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Practically Idealistic blog
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  John Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.
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Sunday, April 22, 2018

"Equity and Digital Literacies"

The New Haven Independent and Medium have an account of a recent Literacy Forum on “Equity and Digital Literacies,” with Amira Dhalla of Mozilla.

10:28 am edt 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

"Self-Evident Truths" on New Books Network, in Journal of American History


Previous posts, for example in November 2017, mentioned the book Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War.


Recently the book was the subject of a (February 2018) podcast on the New Books Network, among those collected here, and also reviewed in the Journal of American History.


(Disclosure, again: My father, Richard D. Brown, is the author.)

12:44 pm edt 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

"Becoming Kareem" and "Reaching Out a Hand"


My son and I recently read Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court, a memoir by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (and Raymond Obstfeld).  After recounting experiences with Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali among others, the basketball Hall of Famer, author, activist, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient concludes: “[what] most interests me now: helping others along their chosen paths.  That's why I wrote this book.  To be that coach who takes by the hand anyone who ever feels picked on or put upon, outraged but out of range, vilified yet voiceless.”  On “this road ... so often we feel like we're walking it alone.”  Yet, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes, “I didn't walk it alone, even when I thought I was.  No one has to.  Coaches and teachers and family and friends are everywhere, reaching out a hand for you to take.  I hope this book is one such hand.”  (p. 289)

2:55 pm edt 

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