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The Art of Freedom: Teaching the Humanities to the Poor

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The Art of Freedom: Teaching the Humanities to the Poor Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Seeking answers to the toughest questions about poverty in the United States, Earl Shorris had looked everywhere. At last, one resounding answer came from a conversation with a woman in a maximum-security prison: the difference between rich and poor is the humanities. Shorris took that idea and started a course at the Clemente Family Guidance Center in New York. With a faculty of friends, he began teaching the great works of literature and philosophy—from Plato to Kant, from Cervantes to Garcia Marquez—at the college level to dropouts, immigrants, and ex-prisoners. From that first class came two dentists, a nurse, two PhDs, a fashion designer, a drug counselor, and other successes.

Over the course of seventeen years the course expanded to many U.S. cities and foreign countries. Now Earl Shorris has written the stories of those who teach and those who study the humanities—a tribute to the courage of people rising from unspeakable poverty to engage in dialogue with professors from great universities around the world.

This year, in a high school on the South Side of Chicago, a Clemente Course has begun that may change the character of public education in America and perhaps the world.

Review:

"In 1995, Shorris (The Politics of Heaven), while researching a book on poverty, visited New York's Bedford Hills prison, where a female prisoner made an offhand comment: the difference between rich and poor is the humanities. This prison visit led to the much-lauded Clemente Course, a program to teach the humanities to disadvantaged students from all backgrounds, and earned Shorris the National Humanities Medal, presented to him by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The course focuses on teaching philosophy, art history, and literature through authors such as Plato, Dante, and Cervantes — complicated readings for students who have often failed out of high school. This book charts the progress of the Clemente Course from its first class of 25 in New York through its expansion to Illinois, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and eventually abroad to Canada, Sudan, and other countries. Shorris's story is told in the first person as he observes and interacts with students who participate in the 10-month program. Though Shorris takes readers through each location's specific problems, the book is more fundamentally about how his students have shaped him through their perspectives, experiences, and expectations." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A conversation in a prison cell sparks an ambitious undertaking to attack the roots of long-term poverty.

Synopsis:

Seeking answers to the toughest questions about poverty in the United States, Earl Shorris had looked everywhere. At last, one resounding answer came from a conversation with a woman in a maximum-security prison: the difference between rich and poor is the humanities. Shorris took that idea and started a course at the Clemente Family Guidance Center in New York. With a faculty of friends, he began teaching the great works of literature and philosophy--from Plato to Kant, from Cervantes to Garcia Marquez--at the college level to dropouts, immigrants, and ex-prisoners. From that first class came two dentists, a nurse, two PhDs, a fashion designer, a drug counselor, and other successes.

About the Author

Earl Shorris is the author of Under the Fifth Sun: A Novel of Pancho Villa, Latinos: A Biography of the People, In the Language of Kings: An Anthology of Mesoamerican Literature (with Miguel León-Portilla), and many other books. He received the National Humanities Medal and the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393081275
Author:
Shorris, Earl
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Education-General
Subject:
Philosophy & Aspects
Publication Date:
20130231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

Education » General
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The Art of Freedom: Teaching the Humanities to the Poor New Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393081275 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In 1995, Shorris (The Politics of Heaven), while researching a book on poverty, visited New York's Bedford Hills prison, where a female prisoner made an offhand comment: the difference between rich and poor is the humanities. This prison visit led to the much-lauded Clemente Course, a program to teach the humanities to disadvantaged students from all backgrounds, and earned Shorris the National Humanities Medal, presented to him by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The course focuses on teaching philosophy, art history, and literature through authors such as Plato, Dante, and Cervantes — complicated readings for students who have often failed out of high school. This book charts the progress of the Clemente Course from its first class of 25 in New York through its expansion to Illinois, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and eventually abroad to Canada, Sudan, and other countries. Shorris's story is told in the first person as he observes and interacts with students who participate in the 10-month program. Though Shorris takes readers through each location's specific problems, the book is more fundamentally about how his students have shaped him through their perspectives, experiences, and expectations." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , A conversation in a prison cell sparks an ambitious undertaking to attack the roots of long-term poverty.
"Synopsis" by , Seeking answers to the toughest questions about poverty in the United States, Earl Shorris had looked everywhere. At last, one resounding answer came from a conversation with a woman in a maximum-security prison: the difference between rich and poor is the humanities. Shorris took that idea and started a course at the Clemente Family Guidance Center in New York. With a faculty of friends, he began teaching the great works of literature and philosophy--from Plato to Kant, from Cervantes to Garcia Marquez--at the college level to dropouts, immigrants, and ex-prisoners. From that first class came two dentists, a nurse, two PhDs, a fashion designer, a drug counselor, and other successes.
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