Note to Students as You Begin to Read
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
In this section of the class, we will examine the ways in which human life is defined by
traditions, including religious traditions.
Human life, we will see, is largely a matter of taking
up the norms, values, narratives, characters, and roles we inherit from our traditions.
become who we are as unique individuals by
living out the roles
traditions give us to play.
example, in a family, girls are expected to play the role of sister and daughter—roles defined
largely by cultural traditions.
In education, we are expected to take up the goals of the student
as our own
, i.e., to develop discipline, curiosity, integrity, critical reasoning skills, etc.
careers, e.g., as an artist, banker, engineer, etc., we enter into a history of practices that carry
many specific goals with them.
define what it means
to be excellent in that field.
Thus by entering that field of work, one submits to being judged those traditional definitions.