Lo! Within these digital confines lay the intellectual meanderings of Marginal Inquiry’s creator, Justin Harbour. For those who do not know me (though I imagine most/all do), I am the instructor of Advanced Placement Economics and Western Civilizations at La Salle College High School. I have been teaching in secondary schools for 10 years now, most recently in Philadelphia. I come to my teaching with a background in History, Political Philosophy (BA, University of Massachusetts, Amherst), and Government (ALM, Harvard University – specifically, the Political Economy of American Political Development and contemporary governance issues associated with the maintenance of democratic legitimacy via social policy). Most/all of the learning I produced therein began form the analytical standpoint of Critical Theory, rendering its applicability to contemporary life rather broadly and, hence, usefully. Prior to the 2016-2017 school year, all of my teaching occurred within urban contexts in schools that primarily serve undeserved, minority-majority communities in Philadelphia, Boston, and Springfield (MA).
The impetus for Marginal Inquiry is to offer a similar platform to former students that current students at La Salle have access to. Several departing Seniors from the LSCHS class of 2017 expressed an interest in maintaining a platform for communication similar to what the LSCHS “portal” offers students when enrolled in a class. . Since many of my Senior and graduating students plan to continue their study of Economics in some fashion (intended majors include Economics, Finance, Business, Economic History, and Public Policy), providing a platform to such students seemed obvious. Thus, Marginal Inquiry has been born.
Through Marginal Inquiry, I hope to provide all current and former students thoughts and viewpoints on important topics that encourage in my readers additional reflection and inquiry there into. What’s more, almost always are these topics inspired by, or meant to add to, topics or points brought up in class that are particularly fruitful for our class’ purpose and, simultaneously, for discourse on matters of contemporary relevance. Hence the title, Marginal Inquiry. Typically, these topics are restricted to politics, public policy, economic policy and history, and the role of Catholicism in these spheres. Additionally, uniting my analytical background in critical theory to the social justice component of my Catholicism (of which Liberation Theology plays an important part) compels me to maintain a robust relationship to several contemporary movements of significant social relevance. Of these many, two are worth particular mention: the acceleration of social justice discourse that involve racial injustice, discrimination, and/or domination (e.g., the Movement for Black lives) and its emergent embrace by the American public, and the reemerging discourse within the field of Racial Capitalism. Many of the posts and links I provide here will offer insights and access to discourse within these specific strands of public discourse, as well as important insights and discourse into the larger topic areas mentioned above.
I hope that all of my students and other readers bring an open and critical mind to these posts and links. I believe they bring important and essential insights to bear on topics far too important to our personal and national health to simply ignore. For current students, please do not hesitate to bring something I post herein up in class, as long as it is appropriate and relevant to the day’s discussion and objectives. For former students, please do not hesitate to include these thoughts and viewpoints in your own research, or to bring them up to your professors and advisers when appropriate. Similarly, please feel free to contact me should that be needed.
I hope you enjoy these posts,