Global Curriculum Development: How to Redesign U.S. Higher Education for the 21st Century 9783839460238

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Global Curriculum Development: How to Redesign U.S. Higher Education for the 21st Century
 9783839460238

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Linn Friedrichs Global Curriculum Development

American Culture Studies  | Volume 37

Linn Friedrichs, born in 1985, is assistant director for student life and community learning and a faculty member at New York University, Berlin. She completed her doctorate at the John F. Kennedy Institute at Freie Universität Berlin. Her research focuses on global curriculum development, inclusive pedagogy, the role of the university in the 21st century, and new approaches to an activist academic practice.

Linn Friedrichs

Global Curriculum Development How to Redesign U.S. Higher Education for the 21st Century

Dissertation, Freie Universität Berlin. D 188. Examiners: Prof. Dr. Winfried Fluck, Prof. Dr. Martin Lüthe

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at http:// dnb.d-nb.de © 2021 transcript Verlag, Bielefeld All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Cover layout: Maria Arndt, Bielefeld Cover illustration: Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash Proofread: Sean OʼDubhghaill Printed by Majuskel Medienproduktion GmbH, Wetzlar Print-ISBN 978-3-8376-6023-4 PDF-ISBN 978-3-8394-6023-8 https://doi.org/10.14361/9783839460238 ISSN of series: 2747-4372 eISSN of series: 2747-4380 Printed on permanent acid-free text paper.

Contents

Acknowledgements ..........................................................9 Introduction ................................................................ 11 1. 1.1 1.2

1.3

1.4

John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method Learning and Teaching as the Experimental Practice of a Better Life .... 27 Dewey’s Theory of Education in its Cultural, Historical, and Philosophical Context ............................................. 29 Form Follows Function — The Aims of Education........................ 43 1.2.1 The Ethical Dimension of Education: Individual Self–Realization and Moral Democracy ................ 44 1.2.2 The Agency Dimension: What Are Meaningful Goals of Education?........................ 47 The Curriculum  ....................................................... 49 1.3.1 Parsing the Complexity Continuum: Method and Subject Matter.... 51 1.3.2 Occupations .................................................... 57 From a Complicated Legacy to New Dialogue and Practice ............. 60

2.

The Ecology of Education Claims of Globalization, Forms of Transnationalization, and Hopes of Cosmopolitanisms ....................................... 2.1 A Beast of no Nation-State — Or: What is Globalization?................. 2.2 The Power of Glocality: Integrating the Global and the Local............. 2.3 A New Research Imagination as the Driver of Globalization from Below ............................................

75 76 79 86

2.4 Rooted Cosmopolitanism – Anchoring in a World of Flows ............... 93 2.5 Different Roots, Shared Meanings — How Higher Education Can “Sidle up to Difference” and Create New Forms of Co-Learning Partnerships .................... 99 2.5.1 From the Outside in? — Broadening and Diversifying the Experiential Geography of Learning Through Study Abroad ................... 101 2.5.2 From the Inside Out? — Expanding and Diversifying the Internal Maps of Learning ..... 114 2.5.2.1 Emotions Drive Learning — Negotiating the Critical with the Affective ............ 115 2.5.2.2 (Re-)Writing the Center—Or: How to Share Meaning with Intellectual Strangers? ...... 121 3.

The Case of New York University How Does a University in and of a City Become a University in and of the World? ...................................................... 127 3.1 Function Follows Form? The Model of the Global Network University in Broad Strokes ........................................... 130 3.2 “No Island is an Island” — NYU (in) Abu Dhabi ........................... 145 3.2.1 The NYU Abu Dhabi Core Curriculum............................. 149 3.2.1.1 Toward Cosmopolitan Occupations — Core Colloquia..... 156 3.2.1.2 Toward Cosmopolitan Habits of Mind — Competency Courses ................................. 169 3.2.1.3 Literacy Sponsorship Revisited — First Year Writing Seminars .......................... 172 3.2.1.4 By Way of Summary — The Cosmopolitan Triangle of Content, Methodology, Sensibility ........... 173 3.3 Deliberations at the Disjuncture — Looking Ahead ...................... 184 4. 4.1 4.2 4.3

Reimagining a New Core for U.S. Undergraduate Education ........... 189 Dignity ................................................................ 195 Belonging ............................................................ 205 Freedom and Unfreedom............................................... 216

Conclusion ................................................................ 233 Works Cited ............................................................... 245

Acknowledgements

Education plays a foundational role in all efforts to make our societies more equitable, humane, and sustainable. As I was writing this book about a reimagined curricular core for U.S. undergraduate education that can contribute to positive change in various “glocalities,” I became more and more convinced that my generation’s scholarship must move closer to activism. The reason for this is that theory and practice lose power if they become disconnected from each other; theory must enable practical solutions to the complex problems of our time, especially now. This perspective has crucially shaped my professional identity, voice, and vision. Those I thank here either share or appreciate this perspective. Drawing from their own experience, they provided advice, partnered with me to think through challenges, reminded me of my intrinsic motivation, and exercised a relentless sense of humor. I would like to warmly thank Gabriella Etmektsoglou, who has nurtured my evolving understanding of the activist potential and ethical responsibility of academic work, my courage to always ask anew why we are doing what we are doing, and my ability to embrace complex change; this book would not exist without your advice, support, feedback, and wisdom. I would also like to thank Winfried Fluck, whose every question about my project, constructive criticism, and mentorship empowered me to develop and inhabit the argument at the heart of this book; to me, you represent the pure joy of thinking. I want to thank Bryan Waterman, Charles Grim, Nathalie Peutz, and Rachel Brulé for sharing their various experiences in developing, reimagining, and teaching global curricula at NYU Abu Dhabi.

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I am grateful to Joseph Pearson for sharing feedback regarding early versions of several sections of this book. I want to thank Transcript Verlag for publishing this book and Sean O’ Dubhghaill for proof-reading the final manuscript. Dankeschön, and thank you to my parents, Jana, and especially Klaus for nourishing my mind, body, heart, and spirit; you are my anchors in a world of flows. Most importantly, I would like to thank my students: I owe much of my own growth to you as I try to become the partner you need as you pursue your academic, professional, and personal journeys. The questions and the answers at the core of this book grew out of the learning experiences that we shared. Here, as so often was the case, the challenging moments were the best.

Introduction

Perhaps if we remember that the study of human experience usually has an ethical, to say nothing of a political, consequence in either the best or the worse sense, we will not be indifferent to what we do as scholars. And what better norm for the scholar than human freedom and knowledge. […] The problem then is to make the study fit and in some way be shaped by the experience, which should be illuminated and perhaps changed by the study. Edward Said, Orientalism 327-8 Education is the foundational process by which we evolve as communities and societies because it shapes how we experience our world, how we interpret our experiences, and how we act as a result. Thus, any attempt to initiate profound and sustainable social change must begin with the curriculum, given that it represents an institutionalized agreement on the most valuable knowledge and competencies and offers a concrete plan for their successful acquisition. The curriculum harbors strong ethical power in its holistic and long-term influence on entire lives, generations, and societies: It codifies a value consensus, shapes how we construct our identities, determines agency and ability, and projects a vision about the most desirable future possible.1 What and 1

As my discussion of key aspects of John Dewey’s pragmatist theory of education will show, I use the term “holistic” to establish an expansive definition of learning that considers all aspects of the educational process. Directed inward, it treats the cognitive and the affective dimensions of a person’s development as interrelated; directed outward, it considers the individual’s interaction with

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how should students learn to shape social life for the better? Given the foundational role of education, this question is at the heart of a vast body of thought and scholarship that weaves historical threads from the social analysis of scholars in antiquity to practical deliberations of curriculum committees at universities in the 21st century. With the coalescing, differentiation, and increasing interrelation of disciplines in Western higher education, it now engages pedagogical, political, psychological, and economic considerations, among many others. This book contributes to the debate about curriculum design and practice in the 21st century by focusing on a specific “anchor culture” within a globalizing world, dimension of institutional organization, and period of intellectual and professional development: How can we redesign the undergraduate curriculum in U.S. higher education to empower students as agents of the social transformation that our societies so urgently need?2 Since the 1990s, more and more U.S. universities have operated academic programs transnationally to pursue an ambitious vision: They aspire to produce global knowledge, cultivate a cosmopolitan mindset, and make a positive social impact in an interconnected world. In an age of crises and innovation, this vision is being tested with great urgency as learners need unique competencies to address problems of an unprecedented scale and complexity. However, we have not adequately addressed the shortcomings of global education projects. Existing schol-

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their environment as constitutive of such development. If we understand education as the foundation and vehicle of social change, then we must discuss it in relation to the whole person, the histories that inform their past and present, various institutional mechanisms that impact upon them, and virtually all dimensions of social life. Unfortunately, contemporary education programs do not commonly reflect this understanding of education. We cannot categorize U.S. institutions that confer degrees abroad, like New York University’s portal campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, as belonging to the U.S. American cultural region. To that end, I use the notion of an “anchor culture” to clarify that my argument focuses on higher education communities that have emerged from, and to varying degrees remain anchored in, a U.S. cultural context but expand along transnational or even global networks to culturally different regions of the world. Chapter 2 and 3 explore this facet of global education in detail.

Introduction

arship on the topic of international higher education, inclusive pedagogy and curriculum development, democratization, and globalization has focused on many different aspects of educational reform for the 21st century; to date, however, it has rarely examined these dimensions in comprehensive, application-oriented dialogue. I argue that if we consider the complex ways in which these dimensions interact, we will see the value of a new educational model: a trans- or pre-disciplinary liberal arts core that is structured around the defining challenges of our time and particular habits of mind and which enables truly transdisciplinary learning, translates theory into practice, and establishes innovative partnerships between researchers, teachers, students, policy-makers, and communities. Students acquire the competencies of complexity resilience to address global challenges in their local context with creativity and courage by engaging with such a curricular core. If we want to reimagine and redesign curricula for the 21st century, then we will have to collaborate in new and innovative ways across cultural, disciplinary, generational, and institutional boundaries. However, in imagining convincing narratives for a core curriculum, we can specifically turn to scholarship in the humanities that orients itself toward and engages with the complexities, contradictions, and conflicts that characterize life in globalizing societies. My argument evolves in four steps, and a chapter is dedicated to each step. If we conclude, based on existing scholarship and attentive observation of contemporary teaching and learning practices, that undergraduate education must change to effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities of life in the 21st century, then we must first understand what education is and what it does on a foundational level. We must ask how we learn and why we learn. I draw on central elements of John Dewey’s education theory to establish a framework for my analysis, focusing specifically on education’s relationship to processes of identity formation, value negotiation, and community creation within different dimensions of social life. As a product of pragmatist philosophy, this theory positions experiences as the center and foundation of all successful and meaningful learning. Pragmatists understand experiences as mediating between, and thus as resolving, various artifi-

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cial binary distinctions, including between cognitive and non-cognitive processes, individual and environment, curricular content and method, and theory and practice. Experiences are, therefore, the key to curricular change. But curricular change toward what? I show that the empowerment of students as agents of sustainable, equitable change in environments characterized by constant transformation, unprecedented complexity, and increasing diversity is both a responsibility and the ultimate potential of curriculum development by drawing out the ethical implications of Dewey’s theory for the individual and the social dimensions of learning. Educational institutions must grapple with and respond to our contemporary societies’ pivotal challenges. I suggest that adapting Dewey’s concept of “occupations” for higher education is a critical strategy in this regard. Dewey did not create a practical educational model that implemented his theoretical considerations in transcultural and transgenerational real-life practice throughout primary, secondary, and higher education. Thus, he never actually addressed the specific developmental stage and age group that we must primarily consider when evaluating and reimagining higher education. Who are the students in our college classrooms today? We do not know enough about the generation of learners that we teach, mentor, and seek to empower. Recent data on student enrollment demographics across the U.S. university landscape and several student development theories suggest that the “Generation Z” student cohorts, born roughly between 1995 and today, have different needs and will require new teaching and learning approaches than previous generations. While it is often focused on the U.S. context, this emerging research highlights the college experience as an especially rich opportunity for cognitive and emotional growth, transcultural literacy, and overall complexity resilience. Thus, it provides important impulses for the increasingly interconnected and diversified academic communities around the world. In Chapter 2, I ask how we might describe and understand the particular social reality that higher education reflects and to which it responds. Specifically, what characterizes the contemporary challenges that we should structure curricula around in the form of occupations? I draw upon theories by anthropologists, philosophers, and sociolo-

Introduction

gists such as Arjun Appadurai, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Roland Robertson to first examine key aspects of the phenomenon and process commonly described as globalization and the way universities have responded thereto, particularly with respect to the curricular dimension. In the global age, societies transform and diversify at an accelerated pace that defamiliarizes central aspects of our lives, and the knowledge we have to exert over these changes appears overwhelmingly complex, fractured, and rhizomatic—streaming through minds rather than harbored by them, available at a mouse click, but confined to the level of abstraction once we move beyond our specialization and direct experience.3 At the same time, globalization has created and exacerbated highly complex, interrelated problems of a new scale and scope. For example, the UNHCR estimates that 80 million people fled violence, persecution, and other existential emergencies searching for new homes in 2020 (unhcr.org). The human alteration of the earth system is accelerating an ongoing sixth mass extinction. Unprecedented mutations of capitalist exploitation have made human rights violations pervasive. The technological jump associated with the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” as defined by Klaus Schwab, will fundamentally change how we will live, learn, teach, and work in the coming decade. Our societies experience a profound crisis of agency, trust, and imagination, caught as they are within a transition so profound that it is experienced by many as if “the old is dying, and the new cannot be born” (Gramsci, qtd. in Hoare 276). The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic acts as a magnifying glass in several ways. On the one hand, it deepens existing inequities and further endangers the most vulnerable, thereby exposing how unsustainable our ‘old normal’ was; on the other hand, it challenges us to

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Chapter 2 will describe and analyze the phenomenon and process of globalization in greater detail. Very generally, globalization refers to an ongoing phenomenon of accelerated change throughout various spectra of life, increased interconnectivity between individuals, social groups, regions, and countries, the collective awareness of these interconnections, and the multidimensionality and interrelatedness of effects of specific cultural, economic, political, and social processes.

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grow our complexity resilience, the ability to adapt creatively to events and conditions that were previously unimaginable. It also demonstrates that solving the problems of our time will require what I would call “deep-tissue” changes, rather than cosmetic ones: Transformations on all levels of social organization are possible only through radical forms of collaboration. Thus, the second part of Chapter 2 connects the Deweyan model of education as an experience-based (“experiential”), application-oriented, and collaborative process focused on problem-solving specifically to transcultural learning communities.4 These new kinds of communities harbor the potential for the radical collaboration that we need. However, they struggle to navigate significant epistemological and experiential differences that complicate processes of identity formation, resulting in heterogeneous conceptions of belonging and sustaining the potential for escalating conflict. How can we rethink the notion of a curricular canon and reconsider the very ecology from which it emerges so as to orient learning toward a foundation of shared meaning, literacy, and agency on which critical participation, equity, and inclusion

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Throughout this discussion, I strive to use language that reflects a contextual and evolving understanding of cultures. I am influenced by Arjun Appadurai, who prefers to use the adjectival form of the word, cultural: It points us away from the notions of property, exclusivity, and privilege that are associated with the noun “culture” and highlights the generative dimension of the concept, especially as it opens up “the realm of differences, contrasts, and comparisons” (Modernity at Large 12). When discussing globalization’s cultural dimensions, Appadurai differentiates between two conceptions of culture (as a noun): firstly, culture as “virtually open-ended archive of difference” and, secondly, culture as “a pervasive dimension of human discourse that exploits difference to generate diverse conceptions of group identity” (13) both within and between particular social groups. This observation will guide me as I discuss sources of belonging, inclusivity, and solidarity in diverse learning communities in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3. Lastly, I will use the prefix “trans,” as in “transnational” or “transcultural,” when referring to practices or phenomena that extend, engage, or subvert pre-established boundaries that have traditionally been defined by the nation-state.

Introduction

might rest? Here I will draw on Appiah’s notion of “rooted cosmopolitanism” (Ethics of Identity 296) to explore curricular strategies that facilitate engagement and exchange across differences that threaten to undermine connection in the form of identity-based polarization and conflict. Moving in two directions, I will first examine the possibilities and limitations of traditional study abroad approaches, which essentially work from the outside in by shifting students’ cultural and linguistic geographies to create what is often described as a cosmopolitan mindset; I will then turn to approaches that proceed from the inside out by shifting the pedagogical practice itself toward more inclusive forms and contents of instruction.5 The former movement allows me to evaluate contemporary criticism of study abroad approaches and to sharpen the notions of growth and immersion, which are rarely more than implicitly defined, via the Emersonian concept of “ever-widening circles” (Cavell, The Senses of Walden 128). The latter movement provides an opportunity to demonstrate how any effort to establish shared meaning, literacy, and agency in a transcultural classroom must treat the cognitive and affective dimensions of learning as interrelated and examines this relationship more closely. Here I bring recent scholarship in literary studies on affective modes of reading and work within critical emotion studies into dialogue with my argument for a conflict-resilient, more inclusive curricular practice. Additionally, “inside out” approaches to inclusive classroom practice shift our attention to the basic protocols of articulation and communication in the academic community. Academic writing instruction emerges as another key area of curricular reconfiguration, as reflected in the growing body of writing center scholarship, given that writing opens or forecloses access to a collective research imagination. Each of the fields considered in this segment concerns itself with curriculum development in some capacity. When put into dialogue, they begin to illuminate the outlines of a

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I present these two movements as types and thus as separate developments to structure my argument more clearly for the reader. There have been recent attempts to bridge these two approaches by introducing limited reforms to the traditional study abroad model.

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possible curricular blueprint defined by an understanding of literacy as an evolving collaborative practice that directly strengthens the diversity and inclusion agenda and the overall climate of any institution, no matter whether it (still) serves a relatively homogenous or (already) diverse population. When imagining this curriculum, we need to move away from the idea of reforming the—usually Eurocentric—canon of specific texts by expanding it and instead must embrace the concept of a core. On the undergraduate level, a 21st century iteration of Deweyan occupations that focuses on solving contemporary global problems in their local context can empower learners to constructively respond to the accelerated pace of change, the complexity of challenges, and the amplified diversity of difference by thinking and acting in new kinds of collaborative relationships with others, including their “intellectual strangers” (Ang, “From Cultural Studies to Cultural Research” 190). In acknowledging the urgency of and taking responsibility for this ambitious task, the university, which has already become a construction site of cultural globalization, must assume a new, more public role, devoting its cumulative expertise to the solution of the pressing, most complex problems of our time. Chapter 3 subjects the various strands of my theoretical analysis to the test of experience. I examine the case of New York University (NYU) which has developed a unique global education model during the last two decades, one based on a network of so-called “study away sites” in twelve locations across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America that are connected to three four-year, degree-granting “portal campuses” in Abu Dhabi, New York City, and Shanghai through curricular pathways.6 I describe areas in which the ideas developed in

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Global educational models vary, and Chapter 2 will discuss central terminological and conceptual differences in greater detail. For the purposes of this introduction, “global education” broadly refers to the systematic physical and conceptual expansion of universities beyond the geographical, political, and cultural boundaries of the United States, often to varying degrees of internal reorganization.

Introduction

the preceding chapters have been successfully applied as well as areas of tension and contradiction within the larger curricular ecology, which includes aspects of internal organization and program design. This involves reading the project of a Global Network University (GNU) as a necessarily epistemologically immature interpretation of the defining parameters of our global social reality and as the—at least partially—successful institutional embodiment of a Deweyan experimental spirit. The centerpiece of this chapter is an analysis of the core curriculum developed at NYU’s portal campus in Abu Dhabi. Structured around foundational questions of justice, sustainability, peace, and health, it seeks to productively engage a hyper-diversified community of over 1,600 undergraduate students from 115 countries who speak more than 115 languages and represent various cultural, ethnic, linguistic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds. Close readings of the core colloquia “extinction” and “justice” as well as brief analyses of several competency courses show how a “globalizing” core curriculum structured around the defining challenges of our time and particular competencies might break with traditional notions of canonicity. This analysis highlights a question that animates my argument in its entirety because the negotiation of what is “American” in a globalizing world is the 21st -century raison d’être of my scholarly field, North American studies: What is the role and influence of U.S. American perspectives within a globalizing curricular core? In other words, must efforts to globalize the U.S. undergraduate curriculum “uproot” its cultural anchor or even dissolve the American frame of reference in order to deconstruct it? Or do U.S. American perspectives and discourses remain the most prominent ingredient to the core, asserting themselves in particular narratives through the assigned readings in core course syllabi? Mapping the particular orientations that this particular curriculum presently assumes toward “America,” I suggest parameters for redesigning the core narratives for U.S. undergraduate curricula. Chapter 4 provides an initial approximation of the curricular core that I propose. We must essentially treat it as the very embodiment of a nodal point or an encounter zone in the global “variable synesthesia” of locally informed knowledge, values, and practices that Appadurai

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describes (Modernity at Large 37). This curriculum has to hold the difficult balance of addressing and reflecting the global dimension, which is stirring it in the form of constant flow and movement, and retaining a reliable, recognizable form, one that is created between its regional (e.g., New York, Abu Dhabi, Berlin) and institutional (U.S. American) anchor culture. We can achieve this balance if we design curricula collaboratively in transcultural and transgenerational efforts and if we build them around questions of both timeless and timely quality, rather than pre-determined content. This way, they can engage the diversity of perspectives, experiences, and expertise represented in the extended classroom in the most equitable ways and can support learners in building greater capacity for complexity resilience. To illustrate this approach, I outline the building blocks for different institutional interpretations of a new curricular core. Each unit explores a global challenge in its local ramifications through a transcultural, transdisciplinary, and transgenerational lens. Sample modules on “dignity,” “belonging,” and “freedom” relate several UN Sustainable Development Goals, draw on materials from different academic disciplines and professional fields, and engage diverse student populations and teachers as co-learners. On the microscopic scale of the course community, these modules foster the collaboration across abilities, experience, and expertise and build the overall complexity resilience of each learner. Such diversified collaborations and skill sets might be scaled onto meso- and macro-levels through strategic partnerships between universities, communities, and other social actors. This overview of my argument highlights two main orientations that can be characterized as “activist” in the broadest sense: One reaches toward a growing integration of theoretical and practical approaches in globalizing education and the other gestures from within North American studies to the larger field of the humanities. The questions that have guided my research originated, in essentially pragmatist fashion, from the observation of a particular learning environment and the practical experimentation as part of my professional role at NYU. Over the last decade, I have supported more than 3,000 undergraduate students from diverse cultural, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic

Introduction

backgrounds who completed components of their undergraduate curriculum in a Berlin-based learning community; this community is part of a global circulatory system of higher education within which the eponymous U.S. American anchor university is gradually ceasing to function as administrative core, dominant cultural perspective, and locus of educational vision. My professional engagement takes different forms, ranging from teaching, the design of extracurricular learning opportunities and leadership development to crisis response and conflict resolution. These different forms of interaction within and beyond the classroom have shaped a holistic understanding of learning that interrelates the academic, professional, and emotional dimensions of education. Throughout the planning and delivery of orientations, workshops, and “learning journeys” and in the pursuit of partnerships with local organizations and communities to create collaborative learning experiences with a sustainable, positive impact, it would have been difficult for me not to ask myself: What are the essential themes, perspectives, and competencies without which students cannot make sense of the place in which they have landed, Germany’s past and present, and their responsibilities toward their host communities? What kind of knowledge, which modes of thinking, capabilities, and sensibilities do they bring to bear on their study abroad experience? How should the experiences and expertise of, usually, locally rooted and trained faculty and staff interact with those of students who have previously studied in Abu Dhabi, New York, or Shanghai? How should our community engage and contribute to a society within which the arrival of over 1.4 million refugees since the summer of 2015, the evolving global pandemic, and global social movements like Black Lives Matter or Fridays for Future inspired not only great solidarity, but also created much tension around questions of belonging, representation, and participation? Questions and disagreement regarding the rights associated with citizenship, collective responses to cultural, religious, and linguistic diversification, and ethical partiality have increasingly appeared, to my mind, as local expressions of a global challenge: How do we connect with our intellectual, political, and social strangers in climates that are characterized by polarization around identity-based

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differences? What might a vision for connection, compassion, and collaborative action look like, and what role should universities assume in its cultivation, sustenance, and protection? My professional role not only highlighted these questions, but also suggested complicated answers that called for scholarly attention. My practical experience also inclined me toward the adoption of a multilateral theoretical approach within North American studies, a field that, like many others, has been forced to reassert its relevance and purpose by a globalizing world of interconnected, complex, and dynamically form-shifting phenomena. Brian Edwards and Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar have argued for a perspectival and methodological turn in American studies that must effectively “provincialize” a seemingly omnipresent and potent American exceptionalism and include the still unexplored “archives” that emerge once America is treated as a passageway for flows of people, practices, goods, ideas, and images, taking and shaping fractal Americas along new trajectories (25-7). However, as Winfried Fluck has argued, we must be careful that scholarly efforts to transcend the ideological current of American exceptionalism do not disempower the field vis-à-vis the “interpretative challenge for which it was created” (“Inside and Outside” 30). If we believe that globalization is only transforming the origin and form of American cultural power, rather than eradicating it, then the study of global higher education provides an opportunity to perform a seemingly paradoxical move: By reimagining the curriculum as an encounter zone of the global and the local, we can simultaneously go outside of America and “back inside” (28). I hope that the particular interplay of my familiarity with, and distance from, the United States will enable critical and creative perspectives on the contested question of what university students need to learn in order to become agents of positive social change and pursue increased equity, inclusivity, and sustainability. Because North American studies must produce coherent knowledge of what is commonly “American” and imagine what “America” could become, the field offers us tools to study the ecology in and of which a core curriculum forms, deepens our understanding of the curriculum as a construction site of cultural power within a global context, and orients curricular movement

Introduction

toward transdisciplinary collaboration. In turn, a reimagined core curriculum for undergraduate studies at U.S. institutions might inspire us to rethink how North American studies are taught outside of the United States. However, the effort to respond anew to foundational questions about socially engaged higher education necessarily engages the entire field of the humanities. We define humanities scholarship in terms of the questions that it asks, the phenomena it studies, the methods it cultivates, and the sensibility it nurtures. I argue that the humanities hold the key to a better way of learning in diverse environments that need to negotiate antagonistic positions and thus empower a U.S. undergraduate curriculum focused on globalization’s characteristic challenges. In engaging different humanistic disciplines recently deemed to be undergoing a crisis, such as literary and cultural studies, I promote a new direction in humanistic scholarship, which can open vistas for a renewed, altered sense of agency, accountability, and purpose through an engagement of pressing social concerns beyond the theory-focused academic discourse. This orientation toward what I would describe as “humanities in action,” or broadly “activist academics,” turns “necessity into possibility,” as Ien Ang has helpfully suggested (“From Cultural Studies to Cultural Research” 186). Before entering into the argument that I have introduced in broad strokes, I want to emphasize that the scope of this book project has forced me to make some difficult decisions. First, I use examples from and engage in arguments advanced within various fields and disciplines—including philosophy, sociology, literary studies, curriculum theory, and psychology—to both study and reimagine the curriculum and to respond to a much broader question about the humanities’ value and practical relevance in globalizing higher education. As a result, some conversations will be reduced to references, relegated to footnotes, literally consigned to the margins, or postponed for consideration in future studies. What is most crucial is the absence of a close analysis of the necessary shift in pedagogical practices (i.e., the methods of teaching that must accompany any fundamental restructuring of the content). My argument will occasionally refer to, but not produce, a comprehensive set of guidelines for a more

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inclusive teaching methodology, while remaining grounded in an understanding of content and method as intrinsically connected. Secondly, by following the understanding of knowledge and skills established in the first two chapters, it will not be possible or even desirable to prescribe a complete curriculum and canonical works with which all students and, consequentially, teachers should engage. Thus, I identify core themes and questions around which we might structure an undergraduate curriculum that builds core competencies, values, and an emerging sense of the kind of knowledge that is necessary to respond to the complexities of the 21st century. While I will draw upon works from different genres—including scholarly texts, novels, films, and poems—to illustrate the structure and broad applicability of my approach, I cannot claim to have the in-depth knowledge of, for instance, a literary or film scholar. Lastly, the mutability of perspective that I have attributed to the specific intersection of my academic and professional expertise and experience translates into a specific use of the “we” as it relates to the “I,” which this book will hopefully establish as being ecological, intersectional, and shifting. Each of us brings our own biography to bear on our work. While we might discover surprising similarities with others, depending on the angle we observe and speak from, no biography is like any other. If I seek to uncover the conceptions and structures of knowledge that act within U.S. higher education, in order to give advice about concrete curricular changes that might lead to a more inclusive and empowering educational process, then I act in solidarity with those marginalized or otherwise disempowered through current educational formats. However, I cannot and must not inadvertently speak for another, thereby appropriating their language and experience, categorizing their contributions, and, in seeking to replace one curricular canon of looking at the world, resort to another, equally damaging one. Instead, I seek to contribute to a shift in the conception of learning and the engagement with knowledge in a world of diversifying, and often intensely felt, difference. While engaging with this challenge, my conception of “we” has expanded to first disorient and then gradually empower and inspire me. I hope that this book will contribute mean-

Introduction

ingfully to a similar development in the education of students who enter our universities to develop the competencies of resilient, life-long learners in increasingly complex environments.

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1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method Learning and Teaching as the Experimental Practice of a Better Life

One can hardly believe there has been a revolution in all history so rapid, so extensive, so complete. Through it the face of the earth is making over, even as to its physical forms […]; habits of living are altered with startling abruptness and thoroughness; […] Even our moral and religious ideas and interest, the most conservative because the deepest-lying things in our nature, are profoundly affected. That this revolution should not affect education in some other than formal and superficial fashion is inconceivable. Dewey, The School and Society MW 1 1.6-7 Education is constitutive of change. It provides the impulse for and becomes the texture of our individual and collective becoming. John Dewey has identified education as “a necessity of life” (Democracy and Education MW 9.1), describing it as the process by which our communities and societies renew themselves and evolve. Just as our physiological maturation depends on appropriate nutrition, hydration, social

1

I use the abbreviations EW, MW, and LW throughout this book to refer to the three volumes edited by Jo Ann Boydston: The Early Works of John Dewey, 18821898, The Middle Works of John Dewey, 1899-1924, and The Later Works of John Dewey, 1925-1953.

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stimulation, and a balance of rest and exercise, so too can we not mature intellectually and emotionally into active and constructively critical participants in social life if we are denied an education (9.2-3).2 Therefore, education can neither be the privilege of the illustrious few nor can it be confined to a designated time in our lives. As long as we are, we learn. Conversely, we essentially all teach, by sharing the “habits of doing, thinking, and feeling” with those in our care, in order to ensure social renewal (9.6). Dewey positions experiences at the core of all learning and teaching; our critical examination of these experiences stimulates deeper thought and meaningful action. Thus, we can conceive of education as the continuous, collective practice of applied critical thought. It can never be a ‘mission accomplished,’ whether in the form of a degree or official seniority, because it is the very process that enables us to contribute to and reshape the societies and our ways of living for the future. If we ask ourselves how our university curricula must change to empower students as agents of the deep, social change that we urgently need, we must first clarify the nature, purpose, and impact of education: What happens when we learn? How can we guide this learning toward a specific outcome? How does the educational process relate to other dimensions of social life, such as identity formation, value negotiation, and community creation? While we might be tempted to dismiss these questions as having been answered a long time ago, periods of complex social transformation require us to revisit the very foundations of our educational designs. Dewey’s pragmatist theory of education offers powerful guidance in this pursuit. A closer look at the significance of experience, the ever-evolving scientific process of verification, and the ethical dimension of learning allows us to establish a framework for the analysis and evaluation of specific educational approaches and

2

This understanding of education is reflected in arguments made in favor of the right to education, such as those advanced, for example, by the UNESCO (//en.unesco.org/themes/right-to-education).

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

then to (re)imagine successful educational practice in its institutional form—the curriculum as a blueprint for social transformation.3

1.1

Dewey’s Theory of Education in its Cultural, Historical, and Philosophical Context

John Dewey’s work powerfully illuminates the intersections of philosophy, social reform, cultural criticism, educational theory, and teaching. This is why he is still considered by many to be one of the leading intellectual voices of 20th century America. A closer look at his life suggests that it was the experience of fundamental social change that defined Dewey’s self-perception and practice as a scholar. His early philosophical work had been Idealist in nature and focused on metaphysics, characterized by his belief that philosophy should ascertain “the meaning of Thought, Nature, and God, and the relations of one to another” (“The Pantheism of Spinoza,” EW 1.9). Robert Westbrook attributes the fundamental reorientation of Dewey’s philosophical interests toward concrete social concerns and “the capacities of human will and intelligence for progressive reform” (78) to three significant influences: the new perspectives opened up by his partner Alice, T.H. Green’s socially concerned Hegelianism, and the complex problems sparked by the Second Industrial Revolution and solutions proposed by various progressive movements of his time. These three influences increasingly attuned him to the interconnectedness of educational reform, philosophical practice, and democratic theory.4 The attempt to systematically and practically 3

4

While I argue throughout this chapter that Dewey’s theory of education has significant value for rethinking the curricular content, structure, and narratives of U.S. higher education, I will also draw out some of its limitations. I see these, first and foremost, in Dewey’s inability to create a practical educational model that implemented his theoretical considerations in real-life transgenerational practice and showed how the binaries he critiqued could be successfully overcome in primary, secondary, and higher education. Robert Westbrook describes these developments in Dewey’s thinking in the section “A Social Gospel” of his intellectual biography John Dewey and Ameri-

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address the social problems that Dewey observed around him brought the different strands of his evolving philosophical project, such as his metaphysics, ethics, political theory, and logical theory, into a dialectical relationship and Dewey consolidated them into his version of pragmatism.5 This positioned Dewey in opposition to the core currents of his field and profession at the time. In his presidential address to the American Philosophical Association in 1905, he denounced the Idealist mainstream as a relentless pursuit of certainty, the knowledge of “reality, objective, universal, complete,” which had alienated the common or laypeople and separated philosophy and science (“Beliefs and Existences” MW 3.85-6). He saw a crucial mistake in limiting experience to knowing, which was “if not the root of all philosophical evil, at least one of its main roots” (“The Postulate of Immediate Empiricism” MW 3.60). Dewey argued that thinking essentially arose within an ecology of non-cognitive experiences. Experience was primarily a process of undergoing: a process of standing something; of suffering and passion, of affection, in the literal sense of these words. The organism has to endure, to undergo, the consequences of its own actions. Experience is no slipping along in a path fixed by inner consciousness. Private consciousness is an incidental outcome of experi-

5

can Democracy (1991). My contextualization of key aspects of Dewey’s thought in this section rests primarily on my reading of Dewey’s works but, at times, is informed by Westbrook’s analysis in John Dewey and American Democracy. Other angles and assessments of Dewey’s work include George Dykhuizen, The Life and Mind of John Dewey (1973); Sidney Hook, John Dewey: An Intellectual Portrait (1939), and Clarence Karier, Roots of Crisis: American Education in the Twentieth Century (1973); Richard Hofstadter, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963); John J. McDermott, The Culture of Experience (1976); and Cornel West, The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism (1989). This term was originally introduced by William James in his address “Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results” (1898). He, in turn, credited Charles Peirce, who had used a similar concept (“pragmaticism”) in his paper “How to make our ideas clear” already in 1878.

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

ence of a vital objective sort; it is not its source. (“The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy” MW 10.8) An “undergoing” of this kind involves and affects much more than the mind. It refers to a transformative interaction between the whole individual and the environment, literally changing both in the process (Democracy and Education MW 9.174). This conception of experience was informed by early transdisciplinary ventures beyond the boundaries of a narrowly defined philosophical profession. Dewey drew upon findings from evolutionary biology and functional psychology, particularly John B. Watson’s theory of behaviorism and his understanding of the brain as our ‘operations center’ that processes sensory stimuli and coordinates motor control via the central nervous system. He maintained that “the adaptations made by inferior organisms, for example, their effective and coordinated responses to stimuli, become teleological in man and therefore give occasion to thought. Reflection is an indirect response to the environment […]” (“The Development of Pragmatism” LW 2.17). Thus, the ability to think critically enables us to determine the origin of an occurrence in historical conditions, analyze how it manifests itself in the present, and, crucially, infer its future consequences. Our capacity for inference, defined as the “power to use a given fact as a sign of something not yet given,” determines our ability to systematically increase our “control of the future” (“The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy” MW 10.15). Critical thought, therefore, allows for the intentional improvement of our interactions with our environment toward a goal; it is the basis for both agency and change. The pragmatist understanding of experience, as a phenomenon which extends beyond the cognitive realm to involve the entire person in interaction with their environment, shapes a scientific conception of truth and method of inquiry. Dewey argued that concepts, hypotheses, or theories become true through the test of experience: I hear a noise in the street. It suggests as its meaning a street-car. To test the idea I go to the window and through listening and looking intently—the listening and looking being modes of behavior—organize into a single situation elements of existence and meaning which were

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previously disconnected. In this way an idea is made true; that which was a proposal or a hypothesis is no longer merely a propounding or a guess. If I had not reacted in a way appropriate to the idea it would have remained a mere idea; at most a candidate for truth that, unless acted upon the spot, would always have remained a theory. (“The Intellectualist Criterion for Truth” MW 4.67) This example demonstrates that we do not discover or find truth in correspondence (i.e., when our idea conforms to an a priori truth), but instead actively “make” it through the process of experimental verification: “A theory corresponds to the facts when it leads to the facts, which are its consequences by the intermediary of experience” (“The Development of Pragmatism” LW 2.12). We might assume that a particular idea or hypothesis is true based upon our knowledge of past events or of general patterns, such as what we have come to describe as common sense. However, new experiences, unexpected developments, or previously disregarded consequences can always require reassessment and alter our interpretation and action. As a result, absolute truth is impossible since we can never collect all of the existing facts and isolate them from interactions, new experiences, and observations that could amend our conclusions (2.12). As Cornel West writes, a pragmatist orientation “scrutinizes the norms [our] interpretations endorse, the solutions they offer, and the self-images they foster” (20). Pragmatism essentially reinterpreted the purpose and legitimacy of the philosophical profession itself. Dewey argued that the epistemologically blindfolded philosophical mainstream had failed to serve society because it did not acknowledge the inseparable, continuous relationship between reason and practice and privileged the former over the latter (“The Quest for Certainty” LW 4.24-6, 38). Worse still, in assuming that philosophy was the avenue to pursue insights into an ultimate, total truth, his profession had established and unconsciously reinforced a “metaphysics of feudalism”—a hierarchical order of values and “fixed degrees of truth” (“Philosophy and Democracy” MW 11.51). He worried that any philosophical thinking that was unquestioningly committed to the notion of a legitimate hierarchical order of superior and infe-

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

rior would fail to criticize and change the status quo where necessary. In fact, he saw prevailing philosophies as having sustained authoritarian and feudal structures instead of equipping a “democratic practice of life […] with articulation, with reasonableness, for they have at bottom been committed to the principle of a single, final and unalterable authority from which all lesser authorities are derived” (11.52). If philosophy was not the path toward final truth and insight and understood as a sacrosanct authority, then it could instead address and engage with the world as “a universe in which there is real uncertainty and contingency […], a world which in some respect is incomplete and in the making, and which in these respects may be made this way or that according as men judge, prize, love and labor” (11.50). We have liberty and agency in a world that is becoming because genuinely new discoveries are possible, constant experimentation is necessary, and mistakes are a fruitful, constructive part of learning and acting in the world (11.50). Furthermore, if we do not construct our world around fixed truth and closed hierarchies, then we can see everything and everybody as having a unique quality. Each “existence must be reckoned with on its own account, not as something capable of equation with and transformation into something else” (11.53). Individuality essentially expresses itself in democratic equality. The liberty to move, act, and co-shape the world requires “equality of opportunity,” which is possible only if every member of a society has the means to grow their integrated, participatory social self. Robert Westbrook illustrates how this equality of opportunity serves and demands collaboration, rather than competition. Individuals should collaborate like members of the same team who pursue a common goal, cultivating complementary skills and supporting skillsacquisition and the advancement of other team members. Equality of opportunity augments individuality, rather than constraining it (164-6). As the realm in which we connect, interact, and associate with others, society gives continuous form to this relationship between liberty, individuality, and equality. As Dewey remarked, “to say that what is specific and unique can be exhibited and become forceful or actual only in relationship with like beings is merely, I take it, to give a metaphysical version to the fact that democracy is concerned […] with associated in-

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dividuals in which each by intercourse with others somehow makes the life of each more distinctive.” Thus, Dewey essentially linked his call for a renewal of philosophy with the democratic triangle of liberty, equality, and fraternity, thereby positioning pragmatism as the intellectual framework of democratic practice: “For if democracy be a serious, important choice and predilection it must in time justify itself by generating its own child of wisdom, to be justified in turn by its children, better institutions of life” (“Philosophy and Democracy” MW 11.53). From this perspective, the profession of philosophy had arrived at a fork in the road. Philosophers could focus either on responding to the challenges faced by their societies and alter the very substance of philosophy by steeping it more deeply in the conflicts and complexities of everyday life, cultural criticism, and social change, or they could continue to practice essentially pointless thought experiments based on false conceptions of experience, truth, and knowledge, thereby preserving “an immune monastic impeccability” and a futile state of being “snugly ensconced in the consciousness of its own respectability” (“Does Reality Possess Practical Character?” MW 4.142). If philosophy became a socially engaged practice, then it would acquire a strong ethical dimension. Evoking the etymological roots of the word in Greek, Dewey described philosophy as “a form of desire, of effort at action, a love, namely, of wisdom,” which involved a vision of how to best live one’s life. As such, philosophy had a strong orientation toward the future, “which our desires, when translated into articulate conviction, may help bring into existence” (“Philosophy and Democracy” MW 11.43-4). In Dewey’s pragmatism, knowledge and reason had acquired an activist direction: The instruments of scientific evaluation became drivers of change, making philosophy “a method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with the problems of men” (“The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy” MW 10.46).6

6

I read this reference by Dewey to “the problems of men” rather than to problems of humankind as a reflection of the patriarchal, androcentric language conventions of his time. My reading of his work and several secondary sources suggests that Dewey had a more inclusive conception of social membership and partici-

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

The complex problems that sparked Dewey’s call for a new approach to philosophy and, as we will see, education offer an admittedly rough, albeit very instructive, analogy to our 21st century transformation.7 The Second Industrial Revolution had set the migration of an entire generation in motion; people who had been raised and socialized in agrarian communities now needed to move to urban centers for better job opportunities. The undeveloped urban infrastructure was incapable of accommodating this massive influx of new residents from within the country and millions of immigrants from Europe. Industrial workers found themselves living in ever-expanding urban slums. Increasingly critical social conditions gave rise to Progressivism, a diverse and heterogeneous reform movement in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries that sought to address the cultural, economic, and political challenges sparked by the Second Industrial Revolution and the growth of modern capitalism in the United States. These challenges signaled the end of an old social order to reformers and activists. There was broad consensus that existing institutions, processes, and practices would have to change dramatically in order to address the needs of an emerging urban-industrial society; however, there was some disagreement about how this change would be accomplished and how fundamental in nature it should be.8

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pation. Given the inequality and exclusivity that marked U.S. society in Dewey’s times, many of the problems he observed might have been created or exacerbated by in the majority male leaders, but he recognized that their solutions could only grow from a radically inclusive approach to democratic participation and change-making. Leonard Waks’s essay “John Dewey and Progressive Education, 1900-2000. The School and Society Revisited” spells out several aspects of this comparison between the “Progressive Era” and today’s “network society.” Entry points to a discussion of the origins, the nature, and the effect of Progressivism are offered, for example, in Richard Hofstadter’s The Age of Reform (1955), Robert Wiebe’s The Search for Order (1967), and Michael McGerr’s A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America 1870-1920 (2003). From the outset, efforts to define Progressivism have wrestled with the difficulty of capturing the complexity of a highly heterogeneous movement; assess-

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In Democracy and Education, Dewey summarized: “Thinking [...] is prospective in reference. It is occasioned by an unsettlement and it aims at overcoming a disturbance.” (MW 9.336) The signs of social friction that he observed in the communities and institutions of his time and the concert of various “languages of social vision and discontent” (Westbrook 184) that responded to them called for a plan of action that would recognize the diverse everyday life realities, address the resulting ideological differences, and accommodate the loose terminology that lent validity to very different ideas.9 For instance, the experiences, needs, and concerns of an uprooted immigrant who was exposed to the rough conditions of industrial city life in the new urban centers of production would differ markedly from those of old elites eager to preserve or re-negotiate social and political authority in the face of fundamental societal change. As Dewey would later summarize in Democracy and Education: “With reference to what is wise to do in a complicated situation, discussion is inevitable precisely because the thing itself is still indeterminate.” (MW 9.337) Pragmatism, understood as a philosophical method, could navigate and stimulate a discussion about the kind of social change needed and, at the same time, could provide a less biased mechanism for the critical evaluation of ideas through the process of practical application. It also offered a holistic vision for change

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ments of its legacy continue to reflect the concerns and biases of each scholar’s political and intellectual ties and their position in society. At first glance, Dewey’s vision of reform seems to tie in well with many initiatives that are subsumed under the label of Progressivism. However, the mutability of progressive language, in combination with deep ideological divides, opened the floor for a variety of (mis-)interpretations of Deweyan concepts and for the politicization of his terminology. For some, his advocacy of “social efficiency” and “scientific intelligence” placed him alongside Frederick W. Taylor and scientific management. Others, like Clarence Karier, went further in charging Dewey with advocating the “use of unchecked state power to control the future through shaping the thought, action, and character of its citizens” (qtd. in Westbrook 186). For an overview of these politicized readings, refer to Westbrook 184-8. As I discuss later in Chapter 1, the terminological overlap among different strands of Progressivism also might have fueled more recent criticism directed at Dewey’s educational theory.

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

expressed in the organic relationships between the individual and society and between practical and intellectual work at a moment at which deep structural reform was needed. Finally, it established what could be described as a collective growth mindset: Pragmatism supported a constructive orientation toward the future in both the individual and society at large by “looking towards last things, fruits, consequences, facts” rather than “first things, principles, ‘categories,’ supposed necessities” (William James qtd. in Dewey, “The Development of Pragmatism” LW 2.11).10 It inspired a plan for the achievement of more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable social structures because it could evaluate the present constitution of society—its diverse, often conflicting viewpoints and ecology of interests—and could also project a desirable future condition. The school emerged as the institutional centerpiece of Dewey’s plan for social change. If philosophy could envision the ‘better’ future life, and if education was the process through which an individual formed intellectual and emotional dispositions toward other members of society and their environment, then educational institutions would become the laboratories of philosophy (Democracy and Education MW 9.338-42).11 The school essentially offered the opportunity to assess and exercise 10

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When Dewey described growth as the “cumulative movement of action toward a later result” (Democracy and Education MW 9.46), his focus was on the individual’s active and intelligent involvement with their environment, not, as I will discuss later in this chapter, on the attainment of a fixed goal. He saw means and ends as inseparable constituents of the open-ended, process-oriented, and inherently social activity of growth: “since growth is the characteristic of life, education is all one with growing; it has no end beyond itself” (MW 9.58). Naoko Saito responds to criticism regarding the lack of specificity or “foundations” (Noddings 220-3, qtd. in Saito) in such a view of growth and draws on Emerson’s moral perfectionism to critically reconstruct and add tangibility to its “antifoundationalism” (87-92). Saito’s perspective informs my discussions about the aims of education in this chapter and my discussion of the case of immersion in study abroad in Chapter 2 respectively. Dispositions are an essential component of the learning process in that they demonstrate our ability to “retain from one experience something that is of avail in coping with the difficulties of a later situation,” leading us to self-re-

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philosophical problems “where they are at home, and where acceptance or rejection makes a difference in practice” (9.338). This relationship acquired even greater salience within the emerging urban-industrial society. Dewey identified science-based industrial production as the central social phenomenon of his time. Production had migrated from the intimate scale of the home and neighborhood into externalized and increasingly automated factory environments. He pointed to a direct link between this transformation of production processes and new educational trends: In the former system of production, learners had been able to observe and understand the broad context of each task, thereby gaining a comprehensive understanding of the social need and cost associated with a certain product, the different stages of its production, and its practical applicability (“The School and Society” MW 1.6-8). A child that participated in basic household or neighborhood tasks early on developed “habits of industry, order, and regard for rights and ideas of others, and the fundamental habit of subordinating his activities to the general interest of the household” (1.24). The factory system’s introduction marginalized these learning environments, cut the organic connections between tasks, product, process, people, and environment, and thus reconfigured the relationship between learning and the realities and responsibilities of social life. Dewey saw schools as the only place in which a holistic education, which retains or reinstates these connections and remains based on real-world experience, was (still) possible. Schools emerged as the most potent loci of empowerment for each young participant in a democratic society. This conclusion sharpened his critique of the physical environment of education, how educational space was furnished and used, and the cognitive and affective approaches to teaching, how pedagogy was practiced, leading to “passivity of attitude, mechanical massing of children, uniformity of curriculum and method” (1.23). The turn-of-the-century educational system could not become society’s heart of social renewal if it tried to prepare young learners for their future roles and responsibilities in isolaflective modifications of actions; this, in turn, provides the basis for intentional habit formation (Democracy and Education MW 9.49).

