This is the first photo quote that I’ve made with Buffer.com’s Pablo feature. Having fun. (Buffer.com’s Pablo feature.)
While I have been writing A Culture of Justice, so many examples have come up to illustrate what I’m concerned about. The latest is from Charlie Brown. At the same time, it’s true that culture is a funny thing to think about when it comes to justice.
When I first read Plato’s Republic, I found it so strange that Plato addresses oddly specific decisions about which kind of music and arts should be allowed in just city. It is one thing to be concerned about music that promotes violence or that demeans women, but what does the mode of the music have to do with justice? By modes, I’m referring to the dorian, the phrygian, or the mixolydian modes. Plato believed that it mattered profoundly which modes of music were taught to young people. Here’s a YouTube lesson on the modes of music – probably longer than you need, but you can stop whenever or jump ahead:
Plato presented a highly authoritarian version of Socrates in the Republic, so much so that Karl Popper accused him of betraying his great teacher. Popper saw the real Socrates as an advocate for freedom and the open society. The early dialogues do seem to present a different Socrates from the late dialogues. Plato loved his great teacher, yet the Athenians killed unjustly. It is not surprising that he would be skeptical about the will of the people to lead wisely.
While I disagree with the extent of Plato’s heavy handedness, I think he was right to attend to culture’s relationship to justice. Today, we defend the freedom of expression to amazing lengths, protecting even hateful speech. The modes of music seem strange to think of limiting, sure, but it was once prohibited to show Elvis Presley’s shaking hips on television.
Click here or on the Clarion Ledger logo on the right to read the piece on their Web site.
You can also see a scan of the printed piece on Academia.edu.
The video clip of my interview on WLOX TV News at 4 in Biloxi, MS, is included at the bottom of this post. I had a great time visiting the coast, seeing the beautiful water, and talking with some really nice people.
I also had a great time meeting Jeremy from Bay Books for the book signing afterwards at the West Biloxi Public Library. While I was at the TV studio, I was able to snap these photos.
Beautiful day in Biloxi! Just met the owner of Southern Bound Book Shop. If you live nearby and can’t make it to the signing tonight, you can head there for a signed copy later. They also have a store in Ocean Springs. If you live closer to Bay Saint Louis, Bay Books will have copies there after tonight’s signing.
When I was in graduate school, looking at the job market, I remember feeling perplexed at certain questions about the future of my career. Some colleges and universities ask you about your “research trajectory.” Finishing a dissertation prepares you with a stack of paper, but now it’s supposed to be nimble and fly like an arrow. I can just picture throwing an unbound dissertation from the top of some stairs, watching the pages fall in all directions. That’s one kind of a trajectory.
It wasn’t too hard to imagine things that I wanted to study next, but it’s a huge step in one’s academic career just to finish a major, final project. To be asked at that moment what your next one will be takes one aback. I’ve come to like that question, but somehow I hadn’t been expecting it at the time. It was exciting to think about what I might pursue over the course of my career, though. I had ideas about wanting to work on this or that topic, and some of them did come together.
Looking forward to giving a Brown Bag Lecture at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture in Oxford. I’ll be talking about Uniting Mississippi, a work of philosophy relevant to folks interested in history, southern studies, education, political science, economics, and policy. I hope to see you there.
|Date:||February 3, 2016|
|Event:||Brown Bag Lecture on 'Uniting Mississippi'|
|Topic:||Brown Bag Lunch 'Uniting Mississippi'|
Center for the Study of Southern Culture
University, MS 38677
|Date:||December 7, 2015|
|Event:||'Uniting Mississippi' Book Signing|
West Biloxi Public Library
|Location:||2047 Pass Road
Biloxi, MS 39531-3125
Check out the nice promotional video that the local public television station made in Little Rock (UALR TV) for the recording of my talk at the Clinton School, which they aired. They added music and edited bits down into some representative moments. How cool? The music is great.
Of course the funny thing about sound bites is in examples in which an idea or a contrast is cut in half — when you explain what’s “on the one hand,” and then we don’t hear what’s “on the other hand.” I don’t think the edit misrepresented what I was talking about, fortunately. The promo still got to the heart of what I’m up to in Uniting Mississippi.
I’m learning the importance of planning a few key short statements of my points, which get called “soundbites.” That’s not foolish or superficial to think about, however. Plato’s Socrates often had long definitions of concepts, which he then boiled down into more succinct restatements. I see that. I also make an effort of that kind for my definition of good democratic leadership in the oh-so-cleverly titled Democracy and Leadership.
Anyway, check out this short, 1 min+ promo video. I’m new to this, so it’s still cool and exciting to me. The video of my full talk is here. Soon I’ll also have the audio from my local Little Rock NPR interview. Coming Soon…