John Baldridge

From civicintelligence

About Me

In no particular order...

  • I like rabbits. They make wonderful house pets (though I have problems with the whole "pet concept"). The rabbit who lives in my house right now likes to sit on my (and my partner's) lap and give face kisses. She's awfully sweet.
  • I hold a BA in Creative Writing (minor in Physics), an MA in TESOL/Linguistics, and a PhD in Geography. No wonder I ended up teaching at Evergreen!
  • I am a PADI certified scuba instructor and have a 22-foot sailboat sitting in my driveway. I love the water...and the beings who inhabit it.
  • I embrace radical uncertainty but do not let that prevent me from taking action. As such, I am always in the state of re-evaluating the actions I have taken and learning from the outcomes.


Hmmm... I don't know that I can think of anything I'm not interested in.

At the top of my "list" right now might be: figuring out how best to participate in my new community of Olympia (I came here about 2 years ago); the question of how worker cooperatives could become a stronger element in US society; learning what civic intelligence could mean and how it could help us create more functional relationships; the states of the US and world economies and what it means to participate in them; how to keep malware off my computer and how to repair things when I can't; how maps can either clarify or obscure material realities (or both), and what best practices can help with this....

I have a lot on my mind....

Thoughts on Learning Objectives

I think that learning objectives allow us to achieve useful goals over a limited period of time. These objectives, ideally, would be part of a broader, ongoing learning project, for which these objectives are discrete steps along the way. Sometimes, when I consider the challenges we face as a species/society/community, I find them overwhelming. Identifying specific learning objectives over a relatively defined period of time, I think, can help us make progress towards larger goals, while still feeling a sense of legitimate accomplishment.

Learning goals should have a purpose beyond "getting a grade" (thank goodness we don't have that problem here) or "finishing a program." Rather, I think that defining and attempting to achieve learning goals is part of a life-long process that can help people succeed in addressing complex problems that they choose to face or take on. Foucault's concept of "Power/Knowledge" is always with me. No regime of power is exclusive of knowledge, and regimes of knowledge can change the ways that social power percolates through a social body. Ideally, for me, learning objectives include understanding what forms those "regimes" take at a particular time and place, and figuring out how to destabilize them in potentially constructive ways.

Issues I'm interested in

  • Reducing economic inequality while maintaining a just society
  • Understanding social power, in-place and over time: thinking "outside the box" means that we first have to understand the nature of the box, its boundaries, and how those boundaries have been established and maintained
  • The possible utility of the "pattern language" concept
  • How to promulgate a notion of "common sense" that includes the explicit concept of praxis: action informed by theory, which informs better theory, which informs more constructive action, which informs better theory... And so on.
  • Money, its deceptions and discontents
  • Why I am interested in these issues, and what I hope to accomplish by engaging with them


  • Involvement with the CIRAL project at Evergreen, as a member of the faculty.
  • Sharing my own knowledge of theories of political economy/ecology as part of the educational process.
  • Donating a tent, sleeping bag, and occasional needed transportation to people of the Occupy Olympia movement.
  • Research and collaboration with people in Argentina's "Recovered Business" movement.
  • Previous work as a community organizer in Urbana-Champaign, IL and Nonsan, South Korea.
  • My ongoing commitment to supporting civic intelligence in my local community.