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

tion from real-life situations and problems, thereby effectively denying them the transformative power of exploration, discovery, and constructive failure. Fundamental educational reform was necessary to create institutions and environments in which “learning is the accompaniment of continuous activities or occupations which have a social aim and utilize the materials of typical social situations.” Only in this way could school education extend beyond mere preparatory work for a narrowly defined future function, such as work in an industrial society, initiate “a widening and deepening of conscious life—a more intense, disciplined, and expanding realization of meanings,” and become “itself a form of social life, a miniature community […] in close interaction with other modes of associated experience beyond school walls” (Democracy and Education MW 9.369-70). How was this to be achieved practically through the school? Or, in other words, what would a pragmatist engine of social change look like at the institutional level? Dewey tried to realize his educational vision of the school as an “embryonic” (“The School and Society” MW 1.12,19) community or society in the form of a Laboratory School, which he founded at the University of Chicago in 1896 and in which he served as director until he left to continue his career at the Department for Philosophy of Columbia University in New York in 1904. One of many progressive education projects in the early 20th century, the school was supported and heavily influenced by a community of scholars and social reformers that included George Herbert Mead, Helen Castle Mead, Ella Flagg Young, and settlement leader Jane Addams. As Westbrook describes in greater detail, the educational model developed at the Laboratory School opposed both the traditional “curriculum-centered” pedagogy, focused on mental discipline, and the “child-centered” approach of the “new education” that subordinated subject matter to the individual student’s interest. In Dewey’s mind, both approaches essentially perpetuated the binaries established by the leading philosophical schools—thought and theory versus practice, mind versus environment, and subject matter versus method—when treating the curriculum as distinct from the experiences and interests of the learner (Westbrook 97-99). As I will discuss in greater detail later in this chapter, Dewey saw the curricular content as

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an essentialized, formalized body of knowledge derived from our collective learning experiences, problematic situations or challenges of various kinds and solutions humans had developed in response thereto. As such, curricula had to be connected with and reintegrated into students’ experiences: “The facts and truths that enter into the child’s present experience, and those contained in the subject-matter of studies, are the initial and final terms of one reality” (“The Child and the Curriculum” MW 2.278). Models of reform that encouraged students to follow their interests and initiatives, at the expense of intentional curricular direction, treated such interests as “achievements” in their own right rather than locating their value in “the leverage they afford” (2.280). This leverage was ignored if students were seen as the “ductile and docile” recipients of curricular knowledge, like dry sponges that absorbed the broad strokes of civilization in predictable ways (2.276). The teacher’s task was to connect the experiences of entire young biographies, the interests that had formed in response thereto, and what Dewey identified as their “natural resources”, the impulses “for conversation or communication; […] inquiry or finding out things; […] making things, construction form; and […] artistic expression” (“The School and Society” MW 1.30), to the curriculum’s subject matter by exposing students to problems that motivated them to ask their own questions and develop their own strategies and solutions. This complex task of empowering students’ sense of agency and abilities called for a holistic teacher portfolio and particular personality; only professionals with expertise in the subject matter of the curriculum, a thorough understanding of developmental psychology as it pertained specifically to learning, and deep empathetic capacity could stimulate and curate the integration of curricular content with students’ evolving experiences. In other words, the teachers at the Laboratory School had to be capable pragmatists who did not simply execute the instructions given by school administrators, but also tested the ideas developed at that school, including Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy, in the classroom and, on the basis of their findings, co-designed the curriculum and pedagogy. As described by Anne Durst, this holistic, collaborative approach, the simultaneous “social engagement of teach-

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

ers and students,” created an environment that, for some time, seemed very conducive to community learning (57-9, 63-8, 71).12 The laboratory school ultimately failed to become what Dewey had imagined it to be: a working program of applied philosophical thought in the service of positive social change. The reasons for this were twofold and interlinked. Historical accounts suggest that the school could not consistently and meaningfully integrate student learning with the concerns and problems experienced by local communities, the city of Chicago, and U.S. society as a whole. It also lacked diverse representation as students came from within Dewey’s own social circles and had similar cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, making the learning community unrepresentative of both U.S. public schools and of society at large. Thus, the insular and financially privileged nature of Dewey’s project prompted doubts about its broad transferability to other contexts (Westbrook 97, 110; Benson et al. 30-3). Dewey’s essay “The School as Social Center,” which he presented at a National Council of Education conference in 1902, suggested that, a decade after conceptualizing the Laboratory School, he had addressed these limitations and had begun building toward a new neighborhood school model inspired by the work of feminist settlement leaders like Jane Addams and Lillian Wald, who had piloted social services partnerships between communities and public schools in major U.S. cities like Chicago and New York (Benson et al. 33-40, 44). The question why Dewey did not test this new idea of neighborhood schools as social centers practically represents an opportunity for further research, but the accounts of 12

In “Venturing in Education,” Anne Durst describes the teaching and learning of four female Laboratory School teachers in the context of the Progressive Era and the philosophy of pragmatism. She emphasizes that, even though a lot of the public recognition was directed at Dewey, due to a male-dominated philosophical profession and his already established status as public intellectual, the Laboratory School still contributed to “an enhanced awareness of the significance of the many female teachers to the experimental practices and ideas that came out of the school” (57). It cultivated “a spirit of gender equality unlike that found at most schools of the era, with the typical administrative structure that kept female teachers subservient to male administrators” (58).

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some scholars suggest it might have been due to personal differences with colleagues and a lack of interest in, and talent for, administration.13 Irrespective of the complex reasons for the Laboratory School’s disintegration and Dewey’s resulting unwillingness to continue the quest for practical implementation, it cost him the “one concrete manifestation of his democratic ideals that he could point to and say ‘this is what I have in mind’” (Westbrook 113). However, while this may have complicated Dewey’s legacy, the model of the school as a lab or microcosm of society still provides a useful framework against which we can measure our contemporary practice.14 To what extent is learning structured around the unresolved challenges and urgent questions that determine the future of our societies? How are we engaging students’ backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and abilities as we rethink education for increasingly diverse environments? How are our instructors trained to interact with and guide students through an increasingly interconnected world in which similarity and difference acquire new valence? If we find that current practices fall short, then what might the reasons for this failure be? Some of the reasons are likely structural in nature and originate in misconceptions regarding the aims of education. Specifically, education cannot reach 13

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Westbrook describes Dewey’s falling out with William Harper over the merger of the Laboratory School with the Chicago Institute, the school for teacher training and educational research, under the roof of the School of Education as “bureaucratic infighting” (111); this led Dewey to resign from all positions and to take up a post at Columbia University. Alan Ryan assessed that Dewey “was not a good administrator and would not have been a good one even under the best circumstances” (120). Drawing on Ryan’s account and Joan K. Smith’s biography Ella Flagg Young: A Portrait of a Leader (1976), Michael Knoll concludes that Alice and John Dewey’s lack of administrative talent and leadership played a central role in the Laboratory School’s failure (242). In Dewey’s Dream, Benson et al. introduce concrete attempts by the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions to test Dewey’s ideas in practice, for example, by formalizing university partnerships with local public high schools as “university-assisted community schools” (86, 106). This idea resurfaces in my brief discussions of study abroad and writing centers in Chapter 2 and in my case study in Chapter 3.

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

its full potential if it is conceived without a strong ethical foundation and disconnected from the learner’s personal experience and sense of agency.

1.2

Form Follows Function — The Aims of Education

If we adopt Dewey’s vision of learning as social change, the school becomes the central institution that, at least in theory, enables all members of society to embark on a search of “the better kind of life to be led” (“Philosophy and Democracy” MW 11.44) by guiding them in their intellectual and emotional development and enabling them to contribute in meaningful ways to their communities. However, it is a defining characteristic of times of transition that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to determine which aspects and conditions of social life education should address and what learners should be prepared for. The profound and often unpredictable social change sparked by the Second Industrial Revolution and the re-organization of U.S. society in the early 20th century demonstrated that school instruction could not rely on simply sharing a fixed body of knowledge; instead, schools had to cultivate in students a spectrum of strengths and abilities that were transferable to a variety of settings. First and foremost, students had to learn to think scientifically in order to understand, navigate, and thrive in the circumstances of complex, modern life. If they could not test, evaluate, and challenge ideas and beliefs as conclusions derived from critical inquiry, then they would not possess “the best tools which humanity has so far devised for effectively directed reflection” (Democracy and Education MW 9.197). In Dewey’s ideal world, schools initiated all members of society into the scientific practice and spirit; they were full of emerging scientists. Curious to experience, experiment, inquire, and (self-) reflect in cooperation with fellow students, these students would engage out of an intrinsic interest that tied their learning toward ethical leadership and democratic value formation on the broader social level. This connection is centrally important if our goal is to create curricula

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that enable students as agents of social change focused on more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable forms of (social) life.

1.2.1

The Ethical Dimension of Education: Individual Self–Realization and Moral Democracy

Dewey’s reconceptualization of philosophy as a method and of education as a vehicle for social change was animated by a distinct ethical vision: the continuous and interrelated qualitative enhancement of individual and social life.15 He related our decisions about “what is really valuable” (Ethics MW 5.192) to our ability to think critically and to our character, i.e., those “tendencies and interests” that make us “open, ready, warm to certain aims, and callous, cold, blind to others,” inclined toward “certain consequences, and ignorant of or hostile to other consequences“ (5.234). How we act is morally significant because our decisions reflect who we are (becoming). However, what makes our character and decisions “good”? Dewey proposed that moral character is, first of all, expressed in the pursuit of a particular kind of happiness that results from the full integration of our individual capacities and desires into a whole self (5.256-57). We are fulfilled when “the good which while good in direct enjoyment also brings with it a fuller and more continuous life” (5.259). As social beings, we connect with other humans in the form of affections. In fact, we cannot isolate our sense of self and individual happiness from their wellbeing and are intrinsically motivated to act in consideration of their happiness (5.268). The “fuller and continuous life” thus manifests in a dialectical relationship between self and collective other: Our good is realized in the good of those affected by our actions. We are moral if in us “the habit of regarding all capacities and habits of self from the social standpoint is formed and active” (5.271). Our affections must be merged and consolidated with other dispositions of

15

Dewey advanced his own theory of moral life in dialogue with two theories: Utilitarianism and Kantian formalism. For a detailed interpretation of Dewey’s treatment of these theories, and their effective incorporation into his ethics of “self-realization,” see Westbrook 153-5.

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

our character in order for spontaneous sympathetic impulses to mature into a stable “social interest,” thereby giving “perspective and body to the former” and “social quality and direction to the latter” (5.273). In summary, “self-realization” refers to moral growth on the individual level: the formation, out of the body of original instinctive impulses which compose the natural self, of a voluntary self in which socialized desires and affections are dominant, and in which the last and controlling principle of deliberation is the love of the objects which will make this transformation possible. (5.357) 16 Individual self-realization of this kind finds its macro-level expression in an ethically healthy social organism, a participatory, diverse whole, which Dewey described as “moral democracy”: There is no way to escape or evade this law of happiness, that it resides in the exercise of the active capacities of a voluntary agent; and hence no way to escape or evade the law of a common happiness, that it must reside in the congruous exercise of the voluntary activities of all concerned. (5.276-7) Statements like this may seem like lofty aspirations, if not downright naïve, in the context of highly visible, intensely felt social conflict, a characteristic of the Progressive Era and globalizing societies a century

16

Self-realization is a central aspect of what Dewey described as growth: an ongoing process in the here and now, not a final and absolute ideal. Just like growth unfolds in the process of growing, self-realization, perhaps more adequately used in its verb form self-realizing, represents a movement toward and striving for perfection without ever entering the grip of total perfectibility (cf. the chapters “Education as Growth” and “Preparation, Unfolding, and Formal Discipline” in Dewey’s Democracy and Education). In “Growth and Perfectionism,” Saito connects Dewey’s notion of growth with Cavell’s representation of Emerson’s moral perfectionism along four related characteristics: “perfection as perfecting with no fixed ends,” “the idea of democracy to be ever attained,” “a strong focus on the ordinary,” and “perfection as mutual education through friendship and dialogue” (88).

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later. However, as Westbrook also points out, Dewey recognized conflicts as inherent to all social interaction, often fulfilling a specific function, such as creating awareness for the inequities in the relationships between social groups and individuals, social instability and injustice. This understanding of conflict as an opportunity for learning and intervention allowed him to treat balance and harmony as a moral horizon towards which a “socialized intelligence” that was capable of mediating the interpersonal, group, and class conflicts would orient itself and grow (80-1). Thus, if we want to translate Dewey’s theoretical principles into practice, we must develop and apply educational strategies that are oriented toward the ideals of “self-realization” and “moral democracy.” Conversely, if we want to develop genuinely holistic, positive changeoriented educational models, then Dewey’s pragmatist approach to education provides essential guidance. In nourishing students’ critical thinking, moral conduct, and creative participation in society, education can shape a decidedly democratic character, beginning with the individual learners and reaching through them larger collectives. Reciprocally, it makes available society’s accumulated knowledge, competencies, and wisdom for its members through the agency of educational institutions. With this in view, the title of John Dewey’s 1916 education classic captures the essence of his approach to social change: the ecological, symbiotic relationship between democracy and education. While a significant part of Chapter 2 is devoted to discussing how we might transfer this ethical vision to a transcultural context through a specific kind of curriculum, we can already see an important characteristic emerge: If conflict flags diverging experiences and assessments of a situation and severe injustices, inequities, and other social ills and if education must deal with the central challenges of our time, then conflict will be part of the very tissue of a socially engaged academic practice and a central feature of the curriculum. How do we determine appropriate goals or learning outcomes for our educational projects if the purpose of education is to respond and shape profound change in the interactive field between the microscopic, individual dimension and the macroscopic, societal scale of our lives?

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

We must answer this question before (re)imagining the curriculum as an institutionalized plan of action that has the potential to become an actual vehicle for change.

1.2.2

The Agency Dimension: What Are Meaningful Goals of Education?

Dewey generally understood an aim to be the result of a mind- and purposefully directed activity (Democracy and Education MW 9.110). In a school or university setting, this manifests in the educator’s efforts to conscientiously create learning situations that facilitate students’ gradual maturation into active, empowered community membership and citizenship.17 Learners should become cognizant and constructively critical of how their societies are constructed to function and capable of contributing to positive change within them. The aims we set for teaching and learning must be of a particular kind. Dewey proposed three characteristics of “good aims.” Firstly, an educational goal should possess an innate continuity, growing organically out of and expanding upon present conditions and the learner’s experience. It cannot be a genuine expression of the learner’s “mind in foresight” if it is set for them, without really considering their particular circumstances (9.111). Imagine a high school graduate who enrolls in a business program to follow in their parent’s footsteps, instead of exploring and cultivating their interest in climate journalism. Their learning occurs in the context of an ongoing discontinuity and is hindered by a significant breach of authentic stimulation. Parents and educators might use pressure or promise of compensation and reward in order to motivate this student sufficiently to ensure that they follow the path chosen for them. However, the student will never thrive when faced with challenges encountered along the way as they might otherwise

17

Citizenship usually refers to the legal status of belonging to a nation-state. As Chapter 2 will show, subscribing to “global” or “cosmopolitan” citizenship, as a goal and vision for higher education, complicates our understanding and practical approach to this concept.

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have if allowed to follow their inclination. Similarly, if a university student completes part of their education abroad solely because they were advised that it would secure them a competitive advantage on the job market, then they might respond to uncomfortable aspects of this learning experience, such as cultural transitions, interpersonal tensions, or periods of academic pressure, with impatience, anxiety, or a consumerist approach to service. Instead, their learning experience should lead them to acknowledge these challenges as opportunities to develop a deeper sense of contextual self, to expand their transcultural literacy, and to become more change resilient. Secondly, a good educational aim accommodates change: It can shift in response to an evolving situation and affect change within the learning process if the overall direction needs to be adjusted. An aim is a mere idea before we test it in practice; it is a sketch in very broad strokes (9.111-2). Complications might arise and require adjustments, for example, when conditions that have been overlooked demand consideration or where social conflict undermines a shared sense of agency. As the next chapter will show, experiential and epistemological differences will be the rule rather than the exception in increasingly diverse learning communities, and good educational aims must harness the resulting multiplicity of perspectives. The teacher who sets out to focus on a particular period in history, as prescribed by a curriculum, without considering students’ experiences, their cultural, religious, and social backgrounds, prior knowledge and ability, emotional constitution, and interests will not know when to adjust the course narrative, the learning outcomes, or assessments based on lessons learned along the way. Thirdly, a good aim must represent what Dewey calls “a freeing of activities”: If a student aims for a college degree, then their desire should not be directed at the physical certificate that puts a new academic and social status in black and white. The document is only the object that signifies the activity that they want to perform successfully, whether it be teaching, nursing patients, or preserving marine life: “The doing with the thing, not the thing in isolation, is his end. The object is but a phase of the active end—continuing the activity successfully”

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

(9.112). If college graduation becomes an objectified end to be attained, much like a status to be purchased and possessed, the actual learning loses its worth and significance. The “external idea of the aim leads to a separation of means and ends” (9.113).18 We can use Dewey’s criteria for good aims in education to evaluate a given educational practice by critically investigating whether or not it continuously evolves out of existing conditions and present experience, if it devises its own agile control mechanisms, and whether or not it treats learning as a continuous, open-ended activity instead of a mission accomplished and objectified end. We can also use these parameters to imagine and to design a new curriculum.

1.3

The Curriculum 

The task of composing a curriculum that encourages and facilitates students’ successful navigation of the freedoms, complex challenges, and responsibilities associated with life in 21st century societies is complicated by various factors. It is as difficult today as it was in Dewey’s times to predict what future education must address and prepare for, an issue that Chapter 2 will discuss in greater detail. While educators 18

I have, of course, oversimplified these examples to illustrate the significant impact of externally imposed goals if they determine the choice of an academic or professional field or a significant portion of a learner’s university career. However, externally imposed aims also undermine the learning on the level of a single workshop, course, or initiative. The disconnect might even inadvertently occur because we have not succeeded at designing a course narrative that contextualizes the relevance of the course with regard to key developments in 21st century societies and students’ future work environments in ways that are intuitive and clearly structured from the perspective of the learner. Dewey’s characterization of “good aims” makes explicit why a student-centered pedagogical approach, as advocated for by the evolving literature on inclusive teaching and learning (e.g., Ambrose et al.’s How Learning Works or Hockings’ Inclusive Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, both published in 2010), is essential: It is the only way in which we can empower “self-realization” and achieve the ideal of “moral democracy” through education.

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should consider key developments within their societies when developing teaching and learning materials, they do not know where and how their students will spend their lives, what kind of relationships and social networks they will have, and which problems and opportunities they will confront. Supporting learners in shaping their future lives can only mean that we create opportunities for them to develop essential competencies, to become familiar with their own potential, to sustain curiosity and their eagerness for discovery, and to recognize their embeddedness in larger ecological structures. Only then will they develop what the psychologist Raymond Cattell identified as “fluid” intelligence: the ability to critically assess, conceptualize, and creatively problem-solve in unfamiliar and complex situations and environments (97, 114-5).19 This does not necessarily mean that courses or curricula that emphasize memorization, classification, and routinized procedures for problem-solving will produce “crystallized intelligence” at the expense of “fluid intelligence,” as Waks suggests (76). Dewey reminds us that there is danger in dualism. He differentiated between “information” as essentially cataloged acquisitions of facts and “wisdom” as the knowledge that critically reflective and creatively generative thought intentionally applies to the qualitative improvement of social life in “How We Think.” But thinking does not arise in a void, and “suggestions and inferences can occur only” if a mind possesses “information as to matters of fact” (MW 6.221-2).20 The curriculum must reflect the interdependence of fluid and crystallized intelligence to effectively train both by 19

20

Cattell differentiates fluid intelligence from crystallized intelligence, which refers to knowledge grounded in prior learning experiences and acculturation. Vocabulary learning or reading comprehension may be among the situations that draw upon crystallized intelligence. Cattell developed his theoretical framework in Abilities: Their Structure, Growth and Action (1971) and Intelligence: Its Structure, Growth and Action (1987). The interdependence of these types of intelligence becomes especially transparent if we connect popular models for curricular design such as the revised taxonomy by Bloom (for example, refer to www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/effective-teaching-practices/revised-blooms-taxonomy/) and global learning value rubrics as formulated by the American Association of Colleges and Universities

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

providing the conditions for their continuous exercise in interplay. This framework is created in the interaction between two essential properties of the curriculum: subject matter and method.

1.3.1

Parsing the Complexity Continuum: Method and Subject Matter

As discussed, Dewey saw every (learning) experience as an interaction between the individual and their environment, a continuous process in which the “activity” of individual and environment become inseparable. He used the example of the capable pianist, who, while playing, would not be able to differentiate between their contribution to the performance and their instrument’s contribution. Similarly, there should be no awareness of the separation of the method, how we do something, and the subject matter, what we apply it to, during a well-developed, continuous learning activity (Democracy and Education MW 9.1724).21 Generally, subject matter is the factual, discursive, and experiential ecology that we observe, remember, assess, and address, whereas the method is how we approach this material and use it to achieve the “desired results” (9.172). This relationship between subject matter and method has concrete consequences for the learning environment as a space of possibility. We will only practically develop a certain kind of intelligence if the environment within which we learn challenges us to use it. This means that

21

(www.aacu.org/value/rubrics/global-learning) for the development of courses and programs. Dewey noted, of course, that this continuity is temporarily suspended in the analytical examination of a process we seek to “control” or optimize (MW 9.174). It is important to remember that this distinction is only in our mind, serving, in a sense, as a cognitive crutch. When we assess curricula or syllabi, we may first look at the core narratives in which the subject matter is organized and then turn to the methodology by examining the approach to teaching and learning in relation to learning outcomes and assessments. However, to be effective in the classroom, broadly conceived, these two dimensions must be organically connected at all times.

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students successfully learn to think scientifically and to act creatively only when they are encouraged to intentionally pursue, rigorously challenge, and meaningfully integrate information into their interaction with a problem or challenge, thereby perceiving “the place occupied by the subject matter in the fulfilling of some experience” (9.176). Furthermore, students must be engaged in open-ended learning processes that invite exploration in order to develop situation-specific, personal methods. Dewey emphasized that, while “there exists a cumulative body of fairly stable methods for reaching results, a body authorized by past experience and by intellectual analysis, which an individual ignores at his peril” (9.177), teachers should not simply prescribe standardized, uniform methods and present the effective way of managing a particular subject’s material as something off-the-rack. Instead, they should apply these general methods to new problems, transforming them in the process (9.177). Students will begin with the general methods that others have shown to be efficient in acquiring and applying knowledge, but will then treat them as standpoints that open up productive vistas, rather than as “orders externally imposed” (9.178) which demand blind adherence and remain oblivious to the uniqueness of a challenge or the particularity of a scenario.22 Dewey illustrated this idea by comparing the curriculum with a map employed by a traveler in unknown territory; the map is not a substitute for actual individual experience and

22

Dewey listed the following characteristics of successful individual methods that both utilize and transform the map or canon: “directness” or “confidence,” “openmindedness,” “single-mindedness,” and “responsibility.” The direct pursuit of the questions and problems expressed by subject matter ensures that a learner centers their full focus on a given task. Open-mindedness allows the learner to respond to stimuli in the form of new information or suggestions; this may modify existing assumptions, shift meaning and purpose, and initiate a change in method. Tying in with “directness,” a mind that is fully dedicated to an idea or question achieves a “completeness of interest” or “mental integrity,” which expresses itself in a learner’s full immersion into subject matter. This concern with the question or problem at hand, finally, should be expressed in an accountable, detail-oriented step-by-step navigation of the learning process (Democracy and Education MW 9.180-6).

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

experimentation, but rather shares insights from other travelers’ journeys and provides guidance and orientation. “An arranged and orderly view of previous experiences” functions as “a guide to future experience; it gives direction; it facilitates control; it economizes effort” (“The Child and the Curriculum” MW 2.284). But, how should such a map be organized and used? Dewey acknowledged that students bring their whole worlds to the classroom when they enter formal education: their biographical experiences, social conventions, emotional alliances, epistemological frameworks, and abilities. These worlds are experientially unique, but they are structurally similar. For example, each learner will have a different sense of belonging and security, different experiences of loss, varying familiarity with particular tools and opportunities for play, and different internalized codes of conduct. At the same time, these worlds each represent a total social experience, albeit with few or less diverse social networks and, consequentially, a lower degree of social complexity. As Dewey observed, instruction then divides what has been whole before: Facts are separated from previous experiences and re-arranged in new clusters around new, abstract centers (2.274-5). The central challenge is to help students to develop new habits of thinking and knowledge structures that reflect desired future use patterns and, at the same time, to demonstrate how these structures of thought and students’ experiences outside of school are part of the same ecology of facts, experiences, attitudes, and abilities that make up human lives: [T]he facts and truths that enter into the child’s present experience, and those contained in the subject-matter of studies, are the initial and final terms of one reality. To oppose one to the other is to oppose the infancy and the maturity of the same growing life; it is to set the moving tendency and the final result of the same process over against each other; it is to hold that the nature and the destiny of the child war with each other. (2.278) The curriculum is a formalized body of civilizational experience intentionally designed to guide learners along a continuum that ranges from the “narrow but personal” experience to the “matured intellectual habits

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and the command of a definite technique and apparatus of scientific inquiry” (2.275), thereby empowering them to navigate increasing levels of complexity. The educator has the responsibility and opportunity to guide students’ use of the curricular map and to ensure that they connect ideas, facts, concepts, and methods into their own, increasingly rich and layered knowledge and skill systems. This is an inherently challenging task for several reasons. Consider, for example, that the educator has already passed through their own specialized training in a particular field and has organized their knowledge in richly interconnected narratives, networks, and systems; this might make it difficult for them to create a meaningful map for a novice. Additionally, educators have to critically relate the genealogy of the curriculum—its discursive roots and development—to the circumstances this curriculum must respond to in the present and address biases and blind spots. Lastly, they must pursue “good” educational aims and learning outcomes while treating the curriculum as indicative—rather than prescriptive—of an individual’s emerging social role. Dewey reminds us that this is only possible if educators use a student’s experience in a given situation as an index of their individual potential and curate learning experiences accordingly, by selectively stimulating appropriate instincts and impulses (“My Pedagogic Creed” EW 5.84-6). Only an educator who has comprehensive knowledge of the relevant social circumstances, “the present state of civilization,” and who is capable of interpreting their students’ capabilities, strengths, and challenges in relation to the knowledge, belief systems, and world views they have inherited, can provide such foundational guidance (5.85). In other words, teaching and learning are holistic processes; in order to teach well, educators must consider the relationship between cognitive and emotional processes within each learner, the histories that inform their past and present, the institutional mechanisms that frame their interactions, and the societies in which they live. Alternatively, and to frame this in Dewey’s terms, the “psychological” and the “sociological” dimensions of education as a process must evolve organically; one informs the other (5.85).

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

While Dewey focused his theoretical and practical concerns on the initial years of instruction in primary and secondary school, research on student development shows that the complexity continuum described above extends into higher education.23 In fact, if we read models of cognitive and emotional development in dialogue, they reveal that the university experience represents a powerful window of opportunity for growth in any learner, but especially for “emerging adults.” This developmental stage and age group observed and defined by Jeffrey Arnett spans the period from the late teens through the twenties, especially the traditional college ages of 18-25.24 Students in this age group experience a process of re-centering as they become less dependent upon parental guidance and make new commitments to careers, partners, and eventually their own diverse family structures. The time of emerging adulthood is experienced by most learners as exploratory and fluid because it is characterized by a greater degree of freedom, increased

23

24

The Chickering model (1969) maps student development holistically along seven vectors: competence, emotional literacy, identity, autonomy, interpersonal relationships, sense of purpose, and integrity. Perry’s Intellectual Development Model (1968) traces students’ cognitive trajectory from simplistic to sophisticated thinking via four stages: duality, multiplicity, relativism, and commitment; this pattern structurally resembles Kohlberg’s model of moral development (1970). Hardiman-Jackson’s Social Identity Model (1992) traces student development across five stages, beginning with early childhood/the naïve stage and moving on through acceptance, resistance, immersion, and reintegration. These models are approximations with limitations. They neither adequately reflect diversifying student demographics nor do they capture different paces or non-linear patterns of student development. Compare Ambrose et al. (15870) for a helpful overview and contextualization of these student development theories as they pertain to inclusive learning climates. According to emerging adulthood theory, industrialized cultures have responded to particular socialization practices and broad demographic shifts by creating environments in which the life course now includes this new developmental stage, which is distinct from adolescence and young adulthood (Arnett 17-20). Its application here narrows my considerations to a traditionally-aged student population. While research is slowly diversifying, emerging adulthood theory remains Western-centric.

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identity plasticity, and a relative absence of social and institutional control (7-17). Throughout this time, students may need a broad range of support to manage new, complex cognitive challenges and to develop mindsets and skill sets that help them address moments of acute adversity. In this sense, emerging adulthood represents a critical window of opportunity for impacting students’ academic, professional, and personal growth and further complicates the role of the educator, who often acts as a mentor, sponsor, role model, representative of established institutional structures, and quasi-parental figure all at once. Emerging research into student enrollment demographics across the U.S. university landscape categorizes the emerging adults in today’s classrooms as “Generation Z,” born roughly between 1995 and 2012. This research further raises the stakes for educators who commit to holistic teaching in diversifying learning environments because it shows how little we know about the learners that we seek to teach, advise, and empower. Today, students who live and learn in the U.S. draw on experiential backgrounds and a sense of agency shaped by school shootings, the post-2008 financial crisis, police brutality, systemic racism, protest movements, technological transformations, the current pandemic-related crises, and the innovation of crisis response. Even prior to the pandemic, these students likely made their academic choices according to existential worries about employability, financial debt, and the efficacy of social change. “The most diverse generation in modern American history” has new complex needs and requires educators to develop different approaches to teaching and learning (Selingo 4).25 25

In this context, “diverse” refers to a widening spectrum of ages, abilities, cultural, experiential, and socio-economic backgrounds in university student cohorts. For example, as we welcome more first-generation college students and learners from a ‘non-traditional’ age to university campuses, we can also expect less familiarity with the norms, protocols, and canonical texts of higher education on average. Similarly, as university communities admit more neurodiverse students, educators must radically expand their application of “Universal Design” principles to ensure access across all physical and pedagogical dimensions of university life. Selingo’s article “The New Generation of Students. How Colleges Can Recruit, Teach, and Serve Gen Z” serves as a helpful intro-

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

Using the organic relationship between content and method as a magnifying glass to more closely inspect the complex ecology of teaching and learning has clarified the curriculum’s function: It must empower learners through experience-based familiarity with a predefined body of human experience and expertise that serves as the vehicle to increasing literacy and agency in complex environments. However, we have not yet specified the contents that should form the curricular geography. Should disciplinary structures determine it? Should we prioritize particular fields of knowledge? Which materials and whose expertise, experiences, and perspectives should be represented in the curriculum to serve as a “map” for all learners? I argue that Dewey’s concept of “occupations” provides essential answers to these questions and has a transformative effect when applied to global undergraduate curriculum design.

1.3.2

Occupations

As the previous section has shown, Dewey concerned himself with the structure of the curriculum and the pedagogical approaches that would animate its content. However, he did not specify which concrete areas of knowledge or narratives would turn curricular studies into “organs of initiation into social values” (Democracy and Education MW 9.366) that would lead to the continuous enhancement of individual (“self-realization”) and social life (“moral democracy”). Dewey identified history and geography as especially impactful avenues for learning in schools because they could generate deep and expansive meaning in connecting students’ personal experiences with the vast, interconnected spheres of human life across spatio-temporal distances. Taught as “indirect sociology” rather than a mere collection of facts about the past (“The School duction to current, admittedly still U.S.-centric, research into Gen Z. It draws on data from the Harris Poll 2018, the annual Cooperative Institutional Research Program Freshmen Survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California of Los Angeles, the longitudinal study “Monitoring the Future” by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and publications such as Generation Z Goes To College (2016).

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and Society” MW 1.104), historical instruction offered students the opportunity to ‘face’ the(ir) past by studying its social dynamics at different times, including institutional expressions of societies’ normative foundations, and particular events and motives that shaped political decisions and social conditions. Students would eventually draw upon these insights to make ethical decisions in the present (Democracy and Education MW 9.222-6). Pointing to the imagination as a power that was “inexhaustible” once it had been liberated through education, Dewey stressed: “There is no limit to the meaning which an action may come to possess. It all depends upon the context of perceived connections in which it is placed” (9.215). Geography afforded the same “extension of meaning of primary activities” (9.215) because it placed different dimensions of life, such as human actions, technical skills, biological specimens, or meteorological phenomena, within one ecology and in relation to one another. With the realization that we are “heirs and continuers” of the “continuous manifestation of endeavor in time” and space, our daily experiences transcend the present moment and relate to the past and the future, thereby acquiring deeper meaning and richer substance (9.216). However, the contents of instruction must be (re-)negotiated with regard to our specific cultural, political, religious, and (socio-)economic learning contexts depending on where and when we enter into this holistic engagement with the world. If we acknowledge the relative continuity that is inherent in a given society’s knowledge production, and the need to constantly test the emerging canon against the realities of lived experience, then we have to accept that any curriculum will only represent a transitory answer to the question of what knowledge is most valuable. Thus, Dewey could not be more specific within the confines of theory than in his proposition of “occupations,” a mediating structure between method and content. He defined an “occupation” as “a mode of activity on the part of the child which reproduces, or runs parallel to, some form of work carried on in social life” (“School and Society” MW 1.92). A closer look at the word’s etymological roots in Latin, occupātio, highlights this mode’s particular quality. When we occupy a place, we literally settle into and inhabit it; when we are occupied with something, whether a project or

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

an activity, we feel a strong sense of ownership and agency. The fullness of this engagement reveals itself in an increasing mastery and skill level that becomes interwoven with a sense of purpose and self; it becomes our identity. Thus, an occupation can become a profession or a calling. As an educational strategy or curricular form, occupations promise to overcome the artificial separation between life in and beyond the school and to re-establish an ideal, organic relationship between theory and practical application by focusing on challenges and problems of community life. Dewey helps us to imagine what this might look like in primary and secondary schools: Younger students might be engaged in planting, harvesting, and cooking or in building simple tools for play; older students might learn various aspects of farming, already drawing on basic mathematic calculations, physics, reading, and writing assignments (Democracy and Education MW 9.207-9). Similarly, students could develop their international and geographical orientation while engaging with the recorded journeys of travelers from long ago and develop a more expansive imagination when practicing their creative narration or mapping techniques. More mature students might begin experimenting scientifically in order to understand how energy could be conserved or how animal behavior is formed. They might even create their own village, form town halls to make decisions and debating clubs to explore rhetoric, and facilitate conflict resolution among peers. It is easy to see how questions of sustainability, leadership, equity, discrimination, or justice would animate students’ scientific spirits and learning from a very early age if educators structured their education in the form of occupations. Students would develop cognitive complexity and increasingly interconnected structures of knowledge while relating practical skills, such as sowing and harvesting, to the ongoing formation of social identities and cultural traditions, to environmental influences, and to particular problems that they could observe in their communities. We can also imagine how students’ ability to understand these connections and to contribute to solving problems that matter to them might stimulate their sense of purpose and belonging, thereby sustaining an intrinsic motivation to learn. Students would also form new connections with each other and the teacher as they collaborate

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on solving problems and develop an appreciation for different perspectives, the complementary nature of abilities, and conflict resilience. Occupations not only familiarize students with “the necessities of life and the adornments with which the necessities have been clothed” (9.207); as an educational strategy, they make students’ interests in particular themes, questions, or problems the foundation for teaching and learning and introduce them to methods of experimental problem-solving in which mistakes become an integral and thus normalized part of the learning process and ethical leadership development. As Dewey summarized, “[w]hat is learned and employed in an occupation having an aim and involving cooperation with others is moral knowledge” (9.366). This structure of the “occupation” is transferable to the university level and to the complex problems of our 21st century societies; I will show how this works in the chapters that follow. At this point of my argument, it seems as though John Dewey’s theory of education offers a complex, holistic framework for the analysis, evaluation, and intentional redesign of the educational process as the defining social change mechanism. So, naturally, one would expect that Dewey had a significant effect on the U.S.’s educational system and classroom practice. However, this is not the case.

1.4

From a Complicated Legacy to New Dialogue and Practice

When Dewey died in 1952, the New York Times education correspondent Benjamin Fine wrote that the U.S. educational system would never be able to “return to the pre-Dewey era, any more than science can return to the pre-atomic period, or medicine to the pre-penicillin days” (11). However, while Dewey’s ideas and arguments have had a significant impact on humanities scholarship, his works are usually treated as historical texts in curriculum and pedagogy studies, as though they illustrate an earlier stage of linearly unfolding progress in education theory with little practical relevance for today’s learning environments. At the same time, our contemporary classroom instruction is not consistently built around the organic, reciprocal relationship of theory and practice

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

or designed to affect positive social change in the extended spheres of institutional influence. Instead, curricular planning and teaching practice often look to strategies that emphasize accountability of knowledge acquisition over skill-building or vice versa, thereby falling short of a holistic, integrative approach to learning. Moreover, if we look beyond the immediate classroom environment to observe how university communities learn, then we can see that dialogue and collaboration between professors, administrative staff, mental health specialists, and students in peer leadership positions do not occur in consistent, intuitive, and effective ways. However, educators today will only be able to support increasingly diverse student generations if they can draw on the extensive expertise afforded through these kinds of partnerships. As Herbert Kliebard wrote, “the question of why certain proposed reforms do not become translated into practice […] may be […] of equal importance to the question why others do” (75). Taking Dewey’s complicated legacy as a loosely guiding framework, I suggest reflecting on three dynamics that might have undermined the large-scale implementation of Dewey’s theoretical work and illuminate which opposition and obstacles we might expect to encounter as we attempt to initiate foundational, ‘deep-tissue’ change in our educational practices and systems today.26 As I have shown, Dewey advocated for a pedagogical vision that necessitated the fundamental transformation of educational institutions and threatened to subvert existing power structures within education. This made him a welcome target, but his inability to provide models for practical implementation made him a more vulnerable one. He applied his educational theory only once and to limited success, 26

I offer these three problem areas more as ‘food for thought’ than as definitive reasons. More research would have to be undertaken to fully illuminate why Deweyan principles do not consistently guide our teaching and learning. We might inquire, for example, into the curricular narratives and pedagogy that have shaped teacher education over the last decades, ask what increasingly transdisciplinary research on teaching and learning might tell us about the beliefs and biases educators and administrators hold about their students, and analyze how opposition to a radically democratic education relates to the crisis of democracy experienced by contemporary societies.

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in the form of the Laboratory School. His interpreters and followers had to focus on his ideas, then, since he could not show how his ambitious social transformation project would work within and through the educational system. These ideas grew out of and reflected a particular scientific zeitgeist, one which produced terminological and conceptual overlap among different progressive reformers and created high visibility for the social efficiency movement in particular. Readers could conflate Dewey’s more holistic theory with its partial applications across progressive education. As a result, they might favor social efficiency approaches as a more concrete, simpler solution to social problems. Alternatively, their conflation might lead them to conclude that Dewey’s approach to education enabled a narrow focus on practical skills and a devaluation of intellectual work that disempowered learners. This misinterpretation can provide the material for influential crisis narratives and, inadvertently, support the agenda of conservative forces that oppose innovative co-learner models and new, complexity-oriented curricular designs. The first dynamic is set off by what might be described as the allure of the easy fix. Ironically, the complexity and holism of Dewey’s theory, which I would consider his biggest strength, can become an obstacle to the implementation of his theory. This is illustrated by the social efficiency movement’s success. It was especially prominent in the early decades of the 20th century, but it has exerted a strong influence into the 1980s and beyond.27 Social efficiency was seen as a promis27

The social efficiency movement is an especially instructive example of reform efforts that due to their simplicity, accessibility, and perceived effectiveness dominated over Dewey’s ideas. Drawing on the politicized language of progressivism, it appealed to different political, ideological, and professional groups. Signature works of the social efficiency movement include Edward A. Ross’ Social Control (1904), Frederick W. Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management (1911), Edward L. Thorndike’s Educational Psychology (1903), John F. Bobbitt’s The Curriculum (1918), which can be seen to represent the origin of the curriculum field, and Werrett W. Charters’ Curriculum Construction (1923). Detailed accounts of social efficiency and its effects on educational reform as well as more comprehensive different treatments of the historical development of curriculum

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

ing reform effort both within and beyond the field of education because its terminology, concepts, and sensibility resonated well within a thoroughly scientific zeitgeist. In fact, it grew out of and aligned well with the intellectual current that Andrew Jewett identifies as “scientific democracy.”28 Thinkers associated with different traditions and fields praised the potential of science to cultivate the civic mind and improve democratic practices not only by fostering technological growth, improving administrative techniques […], and giving citizens the technical information needed to participate constructively in policy debates, but […] by shaping their moral character, normative commitments, and discursive practices. (Jewett 10) Four well-known “scientific democrats” illustrate the interconnectedness of cultural, economic, political, and psychological considerations that animated social efficiency’s pedagogical vision in the early 20th century. Edward Ross approached education from the perspective of a sociologist who had been educated and taught at Johns Hopkins University until he resigned in 1900 amidst controversy about his views on eugenics. In his seminal work, Social Control (1904), Ross projected the view that potential threats to the social order in Western societies would be sparked from within, namely by the egotistical individual striving for

28

theory and practice throughout the entire 20th century have been provided by Kliebard in The Struggle for the American Curriculum 1893-1958 (1987), Tanner & Tanner in Curriculum Development. Theory Into Practice (1975), and Pinar et al. in Understanding Curriculum: An Introduction to the Study of Historical and Contemporary Curriculum Discourses (1995). Jewett uses the term “democratic” broadly to refer to “a polity defined by popular sovereignty—a polity in which the will of the people reigns supreme, in general if not in every detail.” Jewett’s “scientific democrats” understood the policies of their country as an expression of the “underlying cultural substrate” of the people’s “beliefs, opinions, values, and virtues” and thus sought to change the former by directing through science “the process of formulating the public will.” As Jewett emphasizes, the ethical orientation of this conception of science differed significantly from the value-neutral conception of science that characterized later academic work (4, 9-10).

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material benefits. As Jewett describes, he proposed containing this danger by creating a system of behavioral control, a “social religion” in the form of “horizontally, informally maintained norms and beliefs” which would be enforced by the moral elite of social scientists and framed in a personal, emotional language that many people could relate to (122, 171). Ross’s pursuit of social order was echoed by Frederick Winslow Taylor, a mechanical engineer who was accepted into Harvard University to study law but chose to pursue the career of a machinist. He looked beyond the realm of production efficiency when he proposed that scientific management could replace antagonism, competition, and suspicion with collaboration, confidence, and trust before a Special House of Representatives Committee (Kliebard 82). Franklin Bobbitt, whose interest in the curriculum stemmed from practical teaching experience, applied Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management (1911) to education and argued that all tasks that learners would have to perform in their future jobs could be inventoried and translated into specifically sequenced experiences that would lead to the most effective achievement of desired learning objectives (Bobbitt 42). The idea that a particular kind of curriculum development could transfer the efficiency and predictability of factory production to education found its psychological legitimization in Edward Thorndike’s theory of connectionism, specifically in the “Law of Effect.” It proposed that repetition solidifies associations into habits, suggesting that educators could effectively guide human behavior if they drew upon scientific knowledge of stimulus-response behavioral patterns. Thorndike saw education as “one form of human engineering” that “will profit by measurements of human nature and achievement as mechanical and electrical engineering have profited by using the footpound, calorie, volt, and ampere” (“Measurement in Education” 1). Under the influence of thinkers such as these, the curriculum shifted away from a focus on mental discipline built up through classical studies, like Latin and ancient history, toward practical and technical education. The curriculum’s “minimum essentials”, which the National Education Association (NEA) appointed the Committee on Economy of Time in Education to identify in 1911, essentially translated the optimization ap-

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

proaches and manufacturing standards of scientific management into education (Kliebard 137). Like Dewey, social efficiency advocates sought to highlight the social relevance and meaning of modern science and to draw out its potential as a large-scale adaptation mechanism for the industrial age. However, social efficiency had the particular appeal of simplicity and specificity. To this day, a task- and skill-oriented curriculum and an economically efficient education system might appeal to educators, students, and parents, especially during times of complex change and uncertainty, if it is presented as a legitimate and successful means of introducing stability, order, and predictability. Having laid the foundations of curricular development as a distinct new field of specialization within education during the Second Industrial Revolution, social efficiency ideas similar to those described previously still shape the higher education environments in globalizing, highly competitive societies that struggle with the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For example, we might see social efficiency paradigms animate calls for standardized testing, declining enrollments in traditional humanities studies, and the leitmotif of productive citizens. However, when scholars like Martha Nussbaum in Not for Profit challenge these trends toward “education for economic growth” because they undermine democratic citizenship formation and push critical thinking skills, empathy, and curiosity toward cultural differences to the periphery of desired learning outcomes, curricular narratives, and pedagogical strategies, they essentially ask whether or to what extent an efficiency-focused approach can empower today’s learners to address the immense complexity they will encounter. Dewey treated the curriculum as the centerpiece of a complex, multi-dimensional change process that anchored in the comprehensive redesign of teaching and learning and extended into the different spheres of social life. If we do not pay attention to all dimensions of this process and its context, Dewey warned, [we] shall be forever oscillating between extremes: now lending ourselves with enthusiasm to the introduction of art and music and manual training because they give vitality to the school work and

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relief to the child; now querulously complaining of the evil results reached and insisting with all positiveness upon the return of good old days when reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic were adequately taught. (“The Educational Situation” MW 1.279) By pointing to this dynamic, Dewey perhaps anticipated the criticism that would be directed at him thereafter and foresaw some of the solutions proposed by his critics to address what they saw as a failing education system and practice. Scholars like Diane Ravitch, E.D. Hirsch, and Allan Bloom have written crisis narratives that attribute the majority of problems in contemporary educational institutions to a progressive, specifically Deweyan, influence on modern education in the United States. These include curricular diversification, the loss of academic rigor, comprehensive knowledge, and cultural literacy, teacher burnout, and the disintegration of a foundational value system.29 Seeing social efficiency as the lasting and most damaging legacy of the scientificallyminded early 20th century educators, Ravitch attacked Dewey for enabling “a single-minded devotion to utility and a bias against intellect” in the entire progressive education movement because his writings were “locked in dualisms, the famous ‘either-ors’ that he so often wrote about” and Dewey himself was naïve to how social efficiency proponents would apply his theories of a democratic education (Left Back 57–60, 119, 309). Similarly, E.D. Hirsch linked his concerns about a national decline in commonly shared knowledge and academic ability as measured by the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores to the dominant influence of a “content-neutral conception of educational development”

29

Ravitch, Hirsch, and Bloom published the books referenced in this section during the Culture Wars of the late 20th century and the early 21st century. Ravitch expanded upon arguments made in What Do Our 17-Year-Olds Know? (1989) when she wrote Left Back (2000); Hirsch later expanded on Cultural Literacy (1987) in The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (1988), The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (2002), and The Knowledge Deficit (2006). I do not offer comprehensive analyses of these works, but rather use the thoughts expressed in them to anchor my broader reflections on the challenges of translating Dewey’s educational theory into practice and to set the stage for subsequent chapters.

