Gentle voices of teachers. Aspects of learning in the by RICHARD E. SULLIVAN PDF

By RICHARD E. SULLIVAN

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Sample text

Given the temporal, spatial, and cultural remoteness of the Carolingian world from many of the new participants in Carolingian studies, why this universalizing of Carolingian studies has occurred raises intriguing ques­ tions. It goes without saying that the increasing presence of women in the community of Carolingianists is in large part a salutary consequence of the struggle defined by the feminist movement in general and of the dem­ onstrated capability of female scholars to perform in an exemplary fashion once given a chance to do so.

This expansion has led to efforts to estab­ lish the boundaries between "high" and "popular" culture and to assess the interactions between the two realms—or, in some cases, to inquire whether there is any distinction. In all its manifestations, the history of mentalities has greatly expanded contemporary understanding of what constitutes culture and how cultural factors affect the working of any hu­ man society in all its diverse components. Perhaps even more challenging to contemporary historians of culture are the complex ramifications surrounding what has come be called the lin­ guistic turn in the broad field of sociocultural history.

The rationalism of the Enlightenment cast a negative colora­ tion on Carolingian cultural activity because of the religious framework within which it found expression. The early Romanticists and a long suc­ cession of their ideological heirs, who persisted in seeking Camelot, found relief from the horrors of capitalism, industrialism, technology, material­ ism, and individualism in what they discerned as the organic, collective, emotional, and populist aspects of medieval society. Positivism rooted in experimental science exercised a powerful influence on how Carolingian historical sources were read, on what could be extracted from those sources as legitimate historical "facts," and on what governed an objective reconstruction of the past as it actually was.

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