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robertogreco : quaker   8

Amazing Structure: A Conversation With Ursula Franklin - Robinson Meyer - The Atlantic
"The gender issue is really a postwar issue. Women, wherever they were, what side or what in the war situation, stepped into the places that men had left. And they were competent, and they could do it. It was only after the war, when the men came back, that they needed the mystique—that she’s a girl, and so oughtn’t [to be] there, this is a man’s job. The gender issue, in practical terms—either who [could be] in school or who thought they could do which job, which science, which math—is a postwar issue anywhere in the world.

And it’s the issue of a large number of well-organized men, who often got their training in the army during the war, returning and needing both work and justification for their organized maleness in a very hierarchical structure. These guys came out of the military, and brought skills, but mostly brought demands.

There were women who had coped—often very well in very technical [positions]—but what was needed now was a distinction between those who came out of a culture of order, discipline, and minimal consideration of an individual’s contribution. So you had to get the women out of the workplace. And that’s when that question—they can’t do math, or they are frightened of machines—that’s where all that crap comes from. But it’s there, and it took until the late ’50s when women said: “Ah ah! What’s going on here?”

It’s the collectivity—with some consciousness-raising, you see—that actually, the personal is political. It’s not that our skirts are too short or too long; it’s just that we are being pushed around and maybe we have to put a stop to it collectively. But that gender-based look at knowledge and competency is postwar.

So my school experience: It was ‘so what?’ "



"There’s no question that somebody who was in the position I was when my son was born, and said to somebody, ‘I’m pregnant.’ There’s legislation now; they have to keep your job; they have to give you that much maternity leave; you have a medical insurance system that picks up some of those expenses; and no employer can say no. That’s an enormous change.

The salary thing is still a question where one may have to struggle, but it is not that a priori a woman gets paid less for work of equal value. And there are laws that one can change. Not that people who need to challenge have the power to do so, but that exists. I mean if you see the number of women—school principals and university presidents—that is the change.

I constantly emphasize that the issue is not essentially gender. The issue is patriarchy. I must say that I myself have been surprised at the rapid rise of lady patriarchs. And of course there are lady patriarchs. I was surprised how easily young women who have all options open for patriarchy become as much the patriarch in a hierarchical structure as any man does; and conversely, how many men—how many men, not that many—have found a collaborative structure convenient and don’t pull rank. 

The developments flow from there. The main development is legislation—and that hand-waving isn’t good enough."



"[Q] And when you say “lady patriarchs,” what do you mean?

I mean women who behave as if they are generals or bishops. It makes no difference in many ways if it’s a woman or a man. In particular positions, a woman can be as inconsiderate a lady patriarch as a male patriarch would have been. So the issue is the hierarchical structuring; the issue is patriarchy.

[Q] You were also involved in strontium testing. Did that float out of your social work in the ’60s, your work as a citizen?

What you are referring to is the sense that one is a citizen first and happen to be a professional in one area or another, but you don’t stop being a citizen because you are a highway engineer or a professor of metallurgy, but you also don’t leave all your scientific knowledge when you are a resident in the district that is suddenly heavily influence by pollution from another plant; or, globally, from fallout or chemical pollution.

When you object to things like that, you bring the skills that you have to have professionally to it, as do all the others who may provide citizen input or position. The whole fabric of the democratic process comes from citizens who are competent in various ways, and my competency happens to be science. I have a certain skill in teaching to make it clear to people without using jargon what certain inevitable things, such as nuclear fallout or river pollution, mean, and that the half-life of uranium doesn’t change when you change governments. Somebody has to say that at the right place in the right language, and I’ve always taken these opportunities and, like others, contributed with the best I had.

So I’ve very much been a part of women’s peace organizations and very much meet in the most active form of pacifism—the prevention of situations that lead to war. So the pacifism, elective pacifism, are all the political and social measures against injustices that in the end drive hatred and violence.

[Q] Once you were at the University of Toronto, and got into archeometry and teaching, I suppose that followed the reforms in Canada. Did you see the university change over your time there, and just generally what was it like to be a female professor of engineering during the ’70s and ’80s?