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

(Cultural Literacy xv) and attributed the resulting educational crisis to Deweyan pedagogy.30 It has supposedly undermined our cultural literacy: the common understanding of the signs, symbols, and concepts shared by members of a society and the ability to participate in its verbal and nonverbal communication. Cultural literacy may include the primary language spoken in a particular country or region, cultural key narratives, idiomatic expressions, and humor expressed both verbally and non-verbally, among other things. While Ravitch recommended, more vaguely, “the systematic study of language and literature, science and mathematics, history, the arts, and foreign languages; […] commonly described today as a ‘liberal education’” (15), Hirsch proposed a solution for U.S. schools that seemed concrete, simple, efficient, and inexpensive. The curriculum should be reformed to deliver core knowledge composed of the information, concepts, and expressions that literate Americans (should) share. He appended this core as a list of 5,000 items (152-215) to Cultural Literacy.31 Memorizing them, according to Hirsch, would constitute an important step toward breaking the cycle of illiteracy for deprived children; raising the living standard of families who have been illiterate; making our country more competitive in international markets; achieving greater social justice; enabling all citizens to participate in the political process; bringing us 30

31

Ravitch’s Left Back and Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy have been widely criticized, often for similar reasons. For example, William Wraga (“Left Out: The Villainization of Progressive Education in the United States” in the Educational Researcher, vol. 30, no. 7, 2001), Wayne Urban (“Review of Cultural Literacy” in The Journal of American History, vol. 75, no. 3, 1988), and Michael Apple (“Education Reform and Content: The Long View” in Brookings Papers on Education Policy, no. 8, 2005) give overviews of several significant omissions in Ravitch’s and Hirsch’s narratives about 20th century progressive education and Dewey’s influence; some errors are historical or statistical, others conceptual in nature. This initial list included historical dates, historical persons, titles of historic documents, common figures of speech, and scientific terms. In response to criticism with regards to the list’s simplicity, Eurocentrism, and exclusivity, Hirsch expanded it in The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, which was published in 1988 and was revised in 1993. Both books were widely read.

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closer to the Ciceronian ideal of universal public discourse – in short, achieving fundamental goals of the Founders at the birth of the republic. (145) Hirsch thus proposed to remedy what he saw as a lack of shared meaning within U.S. society and educational institutions through a prescribed body of common knowledge that, once catalogued, packaged into a curricular core, and internalized with proper discipline, would establish structural, curricular coherence throughout the U.S. educational landscape and would extend literacy to all of a society’s members. As I will continue to argue, a core model is the most effective approach to building a shared familiarity and meaning; however, as the discussion of Dewey’s theory of education has shown, equitable and sustainable learning can only grow out of a curricular structure that engages and opens up the full spectrum of society, including its contradictions, tensions, and struggles. It sacrifices legitimacy and impact if it is imposed by and only represents the common knowledge of one, often the dominant social group. Students and teachers in diversifying learning communities will feel alienated by core narratives that they have not deliberated or co-designed and will question their sense of belonging in the spaces illuminated by these narratives.32 Thus, Hirsch’s proposal challenges us to reflect on several questions related to core curricula in higher education: What kind of knowledge do students need? How and by whom should core requirements be developed? Which curricular narratives and pedagogical approaches will ensure inclusive, purposeful, and meaningful education for all

32

Evolving research on the foundational value of an inclusive course or community climate, the presence of implicit bias, and the importance of reducing stereotype threat and microaggressions illuminates the various considerations that form the complex ecology of inclusive curriculum design and educational practice. Entry points to the research include Ambrose et al., How Learning Works (2010); Banaji and Greenwald, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (2013); Steele, Whistling Vivaldi. How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (2010); and Sue et al., “Disarming Racial Microaggressions: Microintervention Strategies for Targets, White Allies, and Bystanders” (2019).

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

students? In its basic conception, the idea of a cultural literacy list does provide an intriguing impetus for a new model of teaching and learning. In fact, Hirsch’s thoughts on subject matter could be integrated with Dewey’s pedagogical vision through a ‘living’ literacy core: an evolving repository of essential questions, problems, and concepts that would retain its plasticity and continuously evolve in transcultural, transgenerational, and transdisciplinary dialogue, asking what kind of knowledge might be most valuable. This dialogue could powerfully inform the design of 21st century occupations and, by extension, successfully contribute to the solution of societal problems. However, if the curricular narrative itself continues to exclude the complexity of experiential and epistemological diversity that increasingly characterizes classrooms at various stages of institutional education, then it will fail to instill the resilience and confidence to inhabit and navigate this very complexity in students. This is demonstrated by another failure study written by Allan Bloom, who described the intellectual and cultural relativism he saw as the central problem of U.S. higher education and society, attributing it to the influence of thinkers like John Dewey, as the “closing of the American mind.” In Bloom’s narrative, this closure took the form of a prevailing ethos of indifferent openness that undermined the pursuit of truth through rational criticism, spurred curricular diversification and the removal of core requirements from the curriculum, and turned students into illiterate and essentially passionless individuals who “can be anything they want to be, but they have no particular reason to want to be anything in particular” (87). His solution lay in a different version of a core, one formed by the most important texts of Western culture, allegedly, and specifically the ancient Greek philosophy of Socrates and Plato. Shoring up the educational hegemony of a Euroand androcentric canon, Bloom accepted that many students and teachers in diversifying university communities would feel alienated from curricular narratives and institutions that perpetuate existing structures of inequality and exclusion by relegating alternative systems of knowledge to the margins. In fact, he prescribed his solution to just a small socio-economic elite that could pursue a university education

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without financial and logistical constraints, seeing in them the “greatest talents,” the “more complex natures,” and therefore, presumably, the most significant potential to turn the contemplative liberal education in “great books” into valid intellectual contributions to the core mission of higher education, the theoretical pursuit of truth (22).33 Firstly, such a view denies learning communities the transformative practice of deliberation about what kind of questions and texts they should engage with in their respective moment in time and place on earth. Secondly, it closes academic work off from its powerful potential and responsibility to impact social change and to find solutions for the problems of our time. Proposals like this challenge us to ask how existing canons, associated hierarchies, and exclusive conceptions of higher education shape what we identify as, or can imagine to be, higher education’s purpose. Who decides what constitutes the role and responsibility of universities, the purpose of education, and the value of curricular materials, and on what grounds? How do we define a socially engaged academic practice and determine which partnerships in thought and action—both within university communities and between educational institutions and society—must serve as its foundation? Like Dewey, the critics I have briefly portrayed called for educational reforms that should enhance students’ ability to think critically and to make more informed and meaningful contributions to the lives of their communities and societies. However, they positioned themselves in opposition to what they perceived to be the core tenets and effects of his educational theory. While writing from different ideological positions, their criticism and suggestions highlight a central theme; the desire to counter a complex development with a simple solution. This leads to the 33

In “Undemocratic Vistas,” Martha Nussbaum provides a detailed overview of the gaps and errors in Bloom’s argument about the meaning of ancient texts like Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Poetics. As she points out, Bloom writes in opposition to the Socratic notion of philosophy, as the cultivation of practical reason which should open up a rich and valuable life for all members of society, when he neglects disadvantaged or diverse learners. It follows for her that his argument justifies a conception of the university as an “antidemocratic institution” within a democratic society.

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

final dynamic that I suggest we must keep in mind when rethinking education in times of transformation. As demonstrated by every successful political campaign, a simplified narrative and strategic focus on symptoms can powerfully mobilize broad audiences, especially during times of change and uncertainty. Thus, failure studies can offer recognition and validation to those struggling with change and strategically shift blame across constituencies. For example, the deep disparities in our societies and educational institutions might lead a struggling middle class, and perhaps many First-Generation students, to associate a core knowledge model with a sense of acknowledgment, efficacy, and with a hope for structural change. Teachers might view Hirsch’s cultural literacy list specifically as a strategy to navigate the complexity and intensity of their everyday work, hoping it will establish clear standards for the assessment of student learning and free up time for reflection and other physical, emotional, and intellectual self-care practices for both students and teachers. However, when clinging to (oftentimes) hard-won privileges and internalized role expectations, they might also be receptive to Bloom’s story of a paradise lost, an exclusive community of “higher” learning that cultivates “real” knowledge through exegesis of their “great books.” Failure studies, easy fixes, and nostalgia can all serve the “creative articulation of themes that resonate deeply with the experiences, fears, hopes, and dreams of people as they go about their daily lives”; this is a successful strategy used by what Michael Apple identifies as a “rightist alliance of neo-liberals, neo-conservatives, authoritarian populist religious conservatives, and some members of the managerial new middle class” whose “conservative modernization” agenda specifically focuses on those actively involved in teaching and administering education and shapes their imagination of what education should or could be (239).34 Apple suggests two types of alliances

34

As early as the 1970s and 1980s, scholars like Michael W. Apple and Henry A. Giroux, influenced by the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and (neo-)Marxist positions of Antonio Gramsci, Raymond Williams, and Paulo Freire, re-conceptualized the field of curriculum studies to understand the curriculum as a political text. For an overview, see chapter 5 in Pinar et al.

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to strengthen and broaden the appeal of a progressive vision for education: If we cautiously and intentionally, without sacrificing our value integrity, develop “tactical alliances” with those parties under the conservative modernization umbrella who share our key interests, whether that be environmental protection or poverty reduction, all actors involved might deepen their understanding of the complex ecology of teaching and learning by exploring new perspectives thereupon. Simultaneously, more diversely networked, intersectional alliances within the progressive spectrum can create a deeper understanding and a more creative articulation of what progressive education should and could look like today (246-7). In fact, the latter type of partnership can help us to imagine more boldly practical models of Deweyan education in the 21st century.35 When Pinar et al. evoke the image of the curriculum as “a verb, an action, a social practice, a private meaning, and a public hope” (848), their words seem reminiscent of a distinctly Deweyan understanding of philosophy as desire, a program for ethical leadership, and as a method “for dealing with the problems of men” (“The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy” MW 46). If we think of the curriculum as a socially engaged practice—an activist one even—, then this highlights the need

35

The partnership models described by Apple would allow educators to connect curricular reform projects within existing institutional structures to initiatives that seek to create new, alternative learning communities because they assess mainstream educational models as unsustainable, ineffective, and often inhumane. Examples of such alternative approaches include so-called ecoversities, formed by “people, organizations and communities who are reclaiming knowledge systems and a cultural imaginary to restore and re-envision learning processes that are meaningful and relevant to the challenges of our times” (“Our Story”) and the virtual complexity university, which offers “courses and community” to build the mind- and skill sets needed to effectively tackle the challenges of “a world on fire” (“What Is Complexity University”). The Riverside Learning Center (RLC) founded in 2001 by Kiran Bir Sethi in Ahmedabad, India, practices a version of Deweyan “occupations” through an “I Can” systems approach to empowerment (cf. riversidelearningcenter.in).

1. John Dewey’s Theory of Education and the Pragmatist Method

for new kinds of conversations, collaborations, and educational experiments. Hlebowitsh has remarked that the Deweyan method may inspire a mending of fences between different generations and diverging directions within curriculum scholarship because “rather than dictating the curriculum it guides it in an open-ended way” (82). However, it can do even more than that. If our societies and communities evolve through life-long learning and teaching, then the curriculum is as much a product as it is a process, one that is reflective and simultaneously generative of collective identities, values, and visions of future life, a constant deliberation of who “we” are and who “we” are becoming. In this view, hopefulness and complexity can co-exist. Further, if our teaching and learning should address the problems of our societies, then Dewey’s pragmatist approach can help us to create curricula whose core narratives trace the origins of our problems in past conditions, analyze their manifestations in the present, and develop solutions in the service of a more sustainable, equitable, and peaceful life. In turn, these 21st century occupations will necessitate new partnerships that mediate across binary distinctions between theory and practice and between university communities and broader social structures, thereby creating a dialogue between voices and perspectives that have not engaged with one another: curriculum theorists and scholars from all disciplines, teachers, administrators, students, their parents, community partners, and activists.

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2. The Ecology of Education Claims of Globalization, Forms of Transnationalization, and Hopes of Cosmopolitanisms In a single πoλις, there is no wisdom. Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ethics of Identity 272

Education is the central mechanism of social transformation because it shapes key processes of identity formation, value negotiation, community creation, and agency development within the various dimensions of social life. It has the potential to initiate a specific kind of growth through the curriculum—change toward “self-realization” in the individual and, by extension, toward a “moral democracy” that welcomes new sources of critical and imaginative thinking. This chapter brings the conclusions drawn from the analysis of Dewey’s theory of education into dialogue with the particular social reality that contemporary higher education both reflects and to which it responds. In order to evaluate our curricular practice in its capacity to drive social transformation and determine which changes to it will be meaningful, we must first endeavor to better understand the social ecology within which it acts. I draw upon theories and concepts by Roland Robertson, Arjun Appadurai, and Kwame Anthony Appiah, among others, to consider how we might make sense of the world to which we belong and shape education accordingly. What characterizes the problems that our curricula

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should be structured around? How do we collectively produce and apply knowledge? How do we form our identities as we position ourselves within changing social contexts? How can we communicate our values and create community with others? Our answers to these questions determine how we imagine and design higher education.

2.1

A Beast of no Nation-State — Or: What is Globalization?

Claims to knowledge and values always anchor in specific spatio-temporal contexts and reflect different histories, identities, and conflicting interests for the future; they are never neutral. However, processes of interpretation and definition have become fervently contested in a world that, since the latter decades of the 20th century, has been characterized by accelerated social transformation, fundamentally changing various aspects of our lives, our awareness and experience of interconnectivity between people far apart, and the complex interplay of specific cultural, economic, environmental, and political processes. This social reality has been described as globalization within the academic discourse and beyond. What is it and what does it do? Globalization has become the signpost, key concept, and core process of our time. It is as omnipresent as it is vague. For some, the term is synonymous with the systemic oppression, exploitation, and marginalization of underprivileged and impoverished individuals and social groups by Western countries, institutions, and power elites; for others, globalization might signify hope for more direct, diverse, and just forms of participation, a world consciousness fueled by expanded, diversified networks of connection. The word “complexity” will undoubtedly come up in any description of globalization. Pointing to the word’s roots in Latin, plectere, Mitchell describes a complex system as being made of “many simple parts [that] are irreducibly entwined,” remarking that “the field of complexity is itself an entwining of many different fields” (4). Mol and Law state that “there is complexity if things relate but don’t add up, if events occur but not within the processes of linear time, and if phenomena share a space but cannot be mapped in terms of a single set of three-dimen-

2. The Ecology of Education

sional coordinates” (1). Confronted with a complexity of this kind, the meaning we ascribe to globalization must arise from our subjective, practical experience thereof—our own social reality—and the theoretical position this experience inclines us to apply in search of a working definition. With an eye on globalization, the owl of Minerva has not fully spread her wings to fly—and perhaps she never will.1 In the absence of any meta-narrative, globalization is an “essentially contested concept,” as reflected in the breadth and depth of scholarly literature on each of the phenomena assembled under its umbrella, their relationships, and the very nature of the concept itself (Robinson 126-7). Research has addressed several interconnected phenomena that include but are not limited to: the emergence of a globalized economy involving new systems of production, finance, and consumption, […] new transnational or global cultural patterns, practices and flows, and the idea of ‘global culture(s),’ […] global political processes, the rise of new transnational institutions, and concomitantly, the spread of global governance and authority structures of diverse sorts, […] the unprecedented multidirectional movement of peoples around the world involving new patterns of transnational migration, identities and communities, […] new social hierarchies, forms of inequality and relations of 1

Within Western thought, the owl of Minerva is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. Hegel used it in his preface to Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1820) to capture our ability to understand a moment or era as it passes, in hindsight. When I claim that the owl of Minerva might not spread her wings, I gesture back to the pragmatist notion of truth as a process of verification by experience and forward to arguments made by globalization theorists like Hardt and Negri or Appadurai who see the phenomenon’s boundlessness and pervasiveness as its defining feature. Globalization transcends the geographic, economic, and political spheres. It reaches into all areas of social and cultural life to penetrate our deep tissue, our bodies, and psyches, its evolving complexity receding from our efforts to contain it conceptually. Deleuze and Guattari would argue that the attempt to translate or decipher globalization is bound to fail because it ignores the rhizomatic nature of the formations that we study as they are being produced and experienced.

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domination around the world and in the global system as a whole. (Robinson 125) Responding to what Robinson calls “domain questions,” theories introduce ontological and epistemological parameters, with regards to globalization’s temporal and causal dimensions for instance (127).2 Naturally, applying a given theory and accepting its conclusions will incline us toward specific practical recommendations. Three theoretical positions within the heterogeneous field of globalization studies have both particular theoretical and practical relevance for discussions about

2

A few examples should illustrate this. While in world-systems theory as advanced by Immanuel Wallerstein, globalization is equivalent to capitalism, which began to develop a world-wide reach in the 15th century, theories of global capitalism, as developed, for example, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in Empire, date the emergence of globalization to the late 20th century and describe it as a new stage in global capitalism. Manuel Castell agrees with the latter, but sees globalization as causally linked to technological change. In his view, the particular relationship between the development of new information technology (IT) and its rapid appropriation by a new “information capitalism” or “the new economy” has led to the network society. Another group of scholars approaches the phenomenon of globalization in relation to the conditions of modernity and postmodernity; Martin Albrow sees globalization as a separate, post-modern historical epoch characterized by qualitatively novel processes of identity formation and social action. Anthony Giddens and Roland Robertson conceive of it as the culmination of modernity. David Harvey and Saskia Sassen conceptualize what could be called the phenomenon’s spatiotemporal essence—the intensification and restructuring of global social relations through capitalism—in their widely influential theories of “timespace compression” in The Condition of Postmodernity and “global cities” in The Global City respectively. Theoretical contributions by Peggy Levitt, Michael Peter Smith, Eduardo Guarnizo, Alejandro Portes, and Patricia Landolt, among others, point to the foundational influence of transnational relations(hips) in the era of globalization that, through their profound effect on identity formation, reach beyond immigration studies. George Ritzer and Arjun Appadurai belong to a group of scholars focusing on “global cultures.” For a more detailed overview of the theoretical approaches referenced here, refer to Robinson’s chapter on “Theories of Globalization” in The Blackwell Companion to Globalization (128-41).

2. The Ecology of Education

curricular change. First, Roland Robertson’s concept of glocalization describes the increasing integration of the global with the local as the defining feature of globalization, interrogating the field’s established terminology by challenging the usefulness, and even the accuracy of its central term. As I will show, the value of Robertson’s theory lies in its ability to move closer to the social reality, to what is happening to and within our societies and communities, while maintaining enough critical distance to identify larger structural patterns in the dynamics of this change. The theoretical contributions of Arjun Appadurai and Kwame Anthony Appiah focus on specific aspects of the integration of the global with the local, as described by Robertson: global cultures and cosmopolitan identity formation. When placed in dialogue, their theories become a framework for the analysis of social change as it unfolds in our globalizing world, its influence on and importance for identity exploration and negotiation in the individual and societies at large, and, eventually, the response of higher education to these changing social realities through curricular practice.

2.2

The Power of Glocality: Integrating the Global and the Local

Robertson identifies the “simultaneity and the interpenetration of what are conventionally called the global and the local, or—in more abstract vein—the universal and the particular” (“Glocalization” 30) as the constitutive feature of globalization. This is illustrated by the standardization of time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As universal time (UT) was created, time was essentially mapped across different geographical zones and organized in “particularistic space” (36). Today, our social reality is shaped by the movement of cultural, economic, ideological, political, technological, psychological, and spiritual flows (and, as Appadurai would add, their disjunctures) that transcend and mediate between the global and the local. Appropriating a business term with a Japanese origin, Robertson suggests that the hybrid, diversifying structures formed through this global-local integration can be described as

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glocal.3 While the term “globalization” has been widely critiqued, for its vagueness and ideological implications for instance, Robertson specifically problematizes it as reinforcing an overemphasis on polarity that, when taken to one extreme, can lead to a presentation of globalization as a process that fundamentally supersedes and obliterates genuine locality because it has “systemic properties over and beyond the attributes of units within the global system” (34), or, on the other extreme side of the spectrum, further “the claim that we live in a world of local assertions against globalizing trends, a world in which the very idea of locality is sometimes cast as a form of opposition or resistance to the hegemonically global” (29). As Robertson implies, the tendency towards polarity may have taken precedence in the economic distinction between the macro- and micro-levels, thereby attesting to the dominant voice of economic theories in the larger field of scholarship on globalization (34). The limitations of such a polar lens become apparent if we consider how the terms that are central to globalization studies, like cosmopolitanism or hybridity, acquire different meanings in the process of their own glocalization. The same happens to the concept of the global as it changes local contexts and, in turn, to the notion of the local as it globalizes. In summary, Robertson proposes that the debate about global homogenization versus heterogenization should be transcended. It is not a question of either homogenization or heterogenization, but rather of the ways in which both of these two tendencies have become features of life across much of 3

The terms ‘glocal’ and ‘glocalization’ have roots in (at least) two cultural-geographic locations: Japanese farming and business practices (Robertson, “Glocalization” 28) and Western academic institutions grappling with what Appadurai has described as “an inherent temporal lag between the processes of globalization and our efforts to contain them conceptually” (“Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination” 4). The notion of glocalization essentially serves as its own illustration when it transcends its geographical, cultural, and linguistic origins, in the process “returning” to Japan as a global creation soon to be adapted locally. From Robertson’s perspective, it appears that the very concept of glocalization is a global strategy grounded in “particularistic” frameworks (“The Conceptual Promise of Glocalization”).

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the late-twentieth-century world. In this perspective the problem becomes that of spelling out the ways in which homogenizing and heterogenizing tendencies are mutually implicative. (27) While the parallel existence and constant interleaving of the global and the local are constitutive of our entire social realities from this perspective, two instances or examples illustrate how the concept of glocalization can inform efforts toward curricular change in increasingly transcultural higher education environments: the idea and identity of the cosmopolitan in relation to the local and, closely related, the changing notions of both home and belonging. When social relationships expand beyond their initial regional or national scope and come to form increasingly diversified network structures, this facilitates the flow of people, ideas, forms of expression, and meaning between different areas. New cultural structures emerge in a changing composition of diversity that integrates global processes with various local realities.4 Individuals respond to the mobility, diversity, ambiguity, and sense of interconnectedness they experience through this glocal integration in different ways, populating a spectrum between two generic types: the contemporary cosmopolitan and the local. The ideal of cosmopolitanism in Western thought has etymological roots in the Greek words kósmos and polítes, which come together in the concept of kosmopolítes and imply both a commitment to universal human solidarity and a conception of identity that is not exclusively and specifically defined by its geographical roots, evoking a sense of community that is

4

Missing empirical foundations fuel a persistent disagreement between two groups of theorists; those who see these new structures as products of global assimilation or convergence processes “in the direction of dominant groups and societies” (Ritzer 163), taking the form of cultural imperialism, a homogenous world culture, or a “Globalization of Nothing” (Ritzer), and those who argue that newly emerging cultural structures tend toward the heterogenization of meaning and expression. My argument follows Robertson’s proposition that both tendencies persist and interact in different ways across the spheres of human life, including in our learning communities and their curricula.

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more empathetic than it is political.5 Ulf Hannerz characterizes cosmopolitans as having a particular mindset and competencies: They exhibit, of course to varying degrees, “an orientation, a willingness to engage with the Other, […] an intellectual and aesthetic stance of openness toward divergent cultural experiences, a search for contrasts rather than uniformity” (239). They also demonstrate “competence of both a generalized and a more specialized kind,” apparent in “a state of readiness, a personal ability to make one’s way into other cultures, through listening, looking, intuiting and reflecting,” and “cultural competence in the stricter sense” as “a built-up skill in manoeuvring more or less expertly with a particular system of meanings and meaningful forms” (239). How these habits of thought and competencies are exercised and internalized distinguish the cosmopolitan from other kinds of mobile groups, such as tourists, exiles, and expatriates. While tourists might travel for experiences that do not involve or require that they engage with the host culture’s system of meaning, like a more comfortable climate or enjoyable nature, cosmopolitans desire immersion and prefer participation over spectatorship (241-2). Exiles may choose to immerse themselves in the new cultural context like cosmopolitans, but they grow this cultural competency reluctantly because it operationalizes the involuntary condition of being forced to leave their homes (242). In Hannerz’s classification, expatriates bear the closest resemblance to cosmopolitans because their emotional, financial, intellectual, and logistical independence allows them to intentionally choose new experiences and to explore their sense of self abroad. This transcultural exploration often occurs in professional contexts that extend or resemble Western European and North American cultural environments, providing expatriates with 5

Cosmopolitanism now exists in the plural as a result of the increasing popularity of the term and the diversity of claims made for its integration with other theoretical positions. Scholars like Timothy Brennan (e.g., in “Cosmopolitanism and Internationalism”) and Kwame Anthony Appiah have also identified cosmopolitanisms that are counterproductive and, in the widest sense, impractical or even “toxic” and “ruthless” (Ethics of Identity 220-21). The cosmopolitanism I find most applicable to the topic of global education is Appiah’s “rooted cosmopolitanism,” which is discussed in greater detail in section 2.4 of this book.

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high degrees of continuity and a pool of social contacts with which they can interact based on “specialized but collectively held meanings.” This insulates them from local practices to various degrees and very often identifies them as “metropolitan locals,” rather than as cosmopolitans (244-5). Institutions of higher education that operate across national borders and cultural contexts play an important role in this dynamic. Firstly, they produce, connect, and circulate ideas, values, and practices through the increased mobility of learners and/or through the diversification of their curricular content. Learning communities that are not territorially exclusive (though they might be anchored in a specific cultural context of origin), and instead expand along transnational or even global networks, challenge their members to incorporate new aspects, facets, and dimensions into their identities and to develop habits of thought and modes of meaning-making that match the cosmopolitan skill set and mindset as they transition in and out of different cultural formations.6 Hannerz suggests an affinity between cosmopolitans and intellectuals that lies in their ability to structure and use knowledge. Both show a particular kind of mastery in that they can effectively observe, critically interpret, analyze, and evaluate changing contexts. Essentially, the agile expert management of high cognitive complexity is the result of having learned how to learn. These particular habits of thinking produce extensive, diversified, and densely connected knowledge structures, which intellectuals and cosmopolitans seek to actively expand because they are driven by curiosity and oriented toward novelty. Accordingly, Hannerz characterizes this orientation as “expansionist,” as pursuing perspicuity, expertise, and command, in contrast to “common sense,” which appears more passive

6

At least, this is the ambitious vision of many universities that pledge allegiance to cosmopolitan mindset and competencies, albeit in the favored terminology of the day. However, some members of their learning communities may bear more resemblance to tourists, expatriates, or even exiles. They will undoubtedly learn something, but it may not correspond with the goals and expectations of their home institution.

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and comfortable with the ambivalence and contradiction of what is implied, but which is not made explicit (246-7). In this sense, developing and practicing a cosmopolitan orientation and competency set is not just meaningful for cosmopolitans, but is also an opportunity for the various social groups with which they engage. Cosmopolitans can translate, mediate, and facilitate the production of new, shared meanings between different social groups and cultures, potentially acting as their connective tissue and providing a degree of continuity (249). As such, they can play an essential role in a globalizing world, in which accelerating change and complex problems demand new forms of collaboration and partnership. As Hannerz points out, cosmopolitans and locals are essentially interdependent: Cosmopolitans will only remain able to personally experience and interact with varied cultures in their contemporary form if locals, those who maintain, represent, and continue to create these cultural contexts, can “carve out special niches [….], and keep them.” Locals, consequently, are interested in the continuation of cultural diversity because it allows them to remain local, “to stick to their respective cultures” (250). The interactions and relationships that span the conceptual and experiential spectrum between the generic types of the cosmopolitan and the local shape contemporary notions of home and belonging, further illuminating the concept of glocalization. What it means to be at home or to belong is increasingly negotiated as part of discursive flows across regions and borders. We traditionally view home as a place where we feel at ease, draw on an intuitive understanding, and experience a sense of security. Cosmopolitans, in particular, will inevitably find their ideas of home and narratives of belonging transformed and complicated by their transcultural movements and diverse experiences. This is perhaps because they have habitualized a mastery approach to transitions and complexity, which may have cost them the direct, automatic access to the naturalness of what made their point of origin home, such as rituals, figures of speech, or a particular quality within relationships. As Hannerz contemplates, home might become a special place of reference, a “site of nostalgia” for “a pre-cosmopolitan past,” preserved in a necessary abstraction that nevertheless remains in friction with the cos-

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mopolitan’s lived reality, yielding the potential for boredom as well as for self-alienation (248). Alternatively, the global can be brought home as packaged cosmopolitan expertise and turned into profit, which implies the risk of devaluing the depth, significance, and meaning of the cosmopolitan experience itself, “betraying its nature and the character of the real first-hand encounter” (248). In this vein, Robertson reminds us that home can also become mobilized as an ideological construction, for example, as part of the nostalgic narrative of ‘natural’ communities that are firmly rooted in relatively uniform localities. This narrative is tied to exclusive understandings of identity, home, and belonging and articulates the anxious assumption that diversification will undermine and sever our roots and attachments, interpreting change as loss. It ignores the idea that globalization also produces new homes, communities, and localities that help us to feel a sense of belonging. After all, our “ability to identify ‘home,’ directly or indirectly, is contingent upon the (contested) construction and organization of interlaced categories of space and time” (Robertson 35). Amy Kaplan has provided a rather uncanny illustration of how widespread anxiety and disorientation can be mobilized as “homeland insecurities” in the political sphere. She shows how the notion of the homeland was activated only after September 11, 2001, in “intimate opposition” (86) to the concept of the foreign and Other. A subtle shift in the common imaginary repertoire articulated in language paves the way for a new direction in policy: In the service of fortifying national borders, “America” is elevated from home to homeland and psychologically mobilized vis-à-vis supposedly “proliferating threats of the foreign lurking within and without national borders” to stimulate fear and insecurity that “legitimate modern forms of imperial power” (90). What does this mean for educational institutions that globalize teaching and learning? They can certainly offer unique opportunities, but they must also acknowledge complex responsibilities. First of all, learning experiences that involve different cultural contexts can help students to develop a richer understanding of how different forms of international mobility transform the meaning of home and the experience of belonging for themselves and others. In fact, they might

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stimulate new attachments in initially unfamiliar places and diversify relationship networks, thereby furnishing what we might call the ethical dimension of cosmopolitanism. As our connection with a place deepens, our sense of responsibility for it and our actual ability to make a positive impact increase. To this end, schools and universities must empower students to develop the cosmopolitan mindset and competencies that will allow them to understand, navigate, and change complex, glocal systems. However, educational institutions must also see themselves as and even become change agents, given that they provide the connective tissue that integrates the global and the local and mediates between different communities and actors. As Appadurai and Appiah help us to understand, this is the foundation for newly networked, glocal communities that can connect teaching and learning to sustainable grassroots forms of activism in response to the complex challenges of our time.

2.3

A New Research Imagination as the Driver of Globalization from Below

In Modernity at Large, Arjun Appadurai introduces the idea of “a world of disjunctive flows” (46) in a similar vein as Zygmunt Bauman and other theorists who try to make abstract definitions of globalization more tangible through the use of metaphor.7 The interplay and intersections

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Zygmunt Bauman’s differentiation between solid and liquid modernity has established an influential theoretical and imaginative framework for globalization studies. In Liquid Modernity, he writes: “Fluids travel easily […]; unlike solids, they are not easily stopped—they pass around some obstacles, dissolve some others and bore and soak their way through others still. From the meeting with solids, they emerge unscathed, while the solids they have met, if they stay solid, are changed, get moist or drenched. The extraordinary mobility of fluids is what associates them with the idea of ‘lightness.’ […] We associate ‘lightness’ or ‘weightlessness’ with mobility and inconstancy. […] These are reasons to consider ‘fluidity’ or ‘liquidity’ as fitting metaphors when we wish to grasp the nature of the present, in many ways novel, phase in the history of modernity” (2).

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of five types of irregular, evolving flows, which he calls ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes, and ideoscapes, drive the production of unique cultural realities. For Appadurai, ethnoscapes involve the actual physical mobility of individuals and groups, such as tourists, refugees, guest workers, and international students who cross borders and shift cultures, but also include imagined mobility, such as travel fantasies or relocation plans. Stable communal structures continue to exist, but their forms are fractured and unraveled by mobility as increasing numbers of individuals and groups want to, or are forced to, move across wider scales, within countries and across continents: “As international capital shifts its needs, as production and technology generate different needs, as nation-states shift their policies on refugee populations, these moving groups can never afford to let their imagination rest too long, even if they wish to” (34). Appadurai’s technoscapes refer to global forms of mechanical and information technology and associated material, such as emails and file sharing, that move freely and rapidly across borders. His financescapes involve the processes that carry money around the world at great speed, moving through, bypassing, and instrumentalizing nation-states and other institutions through currency and commodity speculation, for instance. Information is produced and disseminated through mediascapes by media stations, bloggers and journalists, artists, and filmmakers, among others. As “image-centered, narrative-based accounts of strips of reality,” they interconnect and blur what we understand as fact and fiction and “Liquid modernity” becomes a metaphorical basin for key phenomena of the late 20th and early 21st centuries: instant communication; mass displacement; ecological disasters; the disintegration, expansion, and transformation of social networks; and mobile elites. Metaphors help us capture complex phenomena, but, as Winfried Fluck cautions in his discussion of “aesthetic transnationalism” and “political transnationalism,” the conceptual frameworks and language conventions that we develop might be more than a hermeneutical crutch. The language of fluidity and flows can hide, and thus advance, whether deliberately or inadvertently, particular interests, such as “a neoliberal logic in which movements of peoples and ideas” become “the instruments of a new order of global capital” (“A New Beginning?” 379).

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categorize as commodities, news reports, and politics, and become the ingredients of imagined lives for various audiences (35). Finally, ideoscapes are populated by interconnected series and patterns of ideas, images, and narratives produced by influential political actors, such as the nation-state or transnational movements, to sustain, challenge, or acquire power. Among these, ideas from the European Enlightenment worldview, such as ‘freedom,’ ‘sovereignty,’ and ‘democracy’, claim particular power because they are related through an “internal logic” that contains its many variants in a “Euro-American master narrative.” As they became diasporic, these concepts and connections eased in “coherence” and created what Appadurai calls “a loosely structured synopticon of politics, in which different nation-states, as part of their evolution, have organized their political cultures around different keywords” (36). What emerges in this concert of echoes, interpretations, and adaptations is a “variable synesthesia”: The terms of European Enlightenment are endlessly translated by people who, through their transcultural movement and communication, “continuously inject new meaning-streams” (37). Appadurai emphasizes that these global flows are not concurrent, consistent, and predictable because they spring from different origins, assume different velocities, and relate differently to institutional frameworks, communities, and societies. Where they intersect in particular constellations, “disjunctures,” they create “fundamental problems of livelihood, equity, suffering, justice, and governance,” which are global in context, but are locally specific in expression, experience, and impact (“Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination” 5-6). Violent displacement, as in the case of Syria, is one example: As narratives and images of privileged lifestyles and human rights discourses move across the globe and intersect, they create a desire for similar standards of living and fuel opposition to violent and oppressive state power. Oftentimes, refugees turn to the same countries for a better, safer life that supplied the weapons with which violent regimes drove them away from their homes. Their countries of refuge are used to actively shaping global flows of discourses, arms, and consumer culture, but are unprepared to respond to the challenges that arise from mass

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migration because they only have a detached, abstract relationship to the impact of their own decisions and products. In 2015, the reductive notion of a ‘refugee crisis’ served to obscure the causal links between mass migration, the global arms trade, military interventions, the ecological consequences of rampant, unsustainable economic growth, and the exploitation of natural resources by leading industrial powers. The evolving climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic are also products of disjunctive flows and examples for phenomena that Ien Ang, drawing on Jake Chapman’s classification, presents as “messes”. They are termed messes because they are characterized by a degree of complexity that makes it difficult to disentangle them from other equally complex issues, assign responsibility for their occurrence, and determine effective approaches to their solution (“Navigating Complexity” 786-7). The same development can be experienced as innovation by some and as a crisis of meaning and agency by others. This is the case with the technological transformation process that Klaus Schwab has described as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and that Erik Brynjolfsson/Andrew McAfee refer to as the Second Machine Age (2MA): Unprecedented data storage capacities, machine learning, and the interconnected use of new technologies such as cyber-physical systems (CPS), blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI) create conditions under which knowledge becomes automated. This will make many of the jobs that we hold today superfluous and completely change the contexts in which all of us live, learn, teach, and work. The access to competency-based and metacognition-oriented education will determine whether or not we will be employable, understand how these technologies work, assess their ethical ramifications, and navigate their impact on our societies more broadly. Thus, according to the 2020 World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” report, essential skills now include critical thinking, specifically systems analysis, active learning strategies, complex problem-solving, creativity and innovation, adaptability and stress resilience, emotional intelligence and negotiation (36).8 The Fourth Industrial Revolution will likely deepen 8

The 2017 report “A Future that Works. Automation, Employment, and Productivity” by the McKinsey Global Institute details the effect of the 4IR on the future

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already existing inequities and create new ones across the global landscape because an education that builds these skills is not available to many. These examples show that the five dimensions of Appadurai’s global flows are “deeply perspectival constructs” that are experienced and interpreted in very different ways by different actors (Modernity at Large 33). Those with privilege, access, and knowledge can use them to their advantage or even co-shape them in their own interest. However, actors who are less privileged, and more negatively impacted by disjunctive flows, can be empowered and, in this way, oppressive and unstainable systems can be changed if we find new ways of connecting our knowledge and fundamentally different experiences into a foundation for effective partnerships. In a powerful appeal to rethink the purpose of academic work, Appadurai ties the potential and responsibility of contributing to a “globalization from below” to the academic communities that can produce global knowledge in the service of solidarity and problem-solving (“Grassroots Globalization” 3).9 We must transform our imagination, “the faculty through which collective patterns of dissent and new designs for collective life emerge” (6), by opening our conception and practice of research, the collective activity that expands the body of knowledge, to the perspectives of communities, actors in (inter-) state fora, and the experiences of those who are negatively impacted or disempowered by globalization (13-8). As a first step, we need to unlearn ineffective strategies to navigate the complexity of our world. Appadurai argues that the academic community

9

of work. Refer to the volume Higher Education in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (2018), edited by Nancy Gleason, for detailed discussions of how the technological jump must and will change university learning. The most prominent institutional instruments that fall under the category of “grassroots globalization” are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that mobilize and connect “highly specific local, national, and regional groups on matters of equity, access, justice, and redistribution” (“Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination” 15). Appadurai specifically emphasizes transnational advocacy networks (TANs) that address problems on a global scale.

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still largely imagines from within the confines of post-war “trait geographies,” maps created in the discursive exchange of social sciences and area studies to capture particular constellations of geographical space, political organization, and cultural forms as seen from a Western perspective; this occurs even though these maps are outdated, ineffective shorthands for more fluid, complex processes (6-7). The academic imagination is, of course, anchored in a specific understanding and practice of research. A specialized community expands upon existing knowledge by adding new information, ideas, and connections and evaluating the novelty, relevance, and reliability of this new knowledge via vetted, systematic procedures (9-10). If the academic community aspires to adapt and respond to a global environment that is characterized by accelerated change, increased diversity, and complex problems, then strict adherence to the established Western research protocol might limit its impact. How can we address the “growing disjuncture between the globalization of knowledge and the knowledge of globalization,” which has been experienced by the academic community as an “inherent temporal lag between the processes of globalization and our efforts to contain them conceptually” (4)? How can we imagine more inclusively and infuse our work with both ethical and political concerns without abandoning its methodological rigor? Or, speaking with Appadurai, how can the academic hive mind elevate the search in its formalized research practice (11)? These questions weave throughout this entire book, and different chapters respond to its different dimensions. It is clear that we need to make new kinds of connections, and Appadurai’s notion of grassroots globalization can help us to understand that qualitatively improved networks of human relationships are the foundation of a new, globalizing imagination. His distinction between “weak” and “strong” internationalization is helpful in this respect. The former requires that new contributors and their ideas integrate into an existing framework and leave its normative foundations unquestioned; the latter broadens the shared pool of meaning because it re-examines the very foundations of academic work, its underlying assumptions and constitutive elements, in partnership with new contributors. Scholars from different generations, traditions, fields, and societies will inject different conceptions of what

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precisely constitutes new, relevant knowledge, the process by which it is obtained, and the community charged with assessment and accountability (14). We will certainly experience the open-ended democratic deliberations that can produce transdisciplinary approaches, transgenerational collaborations, and “strong internationalization” as arduous and tiring because they will reflect and directly engage with the complexity of the interconnected world which we aim to understand. However, we have reason to believe that these extended deliberations will create foundations for more sustainable, impactful academic communities and inspire new ways of seeing and acting in the world beyond the academy. What will happen to our inner maps of the world if we commit to such radical perspectival inclusion? Appadurai argues that we will conceive of geographies and cultures as “heuristic devices” with which we can begin to investigate the constantly shifting global spatiopolitical or spatiocultural formations we observe; however, these devices must be tested and trained by a vastly expanded dialogue of area imaginations that produce what Appadurai calls “recursive refraction” (7-8). It is not surprising that in North American studies, within which my academic imagination is anchored, the debate about perspectival inclusion has touched upon the narrative core of the field’s self-conception. Exercising transnationalism through its culmination in the global, Edwards and Gaonkar describe the American Century as “an epistemological framework and period of time” that was born at the outset of the Second World War and afterward, under the influences of the Cold War, shaped the scholarly field of American Studies, adding flesh to the mythology of American exceptionalism (1). Edwards and Gaonkar effectively call for a “multilateral” American Studies when suggesting that we need to “provincialize” this omnipresent and omnipotent American exceptionalism and geographically extend our studies to include what opens up when we approach America as a nodal point through which people, practices, goods, ideas, and images pass (25-6). These multitudinous archives build towards an “emerging multilateral imaginary” (6), which does not render obsolete Winfried Fluck’s assessment that “far from going outside the United States, we have to go back inside” (“Inside

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and Outside” 28). In fact, the study of curricula offers an opportunity to locate the “glocal” America, to survey its “inside” as it reconfigures itself to emerge in new forms, and address it as a site of disjunctures. In summary, engaging with Appadurai’s conception of disjunctive flows and call for grassroots globalization can help us chart a new approach to and purpose for education. Our teaching and learning must firstly respond to the “growing disjuncture” that we observe “between the globalization of knowledge and the knowledge of globalization” (“Grassroots Globalization” 4) through its capacity to connect the individual with the collective imagination and the academic with vernacular discourses. It can then fuse the academy’s descriptive, analytical approaches with strategic, activist responses to globalization. This also carries us a step further in translating the Deweyan vision of education as a driver of social transformation and the curriculum as its program of action, as a verb, into the globalizing world of the 21st century. However, we must find a position to speak from and a voice to speak with when living, learning, teaching, and researching in a world of flows, multilateral imagination, and recursive refraction. Kwame Anthony Appiah’s notion of a “rooted cosmopolitanism” offers guidance about how we might do precisely that.

2.4

Rooted Cosmopolitanism – Anchoring in a World of Flows

Appiah’s “rooted” cosmopolitanism refers to a theoretical position and a practical orientation toward shared living and learning in a culturally diverse, but increasingly interconnected, world. It is anchored in both the European tradition of political liberalism and in his family’s experience of illiberal political rule in Ghana, specifically with reference to his father’s “sense of his own dignity and the dignity of his fellow citizen that was the product of Asante conceptions” (Ethics of Identity 269). The place in which we first plant roots shapes the lens through which we first make sense of and learn to be a part of the world. However, Appiah reminds us that because identity formation is an experiencebased process, our roots multiply, and our identities branch out and

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transform as we begin our journeys in the world and connect with different people, perspectives, beliefs, values, and approaches. Today, the liberty to move freely, experience, and learn is a privilege. It is not enjoyed by all and comes with a particular responsibility: “Remember that you are citizens of the world,” Appiah quotes from his father’s final letter to his children, reminding them of the choice of community that is offered by their world citizenship, but also of their responsibility to leave each place of their choosing “better than you found it” and to commit to “taking responsibility with [emphasis added] that community for its destiny” (213). The freedom and the responsibility of choice along with an understanding of identity as multi-stranded provide the core structure of his cosmopolitanism. This core structure has expanded upon liberalism’s ethical presuppositions: A commitment to the value of the individual that resides in dignity and autonomy. For Appiah, cosmopolitanism and liberalism complement each other because “it is the variety of human forms of life that provides the vocabulary of the language of individual choice” (“Cosmopolitan Patriots” 633). A cosmopolitanism that is situated in a liberal worldview appreciates social and cultural diversity when it enables human agency, “self-creation that is at the heart of meaningful human life” (Ethics of Identity 268). However, bringing into dialogue the liberal emphasis on the dignity and autonomy of the individual and a cosmopolitanism, which “in the first instance, must take seriously the value of human life, and the value of particular human lives, the lives people have made for themselves, within the communities that help lend significance to those lives” (2223) creates tensions. First of all, each of our choices must favor some individuals, including ourselves, over others. Secondly, while we may generally care about our fellow citizens and commit to making our shared world better, in our own neighborhood or a place on the other side of the globe, “our identities, our identifications, make some ties matter to us, and give rise to ethical communities” (237). For Appiah, these unequal ties make us human; we do not have to “abjure all local allegiances and partialities in the name of a vast abstraction, humanity” (Cosmopolitanism xvi). Instead, we must integrate a particular form of universalism with “the legitimacy of at least some forms of partiality” (Ethics of Iden-

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tity 222-3). When faced with the choice, most of us will pledge allegiance to those we feel close to, whether in terms of emotional or geographical proximity, experience, traditions, beliefs, or values. Furthermore, the evolving, multi-stranded, and intersectional nature of identity leads us to simultaneously maintain various forms of partiality: It is because humans live best on a smaller scale that liberal cosmopolitans should acknowledge the ethical salience of not just the state but the county, the town, the street, the business, the craft, the profession, the family as communities, as circles among the many circles narrower than the human horizon that are appropriate spheres of moral concerns. (246) As Appiah states, just because we are all biologically human, this does not mean that we can rely on a shared ethical framework to facilitate our connection and agreement (252). When we join different communities and societies, for instance, we often navigate deep disagreement about the interpretation of a particular value or the application of a particular right. How can a rooted cosmopolitanism help us to proceed practically in view of complex problems that demand our collaborative action?10 Appiah argues—echoing Hannerz’s perspective and in some sense extending it—that the task of cosmopolitanism lies in constructive dialogue across differences in belief, experience, and imagination and demands that cosmopolitans constantly practice their “ability to listen and to talk to people whose commitments, beliefs, and projects may seem distant from our own” (246). This means that we must seek out and inhabit another area of tension. As we try to co-create more inclusive and sustainable forms of co-existence, because we desire a meaningful, dignified life and overall wellbeing for all humans, we must recognize that others will hold very different understandings of what constitutes such a life. How shall we proceed when our differences in beliefs and values undermine both connection and collaborative action? Appiah suggests 10

In The Honor Code, Appiah states that “though it matters morally what we think and feel, morality is, at heart, about what we do,” accordingly describing “moral revolutions” as “rapid transformations in moral behavior” (xi).

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“sidling up” to our differences, rather than confronting them directly, and offers the powerful tool of narration, the human ability to tell and engage with stories: What makes the cosmopolitan experience possible for us, whether as readers or as travelers, is not that we share beliefs and values because of our common capacity for reason, […] but the grasp of a narrative logic that allows us to construct the world to which our imaginations respond. […] [T]he basic human capacity to grasp stories, even strange stories, is also what links us, powerfully, to others, even strange others. (257) Appiah argues that individuals and communities who have established a conversational relationship, by relating parts of one another’s worlds through stories, create foundations upon which they can address divisions of various kinds, including heightened forms of conflict. If we get to know and appreciate others for various facets of their personalities, then they will carry richer meaning for us and impact our perspectives in deeper, more durable, and evolving ways. We are more open to listening and learning from others if they are our friends and partners: “You can begin with the assumption that you like and respect each other even though you don’t agree on everything” (“Sidling Up to Difference” 00:15:30-00:15:36).11 Even if certain decisions and outcomes disappoint us, according to Appiah, we can more easily accept them if we have felt recognized and actively engaged as they were being made. It seems that the stories we share and the conversations we hold essentially become the “texture of our relationships” (00:15:51-00:16:15; 00:17:23-00:17:25). What is it about stories that allow us to “sidle up” to difference? Stories can change our cognitive and emotional modes, allowing us to mediate complexity as we tell and engage with them. First of all, they help us imagine and create entry points to someone else’s experience and interpretation of the world, thereby temporarily restructuring our 11

Appiah explains in conversation with Krista Tippett that he uses “conversation” in its older, broader meaning of associating, of living in community through the exchange of thoughts and gestures (00:17:14). See also Cosmopolitanism xix.

