books about Philosophy, Theory & Social Aspects and 6
start with A
Action versus Contemplation: Why an Ancient Debate Still Matters
Jennifer Summit and Blakey Vermeule
University of Chicago Press, 2018
Library of Congress BD435.S798 2018 | Dewey Decimal 128.4
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654. But then there’s Walt Whitman, in 1856: “Whoever you are, come forth! Or man or woman come forth! / You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house.”
It is truly an ancient debate: Is it better to be active or contemplative? To do or to think? To make an impact, or to understand the world more deeply? Aristotle argued for contemplation as the highest state of human flourishing. But it was through action that his student Alexander the Great conquered the known world. Which should we aim at? Centuries later, this argument underlies a surprising number of the questions we face in contemporary life. Should students study the humanities, or train for a job? Should adults work for money or for meaning? And in tumultuous times, should any of us sit on the sidelines, pondering great books, or throw ourselves into protests and petition drives?
With Action versus Contemplation, Jennifer Summit and Blakey Vermeule address the question in a refreshingly unexpected way: by refusing to take sides. Rather, they argue for a rethinking of the very opposition. The active and the contemplative can—and should—be vibrantly alive in each of us, fused rather than sundered. Writing in a personable, accessible style, Summit and Vermeule guide readers through the long history of this debate from Plato to Pixar, drawing compelling connections to the questions and problems of today. Rather than playing one against the other, they argue, we can discover how the two can nourish, invigorate, and give meaning to each other, as they have for the many writers, artists, and thinkers, past and present, whose examples give the book its rich, lively texture of interplay and reference.
This is not a self-help book. It won’t give you instructions on how to live your life. Instead, it will do something better: it will remind you of the richness of a life that embraces action and contemplation, company and solitude, living in the moment and planning for the future. Which is better? Readers of this book will discover the answer: both.
Activity-Based Teaching in the Art Museum: Movement, Embodiment, Emotion
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2020
Library of Congress N430.K345 2019 | Dewey Decimal 708
This groundbreaking book explores why and how to encourage physical and sensory engagement with works of art.
An essential resource for museum professionals, teachers, and students, the award winning Teaching in the Art Museum (Getty Publications, 2011) set a new standard in the field of gallery education. This follow-up book blends theory and practice to help educators—from teachers and docents to curators and parents—create meaningful interpretive activities for children and adults.
Written by a team of veteran museum educators, Activity-Based Teaching in the Art Museum offers diverse perspectives on embodiment, emotions, empathy, and mindfulness to inspire imaginative, spontaneous interactions that are firmly grounded in history and theory. The authors begin by surveying the emergence of activity-based teaching in the 1960s and 1970s and move on to articulate a theory of play as the cornerstone of their innovative methodology. The volume is replete with sidebars describing activities facilitated with museum visitors of all ages.
Table of Contents
Part I History
1 The Modern History of Presence and Meaning
A philosophical shift from a language-based understanding of the world to direct, physical interaction with it.
2 A New Age in Museum Education: The 1960s and 1970s
A brief history of some of the innovative museum education programs developed in the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s. The sudden and widespread adoption of nondiscursive gallery activities during this period, especially but not exclusively in programs designed for younger students and school groups, expressed the spirit of the times.
Part II Theory
3 Starts and Stops
Two attempts by American museum educators to articulate a theory for their new, nondiscursive programs: the first deriving from the early work of Project Zero, the Harvard Graduate School of Education program founded by the philosopher Nelson Goodman to study arts learning as a cognitive activity; the second stemming from the work of Viola Spolin, the acclaimed theater educator and coach whose teaching methods, embodied in a series of “theater games,” were detailed in her well-known book Improvisation for the Theater (1963).
4 A Theory of Play in the Museum
A theory of play that posits activities in the museum as forms of play that take place in spaces (or “playgrounds”) temporarily designated as such by educators and their adult visitors or students. Play is defined essentially as movement—both physical and imaginary (metaphorical)—toward and away from, around, and inside and outside the works of art that are foregrounded within those spaces. Gallery activities conceived in this way respond to the possibilities that the objects themselves offer for the visitor to explore and engage with them. The particular movements characterizing an activity are crucially conditioned by the object in question; they constitute a process of discovery and learning conceptually distinct from, but supportive of, traditional dialogue-based modes of museum education, which they supplement rather than supplant.
