lakoff. The American Prospect, Volume 14, Issue 8. September 1, 2003. In this online article George Lakoff explains frames and how the facts can be discarded in denial when they don't fit the frame.

    • Communication: PBS Interview with Frank Luntz on Republican Politics To be sure that you can see the liberal/conservative balance here, I have included this PBS Interview with Frank Luntz who uses the linguistic framing that Lakoff is referring to with Republicans. We have grown more sophisticated in our ability to manipulate. Manipulation and ethics come up in this interview. The masters of communication and cognitive science, like Lakoff and Luntz are the ones who really understand the process. But they are training liberals and conservatives to use their knowledge. As a firm believer in liberal arts education as a path to freedom, I believe we should all understand these processes. We can. And I think it's important that we do, so that we don't find ourselves manipulated. I think both Lakoff and Luntz would agree with that. I don't think Bush would. But I still want you to have some theoretical understanding of our political games.

    • Framing Katrina: "Hurricane Katrina revealed the failure of conservative philosophy; liberals need to stand up for their approach to governing." By George Lakoff and John Halpin. The American Prospect. Web Exclusive: 10.07.05. Another instance in which George Lakoff explains what is meant by framing, and this time with respect to the Katrina disaster.

    • Remapping the Culture Debate "Can the Democrats finally learn to talk culture? Fascinating new research challenges some cherished assumptions -- and offers clues about the future." By Garance Franke-Ruta. Issue Date: 02.05.06.
      "In the great debate about how Democrats can stage a comeback (beyond simply waiting for the coming Republican implosion that never seems to arrive), American Environics rejected some of the more popular recommendations out there. Rather than focusing on reframing the Democratic message, as Berkeley linguistics and cognitive science professor George Lakoff has recommended, or on redoubling Democratic efforts to persuade Americans to become economic populists, as another school of thought suggests, the American Environics team argued that the way to move voters on progressive issues is to sometimes set aside policies in favor of values. By focusing on “bridge values,” they say, progressives can reach out to constituents of opportunity who share certain fundamental beliefs, even if the targeted parties don’t necessarily share progressives’ every last goal. In that assessment, Shellenberger and Nordhaus are representative of an increasingly influential school of thought within the Democratic Party."

      . . .

      "Democrats have had a tremendous amount of difficulty in recent years recognizing the central role of cultural factors in the life of the polity and in their own demise. This is finally starting to change. In the year since election-night exit polls put the fear of God -- or the fear of people who fear God -- into Democrats, there has been a slow but marked shift within the party, and within progressive circles more broadly, in terms of approaching values questions."

      From The American Prospect

      Here, Garance Franke-Ruta offers another theoretical approach to our political debates. This is how we are beginning to realize that there is no more left and right. There are beliefs and values. We tend to vote for those we can identify with as sharing our beliefs and values. But we are each unique. There's not a one-to-one mapping possible. We agree on some values, and we disagree on some values. Frank-Ruta is saying here that we have to appeal to one another on the basis of what we do share in values and beliefs. This is another important step forward for all of us, demanding illocutionary discourse in which we try to understand each other's perspectives so that we can discover common values and beliefs.

  • Love for Fellow Humans: A Christian (Amongst Others) Doctrine

    • A Child can be 79 years old, I am not leaving her behind, by Brenda Love, Message No. 10186, on transform_dom. This is the kind of love that makes the world go round. jeanne

    • Love and Its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis, by Jonathan Lear. Publisher: Yale University Press. ISBN: 0-300-07467-0 (pbk) Main thesis: Freud really doesn't describe a death wish. Death comes; you don't have to wish for it. Freud's primary focus was a love wish - sexuality and spiritual love. Judaic-Christian background.

    • Love: What Life Is All About, by Leo Buscaglia, Publisher: A Fawcett Book, Random House, ISBN: 0-449-91162-4 (pbk). Christian background. With a touch of "hugging." Buscaglia hugged everybody. Like jeanne. This text is often found in the "inspirational" section of bookstores. But Buscaglia went much deeper here; he loved his students, and taught how to make that love reach all students, especially the special education ones. Simple and short and inexpensive. Perhaps if you read nothing else in book form, you'll turn to one of Buscaglia's many books They make nice gifts, too. jeanne

    • Living, Loving, and Learning Online summary by jeanne of Leo Buscaglia's writing, with a brief summary of some of his major themes: expectations; wonder, not knowing; re-thinking the structural violence of our institutions.

    • History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky. Insights to Leo Buscaglia. Link added October 4, 2004.

    • X-Tra Online: Review of Art and Fear Art and Fear, Bayles, David and Ted Orland, (Capra Press: New York, 1994) Important, highly readable, caring text on not fearing to express ourselves. Sometimes used as a text in Love 1A. "The authors of Art and Fear go to great lengths to stress that everything the reader is struggling with has been overcome before––every fear, while understandable, is solvable. Artists are just ordinary people with ordinary worries, doubts, fears, needs, jobs, social lives, and the like. Sounds reasonable—although art is not a reasonable undertaking. From the point of view of Bayles and Orland, the reader is no Mozart, certainly not a genius, or even all that special (and if you need further proof, why would you be reading a self-help book if you were anything other than imperfect?). While I can certainly understand why some would feel the need to shed the burden of attaining genius, this is not a message I particularly needed to hear. It’s nice, however, to be free of the pressure to make a perfect artwork, as that notion places immeasurable weight on every artistic act."