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perception and reflection around new coordinates. They also invite us to inhabit multilayered phenomena and mechanisms that would otherwise remain inaccessible, due to their abstraction or intensity. Stories have a linear form and particular pace; our exposure to a different world or immersion into a new perspective through stories is gradual because we must tell stories and listen to them one word and sentence at a time. In this sense, storytelling does not permanently reduce the complexity of its ecology, but instead brackets it to orient and anchor our minds when we are overwhelmed by contradictions, differences, and novelty. Stories can both reduce and induce complexity, depending on how we choose to tell and use them. In making space for engaging with the unfamiliar, storytelling creates the foundation for new attachments, new modes of thinking, and new knowledge. This crucially includes the awareness that the problems we encounter, read about in the news, and study (often in abstraction) connect us with other humans and to our shared environment—to an existential degree in the case of species extinction and climate change. As Ang remarks, simplification is a matter of degree and balance; in the absolute, it turns simplistic, disempowering us in the comfortable havens of single narratives that set us up to be haunted by “a surprising or disturbing element that could not be fit into the simple scheme.” Narration, in its peculiar interplay of empathetic engagement and simplification, must serve to “plot a course through complexity” (“Navigating Complexity” 780) rather than away from it. In highly charged, emotionally polarizing situations we might not even be able to begin with our own, more personal story, but instead “sidle up” to our differences through practical work towards a shared goal or in service to others, leaning on it as the first story that “connects” us across seemingly unmanageable difference. A project that pursued this path is the subject of Linda Mill’s short documentary Of Many (2014). It shows how, during a period of increasing polarization and tension between Jewish and Muslim students on the NYU New York campus, the friendship between the university chaplains Rabbi Yehuda Sarna and Imam Khalid Latif became the cornerstone of a multi-faith community anchored in the desire to support those in crisis. Working together offcampus in post-Katrina New Orleans, away from familiar geographies

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of conflict, students connected through their shared dedication to faith. This gradually created a space for conversation across religious and political divides. Engagements of this kind require continuous courage from all participants, especially when we cannot rely on trusted and relatable community leaders who model the curiosity, humility, and appreciation that is characteristic of the cosmopolitan stance and sensibility. When the problems that we face in globalizing societies have acquired such complexity that only unprecedented forms of collaboration might solve them, then the cosmopolitan’s ability to build relationships across differences emerges as a cornerstone practice. Here we encounter a problem of scale: How do we translate Appiah’s image of successful interpersonal relationships, which many of us might already experience as difficult to maintain within our chosen communities, into a more widespread social practice? Appiah argues that we must be willing to acknowledge and act on the basis of the importance of getting into dialogue with individuals of backgrounds very different from our own (“Sidling Up to Difference” 00:18:54-00:19:02). We must actively create diversified networks of ethical communities and alliances. Just like our narrative-based engagement with others forms the “texture” of our relationships, our relationships shape how we imagine the world and become the blueprints of our impact in it. We must decide, again and again, to cultivate virtues such as curiosity, humility, and generosity and to practice hospitability and openness toward the unfamiliar. Taking such a stance requires us to change our relationship to and understanding of conflict, a degree of tension prompted by difference that we experience as threatening and disruptive to connection in some form. Identity-based difference shows particular potential for escalating interpersonal conflict which, as Sarah Schulman describes in Conflict is Not Abuse (2016), can enable self-victimization and impede self-reflexivity and accountability if it is confused with harm or abuse. If we lack the skills and resilience to engage with perspectives, positions, and choices that may conflict with our own, then we become more likely to become defensive, to retreat, and to seek refuge in analog or virtual echo chambers, on and off-campus. However, in order to pursue such

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difficulty and discomfort continuously, beginning with the actual acquisition of the respective skills, we need to first have a strong sense of purpose and access to “practice spaces” that are conducive to such purposeful interactions and personal conversations. Schools and universities can and, in the absence of comparably effective social structures, must provide both.

2.5

Different Roots, Shared Meanings — How Higher Education Can “Sidle up to Difference” and Create New Forms of Co-Learning Partnerships

We can expect a deepening crisis of imagination, meaning, and agency in many societies and communities if we do not develop new mindsets and competencies that help all teachers and learners become more resilient. This becomes clear when we consider the extent to which the accelerated change, increased diversity, and complex, interrelated problems produced by present-day globalization shape every aspect of our lives in the 21st century. This assigns a crucial role to all educational institutions, particularly universities seeking to globalize their knowledge production, operations, and social impact. Because education is the process through which humans adapt to and create change, we must redesign it to create more sustainable systems and ways of living. However, because our schools and universities are microcosms of social life, the very crises we want to address saturate our learning communities and undermine our efforts to both teach and learn. The prism of -isms around which extensive literatures cluster illuminates our inability to navigate overwhelming complexity: Casteism, classism, racism, sexism, ableism, and even speciesism are woven into the fabric and climate of formal education. For universities specifically, this situation is further complicated by the secondary education system’s limited capacity to provide a common knowledge and competency core and the deferment or extension of students’ cognitive and emotional maturation into their early to mid-twenties in many postindustrial Western

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societies.12 In light of these immense challenges, it is understandable that universities are reluctant to explore a holistic approach to teaching and learning because this might imply the adoption of roles, responsibilities, and services previously associated with schools, parents, and sometimes psychologists. The undergraduate curriculum has become a focal point of this debate because it collapses what one might think of as a remedial dimension and a generative dimension of teaching and learning: We must simultaneously address shortcomings in our approaches and existing systems and develop entirely new approaches and systems. For example, how might we create meaningful and relevant educational opportunities for all students as university communities and societies diversify? How do we address tensions that arise at the intersections of cultural, ethnic, generational, racial, religious, and socioeconomic differences? How do we critically assess established hierarchies and imagine more equitable, inclusive, and democratic learning environments and transparent, accountable institutional decisionmaking? Finally, how do we incite positive, sustainable change beyond our campus walls? While most universities will now present the goal of educating global citizens and change-makers in their mission statements, they still struggle to develop curricular formats that convincingly respond to the glocal complexity of contemporary learning. The different approaches presented in the following section contribute es-

12

An investigation of the U.S. landscape of secondary education is outside the scope of this book. However, James W. Loewen’s critical examination of twelve popular U.S. high school history textbooks and the ecology of their production in Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your History Textbook Got Wrong (1996) allows for a glimpse into an aspect of curricular debate that is intimately connected to the subject at hand. Loewen finds that U.S. textbooks create and reproduce factually false, Eurocentric, and mythologized views of American history. Thus, for example, the doctrine of the "discovery of America,” invisibility of racism and anti-racism in textbooks, the ideology of the “land of opportunity,” or general progress linearity lead to an airbrushing of violent histories, disconnect these histories from students’ lives, and suppress diversity, controversy, and conflict in the classroom.

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sential parts to the model that I propose for undergraduate education in Chapter 4. The study abroad format comes to mind immediately when we think about global education. Depending on our own experience, as educators and students, we might associate great potential and severe limitations with it. Study abroad can offer access to particular experience-based learning opportunities that will accelerate students’ cognitive and emotional growth and allow them to develop specific, transcultural competencies, which promise to strengthen their employability in a globalizing market after they graduate. Additionally, these programs are often intuitively linked to cultural immersion and mutual understanding, which seems to imply a positive impact of study abroad on host societies. What can we learn from them as we revisit curricular design for globalizing societies?

2.5.1

From the Outside in? — Broadening and Diversifying the Experiential Geography of Learning Through Study Abroad

Within the broader conceptual and professional field of international or global education, “study abroad” usually refers to an academic program through which educational institutions extend curricular, forcredit learning that counts toward a student’s degree across national borders and cultural contexts.13 As such, it emerged in the early 20th

13

Scholarship on academic learning in an international context is extensive and employs countless terms to categorize students’ experiences. Among them, “international education,” “the internationalization of higher education,” “global education,” “education abroad,” and “study abroad” have been used interchangeably. Hans de Wit has provided an overview of existing definitions and conceptual frameworks (103-20). He differentiates between an “international dimension” of education, “international education,” and the “internationalization of higher education” (39, 119). “Study abroad” occurred as part of all three trajectories, evolving throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. I choose to use this term here (as opposed to “education abroad”) because it remains one of the most commonly used and widely recognized expressions. One reason

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century when several initiatives expanded and regularized what had been rather “incidental” (de Wit 13) international academic mobility prior thereto. Before and during the 19th century, socio-economically privileged students, usually male, would go abroad for their version of the European Grand Tour, study in another country for some time without being formally matriculated, or obtain a degree unavailable in the U.S. In fact, in the late 19th century, a university president like Harvard’s Charles W. Eliot even discouraged study abroad because prolonged residence abroad in youth, before the mental fibre is solidified and the mind has taken its tone, has a tendency to enfeeble the love of country, and to impair the foundations of public spirit in the individual citizen […]. In a strong nation, the education of the young is indigenous and national. It is a sign of immaturity and decrepitude when a nation has to import its teachers, or send abroad its scholars. (qtd. in de Wit 21) The founding of organizations like the Institute for International Education (IIE) and the American University of Cairo in 1919 foreshadowed a new academic imagination that began to link a well-rounded education to different learning environments and to diversified learning communities. This imagination became increasingly connected to the politically motivated pursuit of international peace through transcultural understanding after World War I. As William Hoffa describes, three different program designs emerged in the 1920s and provided the blueprints for contemporary forms of study abroad: the Junior Year Abroad (JYA), the faculty-led study tour, and the short-term/summer might be that the conceptual framework of “study abroad” has remained relatively stable throughout the 20th century; another reason certainly lies in its increasing commodification as part of an expanding education market. However, as the case study in Chapter 3 shows, the descriptor “abroad” might become outdated as the globalization of higher education progresses. If more students choose to enroll in institutions outside of their home countries, while more of these institutions spread their operations across a network of locations within and beyond national borders, “study abroad” will become a matter of individual perspective and ineffective as a descriptive term.

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study. The JYA established full cultural and linguistic immersion as a learning outcome for degree studies. After one or two years of college coursework at a U.S. institution, students would continue their education in a country in which the language they had studied was natively spoken. A specialized administrative structure was developed to support them as they navigated their new learning environment with limited language proficiency and an evolving cultural familiarity (82-3). The “semester at sea,” a faculty-led “global survey” curriculum involving stops in different countries, shifted this bi-cultural approach toward greater academic and experiential breadth. Students were instructed in regular college subjects such as English, history, and economics following U.S. standards while onboard a cruise ship and, additionally, in specialized knowledge about each country that they would visit before they explored it through field trips. In this model, navigating transitions between different geographies and cultural contexts became a focus of the learning process. Curated exposure to cultural and political diversity was thought to enable students to think and act in an international context. This competency in what was often framed as “cultural diplomacy” could translate into promising career opportunities and concrete contributions to more cooperative, peaceful societies (Hoffa 86-97). These examples illustrate how higher education internationalized its frame of reference, but it did not create curricular formats based on a deliberate and reciprocal exchange of expertise and experience between students and host societies. Instead, academic mobility retained a perspective we might, following Hannerz’s typology, associate with tourism or expatriatism. At the same time, these small-scale endeavors in transcultural learning did not attract broad institutional attention at sponsoring U.S. universities. They focused on the pressing large-scale task of accommodating rising numbers of students within a consolidating U.S. higher education system, which retained a primarily national focus until the end of World War II. The post-war expansion of U.S. American universities is consensually read as a “distinctive historical episode,” differentiated from earlier decades by “unique ideological and geopolitical conditions” tied to the experience of World War II and the ensuing Cold War (Hollinger 2).

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During this “Golden Age,” a dramatic increase in federal funding, that was partly cold-war elicited, made knowledge production the modern university’s central task and, in a sense, shaped the research dimension of post-war expansion via the disciplines (Bender 7-8).14 In this context, Appadurai notes how in the three decades following World War II, social and area studies shaped a “realist” map of the world, which positioned “theory and method” as “naturally metropolitan, modern, and Western” and framed the non-Western world through the “idiom of cases, events, examples, and test sites in relation to this stable location for the production or revision of theory” (“Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination” 4). We can deduce that, even as educational exchange pathways increased with the explicit goal of promoting mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations and cultures, most notably with the founding of the Fulbright Scholarship program in 1946, students and their faculty imagined and observed these cultures as stable, discreet entities within a modernization paradigm. Thus, while study abroad became one of the most visible expressions of an evolving “international dimension” (de Wit 114) in undergraduate education, it retained much of its original character and could not realize its built-in potential: the empowerment of cosmopolitans who would contribute in meaningful ways to their host societies and build toward a multilateral academic imagination and truly global knowledge through their own learning experiences. Academic and professional approaches to study abroad are changing for several reasons. For example, the accelerated “diversification” in enrollment demographics and disciplinary study challenged the canonized Eurocentric, Protestant, white, male perspectives from 14

The “Golden Age” or boom phase was followed by a “bust,” an accelerated “diversification” or “fragmentation” that became noticeable in the mid-1970s. For more detailed accounts of various lengths, refer to Clark Kerr’s The Uses of the University (1963; 5th ed., 2001), Thomas Bender’s “Politics, Intellect, and the American University, 1945–1995” (1997), Louis Menand’s “College: The End of the Golden Age” in the New York Review of Books (2001), and David Hollinger’s (“Introduction”) and Roger Geiger’s chapter (“Demography and Curriculum”) in The Humanities and the Dynamics of Inclusion Since World War II (2006).

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the mid-1970s on and promulgated questions about diversity, equity, inclusion, and, ultimately, belonging within the scholarly community, a given scholar’s legitimate subject area, the relationship between academic and public discourses, and canons that informed the content of curricula.15 These debates encapsulate study abroad in the early 21st century. The growth of the study abroad sector following the end of the Cold War also specifically sparked debates about how these programs express and perpetuate the processes and phenomena of globalization. This has prompted increasingly critical investigations of its main rationales. Mission statements and recruitment materials routinely connect learning experiences abroad with the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and mindsets that credential students as “cosmopolitans,” “global citizens,” and as “change-makers.” But how do contemporary study abroad programs approach the “glocal” complexity of experience-based learning? Which mindsets and competencies do students actually develop? How can their learning contribute to mutual understanding and make a positive impact where it “takes place”? As Streitwieser and Light remark, “within the study abroad field more widely […] there is no meaningful consensus yet about how to define or measure Global Citizenship” and study abroad providers rarely discuss the pedagogical approaches that will empower students to develop the competencies associated with this ideal or share empirical evidence of their successful acquisition (67-8). While students often identify study abroad as an opportunity to expand their comfort zone and to 15

This struggle took very different forms in the interplay of academic work, policy changes, and movements that, beginning in the late 1960s, increasingly transcended on- and off-campus communities. For example, Jonathan Scott Holloway discusses the dynamics behind the establishment of Black Studies programs in “The Black Scholar and the Politics of Racial Knowledge Since 1945,” and Rosalind Rosenberg shows how Women’s Studies programs challenged disciplinary boundaries as they pursued female solidarity, criticized institutional responses to affirmative action mandates, and advocated for a value- and experience-based conception of research in “Women in the Humanities. Taking Their Place.” These and other insightful contributions are included in David Hollinger’s The Humanities and the Dynamics of Inclusion Since World War II (2006).

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“grow” intellectually, professionally, and emotionally, it is not clear how they connect this growth with global citizenship, cosmopolitanism, or leadership and whether or not they identify with these concepts and ideals at all.16 My discussion of the principles of pragmatist education, the effects of glocalization, and the promise of an evolving global research imagination (carried by rooted cosmopolitans) has suggested that new forms of collaboration and partnership are the essential foundation upon which a cosmopolitan mindset, sensibility, and skill set can develop. This highlights the promise and limitation that study abroad programs must wrestle with. They can meaningfully add to global citizenship education as glocalities, as nodal points of global flows and thus windows into their disjunctures, but only if they overcome their own peripheral tendencies, which, as some scholars argue, fuel an industry that frames learning for capitalist gain and corporate success. Anthony Ogden has captured what he sees as an unequal, unjust, and destructive relationship between study abroad programs and host societies in the metaphor of the “venerable veranda” (36). 17 He observes

16

17

As Streitwieser and Light note in their discussion of “The Grand Promise of Global Citizenship Through Study Abroad,” scholarship has begun only in the past ten years to explore the relationship between study abroad and European identity and citizenship, while research on this aspect of study abroad in the context of U.S. higher education is even more limited. Their study of how U.S. undergraduate students define and relate to the notion of global citizenship adds a typology of five conceptions: “global existence,” “global acquaintance,” “global openness,” “global participation,” and “global commitment” (68-70). I would argue that all five dimensions must be present to form the cosmopolitan competencies, imagination, and sensibility that I have described in this chapter. We can read them as successive stages, with “global commitment” being the fullest expression of a cosmopolitan mind- and skill set. I draw on Anthony Ogden’s comparison between U.S. study abroad programs and colonial systems to highlight what marks, in my opinion, the central challenge for global education: creating meaningful, relevant learning opportunities that empower students to contribute to the solution of complex problems and shape their respective glocal learning environments in partnership with others. I recognize, of course, that innovative approaches to study abroad exist and hope that my argument within a vast landscape of scholarship contributes

2. The Ecology of Education

the following trends: Many students initially aspire to develop a nuanced understanding of cultural, historical, and political developments that shape their study abroad location, contribute to their host society, and develop competencies beyond a marketable experience that will boost their professional resume. However, when they arrive, they often seem reluctant to actually engage with aspects of the learning experience that they consider uncomfortable. For example, they might complain that the ‘U.S. student bubble’ keeps them from immersing themselves in local life, but select English-speaking cultural environments for their study abroad experience, enroll in short-term rather than fullimmersion programs, and generally gravitate toward familiar academic offers characterized by U.S.-centric discourses and U.S.-style grading and teaching. Ogden notes further that, unfortunately, many administrative systems cater to and perpetuate these trends, thereby further disempowering students. Because program administrators manage ‘arduous’ aspects of study abroad, such as immigration processes, health logistics, or volunteering ‘placements,’ for students, they minimize the friction and discomfort that is a key part of self-directed intellectual and transcultural learning. When programs give one-sided attention to complexity, for example, by carefully addressing the diversity within their student community while, perhaps inadvertently, homogenizing the host society, then they essentially nourish a hierarchical imagination that centers the student and positions them in opposition to a stereotyped “Other.” Thus, Ogden concludes that student services can reinforce a sense of superiority and entitlement in students who struggle to engage with “differing cultural patterns of socialization,” enforce what is commonly referred to as the ‘language barrier,’ undermine the curiosity and the resilience students need in order to engage with difference and complexity, and commodify local culture. If students fail to develop a sense of belonging or responsibility regarding their host societies, he suggests, then this is due to this essentially colonial “infrastructure which supports the privileged position of the student over to the overall reorientation of the study abroad field so that it can more actively and intentionally align learning with sustainable, positive change.

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the local” by focusing on “access, consumption, and personal gain” (3640).18 One might take issue with a few aspects of Ogden’s argument as summarized here, including its premise that U.S. programs abroad educate “colonial students.” However, it challenges us to take stock of a format that is central to our conceptions of global learning. Considering the normative framework within which study abroad was founded and scaled, its short duration, and its limited integration into undergraduate curricula and overall institutional vision, how can higher learning abroad contribute to the multilateral academic imaginary and rooted cosmopolitanism Appadurai and Appiah have called for? If we adopt a Deweyan perspective, then it becomes clear that the challenges and shortcomings identified by Ogden and other critics originate in a series of interrelated, institutionalized disconnects within the learning environment: a disconnect between the cognitive and the emotional dimensions of learning, which shows in a lack of curiosity or confidence; an interruption of the organic relationship between the subject matter, what students learn while abroad, and the method, how they learn it; a disconnect between the curricular content of coursebased learning and students’ experience of specifically glocal complexity beyond the classroom; and, crucially, a rift between higher education communities and their social environments. We can mend these disconnects if we consistently apply the core principle of experiencebased learning. The term “immersion,” which is popular among study abroad scholars and practitioners, usually refers to a student’s successful integra18

Various other features of study abroad can potentially reinforce the student’s privileged position in a way that undermines cosmopolitan learning: schedules that avoid classes on Friday and invite unreflective and often unsustainable three-day travel weekends; field trips that smoothen and frame experiences by privileging observation over participation and interaction; and highly secured research and study facilities only accessible to study abroad students of a given organization. For a more detailed discussion of the dynamic I have briefly summarized, refer to Ogden’s “The View from the Veranda: Understanding Today’s Colonial Student.”

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tion into the cultural context of their study abroad location. Recalling the pragmatist understanding of experience as a mutually transformative interaction between a person and their environment, we realize that immersion is more than that. It refers to a self-directed, curious, and respectful engagement with the host society that leads the student to develop a nuanced understanding of their learning ecology and that transforms their pre-existing worldviews. However, it crucially implies the same for the host society’s communities and organizations with which the student interacts. The connective tissue needed for student learning to positively impact the environment in which it occurs can only grow if the learning is reciprocal. For Dewey, the ethical horizon of a pragmatist learning practice was “moral democracy”—a heterogeneous social organism whose diverse parts act with social interest and the macrolevel equivalent to each individual’s growth towards “self-realization.” Study abroad must move from the periphery of observing and consuming to the center of contributing and co-creating, thereby approaching the ‘host’ society as a cosmopolitan home within the purview of ethical partiality. A socially engaged practice of this kind translates into a profound commitment to mutual understanding and collaborative action, rather than benevolent patronization. Accordingly, the resulting relationships will bear all of the ambivalence, contradictions, and conflicts of glocal complexity. The questions, challenges, and tensions that arise provide essential stimuli for the integration of classroom-based learning, community building, learning journeys, and other program components that are often considered separately into a holistic approach. They will provide the training ground for essential competencies that all learners need in the fast-changing, diversifying societies that require complex problem-solving. Consider how students will naturally draw on the repertoire of gestures, communicative patterns, and discursive perspectives they have been socialized or taught to use in similar situations during the first phase of a study abroad experience. Encountering misunderstanding, irritation, or open conflict in interaction with others challenges them to critically examine and adapt this repertoire. As students contextualize a challenging situation culturally and historically, actively engage with their emotional responses to it, and criti-

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cally reflect upon its meaning and consequences, they can integrate it within existing knowledge, cognitive patterns, and skill sets and apply what they have learned to future situations with greater literacy. This process of experimentation, interpretation, reflection, and application builds the thicker, extended, and diversified knowledge and skill structures that Hannerz and Appiah attribute to cosmopolitans and that Appadurai attributes to all activist academics who want to contribute to grassroots globalization. As students and their partners experiment with different forms of collaboration and build new habits of thinking and acting with others, the findings from an initial encounter become the foundings of new relationships and practices: new cosmopolitan structures on the individual and the collective levels. In other words, the paradigm for study abroad is not integration, but co-creation. The Emersonian conception of life in “ever-widening circles” (Cavell, The Senses of Walden 128) illustrates and normalizes this deep learning process, which integrates the discomfort that is associated with the loss of secure ground—a specific kind of familiarity—and the impulsivity, creativity, and resilience associated with stepping into the unknown to discover new connections and to found a new circle, thereby expanding one’s familiar territory. However, this movement also highlights how important the psychological dimension of growth is. We need to move somewhere to find something, and we need to move again to found something new. The movements toward finding and founding are not fully continuous, but involve leaps into the yet unfamiliar, marked by a moment of departure and separation.19 As students immerse themselves 19

The relationship between “findings” and “foundings” in this context is inspired by Saito’s engagement with Deweyan growth from the standpoint of Emersonian moral perfectionism, which involves the idea of “finding as founding” (8990). Emerson discussed the sense of groundlessness that is associated with losing or leaving a familiar path in “Experience.” Cavell developed this into the starting point of a philosophical project, a step-by-step movement through a series of new findings that cannot be continuous because “foundation reaches no farther than each issue of finding” (Cavell, This New Yet Unapproachable America 114). Highlighting the Emersonian influence in Dewey’s thinking, Saiko suggests that this “moment of unsettlement and displacement” (91) can guide

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in a new cultural context and begin to build partnerships, they might struggle with the experience of a temporary loss of footing or foundation and might need various forms and degrees of support to move from regret and aversion to curiosity and confidence. The word that best describes the condition and competency that allows us to leave our footing and to begin a new circle is resilience, a term that has become increasingly popular in mainstream and scholarly conversations about psychological development, crisis response, and, increasingly, study abroad itself. It refers to the ability to overcome challenges, recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and counter moments of adversity. Understood as both an innate quality and a dynamic process, it can refer to all kinds of organisms and to entire environments. Learners can develop resilience when educators and psychologists actively support them by co-creating an inclusive, caring learning climate, and by offering guidance in reflection.20

20

a reconstruction of what has been described as Dewey’s antifoundationalist conception of growth. She sees Emerson’s “gleam of light” as a metaphor for uniqueness, becoming, and creative force that reverberates in Dewey’s conceptualization of impulses and intelligence (Saiko 91-2). I mention psychologists because study abroad education must include both intellectual guidance and emotional support to facilitate the process of “finding and founding.” The cognitive and affective dimensions of learning are inextricably linked, especially during the formative phase of emerging adulthood. Consider, as an example, the relationship between transcultural learning and mental health. U.S. study abroad professionals have long used the language of “culture shock” to refer to the discontinuity that is inherent to cultural adjustment. This reinforces a negative mindset regarding mental health and pathologizes the discomfort associated with temporary disorientation in new environments. Recently, more positive language (“culture shift”) has acknowledged and normalized the complexity of cultural and emotional transitions and highlighted them as windows of opportunity. This complexity can certainly negatively affect students’ mental health, substantially increasing their need for support, such as when developmental stressors of emerging adulthood and environmental stressors broadly associated with globalizing societies and crises interface with challenges of studying abroad. However, if educators and psychologists can scaffold the exploration and experimentation that characterize emerging adulthood (and should characterize how we learn across the life span)

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However, a co-creation or partnership model for study abroad has even broader implications. It relies on a more fluid and contextual understanding of both teacher and learner roles. Students, educators, and community partners can contribute their respective expertise to generating new findings, whereas foundings—whether in the form of a new adaptation process, organizational form, or place—require everyone to learn. For example, in order “to determine what knowledge should be taught, what experience is most needed, and how to prepare students to be open and receptive to new learning” (Ogden 40), educators must continuously develop their own competency in several dimensions simultaneously: Who are our students? Which prior knowledge and competencies, expectations, goals, and challenges do they bring? What are the curricular and institutional ecologies that have shaped their learning thus far? Which competencies must students develop as they immerse themselves in their glocality abroad? Who might be good partners to productively connect students’ learning to important questions and pressing problems of their host society? Only with this knowledge can educators develop a holistic approach to learning that foregrounds the interaction with, rather than the mediation of, the host environment. Unfortunately, not many educators have been trained to develop such holistic understanding. An important reason for this lies in the separation of academic life and administrative ‘student services’ in the development of U.S. higher education throughout the 20th century. This separation now manifests itself in the absence of an educational vision that integrates different forms and dimensions of learning within and beyond the classroom. The disconnects between administrators, teachers, and researchers also to build resilience, higher education, and study abroad specifically, become a positive turning-point opportunity for many students. Entry points to the discussion of the relationships between mental health, resilience, and emerging adulthood include Masten et al.’s “Resilience in Emerging Adulthood: Developmental Perspectives on Continuity and Transformation” and Schulenberg and Zarrett’s “Mental Health During Emerging Adulthood: Continuity and Discontinuity in Courses, Causes, and Functions” in Emerging Adults in America: Coming of Age in the 21st Century (2006), edited by Arnett and Tanner.

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further reinforce “the temporal lag” that Appadurai observes “between the processes of globalization and our efforts to contain them conceptually” (“Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination” 4). In fact, they prevent agile curricular responses that are informed by new research on the key drivers of learning: glocalization, increasing complexity and deepening crises, changes in socialization processes and brain development, and insights into the future of education and work, to name but a few. In other words, contemporary institutions demand from or claim to help their students advance a global mindand competency set that they possess themselves in only rare cases. Consequentially, they often fail to lead by example, by consistently reflecting on their educational aims and strategies to align them with their responsibilities in a globalizing world and by rigorously applying a co-learner model. Some study abroad programs might stay in the ‘engagement periphery’ because it is convenient, but most will do so because their communities lack the expertise, skills, and confidence that are the foundation and outcome of active community partnerships. The constricted learning experience of the individual student is an outgrowth of a deeper structural problem we must address. In summary, if we apply a holistic educational perspective, then the shift to a co-creation paradigm has significant implications for all aspects of study abroad program design: It forces us to rethink how we design syllabi, learning journeys, and volunteering initiatives; it changes how and where we teach which competencies; and it generates new program narratives that scaffold and connect all learning experiences for the duration of a program. From such a perspective, U.S. study abroad faces three broad challenges: Educators must identify the competencies that students need so they can connect with and contribute to the local diversity of discourses and initiatives and must design pedagogical approaches that will help them to develop these competencies; they must identify the challenges that their communities can contribute to solving; and they must assess which competencies they need to model, mentor, and support this process. The foundation for this is honest, critical reflection on perhaps uncomfortable questions: Have we educated students who are capable of leaving the observatory spot on “the

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veranda” that we have created for them? If we cannot ensure that students come with the necessary competencies to navigate the emotional and logistical challenges and academic requirements of study abroad, then how must we adjust our expectations and pedagogical approaches to study abroad? With an eye on holistic development, where can we make room for crucial learning that is not captured by degree requirements, such as the fundamental ability to articulate personal boundaries or negotiate in deep-seated interpersonal conflict situations? How can we support students who legitimately struggle to make sense of their own complicity in inequitable, oppressive structures of which Ogden’s veranda is only one complex manifestation? Finally, are we truly open to hearing and responding to the challenges and needs that our students might articulate through (self-) criticism, layered guilt, and anger at the institution in loco parentis? Are we willing to learn the way we expect them to?

2.5.2

From the Inside Out? — Expanding and Diversifying the Internal Maps of Learning

We usually focus on content and pedagogy when discussing curriculum development in order to improve our teaching and learning. However, the theoretical models with which I have engaged as part of my argument highlight sensibility, or mood, as a third dimension that essentially undergirds both. The literary scholar Rita Felski argues that sensibility “refers to an overall atmosphere or climate that causes the world to come into view in a certain way” and, in this capacity, acts as “a prerequisite for any form of interaction or engagement” (20). Emerson has expressed this similarly in his description of life as “a train of moods like a string of beads,” which, as we move through them, “prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus” (473). In this sense, mood modulates our cognition and often, by extension, our action; mood shapes how we approach a text, a challenge, or another person. We associate a partic-

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ular sensibility with how cosmopolitans explore new contexts, connect with others, grow multiple roots, and create new geographies. A closer look at mood, once triangulated with content and method, can chart new curricular currents by drawing out several instructive tensions in our classroom practice. I want to focus on two tensions in particular: The first emerges at the intersection of cognitive and affective dimensions of the learning experience, between the notion of emotional literacy, which is central to the cosmopolitan practice, and predominant styles of academic inquiry, which are normatively tied to a detached, critical sensibility. A second, not entirely unrelated tension arises between the need to establish a shared pool of meaning via an agreed-upon academic communication and collaboration protocol, the central aspect of which is writing, and the engagement with intellectual strangers in and beyond the university community as a prerequisite for a “grassroots globalization.”

2.5.2.1

Emotions Drive Learning — Negotiating the Critical with the Affective

There is widespread resistance to the idea that emotional literacy and facilitation expertise are among the competencies that all university faculty must have. This might be an expression of institutional denial regarding the new responsibilities and challenges associated with teaching and learning in the social ecology of globalizing Western societies. However, it also reflects a core suspicion within the Western academic community toward the affective and the emotional, which are seen as inhibiting rational thought, objectivity, and neutrality. Effectively, academic protocols across disciplines encourage emotional distance from their objects of study, in order to enable critical thinking and to ensure compliance with the Western research ethos. Feminist scholars have argued that the elevation of rational knowledge as presumably more valuable and objective is anchored in the association of emotions with the (female) body, essentially downranking them as distractions from and obstacles to professional, ‘real’ scholarly work. However, as Sara Ahmed has pointed out, what might pass as a hierarchical opposition of rea-

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son and emotion at first glance actually reveals itself to be a hierarchy of different emotions that locates detachment among the “signs of cultivation” (3). Detachment credentials us as capable and, somewhat ironically, generates a sense of belonging and safety within a particular community. When Shari Stenberg writes that “there is […] safety in distanced critique” (287), she implicitly links noncompliance with the established emotional regime to concerns about exclusion from the academic community. In contemplating the “risk” of making our emotions part of teaching, learning, and research (288), she alludes to another strategic function that “distanced critique” might possess: It can also shield us from feeling vulnerable and experiencing pain as our academic work exposes us to the concrete, often heart-breaking manifestations of exclusion, injustice, and exploitation. In light of the serious problems and crises that form the ecology of activist, academic work, it seems that learners, teachers, and researchers need to chart a new balance of affective states and to understand better how different emotions impact the questions, projects, and tasks they need and want to focus on. In the wake of an alleged crisis of the humanities, literary scholars like Rita Felski have set out to debate the very foundations of their discipline by asking anew how we should read, what we should read, and why we should read; in so doing, these scholars are exploring a more affective engagement with works of cultural expression at the expense of the normative centrality of critique. Building on earlier contributions by Eve Sedgwick (“Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading”) and Bruno Latour (“Why has Critique run out of steam?”), Felski presents the habits of thought, methods, and sensibility of critique as a self-assured expression of Paul Ricoeur’s “hermeneutics of suspicion.” For her, this phrase captures the dominant “spirit of modern thought” (1) that spans disciplines as a recognizable tradition of interpretative commentary marked by “an attitude of vigilance, detachment, and wariness” (3); this results, in her discipline specifically, in the production of a “mode of militant reading” (1). Influenced by Marxist and Freudian theories and poststructuralist thought, scholars pursue the strata of hidden meaning of texts and expose the discursive conditions of meaning production ‘behind’ them. They do this with

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[a] spirit of skeptical questioning or outright condemnation, an emphasis on [critique’s] precarious position vis-à-vis overbearing and oppressive social forces, the claim to be engaged in some kind of radical intellectual and/or political work, and the assumption that whatever is not critical must therefore be uncritical. (2) Discourses driven by the hermeneutics of suspicion enriched the academic discourse immensely by opening new areas of inquiry, such as, for example, postcolonial or queer studies. Now, however, it prevents the legitimate consideration of “a wider range of affective styles and modes of argument” (3) that could open up new knowledge fields and ways to engage with works of cultural expression. The mindset and skills of critique, along with its detachment and inquisitive, vigilant sensibility, thus delineate the boundaries of ‘serious’ academic work. Venturing beyond these boundaries involves running the risk of falling prey to power, academic irrelevance, or to naïveté. At the same time, the search for new connections with the objects of our studies, and ultimately ourselves, can yield novel and potentially transformative insights. Critical emotion studies offer helpful perspectives for academic work at the contested intersection of intellectual and emotional engagement. As a growing body of research in the humanities, neuroscience, and learning sciences renews an awareness for the intricate, inseparable relationship of the cognitive and the affective, critical emotion studies set out to establish an understanding of emotions as “embodied phenomena that are profoundly social and cultural in nature” (Winans 150), thereby extending beyond the personal experience of the individual and the moment during which they occur. Our identities evolve out of “the genealogy of how emotions have been responded to, elicited, shaped, and socialized” (Zembylas 28). Essentially, our experience of emotions is always relational, and the meaning that an emotion acquires is always contextual. This has profound implications for learning, teaching, and research. For example, consider how students discover academic interests, choose their majors and concentrations, and develop their research questions. These inclinations and, eventually, commitments grow from and in dialogue with patterns of

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attention. Amy Winans and Megan Boler have highlighted how our attention relates to emotions: The people, questions, and processes that we attend to elicit an emotional response in us, and, in turn, our emotions “select,” guide, and shape what and how we observe. Thus, all phenomena and questions that we pay sustained scholarly attention to reflect a particular sensibility, and our emotions essentially become “inscribed habits of (in)attention” (Boler 180). Emotions, or affective states, impact what and who we engage with, whether or not we seek out complex subject matter, uncomfortable questions, unusual angles, forms of rhetoric, and new relationships. In fact, we could say that they shape the structures of the ethical alliances described by Appiah because they impact “how people form judgments about what constitutes appropriate action or inaction in a given situation—precisely the realm of ethics” (Micciche 169). Once we consider that our own and others’ emotions have histories, contexts, and—by forming the ecology of our thoughts and actions—profound effects on our academic work, we will arrive at a broadened notion of emotional literacy. “Critical emotional literacy” as defined by Winans, entails recognizing experiences of emotions in ourselves, in others, and in groups, and it calls us to identify emotional rules of our environments and communities and to consider their impact. It offers the capacity for exploring how emotions function in terms of constructing knowledge, beliefs, and (intersectional) identities, and, in turn, impacting actions. (155-6) A pedagogy that seeks to cultivate in students an awareness of their roles in navigating identity formation, conflicts, and constellations of power and privilege, and enable them to make conscious decisions regarding the interpretative frameworks at their availability, must model the desired outcome: As we consider new curricular narratives and the characteristics of a more holistic educational approach, we also need to examine how learners and teachers embody and model critical emotional literacy or how they might learn to do so (Winans 154).

2. The Ecology of Education

These glimpses into scholarly debates about the complex relationships between cognitive and affective dimensions of academic work highlight two important insights for curriculum development. First of all, they support a more tangible understanding of sensibility and its impact on learning. Inspired by scholarship on affective reading and emotional literacy, I suggest that our curricula, like all cosmopolitan academic practice, should be conceived in, and aim to create, a particular sensibility: If we want to understand and to solve complex, multilayered problems with others to pursue more sustainable, meaningful ways of coexistence, we must, of course, dissect and deconstruct ideas to critically evaluate meaning, usefulness, applicability and so forth; in so doing, we are harnessing a certain suspicion or mistrust in surface appearances in our re-search, but we must also explore and search to develop and create, leveraging our curiosity and courage to stretch into new connections and approaches to thinking and acting. We must practice world-building. In fact, one could superimpose the revised 2001 version of Bloom’s taxonomy, a useful matrix for understanding and assessing students’ cognitive development, with the hues of their respective moods. Scrutiny, vigilance, and suspicion equally secure and propel “analysis” and “evaluation,” which form the mid-part of the pyramid, while curiosity, courage, and confidence might describe the sensibility that animates its very cusp, the top part that edges forward and stretches toward new knowledge and action, “creation.”21 The tasks formulated by Dewey, Appadurai, and Appiah cannot be accomplished without this latter sensibility. Secondly, the theories introduced briefly concretize further what a holistic approach to education entails within its intra-personal, interpersonal, and institutional spheres. Our emotions and affective states assume a foundational role in learning because they impact upon how we form our identities in relation to others and how we connect and collaborate with these others to affect change. In order to become more resilient in the face of complexity and intensity, learners must develop 21

For a useful representation of Bloom’s revised taxonomy, refer to www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/effective-teaching-practices/revised-blooms-taxonomy/.

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the kind of emotional literacy that Winans describes. We need to understand and modulate affective states on the individual level as we identify our research interests, questions, and methods and on the collective level of professional community-building as we develop new conventions for transdisciplinary, transcultural, and transgenerational collaboration in research, teaching, and learning. Winans introduces “contemplative pedagogy” as one approach to more experiential, intuitive knowledge that can serve to illuminate the relational nature of affective states, habitual thoughts, attention, self-perception, and, ultimately, the learner’s identity development. It does so, for instance, by introducing an external perspective on students’ emotions and thoughts. This can help them to practice mindful approaches to any intensity or discomfort that is experienced, interrupt harmful or limiting cognitive and emotional patterns, and cultivate positive emotions, such as (self-) compassion (Winans 167). As learners who teach, we also need emotional literacy to better understand students’ cognitive and emotional development, determine which affective states might hinder or accelerate new learning, how learning climates form, and how phenomena like “stereotype threat” or “microaggressions” can be mitigated as we seek to empower all students.22 Consequently, our curricular narratives must intentionally and transparently connect cognitive and affective learning and must build a resilient sensibility of curiosity, courage, and confidence.

22

Refer to Claude M. Steele’s Whistling Vivaldi. How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (2010) and to Derald W. Sue et al.’s “Disarming Racial Microaggressions: Microintervention Strategies for Targets, White Allies, and Bystanders” (2019) for detailed descriptions of “stereotype threat” and “microaggressions” and concrete suggestions on how to mitigate them.

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2.5.2.2

(Re-)Writing the Center—Or: How to Share Meaning with Intellectual Strangers?

We might wonder how impactful commonality-oriented conversations, a focus on emotional literacy, and an awareness of the importance of climate and sensibility for learning can be if we do not change the primary mechanism of meaning-making itself—our language. This is all the more necessary when we consider the pervasive inequities and exclusion that permeate all U.S. institutions, including universities, and the increasing polarization that shrinks space for exchange and collaboration. Writing center scholarship has identified the spaces and pedagogies of formal education as sites of unexamined privilege and as barriers to inclusion. In drawing out the link between a particular understanding of literacy and the protocols of articulation and communication in the academic community, in which writing opens or forecloses access to a collective research imagination and novel forms of collaboration, this strand of scholarship treats writing centers as the initiation mechanism and the academic community’s core skill labs. They communicate the established foundations of rhetorical knowledge, formulate institutional expectations regarding thinking, writing, and reading competencies, introduce canonical forms of composition and communication, and create an awareness of disciplinary conventions. Within this framework, they aim to support students in developing an original, scholarly voice.23 To create a “center,” a shared pool of meaning and meaning-making processes, within diversifying learning communities, we must literally rewrite it. Writing center scholars have highlighted the need for a more inclusive pedagogy that disrupts monolingual and, 23

One of the first key theoretical references in the field of writing center scholarship was Nancy Grimm’s Good Intentions: Writing Center Work for Postmodern Times (1999). More recent contributions offering various entry points to the discourses and practices of writing instruction include Harry Denny’s Facing the Center (2010); Bruce Horner et al.’s “Language Difference in Writing: Toward a Translingual Approach” in College English, vol. 73, no. 3, Jan. 2011; Laura Greenfield’s and Karen Rowan’s Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change (2011); and Tiffany Rousculp’s Rhetoric of Respect: Recognizing Change at the Community Writing Center (2014).

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often by extension, monocultural ideologies. Denny, for instance, observes that the students in writing centers at U.S. institutions are often multilingual, using English as a second or third language, while a substantial number of instructors are monolingual English speakers. If this constellation is not critically examined with regard to its intent and its impact, then it can perpetuate forms of “Othering” and frame “ESL [English as Second Language] writers as ‘problems’ to ‘fix’” (122). This points to a challenge we observe in other areas of teaching and learning. In general, many teachers struggle to notice, examine, and, where necessary, unlearn the assumptions and conventions they have internalized, even as an awareness of implicit bias, microaggressions, and stereotype threat has grown as anti-racist pedagogy development moves to the center of institutional inclusion initiatives. For example, they might devote a lot of time to understanding the diversity and identify identity “markers” of their students, but might leave unexamined how these students might read their role and presence in the university community, their bodies and posture, the way they are dressed, their voice, and their facial and gestural expressions. As Denny reminds us, “all of us signify even before we utter words, not just the folks whose performances and bodies are always read as different” (115). This means that writing instruction must find ways to examine its own normative basis. As Denny suggests, greater awareness of the power and politics of language that implicates and impacts upon all members of a learning community can counter a reductive binary and harmful divisions between those who (pass as having) inherited native language literacy and can ‘transfer’ their knowledge to those whose language is perceived, by others and themselves, as flawed or “broken” (132).24 In other words, academic writing instruction should make 24

When we speak of knowledge transfer in the context of teaching and learning, we are usually referring to a process of alternative application: Knowledge and skills from an earlier experience are used within a new contextual framework. Leonard and Nowacek connect transfer scholarship and translingual approaches, for example, showing how the latter can help us to embrace a broader understanding of transfer when it comes to language, because it locates the production rather than the break-down of meaning in language difference (260-

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visible the ideological and practical implications of its canons and codes and open up a broader spectrum of “voices and codes to invoke for rhetorical purposes” (55). If we bear the ecology of transcultural undergraduate education in mind, specifically the interface of developmental and cognitive challenges associated with emerging adulthood and a newly forming scholarly identity expressed in disciplinary or departmental affiliations, then this approach must be applied with great sensitivity toward students’ individual learning journeys to ensure that a broadened spectrum of choices actually empowers, rather than disorients, them. Returning to the image of Emerson’s circles, we might find that it is easier for learners to embrace the ambivalence and disorientation that is always part of founding a new circle, here in the form of a scholarly voice, if they have already experienced a sense of belonging. What will happen if we transpose Appiah’s notion of a multi-stranded, anchored cosmopolitanism into the realm of linguistic identity to rethink writing instruction for the transcultural classroom? Tiffany Rousculp describes how writing centers can also orient such “literacy sponsorship”25 outward and develop partnerships with local communities and organizations that are rooted in a “perception of worth, in esteem for another” and a “rhetoric of respect” (24-5). The Salt Lake Community College’s Community Writing Center (CWC) collaborated with more than 130 community organizations representing primarily “underserved, underrepresented, or vulnerable populations” (151) in the span of a decade. The CWC’s practice of “writing with” (1-2)

25

2). Translingual scholarship inquires how language difference works “expressively, rhetorically, communicatively” and “for whom, under what conditions, and how” (Horner et al. 303-4). This appreciation of difference as a source of meaning can attune writing instruction to the “racial, gendered, institutional, economic, and class-based components of linguistic diversity,” going “beyond recognition of difference “to the matrices of power that regulate that difference” (Leonard and Nowacek 262) and entire learning ecologies. Rousculp refers to the work of Deborah Brandt, who uses this term in her article “Sponsors of Literacy,” published in College Composition and Communication, vol. 49, no. 2, 1998, and discusses it in her book Literacy and Learning: Reflections on Writing, Reading, and Society (2009).

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diverse individuals and communities created potential for positive change because it meant sharing expertise and resources across heterogenous connective spaces and stimulating new forms of community across social and professional contexts. University writing teachers might actually find their most meaningful and challenging training ground in such an extended community terrain. They can (re)discover different forms of literacy, critically reflect on internalized conception of teaching as knowledge transfer, and observe how their own literacy evolves as they adapt to non-traditional students with different professional writing challenges and interests, educational backgrounds, and language proficiencies. This might also better qualify them to support diversifying student populations within their university context. Community writing centers that bridge notions of literacy advanced in different academic and non-academic communities can thus be envisioned as “an alternative to hegemonic structures that determined what (and whose) literacies [are] valid and the means by which people could acquire new literacies” (132). Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTL) that focus on inclusive, agile pedagogy development for university communities can play a similarly transformative role if they see themselves as engines and spaces for activist academics and social change. Such approaches to literacy sponsorship also invite us to reconsider our approach to intellectual strangers, which we may encounter in classrooms, writing centers, and transdisciplinary dialogues with other scholars, but also at any step beyond the university community. The language that we use delineates the scope, depth, and ease of our collaboration with those not initiated into our academic communication protocol. While widely debated, the specialized language of academic communities, including its often complex, sometimes inaccessible syntax and accumulation of terminological neologisms, has been defended as “the mark of [the academic] profession’s autonomy” (Ang, “From Cultural Studies to Cultural Research” 189). In the humanities in particular, it has been viewed as a consistent application of critique, which challenges the normative and natural down to the deceiving ease, accessibility, and clarity of the forms in which it expresses itself (Felski 136-7).

