Exploring ’Extreme Literature’: My next public lecture will explore the idea of ’extreme literature’ and its implications for students’ cognitive growth. I’ll be talking about Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, Melville’s Moby Dick also Job, Thucydides and Joseph Conrad, if time permits. If you’re in Athens (the one in Georgia) on November 7th come and join in the discussion.
Another disquieting look is Geoff Harpham’s essay “From Eternity to Here: Shrinkage in American Thinking about Higher Education” in Representations 116 (Fall 2011) pp. 42 - 61.
Why Literature? A new essay on my web site explores the idea of “extreme literature” by looking at some of the earliest written works, Gilgamesh, the Iliad and Odyssey, also a recent book by Joshua Cody called [sic]: A Memoir. I argue there are powerful cognitive benefits in studying “extreme literature.” See what you think: http://www.wrobertconnor.com/uploads/3/3/5/8/3358534/why_literature_four.pdf Another Commitment to Quality: "The big battleship" in higher education, the American Council on Education, has become the 38th national organization to endorse Committing to Quality - Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability in Higher Education of the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability. That endorsement should motivate colleges and universities improve quality, but the guidelines can also be helpful at the departmental and class level. They can be found at: http://www.newleadershipalliance.org/what_we_do/committing_to_quality/
Richard H. Hersh and Richard P. Keeling We’re Losing Our Minds (New York, Palgrave, Macmillan, 2012)
Alice W. Brown, et al Cautionary Tales: Strategy Lessons from Struggling Colleges [with a foreword by William G. Bowen] (Stylus, Sterling VA, 2012)
Congratulations and Kudos:
Steven Greenblatt for the Pulitzer Prize awarded to Swerve: How the World Became Modern (Norton 2011), a tribute to Lucretius
Madeleine F. Green on joining the staff of the Teagle Foundation
Earl Lewis on election to the presidency of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Donna Heiland on her appointment as Vice President at Emerson College
John Stuart Mill: Here is a shorter excerpt: “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.” (Utilitarianism (1863) Chapter 2. Thanks to Paul Woodruff for helping me get this quotation right.)
Martin Luther King: “So here we are moving toward the exit of the twentieth century with a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo, standing as a tail-light … rather than a headlight leading men to higher levels of justice.” (Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Thanks to Jim Tatum for this one.)