nonconformist triumphalism

(from an email to Kris-Stella)

.. [the students here] are definitely higher skilled than the kids I was teaching in Boston, but  they are far more naive (esp. about aspects of life that are ‘sinful’ / forbidden: smoking, drinking, sex, drugs, etc.) and much less critical of dominant culture. the kids here generally are working within the ‘system’; aspiring to join it (ii.e., go to Yale or whatever); they admire it. that makes me feel as much (or more) of an outsider as being a ‘Westerner’ does. my Bennington background (ruffian childhood? EL-influenced pedagogy?) is far wackier in this context than it was even in the US. but, i would argue, the practice of being a generalist, the habit of being self-directed, the interest in different ways of thinking and the willingness to work outside the norm is maybe more helpful…

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