Do different cultures (and historical periods) conceptualize childhood and adulthood differently

The guidelines are simple:

1.  Be sure you know what you’re talking about, literally, before you pass judgment on an idea.

*Support all ideas/opinions with some arguments/evidence/logic/examples (you don’t need to be thorough or perfect, but there needs to be some reasoning behind your claims that you discuss).  Acknowledge at least one possible counterargument and explain why you still think your perspective is better.  You need not come up with all these arguments out of thin air–if you agree with an author use their own arguments and explain what makes them so convincing in your own mind (Ex: how does Hobbes argue for self-interest and why do you think it’s a good argument?).  I am happy to help you out with this if you are unsure of how to analyze a particular argument.

Please know that this does NOT mean you need to respect any idea I present in class–you don’t!  Some ideas really are stupid, or immoral, or lacking in credibility–even if they are popular or are a part of the generally accepted “canon” of Western philosophy or whatever else.  The point here is not to force you to accept all theories simply because they’re popular/exist but rather to have you ask yourself if you know what the theory is actually claiming before you pass judgment on it.  That’s it.  If you feel you really do have a grasp on the issue feel free to say whatever you want about it (you can be “mean” if you want, not a problem.  Call Hobbes or his theory lame, I don’t mind–but calling a theory lame is a strong statement, and as such requires strong arguments!)–just make sure you can communicate to me that you know what you’re talking about.

Of course, you are not obligated to know anything about the ideas we present in class before we discuss them, so if you don’t have an opinion or aren’t sure how to argue for or against an idea, that’s ok!  You aren’t required to share your personal beliefs, this is only if you do decide to discuss them.

2.  Demonstrate that you have read the reading/watched the film/did the activity required for that week and have been in class for lecture in your papers.  If I can’t tell for sure that you’ve done all the work I can’t give you an A.  When in doubt, ask me if you’re on the right track via rough drafts before the due date and I’ll let you know.  You don’t need to summarize the material (although you can if you want to)–just discuss the main ideas in such a way that I know you’re doing all the work.  If you’d rather not talk about certain main ideas that’s fine IF you show me your lecture notes and reading notes! I understand not all material will be of interest to you or you might want to focus your paper on one or two ideas–again, that’s fine, just make sure you’re annotating your readings and taking thorough lecture notes to show me so I can tell that you are paying attention and doing all the work.

That’s it!  No grammar rules or anything else except page minimum–which is 3 1/2 pages Times New Roman 12-point font, standard margins.  Again, if you have any questions or concerns just ask.  I’m happy to help.  🙂

 

Reading “Korczak” (The Child’s Right to Respect)

Lecture:  Please discuss information from all three classes. Some examples of what to write about–the Canadian Cree Indian court case and how math (counting) is “dumb” knowledge to them (even dangerous), how Christianity might intersect with APC principles (temptations of Christ discussion), the meaning of money, how the concept of property and mathematics are co-created, why written Law might be negative versus oral law/anarchic justice, how context is crucial to justice (what does it mean to say “abortion” doesn’t exist?), why there might be the possibility of community in a Liberal nation-state, and how traditional culture might not be worth preserving.  Any personal reactions to class material or further questions welcome! 5 points

Reading:  Janusz Korczak was a Children’s author, physician, and head of several Jewish orphanages in the early 1900s in Poland.  He and hundreds of his orphans were murdered at Treblinka, a nazi concentration camp, in the 1940s (just to give you an idea of who he was and why he wrote this essay).

Warning: This essay is written in a style that may be confusing to some as he often writes in a sarcastic voice–that is, he will take up the perspective of those who believe children do not deserve respect.  Always keep in mind this is not what he believes!  So anything that might be negative-sounding is simply his presentation of common ways of thinking about young people. Read closely.

As always, discuss information from all parts of the essay to show me you’ve read thoroughly.  What is his main thesis?  How do we typically view children and how does he provide counterarguments for the stereotypical way we see them?  3 points

Personal beliefs: We deny young people (21 under) equal rights in this country.  In fact, they lack most rights of every kind. Why do you think that is?  Consider what rights they do have legally, and which they don’t compared to adults (economic, social, political, educational, health, etc.). Are there any similarities to how we treat children and how we treat women, the mentally disabled, and people of color now and in the past? What are the main politically and ethically significant differences between children and adults in your opinion?  What, even, is the actual definition of “child” vs “adult”? Do different cultures (and historical periods) conceptualize childhood and adulthood differently?  How were you raised?  What kinds of freedoms did your family afford you, and what kinds of restrictions did they place on your behavior?  Overall, did you like or dislike the way you were treated as a child?  Can you recall a time when you felt powerful as a child?  Disempowered? Respected or disrespected?  2 points

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