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[Xmca-l] Re: Trump's "talking" versus "speaking"



Sure, Chris; it's all xmca, i.e. public domain. The later version I sent in
response to Helena is probably better; the glosses are a little clearer.

I think of hermeneutics as one kind of semiotic: the receptive kind. But
when I think of human minds as made up of text, what I really mean is that
they are engaged in the production of text.

But of course text is recyclable. Not that much of it is produced from
scratch (and perhaps even less of it is recycled the way we recycle intact
beer bottles); most of it is reprocessed from other text. So the production
of text inevitably has to involve (but can't be limited to) a hermeneutic
dimension.

(One of the problems with the new president is that he DOES do a lot of
direct recycling from Fox News, and doesn't even wash the beer bottle. But
I think we have to recognize that Mr. Trump is not a good example of
anything except himself.)

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 3:02 PM, Christopher Schuck <schuckcschuck@gmail.com
> wrote:

> Thank you very much for those elaborations and for sharing some of the
> considerations that went into what you chose to leave out of your analysis,
> David. Would it be OK to share your running transcript with my other
> listserv of psychologists (none of them to my knowledge psycholinguists),
> as an example of how one might approach Trump from a more
> cultural-historical or semiotic perspective? Their discussions so far tend
> to be couched in more psychological terms and have not been especially
> focused on language as such - I think they would find it interesting.
>
> Your mention of Dilthey reminds me of something I have always been a little
> confused about, which is the distinction between semiotic and hermeneutic
> analysis of the meanings generated by text, and how that difference might
> apply in the current situation. I take the limitation of "man's presence in
> his present" to capture perezhivanie, at least partly, as concerning the
> limitations of description and perhaps phenomenology to account for that
> active construal of meaning. But I also gather that reading such a text in
> the "hermeneutic" sense of alternate interpretations and understandings is
> not quite what we're after, either.
>
> I don't want to get too far afield from the current topic, so perhaps a
> discussion for another time.
>
> Chris
>
> On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > When people (including people on this list) use the word text, they
> usually
> > don't literally mean ink and paper. For example, Obama said (and Trump
> > repeated it in his CIA speech a few days ago), the Constitution is a
> > precious thing but "in the end" it is just parchment if people don't
> > believe in who they are. A more technical way to express this idea is to
> > say that a text is a semantic rather than a lexicogrammatical or a
> > phono/graphological one.
> >
> > But Vygotsky argues that after about age one, children develop human,
> > cutural-historical consciousness, and this consciousness is "systemic"
> (it
> > involves the ability to choose, such as being able to choose to treat the
> > visual purview as ink and paper or as a set of signs) and it is
> "semantic"
> > (it involves seeing objects as meaningful; that is, as standing for
> > something more). So what this means is that human consciousness is not
> > simply a neurological or even a "cognitive" phenomenon, like animal
> > consciousness. It's a semantic one. It's not just that texts are made by
> > human minds. Sociogenetically, ontogenetically, and even
> > "microgenetically", human minds are made of text.
> >
> > Halliday says that experience is "the reality that we construe for
> > ourselves through language". That's why text really is pertinent to a
> > discussion of perizhivanie. We could use the Dilthey definition and treat
> > perizhivanie as "man's presence in his present". But how would we study
> it?
> > On the other hand, if we treat perizhivanie as a reality that we construe
> > for ourselves through language the path is much clearer. Perezhivanie is
> a
> > moment of text, and the structure of perizhivanie can be studied through
> > the structure of text.
> >
> > When I sat down to analyze Trump's speech, I had to ignore a lot of the
> > non-textual material it presented. Take, for example, Trump's
> > gesticulations. He has a tic of using his left hand to form a circle
> > (suggesting female genitalia, I suppose) and his right hand to to display
> > an erect index finger. This is distracting and probably about as
> important
> > as the fact that he sniffled through the presidential debates: these are
> > not central to the reality that Trump construes through language. On the
> > other hand (no pun intended), he uses those gesticulations to "beat" the
> > cadence of stresses, particularly in the last four syllables of each
> > paragraph, as Mussolini and Hitler were wont to do. Obama remarked that
> > Trump's way of communicating is "powerful stuff". That's not an
> > analysis--but it's probably not a compliment either. It is just the way
> > Obama construes the way Trump is able to construe Trump's reality through
> > language.
