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View events for the week of 4/ 8/2020
Smarten your socio-economic systems thinking seminar
Date Wednesday April 08
Time 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Event Type Teach-In
Organizer/AuthorDavid Giesen
Emailinfo [at] TheCommonsSF.org
Phone415-948-4265
Location Details
A google hangout, details supplied upon confirmation of participation
For those interested in a workshop on ways to stretch their thinking to search beyond personality into systems analysis when reading history and literature, I am offering a one hour seminar on the subject next Wednesday, April 8 at 11 am PT. You may reply to info(at)TheCommonsSF.org, and I will supply a google hangout link.

I am a middle school teacher and literature-rooted social change activist.

The seminar reflects my own peculiar interest in cultivating a transformative sociology. Too often we humans look to extolling or deprecating historical and literary figures when considering shared human experience. That's natural enough. We humans like to praise and denounce heroes and villains, and to attribute to personality the reason for happiness and unpleasantness. For instance, and combining both hero and villain, both happiness and unpleasantness in one personality, consider Napoleon Bonaparte. He brought The Terror to an end, he systematized what had been arbitrary law, he established a popular culture rooted in a rational approach to diet, urban organization, and other matters. He also wreaked havoc with national borders, brought death to millions, and relegitimated an authoritarian type of governance cloaked in republican pretense. He's a riveting personality. But I want us to look closely (staying with this Napoleon example) at the sociological circumstances that both launched the French Revolution and enabled a kingly institution to resume. Personalities come and go, but the social circumstances that permit those personalities to flourish are my special interest.

The seminar, titled "Exposing Villainy, Deposing Villains, a land-centered sociological approach to teaching social studies and literature" will present participants with a set of questions to pose to themselves and others as they explore literature and social topics. I use these questions when in discussions as I seek to cultivate my own "systems analysis" thinking. The seminar is designed to smarten up conversation with others, not serve merely as a theoretical muse.

In one hour I can only hope to whet your appetite for more. Still, in one hour I believe I can share enough of this systems analysis approach that you will have at least one concrete concept in hand which you can put to immediate use in conversation. Spoiler alert, here is that concept: Power/domination occurs in locality. Power/domination over others doesn't exist in abstract space but in particular geographic location.

If interested in participating in the seminar, you must read a short story as grist for our discussion. That short story, "Under the Lion's Paw," was written by the esteemed turn of the 20th century American writer Hamlin Garland. It was purposefully written to launch just the sort of systems analysis that has captured my own imagination. With your confirmation of interest I will supply a link to the story (it will take 20-30 minutes to read) and a link to the google hangout on Wednesday, April 8, 11 am PT.

Added to the calendar on Friday Apr 3rd, 2020 2:31 PM
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