LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research
Electronic Journal ISSN 1058-6768
1997 Volume 7 Issue 2; September 30.
Bi-annual LIBRE7N2 REVIEWS


Reviews


Reviews in this issue:

Philosophy of Education: an Encyclopedia.
Reviewed by Ann Roselle

Advocacy in the Classroom: Problems and
Possibilities.
Reviewed by Ru Story-Huffman

Gay Rights, Military Wrongs: Political
Perspectives on Lesbians and Gays in the Military.
Reviewed by Teresa Y. Neely

 


 

Philosophy of Education: an Encyclopedia. Edited by J.J. Chambliss. N.Y.:
Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996. 720 p. (ISBN:0-8153-117-7X)

Bringing together authors from a variety of disciplines can often lead to a more fully-covered, well-balanced reference work. A multidisciplinary approach is particularly suitable for the broad field of philosophy of education, as evidenced in the new publication Philosophy of Education: An Encyclopedia. The 228 signed articles by 184 contributors include entries that could be classified under such diverse subjects as politics, religion, sociology, science, poetry, and rhetoric. Particularly interesting are the entries drawn from antiquity, which do an effective job in demonstrating to the reader the historical lineage of educational thought. The articles are all substantive, ranging from 2 to 6 pages in length. Entries include a Bibliography and See Also References to other articles in the encyclopedia. The content of entries includes individual philosophers/theorists, concepts, ideas, and terms. Almost all of the entries are written from a scholarly perspective with the exception of the "Happiness" entry, which is written in a more entertaining manner.

Some of the most worthwhile entries for general readers are the comprehensive articles, including "Philosophy of Education, History of," "Philosophy of Education, Literature in," and "Philosophy of Education, Professional Organizations in." Unfortunately, because the index in this encyclopedia, unlike the entries themselves, does not provide any See References, it can be difficult to locate these entries. For example, there is no See Reference under "professional organizations," thereby making it more difficult to locate the previously mentioned entry. To take another example, there is no See Reference for "home schooling" to direct the reader to the "Domestic Education" article. In general, the lack of See References hinders use of the encyclopedia, especially because of the length of the articles.

The only other shortcoming, which may be a drawback of the multidisciplinary approach, is the inconsistency with which some authors draw any general ties to education. Entries such as Conservatism, Elitism, and Existentialism all apply these relative concepts to areas within education. However, entries such as Capitalism, Hereditarianism and Utilitarianism do not address the impact that these concepts have had on educational thinking. Likewise, applicability to educational thought does not appear in some article entries for theorists. For example the article on Karl Marx, while clearly describing key concepts such as historical materialism, alienation, and capitalism, does not in any way examine Marx's thought on knowledge or the role of the state in education. For those persons who are not well-read in this area, it may be difficult to identify the relevance for educational philosophy. This is likely to be a problem for "general readers and university students," audiences identified for this work in the Introduction.

It is stated in the Introduction that emphasis has been placed "on the theory rather than the practice of education." Nevertheless, this does not mean that contributors could not have addressed how conceptual theories or theorists impacted the philosophy of education. At the very least, the editor (who has demonstrated great effectiveness in this area in his own writings) could have requested that readings directly related to educational thinking be added to the bibliographies to serve as further readings.

In brief, Philosophy of Education: an Encyclopedia is to be commended for identifying in one volume all of the most influential persons and concepts which have made the greatest impact in the philosophy of education. It can always be debated why one concept was included and another was not, or why one person received a separate entry and another was only mentioned in a few lines. However, one thing is not debatable - - this encyclopedia is a valuable addition to other standard reference works which can be of use to more than just persons in the field of education.

Ann Roselle
Eastern Washington University
aroselle@ewu.edu

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Advocacy in the Classroom: Problems and
Possibilities.
Spacks, Patricia Meyer, Ed.
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1966. 344 p. (ISBN: 0-3121-612-71).

