Regular listeners will know by now that we tend to cover topics here that bounce around Religion, Politics, Pop Culture, Foreign Films, and many things in between. Today our topic is going to focus on a particularly unique institution that crosses a lot of those boundaries: Christian College. I’ve personally spent some time as a student and a professor in this world and I have...thoughts. First, I think that we’re going to have to wrestle with terms here a lot. What do we mean exactly when we say “Christian” for instance? That may sound simple, but it’s wildly complicated. Second, my own opinion is that the Platonic ideal of Christian College is probably without question the best form of education for me and my taste. The practice of creating these institutions, however, often results in troubling consequences.
Let me be clear here. Many people have been hurt by Christian Colleges, just as many people have been hurt by Christian institutions of other kinds. I am absolutely one of those people (I may or may not get into this during the show). Yet, there is something so wonderful about, to use an old warhorse slogan, “integrating faith and learning.”
Today I want to talk about the mass of contradictions that is the Christian College.
Joining me today are Michial Farmer and Michael Gruber (introduce selves).
A discussion about how these issues play out at any school that would even try to align themselves conservatively (and I mean in lifestyle, not the voting booth) would be adding something. For instance how does this play out at say Zaytuna College? Or among any of our Muslim brothers and sisters institutions of higher ed? Do we want to pretend they aren't marking out the same shrinking territory?
I think to smear these schools for an effort that inarguably crosses swords with the entire current of education is a really easy caricature. I mean what do we say "How dare they!?". How dare they what? Enjoy the pluralism that's been championed by those of higher learning?
(Danny) 1. The dangers of demanding “consensus” or “adherence” 2. Just as Christian Colleges scold secular ed for prohibiting diversity, this is what they do themselves under the banner and protection of “Biblical Values”
In this episode, Danny is joined by Dr. Angelo Letizia to discuss the usefulness of Batman's mythology for teaching civics in American classrooms. Letizia advocates for creative approaches to teaching civics and one of his assignments is having students adapt an image from Batman's oeuvre to a current political event or controversy. At stake in Letizia's approach is an ideological question of whether civic education should be a) about making responsible citizens, b) empowering citizens to participate, or c) created justice-oriented citizens. Comics, for Letizia, becomes a great medium to tap into this justice-centered goal, and Batman provides plenty of fertile soil for the political imagination.
Angelo Letizia on Twitter (Academic Comics)
Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class, Christopher Newfield
"Cultural Acupuncture:" Fan Activism and the Harry Potter Alliance, Henry Jenkins
In this very special episode, Danny Anderson interviews John Warner (of Inside Higher Ed's "Just Visiting" blog) about his important new books Why They Can't Write and The Writer's Practice. Why They Can't Write dissects the underlying causes of why so much writing instruction fails in the American system and it provides tested, practical solutions for doing better. The book is more than a how-to-teach guide, however. It diagnoses several important structural problems in American education, including standardized testing, the allure of educational fads, the abuses of technology-driven solutions, and cruel working conditions for teachers. Warner discusses this and a lot more in this interview, which anyone interested in education will want to listen to.
Why They Can't Write
The Writer's Practice
John Warner's work on Inside Higher Ed
Listen to this episode to learn all about Chaim Potok's classic novel The Chosen. The book, which investigates the intricate tensions between religion, faith, and the intellect, follows the story of Danny Saunders and his move away from Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. What does this story have to say about faith and the life of the mind? Is there a way for the intellect to contribute to faith? How might post-Christendom Christianity think about these intersections? All this and much more on the latest Sectarian Review.
A show for anyone interested in education. How much should “passion” dictate the path a student takes in their studies? Is Passion really enough? What about work ethic, logic, and pragmatics? Danny Anderson of Mount Aloysius College is joined by Todd Pedlar of Luther College and Nathan Gilmour of Emmanuel College to discuss a concerning trend in student psychology. Is “passion” merely a product of the College Admissions Industrial Complex and its resulting arms-race? Are there better terms we could use? All this and more on the latest Sectarian Review Podcast.
Genesis of the subject - What is “Passion-Driven Education”
A Brief History of “Passion”
Jane Austen and the Romantics
Is College a natural fit for Passion-Driven Education
Class issues, the “Selective College Arms Race,” and Cultural Capital
“Being Radical for Jesus” at the CCCU College
Passion at a “Jock School”
Perverting our passions
Curiosity trumps Passion
The roots of the college major
The pursuit of passion as a quest for “Authenticity”
When gifting and passion don’t match
Vocation as service to others, passion as quest for self
Why we read Plato, a soliloquy by Nathan Gilmour
The Bruderhof as a form of living in community
Is Reason pragmatic and instrumental or the grounds for a vision of the transcendent?
Service as antidote to Passion
A shout-out to one of Anderson’s students!
Physics as part of the human experience
The Luther College Mission Statement
How institutions push against our ideals
Twitter Questions Part II
Am I weird if I have no passion?
Calling as a marathon, not a sprint
The difference between Passion and Vocation: called, or nuts?
Doing a podcast for free (but if you want to give me money…)
Martin Luther on marriage
Gilmour gets BLEEPED!
Teaching Malamud and Kafka
“It’s all in Plato, it’s all in Plato”
Having a multitude of callings
Quote from Werner Heisenberg that Todd left out of the show but wanted to share, "[w]hat we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning"...
In another episode in the "Helpers" series, Danny is joined by Dr. Elizabeth Mansley, Criminology professor at Mount Aloysius College. Dr. Mansley discusses her work in local prisons, including hosting book clubs, and "Inside/Out" classes. Learn about some of the problems with the American penal system, and how bringing a touch of humanity addresses some of those problems. What can the humanities offer someone who is incarcerated? How does having college classes inside prison change the perspectives and lives of traditional undergraduates? How can someone get involved with serving the prisoners in their own area? All this and much more.
In this episode, the Sectarians talk about Dante's Inferno, but not in a conventional way. Imagine reading a poem about Hell while engaged in war. Joining the show for this episode is Neil Gussman, who led a reading group of American soldiers who were fighting in Iraq. What is it like reading Inferno in 130 degree heat? What does Dante have to say about war? How does the experience of reading the great work of Western Canon change when it is ripped from institutional education and placed in the battlefield? Also, contest announcement!
A peek behind the curtain of academia. Danny and two of his colleagues, Dr. Jessica Jost-Costanzo and Christopher Burlingame, deliver conference papers at the 2017 Pennsylvania College English Association conference at Indiana University, Pa. The panel was about trigger warnings, safe spaces, and the teaching of violent comic books. Danny's paper applies Lionel Trilling's moral anxiety to his experience teaching Alan Moore's Jack the Ripper book, From Hell. Burlingame explores the possibilities for teaching critical thinking through Fight Club II. Jost-Costanzo, talks about Art Spiegelman's Maus and her own experiences encountering disturbing literature. Each brief paper (about 15 minutes each) engages with the ongoing controversies around political correctness and the college campus.
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Link to the panel's accompanying slide show.
Danny and Jay Eldred bask in one of the show's most stimulating interviews yet. This time, prominent historian John Fea sits down for an illuminating discussion about the study of History, the role of the humanities in higher education, the disturbing popularity of Donald Trump among Evangelicals, and the possibilities of public scholarship. In addition, Fea (a New Jersey native) talks a little Springsteen with the boys.
Fea considers leaving evangelicalism Pt 1
Fea considers leaving evangelicalism Pt 2
Fea’s Patreon page
Fea’s Twitter feed