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 3:41 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
> > <javascript:;>>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > David's analyses also give more than just text, I believe.
> > > A
> > > ________________________________________
> > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;> <
> > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;>>
> > > on behalf of Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no <javascript:;>>
> > > Sent: 25 January 2017 19:19
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Trump's "talking" versus "speaking"
> > >
> > > Chris,
> > > I think you are very right, everything about this situation is not so
> > much
> > > about the formal text... but still, as others have been pointing out
> > > throughout the discussion, particularly in the parallel thread on the
> > role
> > > of the Learning Sciences, we need to do what we can, locally, globally,
> > and
> > > elsewhere. And so one way to do something we know how to do is
> analysing
> > > the speech not as text, but as *contexture*. We remarked bringing up
> > > Martin's points, and also using an example, that the point is to see
> > > societal possibilities of hearing a speech. And that includes bringing
> in
> > > so much more than just formal text. One example was Roth's analysis of
> a
> > > song by rap artist Eminem, http://www.qualitative-
> > > research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1213 .
> > > A
> > >
> > > ________________________________________
> > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;> <
> > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;>>
> > > on behalf of Christopher Schuck <schuckcschuck@gmail.com
> <javascript:;>>
> > > Sent: 24 January 2017 16:22
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l]   Re: Trump's "talking" versus "speaking"
> > >
> > > Another irony that hasn't been mentioned is that this distictive
> > speaking/
> > > talking style flagged by McWhorter made him unusually effective as a
> > > campaigner where the goal was to create chaos and premature action, yet
> > > would undermine his ability to be an effective (or safe) president and
> > > doesn't "fit." This is relevant insofar as it emphasizes the new
> > experience
> > > of hearing him speak this way *as president* as opposed to
> > > president-wannabe. In the inauguration speech, this person who is known
> > for
> > > talking not speaking attempts to speak formally, which creates yet
> > another
> > > split between taking that pseudo-formal language literally and taking
> it
> > > ironically.
> > >
> > > So it is not just the difference between reading him literally and
> > reading
> > > him ironically, but that what is formal and what is literal (as well as
> > > what is informal and what is indirect, and whether he is a "formal"
> > leader
> > > or informal television personality) become tangled up with each other
> as
> > he
> > > transitions from celebrity to this official role.That is one reason
> why I
> > > wonder whether looking at the formal text of this official speech
> > (however
> > > fascinating) is such a useful way to explore the perezhivanie of the
> > Trump
> > > experience, because it's so uniquely not about the written text. I
> > suspect
> > > even many of Trump's supporters were not particularly interested in the
> > > speech.
> > >
> > > On Tuesday, January 24, 2017, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
> > <javascript:;>
> > > <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','a.j.gil@iped.uio.no <javascript:;>');>>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Richard,
> > > > what this linguist says and you comment on Trump's talk is pretty
> close
> > > to
> > > > what I was just writing to Francine in the main "trump's speech"
> thread
> > > > about hearing him literally and hearing him as irony. If you stick to
> > > > hearing in the same he seems to treat his recipients, then you may
> have
> > > to
> > > > believe that each word conveys an idea and that one word suffices to
> > give
> > > > the idea, like "it's true". It seems to be enough. As per your
> > question,
> > > > yes, it's a very scary question. It also is very scary that he may
> say,
> > > > "it's true" and so be it.