Well… pretty lonely. You know the real difficulty is to protect and advance your women students, and to see that they are in a hassle-free learning environment. When I came to the university, I’d been around long enough to know that I wasn’t one of the gang, and I never would be. I didn’t have a desire to be one of the boys.

But the great wish—to give my women students a hassle-free, happy learning environment—that’s what’s difficult. The culture of engineering is not a culture of acceptance and understanding of anything that is female and—at the same time—equal. So that’s… that’s a real job. It was a long and hard [work] in this, and it’s by no means yet all done."

[See also Annes post about Ursula Franklin: http://designculturelab.org/2012/07/17/from-the-plsj-archives-an-extraordinary-mind/ ]
ursulafranklin  robinsonmeyer  2014  interviews  feminism  partiarchy  gender  hierarchy  hierarchies  law  legal  women  science  structures  management  organizations  history  canada  highered  highereducation  labor  regulation  standards  quakers  pacifism  peace  equality  quaker 
march 2014 by robertogreco
I'm an atheist so why am I a committed Quaker? – Nat Case – Aeon
"I contradict myself. I am an atheist and committed Quaker. Does it matter what I believe, when I recognise that religion is something I need?"



"If you are really going to be part of a community, just showing up for the main meal is not enough: you need to help cook and clean up. So it has been with me and the Quakers: I’m concerned with how my community works, and so I’ve served on committees (Quakerism is all about committees). There’s pastoral care to accomplish, a building to maintain, First-Day School (Quakerese for Sunday School) to organise. And there’s the matter of how we as a religious community will bring our witness into the world. Perhaps this language sounds odd coming from a non-theist, but as I hope I’ve shown, I’m not a non-theist first. I’ve been involved in prison visiting, and have been struck at the variety of religious attitudes among volunteers: some for whom the visiting is in itself ministry, and others for whom it’s simply social action towards justice (the programme grew out of visiting conscientious objectors in the Vietnam era). The point is: theological differences are not necessarily an issue when there’s work to be done."



"How can we do that? How can I do that? Submitting to something I am pretty sure doesn’t exist? How can I bow down to a fiction? I did it all the time as a child. Open the cover of the book, and I’m in that world. If I’m lucky, and the book is good enough, some of that world comes with me out into the world of atoms and weather, taxes and death. It’s a story, and sometimes stories are stronger than stuff.

Maybe part of the trick is realising that it doesn’t have to be just my little bubble of fiction. I can read a novel, or I can go gaming into the evening with friends. I can watch a ballet on a darkened stage, or I can roar along to my favourite band in the mosh pit. I hated school dances with a passion, yet I have been a morris dancer for 23 years now: I just had to find the form that was a right fit. I don’t pray aloud, or with prescribed formulas. But I can ask Whatever-There-Is a question, or ask for help from the universe, or say thank you. And now that I’m in a place with a better fit, sometimes I get answers back. And so there I am, a confirmed skeptic, praying in a congregation."



"A year and a half ago, our family began worshipping with a smaller Conservative Friends group. Conservative Friends are socially and theologically liberal but stricter in adhering to older Quaker practices. The group uses the Montessori-based Godly Play curriculum for the children: it’s all about stories. Every session begins with a quieting and a focusing. The leader tells a story from the Bible or from the Quaker story book. Then ‘wondering’ questions are asked that spur the children to reflect on what’s going on, and what they would do in the same situation.

I wish I’d had this great programme as a child. The teacher is a good storyteller who clearly loves the kids, and they love the stories and the time with their friends. To me, it’s such an improvement on school-style lessons. It says: this is a different kind of knowing and learning — this is not about facts and theories you need to learn, but about the stories we want to become part of your life.

I love facts and theories, the stuff of the world. I spend most of my life wrestling and dancing with all this amazing matter. As the Australian comic Tim Minchin says in his rant-poem ‘Storm’ (2008): ‘Isn’t this enough? Just this world? Just this beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable world?’ And yes, it’s enough. We don’t need to tell lies about the real world in order to make it magical. But we do still need impossible magic for our own irrational selves. At any rate, I do.

