12.11.18

Blog question #11

On p. 62, Todorov asks: "Did the Spaniards defeat the Indians by means of signs?" Well, did they?

5.11.18

Blog question #10

Continuing our "continuity and change" topic from last week, but this time in the sphere of political economy. The question is: have recent changes in the organization of the global political economy meant the end of the postwar "embedded liberal" order, or are they an example of "norm-governed change"?

29.10.18

Blog question #9

This question stems directly from our in-class activity today. I have posted photos of the whiteboard to the class BlackBoard site; feel free to consult them. Also feel free to look at any of the documents that your group did not look at specifically.

The question:

Overall, has US security policy in the past few decades been characterized by continuity or change? Both? Some combination of the two? In your answer please a) bear in mind the scholarly articles we are reading for this week, and b) use the four categories I posed as ways of structuring the discussion (self, other(s), strategy/tactics. and "security") as you see fit.

22.10.18

blog question #8

Building on our class simulation: given that there are a variety of arguments from different perspectives about how the U.S. should set domestic content rules for automobiles, how should we go about determining the answer to the question? How should the U.S. define the domestic content of automobiles, and why? Since we've spent two class sessions arguing from assigned points of view, we've elucidated some of the issues; now, taking the team assignments off, you have the opportunity to make your own, perhaps more thoughtful, argument.

8.10.18

Blog question #7

W. E. B. Du Bois introduces the notion of the "double consciousness" as part of his discussion of the experience of freed slaves and their descendants in the United States. How specific in applicability is this concept? Do other groups experience the same, or at least a similar, sort of of "double consciousness," either in the United States or elsewhere? Is Du Bois' concept helpful for an understanding of other societies and other experiences, beyond the United States?

1.10.18

Blog question #6

"Instead of convincing arguments -- arguments which, if a first truth is admitted, will compel belief in their conclusions in all rational minds, generally and technically, that is, by calculation -- we are once again investigating the nature of persuasion, the different ways of achieving assent in different, particular audiences." (John Shotter, "Rhetoric and the Recovery of Civil Society," p. 167)

Shotter does not draw this distinction lightly or by accident. Certainly his argument in the chapter is that we need more persuasion and less striving to be convincing (in the special and technical ways he defines both of those terms), at least in public life. Do you agree? Will such a move, from convincing to persuading, help to address the general problem that Shotter diagnoses, in which not everyone is able to participate fully in the shaping of our social lives together? And where does this leave scientific facts?

No bonus points for talking about alien contact scenarios, but if it makes sense to you, go for it :-)

24.9.18

Blog question #5

Much of our conversation in class today was about religious toleration, which is, after all, mainly what Locke's letter is about. But is Locke's argument applicable to other kinds of controversies? Specifically, think about members of the Flat Earth Society, who tend not to get hired in university Geography departments, or in any state government's map-making division. Should Locke's notion of tolerance be extended to members of the Flat Earth Society? Why, or why not?