> > > > Alfredo
> > > > ________________________________________
> > > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;> <
> > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;>>
> > > > on behalf of Richard Beach <rbeach@umn.edu <javascript:;>>
> > > > Sent: 23 January 2017 23:09
> > > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > Subject: [Xmca-l]  Trump's "talking" versus "speaking"
> > > >
> > > >  In a New York Times op-ed <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/
> > > > 01/21/opinion/sunday/how-to-listen-to-donald-trump-every-day
> > > > -for-years.html>, the linguist, John McWhorter, distinguishes between
> > > > Trump’s informal, spontaneous “talking” versus “speaking” that
> involves
> > > > employing a more formal register associated with written language. He
> > > cites
> > > > the example of Trump’s talking: “Look, having nuclear — my uncle was
> a
> > > > great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at M.I.T.;
> > > good
> > > > genes, very good genes, O.K., very smart, the Wharton School of
> > Finance,
> > > > very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative
> Republican,
> > > if I
> > > > were a liberal, if, like, O.K. …”
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > What’s problematic here is that Trump’s off-the-cuff “talking,” as
> well
> > > as
> > > > his use of tweets, can convey messages with problematic uptakes from
> > > > others, resulting in taking action without careful thought or
> > > consultation
> > > > with others. As McWhorter notes: “All understand that his speech is
> > > > structurally ungraceful. It may be harder to grasp that Mr. Trump, as
> > > > someone just talking rather than artfully communicating ideas, has no
> > > sense
> > > > of the tacit understanding that a politician’s utterances are more
> > > signals
> > > > than statements, vehicles meant to convey larger messages.”
> > > >
> > > > When one of his hotels is another country is attacked by
> “terrorists,”
> > > > will Trump, as someone who perceives himself as the prime actor,
> > > > spontaneously declare war with little or no consideration of the
> > > > consequences of his actions?
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Richard Beach, Professor Emeritus of English Education, University of
> > > > Minnesota
> > > > rbeach@umn.edu <javascript:;>
> > > > Websites: Digital writing <http://digitalwriting.pbworks.com/>,
> Media
> > > > literacy <http://teachingmedialiteracy.pbworks.com/>, Teaching
> > > literature
> > > > <http://teachingliterature.pbworks.com/>, Identity-focused ELA
> > Teaching
> > > <
> > > > http://identities.pbworks.com/>, Common Core State Standards <
> > > > http://englishccss.pbworks.com/>, Apps for literacy learning <
> > > > http://usingipads.pbworks.com/>, Teaching about climate change <
> > > > http://climatechangeela.pbworks.com/>
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > > On Jan 23, 2017, at 12:52 PM, lpscholar2@gmail.com <javascript:;>
> > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > Andrew, Andy,
> > > > > I also want to pursue the example of James Lawson.
> > > > > What struck me was his relationship to both parents as formative.
> > > > > Moving to Trump’s inauguration, what struck me was the bodily
> gesture
> > > he
> > > > was expressing walking down the hallway just prior to speaking.
> > > > > This body language that i was reading before he spoke a word.
> > > > > I hope some of you watched the Frontline documentary on PBS
> EXPLORING
> > > > both Trump’s and Clinton’s early family life.
> > > > >
> > > > > Trump’s father was only interested in ‘winners’ and to come second
> > was
> > > > to be a ‘loser’. The father sent Trump as a young man to a military
> > > academy
> > > > that would teach his son how to be a ‘winner’ a lesson that Trump
> > > inhabits
> > > > and is incarnating in his every gesture.
> > > > >
> > > > > His emotional, cognitive, and performative symmetry captured in his
> > > > facial expression as he walked forward to give his inaugural address.
> > > > >
> > > > > In other words, James Lawson, Donald Trump, and Martin Packer’s
> book
> > > > review i see as overlapping themes.
> > > > > When we explore ‘expression’ and ‘intentionality’ and ‘language’ i
> > want
> > > > to include the family upbringing as formative.
> > > > >
> > > > > Now as an aside, Simmel would say both James and Donald are
> > inhabiting
> > > > (fictions) that INform their experiences, but that may be a leap too
> > far.
