Sunday, March 18, 2018

Yet more file disposal

Lecture notes from a course with Jerald Brauer at Chicago from the 1950's.  Deals mostly with English Puritanism. Course was in Jan-March, 1956. Includes course syllabus. Might be worth saving- some bibliography. 60 years dated but still valuable. Jerry Brauer was a good prof. If I went through and typed up these notes, I would learn a lot. But would it be worth it? And would I remember it? If I wanted to understand more about English Puritanism, I could just read a good book.

Decision: Toss

These are documents going back to 1973 when Jackie Jakovleff and I started a career planning office at Marlboro College called After Marlboro (at the instigation of President, Tom Ragle).  Includes reports of our activities to the President and Faculty, planning notes for workshops on career planning, etc. I remember that starting this office at Marlboro  ruffled some feathers there, esp. among faculty, who thought that it was making the Marlboro "ivory tower" into a "vocational school." I think they eventually came around as they saw we were helping students with real, perceived needs. I don't expect to open another college career planning office, so these can go.

Decision:  Toss

This file is a companion to the one titled Revolution above. This file has course syllabi and other materials relating to the course. I learn from this file that I actually  taught this course three times, each one a little different:
(1) In 1969 at Keuka College (Religion 413. Studies in the New Testament: Was Jesus a Revolutionary Figure?)
(2) At  Lawrence University, Spring 1970 (Religion 32. Studies in Biblical Thought: The Bible and Revolution).
(3) Again at Lawrence, in Winter 1971 (Topics of Inquiry: Christianity and Revolution).

This file includes materials I handed out to the class, my own personal reflections on the course and how it was going, and most interesting, three final papers from students evaluating the course itself and its impact on them.

The course definitely evolved over these 2-3 years and the third version of was clearly the most effective because it not only included the typical aspects of college work: classroom lectures and discussion, readings, papers and exams (with strong emphasis on black Christian authors advocating "black power" as an authentic form of Christian faith and life) it also included a field trip to Chicago mid-way through the course in which the students met and talked with both black activist leaders like Jesse Jackson at Operation Breadbasket, and white Christian "radicals" like Stephen Rose and John Fry.  It also involved them in four trips to a cross-section of local churches in Appleton: a Methodist Church, an Assembly of God church, a Catholic Church and a UCC church, in which they interacted with a variety of white, largely middle-class Christians around the issues raised in the course.  The evaluations make clear that these "field trips" were very powerful experiences for the students and made them hungry for more experiential learning. It was also a powerful learning experience for me.

Assessment: Reading through these materials makes me ponder the similarities and differences  between then and now. There was a lot of "revolution" in the air back in the late sixties and early seventies: both the need for and the possibility of radical, even violent change in our society, and along with that a palpable hope and expectation that change for a more just and equitable society was not only possible but immanent. It doesn't feel that way today. The "Bernie Revolution" was (is?) much more modest by comparison, more about incremental change in government policy. And the young people are passionate, but much more modest in their goals - and running into a lot of implacability even then. "Trumpism" isn't a revolution. It's a sick and deluded nostalgia. We are desperately in need of a true revolution. It would be interesting to see what kind of a reception a course like this would get today. It would need an updated bibliography, but some of this would still be relevant.

Decision: Save for now on the slight chance I might revive this course at, e.g., one of the local churches. That might mean pulling some of those photocopies out of the recycle bin!

5. File Label: REPRINTS
This is an interesting collection of "reprints," i.e., individual copies of journal articles which are typically sent by the publisher to the author. They are complimentary copies not of the entire issue of the journal the article appeared in, but just that one article. Then the author gives them out to friends, etc. So these are all articles by people I know. Four are by Bill Schoedel, who was my thesis advisor at Brown; two are by Kees Bolle, who was a Brown faculty member in History of Religions and had an office next to mine; one is by George Morgan, a "University professor" at Brown who I did not know at that well but liked; one is by Raymond Gibson, who was minister of Central Congregational Church in Providence where I had an office while I was a campus minister at Brown; one is by Bernard Loomer, who was my Constructive Theology professor at Chicago. In addition, there is a mimeograph copy of a sermon by Paul Tillich and, for some reason, a photocopy of an article on "Agape," from the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Assessment: This almost all falls into the category of "redundancy." If I wanted to, I could access 90% of this online through JSTOR. 

Decision: Toss.

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