On Seminars, Rituals, and Cowboys
by Richard A. Quantz — 2001
This nonlinear, mixed-genre essay shows that we can learn much about education by looking at the nonrational aspects of classrooms. Following discursive traditions associated with the social sciences, it presents two interaction patterns found in seminar-style classes at the undergraduate and masters level whose ritual aspects work to "magically" resolve a dilemma contained in the American commitment to individualism. It also suggests a connection to the apparent lack of intellectual vitality claimed to exist on many American campuses. At the same time, drawing on discursive traditions associated with the arts, this essay also complicates the processes of education showing just how complex and contradictory a seminar can be.
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