Study Questions for
Willis Nutting, The Free City
Due: Friday at 8pm
Read: Willis Nutting, The Free City (chapters
1 through 4)
You should plan on reading this twice. (You will probably want to print out
these chapters because it is much easier to read on paper than on a screen.)
It might be a good idea to time yourself reading one page, then multiply that
times 100 pages, to see how long it will take you to read the whole assignment.
(For example, if you read one page in two minutes figure that you will need
more than three hours, at a minimum, to read through 100 pages.) As you read
you should underline, highlight, make notes in the margin or in a reading journal,
etc. You will want to note passages, specific terms or paragraphs that strike
you as important, interesting, confusing, or puzzling. You may want to share
some of these with your seminar group.
Make a list of words, names, foreign language phrases, etc that are new to
you and that you looked up in a dictionary. A good reader will have a dictionary
available and look up several words in each section of reading.
Your objective here is more than to just get through these pages, more than
just a passive read to generally familiarize yourself with the topic. Instead
your purpose should be to explore this work to see what you can discover in
it. To do this you will need to first understand what the author is saying.
Why did s/he write it? Where does the author state the major questions or problems
that s/he is trying to address?
In addition to identifying the questions the author is addressing, the next
step is to identify what the author is claiming. What assertions is the author
making? What are the author's answers to the above questions? In this process
you should identify major concepts the author uses and how s/he labels and
defines them. What does Nutting mean, for example, when he uses phrases such
as: fragmented truth, dialogue, liberal arts, great realities, ways of knowing,
wisdom, and understanding? Keep a list of these concepts and the specific pages
where they are used. You don't have to agree with Nutting's concepts, but you
do need to understand what he means when he uses them.
You will need to be able to point to specific passages. For example, on page
3 Nutting says that we have not seriously concerned ourselves with the
problem of what higher education is, what it should accomplish...." On
page 4 he says There is little discussion of how or whether the training
necessary to produce the expert develops the mind to its fullest capacity or
of how or whether such education makes men better civic leaders. On page
7 he states Here, now, is the central question: Is the specialist scholar...the
best example of the well developed mind?... On page 8 he talks
about trying to construct a plan of liberal education. And finally
on page 25 he clearly reveals We come now to the principal purpose of
this book: a discussion of the kind of educational institution in which an
effective dialogue can be established and maintained.
The study questions
below should be posted into the Study Questions
folder (week one) in our FirstClass classroom:
1. Make a list of words you
needed to look up in a dictionary and explain (very briefly) what you now
understand them to mean.
a list of 10 of Nutting's important concepts and the labels
or phrases he uses to identify them. Include page numbers
where you found them.
each chapter (1-4) choose two of the most important passages
and write them out verbatim, including quote marks and page
citation using MLA (Modern Language Association) format.
Here's an example:
The expert and the potential civic leader need education as men [human
beings]and this is called liberal educationbefore they start to fulfill
their special functions; and liberal education must be that which helps them
become wise and understanding (5). (Note
the proper citation form: quotation marks, parenthses, page number, and period placement.
Our writing resource page can help
you with citation form if you need it.)
in your own words a) what each passage means (this is known as
explication) and b) why you think it is important.
As a general rule
this quarter, you are expected to read all postings
from all students (and instructors)
posted in all folders. There will be
two exceptions to this rule, however.
you are assigned to one of the two seminar groups, Diane's or Tom's,
you will be required to read and respond to only the messages in
your own seminar group, not the messages in the other seminar group.
(You will certainly be free to read the postings in the other seminar
group if you like, but it is not required.) And
all forty students will be posting their Study Question answers to
the same Study Questions folder, that would end up being an awful
lot of SQs for each of you to have to read. So here's what we're
proposing to solve that problem: you will be required to read at
least half of the postings each week in that folder, not
all of the SQ postings. You can pick which half of the messages
you want to read, and which of those you want to respond to, but
the assignment is to read 50% of the postings in the SQs folder.
these two exceptions, though, everyone is expected to read all postings
in all folders.