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[Xmca-l] Re: Foucault



Yes, education is, in many ways, contributing to "species self annihilation through over consumption" (among other things). But I am a first generation college graduate in my family, and even though there is much that goes wrong with and in education, my experiences lead me to believe that it can do good. 

I had several years as a middle grades teacher where it seemed that some good was happening, despite those pesky tests. I'm hoping to continue, at least in my own (small) way, to try to do some good through education. My former middle grades students would say that is so "corny," and they would be correct! But I persist in my optimism anyway.

Katie

Katie Wester-Neal
Doctoral candidate
University of Georgia


On Sep 18, 2014, at 7:44 PM, "Henry G. Shonerd III" <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:

Mike,
Sorry about the twisted use of perfectly good words. Hopeful? Best of times, worst of times. I know what you are saying that schools aren't the solution, they're the problem. But is the work you have been doing aimed at NO schools or better schools? Hmmm... I work in two charter schools where I want to give schools a chance, if only as a substitute teacher. One has as its focus service learning, the other the education of Native Americans in an urban setting. I hope they are different from the New Orleans charters that Katherine gave us links to, which were sort of forced on those poor people. (The links worked!) After 25 years of telling other people how to do it, I am seeing if I can stand the heat again. As a high school teacher on the Navajo Reservation before that, I had one good year (my first year) when I could do pretty much what I wanted, and the rest of the time I got tons of programmed learning materials (Random House) and lost my way. I admit it: I lacked the imagination to deal creatively with the problem. As a teacher educator, I tried to , but always felt inauthentic, even when I was, passionate. And I got great evals from my students. Karma: my bad conscience and a need to get it right, which is why I am in this dialog, reading as fast as I can, and why I am subbing. Add to that my rage against the American way of aging and dying. At my age (71), I have good reason to be terrified. There oughta be a law. 
Henry

