The Art of Freedom: Teaching the Humanities to the Poor


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The tour stops are in the poorest parts of town this time, but the booze is still there. Seriously: the book has nine pages that reference beer 36, 37, 90, 95, 97, 98, , , and , but only six that reference Aristotle 37, 39, 67, 91, , and To his credit, Shorris is not the only one drinking the beer.

Nevertheless, alcohol serves as, shall we say, a leitmotif. The result: the book becomes all too predictable. And he does.


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Good for him. But, to use a nice Humanities word, I kept wondering what the telos of the book was supposed to be. At one point, Shorris says that democracy is the telos of the Clemente Course, equating it with freedom, especially political freedom Even worse, his identification of democracy as the telos of the course makes the course sound unnecessary wherever there is democratic government. In The Art of Freedom , Shorris can be blunt and unsympathetic, but perhaps this occasional lack of sympathy is unfairly exaggerated by his overflowing tenderness towards the underprivileged.

Viniece Walker, a woman convicted as a conspirator in the murder of her own grandmother, receives a careful, sympathetic portrait 13— The sharpness of this assessment surprised me, given the kindness extended to others. I was unsurprised to learn that John Marsh became a critic of the Clemente Course. Presumably, the poor were to organize, though against whom or for what Shorris never says.

Marsh rejects this view.

Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

Even worse for Shorris, Marsh suggests that people embrace his approach precisely because it makes them feel better about themselves The Art of Freedom , is inspirational and uplifting, and I found myself wanting to teach a Clemente Course. People in their late twenties and early thirties who have only recently become ambitious, hardworking, and academically minded do not generally receive second chances. The Clemente Course offers them one. Shorris is honest enough to let people speak with their own voices, and it is often a religious one that we hear.

It is always an interesting read, however. He describes his colleagues with deft words: "Colin could speak easily in the Australian style, glad to say good on ya or call someone mate, but the language of England, pronounced with a wellborn accent, was his comfort. Bernard had the diction of a religious touched with just enough Irish to make it capable of forgiveness.

Months later, looking up the word in the Barrera Vasquez Dictionary of the Maya language, I saw that there were nine different definitions in Maya for the color blue, whereas the Porrua Spanish dictionary offered only three, meaning that without the Maya language, six butterflies disappeared from the world. When we were introduced, I thought it was another joke played on the white man, for the co-chairman of the Comanche Nation was a young woman of extremely delicate features and tiny white teeth.

She said little, but stared at me intently I began by telling her that we were teaching indigenous people in Mexico, and to open a dialogue with her I asked if she had been to Mexico.

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She said, 'Comanches go there to kill them and steal their children. Rather than asking her anything else, I launched into a description of the Clemente Course, its history, and what we hoped would be the result of my visit to Oklahoma. She said nothing, her gaze so intent that I became uncomfortably conscious of my own face. She asked no questions, although I paused several times to give her an opening.

PDF Riches for the Poor: The Clemente Course in the Humanities Earl Shorris For Ipad

And I was certainly not going to ask another question of her. After I finished my presentation, there was still nothing but silence in response. Finally, I asked, 'Well, what do you think? Feb 25, Jason Krzysztofiak rated it liked it Shelves: social , non-fiction , psychology , self-help , biography , informational. Honestly, seeing other reviews has kind of biased my review in a way that is somewhat disappointing. After finishing 'The Art of Freedom', I enjoyed it.

It promoted a positive and feel good environment to show that people have potential no matter their origins, including elements of story telling, biography and non fiction. But after reading other reviews to try and form a conclusion, I realized that the reason that the book was lower rated than others was the poor written form, it has a great i Honestly, seeing other reviews has kind of biased my review in a way that is somewhat disappointing. But after reading other reviews to try and form a conclusion, I realized that the reason that the book was lower rated than others was the poor written form, it has a great idea but is poorly written.

Although at first I didn't notice the flaws in this educational book, but once I look back and realize the order and explanation were a bit off key, I had to dislike the book, not for the plot, or characters or author, but rather just the way it was written.

Mar 21, Sally rated it liked it Shelves: education-parenting , social-justice-action. I was glad to read this anecdotal account by the founder of the Clemente program for teaching humanities to the adult poor. It tells about starting programs in the US in cities, rural areas, and among native peoples, as well as in many other countries including Mexico, Korea, Sudan, Argentina and Australia. The impact this program can have on people's lives, and through them on their families and communities, is impressive.

Aug 06, Joeydag rated it liked it. I did not finish reading this collection of reports from the author's experiences of teaching humanities to the poor.

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A School of Second Chances

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. Apr 14, Amy rated it really liked it. I really enjoyed this collection of essays about Clemente Institutes all over the world.

The author writes a bit like a rambling professor with time to kill and a resistance to editing, and I got tired of hearing every bit player described in three paragraphs, but I loved reading about how the humanities transformed people's lives. Very inspiring to me. Mar 19, Elyssa rated it liked it Shelves: social-justice , non-fiction. The idea of teaching humanities to low income individuals is a brilliant one and was successful as indicated in Earl Shorris' reminiscent dispatches. Unfortunately, the book is poorly written. The chapters seem thrown together haphazardly and within the chapters, the writing meanders all over the place.

I was able to piece it together, but it seems like it should have been easier. Mar 02, Marlene rated it did not like it. Anecdotal collection of stories about exposing groups of individuals to the humanities and the effects of such education on their lives. For nonfiction about a program, it would be a better read if it were condensed into a shorter Reader's Digest version.

Newsroom | The Clemente Course in the Humanities

Mar 27, Sara rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , not-finished. Jun 04, Rachel rated it liked it. Disjointed writing but an exceptional concept and commitment. 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. 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.

Publisher Description

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. 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.

Bibliographic information. Publication date ISBN hbk. Browse related items Start at call number: AZ U5 S56 Librarian view Catkey:

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

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