Wendell Berry at Williams College tonight
Blog Watch: WB, Stegner & teaching

Thoughts on Teaching Wendell Berry

I’m not terribly disappointed; I came to realize, as we plowed through the final weeks of the class, that most of the students were burned out from the large amounts of difficult reading that I’d given them–and moreover, that introducing the ideas of Berry–who is first and foremost a localist and agrarian; beyond that, depending on how you read him, he’s a bit of a distributist, pacifist, traditionalist, socialist, communitarian, anarchist, and New Deal Democrat as well–needed to be set up better, perhaps by reading some of his fiction before examining his ideas. Because, kind of like starting off the whole parade of theorists with Rousseau, his view of the world presumes, or puts into question, or both, a huge range of values and beliefs, some of which your typical modern American university student fervently accepts, and some of which are some deeply embedded in our socio-economic and political order as to require some real excavation and imagination to even be able to present as issues of discussion.

via www.frontporchrepublic.com


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