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academia: the trouble with broad brushes

updated fri 11 jan 02


primalmommy@IVILLAGE.COM on wed 9 jan 02

I'm having trouble with Rafael's post. I have quite a bit of experience in the teaching world (public school and then teaching college English) and am just a fledgeling studio potter, but I have met --

a lot of academics - in ceramics, arts and other departments - funneled by the degree process into such a narrow area of specialization that the big picture is all but lost...

and a lot of studio potters whose voracious appetite for clay, workshops, books, a community of potters, classes, experimentation, hunger for the history of pottery, etc. have made them remarkably broad in their skills and abilities.

Some may step later into the world of academia to teach, and some fulfill the degree requirements to do so -- but potters like these need diplomas no more than the tin man, the cowardly lion, and the scarecrow needed the trinkets bestowed upon them by the wizard of oz.

It is oversimplification to assume that the world consists of, on one side, academics, skilled in the psychology, bureaucracy and high-sounding paper shuffling academia requires (partly to maintain its place in Oz) -- and on the other, production potters who are just working grunts, one trick ponies, ou

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