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Brian Purnell: Teaching & Learning in the Face of Violence

“…In lectures, documentary viewings, research projects, debates, questions, and discussions, we try to wrestle with ideas. Sometimes, those ideas are hard. Sometimes, the material we study is difficult and unsettling, but we do our best to strive for analyses based on honesty and integrity. We don’t have to agree with each other, or like each others’ arguments. It behooves us to challenge one another – to ask questions and seek clarity. I used to think this type of work was the luxury of working in higher education, but the Boston bombing and a great deal of other violence that rocks people around the world reminds me that intellectual exchange, debate, and thinking clearly on hard matters are not luxuries that should only exit in the halls of academia. We need those practices to exist everywhere, all the time, amongst all strata of people, especially in dark hours when violence and suffering befall human existence and explanations about why this happens, and what to do next, do not come easy, if they come at all….”

From Brian Purnell’s “Open letter to my students about Boston marathon bombing” | From Brooklyn to Brunswick (read the rest)

Featured Image Credit: Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia pose with a trophy at the finish line after winning the women’s and men’s divisions of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)