The Peculiar Generation?

What do you think about generational research and it’s application in higher education?  Does the Quiz: How Millennial Are You? make you feel left out/misunderstood or provide helpful insights/affirmation?  According to Richard Pells, The Peculiar Generation (Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/21/2010) gets lost in the generational conversations.  I think that it’s an example of how broad categorizations break down as one becomes more specific.  Understanding people, their context, and their culture (especially our own?) is much more complex/nuanced than many of us desire to confess.  But maybe it’s a first step to have the broad categories to provide perspective before wrestling with specifics.  What do you think?

We’ve all heard about the “greatest generation,” which lived through the Depression of the 1930s and won World War II (with a little help from our Russian friends). We’ve also been subjected to innumerable analyses about the “baby boomers,” born in the late 1940s and 1950s, who instigated the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s and have shaped American society ever since.

But what about the people born between the beginning of World War II, in 1939, and its end, in 1945? Those members of a transitionally awkward generation who were too young to have personally experienced the Depression or the war, but too old to have been embroiled in the turmoil on college campuses in the late 1960s. Who were presumably too blasé or sedate to have participated in the battles against the Vietnam War or for the equality of women, much less in the revels at Woodstock. Who came of age in an America that was obsessed with the cold war and was not yet bombarded daily by technological innovations, new waves of immigrants, or cataclysms in the stock market. What contributions, if any, has this generation made to American political and cultural life?

Quite a lot, as it happens. In fact, many in this cohort were responsible for some of the principal transformations—especially in movies, music, and journalism—that have occurred in America over the past 60 years. … — Richard Pells, The Peculiar Generation (Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/21/2010).

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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