[xmca] Re: Abraham Lincoln Brigades

From: Mike Cole (lchcmike@gmail.com)
Date: Wed Nov 01 2006 - 09:27:17 PST

Amazing, larry. Thanks for that story.
Republican Spain was not utopian. Today I teach Orwell. But some truly
people with the good sense to be premature anti-fascists died there, to save

On 11/1/06, Davies, Larry <ldavies@stu.edu> wrote:
> Today seems to be one of those days where a lot of things come together.
> I have a presentation tonight in my doctoral class (I'm the student, not
> the teacher) where I need to explain concepts of "deep description" in
> qualitative research methods, and here is the passing of Geertz.
> Then Mike asks who knows about the Lincoln Brigades. Coincidentally, or
> not, the most interesting class I ever had as an undergrad (LONG AGO, don't
> ask!) was a history of the Spanish Civil War class. Our instructor
> introduced himself on the first day..."My name is Jon Vigoda, and I'm a
> carpenter." We all looked at each other wondering who this old man was and
> what made him qualified to teach the course. "I was a member of a group
> called the Abraham Lincoln Brigades and I fought against Franco and the
> Fascists in Spain. That got me labeled as a 'pre-mature anti-fascist' by the
> US government and, as a result, I wasn't allowed to enlist to fight the
> Nazis."
> Well, of course, I can't ever forget the class, or the activities we did,
> like try to hold a cabinet meeting with all the different factions in Spain
> represented.
> So, Mike, your comment now gets me to thinking...was that the place and
> time where I first became interested in what is now called "Activity
> Theory"?
> Finally, as I work with faculty here and try to describe effective
> teaching, I use the following example: one effective way to build in an
> online world like Secondlife.com would be to have students recreate, for
> example, a street in Republican Spain in 1936. You could have students
> working in groups to design a shop owned by people from across the political
> spectrum. You would have a Republican shop, a monarchist shop, a communist
> shop, a fascist shop, an anarchist shop, a papist shop...etc. The shops
> could be decorated with posters or other artifacts of the time, and you
> might select music that might play in each shop. You could conceivably
> design an interactive robot who would spout the political platitudes of that
> particular shop owner. The final activity would be to go around and visit
> all the shops and do some comparing/contrasting.
> I always thought this was the best way to understand "thick description"
> and similar concepts.
> At any rate, RIP Professor Geertz.
> Larry Davies
> Faculty Instructional Technician
> St. Thomas University
> Miami Gardens, FL 33054
> 305-474-6826
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Mike Cole
> Sent: Tue 10/31/2006 10:15 PM
> To: Paul Dillon
> Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] :-(( The Passing of Clifford Geertz
> It seems a time of loss on many many fronts, Paul.
> How many members of xmca understand what it means to have been a member of
> the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in
> Spain? How many have read about Balanese cockfights? Tell use more about
> Murra, and perhaps point us at a work on
> ethnohistory. After all, this is a group who at least have an interest in
> the role of cultural history in ontogeny and we are
> all, for the time being, developing!!
> mike
> PS-- thanks for the interview, phil
> On 10/31/06, Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > mike,
> >
> > more of those uncanny coincidences: on Saturday night I saw my first
> cock
> > fight and was thinking about Geertz after many, many years. Although
> they
> > are perfectly legal here, unlike Bali, they still provide the kind of
> > cultural thickness Geertz described and flower networks of
> meaning. It is
> > sad to read how he passed since nowadays 80 seems young (at least for
> those
> > with good health insurance).
> >
> > Not too long ago (10/6 I think) another significant figure in
> > anthropology died as well; although more famous as an ethnohistorian,
> > Andeanist, and French-Russian translator for the Abraham Lincoln brigade
> > during the Spanish Civil War: John V. Murra who was instrumental
> > in creating the field of ethnohistory.
> >
> > Changing of the guard
> >
> > Paul Dilllon
> >
> > *Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>* wrote:
> >
> > Damn!
> >
> > http://ias.edu/Newsroom/announcements/Uploads/view.php?cmd=view&id=354
> >
> > mike
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> >
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> >
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