Eclecticism

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Eclecticism: a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.

I realize that my posts can be a bit eclectic at times. I post a Bible study each Sunday, a poem each Tuesday, and a “moment of zen” picture each Saturday. The rest of my posts can be about anything. I used to post more historically oriented posts, yet there is just so much that I can write about LGBT history without spending way too much time on this blog. After all, I do teach during the day, try to spend time working on my dissertation (maybe one day soon it will be finished), and I have, though limited as it is, a social life. So I wanted to do a post on who I am. At least, who I am intellectually.

I’m a simple history teacher, who also teaches government and English. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history (the M.A. was in American military history, believe it or not) and am currently working on my PhD in US History. I had minor fields in jurisprudence (undergrad) and gender and American literature for my graduate degrees. I have a wide range of interests. Some of them are things that I love, others are things that I wanted to understand more about myself, which leads me to the main point of this post. Some people mistake me for an English teacher, and others mistake me for a religious scholar. I’m neither. As I said, I’m simply an historian who teaches.

My posts are generally things that interest me, and I am always gratified when it interests others as well. I think that what makes a great teacher is someone who is intellectually curious and wants to share that knowledge. That might sound like I called myself a “great teacher,” I’m not. I constantly work hard to become a better teacher, but I enjoy sharing the knowledge that I have. So why do I write my posts on religion and poetry?

My posts on religion are for my study of the Bible and for those who want to go on that journey with me. I am by no means a religious scholar. I study the Bible to help me be a better person. I share these studies hoping that I will make a difference in this world, however small it may be. I know that some of my readers are not big fans of my religious posts, but I enjoy writing them. Those posts help me to deal with life. Just as hearing a sermon on Sunday morning generates warmth in my heart, so does writing my posts on religion.

As for my poetry posts, I happen to have a personal passion for poetry. I love the melodic structure of poetry and how a poem can resonate a special meaning to different people. For me, poetry is not about the literary analysis that so many people want to associate with poetry. Yes some of it does take a deeper look, just look at the poetry of Ezra Pound, some of which have so few words that each word must be dissected for its meaning. When I read poetry, I look at what it says to me, not necessarily what I am told that it is supposed to mean. Because of my love of poetry, my English students always get more poetry than they ever wanted to learn about. I often even use poetry when teaching history.

I am an eclectic person. I have always believed that a good historian has as much working knowledge of as many subjects as he or she can. Therefore, I always find it hard to find anyone to play a trivia game with me. It’s not that I am incredibly smart, but it’s that I have a wide range of trivia knowledge. It helps me make my lectures interesting, and to be able to answer questions that I get from students by using what I consider informed bullshit. I can generally come up with an answer to most question, but that does not make me an expert. There are really only two things that I would consider myself an expert on. Those two things have to do with topics of my master’s thesis and my PhD dissertation. Other than that, I am constantly adding to my repertoire of knowledge.

Anyway, that’s me, at least, the intellectual side. I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I am an expert on anything I post. I think that I am credible because I do my research on my posts, but I hate for anyone to think that I provide “the” answer for anything.

Oh, and I didn’t address my other regular feature, my “moments of zen.” Those posts are eye candy to wind down the week. Thank you all for reading my blog. I will continue to endeavor to provide you with quality posts each day.

P.S. I hope that this is not just a totally narcissistic post.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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