Today’s spotlight is on an option meant for the most intrepid solo artists among us: the independent study. From the course bulletin:

Independent Study encourages the experienced student with high academic standing to design an individual project with a faculty mentor. Such projects typically may not duplicate existing courses in the curriculum. Independent Study projects range from independent reading, guided fieldwork, clinical practica, and creative endeavors.

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As she approaches graduation (and excels in her duties as #humsoc’s own work study student), Madison W. embarks on an independent study with Prof. Hernandez. She shares about this week’s reading assignment:

For the past several weeks, I have been studying a doughnut. No, not the Homer Simpson pink-with-sprinkles kind of doughnut, but rather a circular diagram that lays out some of the most important economic, social, and ecological goals of our world. Some of the goals mentioned in the doughnut include climate change, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, gender equality, and education. In chapter two of Doughnut Economics, author Kate Rowarth speaks about the doughnut saying that it provides us with a “twenty-first-century compass.” She emphasizes the need to make visual diagrams that lay out how certain goals and aspirations will be met. Visual tools reach a part of the human mind that words cannot stimulate. By laying out priorities in this way, we more easily make decisions about where funding and resource allocation should go. Rowarth’s doughnut diagram was used to make important decisions at the United Nations that are impacting millions worldwide.

Professor Hernandez is himself a fan of Independent Studies, commenting that “[they]  are a great option for self-motivated students who want to take the time to dive deeply into area of interest – or even better, an area of passion. The time and space of this format allows students to investigate, and even savor, a realm of knowledge.” And he speaks from personal experience:

In my own undergraduate studies, a parting of waters occurred when I did an independent study on ecopsychology my junior year. Suddenly, I found myself in ecstasy in the University of Washington library. I had no idea so many interesting folks were out there thinking on these topics (this was pre-internet, lots of card catalogs)!

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Madison herself is enjoying her project and excited about how it’s adding to her overall educational experience at MMC.

Taking an Independent Study was a great way to explore some of my favorite topics with more depth than I would in a traditional classroom. I have the ability to direct the course where my curiosity is sparked, revealing concepts and avenues of research that get me really excited. After all, education isn’t about filling buckets, it’s about lighting fires. …This course is fueling my passions and generating a new level of expertise in my field. I’m having a lot of fun and feel more prepared to speak in job interviews next year.

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Prof Hernandez matches Madison’s enthusiasm:

Madison’s project is perfect for her. She is examining the economic dimensions of sustainability. Whereas she has developed extensive knowledge and practice in other areas of sustainability, she felt weaker here. She is spending the semester reading various takes on environment and economics from Marxist, Green and other perspectives. I am confident these will make her an even stronger and more creative social and environmental justice actor.

Hooray!

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If you are interested in designing an independent study you must have a declared major, completed at least 30 credits, and have an overall 3.0 GPA or above. You must have a sponsoring faculty advisor, and complete a proposal. Check the bulletin for further details, and start thinking outside of the class offerings box! Be creative, be kind, and as always thanks for reading.

 

We are just 10 days away from Griffins Give Day, when the MMC community comes together for 24 hours of giving to support our squad, current and future! I spoke with Carly S. from the Institutional Advancement office to get the inside scoop.

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WHAT IS IT?: GGD is an annual day of giving, when the community is encouraged to support MMC with donations of any size. There are multiple ways to give including donating online or IRL in the Hewitt Gallery, making purchases with coordinated sponsors, and participating in the fun by entering to win raffle prizes and coming to the after party!

10/08 Make a purchase at CHIPOTLE (1153 THIRD AVE) between 4-8pm and a portion of the proceeds goes to #griffinsgiveday

10/09 Make a purchase at PANDA EXPRESS (1277 1st Avenue) between 4-8pm and a portion of the proceeds goes to #griffinsgiveday

10/10 Come to the Hewitt Gallery for your chance to win prizes!

WHAT DOES GGD MEAN TO YOU? 

Institutional Advancement plans the annual event, and my job is to get the word out around campus and on social media. Last year over 40k was raised in just 24 hours. Our hope is that everyone who is able to give- and who values what MMC has provided them/the continued mission- participates! Any size donation is wonderful. The money goes to keeping the buildings safe and beautiful, scholarships that ensure great students of diverse backgrounds get to campus (and find success!), and updating technology so students are prepared for the world in this evolving era.

