I have generally kept the work that my students are doing on their blogs separate from anything that I’m doing on my own blog, saving responses and reblogs for the class blog.
But since we’re about halfway through the semester now, I wanted to spend just a minute bragging about their accomplishments. This week, they’ve been debating questions of justice related to affirmative action, wealth disparities, and the Lincoln SlutWalk.
Perhaps my favorite post of the week was just published by TheArtOfTheState; here’s a piece of it that really speaks to the amount they’ve learned:
Perhaps Socrates’s trial would have gone differently if he more embodied the archetype of the Odysseus-hero, if he were polytropos. Socrates, at least as he is portrayed by Plato, is not really a multidimensional hero. He does one thing very well, and that is to philosophize. He embarrasses those who claim to be wise by showing them that all of their ‘wisdom’ is a castle built on air.
If Socrates better embodied the traits of Odysseus, he may have been able to succeed in destroying the false wisdom of the elites of Athens without dooming himself in the eyes of the law. Socrates alludes to the suffering and humiliation in his life in his defense, but the aethlos experienced by Odysseus is simply staggering in comparison. Odysseus came from a place of unequalled glory and privilege and was stripped of everything, but overcame each tribulation. And in the end, all of the suffering and dishonor and suffering inflicted culminates in triumph for Odysseus. And he lives.
If Socrates viewed his trial in the other sense of the word, as a dishonor that could be endured— as aethlos, it is conceivable that he might have lived to fight another day.
Not only is the author breaking down the concept of heroism into its component pieces and examining them critically, but (s)he is also doing so across multiple works of Greek philosophy and literature. And, a point of personal pride, (s)he’s mixing in Attic Greek terminology in the process, counting on the fact that everyone in the class will know their meaning.
I don’t know whether the students are having any fun with their blogs — I recently chided them about sparse posting during the previous weeks and they’ve responded with a week of really intense writing — but I’m having a great time reading them.