I was pleased with a number of things with Monday's seminar, not least among them the frankness of the exchanges. The discussion of the case study really brought out the complexity of affirmative action: on the one hand, the strong case to be made, on social grounds, for a more inclusive access to opportunities; on the other, the apparent contradiction in gaining that universal access through exclusive (even race-based) programs. That issue reflects something that I've noticed reading Sitkoff regarding the difficulty in deciding how justice is achieved. Government and court decisions alone couldn't manage it, but without them, the activism of the civil rights workers would have failed. I hope as we move through the two weeks we can get a clear sense of those two roles. Where does the energy for change come from? How does it maintain its focus? What can government do to help (or hinder) it? Anyway, I'm looking forward to the discussions of the two books, as well as the other readings we'll be doing.
I'm also curious what the students thought of the faculty participation: too much? too little? too directive? not enough?