Part III Aspects of Play
5 Embodiment, Affordances
The idea of embodiment adopted here recognizes that both mind and body are joined in their interactions with things. Investigating works of art thus involves apprehending them physically as well as intellectually—in the sense of responding to the ways in which a particular work allows and even solicits the viewer’s physical grasp of it.
Ways in which objects present themselves to us, as viewers, and what we might do in response as they fit with the bodily skills we have developed over the course of our lives. Such skills might be as simple as getting dressed, washing, or eating; or as specialized as doing one’s hair, dancing, playing an instrument, or acting—all of which may allow us to “grasp” and even feel that we inhabit particular works of art.
Embodied looking is always looking from somewhere. We apprehend objects as we physically move around and in front of them; they reveal themselves differently as we approach them from different viewpoints. Viewers orient themselves spatially to both the surfaces of objects and to the things and spaces depicte4d in or suggested by representational works of art. Activity-based teaching gets visitors and students to move among the objects—away from them, close to them, and even into them.
8 The Senses
Both adult visitors and younger students come to the museum expecting to use their eyes, yet “visual” art appeals to several of the senses at once, though rarely to the same degree. Sculpture, for example, almost always appeals to touch (whether or not that is actually possible or allowed) as well as sight. A painting depicting a scene in which people appear to be talking may induce viewers to not only look but also “listen” to what the figures might be saying.
9 Drawing in the Museum
Looking at art with a pencil in hand amplifies viewers’ ability to imaginatively touch and feel their way across and around an artwork. Contour drawing by its nature requires participants to imagine that they are touching the contours of an object beneath the tips of their pencils. Other types of drawing allow viewers to feel their way around objects through observation and movement.
Visitors’ emotional responses to art represent a complex process with many components, from physiological to cognitive, and a particular work of art may elicit a wide range of emotional reactions. This chapter describes specific ways in which museum educators can go well beyond merely asking visitors how a work of art makes them feel.
11 Empathy and Intersubjectivity
One aspect of viewers’ emotional responses to art that is often taken for granted, if not neglected altogether: the empathetic connections that human beings make to images of other people. This chapter advocates an approach that prompts viewers to physically engage with the representations of people they see.
12 Mindful Looking
Mindfulness involves awareness and attention, both as a conscious practice and as an attitude that gallery teachers can encourage in museum visitors. This is not solely a matter of cultivating the mind, however; it is also a matter of cultivating the body, since mindfulness is only possible when mind and body are in a state of harmonious, relaxed attentiveness. Mindfulness practice in the art museum actively directs the viewer’s focus on the object itself and insists on returning to it over and over; yet it also balances activity with conscious stillness.
Acts of Enjoyment: Rhetoric, Zizek, and the Return of the Subject
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007
Library of Congress P53.27.R53 2007 | Dewey Decimal 808.0071
Why are today's students not realizing their potential as critical thinkers? Although educators have, for two decades, incorporated contemporary cultural studies into the teaching of composition and rhetoric, many students lack the powers of self-expression that are crucial for effecting social change. Acts of Enjoyment presents a critique of current pedagogies and introduces a psychoanalytical approach in teaching composition and rhetoric. Thomas Rickert builds upon the advances of cultural studies and its focus on societal trends and broadens this view by placing attention on the conscious and subconscious thought of the individual. By introducing the cultural theory work of Slavoj Zizek, Rickert seeks to encourage personal and social invention--rather than simply following a course of unity, equity, or consensus that is so prevalent in current writing instruction. He argues that writing should not be treated as a simple skill, as a naïve self expression, or as a tool for personal advancement, but rather as a reflection of social and psychical forces, such as jouissance (enjoyment/sensual pleasure), desire, and fantasy-creating a more sophisticated, panoptic form. The goal of the psychoanalytical approach is to highlight the best pedagogical aspects of cultural studies to allow for well-rounded individual expression, ultimately providing the tools necessary to address larger issues of politics, popular culture, ideology, and social transformation.
