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Old 02-17-2010   #14
Steve Blair
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 3,195

Originally Posted by marct View Post
Especially when so much of it is an Emperor's New Clothes syndrome ! What really bugs me is that this is happening in universities which are supposed to be about playing with ideas; well, at least in the areas I teach in. Sometimes I think I should use this as an Introduction to life at university...
I tend to think that some of the lockstep "intellectual Fascism" crept in during the 1960s and simply gained momentum as the products of those first years entered academia themselves and couldn't deal with anyone who disagreed with either their ideas or the golden nuggets of wisdom that they'd been handed by their professors. One would expect a certain amount of "playing with ideas" in history as well, but in my (admittedly limited to 4 universities) experience I've only found that in a handful (as in two) professors. Most weren't interested in teaching even the basics of historical theory and technique until people were juniors or seniors, and by that point it was fairly useless as the students had already learned that the way to an A was to faithfully parrot anything the professor said...method or actual thinking be damned.

I was always a believer in giving people at least a grounding in the basics of method and theory, so that they had the tools for those "a-ha" moments when something came together for THEM and wasn't just handed to them as done by a professor.
"On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War
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