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Wendell Berry and Higher EducationCultivating Virtues of Place$
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Jack R. Baker and Jeffrey Bilbro

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813169026

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813169026.001.0001

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Doing Good Work

Doing Good Work

Enacting Our Imagination

(p.70) 3 Doing Good Work
Wendell Berry and Higher Education

Jack R. Baker

Jeffrey Bilbro

Wendell Berry

University Press of Kentucky

Jack Beecham’s apt saying “If you want to talk with me, you’ll have to walk” indicates the necessary connection between thought and work. While our dualistic culture devalues work, incorporating manual work into higher education reminds students that love must be enacted. The liberal arts, therefore, remain insufficient unless they are joined with the practical arts, as advocated by the medieval Scholastic Hugh of St. Victor and by the original charter of land-grant colleges. After examining the damaging effects of our culture’s dualistic denigration of work, this chapter proposes three benefits of manual work: work puts us in contact with external standards, it corrects false or naïve ideas by adapting them to local realities, and it is one of the means by which we participate in bringing about healthy order. Although the current structure of universities may make incorporating manual work into the curriculum difficult, a first step is to understand even academic work as embodied. And some colleges have found creative ways to make their students work, whether through tuition waivers, service learning, or community gardening.

Keywords:   The Memory of Old Jack, work, Hugh of St. Victor, land-grant colleges, gardening

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