Algorithms of Education: How Datafication and Artificial Intelligence Shape Policy
Kalervo N. Gulson
University of Minnesota Press, 2022
Library of Congress LB2846.G85 2022 | Dewey Decimal 371.334
A critique of what lies behind the use of data in contemporary education policy
While the science fiction tales of artificial intelligence eclipsing humanity are still very much fantasies, in Algorithms of Education the authors tell real stories of how algorithms and machines are transforming education governance, providing a fascinating discussion and critique of data and its role in education policy.
Algorithms of Education explores how, for policy makers, today’s ever-growing amount of data creates the illusion of greater control over the educational futures of students and the work of school leaders and teachers. In fact, the increased datafication of education, the authors argue, offers less and less control, as algorithms and artificial intelligence further abstract the educational experience and distance policy makers from teaching and learning. Focusing on the changing conditions for education policy and governance, Algorithms of Education proposes that schools and governments are increasingly turning to “synthetic governance”—a governance where what is human and machine becomes less clear—as a strategy for optimizing education.
Exploring case studies of data infrastructures, facial recognition, and the growing use of data science in education, Algorithms of Education draws on a wide variety of fields—from critical theory and media studies to science and technology studies and education policy studies—mapping the political and methodological directions for engaging with datafication and artificial intelligence in education governance. According to the authors, we must go beyond the debates that separate humans and machines in order to develop new strategies for, and a new politics of, education.
All through the Town: The School Bus as Educational Technology
University of Minnesota Press, 2023
The role of the humble school bus in transforming education in America
Everyone knows the yellow school bus. It’s been invisible and also omnipresent for a century. Antero Garcia shows how the U.S. school bus, its form unaltered for decades, is the most substantial piece of educational technology to ever shape how schools operate. As it noisily moves young people across the country every day, the bus offers the opportunity for a necessary reexamination of what “counts” as educational technology. Particularly in light of these buses being idled in pandemic times, All through the Town questions what we take for granted and what we overlook in public schooling in America, pushing for liberatory approaches to education that extend beyond notions of school equity.
Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
The Asian American Achievement Paradox
JENIFFER LEE is professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. MIN ZHOU is professor of sociology at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Russell Sage Foundation, 2015
Library of Congress E184.A75L443 2015 | Dewey Decimal 305.895073
Asian Americans are often stereotyped as the “model minority.” Their sizeable presence at elite universities and high household incomes have helped construct the narrative of Asian American “exceptionalism.” While many scholars and activists characterize this as a myth, pundits claim that Asian Americans’ educational attainment is the result of unique cultural values. In The Asian American Achievement Paradox, sociologists Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou offer a compelling account of the academic achievement of the children of Asian immigrants. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the adult children of Chinese immigrants and Vietnamese refugees and survey data, Lee and Zhou bridge sociology and social psychology to explain how immigration laws, institutions, and culture interact to foster high achievement among certain Asian American groups. For the Chinese and Vietnamese in Los Angeles, Lee and Zhou find that the educational attainment of the second generation is strikingly similar, despite the vastly different socioeconomic profiles of their immigrant parents. Because immigration policies after 1965 favor individuals with higher levels of education and professional skills, many Asian immigrants are highly educated when they arrive in the United States. They bring a specific “success frame,” which is strictly defined as earning a degree from an elite university and working in a high-status field. This success frame is reinforced in many local Asian communities, which make resources such as college preparation courses and tutoring available to group members, including their low-income members. While the success frame accounts for part of Asian Americans’ high rates of achievement, Lee and Zhou also find that institutions, such as public schools, are crucial in supporting the cycle of Asian American achievement. Teachers and guidance counselors, for example, who presume that Asian American students are smart, disciplined, and studious, provide them with extra help and steer them toward competitive academic programs. These institutional advantages, in turn, lead to better academic performance and outcomes among Asian American students. Yet the expectations of high achievement come with a cost: the notion of Asian American success creates an “achievement paradox” in which Asian Americans who do not fit the success frame feel like failures or racial outliers. While pundits ascribe Asian American success to the assumed superior traits intrinsic to Asian culture, Lee and Zhou show how historical, cultural, and institutional elements work together to confer advantages to specific populations. An insightful counter to notions of culture based on stereotypes, The Asian American Achievement Paradox offers a deft and nuanced understanding how and why certain immigrant groups succeed.