United Way Executive Director Jerry Peterson is leaving Fort Wayne to pursue his education. He plans to attend the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco to pursue a master's degree in "cultural anthropology and social transformation." I suspected what kind of degree that might be when Peterson said he wanted to continue his lifelong interest in "spirituality and social activism" and that we must "address the root causes of poverty." But just to make sure, I went to the institute's Web site. That particular degree, we are told, was "re-invisioned" in 1999 "to prioritize issues of social and ecological justice in the context of a multicultural, postcolonial world":
The program engages cross-disciplinary frameworks, shifting the disciplinary boundaries that traditionally organized anthropology. Learning is empowered through dialogue and engagement, in classes, through community building and extracurricular activities, through residency in social and political worlds.
The program invites participation in shaping scholarship that takes an advocacy position, through rigorous engagement with the historical present. Effective advocacy demands ethical self-reflection, intellectual and affective development, and close alliances with communities of practice and traditions of thought.
I don't have a clue what "issues of social and ecological justice in the context of a multicultural, postcolonial world," are, but they're probably things I should feel guilty about because of something my ancestors did and that I'm supposed to help fix by giving my money without protest to those taking an advocacy position through rigorous engagement with the historical present.