Centre professor's blog looks at "The Gruntled Center"
RELEASED: Oct. 27, 2005
DANVILLE, KYFrequent visitors to the Hub Coffee House on Main Street in Danville know him as the regular occupant of the table just inside the front door to the left, cafe mocha at the ready, typing assiduously into his laptop. Centre students know him as Beau Weston, an energetic and active teacher. Readers of just about every newspaper in the nation (and some overseas) know him as the guy that taught the class in coffee shops after an AP story on his CentreTerm course "Cafes and Public Life" was syndicated nationwide last year. And savvy Internet users know him, or will know him, as the author of The Gruntled Center: Faith and Family for Centrists, a Weblog "where faith, family and sociology all hold hands."
For his 2005-06 sabbatical year, William J. "Beau" Weston, N.E.H. Associate Professor of Sociology, will be perhaps even more busy than he is when he has a full slate of courses to teach. He is consulting with the Commonwealth Marriage Initiative on family policy proposals for the Kentucky legislature, writing articles for journalsand spending a good part of each day writing The Gruntled Center.
"The blogosphere is a rich community of discussion about any and every subject," says Weston. "It is much like a good coffeehouse, and indeed many blogs incorporate coffeehouse metaphors in their names and descriptions. Blogs are mostly written by young people. In fact, a 20-something former student wrote, 'I enjoyed your blog tremendously; you are the oldest blogger I ever knew in person.' I cherish that. I plan to incorporate blogging into my classes when I return from sabbatical."
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, defines blog (short for Weblog) as "a Web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles (normally, but not always, in reverse chronological order)." In his, Weston aims primarily to develop ideas, some of which might grow into more formal scholarship, and to address the concerns of an overlooked but substantial demographic group, what he calls "The Gruntled Center."
In his first blog entry, he lays out the manifesto of gruntled centrism:
Most Americans love God and their families. Most Americans are contented with God and their own families. They are gruntledthe opposite of disgruntledabout the core conditions of their lives. They worry about their communities and society as a whole, especially if they think that problems in society will come back to dishonor God or hurt their families. Most Americans can form a gruntled center for themselves.
Recent articles in the Gruntled Center include "The Top Public Intellectuals are Not Moms," "The Heart of Blueness," "Promiscuity is Not Androgynous," and "Evolution and Creation: A Centrist Proposal."
Weston holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College, an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School and M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees at Yale University. Prior to coming to Centre, Weston served for three years as a research associate in the Office of Research of the U.S. Department of Education. He is the author of Presbyterian Pluralism: Competition in a Protestant House (1997, University of Tennessee Press) and Leading from the Center: Strengthening the Pillars of the Church (2003, Geneva Press), and editor of Called to Teach: The Presbyterian Mission in Higher Education (2003, Geneva Press). Weston was an editor of and contributor to Education and the American Family: A Synthesis of Research, published by New York University Press in 1989. He is now completing a history of Centre College.
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