The Enlightenment Meets Social Media: Want to Help?

(Update Below)

This week, my students have become consultants to Enlightenment thinkers and are attempting to reintroduce themselves to the modern world using Twitter and Blogger.

Tomorrow they will begin to broadcast the beliefs of the Baron de Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Thomas Hobbes and explain to the world why they are important. To follow these posts, check out our Twitter hashtag #MrMHWH!

For the next step, I am asking for your help! I would like my students to extrapolate the ideas of their philosophers into other historical situations. For instance, a question for Rousseau might be, “What are your views on communism and how it worked in Russia during the reign of Stalin?” To answer this question, students not only have to research communism, specifically communism under Stalin, but they also have to figure out how Rousseau would view both.

So please tweet your questions to the specific philosophes using our hashtag (#MrMHWH), or post them in the comments section of my blog. Over the next few days, they will research and respond to your questions. While we may not be able to get to all of the questions, we will do our best to answer as many as we can!

I appreciate all of the support in this activity! I’ll update this post throughout the week.

Update:

First, thank you to all who have participated in this project! It is amazing how many people are willing to take the time to participate in my classroom.

Here are the questions that have been asked my students that they will be responding to:

Wollstonecraft:

  • Mary Wollstonecraft- you wrote that “the fear of an ignominious death..never deterred anyone from the commission of a crime.” (“Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden…”) Do you think that applies to threats that nations make, such as the US threatening Syria over chemical weapons? via @KennethCDavis (author of the Don’t Know Much series)
  • What testimony would Mary Wollstonecraft offer at Mondays hearing on Earned Sick Time before committee on labor and workforce? via @RepKenGordon (our state representative)

Rousseau:

  • When you said all that stuff about liberty, did you mean all humans, or just men? via @RTW4 (my department head)
  • What might think about the state testing in schools that has swept the nation? via @DanKrutka (professor at Texas Women’s University)

Montesquieu:

  • Dear Baron Montesquieu: I’ve enjoyed your thoughts and ideas. However, here we are in 21st century and a LOT has transpired to challenge your views about the “weak state” of women and how they cannot “govern an empire”.. What would you say to people like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, etc? via @PadulaJohn (teacher in Boston Public Schools)
  • Given your view on laws, what are your thoughts on NSA surveillance? via @MisssBall (assistant principal in a school in faraway Canada)
  • Why does Montesquieu praise commercial England so highly even though it lacks virtue? via @EDSITEment (National Endowment for the Humanities supersite)
  • M.Montesquieu-how’s that “separation of powers”working out? Does it create government gridlock? via @KennethCDavis.

Hobbes:

  • What would Hobbes do about the crisis in Syria? via @NaughtonBecky  (high school social studies teacher currently teaching abroad in Lebanon)
  • What are your thoughts on the income gap/disparity between rich and poor as we have seen protested in movements like Occupy Wall Street. Additionally, what are your thoughts about the rights of citizens to protest? via @MisssBall

Locke:

  • What would Locke think about the rules at your school? one of @NaughtonBecky’s students
  • What are your thoughts on the income gap/disparity between rich and poor as we have seen protested in movements like Occupy Wall Street. Additionally, what are your thoughts about the rights of citizens to protest? via @MisssBall

About Michael K. Milton

I teach students Social Studies at Burlington High School. When I became a teacher, I believed that students would frequently give me apples. This has not happened (not even a Red Delicious ~ a name which is a misnomer). However, my school has given me a MacBook Pro and an iPad in an effort to right this wrong (I assume). I'm very lucky to work in a 1:1 school.
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6 Responses to The Enlightenment Meets Social Media: Want to Help?

  1. Mary Wollstonecraft- you wrote that “the fear of an ignominious death..never deterred anyone from the commission of a crime.” (“Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden…”) Do you think that applies to threats that nations make, such as the US threatening Syria over chemical weapons?

  2. Becky says:

    This is great! I just had my students tweeting as if they were the thinkers with the #acsenlighten.

  3. To Hobbes and Locke:
    I’d like to know both your thoughts on the income gap/disparity between rich and poor as we have seen protested in movements like Occupy Wall Street. Additionally, what are your thoughts about the rights of citizens to protest?

  4. To Montesquieu. Given your view on laws, what are your thoughts on NSA surveillance?

  5. Dear Baron Montesquieu: I’ve enjoyed your thoughts and ideas. However, here we are in 21st century and a LOT has transpired to challenge your views about the “weak state” of women and how they cannot “govern an empire”.. What would you say to people like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, etc?

  6. Pingback: Going Meta: Cataloguing My Past Two Years of Blogging | Michael K. Milton ~ @42ThinkDeep

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