Consuming Knowledge: Theory, Information, and the Hard Sell

Dr. Karen Taylor
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In this paper I examine the relationships between pedagogy and social responsibility, exploring the efficacy of theory and argument as mechanisms for presenting information. Based in general on twenty years of experience teaching history in the college classroom, and in particular on my last five years of experimenting with various technologies and pedagogies, I argue that students today consume knowledge best if it is presented as entertainment, but they process it like any other consumer product: if you like it, you buy it. Getting students to see the significance of theory (that is, getting them to realize that HOW facts are organized determines WHAT you learn) has therefore become my central pedagogical concern, and I offer some examples of the methods I use to accomplish that goal.

Keywords: Pedagogy, Theory, Social Responsibility
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Consuming Knowledge

Dr. Karen Taylor

Associate Professor, Department of History, College of Wooster

Karen Taylor received her BA at the University of Utah, her MA at Clark University, and her PhD at Duke University. Her original interest in the effects of colonization on various colonial peoples (both indigenous and invading) has shifted, over the course of her 20 years of college teaching (the last 19 of which were at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio), to focus on how colonial relationships were/are shaped by gender, race, and class, and how they, in turn, shape identity and behavior. Her research has directed that shift. Her dissertation, a comparative study of late-nineteenth century family violence in Melbourne, Victoria (Australia) and Boston, Massachusetts (U.S.A.), explored the ways in which colonial/national experience shaped responses to family violence. That research led her to an examination of U.S. history from the perspective of gender historians, the result of which, a book entitled Sex, Vows, and Obligations: A Gendered History of the United States, will be published sometime in 2006. Her current project is a study of the effect of patriarchy on nineteenth century men's behavior in Boston, Massachusetts, Savannah, Georgia, and Denver, Colorado.

Ref: L05P0199