old thinking


C. Vann Woodward is now dead. He was a noted Southern historian, and his book The Strange Career of Jim Crow was referenced frequently by Martin Luther King. King even referred to the volume as, "the historical bible of the civil rights movement." Much of this interests me, but what just captured my thoughts is a Woodward quote about his book on page 216 in Csikszentmihalyi's Creativity :

Well, I have learned more and I have changed my mind and the reasons and conclusions about what I have written. For example, that book on Jim Crow. I have done four editions of it and I am thinking about doing a fifth, and each time it changes. And they come largely from criticisms that I have received and those criticisms come largely from a younger generation… You learn that there is nothing permanent in history. It is always changing.

What if Woodward had had a blog? What if you could pay money to subscribe to his posts about Jim Crow and participate in a dialog?

At this point, Csikszentmihalyi is discussing changes in creativity and learning that come about with age. He goes on to mention survey responses mentioning changes in the relationship with colleagues, students, and other institutions. The survey returned positives and negatives, with all negatives being from men who missed formal institutional membership and the decrease in prestige and power. Positives included acquiring greater centrality in the field and developing new forms of association, especially with students. Again, what if people with experience had the time to engage in ongoing dialog with students interested in the field?

It's difficult speculating on who or what would benefit most.

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April 18, Symposium 2009; reimagine.
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