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In this context, Judith Butler argues that working through inaccessible, strange language stimulates our critical thinking where ordinary language may make us too comfortable to think along truly new paths and patterns (“Values of Difficulty” 201, 203). While this may be true, it seems that, through such a communication protocol, critique limits its reach to certain fields and networks within the academic community that have already bought into the rhetorical value of such defamiliarized language and can use it. Accordingly, Ang observes for cultural studies that notions of literacy that are too rigid to accommodate the expansion of specialized disciplinary or professional language into more common speech preclude the engagement of those who “do not already share our approaches and assumptions,” thereby undermining broader collaborations in thought and action (“From Cultural Studies to Cultural Research” 190). While, as Rita Felski’s discussion of “the limits of critique” suggests, the binary “other” of the literary scholar is the lay reader, in cultural studies, a discipline that, as Ang points out, self-identifies as a politically engaged intellectual practice, the “others” seems to be the progressive political actors of the larger society (“From Cultural Studies to Cultural Research” 184-5). They provide a “point of reference” for the Gramscian “organic intellectual” who aims to impact structural social change through radical scholarly work (Hall 281). In globalizing societies and transcultural classrooms, the “others” are all those who act, speak, and write from variously intersectional positions of experiential and epistemological difference. Ironically, it will be especially difficult for those scholars who see themselves engaged in a radical project of fundamental questioning of the structures that mediate and regulate majority lives, loves, and political projects and who derive a sense of community from this critical exteriority to reconsider what constitutes a productive relationship with the institutional, the common, and the straightforward. Many activist academics are perhaps already inherently suspicious of the very institutional structures and conventions of the academy that sustain and legitimize their work, including course evaluations, tenure requirements, and professional etiquette. However, if they want to impact social change beyond the academy, they enter a much bigger force field:

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They must continue to provide a forum for voices regarded as uniquely positioned to subvert and expand current horizons of thinking because their marginality, their position outside of majority thought, does not allow them to profit from the status quo (Felski 141-2), but they have to do this work with new intentions: to form new action-oriented alliances rather than deepen the divides between spheres of inquiry, interpretation, and action. Here, we are reminded of Bernice Johnson Reagon’s claim that in activism we need both “coalition spaces” and “nurturing spaces” (“Coalition Politics” 359-60); the latter is perhaps a preferable alternative to the common call for ‘safe spaces.’ This necessarily impressionistic presentation of different perspectives on literacy suggests that we need to cultivate it as an evolving communal practice guided by a curious rather than anxious sensibility that directly strengthens the diversity and inclusion agenda of our educational institutions. A new view on literacy also helps us to reimagine our universities’ roles in the larger social fabric, requiring boundaries that are more permeable than ivory. In globalizing societies, Dewey’s occupations acquire the dimension of complex global problems of varying local expressions. Contemporary curricula must simultaneously orient the students within the complexity and pace of globalizing societies, empower them to engage with the amplified diversity of difference (that often produces conflict), and equip them with the expertise to respond to global problems in collaboration with others, including their intellectual strangers. In acknowledging the urgency of, and assuming responsibility for, this ambitious task, the university, which has already become a construction site of cultural globalization, must assume a new, more public role. In so doing, it must lend its expertise to the solution of problems and the pursuit of new forms of collaborations. The example of New York University represents a unique institutional iteration of such an educational model; the core curriculum at its portal campus in Abu Dhabi offers a concrete curricular application, critical engagement with which can provide useful clues regarding the content and structure of a glocal undergraduate curriculum that can be adapted to serve different U.S. based institutions.

3. The Case of New York University How Does a University in and of a City Become a University in and of the World?

There has never been a time when bold action on global education is more urgently needed than now. In the face of destructive public discourse on immigration, suspicion of entire religions and ethnic groups, and a range of problems—from climate change to ideological extremism—that defies borders, it is essential that we choose not to retreat but to engage. Nevertheless, let’s begin with the recognition that, as befits a ‘first mover,’ we have not gotten everything right at every turn. Andrew Hamilton, “Inaugural Address” In 1830, Albert Gallatin and like-minded educators conceived of what was then called the “University of the City of New-York” as a learning community “in and of the city” (NYU, “A Brief History of New York University”) that was engaged with and accountable toward its urban ecology. In doing so, they built a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusivity, as defined in their particular historical context, into the core of the university’s self-conception. They also initiated an ongoing internal debate about central questions of belonging, representation, and the purpose of teaching, learning, and research. Who would be able to join and co-shape the university’s institutional development? Which New York would the institution represent? In which ways might the learning community impact the surrounding city? The notion of a university “in and of the city” gestures toward an active institutional

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engagement with other urban constituencies. In the 19th century, this resulted in the expansion of the curriculum of traditional colonial colleges, focused on classical and religious studies, to include instruction in languages, history, politics, economics, mathematics, and physical science so that NYU students could work as architects, bankers, engineers, or lawyers in the city. In a letter to a friend, Albert Gallatin explicitly linked democratic access to and inclusivity in education to an active, informed citizenry. The inclusion and empowerment of the working classes—those he saw as lacking socio-economic and educational privilege—as engaged, confident members of the New York polis preserved and protected “our democratic institutions” (qtd. in Frusciano and Pettit 15). Gallatin resigned as the first president of the university’s founding council only a year after it had formed, disappointed by the traditional, religious education the inaugural class received (Burrows and Wallace 531-2). NYU made a city its reference point. This city was a migration, trade, and business hub and had cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, and socio-economic diversity, mobility, entrepreneurship, and questions of social justice woven into its very fabric. Thus, the university had to perpetually negotiate the concrete expression that inclusion should find on its campus as part of its expansion strategy: when it spread its operations throughout different neighborhoods within the city as it branched from the West Village into the Bronx in 1894, when it re-centralize in Manhattan around a century later, in 1973, after closing the Bronx campus under financial pressure, and when it began recruiting students from across the country to rebrand itself as a national university. Finally, in the increasing grip of globalization, it laid the conceptual foundations of the grand project of the 21st century—the global network university.1

1

The following numbers make tangible the scope of the institutional transformation that is the subject of Chapter 3. Student enrollment grew from 158 during the university’s first semester to more than 60,500, who came from every one of the U.S.’s states and from more than 150 countries, in 2018. The university is now a composite of 23 schools and colleges across different centers in Man-

3. The Case of New York University

Like other universities during the post-World War II expansion of higher education, NYU used study abroad programs to build its international profile and increase opportunities for experiential learning within a given discipline. Its first study abroad site was created in Madrid in 1958 with a “post-World War II area studies” mindset that oriented the program toward the study of local culture and language. NYU Paris was founded in a similar vein in 1969 while the 1994 gift of Villa La Pietra in Florence already “prompted an expansion of curricular options, with the goal of enabling undergraduates from across the University to study away while making progress toward their degrees, not just those who already had a background in the language and culture of the destination” (“New York University Faculty Working Group” 3). Transdisciplinary scholarship on globalization had only begun to form a basis of foundational texts at this time: Robertson had just published Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture in 1992, Appadurai would publish Modernity at Large in 1996, and Hardt and Negri were in the process of writing Empire. Thus, the development of study abroad locations was not guided by a comprehensive understanding of how global processes changed higher education. The sites remained separate departmentand school-based initiatives that varied in their degree of academic and administrative autonomy and were connected to the larger university operations through the Office of Global Programs, whose physical location on campus illustrated the procedural and conceptual separation

hattan, Brooklyn, and international centers across various cities. The faculty includes close to 8,000 full-time members. When the Polytechnic University in Brooklyn merged with NYU in 2008, it added a globally renowned engineering program. NYU Abu Dhabi in 2010 and NYU Shanghai in 2013 added two degreegranting portal campuses to NYU’s global network. For an overview of enrollment, demographics, and other facts, refer to the “2018 NYU Fact Sheet” and the “At A Glance” section of the university’s website. Thomas J. Frusciano’s and Marilyn H. Pettit’s New York University and the City. An Illustrated History (1997) offers a historical account of the university’s relationship with its environment from the founding years to the latter decades of the 20th century. A short history can be found on NYU’s website, which includes milestones of the 21st century (“A Brief History of New York University”).

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between university admissions and study abroad admissions. The announcement of NYU’s plans to create an independent, degree-granting liberal arts college in Abu Dhabi in October 2007 marked a “juncture” in two regards: Firstly, the organization of global expansion shifted from the school to the university level and, at least nominally, became the new frame of reference for the institution’s inclusion agenda, its operational priorities, and academic vision; secondly, it began to restructure a hub-and-spoke system of institutional expansion into a circulatory system, in which New York might eventually relinquish its function as administrative core, dominant cultural perspective, and central locus of academic vision.

3.1

Function Follows Form? The Model of the Global Network University in Broad Strokes

NYU’s network of study away sites now includes twelve locations across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North- and South America, which are connected to three portals—four-year, degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi, New York City, and Shanghai—through a variety of affiliations, partnerships, and so-called academic pathways. Students complete courses that directly count toward the degree requirements of their majors or minors at one of the portal campuses while progressing along these pathways. A few programs have made study abroad a mandatory component of their undergraduate curricular experience. These varied collaborations across the university’s network build toward a multilateral curricular geography and increase the intentionality and financial viability of movement within it.2 NYU uses the expression “study away” to generally refer to learning experiences that students make away from their home institutions in order to acknowledge the varying perspectives of what constitutes “abroad” for a diverse student community. Study “away” is envisioned to maintain a 2

For more information on the different types of collaborations, refer to the section on “Global Academic Partnerships and Affiliations” on NYU’s website.

3. The Case of New York University

consistent level of academic rigor and excellence across locations and contribute to students’ development in two interrelated dimensions of growth: academic enrichment in the form of glocal academic and artistic frameworks, discourses, and practices that add transcultural perspective to the curriculum of students’ respective fields, and personal enrichment in the form of local language acquisition and cultural immersion, which change the geography of students’ comfort zones and expand their whole-person skill- and mindsets. These curricular collaborations appeal to students and affect their learning in different ways, depending on how the study away experience is embedded in their academic journey. The Global Liberal Studies (GLS) program, for example, bears structural resemblance to the early 20th century Junior Year Abroad model. It requires students to select the study away destination for their entire junior year when they begin their second year at university and arrive with advanced language skills to achieve the highest degree of linguistic and cultural immersion possible within a system of this kind. The global sites in Florence, Paris, London, and Washington, D.C. even welcome first-year students who are enrolled in the NYU Liberal Studies Core program. For a few years, the Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music at the Tisch School of the Arts required students to spend a semester at NYU Berlin within the context of “Future Pop Studies” to become familiar with methods of creative production, business development, and an artistic environment identified as essential to students’ training, but which was unavailable or uncommon at their home campus, so that they could create “global popular music” and develop a global mindset for “music production, business, technology and emergent media, performance, songwriting and journalism” (Tisch NYU, “Clive Davis Institute x Berlin: Future Pop Music Studies”). As part of this process, emerging artists developed a new perspective on their professional development and relationship to the music industry because the study away experience interrupted and then expanded upon their familiar artistic environment and approach. Understandably, not all artists welcomed such interruptions because many had already gained artistic traction within the New York-based industry. This highlighted the need for a clear, more convincing nar-

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rative and for a shared understanding of the meaning and purpose of global learning in the specific context of different fields. Other network collaborations were conceived more as a competitive opportunity than as a requirement. In 2016, NYU Tisch Drama launched the special program “Stanislavsky, Brecht and Beyond: An Integrated Approach to Contemporary Actor Training in Berlin,” delivered at NYU Berlin in affiliation with faculty from the Ernst Busch Academy of the Arts and the Schaubühne theater. It focuses on the theoretical study and practical application of aspects of German theater with a significant influence on international theater practice, such as Brecht’s Epic Theater, Real-Time Acting, and Post Dramatic Theater (Tisch NYU, “Stanislavski, Brecht and Beyond: An Integrated Approach to Actor Training”). In recent semesters, the program has expanded its frame of reference to foreground both transcultural and transdisciplinary perspectives and narratives, essentially treating Brecht in Germany as a nodal point for Edwards’s and Gaonkar’s “multilateral imaginary.” Deliberations about program and curriculum narratives have increasingly become an integral part of trans-departmental “Site-Specific Advisory Committees” and university-wide working groups, such as the “NYU BeTogether Committee,” and are less tied to a few voices, that of a program director or faculty member, for example, who might have first imagined and initiated a particular pathway. Developments of this kind reflect a particular stage of institutional transition from the abstract vision of a networked, global learning environment pursued by the upper levels of university leadership to multifaceted collaborations and partnerships between nodal knowledge communities within the university system and between NYU sites and local communities in their respective spheres of influence. These relationships have become stronger and more sustainable in cases where partners actively work toward a common understanding of the purpose of global education

3. The Case of New York University

and where there is an accountable translation of shared values into glocal curricular practice.3 The notion of a circulatory system sustained by nodal knowledge communities and pathways implies multiplicity in several ways. Students can learn in multiple locations throughout an undergraduate career and do so in varying formats, e.g., as part of a J-term, summer, or semester-long program; furthermore, the institutions in the network assume several roles within the multidirectional movement of students as portal campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, or Shanghai become “at once home campuses, ‘points of origin’ for circulation throughout the network, and study-away destinations” (NYU, “New York University Faculty Working Group” 10). First-year Liberal Studies (LS) students in Florence, London, Paris, or Washington, D.C., might even conceive of a designated study-away site as their institutional home because it represents their initial introduction to the academic community.4 As

3

4

These evolving processes are reflected, for example, in the “Site-Specific Advisory Committee Meetings” and in the overview of the “NYU BeTogether” initiative; information about both initiatives is published on NYU’s website. The goal of mainstreaming international experience within the undergraduate career has not yet been fully realized. For example, between 2011 and 2018, the total number of students studying away did not rise significantly, and multiple study-away experiences remain relatively uncommon. Additionally, the conditions under which students study away are often defined by the curricular vision of their school and, therefore, vary. NYU’s Faculty Working Group on Global Learning Objectives further summarized that “within the 2012 entering cohort (excluding [the] Tandon [School of Engineering]), approximately 12 percent of students spent two or more semesters studying away from their home portal, and many of these students (especially from NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai) studied at multiple locations” (10). The IIE “Open Doors” report from November 2018, however, once again ranked NYU as the leading university with regards to its enrollment of international students (more than 17,550) and students who studied abroad (4,436 for 2016/2017). The briefing can be accessed via www.iie.org/Why-IIE/Events/2018/11/2018-Open-DoorsPress-Briefing-Washington-DC. With the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic in late 2019, these mobility trends were, of course, significantly interrupted; how they will develop moving forward remains to be seen.

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a result, all nodal communities negotiate elevated levels of diversity in various forms, depending on the particular intersections of identities, discourses, legal frameworks, and communities within a given location. An academic site like NYU Berlin might welcome a semester cohort of approximately 130 students, representing all three portal campuses, around 25 majors associated with various schools and disciplinary affiliations, about 25 countries of origin, and more complex migration backgrounds than can be captured by such labels. It has no choice but to embrace transdisciplinary study and transcultural perspectives as a core calling and as an integral part of the undergraduate learning philosophy. Moreover, a portal campus like Abu Dhabi that enrolls over 1,600 students from more than 115 countries across six continents as of 2020, cultivates a level of (not just) cultural diversity that makes the term “international student” superfluous. It becomes clear that, while NYU’s global network certainly grew out of the 20th century idea of a “junior year abroad,” it has evolved beyond this concept in a number of significant ways. Firstly, the study abroad experience is not confined to just juniors, given that students study away from their home campus at all stages of their undergraduate degrees. Further, many students pursue the academic pathways open to them without any proficiency in the academic site’s local language, advancing to an elementary level within the semester they spend there. Lastly, studying ‘abroad’ has become studying ‘away’: Built into ever more elaborate migration and mobility biographies, such an educational experience defies the binary opposition of home and abroad for most students (NYU, “New York University Faculty Working Group” 9-10). This brief sketch of the institutional structures NYU has developed to create a truly global learning environment highlights three broad tensions discussed in the preceding chapters. First, how does the curriculum in NYU’s model foster global knowledge, core competencies, and a sense of belonging and connection among students from different academic and experiential backgrounds who engage with complex, often emotionally charged topics while drawing on different, at times significantly unaligned, mind- and skill sets? Secondly, how does a study away

3. The Case of New York University

experience, which prioritizes continuity and seamlessness in service of uninterrupted academic progress within a student’s degree program, relate to the ideal of holistic learning as expressed in Deweyan “selfrealization,” which crucially draws on experiences of experimentation, mistake-making, context shifts, and active engagement with conflict? Lastly, in light of a proliferation of terms and concepts surrounding the idea of “community engagement,” how does global learning within NYU’s model relate the individual, micro-level of growth to democratic change on a broader, macro-level? NYU experimented with a zero-credit orientation course in 2014/15, which was criticized by students because it was not formally integrated with their degree studies, but it has not adopted the idea of a common (‘core’) course for all students at a respective study away site to provide a shared academic foundation. A clustering of student engagement and relationships based on academic affiliations may not be a problem if students do not take more than two courses within their major and provided that they engage with transdisciplinary approaches and an accentuated diversity of perspectives when studying away. However, such approaches do not automatically translate into a sense of shared understanding and belonging.5 We must consider all program components and how they interact to shape the learning environment if we want to engage all students with questions and themes that are meaningful and relevant. We cannot determine what is meaningful and relevant if we do not also consider our students’ whole-person development and key changes in 21st century societies that will affect their future lives through the lens of their study location’s present-day ecology. NYU’s Faculty Working Group on Global Learning Objectives in Spring 2017 suggested the introduction of a

5

This is especially relevant if experience shows that individuals will orient more towards their established relationships in periods of complex change, particularly when coming from a small program with strong interpersonal relationships already in place. Thus, while an academic bubble might be undermined within the actual transdisciplinary, transcultural classroom, it could reinforce itself in powerful ways beyond it.

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new global/international studies major and/or minor that (a) would be strategically designed to integrate courses at the global sites and portal campuses; (b) would be open to students from across the University (unlike the Global Liberal Studies program); (c) would be broadly interdisciplinary (unlike the College of Arts and Science’s International Relations honors major, which focuses heavily on politics and economics); and (d) would be aligned with our new global learning objectives. (14) Such a program would likely turn to the liberal arts model to formulate an educational strategy that creates commonality, connection, and community within a vast, increasingly heterogeneous research institution, especially if it aims to reach “across national boundaries and seeks to remove the obstacles to human understanding, always studying the local while mindful of the transnational” (16). However, introducing what we might tentatively call “global complexity studies” as an area that students can choose to focus on, when globality and complexity are actually the defining concepts and conditions of our time, might miss the point and translate into a “pedagogy of coverage.”6 Rather, the knowledge and competencies gained by students in such a program should form the very foundation for and integrate into their specialization. Thus, it should become a core requirement. The second tension arises between high administrative continuity and service standards and the central role of complexity resilience for students’ academic, professional, and personal growth. As discussed in Chapter 2, learners develop such resilience when they navigate experiences that challenge them to stretch into discomfort, during cultural immersion for example. Immersion implies a significant reorganization of knowledge structures, a shift in comfort zones, and a reevaluation of one’s sense of belonging within new coordinates of ethical

6

Here I am borrowing a term from Lauren Greenfield and Karen Rowan, who use it to refer to teaching approaches that treat racism as a topic rather than as a structural aspect of all teaching and learning (127).

3. The Case of New York University

alliances. Educators might be concerned that a high level of administrative service could optimize students’ academic growth by insulating it from those experiences of discontinuity that are inherent to the ‘Emersonian circles’ and thus undermine opportunities for personal growth. However, I think that this concern is only valid if we consider academic knowledge and core competencies separately, rather than as intertwined parts of a person’s overall development. If we integrate the conception of the undergraduate degree within a given discipline and its global experiential dimension, then clear separations of academic, professional, and personal development become impossible. We might also question the kind of complexity resilience that students will acquire when studying exclusively in urban learning environments, which offer a more robust service and support infrastructure and normalize a diversity of discourses that are typically unrepresentative of less metropolitan parts of the world. As the Faculty Working Group on Global Learning Objectives has highlighted, how we respond to this question depends on whether or not we see world cities as homogenous and more closely connected to one another than to their domestic peripheries (112). However, even if we accepted a more monolithic urban world culture as the dominant framework for students’ learning experiences, this would still not determine the effect on their individual comfort zones. As discussed previously, students’ predispositions, experiences, and abilities might diverge significantly within increasingly diverse cohorts. We cannot assume that all learners will navigate the complexity, discontinuity, and ambivalence that they encounter in the same or even similar ways. A high level of administrative support might enable some students to grow in an area that their university does not recognize as integral to academic learning, such as self-regulating in high-tension environments. If we consider that there is not one but many ‘Emersonian circles,’ which may overlap and interact in various ways, then we might reconceive support services as empowerment. Universities like NYU are, perhaps reluctantly, realizing the extent to which the competencies demanded by life in globalizing societies diverge from the knowledge and skills that undergraduate students actually possess even when they graduate. How universities must expand their access, corral of support,

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and spectrum of learning pathways for students who are at very different points of their academic, professional, and personal learning journeys is a subject of contentious debate; however, it is clear that we must make significant changes and must reconsider the foundational structures of our entire programs to do so.7 How do we think through and design course development, pedagogy labs, lecturer and staff training, community partnerships, learning journeys, and student mental health resources as interrelated, mutually constitutive parts of the learning process and climate? It is only possible based on accountable, internal structures for continuous, critical self-reflection and close collaboration between historically siloed divisions of academics, student services, and wellness.8 Moreover, holistic and connected learning will remain incidental if our institutions do not hire, train, and empower all staff to see themselves as educators who are invested in a shared educational vision and as learning scientists who focus on how they can realize this vision.

7

8

I am not arguing, however, that all students irrespective of their skill sets should be encouraged and allowed to study away. A careful admissions process must establish if student and location are a ‘good match,’ i.e., whether a particular student can be supported in productive ways, given the institutional structures and local challenges they will encounter on site. Geiger’s portrayal of the formation of the U.S. American university system in the late 19th and early 20th centuries suggests that this division can be traced back to two historical processes during the U.S. higher education landscape’s formative period: the “academic revolution” and the “collegiate revolution.” The latter, especially after 1900, transformed the undergraduate learning experience outside of the classroom, but only rarely connected it intentionally to the academic realm of university life (Geiger 546). Despite fundamental changes during the two World Wars and the expansion of American higher education into a mass system between the 1950s and 1970s, the conceptual and administrative division of academic and collegiate university life has been maintained to this day. For a historical overview, refer to Geiger’s The History of American Higher Education. Learning and Culture from the Founding to World War II (2015), especially chapters eight and nine. Study abroad programs have recently begun bridging these areas of learning.

3. The Case of New York University

From this, a third tension intuitively emerges between the two dimensions of growth that form the Deweyan conception of education: “self-realization” on the individual learner level and social change toward a “moral democracy” on the macro-level of society. In the context of transcultural education, how does student learning connect and contribute to the discourses and initiatives that arise from and shape the institution’s respective host society? How might higher education build toward the “grassroots globalization” or “globalization from below” that Appadurai describes? This is a question about the practical impact of teaching and learning and how Deweyan occupations can be adapted for the 21st century. There are two reasons why I see communities as the connective tissue and as the essential scaling mechanisms between the micro-level of university learning and large-scale societal transformations; firstly, it is because they are a means through which (increasingly) global knowledge can be produced and shared and, secondly, because they allow for the mobilization of solidarity and collaborative problem-solving. In recent years, the concept of community engagement has come to capture a new commitment by universities to practically support and collaborate with communities outside the narrowly defined academic realm. Distinct from the notion of community ‘outreach,’ which implied a one-directional knowledge transfer rather than true collaboration, the terms ‘community engagement’ or ‘community partnerships’ refer to a reciprocal relationship based on shared interests and different but complementary realms of expertise. As Ien Ang observes in this context, we might interpret the reorientation of universities’ efforts to extend their learning community and include not only industries and other ‘market players’ but communities in and beyond their locale as “the social or human side of neoliberal economic policies that have led the drive towards the corporatization of the university sector.” These new partnerships create “potential spaces for critical and democratic interventions for progressive social change in an increasingly neoliberal world” (“From Cultural Studies to Cultural Research” 191). Ang describes research projects that brought the Centre for Cultural Research (CCR) at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) and a broad range of actors together, including medical and educational

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organizations, government and police, museums, community representatives, activists, and artists, to work on regional problems such as urban water crises, the diversification of client relations in hospitals, and the impact of new tourist trends on urban development (192). Connecting student learning to applied research that addresses concrete social problems provides opportunities for experiential, place-based, and community-oriented learning that makes contemporary complexity tangible through engagement with the respective stakeholders’ different perspectives and has a concrete social impact. In many ways, the evolving Covid-19 pandemic has both activated and highlighted innovative partnership models, from friendship- and neighborhood-based initiatives that cared for the most vulnerable to essential applied research collaborations that contributed to the development and dissemination of vaccines and investigated the psychological ramifications of the pandemic. This particular aspect of the crisis should guide us as we reimagine and redesign educational opportunities for the 21st century. We can achieve something similar within the dimension of what universities often refer to as “leadership development” if it is understood as a communal practice across institutional frameworks. For example, at NYU Berlin, a monthly leadership lab convenes students, staff, lecturers, representatives of local high school communities, activists, and artists to engage with a particular challenge through a glocal lens. Topics include “Teaching and Learning Gender-Inclusive German,” “From Intersectional Oppression to Intersectional Solidarity,” “Strategies of Activist Academics,” or “Mindfulness as a Path to Inclusive Leadership.” Participants share the challenges that they encounter within their initiatives, critically discuss the historical and cultural context of local understandings and practices related to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and sustainability, and prototype approaches to the problems that arise. Collaborations of this sort have slowly built new transgenerational and transcultural partnerships and have sparked new types of learning opportunities. These include studentfacilitated teacher workshops on LGBTQ*-inclusive instruction at local high schools and a “Glocal Academy,” which connects students from NYU and local institutions, researchers with an activist agenda, and

3. The Case of New York University

representatives of Berlin’s communities to co-create more sustainable social change projects. The pronounced theoretical and practical reliance on community partnerships must navigate two general discursive trends: on the one hand, an insistent scholarly critique of the tendency of communities to universalize identity and to perpetuate patterns of oppression in their pursuit of unity and cohesion; on the other, an equally persistent discourse that hails community as a categorical good (Joseph viii). What should the basis of a communal bond or partnership be? The examples from the University of Western Sydney and NYU Berlin show that it can lie in a shared foundation of values, norms, customs, or identity and in a practical orientation toward a common purpose and goal. Both dimensions are important when exploring community partnerships as social impact switchboards of teaching and learning. As we expand our collaborations, we must first analyze the problems that we want to address and then identify the communities impacted by them, the communities that have developed approaches to alleviate or solve these problems, and those who hold opposing views if they are open to learning and dialoguing with others. The open questions, contradictions, and unused opportunities alluded to in this cursory overview illustrate the complexity and incompleteness of NYU’s transformation into a “global network university.” Every community member—whether they be a student, faculty, or staff member—will invest in an educational vision ‘in progress’ with different perspectives and expectations. This is most evident in sources that discuss the period during which two additional portal campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai were integrated into the operations and the conceptual vision of NYU as a whole. The specific language used by the university leadership during the first decade of this transformation, especially its choice of metaphor, reflects the epistemological confines within which it attempted to articulate a vision for 21st century education. In a 2012 interview, NYU’s 15th president, John Sexton, likened the evolving project of a global network university to a Polaroid picture that develops with time, while Ulrich Baer, then Vice Provost for Globalization and Multicultural Affairs, bluntly stated that “the university is just

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starting to grasp what it means to operate globally like most corporations do” (qtd. in Connell 49), perhaps inadvertently establishing a primarily economic framework for educational expansion when intending to make more tangible the complexity of even the smallest, again logistical, components of such an undertaking: “You move people around. When you’re in Shanghai, do we pay for your dental insurance or not?” (49). Even the reports written by the committees that were explicitly tasked with the educational aspects of NYU’s institutional expansion, such as the “Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee Advisory on the Implications of the Global Network University for Undergraduate Education” (Spring 2011) and the “Advisory on the Impact of the Global Network on the Student Experience in New York” (Spring 2016), focused mainly on operational observations and did not consider the intellectual or developmental impact of study away (“Faculty Working Group on Global Learning Objectives Report” 4). Historical analogies to the Italian Renaissance “and the way the talent class moved among Milan and Venice and Florence and Rome” (qtd. in Connell 48) not only clumsily equated fundamentally different developments, but also referenced mobility of talent as an asset without discussing how this mobility might relate to the production, transmission, and meaningful application of knowledge and skills. Sexton prioritized a competitive, neoliberal vision of market expansion when openly acknowledging NYU’s anxious pursuit of a global talent pool—elite researchers, teachers, and students hastily defined as cosmopolitan because they were “born in one country, educated in another, working in a third, with interests and scholarship that focus on transnational issues”—while American higher education still “represents the gold standard” that secures U.S. leadership globally. This vision was naturalized as the legitimate demand of the same self-conscious, articulate cosmopolitans, presenting the interests of students and faculty as the central driving force behind the global network expansion (“The Emergence of the Global Network University” 16-8).9 9

While some will associate the organizational term chosen to describe NYU’s educational model—the “global network university”—with premises articulated

3. The Case of New York University

Framed as a rather classic underdog tale, NYU enters the race for excellence as a lightweight contender because its financial endowment ($4.7 billion as of August 2020), especially when viewed in relation to student enrollment, does not match that of other, ‘heavier’ elite institutions, at least until the university community reveals and harnesses its true power, which resides in the political, financial, and cultural significance of the place to which it is intimately connected: New York City’s pace of change, diversity of perspective, avant-garde thinking, and mythical promise of opportunity. While “many rivals have greater space and more resources,” Sexton explained, “they cannot match NYU’s ‘locational endowment’—New York City—and ‘attitudinal endowment’—its aggressive entrepreneurship” (qtd. in Connell 52). Disassociated from traditional elites, whose privilege might act as an impediment to their imagination and innovation, NYU emerges as uniquely positioned to become a leader in the new globalizing world, in which power has a different currency. When asked how NYU would “get its faculty, whether they are teaching in New York City, or abroad, to infuse an international perspective into what and how they teach,” Sexton emphasized that global interests, impulses, and collaborative relationships already existed because they characterize New York as the birth locus of the very idea of the cosmopolitan education that now informs the GNU project (“The Emergence of the Global Network University” 18). In such a narrative, ambitious expansion is naturalized as the university’s self-realization, countering allegations it may be the product of a prescient university president’s legacy building. As I have shown in the preceding chapter, global interests and global relationships do not automatically translate into methodologies and curricular content that create a productive global learning situation, i.e., an experiential and epistemological framework within which students learn to navigate life, work, and activism in a complex, global

in Manuel Castell’s The Rise of the Network Society (1996), for many the term will dovetail all too comfortably with the vague and abstract language commonly and commercially used to describe global phenomena, thereby exacerbating concerns about a dominant neoliberal agenda.

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world. These statements, however, expose a much deeper problem. While the New York experience of global mobility and diversity is historically influential, it cannot act as a synecdoche on either the organizational or the curricular levels. The reference to New York as NYU’s parental center may have been strategic, given the often antagonistic, intra-institutional negotiations of autonomy and dependence felt most palpably between the parent institution and its descendant portals. However, while most people would characterize New York City as a diverse, “thick” nodal point of global flows, it still represents a particular—notably Western, North-American, and urban—perspective that is biased toward other social systems and perspectives. Only if NYU understands this New York-centric perspective as one rather than the quintessential nodal point in a world or system of global flows can it avoid reclining into a reconfigured institutional variant of American exceptionalism and nurture its “emerging multilateral imaginary” (Edwards and Gaonkar 6). Naturally, an institution will remain indebted to its initial geographical identity because this is how it first defined its meaning and purpose as a community and as part of the world. It is likely that this identification will be even stronger in an institution that grew and defined itself through the relationship with a city that has generated myths and served American exceptionalism like few others. However, similar to the experience of the individual cosmopolitan, an institution’s identities will multiply and transform in interaction with other geographies, discourses, legal frameworks, and communities, which, if the institution aspires to be “in and of the world,” must be reflected in its values and practices, chief among them its curriculum.10 In many ways, NYU Abu Dhabi epitomizes 10

Whether it would have been more productive to rebrand New York University as cosmopolitan rather than global seems questionable. While the notion of cosmopolitanism is certainly less contentious and tarnished by neoliberal terminology, it is unclear whether it would have resulted in an earlier, institutionwide deliberation about the values and educational vision that could respond to the rapid and fundamental social transformation implied by globalization. As the exploding volume of scholarship on globalization shows, the terminological winds and terminological nuances might change in ways too frequent

3. The Case of New York University

the theoretical and practical tensions that are inherent in the GNU’s conception, and its decision to create a core educational experience reflects conclusions drawn from my considerations above.

3.2

“No Island is an Island”11 — NYU (in) Abu Dhabi

NYU’s decision to open a second degree-granting campus in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signaled a fundamental shift in higher education because it represented the most comprehensive, consistent response to date by a university to the particular social transformations produced by globalization. The ethical, curricular, legal, organizational, and political implications of such a seismic shift were too complex to anticipate. They resulted in broad internal opposition, most notably from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), which called for a vote of no confidence in 2012, criticizing the extent of faculty involvement in the university’s decision processes generally and regarding the development of the GNU in particular.12 As NYU broke with the traditional idea of study

11 12

and unforeseeable for those tasked with rebranding. Whether we are inclined to speculate that the opposition to NYU’s practices was compounded by its leadership’s use of neoliberally inflicted language depends on how much power one cedes to language. For NYU and other learning communities pursuing similar approaches, the specific challenge is now to engage in the more deliberate and public interpretation of what it means to be a global network university, thereby offering alternatives to the default narrative of economic necessity and linear progress. This is a shortened version of Appiah’s phrase (cf. Ethics of Identity 219). This led to the installment of specific faculty advisory committees for each global site, comprised of representatives of those schools and departments at the portal campuses that were invested in building direct academic pathways with a respective site. The site-specific advisory committees were tasked with “curriculum development and planning, research and other site-related activities.” A university-wide “Faculty Advisory Committee on the Global Network” was to “assess the academic state of NYU’s global network and to make recommendations to the President and Provost for improvements, including recommendations for how best to integrate the network” (Sexton, “Email About

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abroad, a familiar and less ‘invasive’ approach to international education, it also attracted heightened attention beyond the academic world. The university assumed the role of a political actor that influenced its host societies in ways that were too complex, layered, and contradictory to comfortably fit the narrative of a well-meaning cosmopolitanism; this is because NYU did not merely operate university partnerships programs, which could be reshaped, moved, or even closed in relatively flexible ways and remained firmly attached to their home institution, but instead established a degree-granting institution funded by a government unequally committed to democratic values and rights. While this complexity afforded several narratives, NYU’s relationship with the ruling family, represented by Abu Dhabi’s hereditary leader Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who financed the construction of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island campus, subsidizes the tuition for many students from across the world, and made large donations to NYU, was generally interpreted as a sign of advancing institutional value corruption. Those who regarded private universities as having relinquished their responsibilities as independent centers of free intellectual inquiry, social criticism, and ethical leadership within the United States would allege these institutions had lost all integrity if they based their institutional expansion within other societies’ undemocratic and often exploitative social, political, and legal structures.13 Within the framework of globalization,

13

Faculty Advisory Committee on the Global Network–March 2013”). The overall goal became the “consolidation and improvement of our efforts rather than opening new sites” to ensure that the new network organization would “enhance the quality of our departments and the reputation of NYU for scholarship and research, as well as the quality of our undergraduate and graduate education” (Sexton, “Email to NYU Faculty–January 2013”). Sexton’s course and approach to opposition was differently perceived by the university trustees, different schools, departments, and the student body. Just over half of the tenured faculty in FAS confirmed their confidence in Sexton’s strategic vision (Martin Lipton, “Message from the Board of Trustees in Response to the FAS Vote”), prompting other schools to hold votes as well. The violations by sub-contractors of the “statement of labor values,” which NYU announced to honor when beginning construction of its new campus in 2009, exposed to the public the university’s inability to uphold its ethical commit-

3. The Case of New York University

must “embracing the world […] mean abandoning yourself” (Epstein 11)? How we respond to this question depends on our perspective—whether in academic discussions about the nature and demands of globalization or negotiations of representation and recognition in university communities. In raising these questions, my goal is not to offer a sustained ethical argument for or against the creation of NYU Abu Dhabi, but to contextualize the particular kind of complexity that shapes the institution’s core processes, including its curriculum. The university sits at the heart of and represents particular relations of disjunctive global ments throughout its physical expansion. However, one could also argue, as Kaminer and O’Driscoll of The New York Times did, that in setting labor standards in a country that did not have a tradition in this regard, the institution actively engaged with a challenge most companies in the region avoided. The same goes for the core value of academic freedom, which has been equally challenged by a relationship that negotiates democratic change and repression (“Workers at N.Y.U.’s Abu Dhabi Site Faced Harsh Conditions”). While NYU nominally holds a form of extra-legal status on the basis of a “memorandum of understanding,” which should ensure the protection of academic freedom, Marjorie Heins, a former adjunct professor at NYU and 2014 member of the “Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee” of the American Association of Professors, characterized “the entire enterprise” as saturated by “the lack of respect for freedom of speech” (qtd. in Epstein 11). Charges like this signal to educational institutions the urgent need to reflect on and communicate an educational vision that can justify and contextualize institutional expansion within the shifting horizons of globalization beyond the acquisition of international prestige. Especially given the fervent debates about equity, diversity, inclusion, and ultimately belonging on U.S. American campuses, such a holistic educational vision must also respond to complex ethical questions. For example, should students be “asked to study in classrooms that have been built on the back of abused workers” and faculty “to teach in them,” as Andrew Ross asked (qtd. in Hayhurst)? Ross was a member of NYU’s student-faculty “Coalition for Fair Labor,” which released its own report titled “Forced Labor at NYU Abu Dhabi; Compliance and the Cosmopolitan University.” While different newspapers discussed the violations of labor values in varying contexts, the initial report titled “Workers at N.Y.U.’s Abu Dhabi Site Faced Harsh Conditions” was published by The New York Times in May 2014. The report by NYU on the findings of an independent third-party investigation was published in April 2015 and updated in 2017 as the “NYU-Tamkeen Joint Statement on Nardello & Co. Report.”

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flows that, as Appadurai has shown, produce complex, urgent problems related to health, safety, justice, and sustainability. As a unique site of hybrid cultural formation, however, NYU Abu Dhabi harbors the potential for “globalization from below” if it empowers those within the purview of its educational project to redefine and subvert the pull of global flows.14 The physical location of the NYU Abu Dhabi campus emerges as a potent reminder that “no island […] is an island” (Appiah, The Ethics of Identity 219)—conceived as a model for equitable, diverse, and inclusive 21st century cosmopolitan learning and positioned in the center of complexity, conflict, and ambivalence, it cannot shield itself from the disjunctures that are foundational to its institutional identity. Since NYU as a whole has only recently begun to consequently explore the global dimension of equity, diversity, and inclusion, it might, somewhat reluctantly, turn to its parts, specifically its portal in the UAE, for curricular guidance. With a student body of nearly 1,600 students from more than 115 countries who speak over 115 languages and represent a variety of ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds, NYU Abu Dhabi deliberately built a degree of diversity in experience and perspective into its own fabric that would necessitate fundamentally different epistemological and pedagogical approaches to transform cacophony into polyphony, create truly global knowledge, and make a sustainable social impact.15 The core curriculum represents

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Institutions will define their ethical purview in fundamentally different ways. However, I would argue that it must include all individuals whose work created and sustains the educational operations of a university, especially because experience-based learning does not allow for a separation of the curriculum from the environment and thus the ethical context within which it occurs. The core narratives that guide teaching and learning will reveal whether an institution has shed its moral high ground and positioned itself and any decision it makes at the center of community inquiry, which includes student evaluation and judgment. If it does, it can stimulate in students an early sense of their own complicity, i.e., the relationship between the privileges and the responsibilities tied to their global education. For a more detailed break-down of NYU Abu Dhabi’s diversity, refer to the press release “Nearly 500 Students from Over 80 Countries Join NYUAD as the Class

3. The Case of New York University

this educational project’s deliberative process, communal practice, and pedagogical product.

3.2.1

The NYU Abu Dhabi Core Curriculum

The NYU Abu Dhabi core curriculum currently exists in its second iteration. The description in the 2009 “Preview of Academic Programs” of the core as a cross-cultural advancement of a general liberal arts education requirement that in the 20th century had centered on Western civilization remained part of the conceptual introduction to the first iteration of the core curriculum: “Rethought for the 21st century, the NYUAD Core focuses on the books, ideas, and experiences […] central to different cultural traditions” (NYU Abu Dhabi, “NYU Abu Dhabi Bulletin 2014-15” 23). Intended to create an intensive and intimate learning environment based on discussions that brought together: “cross-cultural perspectives,” significant scholarly works, big challenges and ideas, and extensive writing requirements, the core consisted of eight courses grouped in four clusters: Pathways of World Literature; Art, Technology, and Invention; Structures of Thought and Society; and Ideas and Methods of Science (17, 23). As such, it appears in a discernable lineage of a general education paradigm, which served as an adaptive curricular mechanism for universities, albeit in different iterations, as they navigated the institutional transformations of the 20th century and confronted recurring concerns about declining or inconsistent knowledge standards, common culture, and the social purpose and composition of university communities. It does seem necessary that students who have been recruited from all over the world to earn a B.A. or B.S. from one of the leading research institutions in the United States should share a collective educational experience that ensures a baseline of academic ability, initiates them into the U.S. American university ethos and introduces them to a culturally expanded core of academic thought and practice.

of 2024” and the respective fact sheets about the newly admitted classes (“By the Numbers”) on their website.

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However, how such condensation and expansion could be achieved simultaneously has remained a subject of avid discussion at NYU Abu Dhabi. There was significant disagreement among students, faculty, and administrators during the initial years of instruction about what constituted a sufficiently general education requirement that could respond, as proclaimed, to the challenges of a globalizing world.16 As NYU Abu Dhabi student Sebastián Rojas Cabal recalls, 16% of the enrolled students responded to a Fall 2013 survey by the Student Government’s “Representative Committee for Academic Divisions” to confirm their overall satisfaction with the core experience, but raised concerns regarding the underrepresentation of quantitative thinking in core courses, their qualitative inconsistency, and the general scope of the core, which made it difficult for them to meet the requirements associated with their majors. The core’s rationale and benefits, when compared to a distribution model for general education, i.e., a set number of introductory courses from each academic division that would accelerate a vertical integration into their future disciplines, did not seem intuitive to many students. In February 2015, the student government suggested reducing the total number of required courses to six, combining the “Art, Technology and Invention” and “Pathways of World Literature” core tracks, and critically revisiting the meaning of categories such as “international” and “cross-cultural” for the core (Cabal). During the same time, Cyrus Patell outlined a “reboot” of the curriculum, the “NYUAD Core 2.0,” in NYU Abu Dhabi’s arts and humanities journal Elektra Street. Writing from the perspective of a faculty member, he proposed a more concerted delegation of educational priorities within the curriculum to relieve individual courses of the duty to represent all goals 16

While the relationship between undergraduate education and global challenges was part of NYU Abu Dhabi’s educational rationale from the very beginning, it acquired greater saliency in later iterations of the User Guide for the core curriculum. There was also a subtle shift in terminology from the notion of the “cross-cultural” to the framework of the “global.” This may reflect a holistic understanding of the challenges that curricula must examine and tackle as well as an advanced understanding of the kind of change that transforms 21st century societies.

3. The Case of New York University

of the larger core to the same extent, i.e., raise big questions, establish foundational skills, include intensive writing training, and open crosscultural perspectives. He instead suggested dividing the core courses into two types: The core colloquia would be developed and curated by the university’s “Core Curriculum Committee” (CCC) to focus on “profound and enduring questions” while the competency courses would be drawn from the academic divisions or taken at other GNU sites to impart or deepen skills that the committee considered to be vital learning outcomes for an undergraduate education. The four colloquia would form the center of the NYU Abu Dhabi curricular experience and have no equivalents at other NYU sites; in satisfying the curriculum’s more “traditional aspects,” core competency courses would be delegated to NYU Abu Dhabi’s academic divisions and to NYU’s entire global network (“NYUAD Core 2.0.”). Patell thus envisioned a compromise between two historical extremes, a set of core courses required for all students and a system made up of electives and distribution requirements. Upon his appointment to Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Development in the summer of 2015, Bryan Waterman convened representatives of the respective liberal arts and sciences faculties and the writing program as well as two student representatives in their senior year into a new CCC and engaged the larger student body in drafting and voting on alternative proposals for the core in the form of a “Hack the Core” workshop. The committee’s official proposal was debated in a town hall format in October 2015.17 As a new degree-granting institution that negotiated criticism and opposition from within its university community and the broader public while pursuing the ambitious goal of developing a global approach

17

For different student and faculty perspectives and more detailed discussions of suggested changes and open questions not covered by this brief overview, refer to several articles in NYU Abu Dhabi’s Electra Street: Patell’s “NYUAD Core 2.0,” NYU alum Krisztian Kovacs’s “Adding Rigor to the Core Curriculum,” and “A Timeline of the Core Reform Process” by Sebastián Rojas Cabal. I am also grateful to Bryan Waterman for describing the various stages and implications of the core development process to me.

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to U.S. undergraduate education, NYU Abu Dhabi had to initially not just recruit but woo students to join an educational experiment that may have seemed not just novel but risky to many, given the close relationship that exists in the U.S. academic system between the value of a degree and the reputation of the institution that confers it. While cast in different roles, equipped with different expertise, and motivated by different ideas and goals, staff, faculty, and students were united as partners in, quite literally, a lab experiment that could only succeed if all of the parties involved were willing and able to invest in it. Such relationships shifted the historically enforced hierarchies of power and agency within the community. Particularly, deliberations over what constituted the literal heart of an NYU Abu Dhabi education, the core, became a bonding experience, both among and between students and faculty. New faculty members, who, upon arriving in Abu Dhabi, would develop their first courses for the core curriculum, might have felt pushed far beyond their academic comfort zones. Few scholars within contemporary higher education find themselves in a position in which they must collaborate with colleagues and students on the design of a course, embrace the challenge of training in new pedagogical styles, and, most fundamentally, step outside of their expert function.18 As 18

This dynamic connects to a number of further-reaching considerations about academic career development and internal resource planning. Conversations with NYU Abu Dhabi staff and faculty members suggest that while professors with advanced careers might feel comfortable broadening traditional course outlines into the globally minded, big-question designs that NYU Abu Dhabi requires, they might not be used to teaching undergraduate students without specialized knowledge and unfamiliar with the disciplinary methodology internalized by their professors. Faculty members in the earlier stages of their academic careers, in turn, might experience the curricular theory and practice of any—but especially of this—core as in a sense counter-intuitive because their focus would likely be on in-depth disciplinary work to distinguish themselves and qualify for tenure. However, my argument as developed so far also suggests that the challenges that arise from teaching core courses to an unusually diverse student body might actually enrich a faculty member’s research, for example, by broadening its cultural lens or applicability and its concrete value for local communities. The launch of NYU Abu Dhabi’s own Center for Teaching

3. The Case of New York University

a similar development at Harvard suggests, even well-established, historically elite institutions now engage their communities to reimagine their curricular core program for the 21st century.19 However, the deliberation process at NYU Abu Dhabi was riskier because it could have challenged the validity of both the institution’s vision and approach. It offers us a glimpse into what curriculum development will look like as more institutions draw on explicitly transcultural and transgenerational partnerships to support their reform efforts and alternative learning communities make such partnerships the very tissue of radically democratic curricular practices. The epistemological disorientation, increased diversity, and accelerated change that shape our globalizing societies produce complex questions about knowledge production, transmission, and acquisition across cultural, ethnic, generational, racial, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. Moving forward, university communities will have no choice but to exchange established hierarchies with learning philosophies and institutional decision-making processes based on democratic deliberations. Recalling Dewey’s assertation that “in a complicated situation, discussion is inevitable precisely because the thing itself is still indeterminate” (Democracy and Education, MW 9.337), this is also thoroughly pragmatist in method. As a result of the deliberative process described above, the CCC conceived NYU Abu Dhabi’s current core curriculum20 in consultation with

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and Learning in Fall 2019 has alleviated some of the tensions described above because it establishes a shared pedagogical baseline and increases overall intentionality and transparency in teaching across courses. The process of revisiting the purpose and structure of the Harvard University core in the context of a larger debate about the role of general education in the 21st century now spans over a decade. It began in 2007 with a revision of the then 30-year-old core, entered a phase of community-wide reevaluation in 2015, and assumed its current form in the General Education program outlined on gened.fas.harvard.edu. John S. Rosenberg chronicles the developments in “Harvard College. General Education under the Microscope,” published in Harvard Magazine in May 2015, and links to several useful committee reports. My analysis rests on the Core Curriculum User Guides from 2017-2018 and 20182019. Refer to more recent versions for updated statements on diversity, equity,

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a student advisory committee. A pedagogical rejection of the distribution model, the core emphasizes the arbitrariness of divisional and departmental boundaries when academic thought addresses complex, global problems. It is an experimentation-oriented curricular space for critical and creative thinking and topical interests that span and cut across disciplines and cultural contexts, thereby reshaping our general understanding of an intellectual foundation and engaged scholarship. In his introduction to the “Core Curriculum User Guide 20182019,” Bryan Waterman offers an intuitive comparison between the curricular and the physical core: A strong core can stabilize and balance our body and mind, making us more confident and agile when tackling tasks that, quite literally, require heavy lifting. Such intellectual core strength is not generated through mastery of a predefined body of general knowledge, but grows out of our evolving ability to ask fundamental questions from a multiplicity of perspectives and, based on our findings, build a foundation of “sturdy, multidisciplinary conceptual structures” (6). All learners will become more “agile” by using and expanding these structures, growing into independent thinkers who can draw connections across academic fields, some of which might be lost within a core structure primarily dedicated to vertical integration into majors. Learners demonstrate “flexibility” when routinely and closely examining the foundations of the “inherited systems of belief and cultural values” that anchor their identities and shape their perceptions and actions in conversation with and relation to other world views (6). The second iteration of the NYU Abu Dhabi core curriculum thus essentially loosened its historical relationship with general knowledge acquisition and concerned itself with dispositions toward and ways of engaging with knowledge: Students are encouraged to use core requirements to experiment—to challenge the boundaries of their intellectual comfort zones in order to “discover new strengths” and “explore new ways of thinking” still unfamiliar to them (7). In part, the retiring of general education’s remedial core knowledge dimension may be the consequence and inclusion as well as condensed summaries of learning outcomes for the core curriculum.