In 1995 a conference was conducted titled "The Role of Advocacy in the Classroom." Sponsored by a variety of academic organizations to represent divergent collegiate areas, Advocacy in the Classroom is one result of that conference. Edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks, a Professor of English at the University of Virginia, the goal of this volume is to explore the vast implications of advocacy in the classroom. With an introduction by Spacks to explain the origins of the volume and provide background information, this book can prove both interesting and frustrating.

Advocacy in the classroom, used interchangeably with the term academic freedom, is a large issue to tackle. A mix of professionals from academia provide insight into this subject. Representing a wide array of academic disciplines, including philosophy, communication, political science, English, law, religion, sociology, and history, the list of contributors also includes the president of an university. These academic professionals expose the reader to thoughts, ideas, controversy and intellectual stimulation through their words.

Advocacy in the Classroom is divided into five parts: Themes, History, Principles, Practice, and Responses. Each part has been addressed by chapters to provoke thought and questions. The variety of subjects within each part is at times staggering and insightful. Classroom advocacy involves teachers, students and administration. Many of the issues presented center on the teacher's role in academic freedom. Some contributors see academic freedom as a responsibility, while others see it as a first amendment right. The freedom of thought, speech, inquiry and research are reoccurring themes in the chapters.

An interesting section and chapter are those which address the history of academic freedom and classroom advocacy. The historical analysis of the issue is presented clearly and with enough interest to make the reader want to continue. Providing the reader with background information and insight encourages a greater understanding of the topic at hand.

While reading this volume, one gets the sense that the issue of academic freedom is complicated. Just what is classroom advocacy? Is academic freedom in crisis? Do the topics of political correctness, feminism, responsibility, ethics, and neutrality get in the way of a clear definition? Trying to find a concrete definition of academic freedom seems to be a common issue which is debated throughout the essays included in this book.

The other side of the coin is evident when arguments against classroom advocacy are evident. Presenting political viewpoints in the classroom and expecting students to understand or accept those views may be a strong argument to limit advocacy in the classroom. Addressing the issue from the viewpoint of the student, the reader is exposed to viable reasons to consider the implications that classroom advocacy and academic freedom have on all involved. Disagreeing opinions are sometimes considered a valuable tool in the educational process. By presenting the opposing advocate, the classroom leader may have the opportunity to stimulate thought and learning. With the inclusion of opposing viewpoints, Advocacy in the Classroom allows and encourages the reader to examine their views and beliefs.

This book also addresses the issue of academic freedom within the specific disciplines. The array of subject areas covered, including art history and religion, present differing views for the same subject. Philosophical reasons for advocacy, making positions clear, and the proper and improper use of advocacy are all addressed within the essays of this book.

A goal of this book may be to provoke thoughts and questions regarding academic freedom and/or classroom advocacy. The issues of neutrality, personal opinions and judgments, the role of the teacher in the classroom, legalities, limits, and the pros and cons of academic freedom are all questions which can be formed while reading this tome. Academic freedom is at best a "thorny" issue, and presenting such a broad and controversial topic in one volume is quite an undertaking. Due to the nature of the issue at hand, the variety of viewpoints, and working with no one specific definition of classroom advocacy, the volume attempts to make the information clear.

As with any book with multiple contributors, sometimes the chapters in this title are a bit disjointed. Attempt has been made to allow for differing viewpoints on the subject, and at times it is difficult for the reader to move from one view into another. At the same time, the differing viewpoints address the issue well, as classroom advocacy and academic freedom lend themselves to a wide list of possible definitions and opinions. Readers of this book should learn from the ideas presented and may develop questions and values which differ from those previously held.

Advocacy in the Classroom is a book which will benefit members of the academic community, researchers, and those interested in the subject. With the inclusion of the introduction, and responses to the previous chapters, this volume would be an interesting addition to a professional bookshelf. The added bonus of contributor's bibliographies can help the researcher identify others with similar interests and views. For those interested in academic freedom, its issues, implications, controversy, and impact, Advocacy in the Classroom may be a volume to investigate.

Ru Story-Huffman
Cumberland College
rshuff@cc.cumber.edu

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Gay Rights, Military Wrongs: Political Perspectives on
Lesbians and Gays in the Military
.
Craig A. Rimmerman. Ed. New York: Garland
Publishing, Inc., 1996. 344 p. ISBN: 0-8153-258-00.

