Our program aims at promoting inquiry into the shape of the world in the twenty-first century. We will be imparting information, but the information matters less for its own sake than for the way it promotes further inquiry. We don’t know - we don’t literally have ‘information’ about - what’s happening in the future.
We’ll be learning how to ask good questions and how to seek tentative answers to them, answers which are properly called hypotheses, about the shape the world is taking. Hypotheses are the best opinions we can arrive at by examining what evidence is available, and what opinions seem best to fit the evidence. They’re never simply true or false; rather, they’re the best-informed understandings we can reach in the light of our reason and commitments. We need well-examined hypotheses to focus our attention, our inquiry, and our actions. Hypotheses are not simply opinions - that is, not simply any idea or belief we may hold about a subject. Rather, they are considered, supported, and examined ideas. Thus in the context of our inquiry, it won’t do to say everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, until that opinion has been examined with some care. This examination is what will go on in our program meetings, seminars, and writings.
How can we inquire into the shape of the world in the next century,
the next millennium?
Second, we need to check out, within some boundaries, the scope and depth of the changes that introduce the twenty-first century. We’ll look at one region, one problem-area, which has been a focal-point of change and conflict in the last decade. We begin with the end of the Cold War, dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the precipitous descent of parts of Eastern Europe into violent conflict. If we can wrap our minds around this one specific problem-area and its conflicts, we can see both some promises and some dangers of the opening century.
Third, we need a sense of our own role and capacities
as actors in a world we did not create, but in which we can act with
appropriate consciousness and passion. The issue here is agency, membership,
citizenship, and perhaps resistance: what are the potential roles - active
and passive - of members of past-present-future political cultures?
Reading List: Fall Quarter Readings
Interesting WEB Sites: This isa developing list of useful sites that may be of interest to program participants. We will up date this list rather regularly.
Discussions: This is a Link to our Web Crossing Discussion You will need to log in before particpating. If you are a program member and have not yet registered on webx please see Susan C. Terry H. Or Matt ASAP
Power Lecture Notes These are notes from Matt's Lecture on Power Fall Quarter
History of the Idea of Culture: referenced in Rita's lecture on January 20, 1998.