Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place

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University Press of Kentucky, Jun 13, 2017 - Education - 268 pages

Prominent author and cultural critic Wendell Berry is well known for his contributions to agrarianism and environmentalism, but his commentary on education has received comparatively little attention. Berry has been eloquently unmasking America's cultural obsession with restless mobility for decades, arguing that it causes damage to both the land and the character of our communities. Education, he maintains, plays a central role in this obsession, inculcating in students' minds the American dream of moving up and moving on.

Drawing on Berry's essays, fiction, and poetry, Jack R. Baker and Jeffrey Bilbro illuminate the influential thinker's vision for higher education in this pathbreaking study. Each chapter begins with an examination of one of Berry's fictional narratives and then goes on to consider how the passage inspires new ways of thinking about the university's mission. Throughout, Baker and Bilbro argue that instead of training students to live in their careers, universities should educate students to inhabit and serve their places. The authors also offer practical suggestions for how students, teachers, and administrators might begin implementing these ideas.

Baker and Bilbro conclude that institutions guided by Berry's vision might cultivate citizens who can begin the work of healing their communities—graduates who have been educated for responsible membership in a family, a community, or a polity.

 

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Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Two literary critics take the writings and speeches of Wendell Berry as a touchstone for a critique of higher education. Each chapter follows a tight structure: an analysis of Berry’s fiction ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
1 Imagining the Tree of Wisdom
25
2 Standing by Our Words
47
3 Doing Good Work
70
Introduction to Part 2
91
4 Tradition
95
5 Hierarchy
116
6 Geography
140
7 Community
166
Conclusion
191
Afterword
195
Acknowledgments
199
Notes
201
Bibliography
231
Index
245
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About the author (2017)

Jack R. Baker is associate professor of English at Spring Arbor University. Jeffrey Bilbro, assistant professor of English at Spring Arbor University, is the author of Loving God's Wildness: The Christian Roots of Ecological Ethics in American Literature.

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