> > > > Simmel was following the philosopher Vasinger (spelling?) who focused
> > on
> > > > how we live our lives (as is) or (as though) but to take this turn
> > would
> > > be
> > > > for another thread.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> > > > >
> > > > > From: Andrew Babson
> > > > > Sent: January 23, 2017 9:08 AM
> > > > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: James Lawson and perezhivanie
> > > > >
> > > > > Andy, thank you for the timely post, especially as we move forward
> in
> > > the
> > > > > shadow of authoritarianism here in the USA. Lawson's example of
> > > choosing
> > > > > non-violent protest, following Gandhi, is helpful. Consider the
> > > > > effectiveness of millions of people last weekend peacefully taking
> to
> > > the
> > > > > streets with few if any arrests (side note: we all went as a family
> > > here
> > > > in
> > > > > Philly, it was great). Contrast the Black Bloc member's sucker
> punch
> > of
> > > > > neo-nazi Richard Spencer: people are cheering it, but those same
> > people
> > > > > probably realize it's not a scalable strategy. Different tours de
> > > force,
> > > > > different effects, the gender connotations of which are
> interesting.
> > > > >
> > > > > *P <http://goog_1035151535/>**erezhivanie
> > > > > <http://wiki.lchc.ucsd.edu/CHAT/Perezhivanie> *is a new term to
> me,
> > > > which I
> > > > > link here to the XMCA blog for those other also unfamiliar with it.
> > It
> > > > > seems like a pretty clear gloss of a term I do know well,
> *Erlebnis,
> > > > > *"experience"
> > > > > (I dislike the gloss of that Dilthey-an term as "lived"
> > > experience...but
> > > > > that's for another discussion).
> > > > >
> > > > > It's fascinating to learn about Lawson's vocational decision-making
> > > > > process, and to consider the possible effects of violent and
> > > non-violent
> > > > > dissent. But perhaps you could clarify for us Andy why you thought
> > > > Lawson's
> > > > > story was an example of *perezhivanie*? Where's the point of
> > analytical
> > > > > traction? If it means more than "experience", how can we apply that
> > > > broader
> > > > > meaning here? It seems like he had a Pauline metanoia/conversion
> > > > > experience. Is that what you mean?
> > > > >
> > > > > Andrew
> > > > >
> > > > > ------------------------------------------------
> > > > > Andrew Babson, Ph.D.
> > > > > Lecturer
> > > > > Graduate School of Education
> > > > > University of Pennsylvania
> > > > >
> > > > > On Sun, Jan 22, 2017 at 4:40 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
> > <javascript:;>>
> > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > James Lawson is the Methodist preacher who trained the young
> members
> > of
> > > > the
> > > > > SNCC in non-violent action and wrote their constitution. I paste
> > below
> > > > and
> > > > > attach an excerpt from my book "The Origins of Collective Decision
> > > > Making"
> > > > > which narrates Lawson's life up until April 1960. Perezhivanie was
> > not
> > > > the
> > > > > topic under discussion so it is not mentioned in the text, but
> > xmca-ers
> > > > > should be able to see it, an example of perezhivanie:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > James Lawson was born in 1928, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. His
> > father,
> > > > > James Snr., was the grandson of an escaped slave, and a Minister
> for
> > > the
> > > > > African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in New England.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Via the Free African Society(FAS) the Methodists had recruited
> freed
> > > > slaves
> > > > > in Philadelphiain 1787, but as a result of a racist incident, some
> > left
> > > > to
> > > > > found the African Methodist Episcopal Church(AMEC). Nonetheless,
> many
> > > > > African Americans stayed with the United Methodist Church. The AMEC
> > > split
> > > > > started in Philadelphia and the AMEC Zion Church was a split that
> > came
> > > > out
> > > > > of New York. It was to AMEC Zion, James Lawson was born.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > However, Lawson returned to The United Methodist Church, created
> by a
> > > > 1939
> > > > > merger of several branches of the Methodist Church, which set up
> five
> > > > > regional ‘jurisdictions’ of Methodists in the US, organized to
> > maintain
> > > > > regionally identity and a sixth, called the ‘Central Jurisdiction’
> > > which
> > > > > combined the Black annual conferences, thus building segregation
> into
> > > the
> > > > > constitution of the Church.The Methodists went through a long and
> > > painful
> > > > > process, carried out in accordance with the Methodist Code of
> > > Discipline,
> > > > > which mandates the principle of Majority, to re-integrate the white
> > and
> > > > > Black, but it was not till after 1964 that Black conferences
> started
> > to
> > > > > merge into white conferences. At the local level, congregations
> > > continued
> > > > > much as before. So it was within the Black section of the
> segregated
> > > > United
> > > > > Methodist Church, that James Lawson became a Methodist.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > James Snr. was a militant preacher; he packed a 38 pistol and set
> up
> > > > > branches of the NAACP wherever he was assigned to preach. After
> > serving
> > > > at
> > > > > St. James AMEZ Church in Massillon, Ohio, he transferred to the
> > > Lexington
> > > > > Annual Conference of the Central Jurisdiction of the United
> Methodist
> > > > > Church. James Snr. was no pacifist and according to Lawson he
> > “refused
> > > to
> > > > > take any guff from anyone, particularly on the point of race” and
> > > > “insisted
> > > > > that he was going to be treated as a man.”
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Lawson’s mother, Philane May Cover, on the other hand, was
> decidedly
> > > > > nonviolent. Lawson’s challenge, which was to form his character,
> was
> > to
> > > > > reconcile his father’s militancy with his mother’s nonviolence.
> > Lawson
> > > > grew
> > > > > up in Massillon. One day, at the age of 10, Lawson was asked by his
> > > > mother
> > > > > to run an errand:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > A little white child in an automobile yelled ‘nigger’ out the
> opened
> > > > > window. I walked over ... and, since I was in a hurry running my
> > > mother’s
> > > > > errand, I smacked the child and went on my way. When the Lawson
> kids
> > > got
> > > > > called ‘nigger’ on the streets or at school, we usually fought. I
> > don’t
> > > > > know where we got that from, except that we figured that it was
> > > something
> > > > > to fight over. (Lawson, cited in King, 1999)
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > On the return trip home, aware of possible repercussions, Lawson
> > tried
> > > to
> > > > > find the parents of the offending child, to talk to them, but the
> car
> > > was
> > > > > gone. Once home, he told his mother of the incident. Lawson’s
> mother
> > > > > replied, “Jimmy, what good did that do?”
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > She talked about who I was, the fact of God’s love, that we were a
> > > family
> > > > > of love and that such an incident could not hurt me, because of
> who I
> > > > was.
> > > > > I don’t remember anyone else being around, but a stillness took
> over
> > my
> > > > > being at that moment. It was, as I realized much later on, a
> mystical
> > > > > experience. In a very real way, my life stood still. I realized in
> > that
> > > > > stillness that I had changed forever. One of the phrases my mother
> > used
> > > > in
> > > > > her conversation with me was that ‘there must be a better way’. I
> > > > > determined, from then on, that I would find the better way.
> (Lawson,
> > > > cited
> > > > > in King, 1999, pp. 187-188)
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > He first became acquainted with Gandhi’s experiments in nonviolence
> > as
> > > a
> > > > > child, thanks to the African-American press which the family
> > discussed
> > > > > around the dinner table, and had read Gandhi’s autobiography as a
> > > > teenager.
> > > > > At Baldwin Wallace College, a liberal arts Methodistcollege in
> Berea,
> > > > Ohio,
> > > > > he studied Thoreau, Gandhi and Tolstoy, and the pacifist
> theologians
> > > > > Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Reinhold Niebuhr. At age 19, he became a
> > draft
> > > > > resister, refusing service in the Korean War. Executive director of
> > > > > Fellowship Of Reconciliation (FOR), A. J. Muste,frequently visited
> to
> > > > > lecture at the College:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > All of us in history classes were required to hear Muste. I was
> > > thrilled.