3. The Case of New York University

of an elite admission process that focuses on recruiting exceptionally talented students from across the world who can be expected to arrive with a high level of common knowledge, as defined by Western standards. However, it is also an acknowledgment of a shifted understanding of literacy—not as mastery of the “storehouse of human knowledge, experience, and expression” (9), but as a way of accessing, embracing, and orienting oneself in its vastness. In negotiating the pervasive degree of complexity that characterizes both the content and conditions of globally-minded learning, the Abu Dhabi core rebalances breadth and depth of the curricular material toward fewer requirements. It only encompasses six courses. To graduate, students must take two core colloquia and one core competency course within each of the four divisions—arts, technology, and design; cultural exploration and analysis; data and discovery; structures of thought and society. Other graduation requirements include the First-Year Writing Seminar (FYWS) and courses in quantitative reasoning, experimental inquiry, and Islamic Studies, the latter representing a curricular acknowledgment of NYU Abu Dhabi’s geographical and cultural situatedness. The core’s condensed nature ensures that all students, irrespective of the experienced intensity of their major, “participate fully in this central component of an NYUAD education” (7). The ideal of conceptual and disciplinary breadth in the curriculum is mirrored and accentuated by diversity in representation: Students and faculty members connect in an “atmosphere of intimate inquiry” (“User Guide 2017-2018” 5) across a variety of disciplinary and experiential perspectives because “[...] a single core course can have students from all academic divisions” (“User Guide 2018-2019” 6). The spectrum becomes even broader if we consider that students can fill their core competency courses across NYU’s global network of academic sites. While the relationship between the core requirements seems to work out well for NYU Abu Dhabi, other institutions might require a different configuration, depending, for example, on the types of students they receive and the roles they fulfill within their host communities. In the following section, I will examine two core colloquia and four core competency courses, devoting more sustained attention to the colloquia, firstly, because they represent the core

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of the entire NYU Abu Dhabi undergraduate education, and, secondly, because they are self-consciously pre- or beyond-disciplinary, showing the greatest potential for adoption by a broad spectrum of undergraduate institutions.

3.2.1.1

Toward Cosmopolitan Occupations — Core Colloquia

Taught by faculty members from all academic divisions and focused on at least two core competencies, fourteen-week long core colloquia explore “some of the most pressing challenges global society faces today” from various perspectives. They place primary emphasis on the “complex conceptual and ethical dimensions” of these problems to increase students’ civic awareness and sense of responsibility, deepen their transcultural literacy, and expand their capacities to develop strategies for complex problem-solving (“User Guide 2018-2019” 9). It is a crucial premise that solutions to complex problems can only grow out of “cooperative efforts” (9) based on sustained communication and collaboration across the differences that, given the diversity of the NYU Abu Dhabi community, will inevitably surface in and beyond the classroom. The learning experiences in the colloquia are structured around foundational questions of equality, justice, sustainability, peace, and health. Their explicitly non-rhetorical use highlights the open-ended nature of inquiries into the complexity of global phenomena—their multidimensionality, interconnectedness, simultaneity, contingency, and continuously shifting appearance—and supports students in establishing a curious, confident rather than anxious relationship to this complexity. Their complexity resilience shows in their growing ability to approach questions from multiple perspectives and to inhabit, rather than endure, the ambivalence and initial discontent tied to the growing realization that “there are no easy answers.” Instead of “taking the idea of a ‘global perspective’ as a given,” students explore its very epistemological foundations by asking “what it means to think about such enduring and urgent challenges across cultures, borders,

3. The Case of New York University

disciplines, languages, and time” (9).21 In the following sub-section, I will describe, analyze, and occasionally compare two sample syllabi. My close-reading of the first syllabus, “Extinction,” focuses on how types of works are combined within the overall narrative of the syllabus to chart expansive spatiotemporal regions of ‘rhizomatic’ knowledge. In the second syllabus, “Justice,” I explore how the texts are used to develop the experiential, occupational space that Dewey called for. 3.2.1.1.1 The Core Colloquia “Extinction” and “Justice” Taking the mounting scientific evidence that we are experiencing the beginning of a sixth mass extinction and the declaration of the Anthropocene22 as starting points, the colloquium on extinction explores the human relationship with literal, i.e., biotic or cultural, and metaphorical extinctions, using examples from a broad range of writing genres, including “novels, short stories, plays, poetry, scripture, scientific writing, science fiction, ethnography, literary criticism, journalism, and film” (Peutz 2).23 The syllabus identifies the subject of accelerating species death and efforts to investigate if and how different extinctions correspond and correlate as being central to the human desire to find 21

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Here, a central challenge lies in conceptualizing courses that benefit students at various stages of their undergraduate training. Some might not have a consolidated idea of what actually constitutes their (prospective) field of study; others might have had to declare their major already very early on in their studies, as is the case for engineering. Such a broad spectrum can increase the risk of disempowering students by tilting the challenge/support balance, ‘watering down’ courses for some while overwhelming other students. The term “Anthropocene” is used to describe our current epoch as qualitatively different from earlier epochs, such as the Holocene, due to a significant increase of human influence on Earth’s geology and ecosystems, including climate change that results from or is produced by human activities. The term is used in publications from a variety of disciplines. For example, Erle Ellis provides a book-length introduction in Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction and researchers around Will Steffen explore the “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene” in the August 2018 issue of PNAS. All page numbers in parentheses throughout this sub-section refer to the syllabus for the Fall 2018 core colloquium “Extinction” taught by Nathalie Peutz.

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meaning and purpose in the world: “Is there a connection between the extinction of a species and the extinction of cultures, languages, and lifeways?” (1). It also explores how we form a sense of self as we experience a loss of biodiversity, human populations, languages, or heritage and imagine loss to its greatest conceivable extent when pondering the very eradication of human life (“omnicide”). The syllabus uses these questions about identity, interdependencies, and changes as radical as death to establish terminological and conceptual familiarity with the multifaceted, global phenomenon of extinction, tracing the geological history accounted for while defining the meaning of “species,” “evolution,” “ocean acidification,” or “biodiversity” and reviewing probable causes for the five previous mass demises. It also traces metaphors of extinction across social and cultural contexts to show similarities and differences in their use and application across scales of demise, discussing, for example, “genocides” and “linguicides” (3). As students develop a familiarity with the specific global challenge of accelerated species extinction, they deepen competencies identified as essential in the user guide for the core curriculum: the ability to engage critically with a variety of texts and other forms of cultural expressions regarding their use of extinction narratives and to reflect orally and in writing on the interdependencies that mark the possibility of extinction (3). Two aspects of the syllabus are especially noteworthy: Firstly, it relates competence to confidence, for example with regards to argumentation, in its list of learning outcomes; secondly, it establishes an explicit link between critical and affective, even emphatic, reading experiences when asking students to consider how the “tragic, cautionary, unnerving, humorous, uplifting, and, hopefully, quite moving” stories relate key concepts and fill them with meaning, but also how they “move or even motivate you” (3). While the syllabus does not articulate this explicitly, dealing in extended form with a complex global challenge almost inevitably means reflecting on one’s own cognitive, emotional, and practical responses to situations of discomfort, tension, and open conflict. Students practice this as they learn to criticize the work of others constructively and approach criticism directed at their own work positively (3), all the while curiously observing the mood elicited

3. The Case of New York University

in their engagement with the works, arguments, and imaginations of others. The syllabus narrative begins with “Extinction Tales,” one of T.C. Boyle’s short stories in his collection The Descent of Man (1974), an impressionistic exploration of what makes and breaks a species. It is complemented by the documentary Racing Extinction (2015), which surveys the causal developments behind the Anthropogenic mass extinction of species and portrays efforts by scientists, activists, and journalists to create visibility for its causes, expressions, and consequences, and a series of short excerpts from scientific journals like PNAS and non-fiction books, such as Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer winning The Sixth Extinction. An Unnatural History (2015), that create a broad historical frame of reference for the concept of the Anthropocene, but which also serve as core readings that connect sections across the entire syllabus (5-6). The syllabus continues with contributions from Charles Darwin, tracing the concept of evolution and its relationship to extinction in what are essentially travel journals (The Origin of Species, 1859; The Voyage of the Beagle, 1839) (6). Darwin’s historic findings are complemented by representations of their own evolution in the form of writings by evolutionary biologist and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould, who was a central figure of the so-called “Darwin Wars,” a researcher at the American History Museum, and an avid publisher of popular science essays in Natural History. The particular intersection represented by his academic work is an opportunity to discuss controversy regarding the Darwinian concept of evolution and, more generally, the role of scientific research and university communities in the attempts to expand general ecological literacy. The next session moves into religious and mythic accounts of catastrophic floods across cultural contexts, such as the story of Noah in the book of Genesis and the Qur‘an, or as recounted in The Epic of Gilgamesh and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The corresponding film is Darren Aronofsky’s Noah (2014). This section represents a necessary bridge between scientific and religious accounts of descent with modification, launching a multifaceted conversation about the implications of humans’ relationships with and responsibility for other life forms (6-7).

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Ibrahim al-Koni’s novella The Bleeding of the Stone (2002) specifically contemplates the relationship between human and non-human life forms via the notion of the “sacred,” which takes the form of wild sheep that are hunted by some and protected by others. While spatiotemporally specific in its setting of the Libyan desert in the first half of the 20th century, the environmental fable sparks questions about choice, responsibility, and sacrifice that connect normative considerations across centuries and philosophical schools. The story is complemented by Yōko Ogawa’s “Harmonica Hare” (2014), which presumably moves the geographical and cultural narrative locus to Japan, but reiterates the question already raised by al-Koni’s text: “Why is it that sacred species […] are particularly threatened by extinction?” (7). The subsequent section on “charismatic megafauna” (8) continues to explore the ties that matter to humans and why—our ethical partiality, to playfully engage Appiah again—with respect to land mammals that are larger than humans and have not been domesticized. Jon Mooallem’s Wild Ones (2013), a combination of journalistic documentation of wildlife conversation activism and cultural history of how Americans have related to wild animals, provides insight into the instability of our ethical alliances as we invest them with changing meanings and investigates the very viability and validity of the concept of wilderness for contemporary discourse and policy. Anthropologist Gregory Forth’s “Disappearing Wildmen” shifts the discussion from “flagship species” to the extermination of “hominids like us,” the Ebu Gogo (8). The course narrative then hones in on the ethical complexity of human interventions that lead to species extinction and species conservation. What do “multispecies entanglements” (8) and the violence of extermination and conservation teach us as we ponder a path toward sustainable multispecies community life? This section de-centers, even dislocates, the anthropological gaze as it draws on Ray Bradbury’s science fiction short story “A Sound of Thunder” (1952), which contemplates the desires and ethics of “time safari” and illustrates the “butterfly effect,” and Thom Van Dooren’s ethnographic accounts of different birds, Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (2014) (8).

3. The Case of New York University

The question of what constitutes our experiences of connection and loss leads into reflections on our relationship to our close relatives, nonhuman apes, which negotiates the biological, emotional, and legal dimensions of our notion of personhood (9). Here, the syllabus combines essayistic pieces that ponder the limits of human exceptionalism, such as Charles Siebert’s on animal socialization, with excerpts from John Maxwell Coetzee’s novella The Lives of Animals (1999), Franz Kafka’s “A Report to an Academy” (1917), which is referenced in the former, and scholarly contributions, for example as part of the collection In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave (2006), edited by one of the leading voices of animal liberation and moral philosopher Peter Singer. The topic of genocide marks the heuristic shift from biotic extinction to socio-cultural extinction; it is approached via two narratives: the story of Truganini (1812-1876), long considered the last Aboriginal Tasmanian, as recounted in the historical novel Doctor Wooreddy’s Prescription for Enduring the Ending of the World (1983), and the story of Ishi, equally considered the last surviving Yahi, via Theodora Kroeber’s biographical account, Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America (1961) (10). The class engages with the analysis that Patrick Brantlinger conducts in Dark Vanishings: Discourse in Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800-1930 (2003) and discusses the implications of extending the discourse of extinction to people: “What does the discourse of extinction do; what does it conceal; what does it permit?” Which narratives were constructed by and for a “civilization” about the lives, deaths, and bodies of the last representatives of an annihilated people (10)? The section on genocide is concluded with Ursula Le Guin’s science fiction novella The Word for World is Forest (1972), which tells the story of the exploitation, uprising, brutalization, and liberation of the once peaceful indigenous society of a planet used as a logging colony by humans after they destroyed terra. The element of the forest links ecological with physio- and psychological health, gesturing toward the deep impact of conflicts over deforestation, dispossession, and lethal violence that students or their communities might have experienced themselves. Next, the syllabus explores the relationship between biotic and linguistic extinction (“linguicide”) (11). It connects scholarly work by lin-

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guist David K. Harrison in When Languages Die (2007), which examines various case studies about how languages encode vast amounts and different types of, for example, astronomical, ecological, mathematical, and social information, with the documentation by geographer Larry Gorenflo of the relationship between biological and linguistic diversity and attempts at preserving both in “Co-Occurrence of Linguistic and Biological Diversity in Biodiversity Hotspots and High Biodiversity Wilderness Areas” (2012). As this course section investigates the causes and the implications of accelerated language loss, it also deepens students’ understandings of the influence and impact of globalization on often-forgotten forms of diversity. “Listening to (and Saving) the World’s Languages,” Sam Roberts’ journalistic account of New York City as a laboratory of declining language diversity, shows how forces of globalization can simultaneously aid the destruction of language diversity as well as greatly facilitate their documentation and experience. With the documentary The Linguists (2008), the syllabus focuses on “the extinction of soundscapes” (12) and shifts emphasis toward the sense of belonging that is derived from living ‘in’ a language, the ‘view’ of the world it encodes. The documentary follows how linguists Anderson and Harrison record the last native speakers of moribund languages, who inhabit nuanced understandings of particular cultural and ecological environments and systems of knowledge around the world. The film also reflects on the particular economic forces, ideological influences, and social attitudes that contribute to accelerated linguicides. In logical continuation toward the limits of the collectively conceivable, the topic of complete human extinction (“omnicide”) is approached through the dystopian imagination of Margaret Atwood in her 2003 novel Oryx and Crake (12). Atwood’s depiction of a bioengineered apocalyptic world, in which a wonder drug causes a deliberate pandemic and wipes out the human race, introduces the class to central questions regarding the ethics of scientific interventions: “[…] can we reverse engineer the effects of the Anthropocene defaunation? Will this technoscientific “resurrection […] help play a role in the conservation of the earth’s ecosystem?” (12). The literary imagination is framed by scholarly works in environmental ethics and anthropology that debate the possi-

3. The Case of New York University

bilities and dangers associated with bioengineering. Ben Minteer’s “The Perils of De-extinction” (2015), for example, makes an ethical argument against techno-environmentalist Stewart Brand’s advocacy for the scientific re-creation of extinct species, such as the passenger pigeon. The syllabus concludes in two steps: First, it once more strategically de-centers the anthropological perspective by imagining the continued evolution of life on a post-human planet as described in Alan Weisman’s non-fiction book The World Without Us (2007); then it powerfully reinserts the human agency just removed by asking, with the concluding chapters of the core texts—Ashley Dawson’s Extinction: A Radical History, Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction, and H.G. Wells’ “On Extinction” (1893)—“where do we go from here?” (13). As this close reading of the syllabus shows, the colloquia are designed to maintain the old premise of general education in so far as they represent an alternative to the specialized training that students receive within their majors. The colloquia reinterpret this generality through an intensified plurality of perspectives: They offer a “prismatic view” of their subjects by joining diverse forms of thinking, methodologies, and objects of study from a broad range of disciplines and cultural perspectives into a novel structure (Patell, “NYUAD Core 2.0”). For example, the “Extinction” syllabus combines in one section excerpts from the Book of Genesis and the Qur’an with excerpts from Elizabeth Kolbert’s journalistic account for the general reader, The Sixth Extinction, and Ashley Dawson’s scholarly-activist amalgam Extinction: A Radical History. These texts are supplemented by Darren Aronofsky’s controversial film Noah and passages from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Such levels of spatiotemporal mobility and non-linearity across the syllabus require cultural, historical, and intellectual contextualization, here provided by short lectures given throughout the term (2), and a clear guiding question or narrative that must remain self-reflective enough to explore the very epistemological foundations of its global orientation, rather than simply including token texts that might reinforce an American-centric perspective. The syllabus lays the curricular foundations for complexity resilience in a number of ways: Students are guided to survey the different dimensions of a specific global challenge and then enter

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its various angles and aspects by exploring, through both their interactions with different works and one another, different modes of engagement that bridge the cognitive and affective, the critical and the creative. The colloquium thus provides an orientation in the form of a highly abstracted map of effectively rhizomatic knowledge areas and concrete strategies to deal with disorientation once students ‘enter’ the different layers of the territory. By continually reflecting on the impact of human intervention in the ecology, students develop a sense of interdependency and relational, non-linear growth, which is likely to build a stronger foundation for a mindset that connects knowledge with social change. The colloquium thus guides students through an evolving discovery of how they are implicated in extinction processes and provides examples of how a sense of agency can translate into action. In so doing, it increases resilience toward discomfort and aversion and, potentially, inspires the courage necessary to interpret their scholarly work as an activist response to big questions. The colloquium on “justice” intentionally approaches its topic as a “glocal” phenomenon in Robertson’s sense. While tracing the structures and dynamics of justice as a global problem area, it seeks to anchor practical survey research in concrete, local expressions of (in)justice made palpable by “our experience as NYU students and faculty engaged with the United Arab Emirates’ and their home countries’ broader communities” (Brulé 1).24 The colloquium is structured around six core questions that evolve from the individual level (“What makes individual action just?”) to the collective level (“Which solidarities, rights, and autonomy must a just polity protect? What sorts of equality should a just society ensure? What sorts of liberties?”). In its analysis of the institutional dimension of justice, it pays particular attention to the economy (“What sort of justice are economic institutions bound to provide?”). It then explores whether “systems of global justice exist” and “what their scope [should] comprise.” The last question refers 24

All page numbers in parentheses throughout this sub-section refer to the syllabus for the Spring 2018 core colloquium “Justice” taught by Rachel Brulé unless specified otherwise.

3. The Case of New York University

directly to the scholar’s agency and responsibility: “How can we work to approach local and global justice in our communities?” (1) In beginning and ending with “the big picture” (5, 10), the course provides a shared perspective, a baseline understanding of the kind of complexity that animates the challenges of global justice from which individual case studies can spring and within which, by the end of the course, students’ research projects must be positioned. The colloquium essentially applies the Deweyan conception of “occupations” to mediate between content and method and tap into students’ intrinsic motivations, their intellectual and emotional attachments. They use the knowledge and competencies gained through the collaborative study of the theory and practice of justice to address concrete local challenges in their own communities through a survey research project dedicated to increasing local access to justice (1). As described in Chapter 1, Dewey defined an “occupation” as “a mode of activity […] which reprocesses, or runs parallel to, some of the work carried on in social life” (“School and Society” MW 1.92). Dissolving the boundaries between theory and practice and classroom and society, the case studies address problems that have shaped and continue to impact students’ lives and the various societies and communities of which they are a part. Students thus enter the interrelated dimensions of justice as a global challenge through a strong experiential anchor. They explore “major areas of congruence and dissonance across theories, time, and cultural experiences of justice” (3) and compare an ever-growing number of cases with the assistance of theoretical texts, thereby developing familiarity and confidence with regard to the specific complexity of global justice over the course of the semester. The syllabus’ narrative unfolds by alternating two types of approaches. Thematic sessions introduce different dimensions of the challenge at hand, by shifting emphasis from the economic to cultural contexts of justice, for example. Methodological sessions guide students as they execute their research projects, for instance, by developing survey rationales, covering practical sampling techniques, and by introducing a social justice approach to survey research. Within each section, the first session is dedicated to an in-depth analysis of the as-

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signed readings, while the second session is structured around student presentations that relate a critical reading of the theoretical texts to a case study, i.e., an analysis of the application of theories of justice in a specific country and, later on in the semester, the presentation of data yielded by self-designed opinion surveys in student’s respective home countries (3). Across these sections, all of the assigned works fulfill (one or more of) three functions: They introduce a new angle or dimension of the theoretical treatment of justice, such as Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962) or Susan Moller Okin’s Justice, Gender and the Family (1989); they represent canonical interpretations which have shaped discourses and practices in the glocalities that students will examine, such as the Qu’ran or John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (1971); and, finally, they provide practical methodological orientation, like Lesley Andres’s Designing and Doing Survey Research (2012). The syllabus uses Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Buddha or Karl Marx (1956), to illustrate the dimensions of the big challenge that it explores (5). Ambedkar writes from the perspective of a legal expert, politician, and social reformer who inspired the Dalit movement in opposition to the social discrimination of untouchables, fought for labor and gender equality, and is often referred to as the “father of the Indian constitution”. Thus, he anchors the discussion of justice in newly independent India, but the study itself reaches across significant spatiotemporal distances and fields of thought, thereby modeling the parameters of the big picture within which students must orient their own thinking and case studies. The syllabus establishes the nation-state as the principal category of comparison, instructing students to discuss “justice in the world today” by reading and presenting “one article on statespecific responses to challenges of justice in your home country” (5) and inviting them to focus their survey research on their home countries’ communities (1). If such cases are initially located in a national frame, then the global is captured in conceptual neighborliness to the “international.” This may have a variety of reasons, ranging from the wish to map, in one aspect, the diversity in the classroom to an understanding of legal justice that remains anchored primarily in the strength of the nation-state.

3. The Case of New York University

The first thematic unit focuses on the tensions and conflicts between justice and democratic politics via the study of Plato’s Republic (380 BC) in excerpts that include the allegory of the cave (6). It is followed by an investigation into the relationship between justice and religion via excerpts from the Qu’ran and a variety of analyses: Students read “Social Justice in Islam” (1953) by Sayyid Qutb, the controversial Egyptian educator, Islamic theorist, and leading figure of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s, and “Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective” (1999) by Amina Wadud, the African-American Muslim scholar who led the first mixed prayer in New York’s Synod House in 2005 and who advocates for women’s complete inclusion in Islam (6). Keeping the naturally multicultural and multifaith make-up of a classroom at NYU Abu Dhabi in mind, these two sections explicitly invite disagreement, controversy, and constructive conflict, drawing out particularly challenging topics within the broader theme that, in various ways, might impact how students can conduct their research projects. As Joshua Cohen remarks, this is “the normal situation when it comes to issues of justice: disagreement comes with the territory and should not be taken as a sign of a deficiency” (195). The syllabus continues with a methodological unit that is dedicated to “bridging theory and research” (6): Four sessions focus on methodology, the design of the research survey and its implementation, grounding class discussion, which might have become contentious, in a shared scientific protocol. The theoretical conversation is re-entered with the topic of measuring justice, using, among other texts, excerpts from Immanuel Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) and Jeremy Bentham’s Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) along with their feminist critique in the form of Susan Moller Okin’s Justice, Gender and the Family (1989) (8). This theoretical section is once again separated from the next by four methodological sessions: The first focuses on ethical research via the three foundational principles for research involving human subjects—“respect for persons,” “beneficence,” and “justice”—identified by the Belmont Report (1978); the second session integrates peer mentoring; the third and fourth sessions focus on research analysis (8-9).

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The syllabus then moves into the dimension of economic justice via The Communist Manifesto, I.-II (1848) by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and excerpts from Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962), which focus specifically on the relationship between economic and political freedom, the role government plays in a free society, and income distribution (9). After two weeks spent on research survey analysis and peer critique, the tension between justice and cultural context is explored based on excerpts from Michael Walzer’s Spheres of Justice (1983), specifically his concept of “complex equality,” and Joseph Carens’ Culture, Citizenship & Community: A Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness (2000), which introduces transculturally debated questions of justice (9). As students present their own research projects, the course concludes with a return to the big picture by asking with Joshua Cohen whether “minimalism about human rights” is “the most we can hope for?” (Brulé 10; Cohen 190). The two core colloquia represent notably different approaches to achieving the (re-)integration of their subject matter into students’ experience. While the “Extinction” syllabus draws upon a much broader spectrum of writing genres, including book-length journalistic accounts that serve as anchor texts for the course narrative, “Justice” devotes more time to methodological training beyond reading, writing, or presentation skills, focusing specifically on the ethical dimension of conducting survey research that involves vulnerable populations. These different approaches likely reflect the instructors’ training, priorities, and methodological comfort zones, but one could also argue that they are intentional responses to the challenges they examine. Understanding the different moving parts of the phenomenon of global mass extinction and finding ways to respond to it—cognitively, emotionally, and through academic practice—requires the consideration of a broader range of angles than understanding and contributing to justice within a designated political and geographical context. Additionally, while the two challenges are, in fact, directly linked globally and locally, they have acquired different levels of urgency in the 21st century. Whether we find effective ways to respond to the accelerating species extinction by addressing the existential problem of a dangerously

3. The Case of New York University

shifting planetary system will determine if a world within which we can struggle for justice will continue to exist at all. While the practical impact undergraduate students can make as “organic intellectuals” (Hall 281) on either issue is limited at this point of their careers, the “Justice” colloquium might leave them feeling more empowered. However, both courses identify ways in which such interventions become possible. In keeping with an emphasis on investigative, academically informed journalism, the “Extinction” syllabus scaffolds several writing assignments toward the final project of placing an opinion piece within a journalistic publication (Peutz 4). The detailed breakdown of learning outcomes in active verb form listed in the “Justice” syllabus includes the ability to “design and analyze self-collected survey data to critically assess notions of justice in our contemporary contexts” (Brulé 2). As a final assignment, students should present their research findings on how to increase access to justice in a specific location as part of an international conference (9). It might be that climate change and the destruction of ecological diversity most urgently need scientifically informed advocacy and awareness-raising so that convincing narratives can increase visibility, tangibility, and empathy and might prompt an adequately urgent political response. While equally glocal in nature, local justice matters function on a smaller scale, one in which scientifically informed grassroots activism and policy advising may yield stronger results.

3.2.1.2

Toward Cosmopolitan Habits of Mind — Competency Courses

Predictably, the question of which skills should constitute the core of an undergraduate education was central to all of the proposals for a second iteration of the NYU Abu Dhabi core. While acknowledging that it was almost impossible to identify just four “essential” skills, Cyrus Patell settled on “experimentation, practical arts, quantitative reasoning, and writing.” These skills are still recognizable in the categories chosen for the second core, but they have grown into competency fields. Competency courses generally focus on transdisciplinary approaches

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to “thinking critically and contextually about culture, social institutions, ideas, and the natural world” and, grouped under four major categories, establish “experience in problem-solving, design, and other creative work” (“User Guide 2017-2018” 7).25 Students have to take at least one course in each category in order to graduate. Classes in the category “arts, design, technology” (ADT) are broadly oriented toward creative experimentation. They are designed to “foster critical thinking and creative work toward innovation” in fields as different and overlapping as engineering, creative writing, programming, and performance (“User Guide 2017-2018” 7). For example, a Fall 2017 course on “What is Music?” drew on cultural, environmental, psychological, and technological perspectives to show how we form a relationship with and develop conceptions of music. Tracing the genealogy of our understanding and emotional attachments throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries, it engaged the multicultural classroom in collaborative and comparative work to understand which of the mechanisms that mediate our relationship with music are cultural and which might be universal in nature. Students learned to engage critically with music creation and interpretation, articulate their own evolving perspective on music verbally and in writing, and expand their own ability to express themselves through music, by acquiring compositional techniques, for example (35). Courses grouped under the core competency “cultural exploration and analysis” (CEA) are broadly oriented toward contextual knowledge and community creation because they aim to familiarize students with

25

I have chosen not to provide close readings of four separate core courses to represent each competency field, but instead only to illustrate each central feature with an example from a representative course description or syllabus. Like the colloquia, the core competency courses are organized around essential questions, but they do not have to be global in scale. Instead, they “should help frame the governing assumptions of their respective disciplines and should explore how disciplinary knowledge may be brought to address problems or questions of varying scale” (“Guidelines for Proposing and Developing Core Courses” 2).

3. The Case of New York University

“basic approaches to understanding and comparing […] forms of [cultural] expression” (7), which broaden the shared pool of meaning in class, nurture an appreciation for cultural similarities as well as differences, and increase sensitivity to culture as an ecology of meaning production. For example, the Fall 2017 course “Global Shakespeare” examined the author and his oeuvre, both as a key reference in Western literary canons and as a part of the global circulation of cultural expressions. It asked if and how Shakespeare’s approach could be regarded as reaching beyond his national context, whether the historical dissemination and reception of his work has turned Shakespeare into a “global cultural commodity,” and the role of media in shaping a specific (trans)cultural legacy. In addition to tracing how three works—Othello, The Tempest, and Hamlet—have been adapted across historical and cultural contexts, the course also contained an explicitly creative component that took its cue from Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio (47). Courses in the “data and discovery” (DD) section chart the insights into and representations of the world afforded by the “quantitative reasoning and experimental inquiry” of the natural and social sciences (7). A Spring 2019 course on “space” asked broadly “what’s out there?” and investigated how we obtain knowledge about the universe’s laws, processes, and phenomena, by using multi-wavelength data for example. It thus literally extended the core competency of utilizing experimental and quantitative methods to understand this world to other worlds beyond our common imagination. By discussing how researchers must collaborate globally to gather this data, students realized the composite nature of science and get a sense of the patience, resilience, and collaboration they might need when focusing on solving big questions or problems together with others. In familiarizing themselves with the mindand competency set of an astronomer, students also learned to assess the social and civilizational impact of astronomical findings, contextualize the way in which astronomy interacts with other fields and the public, and conduct, analyze, and present their own observational research (“User Guide 2018-2019” 72). Finally, courses under the category of “structures of thought and society” (STS) analyze, contextualize, apply, and develop a broad range of

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social concepts and forms, “past and possible future frameworks for organizing ideas and social behavior” (“User Guide 2017-2018” 7). A Spring 2018 course, for example, explored scientific and intellectual approaches to the basic question of what constitutes “thinking” and traced the genealogy of theories of mind in relation to our evolving understanding of human nature. The course also introduced the main fields of psychology and discussed commonly used metaphors of thought as they relate to technological and cultural influences (79). It thus offered students a range of opportunities for meta-reflection: They learned to inquire into how they learn, how they (can) communicate with others, how they derive a sense of self and identity, and how the structures and norms they have been socialized into reflect what they know about thinking.

3.2.1.3

Literacy Sponsorship Revisited — First Year Writing Seminars

The First-Year Writing Seminar (FYWS) is designed to initiate students into the communication tools and protocols of the academic profession, summarized as “rhetorical knowledge; critical thinking, reading, and composing skills; a range of composing and communication processes; and an awareness of disciplinary conventions” (“User Guide 2018-2019” 17). The courses are built around topics of academic inquiry that follow the core’s overall orientation toward big questions and problems and keep with the basic premises of Deweyan occupational learning; they do so by treating the content of a learning situation as a source of intrinsic motivation. While this approach represents the logical continuation of the “actionable knowledge” premise, which underlies the entire core curriculum, it also reflects the assumption that students will internalize the protocols of academic engagement only if they are intellectually engaged and emotionally invested in their employment. The question of taste and the role of the father are examples of themes central to students’ lives, engagement with which will motivate them to develop an original scholarly voice. Taught by a media critic, cultural historian, and editor, the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 course on “Taste, Culture & Self” ‘denaturalized’ taste and explored how it is socially constructed, thereby

3. The Case of New York University

affecting our perception of self and roles within the variously shaped hierarchies of the social context of which we are a part. It began with popular culture and integrated arguments from historical, sociological, and literary studies (18). The Spring 2019 course “Questions of Fatherhood” was taught by a trained anthropologist and explored the multifaceted omnipresence of a central familial figure by asking, “which forms of knowledge, political conditions or social relations become visible when the figure of the father is put into question?” (23). It drew on feminist theory, such as Sara Ahmed’s work, to analyze the role and meaning of fatherhood across the social, cultural, and geographical contexts that students come from, including Europe, the Gulf region, and the United States. Three questions provided a point of entry to each of the texts discussed, which came from different disciplines (e.g., political theory, history, anthropology) and genres (e.g., memoir, film): “How do we know the father? What threats, anxieties, hopes and promises take shape through the figure of the father? How is the figure of the father related to broader patterns of political authority (e.g., race, class, sexual orientation)?” (23).

3.2.1.4

By Way of Summary — The Cosmopolitan Triangle of Content, Methodology, Sensibility

In summarizing some of this section’s core findings, it is helpful to examine how concepts that are central to any conversation about learning, such as “knowledge,” “truth,” and “experience,” are used throughout NYU Abu Dhabi’s “User Guide” for the core curriculum. This document combines the evangelical language that characterizes mission statements with syllabi abstracts and a practical overview of graduation requirements. As Ang remarks, “mission statements are rhetorical texts designed to project a preferred corporate image to the outside world, but they also serve to steer internal priorities and policies,” thereby delineating “institutional conditions of possibility for avowedly progressive intellectual projects” (“From Cultural Studies to Cultural Research” 192). In the introductory section that focuses on the values, central conceptions, and projected learning outcomes that anchor, struc-

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ture, and animate the core curriculum, knowledge is not just presented as a pursuit in its own right, but is always related to challenges that it should aim to solve; it is pursued as knowledge that can be applied (“User Guide 2017-2018” 3, 6-7). This prioritization of “actionable knowledge” originates in an ethical commitment to and an ecological understanding of progress, which is tied to new forms of collaboration that address the “vital global and local challenges” (3) our societies are confronted with, meet “the demands of civic engagement,” and pursue “the common good” (“User Guide 2018-2019” 7). In its ethical dimension, the applicability of knowledge recalls Appiah’s conception of a “rooted cosmopolitanism”: Students dedicate and connect their learning to the larger cause of impacting positive change in the communities that they join. Honoring this ethical commitment means embracing a radically collaborative approach to problem-solving; this radicality often resides in the vastly different, perhaps even diverging, perspectives that need to be brought into constructive correspondence. In this sense, the wholesale dedication of teaching and research faculties to the advancement of “cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges” (“User Guide 2017-2018” 3)—effectively a 21st century iteration of Dewey’s “problems of men”—naturalizes a diversity of perspectives across the university community and initiates students into a learning situation that must be transgenerational, transcultural, and transdisciplinary in order to fully comply with university goals. Like administrators and faculty, students must learn to communicate respectfully and in open-minded ways across biographical, experiential, and even epistemological differences to understand what constitutes a particular instance of divergence, disagreement, or contention and to discover opportunities for connection and collaboration toward a shared goal. Consequently, they are advised to use their core courses “to get to know your classmates and teachers better, to ask questions about what grounds their deeply held convictions or interests” and to “find common connections that unite you across such differences” (5). Here, the curriculum interacts with the diversity of the student body in an especially profound way: As students form deeper connections with community members from different backgrounds, quite

3. The Case of New York University

literally, their ethical alliances move across prescribed geographical, cultural, and linguistic boundaries, creating new cognitive, and affective geographies. Depending on their prior experience with diversity (e.g., through migration or life in particularly heterogeneous communities), students may respond very differently to an educational model that actively supports such diversification beyond their initial ethical communities, which are usually formed with those in geographical proximity, but their ethical alliances will assume a newly networked shape in any case.26 In keeping with the cosmopolitan commitment to enriching one’s host communities, these new geographies should include the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the various homes that form

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Here my discussion connects to research on empathy and its role in our efforts to mitigate pain, suffering, and discrimination in our spheres of influence. Empathy can be defined as our ability to temporarily step into the perspective of another, to understand how they feel, and emotionally connect with their inner reality. As such, it has been presented as the key to overcoming social ills of various kinds. Jeremy Rifkin, for example, argues in The Empathic Civilization (2010) that an empathy evolution from the local or national to the global level is our only chance to survive as a human species and to save the environment that sustains us. As described, Appiah argues that ethical alliances cannot expand into the love for and commitment to all humans, but must always be partial, based on the ties that we form through our relationships with others. This suggests the need for empathy diversification: Cosmopolitan learning, as described in the preceding chapters, can diversify our ethical alliances and train our capacity for empathy beyond our direct group membership(s). This is supported by research in social psychology and cognitive neuroscience, for example by Mina Cikara, Emile Bruneau, Jay van Bavel, and Rebecca Saxe, which suggests that in multiethnic and multicultural societies, empathy imbalance is caused by “intergroup empathy bias” (110). For detailed analyses and studies, refer to “Minding the Gap: Narrative Descriptions about Mental States Attenuate Parochial Empathy” (2015) and “Parochial Empathy Predicts Reduced Altruism and the Endorsement of Passive Harm” (2017), among others. Bias of this kind might be reduced if we structure our relationships around collaboration rather than competition, create new, inclusive categories of group membership, and practice dialogue-based engagement: storytelling toward mutual recognition. All three strategies are present when we build community partnerships and appear in Abu Dhabi’s educational model.

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the backdrop of classroom conversations among students from over 115 countries. As they consider and experience global challenges in their local expression, even in the form of another person’s stories, students become increasingly aware of the interconnectedness of global and local processes, the intersectionality of social experience, and the contingency of their ability to impact change on the specific circumstances they are in. What does it mean to work towards freedom of speech in Abu Dhabi, Tel Aviv, and Berlin? This kind of learning shapes a radically relational conception of progress. Individual and collective growth are seen as interdependent, demanding an expanded and diversified “we consciousness” (Keating 214), especially as Western societies dramatically gravitate toward an individualistic perspective. Ideally, this sense of implication in the global challenges studied translates into a sense of agency and accountability that gives education an activist dimension. Defining the commitment to the host society as contributing “in multiple ways to the development of a sustainable, knowledge-based economy in Abu Dhabi” (“User Guide 2018-2019” 4), however, invites a host of critical reflections. How does one define “better” in the context of the specific socio-political and legal structures of the emirate? Can the university community assess how the knowledge-based economy will shape people’s lives in Abu Dhabi and the UAE? How are students supported as they realize how concretely and directly their choice to study at NYU Abu Dhabi implicates them in an ethically and ideologically contested approach to international relationships attracting regular global media attention? Engaging with questions about individual and collective privilege becomes a part and product of the educational experience. If students debate and criticize the ethical considerations a course design may expose, such as travel to geographically distant locations to work with migrant populations, this must be welcomed as an essential part of the class.27

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The realization that faculty may not yet be fully prepared to hold such conversations forms the basis on which new faculty training materials can be conceived. The development of a competency-based pedagogy that is inclusive from a genuinely global perspective will require much more collaborative research,

3. The Case of New York University

Keeping with pragmatist principles of learning, the core idea behind an undergraduate experience at NYU Abu Dhabi is that students who have no choice but to engage with and negotiate cultural or legal limitations and inequalities will be more attenuated to dynamics of global power and empowerment than their peers in other institutions. Bluntly put, for some students, the core curriculum will create a space in which they must engage with disillusionment regarding notions and ideals of equity and inclusion; by design, this is to empower them not to give up their ideals, but to make them more resilient as guides toward practical—and often imperfect—change.28 Clearly, such an ecological understanding of growth reaches even further in that it conceptualizes students’ education at NYU Abu Dhabi as a particular period and strand within the process of non-linear, life-long learning, thereby emphasizing the continuity of education within and beyond institutional structures. While the core competencies that have been identified serve as the first foundation for students’ ensuing education at NYU Abu Dhabi, their centrality to the curriculum is legitimized by their alleged value for “the rest of your lives [my emphasis]” (9). Even though NYU Abu Dhabi rejects a conception of the core based on canonical knowledge, it has not abandoned canons altogether. In its

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a worthwhile endeavor given that institutions across the Western academic landscape will soon face the challenges described in this section. While NYU Abu Dhabi has been designed as an especially thick encounter zone of difference, one which accelerates the transformation of institutional relationships, its dynamic is actually becoming a—if not the—defining aspect of contemporary learning and teaching. In light of the vast differences in students’ backgrounds, one has to be careful not to generalize. For example, conversations with staff and students suggest that NYU Abu Dhabi has acquired the local reputation of a university that welcomes a vast spectrum of (expressed) gender identities and sexual orientations and has thus become a safe(r) space for many Emirati students in search of a more liberal environment. Their experience of studying within the core will often be very different from that of students socialized and educated in U.S. American environments. Generally, those students who have developed greater complexity resilience already will act as de-facto mentors not just for fellow students, but also for faculty and administrators.

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inescapable finiteness, the curriculum must prioritize based on value judgment. In NYU Abu Dhabi’s case, this value is assigned to canonical “modes of thinking” (4) and “habits of mind” (4, 6, 9). These manifest in the competencies mentioned above and in a particular sensibility, one that enables students to navigate the shifting configurations of what they do and do not know in curious, critical, creative, confident, and compassionate ways. NYU Abu Dhabi’s core curriculum emphasizes the centrality of habits of mind for its educational vision, again making the plural key: While critical thinking and rhetoric, for example, are essential in many learning situations and understandably occupy center stage in most university vision and mission statements, the close reading of the NYU Abu Dhabi core shows that no one way of thinking can take priority in collaborative efforts to devise solutions to complex problems of humanity. Consider how the NYU Abu Dhabi core balances creative modes of thinking and critique, which, as already discussed in the previous chapter, expresses itself as a “combative idiom” (Felski 21) when we “interrogate” or “examine” facts and texts, and also often enough one another. The arts, design, and technology courses show this exceptionally well. They are often highly eclectic and defined by their practice and design components. Depending on the particular topic of the course, students might work together to invent a new language, construct a prototype for machines, or create a theater piece. The common thread here is that learning should extend beyond the traditional academic sphere. Considering with Felski that “education is not just about acquiring knowledge and skills but about being initiated into a certain sensibility” (22), we can characterize NYU Abu Dhabi’s core as orienting towards curiosity, rather than suspicion. While the latter is essentially diagnostic, the former implies open-mindedness and leans forward into what is not yet known, thereby driving inquiry, experimentation, imagination, and creation. It is comfortable with and actually thrives on ambivalence. However, students need support to remain resilient and to sustain curiosity in an environment dominated by challenging interactions. While no curriculum can respond to clinical illness, it can complement therapeutic initiatives by delivering the skills that help students cope with future complexity. “The brain,” as Bessel

3. The Case of New York University

van der Kolk writes, “is a cultural organ—experiences shape the brain” (84). My analysis of representative syllabi has shown that while the core is constructed to treat its two basic categories—skills and challenges—as distinctly interrelated, it is not an attempt to emphasize both in every course to the same extent. Each curricular component represents a different relation of content, method, and sensibility; each offers another entry point to this triad. For example, the learning context in colloquia is initially created around content, structured around a complex global challenge, which requires students to apply different methods collaboratively. These methods build habits of mind and shape different moods. Students relate problem-solving to analytical detachment as much as to creative imagination, coming to see multiplicity as the default. Core competency courses begin with a set of competencies from across the disciplinary spectrum and “affiliated” topics that incline students toward specific habits of mind, building concrete skills and discipline-specific writing and communication practices along the way. FYWS classes represent the most pronounced shift toward an emphasis on practical, formal skill development within the organic relationship of content, method, and sensibility. Still, they remain structurally tied to topical content and what I would identify as the curriculum’s normative base: a strong orientation to diversity, collaboration, and applicability. The writing seminars cover a range of composition and communication processes that are—sometimes explicitly, sometimes more loosely—oriented toward disciplinary conventions, thereby essentially creating a shared foundation of methodological literacy that should enable students to develop their own scholarly voice. While English forms the practical and theoretical center of writing instruction, the linguistic diversity represented, not just among students but also within the lecturer body, practically interrupts and “annotates” monolingual tendencies by establishing English as a new common root, a secondary linguistic home furnished by all. NYU Abu Dhabi’s writing instructors may have Chinese as their first and Arabic and English as their second and third languages, as is the case with Shuang Wen, a historian of the modern Middle East and East Asia who teaches “Worlds Connected,

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Worlds Apart” (“User Guide 2018-2019” 22). Their writing may be situated in a multilingual space, as is the case with Deepak Unnikrishnan, who grew up in the UAE, studied in Chicago, and wrote the trilingual novel “Temporary People” about the lives and struggles of guest workers in the UAE. Unnikrishnan teaches a seminar on street food (23) within NYU Abu Dhabi’s writing program. If writing instructors identify as multilingual representatives of disciplinary thought and different professional genres, then they can mark the specific conventions of writing that they teach as signifiers of belonging, rather than an intrinsically valuable and exclusive code that students must internalize. Writing instruction in English that remains mindful and appreciative of such multiplicity establishes a cosmopolitan literacy that empowers by opening a spectrum of “voices and codes to invoke for rhetorical purposes” (Denny 55). This leads directly into a discussion of an aspect of the curriculum that still remains to be examined. How does a project of global curriculum development within a U.S. American institutional framework relate to its anchor culture? The NYU Abu Dhabi core was conceived within a global horizon, which means that the teaching, learning, and research endeavors at NYU Abu Dhabi should not be dominated by U.S. American perspectives and discourses. Instead, glocal priority is assigned to the university’s host society, the UAE. However, does America still function as the primary lens through which particular narratives can assert themselves in core course syllabi? Or does this America reside in the familial bonds between NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi, the institutional structures that mediate curriculum development and infuse the portal campus in the UAE with a distinctly American higher education mindset, which was trained for close to two centuries on New York City as the quintessential American metropolis? Or, in a similar but even less tangible vein, does this America appear in the realm of expectations and subconscious projections of students, faculty, and administrators, who thereby contribute to the preservation of American bias in a de facto transcultural community? Yes, to some degree. Any assessment of the extent to which the role, influence, and representation of America impact the negotiations over and the delivery of the NYU Abu Dhabi core

3. The Case of New York University

content and thus the exact quantification of “Americanness” will be both schematic and temporary. It seems most productive to conceive of the core curriculum as a transcultural encounter zone teeming with the interactions of actors, structures, narratives, concepts, and experiences that carry America in and with them. Some of these interactions can be examined more closely to understand and illustrate the trajectories and dynamics of identity formation, value negotiation, and community creation shaping NYU Abu Dhabi’s core curriculum. Here, the key concepts from previous chapters—Robertson’s “glocality,” Appadurai’s “global disjunctive flows,” Appiah’s “rooted cosmopolitanism,” and, finally, Edwards’ and Gaonkar’s “multilateral imaginary”—help to chart the different orientations “America” and this particular curriculum assume toward one another and outline additional angles and lines of inquiry that may emerge from a continued study of the curriculum in a transdisciplinary and transcultural framework. On the institutional level, NYU Abu Dhabi is a descendant of the eponymous parent university in New York. It employs teaching and administrative staff that, by and large, have biographical and educational backgrounds in the United States, which might incline them to—consciously or unconsciously—include teaching materials that privilege an American perspective.29 This might further perpetuate the international influence of American academic thought, which Bender described in the late 1990s as rivaling “the international stature and appeal of American movies, popular music, software, and basketball,” pointing to English language citations in electronic retrieval systems and Nobel Prizes awarded (3). This assessment is partly supported by my reading of two representative syllabi from the curriculum’s core 29

As the University operations consolidated, staff and faculty diversified, but in the early years of NYU Abu Dhabi, the university community naturally relied on individuals close to its administrative and intellectual core in New York to act as bridges between the two portals in a newly circulatory system. This is illustrated, for example, by the appointment of Al Bloom and the provost and dean levels. The first iteration of NYU Abu Dhabi’s core curriculum was closely tied to Hilary Ballon, NYU Abu Dhabi’s former Chief Vice Chancellor based at NYU New York’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

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colloquia section. When zooming in on the textual level of the curriculum, we see that America continues to function as a strong point of reference or implicit framework. It appears to exert its power within an interpretive function: The majority of the core texts, while deliberately multilateral in imagination and inquiry, are written by scholars and journalists who are affiliated with U.S. institutions. However, one of the central ideas that sustain Appiah’s notion of rooted cosmopolitanism as both a theoretical position and a temperament is the conception of identity as multi-stranded and anchored in various contexts and communities. In this sense, rooted cosmopolitanism can also act within institutional and intellectual dimensions: Educators from various backgrounds will curate curricular interactions with students drawing on the intellectual influences that have most powerfully shaped their own institutional mindset and academic ethos. However, the more diverse their biographic, institutional, and intellectual backgrounds are, and the more sustained their engagement with a diverse student population is, the more educators will de-center an implicit Americancentric perspective. It may not be easy to imagine this complex interplay and constant renegotiation of identities that influence the content basis of the core curriculum. As a result, local communities might “read” NYU Abu Dhabi as monolithically American, even though many students, faculty, and staff do not hold U.S. citizenship or have never studied at an American institution before. They might do so simply because of the geographical denominator in the university’s name or in recognition of the privilege attached to globally operating institutions. NYU Abu Dhabi may also retain its “Americanness” through the projections of those students who expect it to be an affordable, experimental overseas alternative to NYU New York and hope to enroll in a prestigious U.S. education program at a subsidized cost. Further, university administrators and faculty will bring their own ideas of what constitutes an American liberal arts education to Abu Dhabi. Those concerned about the neoliberalization of teaching and learning might see the project as an expression of the increasingly aggressive and unethical corporatization of higher education and a prestige project of New York-based univer-

3. The Case of New York University

sity leadership. Thus, what constitutes “America” sits at the intersections of a variety of “ideoscapes” (Appadurai, Modernity at Large 36-7). It is continuously translated and transformed as key concepts and signifiers that may appear characteristically American, such as particular entrepreneurial mindsets or approaches to diversity and inclusion, are adapted and “new meaning-streams” inserted “into the discourse” (37) of what is American or global in a given region. Where America represents a privilege, it can shape the pace, direction, and impact of the global cultural flows conceptually captured by Appadurai and the hybrid cultural realities at their disjunctures. Such privilege can appear in the form of an economically powerful nation-state in a predominantly capitalist world, as an institution with the rights, relationships, and capital that allow for transnational operations, or as an individual whose U.S. citizenship enables convenient mobility. An institution like NYU acts transnationally when it produces, shapes, and circulates powerful ideas of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, sustainability, and social change as part of complex processes of identity, community, and value formation. This happens through the increased physical and virtual mobility of students, faculty, and staff, all of whom interact with the core narratives of a curricular core as described in this chapter and the different nodal learning ecologies within the network. As the example of NYU Abu Dhabi shows, immersion into these ecologies will also confront learners with global disjunctures that are often difficult to bear: Guest workers whose lives are shaped by unethical and inhumane living and working conditions and a precarious legal status essentially built the UAE’s representative and functional spaces, along with the campus of a U.S. institution that extends the privilege of elite education to talented students from all over the world and various background, some of whom, in a crucial intensification of brain drain, may choose careers that perpetuate or deepen existing structures of inequality, rather than contribute to their alleviation or solution. This is not unrealistic. Thus, it is even more critical that the curricular core centralizes the disjunctures of global flows, its painful and challenging problems, and provides students with the competencies to understand and address them in their respective spheres of influence. The case of NYU Abu Dhabi demon-

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strates with utmost urgency how the privilege of education comes with the responsibility to leverage it for positive social change. If the study of teaching and learning is also a study of cultural belonging, can a core curriculum like NYU Abu Dhabi’s chart a path toward a ‘meta-culture’ of sorts? What would this look and feel like? Would it take the form of a cultural expression of human rights in the form of an equitable, sustainable humanism that critically addresses its Western bias? It seems that, in this sense, “America” would not be defeated or destroyed but reinvented and conceptually diversified in ways that fracture and complicate the master narrative of American exceptionalism. In constructing a curricular core around the framework of global challenges, America is quite literally “put in its place” and appears in the curricular narrative where it plays a significant role. At least theoretically, it is not a canonical part of the curriculum per se. Most importantly, if the normative foundation of the core curriculum is the responsibility of learners to impact positive change, the radical new partnerships that must drive these efforts will essentially provincialize America. The institutional organism to emerge from this might take the form of a fluid cosmopolitanism with primary roots in U.S. American values, cultural practices, and educational mindsets whose dominant influences are, however, diffused and balanced by the narratives and experiences of the curriculum.

