Learning in the Plural cover
Learning in the Plural
Essays on the Humanities and Public Life
Can civic engagement rescue the humanities from a prolonged identity crisis? How can the practices and methods, the conventions and innovations of humanities teaching and scholarship yield knowledge that contributes to the public good? These are just two of the vexing questions David D. Cooper tackles in his essays on the humanities, literacy, and public life. As insightful as they are provocative, these essays address important issues head-on and raise questions about the relevance and roles of humanities teaching and scholarship, the moral footings and public purposes of the humanities, engaged teaching practices, institutional and disciplinary reform, academic professionalism, and public scholarship in a democracy. Destined to stir discussion about the purposes of the humanities and the problems we face during an era of declining institutional support, public alienation and misunderstanding, student ambivalence, and diminishing resources, the questions Cooper raises in this book are uncomfortable and, in his view, necessary for reflection, renewal, and reform. With frank, deft assessments, Cooper reports on active learning initiatives that reenergized his own teaching life while reshaping the teaching mission of the humanities, including service learning, collaborative learning, the learning community movement, and student-centered and deliberative pedagogy.
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014
194 pages| 6 in x 9 in
David D. Cooper is Professor Emeritus of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University.

Early Praise

"David Cooper has long been one of the best thinkers about the big questions in public scholarship and civic life, particularly in the humanities. This career-spanning collection of essays and articles is the best of the best and is a must-read (and a must-think-about) for all of us who work in civic engagement."
Dwight Giles Jr., Professor of Higher Education Administration, University of Massachusetts, Boston

What is especially remarkable about Learning in the Plural, a collection of essays written across the past twenty years, is its "timeliness. Cooper’s commitment in the postmodern era to humanities education that enables diverse people to work to understand one another, to reason with one another for their mutual benefit has not always been in the mainstream. Today, as the body politic struggles to find ways to solve our nation’s and the world’s pressing problems, Cooper’s essays have a prescient resonance. They are a must-read, not just for humanists but also for leaders of institutions committed to educating students for participation in a Jeffersonian democracy."
—Patricia Lambert Stock, Professor Emerita of English and Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, Michigan State University

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