> > > > > He made me realize that I was not alone in my experimentation, that
> > > there
> > > > > was a world movement, and a national movement. ... He acquainted me
> > > with
> > > > > the Fellowship Of Reconciliation, which I joined on the spot in
> 1947.
> > > > That
> > > > > meant that I got exposed to their book list.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > After hearing a lecture by A. J. Muste, he joined FOR and CORE.
> Muste
> > > was
> > > > > instrumental thereafter in strengthening Lawson’s nonviolent
> > > orientation,
> > > > > directing him towards Gandhi and later facilitating his entry into
> > the
> > > > > sit-in and boycott movement beginning in the South. In the late
> 1940s
> > > and
> > > > > early 1950s Lawson had organized sit-ins and protests directed at
> > > > > establishments that discriminated against blacks in Massillon, long
> > > > before
> > > > > the Montgomery bus-boycott.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > He was also active with the National Conference of Methodist Youth.
> > > > > Although a member of a segregated Methodist Church, he found plenty
> > of
> > > > > support for his stands against racial discrimination and war from
> his
> > > > white
> > > > > colleagues and church fellows. While he was in prison serving
> > thirteen
> > > > > months of a two and a half year term for draft resistance in 1952,
> he
> > > was
> > > > > re-elected as Vice-President of the NCMY.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Wesleyan Methodism was central to Lawson’s outlook. Just as John
> > Wesley
> > > > had
> > > > > sought to cleanse individuals of iniquity, so could society be
> purged
> > > of
> > > > > the social sins of slavery, segregation, poverty, and
> war.Generations
> > > of
> > > > > African American Methodists from Harriet Tubman (AMEZ) and Henry M.
> > > > Turner
> > > > > (AME) in the nineteenth century, to Rosa Parks (AME) and James
> Farmer
> > > > > (MEC), were led to social justice activism by this Methodist
> > heritage.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Lawson used his prison time to read and think. Writing from prison
> in
> > > > 1952
> > > > > aged 23 years old and yet to enter the seminary, Lawson said he
> > aspired
> > > > to
> > > > > emulate “the life of Jesus, St. Francis, George Fox, Gandhi,
> > Buddha...
> > > > and
> > > > > other great religious persons.” These figures attached little
> > > importance
> > > > to
> > > > > “theology but (to their) experience with God.”Further, he noted
> > > > “religious
> > > > > failures today are in (the arena of) experience and practice, not
> > > > > theology.” When Lawson entered prison, he was a Christian
> pacifist.He
> > > > told
> > > > > Mary King however, that his “first commitment was to work on race,”
> > and
> > > > > conscientious objection came second.By the time of his release, he
> > had
> > > > > advanced to Gandhian nonviolence. He wondered “why can’t a mass
> > > > non-violent
> > > > > revolution be staged throughout the South where the segregation
> > pattern
> > > > is
> > > > > much like the ‘untouchables’ of India? Such a movement would have
> to
> > > > start
> > > > > with one person who had the Christian vision to make such a
> > revolution
> > > a
> > > > > reality in his own life.” Gandhian nonviolence became the
> > synthesizing
> > > > > factor for Lawson’s religious thinking: the militancy of his
> father’s
> > > > > Methodism and the Christian pacifism that he drew from his mother.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Muste arranged for Lawson to visit India after his release from
> > prison
> > > > with
> > > > > a letter of introduction to activists in the Gandhian movement, and
> > he
> > > > > remained in India from May 1953 to 1956, working at Hislop College
> in
> > > > > Nagpur, reading Indian literature and working with Gandhi’s
> movement.
