to educate and/or to entertain?

They say that when you’re working on your dissertation, you can’t help but think of everything in relation to your project.  I’d like to think that doesn’t apply to me, but, in fact, I do find myself thinking about all things as they relate to the issues of intellectualism and anti-intellectualism in American culture (the focus of my project).

Bear with me here.  Recently, I’ve been researching the 19th-Century lyceum in the U.S. and its role in fostering or stifling intellectualism.  In brief, the lyceum consisted of a series of public lectures; town meetings, debates, and discussions; and various newsletters and journals–all with the goal of “disseminating useful knowledge” to the American public.  Though this relates to Harlot in a number of ways (of course), one important issue in the literature about the 19th-C. lyceum pertinent to a discussion of Harlot is the relationship between education and entertainment.

Both the organizers and participants in the various forms of the lyceum in the U.S. emphasized the importance of making the lyceum both educational and entertaining.  The lectures, the discussions and debates, and the publications all had as a part of their mission to provide “useful knowledge” AND entertain.

Isn’t that what Harlot is and will be doing?  We want to have interesting, thoughtful conversations (thanks to 21st Century media) that are also fun and entertaining–in various forms, with a variety of participants.

Wow….everything really does (or can) relate back to your own research.  Whew….

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1 thought on “to educate and/or to entertain?

  1. Doesn’t that seem to be the way to reach the American public these days? Education wrapped up in Sesame Street or Brain Age. How many people want to sit down in a library and just read read read? Not as many that want to play a game or watch someone’s creativity unfold on screen.

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