Because I don’t feel stuff-and-logic-based explanations deep down in my toes. There are no miracle stories of flying children there, or brothers reborn into the land where the sagas come from. The language of ‘stuff is all there is’ tells me that I can — even ought to — be rational and sensible, but it doesn’t make me want to be. ‘Atheism’ tells me what I am not, and I yearn to know what I am. What I am has a spine, it’s a thing I must be true to, because otherwise it evaporates into the air, dirt and water of the hard world.

Maybe I — we — need to start small, rebuilding gods that we talk to, and who talk back. Or just one whom we can plausibly imagine, our invisible friend. Maybe part of our problem is that we don’t actually want to talk to the voice of Everything, because Everything has gotten so unfathomably huge. George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, didn’t have to think about light years, let alone billions of light years. The stars now are too far away to be our friends or speak to us in our need. Maybe we could talk to a god whom we imagined in our house. Maybe we could ask what is wanted, and hear what is needed. Maybe that god would tell us not to tramp over the earth in armies, pretending we are bigger than we are, and that dying is OK, because it’s just something that happens when your life is over. Maybe we would ask for help and comfort from unexpected places, and often enough receive it and be thankful for it.

Maybe we need to name that little god something other than God, because maybe our God has a boss who has a boss whose boss runs the universe. Maybe we name this god Ethel, or Larry, or Murgatroyd. Maybe there is no god but God... or maybe there just is no God. And maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe we just tell stories that ring true to us and say up-front that we know they are fiction. We can let people love these stories or hate them. Maybe imagining impossible things — such as flying, the land where sagas come from, God — is what is needed. Maybe we don’t need the gods to be real. Maybe all we need is to trust more leaps of the imagination."
philosophy  quakers  atheism  2013  natcase  religion  belief  literature  fiction  skepticism  stories  storytelling  listening  learning  life  magic  wonder  truth  logic  trust  imagination  community  committees  myth  myths  josephcampbell  robert  barclay  via:jenlowe  everyday  quaker 
august 2013 by robertogreco
RADical Design for LEARNING -- Survey Seminar and Practical Action Laboratory
"Wtf is going on? Why are people limping out of 20 years of schooling without directed motivation, a solid internal compass, or a commitment to passionately pursuing their interests? Let's examine why in a cozy, edgy, authentic seminar where we balance theory with real-world action (praxis). We'll study the radical learning greats such as Illich, Papert, and Llewelyn, with focused readings and videos followed by discussion. Whenever possible we'll try to have the authors or their direct students available for Q&A&Q. And through hands-on labs and projects we'll design and enact experience-based transformations, like improvised music, consciousness altering strategies, electronics workshops etc. We can't wait to see you realize your wonderful ideas!"
unschooling  deschooling  education  syllabus  jaysilver  ericrosenbaum  mit  learning  mitmedialab  medialab  lifelongkindergarten  amosblanton  lego  seymourpapert  ivanillich  gracellewelyn  bilalghalib  jefflieberman  making  hackerspaces  lcproject  makerspaces  openstudioproject  grading  rubrics  assessment  diy  notbacktoschoolcamp  johnholt  piaget  mitchresnick  leahbuechley  eleanorduckworth  nuvu  nuvustudio  holeinthewall  sugatamitra  sprout  elsistema  theblueschool  computerclubhouse  drishya  bakhtiarmikhak  sudburyschools  sudburyvalleyschool  samcassat  seanstevens  frostburn  quaker  criticalmass  burningman  paulofreire  quakers  sprout&co  jeanpiaget  syllabi 
june 2013 by robertogreco
The Friends Council on Education
"As the only national organization of Friends schools, the Friends Council on Education is in a unique position to assist schools and their teachers, students, and families by providing publications and programs to support the implementation of Friends values in the classroom and in the life of the school community.

Friends Council nurtures the spiritual life of Friends schools, strengthens the connections between the schools, and promotes Friends education through providing consulting services, professional development seminars, literature to support Quaker testimonies in school life, and peer network meetings across schools.

