Shop class, once a rite of passage, has all but disappeared from mainstream education. Instead of studying the manual arts, students are funneled into careers as “knowledge workers” — careers that, ironically, are sometimes less cognitively demanding than the work of a mechanic.
This educational imperative is based on a separation of thinking from doing — a misguided partition between hand and mind that can be traced to the rise of the assembly line a century ago.
In his new book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, New Atlantis contributing editor Matthew B. Crawford casts a critical eye at both the assembly line and dumbed-down white collar work, and makes case for the manual trades. They require careful thinking and are punctuated by moments of genuine pleasure; they cannot be outsourced or made obsolete; they tie us to the local communities in which we live; and they instill the pride that comes from doing genuinely useful work.
Mr. Crawford has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago and is currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He also has a small business repairing motorcycles in Richmond, Virginia.
In this evening lecture at our offices in the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Mr. Crawford will discuss his new book, which has been called “timely and provocative” (The New York Times), “a powerful case for the special value of skilled work” (The Wall Street Journal), and “the best self-help book I’ve ever read” (Slate).
The lecture will be on Monday, June 29, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.
This event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a wine-and-cheese reception.
To RSVP for this event, please send your name, affiliation, address, and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our offices are on the Ninth Floor of 1015 15th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20005.
For more information, please contact:
Managing Editor, The New Atlantis
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Matthew B. Crawford Discusses
Shop Class as Soulcraft