Politics & Social Issues Symposia for Young Adults

I am very pleased to report that my proposal to establish a Politics & Social Issues Symposia for young adults with the sponsorship of the London Library and the London Youth Advisory Council has taken a huge step forward.

I am in the process of setting up a Socratic discussion group that will meet bi-weekly to read and discuss contemporary fiction and literary non-fiction dealing with issues of socio-economic, ecological, and political importance as well as ethnic, religious, racial and gender identity. The aim of the group is to give young adults a voice on the leading issues of our time and to provide a feedback mechanism by which they will report their findings to the City. The group will be pluralistic, non-partisan and open to young adults (ages 15-25) from all backgrounds.

I will keep everyone posted. It looks like we will be convening this fall at London Central Library downtown.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Another great discussion

I must say that I am again delighted with the session I had with the philosophy discussion group. Yesterday we met a second time and discussed The God That Failed, a collection of testimonials by six writers who turned against communism.

I remain deeply impressed by the contributions of the group. Not only did they read the book with enthusiasm but they also connected the analysis of writers like Richard Wright, Ignazio Silone and André Gide to contemporary socio-economic and political problems. To witness a group of young people sit and debate ideas with intellectual commitment, personal humility and unfailing politeness is always a great joy for me and offers me hope for our social future.

At the risk of being repetitive, I just cannot help but express my delight at having the opportunity to work with such a group of engaged and committed thinkers who approach ideas with purpose and verve. Not only are the sessions delightful to participate in, but they are a personal gift to me as I am reminded why teaching is my calling. I am grateful to my students (and their parents) for reminding me of that.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

The value of literature

I have become convinced that literature is one of the most effective ways of studying social issues. I don’t know if others feel this way, but I think that the novel form allows a writer to study human behaviour and social behaviour at a level of depth that case studies cannot quite reach. I certainly am not suggesting that case studies aren’t valuable, I just find myself consistently coming back to the insights of novels when I try and understand contemporary social problems.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Why literature is fun

One of the things I enjoy most about teaching literature is that I am actually afforded the time to really dig into it with my students. We get to discover the buried treasure in many different novels, plays and poetry. Just the other day I had the pleasure of reading a passage from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise aloud with my students and we had a big laugh over it.

I love what I do.