> > > > > Lawson’s practice would remain deeply religious; his nonviolence
> was
> > > > > saturated with the message of Christian love, and blended with
> > > principles
> > > > > synthesized from a broad range of religious and secular sources,
> both
> > > > > Eastern and Western. His aim was the “mass education and training
> of
> > > > people
> > > > > in the use of nonviolent direct action techniques.” Lawson insisted
> > > that
> > > > > “you are fighting a system, not an individual, not a race, or not
> the
> > > > > people of another country, but a system.”
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > He continued his study of pacifism and Gandhian nonviolence at
> > Oberlin
> > > > > College, Ohio. While still in India, he had read about Martin
> Luther
> > > King
> > > > > and his successful leadership of the Montgomery bus boycott.King’s
> > > > lecture
> > > > > at Oberlin on February 6, 1957, fortified his long-held intention
> to
> > > work
> > > > > in the South for transformative social change. After King’s lecture
> > to
> > > a
> > > > > packed audience, he and Lawson talked together at dinner.Though
> > Lawson
> > > > was
> > > > > contemplating study for a Ph.D., King told him “don’t wait, but
> come
> > > > south
> > > > > now!” adding that there was no one else like Lawson.Muste arranged
> > for
> > > > FOR
> > > > > to hire Lawson as southern field secretary to be stationed at
> > Nashville
> > > > in
> > > > > January 1958. Upon his arrival, he found that Glenn Smiley,
> national
> > > > field
> > > > > director of FOR, had arranged for Lawson to run a full schedule of
> > > > > workshops ‒ including one to take place early that year at the
> first
> > > > annual
> > > > > meeting of the SCLC in Columbia, South Carolina.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > At the SCLC meeting, King made an exuberant introduction of Lawson
> as
> > > > FOR’s
> > > > > new regional representative and discussed the organization’s role
> in
> > > > > Montgomery, telling delegates to be sure to attend Lawson’s
> workshop
> > on
> > > > > nonviolence. King took his seat in the first pew, waiting for the
> > > > > three-hour session to start:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Martin did that at every SCLC meeting as long as he lived. He would
> > ask
> > > > me
> > > > > to conduct an afternoon workshop, usually two or three hours, and
> he
> > > > would
> > > > > arrange for it to be ‘at-large’ so that everyone could attend, with
> > > > nothing
> > > > > else to compete. He put it on the schedule himself. A few minutes
> > > early,
> > > > he
> > > > > would show up and sit alone, as an example, in the front row.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Back in Nashville, Lawson continued with Monday evening workshops
> > > during
> > > > > the autumn of 1959 in which he trained the students who were to be
> > the
> > > > core
> > > > > of the Nashville sit-in movement. As a result of his involvement
> with
> > > the
> > > > > sit-ins Lawson was expelled from Vanderbilt, but he enrolled with
> > > Boston
> > > > > University to finish his degree in theology,while continuing to
> work
> > > with
> > > > > the students. Several professors in the School of Theology resigned
> > > over
> > > > > his expulsion.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > The techniques that the students deployed were drawn from Lawson’s
> > > > > workshops. In 1958 and 1959, Lawson mobilized all that he knew
> about
> > > > > Christian pacifism, Gandhian nonviolence, and Methodist social
> > ministry
> > > > and
> > > > > blended them into an unprecedented curriculum that influenced the
> > civil
> > > > > rights movement in Nashville and beyond.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Blending Christianity and interreligious sources, he did not
> present
> > > its
> > > > > philosophy and practice as a secular doctrine, but as the essence
> of
> > > > > religion itself. Core to nonviolence was mirroring God’s love for
> > > > humankind
> > > > > and exhibiting it through concrete relationships of human
> solidarity
> > > and
> > > > > community. “Nonviolence,” Lawson taught, is the aggressive,
> > forgiving,
> > > > > patient, long-suffering Christ-like and Christ-commanded love or
> > > > good-will
> > > > > for all humankind even in the face of tension, fear, hatred, or
> > demonic
> > > > > evil.” Moreover, “it is the readiness to absorb suffering with
> > > > forgiveness
> > > > > and courage rather than to inflict suffering on others.”
