Jane Addams’s use of experimentalism as a methodology undertaken at Hull House is reflected in her collaborative work with John Dewey, which led to the development of strategies for progressive education. Dewey’s 1916 Democracy and Education articulates the principles of progressive education that grew from his work with Addams; it also represents a statement of Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy. The progressive education curriculum implemented by Corinne Seeds at the UCLA University Elementary School during the early twentieth-century emphasized the use of drama, music, and dance in the teaching of social studies. Seeds was a student of Dewey’s colleagues. She hired Phoebe Harvey James, whose nephew was the American experimental composer John Cage, to teach “Creative Rhythms” movement classes for young children, for which James composed and performed songs that included instructions for percussion accompaniment by students. This chapter links aspects of James’s music to ideas and concepts underlying Dewey’s pragmatism as it was inspired and informed by Addams’s activities and attitudes. The continuing use, into the 1960s, of James’s published compositions and performance recordings by elementary music teachers throughout the United States and internationally is suggested as one thread that sustained American pragmatist thought during this period. The chapter also suggests that progressive education and its ties to pragmatism may be one potential source of the development of experimental approaches by some twentieth-century American composers, including Cage and his colleagues, which several scholars have linked to pragmatist principles.
- Jane Addams
- John Dewey
- Phoebe Harvey James
- Experimental music
- Progressive education
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Warde, A. (2022). Instigators of Experimental Artwork: Resonances of Jane Addams in Arts Education. In: Miras Boronat, N.S., Bella, M. (eds) Women in Pragmatism: Past, Present and Future. Women in the History of Philosophy and Sciences, vol 14. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-00921-1_16
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