What is the opposite of war?

Question: What is the opposite of war?

Answer: …?

Before you continue to read this post, and for once it’ll be rather short (comparatively, but not by much), take a few moments to answer the above question. While I will be, quickly, linking what I am saying to Freire’s work and thoughts, although I will be assuming relative familiarity with Freire’s problem-posing model and not explaining it, my set-up is going to be non-traditional. In fact, I am going to be pulling from Philip Hallie’s “From Cruelty to Goodness“. Hallie is a scholar who investigated the cruelties of the Holocaust and worked to answer the question I posed to all of us earlier. Given the recent events here at Tech against our Jewish community, it is an answer that I think salient for the critical pedagogy we are investigating this week.

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“I thought…”

In October of 2015, a cohort of 40 or so people gathered in Squires for VT InterCom training. During the training, one scenario required a person to use a slur word of some kind during the circle to give the facilitators the opportunity to navigate ways of responding to unexpected events in the process of a facilitation.

But, there was a small hiccup. One of the participants, let’s call him J, who wasn’t a facilitator was out of the room when we disclosed who was going to be using a slur word and why. As such, he, a tall black man (these are important demographics to note), didn’t know going into the circle that another person, a white man, had been asked by the trainers to use the n-word during the circle.

The facilitators were brought back in, given their topic, and things started smoothly enough. Then, in the midst of the conversation, the white man used the n-word and a discussion quickly emerged about that word, its use, and possible reclamation by African American and Black folks. J reacted strongly to the use of the term and at one point said “Look, if you use that term again I’m going to have to do something”.

How would you interpret this phrase? How do you think people in the room interpreted J’s response?

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Plagiarism: Philosophy Edition


When teaching philosophy, especially a course on ethics, it is not uncommon for instructors to challenge their students to do what we call “argument reconstructions”. They are, as they sound, a task that asks students to figure out what the main argument of an article is, how the author supports their argument, and reconstruct it in a manner whereby a relatively intelligent 6th grader (or their roommate…) could understand what is going on.

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