Craig A. Rimmerman has compiled a well-documented, organized and much needed addition to the gay and lesbian and military political literature. The materials cited in most of the essays are primary resource materials consisting of Congressional hearings and sessions, autobiographies, reviews and statistical reports. The essays are mostly well written and cover the gamut of issues that should have been addressed during the 1992 election period, and 1993 honeymoon by President Bill Clinton when he and his White House pledged and ultimately failed to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians in the United States military.

The volume contains a preface by Margarethe Cammermeyer, the author of Serving in Silence (Viking Penguin, 1994), and ten essays, penned by twelve writers with considerable practical, academic, and or personal gay and lesbian, military and or political science experience. The ten chapters are divided into three parts.

Part one, Policy Context includes essays which focus on race and sexuality in the Armed Forces. This section is unique in that it analyzes with side-by-side comparisons, the sixteen arguments used to support segregation in the military and for keeping the ban on gays and lesbians. Of particular note is the chapter titled "Military Women: Casualties of the Armed Forces' war on lesbians and gay men" (Benecke and Dodge, p. 71). Military women who fit the stereotypes of a "dyke" or "butch" and/or repel sexual harassment and advances from male colleagues are often labeled "lesbian." An institutionalized sexual harassment practice Benecke and Dodge note as "lesbian baiting" - the practice of pressuring and harassing women through calling or threatening to call them, lesbians. (p. 71). This practice continues and is sometimes supported by commanding officers.

In part two, Policy Analysis, Rimmerman, in an excellent essay titled "Promise Unfulfilled: Clinton's failure to overturn the military ban on lesbians and gays", offers reasons for the failure in the attempt to overturn the ban. He notes that the blame for the failure should not reside solely with the Clinton administration, the lesbian and gay movement made a number of mistakes as well (p.112). There is also a chapter on gay and lesbian Congressional politics. Pacelle offers a well written chapter on why lesbians and gays should look to the courts as an alternative forum for seeking gay rights, and Wilcox and Wolpert's chapter reports on public opinion polls and study the relationships between opinion on the gays in the military policy and support for Clinton. Part three, Policy Implications, is the third and final section of the essays. Katzenstein, in "The Spectacle of life and death: Feminist and lesbian/gay politics in the military," draws a grim picture for future efforts in attempting to lift the ban when she theorizes that if the American public had seen gays and lesbians dying for their country, the way women were portrayed in the media during the Gulf War, 1993 might have turned out differently. The spectacle of death indeed.

Osburn and Benecke, in "Conduct unbecoming continues: The First year under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue", report on the findings of their organization, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the only national aid and watchdog organization for those individuals targeted by the military's policy on homosexuals, and the only organization currently documenting abuses. (p. 250). This report provides a snapshot of how we are doing as a nation under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue and also provides background information and definitions of the terms used in this military policy. In chapter ten, "Constructing the 'Other' Soldier: Gay identity's military threat", Lehring examines the construction of homosexuality as a result of three epistemological systems - the Judaeo-Christian prohibition of sodomy as an act contrary to "nature"; the late nineteenth medical discovery of "homosexuality"; and the psychiatric, psychological, and developmental models of homosexuality that emerged in the twentieth century. This is an excellent chapter and provides a solid anchor to the closing of the volume.

This volume is highly recommended for large public libraries and academic and research institutions as it includes a great deal of reference to primary Government publications in a highly accessible format. It also adequately covers all dimensions of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, and includes an index and as appendices, the text of Margarethe Cammermeyer v. Les Aspen, Secretary of Defense, et al; and Margarethe Cammermeyer v. Wiliam J. Perry, Secretary of Defense, et. al.

Teresa Y. Neely
University of Pittsburgh
misty@lis.pitt.edu

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_LIBRES: Library and Information Science
Electronic Journal_ (ISSN 1058-6768) September 30, 1997
Volume 7 Issue 2.
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