The Ambiguities of Freedom on the Web
"I am preoccupied with space-public spaces, private spaces, and those inner spaces that imagination can open up as it discloses untapped possibilites," said Maxine Greene, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Education and Director of the Center. "Like many of you, I believe, along with Professor Benjamin Barber, that 'the fundamental task of education is the apprenticeship of liberty-learning to be free.'"
On April 1, 2000, the Center for Social Imagination, the Arts, and Education at the Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation (CEO&I), held its annual conference entitled, "The Ambiguities of Freedom" which was organized and moderated by Greene.
With speakers such as Benjamin Barber, Walt Whitman Chair for Political Science at Rutgers University, Bill Ayers of the University of Chicago, Valerie Polakow of Eastern Michigan University, Asa Hilliard of Georgia State University, Linda Powell of Teachers College and attorney Lisa Thurau-Gray, the conference raised a host of critcal questions.
Greene said, "Freedom signifies the capacity to choose and the power to act, neither one of which is a natural endowment: they have to be nurtured, they have to be taught. And they require open spaces with vistas on alternative realities, on what might be, on what should be."
The conference addressed issues like the triumph of the "free market" and the triumph of freedom; the connections between the upsurge of violence in this country, the many violations of children's and minority rights, the persistence of racism; and preoccupation with testing and how this will effect schools. Also included were workshops by student youth poets from Teachers and Writers Collaborative, high school filmmakers from Youth Organizers Television of the Educational Video Center, a hip hop program by Héctor Calderón, and a jazz presentation by Ted Piltzecker.
Greene urged her audience to "ensure that imagination will always, always be free to light the slow fuse of the possible."
In order to preserve this conference for all who couldn't attend, CEO&I collaborated with Fathom, the international consortium of leading universities and cultural institutions headquartered at Columbia University and posted the conference as an interactive knowledge site on the Internet. The conference will be available for viewing online at www.fathom.com this fall.
Maxine Greene's introductory remarks are also available in print. Please contact Alan Zelenetz, Associate Director of the Center for Social Imagination, the Arts, and Education at (212) 678-8213 if you would like to receive a copy.previous page