Category: Responses

A Missive from India

By Aparajita Sengupta

Response to “The Progressive Urban Consumption Complex” by Danny Mayer

Since last year, our family of three has been living in a village, growing most of our own food on two acres of land using natural farming methods. We have no full-time employees, no external funding from anywhere, and our business plan, if we must call it so, is to lower our spending, sell our excess locally, host volunteers and share the little we know. I guess people see us as the new generation of back-to-landers in India, typically upper-middle class, upper-caste professionals who got fed up with their high-paying corporate jobs, and decided to come back to the land with their savings from said corporate jobs.

Read More The Slow Process of Real Life:

Responses

By Ryan Koch

Response to “Institutionalizing Affection” by Leah Bayens

Editor’s note: Ryan is the director of Seedleaf, a community gardening non-profit in Lexington, Kentucky.

I have been growing gardens in small city lots over the past nine years, learning loads along the way. The learning never stops, though some days I wish it would. This is not the work for which I trained. In fact, I had a very difficult time discovering the work for which I trained. I was glad to finish college, approximately on time, but I did not come out with much of a plan to make a living, or to build or nurture anything. I vaguely recall having a great list of unanswerable questions in my imagination, and I took some pride in this.

Read More Telling Garden Stories

Responses

By Tara M. Tuttle

Response to “Institutionalizing Agrarian Thought” by Leah Bayens

Doing activist work in an institution is tricky. Institutional practices can suppress activism in a variety of ways including discouraging dissent, depleting resources of time and energy, and distancing activists from the individuals directly affected by the very injustices they are trying to prevent. On the other hand, institutions sometimes support activism through providing funding, disseminating information, coordinating volunteer or paid labor, or hosting space for public dialogue. Social justice educators and activists working in institutions must navigate this confusing and often contradictory landscape.

 

Read More Flint and the Need for Institutional Affection

Responses

Teaching in an Age of Ahistorical Individualism

By Matt Godbey

Response to “Teaching Amid Terror: A Meditation on Whiteness

Beth Connors-Manke’s “Teaching Amid Terror” offers a profound and profoundly necessary reflection on the role of teachers and educators in a time of increased violence against black bodies by individuals and institutions tasked with protecting them. For all of us, it is a reminder that in America when we talk about race the past is never the past. For white educators, especially those like me who focus on and teach African-American literature, it reminds us as well that whiteness is an identity whose roots are grounded in racism and, though we abhor and reject racism and violence, we nonetheless have profited from our whiteness and owe it to our students to acknowledge such privilege. Further, as she writes, this has never been more true than it is now, when college campuses are increasingly corporatized and pledging fealty to the seductive allure of neoliberalism’s promise of profits and shiny new facilities.

 

Read More From Effigy to Empathy:

Responses

By Leigh M. Johnson

Response to “Into the Caldron

If there is an award for packing the most multivalent and oft-exploited terms into a single essay title, Jeff Gross should win it for what follows “Into the Caldron”: neoliberalism, ideology, education, and life itself. Those four words and things are the conversational equivalent of IEDs in the Academy these days. Buried along the discursive roadside, lying in wait for some poor soul with insufficiently protective theoretical armor to trip their wires and unleash their autoschediastic havoc, these are the sorts of broad conceptual terms that earn students demerits in their essays—What exactly do you mean by this? Define your terms. Be Specific.—though I suspect many of us worry that we’re also hand-waving in the general direction of mysterious phenomenon most of the time we employ them.

If there is another award for clearly and succinctly explicating workable definitions of “neoliberalism,” “ideology,” and “education” in the service of an eminently persuasive argument about what really matters in and for “life itself,” Gross should win that prize as well.

 

Read More Shut Up and Teach

Responses

By Steven Mangine

A response to “The Beauty of Education

I wake up hungry. I shuffle to the kitchen, perform egg inventory, select the pan, so on and so on. Ten minutes later, edible eggs appear. But who so on and so on-ed? My hands, but somehow I had not been operating them. In a hand, a whisk whisked, eggs liquefied, sizzled, and landed on a plate. But where was I as feet shuffled, olive oil smelled sweet, and outside the kitchen window, snow fell? Somewhere I had left myself behind. Read More Towards an Education of Being

Responses