While normally having the topics and material being covered in a course be relevant to contemporary events is “good” or a “teaching moment,” I have to say that I truly wish that we were covering historic themes of sociological import rather than sociological themes of historic import. I had no way of knowing that the final week, discussing all forms of social change, pleasant and unpleasant, non-violent and violent, would encompass so many of the things we are experiencing, especially after spending two weeks on the history of racism, race thinking, and talentism. Gaining perspective, especially an historical one that examines all of the power plays and games of our ancestors, is critical to any important topic in your life or our collective social lives. Though it won’t “tell you” what to do, I do hope that it helps you navigate local and global ideas and actions threatening to remap the world as we knew it before 2020.
More than anything, I hope this course has provided you with some breadcrumbs you can follow yourself, especially using research by those scholars, journalists, and others engaged in getting to the truth of our past and the possibilities of our future. You should definitely not just accept anything I say as truth simply because I say it. I do hope that the material I’ve covered, mostly the work of others, has opened you to wanting to know more about the culture(s) of capitalism, the powerful role of corporations, and the historical backdrop of the talentism-racism complex (including social Darwinism and Eugenics) as it is currently expressed as a highly individualized, atomized “creativity” and a “meritocracy” of individual success as the natural order of talent hierarchies.
What’s the alternative? Collective security, well-being and cultural creativeness (the noun that was killed off by “creativity” in the 1950s) will likely not be possible until we at least imagine it, and imagining it in a world that also imagines a natural order of individual competition as a function of individual brains and innate ability will, in my opinion, be extremely difficult, split us off from each other and create internal contradictions in our psyche, and will continue to be perceived as hypocritical and insensitive at best, and supportive of a repressive, exploitative system of institutions with origins at management techniques directing tied to the history of Eugenics and social engineering at worse.
For your final journal entries, please write whatever you want to remember the most about the material covered in the course, especially the final chapters, the status anxiety documentary (first hour), and perhaps the lecture and discussion from today’s meeting. In other words, just write some final thoughts related to things that come to mind.