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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
Last year, Jay L. Garfield and Bryan W. Van Norden penned an op-ed in the New York Times that took academic philosophy departments in the US to task for failing to take seriously non-Western systems of thought. They suggested that,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2017 at The Useless Tree
For the past four summers I have taught a class in July for the Renmin University of China International Summer School: “Confucianism in America.” We read and talk about the ways in which Confucian ideas circulate in US academia and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2017 at The Useless Tree
Walking through the hutong of Beijing, a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2017 at The Useless Tree
Now that my semester is drawing to an end (still have grading to do), my mind is turning toward my research question: why has Confucianism not gained greater prominence in the United States in the past century (or so), and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2016 at The Useless Tree
Sam Crane On Monday, November 7th, the Superintendent responsible for the Williamstown Elementary School (WES) was forced to resign. The various School Committees that make up the Tri-District administrative arrangement agreed with the Principals of all the affected schools, including WES, that “…he was not fit for the role of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at Save Side by Side
Posted Nov 18, 2016 at The Useless Tree
Let me preface this with a statement of my own political position. I believe the election of Donald Trump is a disaster on many levels, and I will do whatever I can to limit his power while he is in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2016 at The Useless Tree
The US Presidential contest has taken on bizarre twists and turns in recent weeks and months, mostly generated by the unstable behavior of Donald Trump. So, it is high time we settle the matter and consult the oracle, which I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2016 at The Useless Tree
I want to return to something that comes up in Jiwei Ci's book, Moral China in the Age of Reform, and elaborate on it in reference to struggles over changing constructions of gender in contemporary China. Ci takes as his... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2016 at The Useless Tree
Ha ha! Link now fixed. Thanks!
What can Confucianism be in a modern con... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2016 at The Useless Tree
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
In the new Star Wars movie, two characte... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2016 at The Useless Tree
In our exchange at Parlio, Daniel Bell h... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2015 at The Useless Tree
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: 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: