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Ivor Guest has passed away

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Lam said:

This is a general big problem in humanities department. How to make research and research results more known and more accessible to wider audience, like for example the publications in natural sciences.

 

Is the suggestion that any generally educated reader can make their way through a technical disquisition on climate change or original research on string theory? 'Cause I suspect that is not the case :wink:.  I've had trouble parsing research articles on medicines that I take --but I've very glad someone is doing research above my skill set that I do expect medical professionals prescribing the medications to read. We don't swallow our ballet history with a glass of water, but I don't think the humanities have an obligation to eschew all professional discourse either.

In all fields, including humanities, of course there will be specialist work that requires effort and some specialized education to read which sometimes, nonetheless, reaches a wider audience immediately, sometimes reaches it through popularization, and sometimes not at all. I admire and enjoy Guest's achievements, but would hate to live in a world where there was no place for specialized scholarship written primarily for other scholars. And I disagree with the notion such scholarship does no-one any good. I allow that its "use" may be indirect -- but one generation's esoteric research can become another generation's public policy. I confess to a soft spot, too, for knowledge for it's own sake.

Edited by Drew

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You don't give  yourself adequate credit, Drew. 

I am sure an educated person with time could develop sufficient knowledge.

Many educated people or companies rely on blind trust in their erudition and a failure to publish or to question publications.

Md Ph.D. Dissertations, among others, can be disproven without a degree through general analysis of method, theory and evidence. Academic politics may constitute a separate issue.

Abe Lincoln didn't make law review based on his grades, but I wouldn't question his skills.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Drew said:

Is the suggestion that any generally educated reader can make their way through a technical disquisition on climate change or original research on string theory? 'Cause I suspect that is not the case

Well me, no :) Technically they are available for me to read, but it would be  entirely different question if i can actually understand any of it. 😅

6 hours ago, Drew said:

We don't swallow our ballet history with a glass of water, but I don't think the humanities have an obligation to eschew all professional discourse either

This! 

6 hours ago, Drew said:

In all fields, including humanities, of course there will be specialist work that requires effort and some specialized education to read which sometimes, nonetheless, reaches a wider audience immediately, sometimes reaches it through popularization, and sometimes not at all. I admire and enjoy Guest's achievements, but would hate to live in a world where there was no place for specialized scholarship written primarily for other scholars. And I disagree with the notion such scholarship does no-one any good. I allow that its "use" may be indirect -- but one generation's esoteric research can become another generation's public policy. I confess to a soft spot, too, for knowledge for it's own sake.

Well put. Better than i could have articulated, thank you!  This is the general view held In my university. Knowledge for knowledge sake.

Edited by Lam

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I am extremely saddened to learn that Mr. Guest has passed away. I have several of his books and I treasure them all. May he rest in peace.

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On April 10, 2018 at 9:11 AM, Laurent said:

Macaulay in his obituary, with his numerous shallow clichés is misleading the reader. "Transformed Study of Dance History". Nothing could be further from truth. Ivor Guest did what a historian is supposed to do: worked with archives and the sources. I can't think of many (honestly, I can't think of practically any, really) active ballet historians writing in English today who care much about the sources. So much easier, than spending countless hours in the libraries and the archives, is to rehash the same, limited amount, already quoted, for example, by Guest, and to indulge instead in vacuous sociological-postmodernist newspeak. Compared to them Guest was a man of Old School. He didn't care much about Marx, Derrida or Foucault. He respected facts. His books, especially the earlier ones, were not written by a scholar but rather by an enthusiast, in the best sense of the word; popularly written they constitute the best example of "popular literature". In some of them, he sometimes indulges in giving too much space to gossip from patently unreliable sources, without duly warning the reader, while he could try to make a deeper analysis of the works, of the styles. Only in his last two works, on the period 1772-1795, and on the period 1792-1815, Guest approaches the methods and the work style of a professional historian. These two works are particularly valuable. All of his works on the history of ballet, however, are highly commendable because he knew his subject well, and he loved ballet after all.

There were some great ballet historians before Guest, including several learned French authors and some Russians, practically none will remain, I am afraid, after him.

Well what type of research does that news reporter do? I never think he attends the shows I do about which he reports

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On April 16, 2018 at 3:23 AM, Lam said:

Well me, no :) Technically they are available for me to read, but it would be  entirely different question if i can actually understand any of it. 😅

This! 

Well put. Better than i could have articulated, thank you!  This is the general view held In my university. Knowledge for knowledge sake.

If only peasants had such luxury, which, unfortunately, we don't.  My ivy diploma cost  my parents and me more than this peasant could afford under any definition, with little to show in return (it was an unaffordable luxury to feed  a love of knowledge, which did not pay the rent).

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On 4/17/2018 at 1:12 PM, Vs1 said:

Well what type of research does that news reporter do? I never think he attends the shows I do about which he reports

I'm a little confused here.  Are you saying that Alastair Macaulay reviews shows that he hasn't seen?

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