At first glance, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ bestselling, National Book Award-winning book Between the World and Me (2015) may not seem like a particularly valuable addition to a liberal-arts-based course in a Core Curriculum program. Written as a letter to his teenage son, Samori, Coates’ memoir traces the harsh historical realities of racism in order to provide a framework for meaningful action for his son, who is on the verge of living as an adult black male in the twenty-first century United States. Throughout the book, one of Coates’ frequent objects of critique is formal education Continue reading The (Liberal Arts) Education of Ta-Nehisi Coates
This is the second in a series of four essays on core texts connected to the educational goal of developing wise, honorable, and cultivated citizens.
Martin Luther claimed the value of a liberal arts education was in transforming youth into “wise, honorable, and cultivated citizens,” with classic texts instrumental to such a transformation. Moreover, the notion of a responsible citizen has been foundational to all of secular and sectarian Western education. But what is a responsible citizen? When asked of my students, I usually receive a legalistic response. A responsible citizen is one who doesn’t cause trouble for her neighbor, obeys the laws of the land, secures a designated driver when hitting the town, etc. Essentially, the responsible citizen is a rule follower.
Ironically, faculty members often help the student internalize such an anemic view of responsible citizenship. Continue reading Euthyphro and Civic Responsibility