Notes from the Now

Posts Tagged ‘history’

#10Readings – May 15, 2016

In Art, Books, Chicago, Education, Events, Film, History, literature, music, news, University of Chicago on May 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Things I have Written

  1. Amplify Arts Conference | Voices UChicago
  2. 4 Events from 3rd Week | Voices UChicago

Books Recently Read (& Recommended)

3. The Big Short by Michael Lewis | The Financial System.  Run by honest geniuses.  Best of The Best.

4. Death from the Skies by Philip Plaitt | Clear Science Writing.  Lot of things to (not) worry about.

Found on the Internet

5. How Illinois Pays For Public Schools, $9,794 Vs. $28,639 | WBEZ |  unconscionable.

6. 2016: Age Of The On-Screen Black Superhero | Two years before #BlackPanther

7. Heads Up: More F-Bombs Being Dropped in Public, New Research Shows | It’s not just me.

8. ‘Normal America’ Is Not A Small Town Of White People | Demographics are changing, even if perceptions lag behind.

9. Columbia is first U.S. university to divest from prisons | Divestment movements remain a viable method to advance moral arguments

10. Oral history: Prince’s life, as told by the people who knew him best | One of many good stories about Prince published after his passing




In Africa, Chicago, Education, Events, History, photography, University of Chicago on January 17, 2016 at 4:12 pm

via Instagram

“Signs of the Times: What would Harold Do?”

In Art, Chicago, History, photography on December 24, 2015 at 8:28 am

via Instagram

“Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.”

In Chicago, Education, Events, History, photography, University of Chicago on January 15, 2015 at 10:13 pm

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Recollections: Eleanor Roosevelt – A World Made New

In Books, History, literature on October 5, 2014 at 10:05 pm

I’m almost at the end of the “Roosevelt’s An Intimate History” on the DVR.  I can’t claim to have particularly studied the Roosevelts – beyond the landmarks of American History that they are responsible for –  so I’m not viewing this as a critic, but rather a someone who’s learning some of the text, and most of the context & subtext for the first time.

I didn’t realize that FDR’s paralytic illness began when he was at the age of 39.  I didn’t exactly realize how TR, FDR and Eleanor were all related.  I didn’t realize just how much of a liberal trailblazer Eleanor Roosevelt was, particularly on issues of civil rights.

I did however read “A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in 2004, on a trip to New York City not long after I had decided against going to graduate school for human rights studies.  I’d like to reread the book now that I have more context on Eleanor, but even without a deep level of context it’s a book I’d recommend without fail.  It succeeded in being a story about the evolution of the document itself – with surprisingly detailed accounts of the arguments around specific sections of the text – and more predictably about the characters central to its formation.

I tend to be in the camp that believes that we need to establish broad common understandings before we can realistically attempt to enforce anything specific.    Without common first principles,  even just actions can reek of opportunism.  In the UN UDHR, we see one of the great successes at setting those first principles for the broadest range of humanity and we have to celebrate the individuals who championed it.


Quick Thought On “Long Walk to Freedom”

In Africa, Film on December 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm


I want to see it a second time before trying to write a proper review, but let me say right off the bat that I was surprised (pleasantly) by how much time Winnie Mandela got in the story — AND how well-done the telling of her story was!

Comments on Some Key #reading from Last Week

In Education, Food, History, Social Media on October 28, 2013 at 7:45 am

Oh to be reminded of the impermanence of things!  I’m sure that none of our current critical social technologies will go the way of myspace.  None of them.

Is there anything more fascinating (and understandable) than commodity pricing for staple foods being a major political issue?  Of course onion prices matter to the people!  Still, there’s something remarkably startling about the headline (and the fact of the matter).

Education is our #1 anti-poverty strategy in the USA.  It’s successes are all functionally longer-term, so what happens when it’s the short-term effects of poverty that are undermining that strategy?  So many education arguments are framed in the context of the ability of the schoolhouse to educate successfully in spite of poverty, when a more broadbased approach seems to the sort of approach that you could get consensus around.

Back to food and food cultures — UNESCO has already designated several culinary traditions – Mexican, Turkish, Mediterranean, and French – for world heritage status.  Seems reasonable for Japan to be next.

I can’t stress how much I enjoy Neil Gaiman’s ode to the importance of literature in education.  It pains me however that these questions are still “open” in many ways.   Excerpt:  You’re also finding out something as you read vitally important for making your way in the world. And it’s this: The world doesn’t have to be like this. Things can be different.

National education statistics have such state-by-state variability built into them.  For what it’s worth, we see some very similar things in urban education — every city school system has a high degree of inconsistency built into it.

Solid article reminded us of some of the historical factors that went into the structuring of the US teaching profession, and addressing the current discussions about how to reformat the profession.   I’m not sure that we’re succeeding in turning teaching into a better profession – if anything the popular fixes are about optimizing turnover.  EXCERPT:“To improve the quality of teaching,” Ingersoll says, you need to “improve the quality of the teaching job.” And, “If you really improve that job… you would attract good people and you would keep them.””

Angela Davis @UCCharterSchool (Chicago, May 2013)

In Chicago, Education, University of Chicago on May 3, 2013 at 9:52 am

In advance of her talk at the University of Chicago on May 3rd, the legendary Angela Davis spoke to students at the UCCharter School.

Angela Davis

Tweets courtesy of the Neighborhood Schools Program at the University of Chicago:

Review — The Vietnam War: A Graphic History

In Art, Books, History on December 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm

The Vietnam War: A Graphic History
The Vietnam War: A Graphic History by Dwight Jon Zimmerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great example of “the Graphic Novel” as History! A very well done overview of the Vietnam War with some side trips into the backgrounds of key individuals and moments. Very linear – highlighting the key battles, strategies and political realities of the times.


Relief. Joyous Joyous Relief.

In History on November 7, 2012 at 1:19 am


Good Job America!