Saturday, September 15, 2007

Canon Wars

PZ sends this article on the canon wars, wars I've been intimately involved in since I entered the world of textbook publishing more than 25 years ago. I agreed to cowrite a snappy quiz book called Test Your Cultural Literacy only if I were allowed to write an introduction that explained both sides of the controversy--granted, an introduction no one ever read, but it made me feel better--and if I could then go on to write Test Your Countercultural Literacy, whose introduction went into detail on the relationship between cultural literacy and ideological hegemony--again, an introduction no one read, and now a book that's o/p--although it was a blast to write. But I, too, am concerned that we're throwing out the baby with the bathwater, that maybe Toni Morrison isn't--well, hell--all that great. And I'm certainly worried that our kids coming out of high school have little or no foundation for the study of literature or history in college. But maybe it doesn't matter, because we want them all to be scientists and mathematicians now. Anyway, food for thought.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

My favorite part is that both books are available for a penny each.

KAZ said...

And worth every dime!

HP said...

I think your last comments ring true to me also. How can children function in a democracy if they don't have a strong foundation in civics and history. Literature is important, because it teaches important lessons, and is also an outlet. Math and science are important, but if you don't have the foundation of how to function as a member of a community.....you are lost. I think the public schools need to be pressed to make sure their history and civic education programs are up to par.

Enough said. :)