3.3

Deliberations at the Disjuncture — Looking Ahead

When a New York-based faculty member, who taught a course on “Family and Modernity” at NYU Abu Dhabi in 2011, remarked that students, due to “their diversity [...] learned more from each other than from me” (qtd. in Gordon 29), they highlighted two closely related aspects of NYU Abu Dhabi’s educational approach: the importance of diversity in difference and a co-learning paradigm that can transcend the hierarchical frameworks within we usually teach and learn. Diversity goes beyond representation. Ensuring diverse representation through recruitment and admissions lays a crucial foundation for

3. The Case of New York University

a richer collective understanding of the world and for more effective, sustainable responses to the kind of problems that our societies must address, but it is not enough. Diversity must be meaningfully activated by and translated into pedagogy. The curriculum’s content dimension clearly exposes the practical limits of representation in a globalizing context: “the world’s storehouse of knowledge is too vast for us to prescribe anything like a comprehensive set of texts and skills” (“User Guide 2018-2019” 6). In an environment in which differences literally defeat traditional canonicity, entirely new approaches to teaching and learning must inevitably transpire. A close look at sample syllabi has shown how assigned materials acknowledge various discourses and belief systems and how they embrace the cognitive and the affective dimensions of learning, especially by including works of literature and film in transdisciplinary narratives. Within the particular structure of the discussion-oriented, highly diverse classroom, the individual experience of reading, interpreting, and collaborating is complicated and expanded into a collective experience that multiplies the worldviews that participants must learn to “hold.” In this sense, Rita Felski’s case for “a wider range of affective styles and modes of argument” (3) in literary studies can transfer to the transcultural classroom experience, which challenges all community members to unlearn what it means to be a student and a teacher. If we learn through experience, and if the curricular experience is understood to include all materials, methods, fellow students, and globally networked communities, then professors can draw upon their specific academic expertise and professional competencies to guide and facilitate learning, but they can never again be the “sage on the stage.” They become true co-learners. Co-learning requires a connection which, in turn, rests on some form of commonality. The NYU Abu Dhabi core locates this commonality in shared habits of mind and competencies, which students develop through their engagement with multi- or transdisciplinary content that is structured around complex, unresolved global challenges, and fundamental questions about equality, justice, sustainability, peace, and health. These modes of thought and habits of mind are always inevitably bound to a certain sensibility, the background “atmosphere

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or climate that causes the world to come into view in a certain way” (Felski 20). This sensibility must be one of genuine curiosity about the complex workings of the world, compassion toward other people and life forms, and confidence in the possibility to affect change. Sensibility thus emerges as the lowest common denominator in educational situations, forming the bedrock that lies deeper than even the protocols and values of the self-selecting academic profession. New approaches like this will inevitably be vulnerable to criticism from outside and from within the university community exactly because they engage a vastly expanded spectrum of differences in values, beliefs, experiences, and expertise. If learning is radically collaborative, then the curriculum must also be conceived collaboratively and essentially become the baseline of community engagement. As a result, more community members develop a sense of agency regarding the curriculum, and all members, including those who have traditionally held institutionalized authority and other forms of privilege, are challenged to radically re-examine their roles and responsibilities in relationships that simultaneously cast them as both teachers and learners. We can look at NYU Abu Dhabi as a laboratory engaged in an ongoing experiment with broad social implications for all humans, the global, fractured, conflicting “we” of individuals, collectives, communities, and institutions struggling to find and cultivate ways to a peaceful, healthy, sustainable coexistence. While the diversity that informs NYU Abu Dhabi’s experimental set-up is artificially created, and is not (yet) representative of many communities and societies we live in, as an educational experiment, it still allows us to imagine how we could gradually transform the exclusionary and unsustainable systems we have in place and respond to the complex problems of the 21st century if the majority of our educational institutions adopted a radically collaborative—transcultural, transdisciplinary, and transgenerational—learning practice. This case study raises multiple questions that require further research. First of all, does the particular core model “work”? At the time of writing, NYU Abu Dhabi’s core is being reassessed regarding its overall effectiveness. The results of this comprehensive reassessment, which incorporates student feedback, will provide a better sense of

3. The Case of New York University

how closely the practical learning outcomes correspond to the values and goals around which the core was built. The core will also have to respond to representative results of the diversity and inclusion climate survey “Journey to Belonging.” Launched in April 2021, the survey will illuminate the extent to which the particular configurations of diversity and the approaches to equity and inclusion at NYU Abu Dhabi actually transform the textures of interpersonal relationships and empower all community members. Furthermore, only longitudinal studies can provide us with a richer understanding of the impact of NYU Abu Dhabi’s educational model on students’ lives: In which ways and under which circumstances might a few thousand students contribute to large-scale social change? This depends, of course, on the paths they pursue following their graduation and the influence they will have in future positions. Lastly, how can the community measure and evaluate the actual change that it inspires in the region, regarding free speech for example? Assessing this impact dimension will require collaborative, multidisciplinary research that is driven by exactly those habits of mind and competencies described in the core curriculum. More broadly, the global network university’s project offers grounds for further reflection and research: How can U.S. universities globalize in mindful, sustainable, and ethical ways? An institutional history of NYU’s last four decades remains to be written. However, this analysis suggests that NYU’s global expansion initially emulated the anxious entrepreneurial spirit of some corporations. Its operations globalized before its curriculum and pedagogy did. The ongoing process of developing a shared vision for global learning and teaching is pushed forward by a new generation of students who demand and deserve an education that empowers all of them for a complex future. With an acceptance rate of 15% (down from 31% in 2015), NYU admitted its most diverse classes to date in 2019 and 2020. Students from the graduating class of 2024 represent 133 countries and 49 states in the U.S. 27% belong to underrepresented minorities, and 15% are first-generation college students (NYU, “NYU Admits Most Selective Class, Matches Record for Diversity”). These numbers underline the importance of shared values and a common vision that all community members can relate to

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and to which they can commit. Without such core strength, universities cannot adequately address the complex challenges and the polarization around identity, privilege, and purpose confronting them—as universities in and of cities and in and of the world. The very idea of experiential learning implies that, with increasing diversity in glocalities, the perspectives, approaches, and goals institutions have to hold and negotiate will multiply. To do this, they need to build strong communities, a collective sense of agency and accountability, and overall complexity resilience. While we still struggle to understand and address many aspects of our societies’ ongoing globalization, globally engaged universities must have a guiding educational vision because they can influence how the communities, institutions, corporations, and societies of tomorrow will approach the problems of the 21st century. Their curricula must achieve the seemingly impossible and become concrete educational plans that respond to a constantly changing social reality that resists scholarly efforts to capture it conclusively. Universities must learn to prepare for what they cannot always fully predict and assess. This process will be laborious and contentious; after all, universities are institutions and, therefore, do not have the same agility as an avant-garde social movement. However, it holds the promise of more sustainable communities and impactful conventions of research and teaching. The next chapter will apply some of the conclusions drawn from the NYU case study and develop building blocks that can serve as the basis for new curricular approaches.

4. Reimagining a New Core for U.S. Undergraduate Education

If we view education as a life-long, experience-based, application-oriented, and collaborative practice focused on creating more sustainable, inclusive ways of future living, then we recognize that we presently find ourselves in a transformational moment. Our educational models must respond to both the novel scale and complexity of problems, the unprecedented pace of change, and the profound differences in how we experience and respond to this transformation. Learners with increasingly diverse backgrounds, experiences, and abilities must develop the competencies that will enable them to address glocal problems, to transform economic, political, and social systems that reveal their unsustainability and cruelty in mutations of capitalist exploitation, climate crises, mass migration, and pandemics, and to navigate lives forever altered by the automation of knowledge. An educational model that can meet these urgent needs must first and foremost establish a shared pool of meaning, literacy, and agency and, in order to do so, it must build new forms of partnerships and learning communities. As a result of various cognitive, demographic, institutional, and technological developments, this becomes the central challenge, responsibility, and opportunity for the undergraduate curriculum. So, where do we begin if we want to reimagine and redesign it? First of all, we need to treat the U.S. undergraduate curriculum in a manner similar to a glocal encounter zone: It is stirred by Appadurai’s global flows and their disjunctures, but it remains recognizably structured through geographic (for example, New York, Abu Dhabi, or

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Berlin) and institutional (in this case U.S. American) anchor cultures. We can balance this tension between fluidity and structure if our curricula model a competency that is at the core of our research protocol and foundational to establishing a connection across social differences: the ability to ask genuine questions. These questions will activate the diversity of experience and expertise in our learning community and position emerging and more established scholars as co-learners. Simultaneously, this curriculum must familiarize students with essential developments and concepts that are related to the curriculum’s regional and institutional anchor. For U.S. universities, it must locate “America” by illustrating how different systems of oppression and solidarity shape U.S. culture and society and engage “America” by creating frameworks and strategies for addressing complex, interrelated social phenomena and by modeling different forms of inquiry, criticism, and creative engagement within an overarching aspiration for ethical leadership. Considering this complex ecology, it becomes impossible to identify a specific, general educational requirement, such as courses that integrate students into their disciplines or a list of canonical texts that all students must read. The materials and resources we choose cannot cover content; they can only chart, interconnect, and open up new dynamically shifting knowledge fields and build essential core competencies. Secondly, the narratives and pedagogies that shape such a curriculum must grow out of transcultural and transgenerational collaborations in order to foster communal trust, agency, and imagination. A strong foundation is essential if university communities want to address the tensions that build between members of different cultural, generational, racial, religious, or socio-economic backgrounds. They need it to redesign established hierarchies as learning communities and adopt new understandings of what constitutes an equitable and inclusive learning environment and accountable institutional decisionmaking. Without such a foundation, they will not be able to address the complex problems created by globalization. A curriculum that accomplishes such ‘deep tissue’ transformation can only take the form of a core requirement, which charts pathways through intense complexity for all members of a learning community.

4. Reimagining a New Core for U.S. Undergraduate Education

Our efforts to globalize the curriculum will span a spectrum: Some core curricula will retain one strong academic anchor culture, but will stretch to illustrate how it is shaped by disjunctive global flows; other universities will evolve into new kinds of glocal, transcultural learning communities whose curricula centralize the complex deliberative processes within and between different social groups and thought traditions. Core curricula of the kind I propose will not take away the controversy, disagreement, and conflict that we observe in globalizing societies and diversifying institutions; rather, it will create a space for learners to engage with these signs of fundamental change and increasing complexity in constructive ways. My analysis thus far can be distilled into five broad learning outcomes.1 They include and interrelate a repertoire of modes of thought or habits of minds that can respond to fluid and fractured forms of knowledge, a set of practically applicable competencies, and a particular sensibility, thereby shaping the horizon of our curriculum practice:

1

Of course, many of these goals are not new and especially variations of the first one I list, i.e., “the ability to practice agile, critical thinking by applying it to constantly changing glocal problem contexts and imagine and prototype innovative solutions,” feature prominently in most curricula, including the NYU Abu Dhabi core courses. Increasingly, publications in the field of education studies focus on the aims of global learning: Schleicher, for example, identifies creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration as key skills in World Class: How to Build a 21st Century School System. Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education (2018). The global learning value rubrics developed by the Association for American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) progress from “capstone” to “milestones” and “benchmark.” NYU’s global learning objectives (summarized in the 2017 report by NYU’s Faculty Working Group) differentiate between competencies and attitudes/values. From my perspective, not enough attention is given to the particular quality of complexity that students must become comfortable addressing in global learning environments and the interrelatedness of the cognitive and the affective dimensions of educational processes. This view is expressed, for example, in my notion of “complexity resilience” and in the idea of holistic learning.

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the ability to practice agile, critical thinking by applying it to constantly changing glocal problem contexts and imagine and prototype innovative solutions; (trans)cultural, (trans-)generational, and (trans-)disciplinary difference and conflict literacy: the ability to understand and compare forms of cultural expression, generational mindsets, and disciplinary approaches; competencies for communicating respectfully and in open-minded ways to understand what constitutes a particular difference and discover opportunities for connections; agency and accountability in change-making: the ability to recognize one’s own implication in global challenges and the commitment to work with others on their solution within one’s spheres of influence; a relational or ecological understanding of progress and leadership, which treats individual and collective growth as interdependent and oppression and solidarity as intersectional; complexity resilience: a curious, courageous, and (self-) compassionate approach to the multidimensionality, interdependency, and inconsistency inherent to the “global condition”.

A plan for the successful realization of these learning outcomes can take various forms. Depending on the institutional context, a new glocal undergraduate core could be realized as a university-wide course, an orientation in and across academic fields (for example, conceived as “humanities in action”), and, as the example of NYU Abu Dhabi suggests, a lean core curriculum. Thus, the modules presented in this section function as versatile building blocks for different learning formats. Each section engages with a global challenge through a transcultural, transdisciplinary, and transgenerational lens that remains anchored in the U.S. context. I map its key dimensions through broad themes and sets of questions under which I group texts, and occasionally films, that can qualify as core resources. Modules on “dignity,” “belonging,” and “freedom” draw on materials from a broad set of academic and professional fields to engage students and teachers as co-learners. What is the significance and potential of these particular challenges?

4. Reimagining a New Core for U.S. Undergraduate Education

The NYU Abu Dhabi core colloquia illustrate how a focus on challenges allows us to ask deep, productive questions across multiple perspectives about the narratives and needs that link our histories, our complex present, and the futures that are still possible. Questions about “dignity,” “belonging,” and “freedom” are both timeless and timely, both global and local. These questions transcend time periods, regions, and thought traditions. They also have a particularly broad conceptual and experiential reach. While there is no official consensus about the number and nature of our world’s problems at present, priority lists of international collaboration, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), can provide some conceptual approximation or guidance. For example, the challenge of “belonging” connects the SDGs “good health and wellbeing,” “gender equality,” “reduced inequality,” “sustainable cities and communities,” sustainable “life below water” and “life on land,” and “peace, justice, strong institutions.” A course or program focused on dignity interrelates the goals of eliminating poverty and hunger, ensuring “decent work” for all, “peace, justice, strong institutions,” and “health and wellbeing.” Similarly, an exploration of “(un)freedom” leads to discussions about “industry, innovation, and infrastructure,” “climate action,” sustainable “life below water” and “life on land,” “good health and wellbeing,” and “decent work and economic growth” (“The 17 Goals”).2 The three modules prompt learners to ask how different conceptions of dignity, belonging, and freedom can inform legal frameworks, political tools, and creative practices that strengthen diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and sustainability. They also support students in identifying the causes and problems that call for their practical engagement in new partnerships. Drawing on their own experiences, students will engage with the three core concepts intellectually and emotionally,

2

For an overview and illustrations of all Sustainable Development Goals, refer to sdgs.un.org/goals. When these SDGs become an active component of the curricular narrative, learners will also identify blind spots in the current list, compare it to other frameworks, and generate new approaches to realize goal 17, “partnerships for the goals.”

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exploring what they reveal about their place in the world, human value, potential, rights, and responsibilities. The experiential dimension of learning diversifies and extends as well, as students form new connections across their learning community, shaping mind- and skill sets in response to the glocal quality of the problems that they study collaboratively. As classroom diversity broadens beyond what many of us can imagine, new perspectives on these questions will activate the curriculum’s materials in unexpected ways. If we allow this to happen, then such diversification will both immensely complicate and enrich community learning. Can we imagine the perspectives and experiences that will open up in our pedagogical practice when learning actively engages a spectrum of ages, abilities, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, gender identities/expressions, and professional roles, to name but a few? I present suggested core texts for these learning modules in an annotated format, providing rationales and commentary regarding my choice of materials. Like the chosen texts, section titles, and core questions that head the different modules, these annotations should not be seen as exhaustive or definitive, but serve to stimulate further discussion and deliberation, thereby sustaining an ongoing collaborative curricular practice. Thus, the modules do not serve as syllabi blueprints; instead, they can be adapted to suit different educational contexts and serve different needs. For example, the thematic reading cluster surrounding the challenge of ‘dignity’ takes its point of departure from an existing core course at NYU Abu Dhabi and explores which direction it could take within other U.S. undergraduate programs that rely on a core curriculum. The module on ‘belonging’ reflects the observation that an increasing number of U.S. universities invest intellectual, financial, and creative resources into identity-based support structures that focus on community building and belonging; these include initiatives for and by LGBTQ* communities, centers for religious and spiritual life, and “Solidarity Week” campaigns for example. In their ubiquity, they express an almost intuitive institutional understanding of the dangers associated with a fractured and fragile sense of purpose, trust, and connection as our societies struggle to adapt to fundamental, large-scale change

4. Reimagining a New Core for U.S. Undergraduate Education

and increased polarization. Lastly, the module on ‘freedom’ directly addresses the question of human agency in view of multiple crises, pondering the changes that we can make to complex systems over which we may have only limited control. When taken together, the three models triangulate key terms of the first article of the Declaration of Human Rights.

4.1

Dignity3

The concept of human dignity relates networks of Western and nonWestern aesthetic, cultural, ethical, legal, political, and religious discourses. It reflects and refers to a fundamental commitment to human value or status, the sources and normative indications of which remain contested. The idea of “dignity” animates debates about sanctity, selfrealization, recognition, and belonging. It can refer to the imago dei and elevate humans above every other species and the natural world, signify the potentiality of human reason and rationality, and refer to a baseline of individual rights and duties. Disciplinary incommensurability and broad vernacular use have amplified the tensions between the different interpretations and functions of dignity across fields, communi3

Inspiration for this module came from NYU Abu Dhabi’s existing core colloquium “Dignity/Indignity,” taught by Mahnaz Yousefzadeh. I find the decision to begin the course with the translation and interpretation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to be especially convincing in order to chart the diversity of viewpoints and expertise in a learning community and to establish an integrated approach to theoretical and practical learning. I also find it helpful to include, linguistically speaking, familial relationships of the word “dignity” where they allow us to hone in on its conceptual and affective delineations (“indignation”). Some readings in this module overlap with the course’s content. For example, Michael Rosen’s Dignity (from an earlier version of the syllabus) served as one of my entry points to the wide discursive landscape of “dignity” in Western thought, and the aspect of bioethics informed my section on “Death and Dignity” (specifically the choice of Ann Neumann’s work). For an overview of the features of the current syllabus, refer to the course’s WordPress page: dignityindignity.wordpress.com/syllabus/ (last accessed 30 June 2021).

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ties, and societies and even prompted its dismissal as a “stupidity” or a “useless concept” by Steven Pinker and Ruth Macklin respectively. Thus, it becomes centrally important for globalizing learning communities to debate what a dignified life means and how it can be achieved for all. This module traces the genealogy of different conceptions of dignity by asking how aesthetic, cultural, economic, and political practices have historically interacted with notions of dignity and where and how the strands of interpretation conflict in contemporary discourses. How can we (re)imagine dignity as a liberating force in structurally unjust societies? How does an emphasis on dignity affect social structures that are shaped by guilt and debt? Is it possible to arrive at a concept of dignity that acknowledges and anchors conflicting conceptions and provides grounds for aligning ethical, legal, and political practices in diverse cultural environments? As in all three modules, the following suggested readings should be related to practical case studies that offer all learners opportunities to practically apply their knowledge and skills through new partnerships, such as with local communities. Introductory Discussion • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) The first session connects the personal and intimate with the political and global via the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Drawing on storytelling techniques, learners can reflect individually and in pairs on their first encounter with the concept of dignity, such as through an argument or conflict, a particular text, or a story passed on in the family. A discussion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights positions “dignity” in relation to other core concepts articulated in Articles 1 and 2, such as “freedom,” “equality,” “reason,” and “brotherhood,” offering greater opportunities to introduce the module’s different thematic pathways. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Translation Project can activate the multi-lingual classroom and chart a more expansive, complex spectrum of meanings attached to the notion of dig-

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nity.4 The classroom dialogue can be broadened by including additional documents, such as the Charter of the United Nations (1945), the Geneva Convention (1949), the German Grundgesetz (Basic Law) (1949), or the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (1990). Historical Introduction from a Western Perspective • Rosen, Michael. Dignity. Its History and Meaning. Harvard University Press, 2012. [Consider in particular the first section, “The Shibboleth of All Empty-Headed Moralists.”] The philosopher Michael Rosen wrote his genealogy of human dignity following an interdisciplinary exchange with a human rights lawyer that revealed to him how little he knew about the concept (ix). His book bridges the scholarly and public realms of ethical inquiry, providing an accessible entry point to different cultural, legal, political, and religious discourses in the form of four conceptual strands that have shaped contemporary Western understandings and misunderstandings of dignity. These include: dignity as rank or social status; dignity as intrinsic value; dignity as behavior, character, or conduct that is dignified; and dignity as respectful treatment (11-62). As part of his argument, Rosen considers specific legal cases in different cultural, constitutional, and geographical locales, such as the German Luftsicherheitsgesetz [German Security Act] of 2005 or the legislation regarding the practice of “dwarftossing” in the French commune of Morsang-sur-Orge. Canonical Inquiries into Human Nature • Cicero, M. Tullius. De Officiis. Translated by Walter Miller, Harvard University Press, 1913. [Consider Book I “On Moral Goodness.”] • Aquinas, Thomas. “On Kingship.” Aquinas: Political Writings. Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 5-51.

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More information about the translation project can be found at www. ohchr.org/en/udhr/pages/introduction.aspx.

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• •



Della Mirandola, Pico. Oration on the Dignity of Man (1487), https:/ /www.brown.edu/Departments/Italian_Studies/pico/index.html. [Excerpts; introduction to the Pico project.] Bacon, Francis. “Of Great Place.” The Essays, or, Counsels Civil and Moral of Francis Bacon. George Routledge and Sons, 1884, pp. 78-83. Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. The Matter, Forme and Power of a CommonWealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil. Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1943. [Consider chapters 1-10.] Kant, Immanuel. Groundwork for a Metaphysics of Morals. Rethinking the Western Traditions. Edited by Allen W. Wood, Yale University Press, 2002. [Consider particularly pp. 45-55.]

This section provides canonical references to the main conceptual genealogies in Western thought and an opportunity to engage learners with some of the key works introduced in Rosen’s argument. This engagement could occur as part of a historical, linearly unfolding narrative, for example, by beginning in antiquity with excerpts from the first book of Cicero’s De Officiis (44 BC), which ties dignity to status or rank via the human capacity to practice self-development through reason. This theme reverberates in Pico della Mirandola’s Oration on the Dignity of Man (1486), which essentially disconnects human beings from “the chain of being” because of their capacity for self-determination, “a range of possibilities not available to other creatures” (Rosen 15). The thread culminates in Groundwork for a Metaphysics of Morals (1785), in which Immanuel Kant ties dignity to the “unconditional, incomparable value” of every human, our “humanity” (qtd. in Rosen 21-2). Kant could be read ‘against’ Thomas Hobbes to illuminate the relationship between the different values of dignity and price.  However, we should also explore alternative, non-linear narratives for course designs that integrate these canonical texts and their core concepts with concrete contemporary topics. This will help students form connections between core texts, a variety of academic methods, and their own ideas, thereby leading to increasingly rich and layered knowledge and skill systems, as described in Chapter 1. The following segments serve to introduce possible topics and, in some cases, suggest

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what a productive integration of historical reference and contemporary challenge could look like. Affective Ecologies of Dignity and Indignity • Ahmed, Sara. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Edinburgh University Press, 2014. [Consider especially the introduction “Feel Your Way.”] • Lorde, Audre. “The Uses of Anger.” Women’s Studies Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 3, Fall 1981, pp. 7-10. • Nussbaum, Martha. Anger and Forgiveness. Resentment, Generosity, Justice. Oxford University Press, 2016. • Sokoloff, William. “Frederick Douglass and the Politics of Rage.” New Political Science, vol. 36, no. 3, 2014, pp. 330-45. • Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy. A Story of Justice and Redemption. Scribe, 2015. How do we experience dignity? Which emotions do we associate with the violation or affirmation of dignity? This section explores different conceptions of dignity through the “lens” of affective responses, focusing specifically on both anger and compassion. Ahmed enriches a common understanding of emotions as internal states by presenting them as socio-cultural practices that shape our sense of embodied self, our actions, discourses, relationships, and politics. The works by Lorde, Nussbaum, and Sokoloff all discuss anger’s function, normative frameworks, and potential impact. In combination with Stevenson’s account of his journey as a lawyer in the U.S. criminal justice system, Nussbaum’s exploration of forgiveness and generosity highlights another emotional ecology that is commonly associated with dignity: compassion. Racial oppression and extreme violence, the problem area that this section illuminates in referring to apartheid, slavery, and mass incarceration, is a phenomenon of immense spatiotemporal reach and occupies the heart of unresolved contemporary struggles and debates regarding American identity.

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Capacities, Capabilities, and Disabilities • Clare, Eli. Exile and Pride. Disability, Queerness, and Liberation. 2nd ed., Duke University Press, 2015. [Consider “The Mountain;” “clearcut: explaining the distance” and “losing home;” “freaks and queers,” “reading across the grain,” stones in my pockets, stones in my heart.”] • Nussbaum, Martha. Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership. Harvard University Press, 2006. [Consider the “introduction,” “capabilities and disabilities,” and the “conclusion.”] • Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation. A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals. 3rd ed., Harper Collins, 2002. • Waldron, Jeremy. “Basic Equality.” NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 08-61, December 5, 2008. The section focuses on the ethical and legal propositions of scholars, activists, and writers that discuss how capacities or capabilities (and, by extension, social functions) relate to dignity in human and nonhuman animals. If human properties vary in their recognizable expression, then (how) can we be considered equal? Are we entitled to have certain rights just because we are human? How and where do we draw the legal boundary between humans and other species? Which approach to dignity establishes the most sustainable relationship between us and the nonhuman world upon which we depend? Clare explores social justice poetry and activism at the multifaceted intersection of disability, queerness, and the environment. Nussbaum develops a capabilities approach that seeks justice for people with physical and mental disabilities, investigates how justice can be globalized, and explores human obligations to nonhuman animals. Waldron inquires into the foundation, implications, and affordance of the idea that all humans share “basic equality.” Singer extends utilitarian principles to animals, especially regarding minimizing suffering and pain, thereby creating the philosophical foundation for the animal liberation movement. This section offers opportunities to apply theoretical tools to contemporary questions and debates, such as regarding access to legal abortion services, robotics-

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supported post-rehabilitation therapies, homelessness, animal testing, or intensive animal farming. Death and Dignity • How to Die in Oregon. Directed by Peter Richardson, Clearcut Productions, 2011. • Kalanithi, Paul. When Breath Becomes Air. Random House, 2016. • Montaigne, “That To Philosophize is to Learn to Die.” (1850) Complete Essays, translated and edited by Michael Andrew Screech, Penguin Books, 2003, pp. 89-108. • Neumann, Ann. The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America. Beacon Press, 2016. [Consider “Terminal Restlessness,” “Priceless Days,” “A Small but Significant Minority,” “Dying Inside,” “The Most Vulnerable,” and “The Good Death.”] Advances in medicine and improvements to overall human health conditions during the 20th century have extended human lives in the U.S. for an additional thirty years on average. We have professionalized endof-life care and moved death from homes and communities into specialized facilities that are usually disconnected from our daily lives. How do we die today, and why? What are the legal, social, and emotional systems that structure how we experience the end of our lives? How is a sense of agency, expressed in our choice and consent, interwoven into the legal and experiential dimensions of human dignity? Montaigne points to the liberating potential of reacquainting ourselves with death as part of living. The effort to accomplish this essentially occupies the core of Neumann’s journalistic account of the institutions, discourses, movements, and voices that shape our modern experience of death. Kalanithi’s memoir ponders the meaning of life as he transitions from restoring the health of others, as a young neurosurgeon, to the role of a terminally ill patient. Finally, Richardson’s documentary zooms in on the controversial “Oregon Death with Dignity Act” (1994), opening up a broad interpretative spectrum of dignity through deeply personal stories.

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The Aesthetic Dimension of Dignity • Schiller, Friedrich. “Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man,” translated by Elizabeth M. Wilkinson and Leonard A. Willoughby. Essays, edited by Walter Hindered and Daniel O. Dahlstrom, Continuum, 1993. [Consider especially letters 1-9.] • Schiller, Friedrich. “On Grace and Dignity.” Friedrich Schiller: Poet of Freedom Vol. II. Schiller Institute Washington D.C., 1988, 361-428. • Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Harvard University Press, 2012. [Excerpts, with “Preface” and “Introduction.] How does education in and the practice of the arts relate to dignity? Friedrich Schiller’s “Letters” and his essay “On Grace and Dignity” represent an opportunity to revisit aspects of Kant’s moral philosophy and examine how notions of “grace,” “form,” and “the sublime” interact with “freedom,” “responsibility” and perhaps even “resistance” in an aesthetic conception of dignity. Schiller is one of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s reference points in An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization, which invests the humanities with the task and potential of training our “imagination for epistemological performance” (122) and urgent ethical interventions in our complex and conflicted present. This session could also provide a framework to discuss the value of the liberal arts and the university’s role in the 21st century. Dignity and Debt • Biss, Eula. “White Debt. Reckoning With What Is Owed—And What Can Never Be Repaid—For Racial Privilege.” New York Times, 2 December 2015. • Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The Case for Reparations.” The Atlantic, June 2014. • Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste. The Origins of our Discontents. Random House, 2020. • 13TH . Directed by Ava DuVernay, Kandoo Films, 2016.

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Departing from Wilkerson’s claim that U.S. society is shaped by the principles of caste, which makes it structurally comparable to Nazi Germany and India, this section creates an opportunity to explore connotations of “complacence,” “guilt,” and “privilege” in the context of dignity. What might a socially and politically productive relationship to debt look like? Can guilt be redemptive? How can deeply internalized and institutionalized hierarchies be dismantled and unlearned? How does our conception of dignity change as we think about it in the context of reparations? These texts inquire into patterns of oppression and potential for liberation by focusing on the concrete social problems of redlining and mass incarceration, relating back to the unit on affective ecologies and gesturing towards the section on revolutions. Market Morality and Revolutions • Appiah, Kwame Anthony. The Honor Code. How Moral Revolutions Happen. W. W. Norton & Company, 2010 [Consider the “Preface” and “Suppressing Atlantic Slavery.”] • Sandel, Michael. “What Money Can’t Buy. The Moral Limits of Markets.” Tanner Lectures on Human Value 21, 1998, pp. 87-122. • Zuboff, Shoshana. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. Profile Books, 2019. [Consider the summary of key arguments in Zuboff’s lecture, entitled: “Surveillance capitalism and democracy” and hosted by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ0josfRzp4.] This section discusses a central phenomenon in contemporary life and discourse: the expansion of market logic into all spheres of our social and cultural lives. Are markets morally neutral? What are the mechanisms through which they might threaten our dignity? How do we determine when a transaction is morally wrong? Can repugnance at certain transactions, such as access to knowledge and social connection “in exchange for” the mining of our private experience, constrain markets? Must reformers essentially mobilize shame and contempt to

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establish a new sense of honor that discredits our sense of belonging to a society in which repugnant practices occur? Case studies for this section could include the marketization of higher education, the prisonindustrial complex, organ transplant sales, or the new economic order established by surveillance capitalism. We might turn to moral revolutions of the past as presented in The Honor Code when debating continuities and ruptures within exploitative regimes and strategies by which to transform them. The Right to Have Rights • Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. 1951. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade & Reference Publishers, 1973. [Consider “The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man.”] • Beitz, Charles. “Human Dignity in the Theory of Human Rights: Nothing But a Phrase?” Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 41, no. 3, 2013, pp. 259-90. • DeGooyer, Stephanie et al. The Right to Have Rights. Verso, 2018. This session returns to the introductory section by inquiring into the meaning and function of human dignity in the context of human rights. Can dignity justify and ground a theory or practice of human rights? If so, in which conception and for which rights? Arendt’s critique of human rights, as a theoretical concept and an institutional mechanism, prompts questions about possible interventions: How can those deprived of their rights, because they are not citizens of a state, access a political community? How can those without “a place in the world which makes opinion significant and actions effective” (Arendt 296), which may include those who do have functional citizenship, exert agency and (re)claim their rights? Students might unpack the constitutive elements of Arendt’s famous phrase “the right to have rights” (296) and analyze how they relate to democratic interventions, much like DeGooyer et al. have. Case studies for this section could include the so-called refugee crisis, national immigration and detention practices, the tradition and implementation of sanctuary cities, international trade deals, lobbyism,

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and other neoliberal mechanisms that dispossess and disempower citizens.

4.2

Belonging

The need to belong is deeply woven into our biology: Whether or not we feel a sense of belonging impacts our cognitive abilities, empathetic range, health, subjectively felt well-being, physical and emotional resilience, motivation, and our imagination. Recent research across the social sciences challenges the widespread contemporary perception of human behavior as naturally competitive, exclusionary, and individualistic. It suggests instead that human nature is also inherently altruistic and cooperative, provoking at least two fundamental questions: Why do prejudices and exclusionary behaviors exert such presence and power in our globalizing societies? How can a change in perceptions and social, political, and economic behaviors orient us toward cooperation and trust? This module explores various dimensions of belonging, beginning with a theoretical and practical exploration of what constitutes a sense of belonging within the process of identity formation. How has the complex and multilayered process of globalization impacted our sense of home, orientation, and trust? Which forms and roles do boundaries assume as we negotiate belonging? Who are our strangers? Is inclusion ultimately conditional upon casting someone or something as “Other”? How do representation and the visibility of our similarities impact our sense of belonging? This module represents an opportunity to investigate the systems of thought and emotional regimes that sustain oppressive, exclusionary practices on all levels of social organization. It lays the foundation for effective interventions and sustainable social change toward more equitable, inclusive, and peaceful communities and societies. What is the genealogy of prejudice in the context of U.S. American identity formation? What is intersectional oppression? How has it formed and evolved? How has it been described, and which forms can we observe today? Storytelling emerges as a central strategy by which to increase

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global belonging: Our innate disposition to express and relate to others through stories opens a window of opportunity to heal existing wounds and create new normative foundations and value-based practices. Introduction: How do we belong? • Angelou, Maya. Letter to my Daughter. Random House, 2009. [Consider “Letter to my Daughter” and “Home.”] • Brown, Brené. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. Random House, 2017. [Consider chapters “Everywhere and Nowhere” and “The Quest for True Belonging.”] How does our sense of belonging relate to the ongoing process of our identity formation? The module begins with the exploration of a conception of belonging as a collectively shared pool of meaning that is established through stories. Narratives by Angelou and Brown serve as thematic or conceptual starting points for students’ storytelling in the classroom (which could occur as an anonymous letter-writing activity). How does belonging relate to representation and to a confident imagination? Where are the boundaries, experientially and epistemologically, between belonging and fitting in? Where and what is home? How does it relate to our sense of belonging as we move through our lives? What are the central challenges that are tied to our need to belong in societies, which tend toward polarization, and how can we overcome a commonly experienced crisis of disconnection? The Global Condition: Epistemological and Ethical Dilemmas • Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. University of Minnesota Press, 1996. [Consider especially “Here and Now” and “Part 1. Global Flows.”] • Appiah, Kwame Anthony. The Ethics of Identity. Princeton University Press, 2005. [Consider especially chapter six on “Rooted Cosmopolitanism.”] • Bourne, Randolph. “Transnational America.” The Atlantic, July 1916 Issue.

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This section introduces globalization as the social reality that challenges our sense of belonging. It theoretically anchors a predominantly intuitive understanding of the complexity that characterizes globalizing societies and lives. What are the defining features of globalization as both a phenomenon and a process? What are the challenges that are associated with describing and predicting its effects? How does globalization impact processes of collective and individual identity formation? Bourne’s concept of a “transnational America” and Appiah’s notion of “rooted cosmopolitanism” prompt us to ask what ethical guidance theories of cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, and transnationalism can practically provide. In focusing on the experience of migrants, specifically refugees, the next section on “migration and mobility” strategically breaks the theme of flows and fluidity, which informs the spatial metaphors of unbounded movement on which theories of globalization must often rely for constructive simplification. Migration and Mobility • Arendt, Hannah. “We Refugees.” The Menorah Journal, 1943; repr. in Altogether Elsewhere: Writers on Exile, edited by Marc Robinson, Faber and Faber, 1996, pp. 110-19. • Douglass, Frederick. “Composite Nation” Lecture in the Parker Fraternity Course, Boston, Folder 2 of 3, 1867. Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/mfd.22017/. • Schiller, Nina Glick, Basch, Linda, and Cristina Blanc-Szanton. “Transnationalism: A New Analytical Understanding for Migration.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 645, no. 1, 1992, pp. 1-24. How do the complex and multilayered processes of globalization impact upon our imagination, notion of home, and our need for safety? How do they shape discourses and policies concerned with citizenship rights? By focusing on Appadurai’s “ethnoscapes” and “ideoscapes,” the texts assembled here prompt learners to critically investigate the idea of global flows as smooth and frictionless movements and explore the ex-

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perience of the migrant, which finds its most vulnerable expression in the anxious search for refuge, as a quintessential disjuncture. The texts also allow for a cursory overview of other concepts associated with debates about migration and citizenship: assimilation, integration, multiculturalism, and transnationalism. Finally, the section refocuses our attention on the role played by the nation-state in globalizing societies: For example, what are the forms and functions of borders and boundaries, and how do they intervene in our negotiation of who belongs? Memory and Place • Assmann, Aleida. Cultural Memory and Western Civilization: Functions, Media, Archives. Cambridge University Press, 2012. [Consider especially the chapter on “Places.”] • Cole, Teju. Open City. Random House Inc., 2011. • Massey, Doreen. “Globalisation: What Does it Mean for Geography?” Geography, vol. 87, no. 4, 2002, pp. 93-6. This section focuses on memory as a crucial process of meaning-making in its spatial representation of place—a concept that itself oscillates between the local and the global realms, depending on the disciplinary and discursive lens employed. What is a place, and how does it relate to space? How does globalization impact upon our sense of place as an attachment that is mediated by memory? How do places and practices of place-making relate to identity and community formation? While the texts by Assmann and Massey stretch across the imaginations and methodologies of cultural anthropology, literary studies, and geography, Cole’s novel picks up on the module’s experiential component as a story-telling and reading experience. Mediating between the sections on “migration and mobility” and “place and memory,” Open City parses different understandings of place, both local and global, and, through its highly unreliable narrator, prompts a discussion of memory as manipulative, fluid, and dialogic in both texture and expression. After all, (how) does memory belong to us?

4. Reimagining a New Core for U.S. Undergraduate Education

Inner Maps of Otherness: Double-Consciousness and Prejudice • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. • Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. 1903. Dover Publications, 1994. [Consider especially “Forethought,” “Our Spiritual Strivings,” and “Of the Dawn of Freedom.”] • Rankine, Claudia. The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Fence Books, 2015. [Excerpts, including the “Forward.”] • Said, Edward. Orientalism. 1978. Penguin Books, 2003. [Consider especially the chapter on “Orientalism Now.”] Retaining the preceding section’s spatial imagination, this group of readings inquires into the structures, effects, and experiential dimension of prejudice, thereby prompting an initial discussion about the relationship between inclusion and exclusion. Can we ultimately only experience belonging when simultaneously constructing an “Other” in order to delineate the boundaries of our communities? How do we form often-unconscious biases and stereotypes that express themselves in discrimination at interpersonal, institutional, and societal levels? How do we relate Du Bois’s proposition that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line” (9) to 21st century discourses and experiences of racism? Adichie’s and Rankine’s contributions foreshadow various themes that become central to the subsequent sections, such as “Loneliness,” “Recognition,” and “Strangers Next Door.”5 The Coordinates of Belonging? – Intersectionality • Crenshaw, Kimberlé. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review, vol. 43, no. 6, 1991, pp. 1241-99. • Mock, Janet. My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. Atria Paperback, 2014.

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If a more psychological foundation is needed to establish a basic understanding of “racial identity” and “racism,” then the chapter on “Defining Racism. ‘Can we talk?’” in Beverly Tatum’s Why Are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (1997) might be a good choice here.

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Young, Iris Marion. Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton University Press, 1990. [Consider especially the chapter on “Five Faces of Oppression.”]

This section continues to explore the relationship between structures, practices, and experiences of inclusion and exclusion. Crenshaw’s seminal article introduces the concept of “intersectionality,” which recognizes how different forms of inequality function together and aggravate one another. Young argues in favor of the conceptual centrality of “oppression” in social justice discourses. Combined with Mock’s account of navigating the complex, multi-stranded transitions toward a secure sense of self, belonging, and dignity, these theoretical texts push into the practical dimension of solidarity and activism by asking what we can do as we understand the implications of Audre Lorde’s assertation that “there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives” (138). Case studies could focus on translating intersectionality into policies as attempted by the Center for Intersectional Justice in Berlin, advocacy for inclusive language in different countries, or narrative designs in the television show Pose and Crenshaw’s podcast “Intersectionality Matters!”. Loneliness and Solitude • Cacioppo, John and William Patrick. Loneliness. Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection. W.W. Norton & Company, 2009. [Consider especially chapter one, “Lonely in a Social World.”] • Rich, Adrienne. Diving Into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972. Norton & Company, 1973. [Consider especially the title poem “Diving Into the Wreck.”] • Sarton, Mary. Journal of a Solitude. W.W. Norton & Company, 1992 [1973]. • Moonlight. Directed by Barry Jenkins, A24 and Plan B Entertainment, 2016.