 

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With so many ways to give, participation is a breeze! together we can make sure that this #griffinsgiveday is the most successful yet!

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How will you be giving next week? Leave a comment, and be sure to hashtag your giving activities, and tag us! Give what you can, and most importantly be kind to yourself and everyone you run into.

Prof M Sledge is teaching EWL 424: Studies in a Single Author, and has chosen Maxine Hong Kingston for this semester’s exploration. Hong Kingston is a Chinese-American writer, and Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with a BA in English in 1962. She’s received several national and prestigious awards including the National Book Award and the National Medal of Arts. Since graduating from Berkeley she’s written several acclaimed texts, essays, and collections of poetry, and continues to write from her home state of California.

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When asked why she chose this author at this moment, Prof Sledge first stated how much she personally likes Hong Kingston’s work. “I enjoy the themes that she plays with… and while those themes get explored in other classes this class makes them more direct.” She also noted that Hong Kingston isn’t often studied beyond her most famous text, The Woman Warrior.

In Tuesday’s class the students compared two of the author’s texts, The Woman Warrior and China Men, which the author thought of as companions. Students used visual representations such as timelines, family trees, and geographical maps to see how the texts overlap in time, space and theme. #checkitout

Prof Sledge noted that the themes of feminism, peace activism and writing as activism are all extremely relevant, making Hong Kinston a very timely choice for this moment. “Other authors can work in these themes successfully, but she is often over looked.” She especially noted how Hong Kingston fuses genres, melding myth, non-fiction and fiction, to write texts that aren’t quite novels or memoirs or fairy tales, but something overlapping.

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That’s all from the land of book lovers, activists and deep thinkers here at the 255. Enjoy the autumn chill in the air, or cling to summer, whichever floats your boat. Whatever vibe you’re choosing here in #libraseason and #officiallyautumn, be kind to yourself and all those you encounter on your journey.

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Last night The English and World Literatures Department was delighted to host it’s first big event of the fall, the semi-annual Lit City reading. We were honored to welcome award winning poet Donika Kelly to the Regina Peruggi room, where she graciously read from her latest full length work Beastiary, as well as shared upcoming works in progress.

The intimate crowd enjoyed sweet treats and beverages along with Donika’s poems, and after the reading portion of the night wrapped she was gracious enough to answer questions from the audience. When asked what drew her to the mythical creatures that appear in her collection, she explained that these imaginary beasts served as a way to explore and understand power, breakups, and boundaries. When asked about learning how to revise, she said revision is her favorite part of writing, and that “The first draft’s job is to capture something essential”, not to be a perfect finished piece. She said she write poetry and not prose because, “I think analogously”. She went on to admit that she also prefers brevity and compression, and doesn’t even enjoy writing emails #relatable.

Also notable was Donika’s awesome Golden Girls sweatshirt, which some students weren’t immediately familiar with #kidsthesedays!

EWL is grateful to Donika for her joyous and candid reading, and to all who attended and made this event a success. If poetry is essential to us (and obviously we think that it is), then last night was and essential and invigorating evening for us all.  Thanks for reading, and remember to be kind to yourself and to all you encounter this weekend.

(Dear readers,

It’s your faithful narrator here, saying I’m gonna get the heck out of the way and let you enjoy this fantastical post submitted by our newest faculty member here in #humsoc and #PHR, Marnie Brady. As you’ll soon know, she’s an all star. Get on the #engagingwiththepastpresently train and enjoy this delightful romp!)

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— with Marnie!

This week, Polly Holladay (aka PHR Assistant Prof. Marnie Brady) posed this question while hosting an exuberant salon in her East Village café (aka Introduction to Social Work) involving some of the most eccentric, reform-minded, if not revolutionary, path-blazers of social welfare during the so-called Progressive Era: was the Progressive Era actually progressive?

