A dream course
I’ve got a couple dream courses that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to teach, and one is “Prison Letters.” From Paul to John Bunyan to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela and others. Obviously, my off-the-top-of-the-head list is missing letters from women in prison, is awfully heavy on 20th century figures, and includes only people who were imprisoned for their religious beliefs, political dissent, or social activism. So I’ve got a lot of work to do to expand this list, but I’ve got lots of time. If you have ideas about who else should be on the list, send them my way, in case I ever do get the chance to teach that course.
College and COVID
I’ll add now that I’m convinced institutions with some code of conduct – ours is a “Community Covenant” – are better positioned to ask their students and employees to follow additional rules, accept additional burdens, and give up some things that might normally be part of their semester’s experience. In particular, schools that have always framed their standards as something students should embrace for the sake of the community and the integrity of the educational enterprise would seem to be at an advantage. I’d love to see a study that tests correlations between COVID cases, positivity rates, etc. and such codes of conduct
- I hear lots of people, just about every week, point out that “X is harder for the poor,” where “X” is usually COVID-19 or the economic consequences of pandemic mitigation measures. Most often, the speaker or writer is choosing one emphasis or the other. The problem? Just about everything is harder for the poor, and both the health and economic consequences of the pandemic are harder for the poor. Here’s an article on how hard both have hit Mexico City’s Iztapalapa neighborhood and Central de Abasto, the largest produce market in the western hemisphere.
- Here’s a piece about the ways in which the sometimes racist origins of U.S. conservation efforts have affected global conservation practices, and how sustainable extractive use can be one tool for improvement.
- Some U.S. cities are developing plans for a “green recovery” from the pandemic and its economic consequences.
Two events to highlight this week:
- This Wednesday, we’ll be tackling Chapter Two of The Gardeners’ Dirty Hands: Environmental Politics & Christian Ethics, which examines scarcity, tragedy, and risk as symbols of the tragic in modern environmental thought. These are planned as 30-minute sessions with a few brief overview of the chapter and then Q&A/discussion. Want to join? Pick up a copy of the book, read a chapter every two weeks, and join the discussion.
- I’m part of a collaborative research project on the future of liberal arts. “Between Pandemic & Protest: Exploring the Future of the Liberal Arts in Higher Education” will launch in October. On October 5, can participate in one of our launch events, which is being hosted by Anne Snyder and Breaking Ground. More soon!
Listen to Liz Vice’s 2015 album, There’s a Light.
- If you missed “Chicagohenge,” read up and make plans for March.
Pass it along
If you’d rather not get this newsletter, unsubscribe below. If you like it, recommend it to a friend.