4. Reimagining a New Core for U.S. Undergraduate Education

Can we belong even as we remain separate from others? How can loneliness help us to understand the condition and effects of not belonging? How do we heal from it? Cacioppo and Patrick highlight the similarity between the experience of perceived isolation from others and physical pain, discussing the impact on our cognitive and affective selves, cardiovascular and hormonal processes, immune responses, and aging. Sarton’s journal entries, which trace and reflect on the changes in her inner landscape over a year, link solitude to creativity and self-discovery and explore the necessarily ambivalent border regions of aloneness and loneliness. Rich’s poetic account of “Diving into the Wreck” and Jenkins’s Moonlight link solitude to various identity intersections, pondering the aloneness and loneliness tied to peripheral representation in dominant narratives, especially history as (a narrowly imagined) his-story. How do we navigate our shifting needs for connection and solitude? Is belonging a matter of degrees? How do we compensate if we lack a sense of connection so intimately tied to our understanding of selfworth, self-compassion, and confidence? How does our position within or outside of a specific social context shape our critical and creative perspectives and, in turn, others’ perceptions and receptions? Recognition I: The Politics of Recognition • Fanon, Frantz. Black Skins, White Masks. Pluto Press, 2008. [Consider especially “The Negro and Recognition.”] • Frazer, Nancy and Axel Honneth. Redistribution and Recognition. A Political-Philosophical Exchange. Verso, 2003. [Consider especially the first two chapters, “Social Justice in the Age of Identity Politics” and “Redistribution as Recognition.”] • Taylor, Charles. “The Politics of Recognition.” Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, edited by Amy Gutmann, Princeton University Press, 1992, pp. 25-73. What is recognition, and how does it relate to belonging? What are the opportunities and limitations of recognition as a political strategy? From a Hegelian perspective, a subject’s autonomy is conditioned on re-

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ciprocal, intersubjective relations that make “recognition” a fundamental need. This notion of recognition provides a basis by which to conceptualize the relationship between identity formation and difference and examine the normative foundations of political claims in the context of globalizing societies. Taylor’s essay on “The Politics of Recognition” still marks a consensus that identifies non-distributive social and political movements with a struggle for “Hegelian” recognition, making it a core reference in debates about multiculturalism. In transcontinental dialogue, Frazer and Honneth develop positions that affirm the need to examine the relationship between recognition and distributive justice with an eye on increasingly severe economic injustices resulting from global capitalism. Fanon’s reading extends and further sharpens the discussion of “inner maps of otherness” by expounding the psychological effect of racism and colonialism as one that destroys victims’ relationships to themselves in misrecognition. Recognition II: Reading for Recognition • Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Riverhead Books, 2007. • Fluck, Winfried. “Reading for Recognition.” New Literary History, 2013, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 45-67. This section explores the relationship between narrative and belonging by locating recognition in literature. The pursuit, claim, and denial of recognition form core themes of literature, but can stories go beyond the dimension of representation, in which they describe the genuine experiential mutuality that we lack in our own lives, and provide recognition through the reading process (Fluck, “Reading for Recognition” 45)? If so, how can we understand, explain, and activate this form of recognition? Which narratives draw us to fiction, and how do they engage our need for recognition? What can a “reading for recognition,” to speak with Winfried Fluck’s essay title, add that a politics of recognition might struggle to grasp? The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao offers multiple entry points from which to address these questions. It playfully engages

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and deconstructs elements of the Cinderella and adventure stories that are central to the Western narrative imagination (Fluck 53-5). Oscar appears to personify the struggle for recognition; he longs for affirmation, especially by the women he falls in love with, and turns to science fiction to imagine and feel what his life seems to deny him in a stream of misrecognition that culminates in his violent death. The narrative is multistranded, at times adding information on select topics in footnotes, and moves in and out of different characters, thereby echoing and affirming the reader’s “segmented attachments” (Fluck 58-9). We can read the novel politically by focusing on the plot’s representative dimension, rather than the reading experience, but it opens much richer opportunities to discuss the relationship between recognition and belonging in encouraging attention to a broadened “ontological narrativity” (50) and its implications for the human need for belonging. The Strangers Next Door • Deavers, Anna. Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities. Dramatists Play Services Inc., 1992. • Simmel, Georg. “The Stranger’’ (1908). The Sociology of Georg Simmel, translated and edited by Kurt H. Wolff, Free Press, 1950, pp. 402-8. What is the role played by social strangers in the context of mobile spatial relations? How do we negotiate what unites and divides us? How do we communicate our identities to others? As globalization diversifies our societies, it multiplies and often intensifies experiential and epistemological differences within small locales; this intensification may strain or embolden our sense of belonging as we construct individual and collective identities in relation to and negotiation with otherness. Simmel’s figure of the stranger, who shifts between and operationalizes both closeness and remoteness, invites a discussion of hybridity and mobility central to the global condition. Deaver’s play Fires in the Mirror uses a series of verbatim monologues to reflect on the riot that broke out in the racially divided Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights in August 1991, following a fatal car accident involving a Jewish driver and

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a young Black boy. In conversation, these two sources initiate a conversation about various responses to identity-based differences and ask poignant questions about our ability to hold multiple perspectives. Conflict • Brown, Wendy. Regulating Aversion. Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire. Princeton University Press, 2008. • Campbell, Bradley and Jason Manning. “Microaggression and Moral Cultures.” Comparative Sociology, vol. 13, no. 6, January 2014, 692-726. • Galtung, Johann. “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research.” Journal of Peace Research, 1969, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 167-191. • LaDuke, Winona and Sean Aaron Cruz. The Militarization of Indian Country. 2nd ed. Michigan State University Press, 2013. This group of readings traces the different layers and expressive forms of conflict by extending the preceding section’s underlying themes. Conflicts prompt a recalibration and renegotiation of collectively held meaning, often allowing previously silenced voices to enter into the conversation and new ethical frameworks to emerge. They signal that social connection has been disrupted, because notions of belonging seem incommensurable for example. What are the defining features, paradoxes, and dilemmas of intercultural conflicts? What are the parties and tactics that we rely on in responding to them? Is the language of the law an adequate mechanism for their adjudication? What other modes of discourse, ethical positions, and practical interventions can guide us in navigating identity-based conflicts in diversifying societies? What is peace and how can we move towards it? The section introduces Galtung’s influential conceptual differentiation between peace and violence and Brown’s analysis of how tolerance, often presented as a potent alternative to violence, relates to aversion. Campbell’s and Manning’s study of the anatomy and use of microaggressions, which constitute and reflect structural inequalities, as a growing number of scholars argue, connects a prevalent phenomenon on U.S. campuses to a fundamental shift in contemporary Western moral cultures. LaDuke

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hones in on a particular unresolved conflict that occupies the heart of American identity, thereby providing a case study that connects the concepts introduced in this section—structural violence, aversion, tolerance, and micro-aggressions—as it explores the relationships between the U.S. military, Indigenous peoples, and the environment. Toward Structures of Connection • Bicchieri, Christina. The Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure, and Change Social Norms. Oxford University Press, 2017. [Consider especially the chapter on “Diagnosing Norms,” “Norm Change,” and “Tools for Change.”] • Kolk, Bessel van der. The Body Keeps the Score. Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. Penguin Random House UK, 2014. [Consider “The Rediscovery of Trauma,” “Paths to Recovery,” and the epilogue “Choices to be Made”] • Neff, Kristin. “Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Well-being.” Social And Personality Psychology Compass, vol. 5, no. 1, 2011, pp. 1-12. • Reagon, Bernice Johnson. “Coalition Politics: Turning the Century.” Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, edited by Barbara Smith. Kitchen Table Women of Color Press, 1983, pp. 343-57. • Walton, Gregory. M. and Wilson, Timothy. D. “Wise Interventions: Psychological Remedies for Social and Personal Problems.” Psychological Review, vol. 125, 2018, pp. 617-55. This section focuses on concrete structural responses to the challenges that stem from a decreased or fractured sense of belonging. Each of the readings selected looks at different levels of social transformation. Neff and Van der Kolk focus on the intra-personal dimension of belonging to ourselves. Neff suggests that self-compassion, anchored in “kindness versus-self judgment, a sense of common humanity versus isolation, and mindfulness versus over-identification” (4), can offer us positive behavioral alternatives in moments of suffering, but remains underdeveloped in contemporary Western societies, which are driven by competition and focus on unsustainable self-esteem. Van der Kolk discusses

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strategies through which to reintegrate the fragments of a traumatic memory into narrative and support the development of “self-leadership,” which is the first step toward healing trauma. However, trauma here crucially emerges as a “hidden epidemic” in U.S. society, having far-reaching consequences for public health policy, leadership roles, and every aspect and level of education. Bridging the intra- and the inter-personal dimensions of belonging, Walton and Wilson introduce a psychologically framed approach to prevalent social issues, including health attitudes and group conflict, which they call “wise interventions.” Reagan’s speech reflects on the resilience required to sustain a lifetime of social change activism. It draws attention to the shifting configurations, differences, and interdependences of two kinds of spaces: those we experience as healing and nurturing and those in which we try to build coalitions across differences. Finally, Bicchieri takes an interdisciplinary look at how social norms are formed and changed, prompting us to ask questions like: (How) Can we alter beliefs, expectations, or preferences related to, for example, genital mutilation, forced marriage, and vaccination-hesitancy?

4.3

Freedom and Unfreedom

The notion of freedom is incessantly employed and rhetorically powerful; when evoked, it invariably elicits strong affective responses. Yet, the ecology of its meaning in globalizing societies is complex and contested. It produces misunderstandings, tensions, and open conflicts at the interpersonal, institutional, regional, and transnational levels, even if freedom is carefully defined. The U.S. seems emblematic in this sense: Here, the concept of freedom, or liberty, is the centerpiece of the cultural, legal, and political vocabulary and plays a formative role in collective identity formation. This module explores freedom as an essentially contested concept in its cultural, legal, political, and psychological dimensions, among others. Which tensions open up if we retrace freedom’s genealogy of meaning from the varied perspectives of those who understand themselves to be unfree? What is freedom’s relationship to

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other values, often mentioned in the same breath, such as equality? How can we “capture” freedom conceptually, and to what ends? Which contradictions do contemporary social crises, such as mass incarceration or health pandemics, expose in the logic of our contemporary understanding of freedom? What does our own un/freedom incline us to do? Introduction: What Does it Mean to be Free? • Moyers, Bill. “A Conversation with Maya Angelou.” Conversations with Maya Angelou, edited by Jeffrey M. Elliot, The University Press of Mississippi, 1989, pp. 18-28. • Barnard Center for Research on Women. “Reina Gossett + Dean Spade” Part 1 “Prison Abolition and Prefiguring the World You Want” and Part 2 “Practicing Prison Abolition Everyday.” YouTube. 7 February 2014. • Edward Said: The Last Interview. Directed by Mike Dibb, First Run/Icarus Films, 2004. The conversations between Maya Angelou and Bill Moyers, Edward Said and Charles Glass, and Reina Gossett and Dean Spade tap into various dimensions of the contested concept of freedom, specifically as it relates to identity formation, spatializes into distinct geographies of power, acquires new meaning through processes of liberation and resistance, and interacts with similarly contested notions of equality and justice. As an alternative introduction to the module and its myriad dimensions, students might reflect on the inclinations and interests that draw them to the topic by interviewing individuals whose roles, experiences, or actions have shaped their understanding of freedom. The Story of American Freedom • Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?” The Atlantic, Civil Rights Issue, February 2012. • Douglass, Frederick. “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” The Frederick Douglass Papers, Series One: Speeches Debates, and Interviews.

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• • •



Vol. 2, 1847-1854, edited by John W. Blassingame, Yale University Press, pp. 359-87. Foner, Eric. “The Civil War and the Story of American Freedom.” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, vol. 27, no. 1, 2001, pp. 8-25. Reagan, Ronald. “Farewell Address to the Nation.” January 11, 1989. www.reaganfoundation.org/media/128652/farewell.pdf. Winthrop, John. “A Model of Christian Charity.” Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Boston, 1838, 3rd series 7:31-48. //history.hanover.edu/texts/winthmod.html. I Am Not Your Negro. Directed by Raoul Peck. Velvet Film, 2016.

Is there a distinctly American notion of freedom? How have different ideas of freedom—as resistance, promise, compromise, as a right or as a privilege—interacted with collective identity and value formation processes? Why has freedom retained its unrivaled centrality in the American political vocabulary throughout the past three centuries? John Winthrop’s metaphor of “a city upon a hill” laid the foundation for the mythology of American exceptionalism and its particular amalgam of freedom and inequality even prior to the founding of the United States. Ronald Reagan adopted this trope in 1989 to capture freedom as the essence and vision of American life, character, and impact in the world. Other accounts struggle to deconstruct, amend, and subvert this story of linear progress. Fought by all parties in the name of freedom, the Civil War serves as the focal point of a crisis narrative that illuminates where the vision of freedom, as charted by the founding documents of the United States and the Enlightenment view more generally, remained incomplete. In I am not Your Negro, James Baldwin traces the continuous struggle for a more complete story of American freedom, inquires into the root cause of racial oppression and structural violence in the United States, and commemorates civil rights leaders Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers. Coates explores the implications of the pursuit of freedom through narrative-building; he discusses the contested memory of the Civil War and suggests that Black Americans can only recognize it as “Our War” if they accept the “burden

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of moving from protest to production” (“Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?”). A Relational Concept: Freedom and Equality • Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. 1958. University of Chicago Press, 2018. [Consider especially the Prologue, “The Human Condition,” “Action,” and “The Vita Activa and the Modern Age.”] • Arendt, Hannah. On Revolution. 1963. Penguin Books, 1990. [Consider especially “The Meaning of Revolution” and “The Social Question.”] • Craiutu, Aurelian and Jeremy Jennings. Eds. Tocqueville on America After 1840. Letters and Other Writings. Cambridge University Press, 2009. [Consider the “Interpretive Essay: The Third Democracy: Tocqueville’s Views of America After 1840,” and “Alexis de Tocqueville to Theodore Sedgwick, August 29, 1856” and “Alexis de Tocqueville to Theodore Sedgwick, October 14, 1856.”] • De Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America (1835, 1840), edited by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop, University of Chicago Press, 2000. [In Volume One consider “On the Omnipotence of the Majority in the United States and Its Effects,” and “Some Considerations on the Present State and the Probable Future of the Three Races That Inhabit the Territory of the United States;” in Volume Two, consider “What Makes the Mind of Democratic Peoples Lean toward Pantheism,” “On Individualism in Democratic Countries,” “Why the Americans Show Themselves So Restive in the Midst of Their Well-Being,” “How the Taste for Material Enjoyments among Americans Is United with Love of Freedom and with Care for Public Affairs,” “How Aristocracy Could Issue from Industry,” and “What Kind of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear.”] Documents like the American Declaration of Independence (1776) and the French National Constituent Assembly’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) suggest the compatibility of freedom and equality. This section examines their relationship through the lenses

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of Alexis de Tocqueville and Hannah Arendt. Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (1835, 1840) has strongly shaped perceptions of American democracy across the political spectrum and national boundaries, and has done so for almost three centuries. Tocqueville wrote from the perspective of an aristocratic liberal who studied the United States to understand the opportunities and challenges future democratic societies would face: Is freedom possible under the conditions of equality (of rank)? Under which circumstances might the democratic order realize its full potential and counter the constant threat of crisis? Tocqueville’s concepts, such as the “tyranny of the majority,” and observations about characteristically American forms of individualism and self-interest can shed new light on contemporary phenomena like the financial crises and the populist polarization experienced by the United States and other Western democratic societies. Are freedom and equality natural or normative conditions? How is freedom expressed or gained by the individual or a community? (How) Does equality undermine or enable freedom? How do freedom and equality relate to power? Freedom in Arendt’s thinking is tied to action, which is one of the three fundamental categories of the human condition and the highest realization of the viva activa: It describes the human capacity to begin, to initiate something novel, and do the unexpected (The Human Condition 9, 177-8). This action occurs in “plurality”: “We are all the same, that is, human, in such a way that nobody is ever the same as anyone else who ever lived, lives, or will live” (8). “We are not born equal,” but in order to establish a political community and act with others, we must decide to “guarantee ourselves mutual equal rights” (The Origins of Totalitarianism 301). How can thinking through the relationship between freedom and equality help us reclaim agency, address depoliticization, and introduce new ways of collective action?   What Kind of Freedom? — Positive and Negative Freedom • Berlin, Isaiah. “Two Concepts of Freedom” (1969). Liberty: Incorporating Four Essays on Liberty, edited by Henry Hardy, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 166-217.

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Fromm, Erich. The Fear of Freedom. 1941. Routledge, 2021. [Consider especially the chapters “The Two Aspects of Freedom for Modern Man” and “Freedom and Democracy.”]

This section introduces positive freedom (“to”) and negative freedom (“from”) as an analytical starting point from which to begin to navigate the complex conceptual landscape of freedom as it pertains to a wideranging spectrum of issues: freedom of movement and speech, the legitimacy of a welfare state, or the idea of a universal basic income. Isaiah Berlin made the seminal differentiation between these two interpretations in “Two Concepts of Freedom”: The “negative” sense of the concept describes the “non-interference” of others in the actions and choices of an individual, the absence of constraints; the “positive” sense of the concept involves the presence of agency and “self-mastery” on the part of the individual that can control “to do, or be, this rather than that” (169). The second type has been associated with the threat of authoritarianism because the ideal of “self-mastery” can further the notion that higher (rational) and lower (irrational) selves exist. If this distinction is transferred to groups within society, then it can legitimize the coercion of them on the basis that they are supposedly “irrational” (179). What is the psychological interplay of positive and negative freedoms? Are there particular conditions or circumstances that make us receptive to power, (external and internal) authority, resistance, or to actively expressing solidarity? During the Second World War, the psychologist Erich Fromm observed that individuals who had been liberated from particular constraints, such as political oppression, conventions, or social institutions, often experienced “moral aloneness” (15). The resulting disorientation and crisis of belonging rendered them susceptible to any new form of order that reinstated connection, safety, and certainty. What conclusions can we draw from this insight for the particular amalgam of connectivity and isolation that shapes our contemporary lives?

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Agency and Control: Problematizing Free Will • Koch, Christof. Consciousness. Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. MIT Press, 2011. [Consider chapters “In Which I Defend Two Propositions” and “In Which I Throw Caution to the Wind.”] • Wolf, Susan. “Reason within Freedom.” Personal Autonomy: New Essays on Personal Autonomy and its Role in Contemporary Moral Philosophy, edited by James Stacey Taylor, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 258-74. • Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Directed by David Slade, Netflix 2018. This section introduces the question of agency and control. Do we have free will or not? Can we act as we choose, given the impact of natural laws on our psychophysical lives? If so, to what extent and what consequence are involved?6 Wolf introduces the still unfamiliar reader to central lines of argument and practical examples via the trichotomy of 6

Including the problem of free will poses various challenges, which I would like to briefly discuss here to further illustrate the complexity of reimagining a transcultural core. First of all, the question of whether or not we have free will, especially vis-à-vis determinism, has created an extensive body of multi-stranded scholarship in Western philosophy, political thought, and other fields. However, as Arindam Chakrabarti shows in “The Subject Is Freedom,” the question features centrally in other, for example, Chinese and Indian, philosophical traditions, and it remains unclear how we would bring them into a global conversation in idiomatic form. It might be worth discussing whether and how we can include starting points to non-Western philosophical treatment of the question of free will, such as Kai Marchal and Christian Helmut Wenzel’s “Chinese Perspectives on Free Will” and Chakrabarti’s “Free Will and Freedom in Indian Philosophies” as brought together in The Routledge Companion to Free Will (2017). Lastly, as indicated by the inclusion of Koch’s book, free will is tangentially interesting to physicists and neuroscientists. While it is impossible to pick a few texts that adequately represent the complexity of the problem in its metaphysical, theological, and scientific dimensions, the works I chose for this section accomplish a few important things. They prompt learners to reflect upon where these dimensions diverge and where they can or must enter into dialogue to form a basis for a radically collaborative approach to global challenges. Secondly, they offer opportunities to practice critical and creative thinking in parallel. Lastly, they approach free will as an essentially unresolved question without succumb-

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“Autonomy View” (261), “Real Self View” (265), and the “Reason View” (273). Positioning herself within the compatibilist camp, she argues that we do not have to be fully autonomous to exercise the freedom necessary for responsibility (262). Writing from the perspective of a neuroscientist confronting a religious crisis, Koch connects what science has discovered about consciousness to metaphysical questions, theological concerns, and transdisciplinary, scientific questions: Does everything that occurs have a reason, and how does this affect our free will? How does human freedom relate to God’s will? Which views on freedom can we hold if physical laws govern our lives? The “choose-your-own-adventure” film Bandersnatch (2018), about a young programmer who adapts a novel of the same name into a video game in 1984, tackles core questions regarding human agency experientially. Interacting with viewers through the “black mirror” of their screens, Bandersnatch introduces two lenses simultaneously: the perspective of the protagonist, who, within one narrative pathway, realizes that a higher, invisible power controls his life and decisions, and the perspective of the viewers, who become his controllers. This section can connect to various timely debates, including one not explored in this module: the problem of agency on- and off-line in light of increased algorithmic control over central operations of daily life. The Body Politic I: Addiction • Heyman, Gene M. Addiction. A Disorder of Choice. Harvard University Press, 2009. • Keefe, Patrick Radden. “The Family that Built an Empire of Pain. The Sackler Dynasty’s Ruthless Marketing of Painkillers Has Generated Billions of Dollars—and Millions of Addicts.” The New Yorker, 30 October 2017, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/30/the-familythat-built-an-empire-of-pain. • Recovery Boys. Directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Netflix 2018.

ing to resignation or paralysis, which gives students a chance to contemplate and evaluate pragmatic approaches when facing complexity.

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What is an addiction, and how can it help us understand voluntary behavior or choice? How do the dominant narratives about addiction shape legally, medically, and politically sanctioned hierarchies of experienced freedom? Which changes in policy, therapy, public discourse, and public perception are necessary to save and improve the lives of those who have become addicted? Heyman’s presentation of addiction, from the perspective of behavioral psychology, as “a disorder of choice” rather than as “a chronic and relapsing brain disease” (NIDA, “Media Guide”) links the section on free will to one of the recent health crises in the United States. Drug courts and contingency management experiments, portrayed in McMillion Sheldon’s films Heroin(e) and Recovery Boys, seem to be effective in supporting patients’ choices of alternatives to drug use. They also shed light on the structural reasons why drug use is so widespread that it eventually reached epidemic proportions. Finally, Keefe’s portrait of the Sackler family and their work at Purdue pharma discusses incompatible expressions and hierarchies of freedom—the freedom to make a profit, to shape a public image, to control public discourse through information management, to alleviate and manage pain, and the freedom to make choices.   The Body Politic II: Detention and Incarceration • Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow. Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New Press, 2011. [Consider chapters “The Rebirth of Caste,” “The Lockdown,” “The Color of Justice,” and “The New Jim Crow.”] • Davis, Angela. Are Prisons Obsolete? Seven Stories Press, 2003. [Consider chapters on “How Gender Structures the Prison System” and “The Prison Industrial Complex.”] • Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan, Pantheon, 1977. • Foucault, Michel. “Governmentality,” The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, edited by Graham Burchell et al., Chicago University Press, 1991.

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• •

Garland, David. Punishment and Modern Society. Chicago University Press, 1990. Mauer, Marc. Race to Incarcerate: The Sentencing Project. 2nd. ed., Free Press, 2006.

According to the Sentencing Project’s “Fact Sheet”, no country imprisons more people than the United States, in which 2 million people are currently incarcerated, “a 500% increase over the last forty years” (2). Why do we take away someone’s freedom as punishment? What does punishment in the form of imprisonment mean in contemporary democratic societies, and what does it reveal about the value of freedom and conceptions of personal responsibility? This section focuses on the processes, conditions, and institutions of imprisonment in order to illustrate how different forms of power and oppression, socio-economic structures, and cultural sensibilities interact to create and sustain unfreedom. Drawing on, among others, Foucault’s now seminal Discipline and Punish, which identified the penal system as the epitome of modern “disciplinary” society, Garland explores the functions of punishment in our contemporary societies from a sociological perspective. Alexander and Davis shift our attention to how imprisonment interacts with race, sex, and gender. The texts in this section provide a foundation for discussing specific practices and the consequences of detention and incarceration in the United States; these include how the “prison industrial complex” and the “war on drugs” have affected political participation and family structures, for example. In focusing on criticism of the criminal justice system, this section raises our awareness of our own collective complicity in sustaining mass incarceration. Once we understand how the unfreedom of others implicates or benefits us, we have to ask ourselves: What must we do and what can we do? The Body Politic III: Feminism and Freedom • Atwood, Margaret. A Handmaid’s Tale. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 1986.

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• •



O’ Connell Davidson, Julia. “The Rights and Wrongs of Prostitution.” Hypathia, vol. 17, no. 2, 2002, pp. 84-98. Phillips, Anne. Our Bodies, Whose Property? Princeton University Press, 2013. [Consider “What’s So Special about the Body?” and “Bodies for Rent? The Case for Commercial Surrogacy.”] Zerilli, Linda. The Abyss of Freedom. Chicago University Press, 2005. [Consider “Why Both Feminism and Freedom Begin with the Letter F,” “Feminists Make Judgements,” and “Reframing the Freedom Question in Feminism.”]

How do we “lose” freedom and reclaim it in oppressive systems? Which worlds will we create if we act on, perhaps only implicitly held, assumptions about certain groups of people? How do we understand freedom if we treat people as means rather than as ends in themselves? The works assembled here explore, once more, the body, which is central to conceptions of and struggles for freedom by focusing on feminist approaches to theorizing and imagining.7 In Atwood’s dystopian world of Gilead, a totalitarian theocratic regime that grew out of the United States, unfreedom takes the form of gender-based violence and environmental deterioration. Freedom, while a matter of degrees, is attached to those who control knowledge, narratives, and (usually female) bodies. Speculative fiction here prompts learners to imagine worlds that might be spatiotemporally removed from their own experience, but which are still recognizable because they exist in continuity or similarity to contemporary normative assumptions, discourses, and practices. Surrogacy and prostitution, crucial aspects of the Gileadean system of oppression, serve as case studies for Phillips and O’Connell Davidson

7

While freedom is at the heart of all feminist struggles, it is often imagined, conceptualized, and practiced in very different, conflicting ways. A module like this cannot appropriately consider the breadth and depth of different strands of feminist theory. Thus, one approach would be to use a work of fiction, like Atwood’s, which can create an awareness of the characteristics of unfreedom that transcend specific cultural, political, and social contexts and that suggest a more collaborative agenda for various strands of feminist work.

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to explore how freedom and unfreedom are negotiated in the triangular relationship between body, property, and labor. Should we treat our bodies like our own property and make them available on the market? How relevant and applicable are our discourses on property and contractual consent to the highly contextual experiences of those who use their bodies to provide intimate services under conditions of political and economic inequality? Finally, Zerilli draws on Arendt’s conception of freedom as political action in practice to present it, in the form of “community-constituting” acts of “political claim-making” (171-2), as the remedy for the feminist project in crisis. Freedom of the Market—Freedom of the Mind • Corneo, Giacomo. Is Capitalism Obsolete? A Journey through Alternative Economic Systems. Harvard University Press, 2017. • Schumacher, Ernest Friedrich. Small is Beautiful. Economics as if People Mattered. 1973. Vintage Books, 1993. [Consider especially the essays “Buddhist Economics” and “A Question of Size.”] • The Big Short. Directed by Adam McKay, Regency Enterprises et al., 2015. What is the value of freedom and how do we relate to it in the economic spheres of our lives? The freedom to consume and to make a profit reigns supreme in a global financial system that is based on capital accumulation and accelerated movement. How does this affect our ability to imagine alternative forms of exchange and self-expression and new sources of belonging? In The Big Short (2015), McKay portrays the events leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, triggered by the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble, and shows the normative assumptions and core narratives that sustain rogue capitalism. In his seminal essay collection Small is Beautiful (1973), Schumacher notes that “it is a strange phenomenon indeed that the conventional wisdom of present-day economics can do nothing to help the poor” (56). Bringing into dialogue spiritual, moral, and economic concerns, he suggests that we need diversely-scaled “production by the masses, rather than mass production”

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and prompts us to “think in terms of an articulated structure that can cope with a multiplicity of small-scale units […] and make contact with the human realities” (57-8). Is capitalism indeed “obsolete,” as Corneo claims? Can we escape it and imagine a different system? What might this system look like? In a transgenerational debate with his daughter, Corneo examines the economic systems humans have created in search of the “right livelihood” (Schumacher 46) to evaluate their viability in the age of globalization and attempts to imagine an alternative to capitalism in its present form. Freedom of Speech • Feinberg, Joel. The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law: Offense to Others. Oxford University Press, 1985. • Mill, Stuart. On Liberty. Hackett Publishing, 1978. • Waldron, Jeremy. The Harm in Hate Speech. Harvard University Press, 2012. • West, Caroline. “The Free Speech Argument Against Pornography.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 33, no. 3, 2003, pp. 391-422. All societies limit speech to some degree because the freedom to speak and express oneself occurs within a context of and competes with other values, such as equality, dignity, privacy, or security. What constitutes speech? What kind of speech (acts) do we defend over others, and for which reasons? What will saying or doing a particular thing “cost” us? When is it a human right to speak and when to limit it? Mill sees limitations to free speech as “a sort of intellectual pacification” that sacrifices “the entire moral courage of the human mind” (31); we should only restrict speech to prevent it from harming other people (9). But what types of speech cause harm? How and to what consequence do we differentiate between physical and emotional forms of harm? How is it different from offense or threat? Or, as Feinberg asks, are there “any human experiences that are harmless in themselves yet so unpleasant that we can rightly demand legal protection from them even at the cost of other persons’ liberties” (10)? The debates about pornography, discussed by West,

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and hate speech, discussed by Waldron, serve as sample cases to test the limitations of the harm and offense principles. Protest • Lilla, Mark. “The End of Identity Liberalism.” The New York Times, 18 November 2016. • Tufekci, Zeynep. Twitter and Tear Gas. The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. Yale University Press, 2017. [Consider the introduction, “Leading the Leaderless,” “Movement Cultures,” “Platforms and Algorithms,” “Signaling Power and Signaling to Power.”] • How to Survive a Plague. Directed by David France, Public Square Film and Ninety Thousand Words, 2012. The contested role that freedom plays in the constant negotiation of U.S. identity and self-perception finds frequent articulation in both onand offline protests. This section looks at different protest movements in order to explore their ideological, rhetorical, and strategic continuities and discontinuities: the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and the March on Washington in 1963 as central moments of the Civil Rights movement; the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in the late 1980s; and Occupy (2011) and Black Lives Matter (since 2014) in the early 21st century. Who engaged in these movements, and how did protesters understand (un)freedom? Who or what did they oppose? In which ways did their dissent articulate or model the change they demanded? How successful were their efforts? What can we learn from historical protest forms like petitions or strikes and about the contexts within which they were developed? What can historical protest movements tell us about the potential impact of social protest as a political action today? Does our digital-age protest essentially occur as “adhocracy,” exposing a disconnect between the widening reach of social media and long-term organizing that requires collective resilience, as Tufekci argues (269)? France’s film shows that, after a decade, the alliances that ACT UP had built between activists and researchers were powerful enough to push through the legislation, medical research, and treatment that would

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curb the AIDS epidemic. More recent movements, against wars, the finance industry, and the murders of and violent crimes against Black people by law enforcement for example, have not been as successful. (How) Can freedom be gained through protest? What is the role of leadership in today’s assemblies? Or is the governmental process and system the only reliable way to freedom, as Lilla implies in his much-debated opinion piece (and subsequent book)? The Freedom to Make a Change • Krause, Sharon, R. “Respect for Non-Persons: Toward an Earthly Politics of Freedom.” Paper Presented at Political Theory Workshop, Columbia University October 5, 2016. https://cuptw.files.wordpres s.com/2016/08/krause-columbia-workshop.pdf. • Rich, Adrienne. “Arts of the Possible.” The Massachusetts Review, Autumn 1997, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 319-37. • Thunberg, Greta. “School Strike for Climate–Save the World by Changing the Rules.” TEDxStockholm, 12 December 2018, youtube.com/watch?v=EAmmUIEsN9A. This section inquires into the possibilities and responsibilities of human freedom when applied to our greatest collective challenge: What are we free to do to ensure that the earth system we depend on becomes sustainably habitable? Increasing signs that the current Holocene state is under urgent anthropogenic threat calls for a radical re-envisioning of the future, new collaborations, pressure for political action on a global scale, and for fundamental changes in the way we live. Revisiting the corruption of the human mind and language by market forces from the perspective of a poet-activist, Adrienne Rich identifies art as the liberatory force that can empower a bold, uncompromised imagination and a new political movement. Greta Thunberg, the Swedish high school student who sparked the global Fridays for Future movement, models this uncompromising, inquisitive stance when she challenges scientists, activists, policy-makers, and fellow citizens to consider whether extinction—of the majority of species, including our own—is the price

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that humanity will pay for clinging to unsustainable notions of freedom and excluding younger generations from the political realm of deliberation, collective moral reasoning, and future planning. Finally, Sharon Krause argues that “ecological emancipation” is our most urgent political project: We must place our ethics, institutions, laws, policies, and everyday practices into a normative framework of “respect for non-persons” to achieve the most sustainable stabilization of our relationship with nature (18). This section presents big ideas and concrete frameworks, thereby provoking reflection on how we might use our abilities to implement change in collaboration with others in and beyond the classroom.

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Conclusion Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves […]. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet 35

This book joins a vast landscape of scholarly inquiry into the relationship between the educational process and social change; which defies historical, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries because it touches upon questions of equity, agency, and belonging that are fundamental to the human sense of self and meaning. My contribution has focused on the undergraduate curricula of contemporary U.S. American universities, asking what they should encompass in order to support students in their pursuit to become agents of critical and creative social change and to contribute to more equitable and inclusive societies. The specific cultural region, dimension of institutional organization, and particular period of intellectual and professional development that I am concerned with delineate the encounter zone of my academic interest and professional experience. The questions that arose in this encounter zone inclined me toward a theoretical approach that establishes learning as an experience-based, application-oriented, and radically collaborative process, which subverts the familiar binary of theory and practice and offers a strategic approach to the particular complexity introduced by

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globalization. This encounter zone has also shaped a decidedly multilateral approach to the field of American Studies, which navigates the tensions between stable, recognizably American forms—geographical, cultural, and linguistic, among others—that provide a contested basis for shared meaning and literacy and the movements that disturb the coherency of these contours by creating hybrid realities of various, patterned sorts. Unpacking, contextualizing, and testing my theoretical position, the preceding chapters form steps toward a suggested model of curricular reorganization: a new iteration of a pre- or nondisciplinary liberal arts core focused on canonical modes of thought and competencies, brought together under the notion of complexity resilience, and structured around “glocal” challenges, defined as global problems in their local expression. We must do more than acknowledge or describe the effects of a phenomenon or problem in order to make sense of it; we must study its animating forces and characteristic patterns and understand the ways in which they impact larger social structures and practices—processes of identity formation, value negotiation, and community creation within the various dimensions of social life. To this end, I first described the process, analyzed the function, and formulated desirable aims for education with regard to the interrelated dimensions of individual and social growth. Drawing upon Deweyan pragmatist thought, I identified education as the foundational process by which we create and adapt to change. Connecting education so intimately with transformation attunes us to the ongoing negotiation of continuities and discontinuities in what and how we learn; it foregrounds the ethical implications of applied knowledge; and it leads us to conceive as interrelated the individual and the collective dimension of learning. Schools and universities play a central role in the imagination, deliberation, and design of transformation: They initiate younger members of society into the practice of critical and creative thinking and empower them to use their knowledge and competencies to pursue positive social change. This changemaking will include challenges to the very educational institutions and practices to which students have been exposed. Our critical thinking, which mediates, analyzes, and, where necessary, improves how we in-

Conclusion

teract with our environment, works best when we experiment and test our ideas in practice. Dewey viewed the process of verification through applied, critical thought as the philosophical method. Such a method, however, when directed at social change towards a better life, must be trained on concrete problems of humankind, the challenges we experience in our communities and societies, rather than on abstract principles. At this point in my argument, the substantial ethical implications of a pragmatist approach to education became clear: Growth, understood as desirable change toward a better, more meaningful life, implies and demands a value judgment and ethical vision. Considering our deeply social nature and connection to others, we must acknowledge that individual learner’s wellbeing and empowerment—their “self-realization”—and the corresponding macroscopic ideal of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive society—a “moral democracy”—are fundamentally interdependent and crucially formed in and by our educational institutions. The curricular forms or formats that correspond with this understanding of the nature, function, and aims of education are Dewey’s occupations, which we can translate into undergraduate education: The core narratives that structure the curriculum must respond to the future consequences of challenges that define our present in view of their instructive past by producing engaged, collaborative scholarship that mediates across the artificial binary distinctions between theory and practice on the one hand and between the university and broader social structures on the other. Our learning, teaching, and research cannot be divorced from the rest of our lives in historical and future perspective; we must “cease conceiving of education as mere preparation for later life, and make of it the full meaning of the present life” (Dewey, “Self-Realization as the Moral Ideal” EW 4.50). Chapter 2 shifted perspective to analyze the social reality within which such an educational approach must be practiced. It identified those theories of globalization that, when combined, form a framework that is simultaneously tangible and flexible enough to place within it an experimental structure of a reimagined curriculum. These theories showed that globalization provides the most visible, every-day valida-

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tion of pragmatist core arguments, one of which concerns the question of truth. Within the pragmatist world view, truth can never be absolute. While certainty can be achieved based on knowledge of past events or common sense, ideas can always be enriched, and conclusions can be corrected by unforeseen or previously disregarded consequences in the future. The life-long learner must inhabit the uncertainty and contingency of a world that remains ever-incomplete and in ongoing (re)formation. There is great potential for discovery and mistakes in constant experimentation. Correspondingly, the complex change that we observe and attempt to navigate in all areas of contemporary life, but especially within education as the DNA of social transformation, escapes our full comprehension or, academically speaking, our meta-theoretical grasp. Characteristically, the nature of globalization becomes imaginable only in communally shared metaphors, such as in Robertson’s “glocalization” or in Appadurai’s “global flows” and “disjunctures,” while the effects often become tangible through our individual experiences. This undermines epistemological and ontological advances toward answering the phenomenon’s domain questions and deepens already existing social divides, thereby threatening to disempower actors in a number of ways. The way in which globalization unravels and layers recognizable patterns, often reducing them to mere traces, disorients us; the way in which globalization imposes intimately felt, simultaneous, and accelerated changes, amplifies difference, and induces high complexity overwhelms us cognitively and emotionally with a previously unknown intensity. This, in turn, compromises our sense of security and relative ability to predict change and to claim agency. While, to some extent, these are characteristics of all transitions until those caught in them adapt by developing the capabilities to navigate what soon stops to be novel, the globalization theories consulted suggest that the combination of acceleration, simultaneity, multidimensionality, and interdependency are intrinsic properties, perhaps even functions of globalization, thereby prompting reflections on how radical in nature human adaptation will have to be. Appadurai’s notion of a “grassroots globalization” charts how the academic community can adapt its imaginative power, as expressed in research, teaching, and learning, and integrate

Conclusion

the perspectives of those writing, campaigning, or merely surviving outside of campus walls. Engaged academic practice of this kind can lay the foundations for more resilient responses to the fundamental change that characterizes the global age on a broader social level through the curriculum. Deweyan pragmatism, which took shape during an earlier time of fundamental transformation, crucially normalizes the uncertainty and contingency that accompany change and makes strategies available to analyze and cope with it in the format of occupations. It provides a foundation for our 21st century academic practice: a constructive, cognitive approach to increasingly rhizomatic, amorphous knowledge and contemporary problems of global reach, competencies that converge in what I have referred to as “complexity resilience,” and, closely connected, a curious, open, and experimental sensibility or mood. Dewey, however, never created a practical educational model that would consequently implement his theoretical considerations in transcultural and transgenerational real-life practice within higher education. In its absence, how might we rethink the curriculum and reconsider the ecology from which it emerges to orient undergraduate learning toward a foundation of shared meaning, literacy, and agency in environments that are characterized by significant experiential and epistemological differences? In further building toward an answer, I introduced into the conversation Appiah’s “rooted” understanding of a cosmopolitan stance (Ethics of Identity 296), which allowed me to flesh out some of the implications of the socially engaged academic practice that Dewey suggests when applied to a globalizing society, including the possibility that identity-based difference might undermine connection, and, by extension, the kind of collaboration that is key to solving complex challenges. How do we engage differences that threaten to divide or already form walls and chasms between us? Realizing that the answer must be a composite, I turned to existing approaches that, generally speaking, work in two directions: Approaches that proceed from outside in tend to shift students’ cultural and linguistic geography to create a cosmopolitan mindset through immersive, community-based learning;

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approaches that work from inside out tend to shift the scholarly practice itself toward cosmopolitan forms and contents of instruction. Beginning with the former, my discussion of study abroad programs, which aspire to realize the important premises of a Deweyan approach to education in a global context, showed how the goal and promise of immersion, at the core, is the promise of a successful realization of experience-based learning in reciprocity and allowed me to sharpen the notion of growth as interdependent: Ideally, both the student and the host communities will deepen their understanding and confidence with regards to differences of various kinds. This ideal learning situation, however, is undermined by a significant structural disconnect: Students are not being given the opportunity to develop competencies that empower them to step beyond their comfort zones at the curricular level; however, this is necessary to turn “findings” in the form of observations and theoretical research into “foundings”—community partnerships that benefit the host society because they respond to the “glocal” dimension of contemporary social challenges. This disconnect corresponds with, and has historically developed out of, the institutional bifurcation of academic and administrative services that undermines the development of a holistic approach to learning. Such a holistic approach must bring all forms of learning that occur within the purview of the study abroad program into one framework. I also showed how this disconnect resurfaces on the institutional competency level: Educational institutions demand from or seek to advance a global consciousness, literacy, and resilience in their students that they do not possess themselves, in part because their knowledge of globalization has not caught up with the globalization of knowledge. Lacking the expertise, skill, and confidence that are the foundation and outcome of active community partnerships, abroad programs resort to playing only a peripheral role, which does not allow them to lead by example. Proceeding from the inside out, I turned to academic approaches that show an orientation toward conflict-resilient, cosmopolitan learning. This revealed two instructive tensions: Situated at the intersection of cognitive and affective dimensions of the learning experience, the first tension emerged between the notion of emotional literacy, iden-

Conclusion

tified as central to a cosmopolitan competency set, and predominant styles of academic inquiry that are normatively tied to a detached, critical sensibility. I built on arguments by Felski in favor of an affective, emphatic reading style that taps into the affordance of a more curious, multifaceted engagement with literary narratives and arguments by Winans for an acknowledgement of emotions as social phenomena that guide our (scholarly) attention and influence ethical judgements and actions to show how our affective responses shape the ways in which we relate to ourselves, other people, works of cultural expression, and academic work. If we form our identities, communities, and collective visions in the interactive field of the cognitive and the affective, then any effort to shape a curriculum that aims to increase complexity and conflict resilience must consider the critical and the creative faculties and actively build toward a curious, open sensibility. The second tension arose between the need to establish a shared pool of meaning via an agreed upon research and academic communication protocol, the central aspect of which is writing, and the engagement with intellectual strangers, even beyond the university community, as a prerequisite of any cosmopolitan practice on the grassroots level. Suggestions by Denny and Rousculp within the growing body of writing center scholarship illustrate how academic writing can open or deny access to a collective (research) imagination, making it a key area of curricular reconfiguration. With regards to the goal of shifting scholarly practice toward cosmopolitan forms and contents of instruction, I suggested that any academic writing protocol must be taught as a historical agreement with specific ideological and practical implications, rather than as an immutable, stable truth that can be “transferred” to an individual or a community. Approaching literacy sponsorship as an evolving communal practice in engaging with those who do not already share our communication style, common sense, and interpretative frameworks may be straining and tiresome, but it directly strengthens any institution’s diversity and inclusion agenda, no matter how diverse in make-up and representation; it also provides the only sustainable basis for collaboration in thought and action beyond the borders of the epistemologically

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familiar, which we will need if we are going to find responses to the complex, global problems of our time. Seeking to put my hypothesis to the test of experience, as mandated by the scientific method, while acknowledging that instant validation is limited by the generational reach and characteristically slow pace of the educational process itself, I applied my core ideas to the thick points or “hotbeds” of globalization from a curricular perspective—educational environments that are located at and animated by “disjunctures” of global flows. I interpreted this particular “disjuncture” simultaneously as a site of complicity and of resistance: U.S. American universities whose knowledge production, operations, and social impact reach beyond national boundaries become construction sites of cultural globalization. As such, they can exacerbate existing inequalities, but they can also remedy fragmentation and polarization because they allow us to carefully examine the experiential and epistemological divides that stand in the way of a more collaborative, sustainable, and confident response to a globalization that works within the intimate tissue of life. Every university will eventually assume the role of such a global cultural construction site, as glocal lines of tension, conflict, and the widespread epistemological disorientation that affects our societies at large sweep through our educational institutions, and relate every aspect of their research, teaching, operations, and communications to the ethical considerations of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and sustainability. The potentially large-scale consequences of such developments acquire particular visibility in the case of New York University. In its comprehensive conceptual response to globalization, as interpreted by its institutional leadership, NYU essentially normalized—as opposed to avoiding or downplaying—the tensions across cultural, ethnic, generational, racial, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds and—perhaps more by necessity than by choice—incorporated the struggle for democratic deliberations regarding all dimensions of knowledge production, transmission, and acquisition into its institutional identity. My reading of the curricular content within its institutional and larger social ecology showed that NYU Abu Dhabi, in particular, could be characterized as an experimental disjuncture that, in its attempt to reorient undergraduate

Conclusion

education, heavily relies on pragmatic educational tenets, translating them into a global liberal arts framework. The core curriculum, primarily through its unique features of the global challenge colloquia and core competency courses, prioritizes “actionable” knowledge and anchors learning in an ethical commitment to and ecological understanding of progress. Honoring this ethical commitment requires a radically collaborative approach to problem-solving, which in turn relies on the successful effort of bringing diverging or conflicting views and values into constructive correspondence. Directing all teaching and research faculties toward the 21st century iteration of Dewey’s “problems of men” as problems of humankind, NYU Abu Dhabi’s curriculum initiates not just students, but also faculty and administrators into a learning situation that is transgenerational, transcultural, and transdisciplinary. It thus deconstructs traditional hierarchies—with regards to roles as well as modes of thinking. Acknowledging the experimental character of its educational vision, NYU Abu Dhabi has adopted a pragmatist notion of truth as a contingent and ever-evolving, collaborative process of verification through experience, grounding a necessary sense of shared purpose in the commitment to determining what positive change can look like within a globalizing world. As a construction site of cultural globalization, NYU Abu Dhabi has also spatiotemporally reconceptualized “America” as “multilateral” and “provincial,” as has been suggested by Edwards and Gaonkar, and begun to challenge “America” within the core curricular narrative. Given NYU Abu Dhabi’s young institutional age and continuing dependence upon the quasi-familial relationship with the parental center in New York, it was to be expected that “America” would continue to function as an implicit framework on both the curriculum’s institutional and textual levels. While NYU Abu Dhabi has chosen its host society and the geographical region it is physically located in as primary curricular root for the core, it has not fully hoisted its American anchor. Instead, “America” has retreated to a less overt background influence, still traceable but carefully monitored with regards to the normative power it exercises over the entire educational experiment. The core directs the academic imagination explicitly toward a cosmopolitan, multilateral ideal, sig-

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naling acceptance of a multi-stranded identity with more than one root and foreshadowing the increasing de-centering of implicit Americancentric perspectives as community members’ biographic, institutional, and intellectual backgrounds continue to diversify. Of course, other institutions might have to emphasize different roots in a different relation, depending on their specific place in higher education’s geographical, institutional, and intellectual ecology. I extended these practical findings to suggest a normative shift concerning curricular canonicity. My reading of NYU Abu Dhabi’s curricular core demonstrated that while the notion of the canon cannot be abandoned when subjected to the inescapably finite form of the curriculum, it must be reconceived as a core of cognitive and affective modes—the aforementioned modes of thinking, competencies, and sensibility—that interact with a representative body of works of cultural and scientific expression. A mere canon of content in an insufficiently democratized traditional liberal arts core, which has often found a predominantly white, male, and Eurocentric expression, provides a weak basis for the transcultural and transgenerational deliberation of an ethically cosmopolitan stance. In the final part of this book, which marked its creative contribution, I imagined clusters of curricular narratives that U.S. based institutions of higher learning might construct around three sample challenge areas of globalizing societies—“dignity,” “belonging,” and “(un)freedom”—that will demand critical as well as creative engagement across different epistemological and experiential perspectives; these issues are expected to provoke contention, and move all members of a transcultural classroom beyond their respective comfort zones. In this regard, success may lie in a matter of degrees and remain highly contextual. As resonant in my discussion of a pragmatic educational theory, the phenomenon of globalization calls for a new canon of habits of mind or modes of thinking that put a different spin on and go beyond the notion of critique. Here, the curricular core of the NYU Abu Dhabi undergraduate curriculum offers fresh perspective for humanistic scholarship, a field of disciplines deemed to be in perpetual legitimization crisis since the mid-1970s. The crisis narrative has achieved such promi-

Conclusion

nence that it may appear to academic humanists and the broader public almost like a constitutive element of the field’s identity. The discussion of globalization’s constitutive features provokes reconsideration of the etymological roots of the word “crisis,” which are in Ancient Greek: krísis from krino, meaning “to pick out, choose, decide, judge.” It refers to a decisive moment or turning point, a decision implying fundamental transformation that, at least temporarily, destabilizes the environment within which it occurs (Liddell and Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon). As a field of academic inquiry into and interpretation of deep transformations on all levels of human life, “crisis” might be the humanities’ origin and defining feature. In fact, they might always be in crisis because they respond to the complexities, contradictions, and conflicts of human (co-)existence. We can turn to particularly crisis-resilient humanities scholarship in order to develop convincing narratives for the global learning situation, which have the potential to bridge the critical and the creative dimensions of experimental approaches to the profound, sustainable change that we so urgently need.

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257

Social Sciences kollektiv orangotango+ (ed.)

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Gabriele Dietze, Julia Roth (eds.)

Right-Wing Populism and Gender European Perspectives and Beyond April 2020, 286 p., pb., ill. 35,00 € (DE), 978-3-8376-4980-2 E-Book: 34,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8394-4980-6

Mozilla Foundation

Internet Health Report 2019 2019, 118 p., pb., ill. 19,99 € (DE), 978-3-8376-4946-8 E-Book: free available, ISBN 978-3-8394-4946-2

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Social Sciences James Martin

Psychopolitics of Speech Uncivil Discourse and the Excess of Desire 2019, 186 p., hardcover 79,99 € (DE), 978-3-8376-3919-3 E-Book: PDF: 79,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8394-3919-7

Michael Bray

Powers of the Mind Mental and Manual Labor in the Contemporary Political Crisis 2019, 208 p., hardcover 99,99 € (DE), 978-3-8376-4147-9 E-Book: PDF: 99,99 € (DE), ISBN 978-3-8394-4147-3

Ernst Mohr

The Production of Consumer Society Cultural-Economic Principles of Distinction April 2021, 340 p., pb., ill. 39,00 € (DE), 978-3-8376-5703-6 E-Book: available as free open access publication PDF: ISBN 978-3-8394-5703-0

All print, e-book and open access versions of the titles in our list are available in our online shop www.transcript-publishing.com