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Sam Crane
Interests: Chinese philosophy, Chinese politics, East Asian international relations, international relations, international political economy, disability studies, old New York teams (Yankees, Knicks, Giants, Rangers).
Recent Activity
The infamous letter Fern Murtagh received on May 25th has been superseded. With that turn of events, I am taking my critique of this matter off-line so as to focus on the longer term goal of restoring full day Side by Side. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at Save Side by Side
Last week, 76% of the people attending Williamstown's Town Meeting voted in favor of restoring the full day Side by Side classroom. They agreed that the current school budget, which cut the full day class, did not reflect the values of the community. The week before, Joe Bergeron, a leading... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2016 at Save Side by Side
by Sam Crane Let's start with a question to the Superintendent and School Committee of the Williamstown Elementary School: what research or studies support the notion that the "ideal" ratio of children with disabilities to children without disabilities in an inclusive special education preschool classroom is 1:1? This is an... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2016 at Save Side by Side
by Sam Crane As the debate about preserving the full day Side by Side class unfolds, one point that emerges is: why can't we just have two half day classrooms? If a student has needs that require a full day curriculum, he or she could simply do two half days.... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2016 at Save Side by Side
by Sam Crane There is something we can do. We can vote, next Tuesday, May 10th, for School Committee candidates who have publicly supported Side by Side: Joe Bergeron, Maury McCarthy Lawson, and Liam J. Brody. If we can vote out incumbents, we can change the politics and, with some... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2016 at Save Side by Side
by Sam Crane We all make mistakes. When we do, the best course of action is to recognize the error and do what can be done to mitigate the problem. The worst kind of response is to deny the misstep and, by doing so, exacerbate its negative consequences. Unfortunately, the... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2016 at Save Side by Side
Posted Mar 7, 2016 at The Useless Tree
[A momentary break from my usual blogging focus to address a local controversy] [Update: for the sake of clarity, I have deleted one phrase and added another. Readers will see this below at the strikethoughed text] I am a teacher.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2016 at The Useless Tree
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In the new Star Wars movie, two characte... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2016 at The Useless Tree
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In our exchange at Parlio, Daniel Bell h... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2015 at The Useless Tree
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I have been in a discussion, over at Par... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2015 at The Useless Tree
Thanks for the response, Matthew. Yes, I get the need for critique of contemporary American society. What I want to resist, however, are critiques that lay the groundwork for centralized authoritarianism (I do not mean to imply that that is what you are doing...). This is my problem with Daniel Bell, for one. I see him as a Western communitarian bereft of meaningful models in North America and, thus, inventing a notion of a "China model" as a supposedly humane counterpoint to the failures of American democracy. And that plays into the hands of one of the most powerful centralized authoritarian structures in the world. I am further dismayed when Chinese intellectuals reinvent "Confucianism" in similar styles, all of which conveniently bolster centralized power (I know Jiang's work is banned in the PRC, but that only demonstrates the Party's jealousy in controlling the narrative). I tend to be more sympathetic to Yu Ying-shih: http://chinachange.org/2015/07/01/the-chinese-communists-are-not-confucianists/ Seems to me that we cannot get to "localist and communitarian alternatives" without Parliamentary ones. Localism is simply not possible under a Confucian inflected Leninist Party as in the PRC now. Also, not sure how you feel about this, but my sense is that a revival of Confucianism that requires the re-imposition of classical gender stereotypes is neither a good thing, nor a thing that will be politically viable in China: http://www.womenofchina.cn/womenofchina/html1/opinion/1509/2880-1.htm?bsh_bid=747871602
Yes, generally. It may have political significance but this is best enacted in conditions of relative freedom. I blogged this idea here: http://uselesstree.typepad.com/useless_tree/2013/11/confucianism-from-the-bottom-up.html
In my ongoing work to understand what Confucianism can mean in modern American contexts, I am returning to a paper I wrote for an academic conference a couple of years ago. My thinking on the topic has expanded since then,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2015 at The Useless Tree
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I'm back in Beijing teaching a course, "Confucianism in America," for the International Summer School at Renmin University of China, just like last year. We got started on Monday: thirty students, most all Renda undergraduates, reading and thinking about how... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at The Useless Tree
Thanks for the comment. Interesting to hear about your school. BTW, some time ago I closed comments after a week because of horrible spam infestation. I'm going to keep comments open for a month now with sign in and moderation to see if things are better. So, please comment, if you're so inclined.
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China went large at the recent Book Expo America in New York but, for the most part, American readers did not notice. Maybe they were turned off by marketing language like this: "provides visually perceptive materials for education in patriotism... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2015 at The Useless Tree
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What a crazy conclusion to the Super Bowl! A circus catch followed by perhaps the worst play call in the history of the game. Wow. And it looks like both Sunzi and the Yi Jing got it wrong. But not... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at The Useless Tree
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Following up on my Sunzi Super Bowl analysis, I thought it might be good to consult the Yi Jing about the outcome of tomorrow's big game. This was made easier last evening by a group of friends who urged me... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2015 at The Useless Tree
Posted Jan 29, 2015 at The Useless Tree
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It is not often that I am palpably excited to read a conceptually complex book on Chinese philosophy and politics, but that is precisely how I felt as I worked my way through Jiwei Ci's new work: Moral China in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2014 at The Useless Tree