CULTURAL EDUCATION AND HISTORY WRITING
Seerveld sees a central role in education for “understanding and developing history,” but then “history” not as rote rehearsal of what has transpired but as past and present events in their complex interrelation. Education is inevitably an induction into our cultural heritage; conceived ecumenically, in the spirit of loving our neighbors and their “mistaken visions,” wherever and whenever they may be. But as these 17 essays make plain, we are initiators—culture-makers, shapers of history, and also history-keepers—as much as we are inductees.
Picking up on the cover image, this beautifully embossed, heavy piece of bronze from Niger (eight pounds) is put around a young girl’s ankle so that when she matures as a woman and marries, the unremovable cursed shackle makes it hard to stray from the husband’s hearth. Seerveld’s observation: “A child’s schooling and a mature person’s particular grasp of historical change can often act as such a dead weight on one’s consciousness.”