Monday, September 27, 2010

Brilliant Bruce Retirement Bash

I spent the last few days in Champaign, Illinois partaking in what I will refer to as the Brilliant Bruce Retirement Bash.  This was a gathering of diverse individuals with a common reference point--Bertram (Chip) Bruce.  The actual day of the celebration was Saturday, September 25, 2010. 

There were 12 papers/offerings/poems.  They ranged from Patrick Berry's (English  Dept, University of Illinois) discussion of teaching and learning about writing in prisons to Lisa Boullion Diaz's (Extension, University of Illinois) description of the work Chip did in the Chicago neighborhoods.  Kevin Leander (Vanderbilt University) used "Chipscope" a take off on the inquiry work on chicks for which Chip is known.  Allan Collins (Northwestern University), a long time colleague of Chip's back to the days at Bolt, Baranak, and Newman, shared some research on the processes of experts.

There were eloquent tributes from Ching-Chiu Lin (Teacher Education Office, University of British Columbia)  in Vancouver (connecting by Skype), Leo Casey of the National College of Ireland--who had flown in for the event and talked of Chip's work as a Fulbright Scholar in Dublin, and Geoffrey Bokwer from the University of Pittsburgh.

My talk was titled "Bruce's Magnificent Quartet: Inquiry, Community, Technology, and Literacy--Implications for Renewing Qualitative Research in the 21st century."   A pretty heft title for a paper that is still in evolution.  I appreciated the opportunity to think more with what has been evolving in my mind about the historical reasons for technology resistance in anthropology and sociology.  I feel like I have taken another step forward in my arguments about technology and aesthetics. 

As would be in keeping with any discussion of Chip Bruce, the name "John Dewey" kept arising in different contexts.  There is always so much more one can learn about Dewey!  

There will be a volume coming out of these papers and others written by people who could not attend.  It will  be exciting to see the different links that surround and intersect through this amazing individual--Chip Bruce.  I can only offer my thanks for the opportunity to be part of his scholarly journey.  

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