> On Sep 18, 2014, at 1:08 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> 
> Thanks for the bit of autobiography, Henry. I am too confused about uses of
> ontology to know if it is that too!
> 
> On my web page at lchc.ucsd.edu you will find this quotation.
> 
> *Apropos Thoughts on Revolutions and Their Causes*
> 
> (From C. Dickens, *A Tale of Two Cities*, Ch 15)
> 
> Along the Paris streets, the death carts rumble, hollow and harsh.
> Six tumbrels carry the day's wine to La Guillotine. All the devouring and
> insatiate monsters imagined since imagination could record itself, are
> fused in the one realization, Guillotine. And yet there is not in France,
> with its rich variety of soil and climate, a blade, a leaf, a root, a
> sprig, a peppercorn, which will grow to maturity under conditions more
> certain than those that have produced this horror. Crush human humanity out
> of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into
> the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and
> oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit, according
> to its kind.
> 
> I believe that this is a HOPEFUL assessment of the human condition. I see
> around me counter examples that make me wonder. I am less sanquine about
> schooling as a solution. It appears to exacerbate, not alleviate, the
> problem of species self anhilitation through over consumption that Paul
> brought up. It has a very long history in this regard.
> 
> mike
> 
> On Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM, Henry G. Shonerd III <hshonerd@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> 
>> Mike,,
>> A little historical ontology of myself. I was in Berkeley and Cuba with
>> the Weathermen in the 60s when we were thinking in terms of a critique of
>> not just A culture, but CULTURE: Che, revolution. Middle class white kids
>> mostly, we even thought we might be willing to die to make a better world,
>> like Che. Mostly we hurt each other's feelings trying to decide whose
>> consciousness was highest. It's embarrassing to talk about it. Now I'm a
>> retired education prof working as a sub in two great charter schools in
>> Albuquerque, breaking good. Reading the XMA/XMCA dialog, I find much better
>> grounding than consciousness raising sessions of the 60s, and I find
>> Bloch's optimism (See Andy's website) warranted. Like the song goes: I'm
>> still willin'. I have been scrambling to catch up on the thinking of
>> "academic" giants as I read your posts, convinced you wouldn't post them if
>> you didn't think they were important for this dialog. In other words I
>> trust this dialog as it looks back. I understand Mike's problem with
>> posting the Amy and Jed talk, though I think it is helpful that we have
>> taken on the messiness of the moment. It's looking forward, the Novum,
>> where I find my optimism. I don't think it's crazy to think that CHAT can
>> be "popularized",  can be part of changing popular narratives. I love
>> Vygotsky because he worked so feverishly, with others, to make that happen,
>> for children. It seems to me that the reason Amy and Jed are important for
>> this dialog is because schools ARE the key to changing the narrative. Or so
>> I think and feel. And getting real dialog into the schools, not test prep,
>> is what will change everything. That's the concept I think is worth aiming
>> for. Again, so I think and feel.
>> Henry
>> 
>>> On Sep 18, 2014, at 11:15 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Thanks for the recap, Martin. Then we got to Phillip who talked about
>>> theorizing and autobiography as part of the Foucault thread. Is the move
>>> from ourselveS to ourselF important?
>>> 
>>> With the critique of culture issue, it seems that the sense of A culture
>> as
>>> AN historically formation of human lifeways and Culture, as the medium of
>>> all forms of human life, are getting conflated in the discussion. The
>>> project of criticizing various values and practices that are part of the
>>> cultural conditions of our own society (conditions plural) seems doable,
>> if
>>> necessarily contest. A critique of human Culture as a medium of human
>> life
>>> seems considerably more problematic.
>>> 
>>> mike
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 9:58 AM, Martin John Packer <
>> mpacker@uniandes.edu.co
>>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> I was simply responding to Paul M.'s (rhetorical?) question as to
>> whether
>>>> there might be a state of nature to which we could return that would be
>>>> outside culture. I said that this is not possible for homo sapiens - we
>>>> need culture to survive. Michael G. then suggested that if we can't step
>>>> outside culture we cannot critique it. I replied again in the negative,
>> and
>>>> made a passing reference to Foucault who engaged in research that was
>>>> critical of culture from inside: one of his ideas was to work with
>>>> marginalized groups to explore ways of living that the mainstream has
>>>> ignored. Larry then suggested that Foucault was following
>> Merleau-Ponty's
>>>> lead, and Phillip responded that Foucault was more influenced by
>> Hyppolite.
>>>> I countered by suggesting that Foucault's research program - exploring
>> what
>>>> he called "the historical ontology of ourselves" - in other words, how
>> we
>>>> are constituted historically (and culturally) as specific kinds of
>> person -
>>>> was at least consistent with the interests of Merleau-Ponty and Sartre.
>>>> 
>>>> Phew! What a tangled web we weave.
>>>> 
>>>> Martin
>>>> 
>>>> On Sep 18, 2014, at 11:35 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> I thought it was Martin who had mentioned Foucault's "historical
>> ontology
>>>>> of ourselves"?
>>>>> 
>>>>> I'd love to hear more too (note this is where Martin's book The Science
>>>> of
>>>>> Qualitative Research leaves off. I'd love to hear the argument
>> enlivened
>>>>> once again).
>>>>> 
>>>>> Martin?
>>>>> -greg
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 9:25 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> My apologies if my "chaining" off your comment about cocktail parties
>>>>>> distracted from the main point of the ongoing discussion, Phillip.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Could you say more about what an historical ontology of oneself
>> means? I
>>>>>> can understand the truth of the idea that In any interaction with
>>>> others,
>>>>>> whether at a cocktail party or in an academic discussion group, one is
>>>>>> creating one's own history and that an autobiography is a self history
>>>> from
>>>>>> ego's point of view. If one theorizes, then theorizing is a mode of
>>>>>> activity/experience that becomes the material of autobiography.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I am still back on David's earlier claim that cultural historical
>>>>>> approaches to understanding human development do not view data as ways
>>>> of
>>>>>> testing/evaluating/improving theory. I may have gotten confused by
>>>> thinking
>>>>>> that the discussion on Foucault, Merleau-P, et. Were part of that
>>>>>> discussion. A lot swirling around at once.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> A pathway out of the thicket would be gratefully received.
>>>>>> Mike
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Tuesday, September 16, 2014, White, Phillip <
>>>> Phillip.White@ucdenver.edu
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> as you write, Martin, yes, they had similar descriptions of their
>> work
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> "Foucault came to describe his work overall as a "historical ontology
>>>> of
>>>>>>> ourselves." Certainly both Sartre and Merleau-Ponty were philosophers
>>>> on
>>>>>>> ontology, and of history."
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> the difference is, i believe, that Foucault identified with those
>>>> peoples
>>>>>>> who have been marginalized: prisoners, those deemed mentally ill, and
>>>>>>> homosexuals.  he said that his writings were autobiography.  and i've
>>>>>> come
>>>>>>> to understand my own work as a way of autobiography.  i've begun to
>>>> think
>>>>>>> of theory as a way of autobiography.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> i believe that i recognize a great deal of autobiography performed
>> here
>>>>>> on
>>>>>>> xmca - just as one sees autobiography performed at a cocktail party.
>>>>>>> (that's a great metaphor!)
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> p
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Development and Evolution are both ... "processes of construction and
>>>> re-
>>>>>> construction in which heterogeneous resources are contingently but
>> more
>>>> or
>>>>>> less reliably reassembled for each life cycle." [Oyama, Griffiths, and
>>>>>> Gray, 2001]
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> --
>>>>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>>>>> Assistant Professor
>>>>> Department of Anthropology
>>>>> 882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>>>>> Brigham Young University
>>>>> Provo, UT 84602
>>>>> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> 
>>> Development and Evolution are both ... "processes of construction and re-
>>> construction in which heterogeneous resources are contingently but more
>> or
>>> less reliably reassembled for each life cycle." [Oyama, Griffiths, and
>>> Gray, 2001]
> 
> 
> -- 
> 
> Development and Evolution are both ... "processes of construction and re-
> construction in which heterogeneous resources are contingently but more or
> less reliably reassembled for each life cycle." [Oyama, Griffiths, and
> Gray, 2001]