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W.E.B. Dubois made an appearance, alongside Margaret Sanger, Emma Goldman, Jane Addams, and Ida B. Wells, among other notables (aka student presenters). Margaret Sanger donned her ubiquitous pearls and, despite the threat of exile, forcefully argued for women’s right to birth control. Some café visitors were not entirely convinced that her reproductive choice agenda was truly for the liberation and autonomy of the poor. Everyone, however, fell silent when Ms. Barnett Wells described the white terror of lynching, including her investigative journalism into the murder of three Black shopkeepers in Memphis. When café patrons appeared, to Polly’s astonishment, from the 21st century they asked questions of lessons and strategy. For example, how would this group of intellectuals and social welfare change agents address the problem of mass incarceration in 2019? Florence Kelley and Jane Addams reminded everyone of their work at Hull House in Chicago to create a court system for juvenile reform. Perhaps more than anyone else, however, Ida B. Wells spoke to the need for radical change led by strategies of Black women to address the relationship of race and criminalization from long before the early 20th century and into the 21st.

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Students taking on the voice and perspectives of influential social welfare figures in this class will participate in two additional salons, one to be held in 1962 at the headquarters of Mobilization for Youth during the Harlem rent strikes, and another in 2019 at Make the Road New York in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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(How cool was that?! Thanks for reading, and remember to be nice to yourself today)

Today in Dr Peter Naccarato’s (#departmentchair) class, EWL 215, there will be a student presentation on the assigned chapter from Anthony Trollope’s book Australia, a first person narrative documenting colonial exploits in Australia.

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The account is rife with racist tropes and justifications that were common at the time. In today’s chapter the narrator speaks about the “problem” of the aborigines (the indigenous people of Australia) and the British colonists’ “duty” to civilize them as much as possible (acknowledging the “natural” limits on how much a black man can be civilized). Students encounter firsthand the racist discourse that informed and was used to justify Britain’s colonial ambitions.

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P Nac explains: “The overall goal of the course is to see how literature was used to both promote and challenge the ideology of Empire. Today’s readings show how British writers promoted ideas that supported/justified the colonial project, like those reflected in Trollope’s racist arguments in support of oppressing the indigenous people of Australia.”

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We often think of writers and artists as rebels, creating and speaking out against the status quo. It’s important to remember that there are always ways that art, literature and news are co-opted by those in power, to undermine the masses and uphold their own status. And those who write or direct or dance/sculpt/paint are not immune to the ideologies of their time. Some don’t seek justice before beauty or profit, and some don’t think beyond what they were taught about how the world works. Nowadays we can sometimes take for granted that #thepersonalispolitical, but this hasn’t historically always been the case. Hell, it isn’t always the case currently #yikes. Question all sources, observe all points of privilege, and read carefully. #eyesup

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Readings listed below. Have a great day in class today, and remember to be kind to yourself and be kind to strangers #bekindrewind

Today’s readings:

·   George Otto Tevelyan, “An Indian Railway” and “The Gulf Between Us” from The Competition Wallah (3-15)

·   John Ruskin, “Conclusion to Inaugural Address” (16-20)

·   Anthony Trollope, “Aboriginals” (20-32)

HUMSOC is proud to present a new series to showcase the amazing course work that happens every single day on campus. Short & sweet (unlike those 3 hours classes…), and up to date, this series is meant to be your eyes inside the classroom.

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Our first featured class is tonight’s Philosophy of Religion (PHIL 322) with Prof Herling (#divisionchair). Tonight’s discussion is on the Problem of Religious Diversity; Pluralism vs. exclusivism (with inclusivism in between!)

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Pluralism: Despite their differences, all religions have a common core reality. So don’t judge! #JohnHick

Exclusivism: It’s completely acceptable for adherents of one religious tradition to claim that their tradition is exclusively true and right—and that the others aren’t. #AlvinPlantinga

Inclusivism: There’s something good and true in many religious traditions, but only to the extent that they point to the one that is _ultimately_ good and right! #KarlRahner

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Got it? If you’re inspired the readings are listed below. Have fun in class today folks, and remember be kind to yourself and be kind to strangers.
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Readings:

  • John Hick, “A Religious Understanding of Religion: A Model of the Relationship between Traditions”
  • Karl Rahner, “Christianity and the Non-Christian Religions”
  • Alvin Plantinga, “A Defense of Religious Exclusivism,”
  • Jerome Gellman, “In Defense of a Contented Religious Exclusivism”