We received this 1996 Wesleyan University syllabus as a remembrance of the instructor by a former student. It’s January’s syllabus of the month.
Teachers and Their Teachings: From Socrates to Foucault
X 2323 Butterfield C313, Office hours, T, Th 4-5 and by Appt
General description: This course is about teachers and students, their relationships, and some powerful pedagogical ideas; it is also about maturation and longing, power and subordination, deception and self-deception, transference and counter-transference. We will be asking questions about what it means to “educate,” to take responsibility for the shaping of another soul, to transmit culture, to confront and to provoke, and perhaps, also, to insinuate, manipulate, and judge. What is it that students alternatively crave and fear in the educative process? Why do teachers presume to teach when the opportunities to do otherwise are often more glitteringly attractive? Our task is to examine different, and sometimes discordant, models of teaching and learning from classical antiquity virtually to the present. As little as possible will be presupposed or assumed to be self-evident, including the almost sacrosanct notion that “education” (liberal or illiberal) is a good thing for which there is some sort of intrinsic “need.”
Major readings in order of appearance (mostly):
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David Mamet, Oleanna
Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind
Plato, the Republic, Apology
Selections from the Synoptic Gospels, and the Pauline Epistles.
Letters of Abelard and Heloise
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish