Aesthetics, Politics, and Educational Inquiry: Essays and Examples

Aesthetics, Politics, and Educational Inquiry: Essays and Examples

Aesthetics, Politics, and Educational Inquiry: Essays and Examples

Aesthetics, Politics, and Educational Inquiry: Essays and Examples

Synopsis

Tom Barone is Professor of Education at Arizona State University, where he teaches courses in curriculum studies and research methods.

Excerpt

William F. Pinar

How lucky for us to have Tom Barone's essays between two covers! How easy it is to miss a scholar's intellectual formation when articles appear here and there, when everyone feels (and is) submerged under the tidal wave of scholarly publication. While every serious curriculum scholar has heard of Thomas Barone, not all of us have been able to follow his intellectual career over the last two decades. Now we can. And now we can make available to our students Barone's unique and important contribution.

Thinking about these past twenty years, Tom is quite clear about the autobiographical character of his writings. He says at the outset that these writings can be recoded as a life story. Five writers have influenced him most, he tells us, have “alter[ed] most the course of my quest, ” producing “invaluable disruptions and advancements in the flow of my professional and personal identity.” One of these happens to be one of my five (if I were to make a list), Jean-Paul Sartre, the early (or in Tom's words) the “optimistic Sartre.” By that he means the Sartre before his Marxist conversion—the author of Nausea and Being and Nothingness, almost twenty years before the Critique of Dialectical Reason appeared—the Sartre “still infatuated with the possibilities of a socially committed literature as a means for promoting critical awareness.” This is a theme that Tom will emphasize throughout his work.

While Sartre may be one of Barone's intellectual heroes, the one who was present concretely, in a pedagogical relation to him, was his doctoral mentor Elliot Eisner, whom Tom terms his “mentor, ” “friend, ” “teacher/ critic, ” a “connoisseur of life.” The first and distinguishing feature of Eisner's intellectual leadership, he tells us, was “a courage born out of a deep sense of professional responsibility.” Second was his civility. Barone must . . .

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