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Lawson divided his instruction into four modules: how nonviolence
> > > reacts,
> > > > > training for nonviolence, the virtues of nonviolence, and the
> methods
> > > of
> > > > > nonviolence. Practitioners prepared themselves by jettisoning
> anger,
> > > > > hostility and fear thus “minimizing the effect of an attack,”
> valuing
> > > > love,
> > > > > courage, fearlessness, and forgiveness, and pursuing redemptive
> > > suffering
> > > > > which “releases unknown elements for good.” Preparation included
> > > > meditation
> > > > > and prayer, study of the scriptures, practicing nonviolence through
> > > > > challenges to segregation in bus transportation and in other public
> > > > > facilities.The practice steps included fact-finding, negotiation,
> > > > education
> > > > > of the community, and various methods of nonviolent direct action
> > > > including
> > > > > sit-ins, boycotts, strikes, and civil disobedience. Lawson provided
> > an
> > > > > extensive bibliography including relevant verses from the Bible,
> the
> > > > > Bhagavad Gita, and from the Chinese philosopher, Mo Ti and the
> Hebrew
> > > > > prophet, Isaiah.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > The Nashville sit-ins and those led by students in other southern
> > > cities
> > > > > convinced Ella Baker of the SCLC to call a conference in April,
> 1960,
> > > at
> > > > > Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Out of this meeting
> > emerged
> > > > the
> > > > > Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.Lawson delivered an
> opening
> > > > > keynote address that helped to frame SNCC’s nonviolent
> > > trajectory.Later,
> > > > > Lawson summarized discussions and consensus that emerged out of the
> > > > > conference, and his synopsis received the approval of everyone
> there.
> > > > > Lawson’s overall comments said that “nonviolence as it grows from
> > > > > Judaic-Christian tradition seeks a social order of justice
> permeated
> > by
> > > > > love.”
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > It was Lawson who delivered the keynote address and framed SNCC’s
> > > > > nonviolent orientation.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > The whole group, perhaps 120 participants, all in the room, asked
> me
> > to
> > > > > draft a statement. Eventually, three different drafts emerged. The
> > > > > Nashville group was cohesive. The extant draft was the third,
> > > influenced
> > > > by
> > > > > the Nashville group, after two earlier conversations. (Interview
> with
> > > > King,
> > > > > June 2014)
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Lawson’s synopsis was approved by the Conference.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > In a private email message Mary King told me:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > He [James Lawson] was reading from the FOR booklist from a young
> age,
> > > > but I
> > > > > don’t think that he was influenced on notions of Consensus by
> > Quakers,
> > > > > because the connection was too abstract. Let me underscore that he
> > says
> > > > it
> > > > > was for him Methodist origins. (Private email, 15 April 2014)
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > In his interview with Mary King, Lawson confirmed that the origin
> of
> > > > > Consensus in SNCC was the Nashville Central Committee, confirming
> > what
> > > > Mary
> > > > > King had told me in April. As to the roots Consensus in Lawson’s
> own
> > > > > experience, he emphasized that:
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > It was the Methodist youth and student movements with which I had
> > grown
> > > > up,
> > > > > and this is how they made decisions. They knew the rules of
> > > parliamentary
> > > > > procedures, but they wanted to find a common mind. (Interview with
> > > King,
> > > > > June 2014)
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > The Methodist Church to this very day still mandates Majority
> > > decisions,
> > > > > but this would never have entailed children voting ‒ in general
> > > > youngsters
> > > > > in these organizations were simply told what to do. The Black
> > > > congregations
> > > > > had operated separately for more than a century, so there was some
> > room
> > > > for
> > > > > Lawson to develop a consensual model of collaboration in working
> with
> > > > young
> > > > > people. It is also possible the Black congregations, like other
> Black
> > > > > Churches in America, drew on other traditions of decision making.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > --
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Andy Blunden
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > http://home.mira.net/~andy
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-
> > decision-making
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
>