Leader: Joelle Hodge
Dates: June 19 - 30
Days: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
Times: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm (AZ), 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm (CDT)
Whether we realize it or not, we have suffered a loss of collective memory, and there are consequences to any society that allows itself to forget (individually or collectively in this case) essential parts of its rich heritage and the inheritance of its past. It has been said that the opposite of remembering is not forgetting; rather it is dismembering. That’s what has happened to our story. However, when we remember the women of the liberal arts tradition, we are essentially re-membering our history with the people and stories that create for us a more complete account of who we have been. A community that abdicates its responsibility to practice the habit of remembrance will be a community eventually forgotten. We must guard against allowing the dark amnesia of obscurity to rob us of the collective memory to which we are entitled.
For this course, we will explore the lost voices of women in the liberal arts tradition, and in particular, the works of Christine de Pizan. The information we seek to recover and remember is “so far back, thrust away” in “remote” places that it requires a “drawing forth by some other man’s teaching” to enable us as a community of educators to think those thoughts again. Our first lesson will focus on a high-level overview of the importance of memory, and provide a survey of the many women who could be chosen for future exploration and discovery.
And then, we will spend the remainder of our sessions together working through some of the writings of Christine de Pizan. Christine’s accomplishments within the liberal arts tradition are many. She published the first illustrated children’s book (despite this honor usually being assigned to John Amos Comenius). She also participated in the first public literary debate, was the first woman in France (and possibly in Europe) to earn a living solely by writing, and was the first woman humanist of the French Renaissance. She is perhaps among the best women to highlight for a course like this because of the sheer volume of work she produced. Through her writings we can easily see not only who influenced her, but also witness how impactful her writings have been within the tradition. Sessions 2-6 of this course will allow us to explore several examples of her writing, and discuss the broader impacts of her works.
The Selected Writings of Christine de Pizan, Translated by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski and Kevin Brownlee, Edited by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski.
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