      Bayles and Orland may not be as much help to an artist seeking success - ours isn't an art class - as it is at understanding that when you say "I can't make art," it usually means "I haven't had any experience in the making of art." Bayles and Orland found at the University of California that their students who made lots and lots of pots could usually find a good pot amongst all those they had thrown. Practice brings with it skills. Won't make you a great artist. But will give you a much better understanding of art and artists. We give you models; we give you ideas, capitalize on those and make something that will give another joy. Make the world we live in at the university a more loveable place. Make your community a more loveable place. Try. Share your efforts with others. And then give them to someone, and enjoy. Remember that our goal is not museum art work; our goal is using these little bits of art to make others aware of social problems that we get to talk about when we share our art with others, even strangers. Our goal is "community activism," and we can all do that.

    • Stephen Batchelor. Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil. The Berkeley Publishing Group (the Penguin Group). New York. 2004. ISBN: 1-57322-276-3 Stephen Batchelor grew up in a nominally Christian home, but follows Buddhism. He describes in this book the devil, as understood from his Buddhist studies. He attempts to offer Buddhist insights within a Christian framework, having experienced both. His basic description of evil is that of life based on contingencies, as opposed to a predestined self already decided upon by the Christian God. This has to do with grace and our striving for grace in our understanind of the "good." Backup of Book Review, onsite.

    • Jan Bonda, The One Purpose of God. Wm. B. Edermans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, first English translation from the Dutch. Jan Bonda spends entire chapters explaining what Paul meant in his Letters to the Romans. Bonda's conclusion: God has always intended, since his first promise to Abraham, his promise to Moses, and his promise to Paul to save all of Israel, and all the nations of the world through Israel, and in that order. This means that the coming judgment when those who have not acknowledged Jesus Christ as savior is not the goal of God's purpose for humans. God has made some hard-hearted so that they will not be saved in the judgment, making this wrath known for doing "not-good" or "evil," but "death" does not prevent God's changing that hardness of heart and bringing all humanity to "good" and "acceptance." This means God does not mean for there to be any secret grace to save some and not others. God wants all to be "saved." And God will not abandon that purpose until all are saved, including those now dead, or already judged. Now if God doesn't accept "eternal punishment," according to this careful and thorough interpretation of Scriptures, how come humans believe in the (relatively) eternal punishment of the death penalty? Hello! Let's think on this. jeanne

  • Institutions of Education and Structural Violence

  • Race, Structural Violence, and No Child Left Behind

    • 1991: Molefi Asante publishes The Afrocentric Idea in Education Asante's position is cited below. Read Schugurensky's historicl summary for the debate. I personally think Asante was right and Schlesinger was wrong. What do you think?
      "Afrocentricity, he explains, is a frame of reference wherein phenomena are viewed from the perspective of African Americans. In education this means that teachers provide Black students the opportunity to study different subjects from a perspective that uses Africa and the societal contributions of African Americans as its reference point. Hence, students learn about the contributions that people of African descent have made to human history. Teachers, therefore, do not marginalize African American children by causing them to question their own self-worth because their people’s history is rarely discussed in the classroom. Thus, argues Asante, Black students would be placed in a stronger position to learn when they see themselves within the context of the curriculum rather than at its margin. The implementation of an Afrocentric curriculum, therefore, would not only engage African American children and give them a better understanding of their historical backgrounds, but it would also improve their educational achievements and raise their self-esteem."

  • Art, Spirituality, and Politics

    This focus on spirituality and politics brings us to the use of art in everyday actions and visuals to engage in community activity that will bring us all many steps closer to awareness of the Other and the Other's claims to validity and governance decision-making. To this end we create small art projects that our students are asked to share with family, friends, neighbors, and strangers, as stimuli to governance discourse.

    • Peter Selz, The Art of Engagement: Visual Politics in California and Beyond. University of California Press Berkeley. 2005. ISBN: (Hardback and Paper) Visual Politics becomes even more important as art spills out of the sanctioned museums into the streets. LACMA has an exhibit up till February, 20, 2006, that includes an L.A. graffiti artist and a Mexican conceptual artist, who includes parts of Mexico City sidewalks shaped into a pyramid.

    • Carol S. Eliel, Lee Mullican: An Abundant Harvest of Sun, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles. 2005. ISBN: 0-87587-194-1 (Hardback). Exhibit at Los Angeles County Museum of Art until February 20, 2006. Mullican superimposes the taste of aerial photography, abstract art, shaman, and indigenous art of Native Americans, not by copying any one of them, but by merging all these influences to explore this and the worlds of the cosmos as reflective of humans and their place in all this.

    References:



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