What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: What was your first exposure to Jefferson?

Gordon-Reed:    Well, my first exposure to Jefferson was when I was in the 3rd grade.  I read a biography of Jefferson, the child’s biography of Jefferson and it was a series, part of a series, you know, Dolley Madison, George Washington cover that kind of thing that sort of teach early civic lessons to a young kid.

Question: Was the biography accurate?

Gordon-Reed:    Well, sure and you know, in terms of where he was born and all those kind of things that had along with it a story about and a slave boy, he was supposed to be Jefferson same age and there was this sort of contrast between Jefferson the bright and energetic, curious person and the enslaved boy who was kind of lazy and playful, you know, he wanted to go fish and do things while Jefferson all wanted to get back to his books.  So it wasn’t an accurate portrayal to me.  I saw this is a sort of sending a message here about the central nature of Jefferson but also the central nature of black people, because of all the things, you know, you could have told us story about a boy who the tragedy of the fact that he didn’t get to go to the school, but it was all, it was very opposite, they were presented as opposites, black and white, Jefferson and this enslaved person.  So, you know, it told an accurate story in terms of the sort of reference points of Jefferson’s life when he was born and so forth, but not really the nature of southern slaves society or black people, really.

 

Annette Gordon-Reed on Thom...

Newsletter: Share: