University of Wisconsin's Odyssey Project Documentary
Inspired by the Clemente Course and Berea College
Announcing the release of The Art of Freedom: Teaching Humanities to the Poor by Earl Shorris.
Remembering Earl Shorris
If you would like to share memories of Earl or the Clemente Course, please send them through our CONTACT page.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to:The Clemente Course in the Humanities®
7 Kingman Road
Amherst, MA 01002
There is also a PayPal donation button in the right column of every page on this web site
This is a moving slideshow with audio featuring two students from the MA Humanities Clemente Course.
"We, ladies and gentlemen, are the face of America. We are here tonight making history by leaving our fears and insecurities behind. By doing so we can move forward with confidence knowing that we can make America a better place, where all the people within its boundaries can achieve their own American dream."
Norma Juarez, 2010 Venture graduate, Ogden
(a partnership between the Utah Humanities Council and Weber State University)
The Clemente Course in the Humanities® is a unique educational institution founded in 1995 to teach the humanities at the college level to people living in economic distress.
The course works in conjunction with faculty from leading colleges and universities on five continents. Students learn through dialogue about moral philosophy, literature, history, art history, critical thinking, and writing.
More than ten thousand students worldwide have attended a Clemente course, and over fifty percent have successfully completed it.
The aim of the course is to bring the clarity and beauty of the humanities to people who have been deprived of these riches through economic, social, or political forces. While the course is not intended as preparation for college, many students have gone on to two- and four-year colleges.
There is no tuition; books are provided, and the college credits offered in most courses are readily transferable to other institutions.
In addition to free tuition and books, access to child care and transportation is provided without charge.
Several times during this course I've heard discussions about the value of a humanities course as opposed to a more practical, pragmatic program. The problem with practical instruction is that the role of giver and receiver never changes. If you are teaching someone math, it is highly unlikely that you will learn something new about math from your student. In the humanities however, the role of giver and receiver is constantly shifting. Whoever is speaking at the time becomes the giver. This can be a very empowering and validating experience for people in low income situations like us. We are used to being seen as the receiver and are rarely valued for our life experience or our opinions. Being able to share something of ourselves and being validated for this can change our minds about who we are and this change will manifest throughout our lives.
2011 Halifax Humanities 101 Graduate, Halifax, NS, Canada
Earl Shorris meets with students and faculty from the University of San Andres in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2010.
In the News
Just south of the University of Chicago, at the AKArama Center in Woodlawn, a dozen or so people gather in a seminar room. The room is reminiscent of those in which Nobel laureates and eager college students swap ideas, giving the UofC its reputation as a center for intellectualism. It is sparsely adorned, its tables pushed together to form a hollow square. It is a room designed for focused discussion, for digging into texts, and for exchanging ideas. But the students here are different. Their average age is thirty-nine. Most of them are women. All live at least 150% below the poverty line.