“There’s nothing on this planet that isn’t worth contemplating.” ~ John L. Jackson, Jr.
John L. Jackson, Jr. is an anthropologist, ethnographer, filmmaker, teacher and dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s also a marvelous champion for the importance of curiosity in every time and place.
What I Learned: At its best, teaching communication skills is really teaching informed and respectful listening skills.
What I Loved: “We are the folks who are responsible for the version of the culture that we pass on,” says John. And with that he holds each of us, individually and severally, accountable for our contributions to the future of our planet. I’ve tried to feel the weight of this charge every day since. I believe we all should.
John offers a challenge: that we reconsider curiosity as a fundamental and all-too-often neglected element of what it means to be a human being with a purpose. What if we really look and listen differently, with a purpose — and, as my dad likes to say, if we change our point of view — might we see something new? That was the thread in this week’s “Curiosity to Go” segment with John and photographer Jason Horowitz.
How might we embody attention?
John L. Jackson, Jr. is the second in my series of interviews with the contributing authors to the forthcoming anthology Curiosity Studies: A New Ecology of Knowledge (University of Minnesota Press, 2020). Learn more about the series here, and stay tuned for future episodes!
This episode aired first in July 2019 and was refreshed in December 2022.
More about John L. Jackson Jr. and his work.
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