You Can't Padlock an Idea: Rhetorical Education at the Highlander Folk School, 1932-1961

You Can't Padlock an Idea: Rhetorical Education at the Highlander Folk School, 1932-1961

by Stephen A. Schneider

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Overview

You Can't Padlock an Idea examines the educational programs undertaken at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee and looks specifically at how these programs functioned rhetorically to promote democratic social change. Founded in 1932 by educator Myles Horton, the Highlander Folk School sought to address the economic and political problems facing communities in Appalachian Tennessee and other southern states. To this end Horton and the school's staff involved themselves in the labor and civil rights disputes that emerged across the south over the next three decades.



Drawing on the Highlander archives housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Avery Research Center in South Carolina, and the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee, Stephen A. Schneider reconstructs the pedagogical theories and rhetorical practices developed and employed at Highlander. He shows how the school focused on developing forms of collective rhetorical action, helped students frame social problems as spurs to direct action, and situated education as an agency for organizing and mobilizing communities.



Schneider studies how Highlander's educational programs contributed to this broader goal of encouraging social action. Specifically he focuses on four of the school's more established programs: labor drama, labor journalism, citizenship education, and music. These programs not only taught social movement participants how to create plays, newspapers, citizenship schools, and songs, they also helped the participants frame the problems they faced as having solutions based in collective democratic action. Highlander's programs thereby functioned rhetorically, insofar as they provided students with the means to define and transform oppressive social and economic conditions. By providing students with the means to comprehend social problems and with the cultural agencies (theater, journalism, literacy, and music) to address these problems directly, Highlander provided an important model for understanding the relationships connecting education, rhetoric, and social change.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611173819
Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
Publication date: 09/30/2014
Series: Studies in Rhetoric/Communication Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author


Stephen A. Schneider is an assistant professor of English at the University of Louisville and the author of articles in College English and College Composition and Communication.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vi

Series Editor's Preface vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Highlander Folk School, Movement Halfway Houses, and Rhetorical Education 1

Chapter 1 The Kairos of Educational Opportunity: The Development of the Highlander Idea 19

Chapter 2 Labor Drama: From Collective Action to Collective-Action Frames 48

Chapter 3 Labor Journalism: Shop Papers, Yearbooks, and Collective Identity 80

Chapter 4 Literacy Education: Citizenship Schools and Community Organization 111

Chapter 5 Music Education: Framing Processes as Direct Action 142

Conclusion: Rhetorical Education as an Agency for Social Change 170

Works Cited 179

Index 393

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