The Friends Council website provides resources to member schools and the general public on Friends education, peace education and Quakerism, as well as a job posting service and information and links to member schools. The Council also maintains an online forum for dialogue among Friends schools faculty, staff, and trustees. All peer networks have groups on this forum, and the forum has over 1,000 members: www.friendscouncil.net "
friendscouncil  education  quaker  quakers  schools 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Woolman at Sierra Friends Center | Educational Community for Peace, Justice & Sustainability
"Woolman is a nonprofit educational community dedicated to the principles of peace, justice and sustainability. Originally founded in 1963 as a Quaker high school, Woolman now offers educational programs for teens, retreats for adults, and summer camps for children and families. John Woolman, an 18th century Quaker human rights activist who aspired to live his life in complete integrity with his principles inspired the name for the school.

Located on 230 acres in the Sierra Nevada Foothills within walking distance of the Yuba river, the Woolman campus is an experiment in sustainable community living. Most of our produce grows here in our organic garden, and much of our energy comes from solar, wood, and other renewable resources; ideas of Permaculture and conservation weave throughout the Woolman culture. As a Quaker community we welcome people of all backgrounds, and do not require or push any religious beliefs. While many of our staff and participants do not identify as Quaker, the Quaker ideals of inquiry-based education, consensus decision making, peace, equality, and integrity provide the foundation to our shared endeavor."

[See specifically The Woolman Semester: http://semester.woolman.org/ ]

"The Woolman Semester School is a progressive academic school for young people who want to make a difference in the world.

Students in their junior, senior, or gap year come for a "semester away" to take charge of their education and study the issues that matter most to them.

Woolman students earn transferable high school credits while taking an active role in their learning experience through community work, organic gardening and cooking, permaculture, art, wilderness exploration, service work, and by doing advocacy and activism work with real issues of peace, justice and sustainability in the world."
woolman  sierras  quakers  quaker  sierranevadas  johnwoolman  education  consensus  teens  summercamps  northerncalifornia  california  inquiry-basedlearning  inquiry  permaculture  servicelearning  service  progressive  learning  advocacy  peace  justice  sustainability  semesterprograms 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Silence and Speech
"If you feel moved to contribute after others have spoken, our experience is that it is as well to leave a fair time, and ask yourself whether you will be carrying further what has already been said. It is practically never right to spring up immediately."

"For our present purpose, the essential point is that what we receive in our meetings strengthens us in our daily lives; and then in turn we bring back our experiences to our meetings, where they may sometimes give rise to ministry. This two-way traffic is not regulated by rules or achieved through theological doctrines or political theories; it is a quiet unseen process, which is seldom exciting or dramatic but can in the long run have deep and far-reaching effects. Another early Quaker, Robert Barclay, wrote, 'When I came into the silent assemblies of God's people I found the evil in me weakening and the good raised up.' Many Quakers since his day have testified to similar experiences…"
thinking  meditation  meetings  friendsmeetings  ministry  robertbarclay  process  doctrine  deschooling  unschooling  rules  restraint  speech  silence  practice  religion  richardallen  1992  quakers  quaker 
january 2013 by robertogreco
‘Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay,’ by Christopher Benfey - NYTimes.com
"Surely the word “vessel” must rate high among the loveliest in the English language. Its meaning contains (vessel-like) a well-wrought urn, a far-­sailing ship, a throbbing vein. Spoken, its whispering consonants cut swiftly past. Printed, its letters even resemble a boat: jutting prow, double-curved hull, high stern. Can it be a coincidence that this Middle English artifact encloses — centered perfectly — the Latin esse, the primal verb “to be”?

And to paraphrase Emily Dickinson only slightly, there is no vessel like a book. Especially when it’s as well wrought and far-sailing as Christopher Benfey’s “Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay,” a book about earthen vases, epic voyages and ancestral blood. Part memoir, part family saga, part travelogue, part cultural history, it takes readers on a peripatetic ramble across America and beyond, paying calls on Cherokee potters, Bauhaus craftsmen, colonial clay-diggers and the author’s brick-mason grandfather."
craftsmanship  quakers  history  art  toread  books  christopherbenfrey  blackmountaincollege  vessels  emilydickinson  bmc  quaker 
august 2012 by robertogreco

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