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

by Earl Shorris

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I did not finish reading this collection of reports from the author's experiences of teaching humanities to the poor. It was a moving story but not compelling enough for me to want to finish. His use of the phrase "Surround of Force" was new to me in describing the setting that keeps the poor in their place. The plain lesson is that a basic humanities education is can be used to overcome poverty. There are poor people that will educate themselves if the opportunity is provided. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393081273, Hardcover)

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

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:59 -0400)

Documents the author's observations of circumstances reflected in a maximum-security prison and subsequent launch of a humanities college course for dropouts, immigrants and former inmates who eventually became high-achieving contributors to society.

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