Workshops Funded for Summer 2011
Nohemy Solorzano-Thompson, Coordinator (Spanish); Janis Breckenridge (Spanish); Justin Lincoln (Art); and Malynda Poulsen-Jones (Art) Report - Solorzano-Thompson Workshop
Performance Art Studies
Description: In the 1950s and 60s, performance art in its contemporary form emerged in the West as an artistic genre composed of diverse performative acts combining different types of visual media and live drama in order to eradicate the so-called fourth wall between the actors on stage and the audience. Performance art today is defined as a politically-charged genre through which practitioners use their own bodies as the medium or object to express their artistic vision and message. Performance art, however, is not a solely Western art form nor was it “invented” in the twentieth century. The genre has a rich global tradition that spans cultures, languages, geographies, and historical periods. Recent scholarly research traces the diverse and multicultural roots of performance art through a variety of disciplinary perspectives combining the tools of literary, visual, performative, political, and ethnographic research.
The goal of this cross-disciplinary faculty workshop is to first familiarize participants with theories about performance art, its rich and multicultural history, and contemporary cross-disciplinary approaches to its study; and second, to study a set of innovative contemporary performance artists whose work spans the Western Hemisphere and promotes a transnational North/South dialogue within the Americas. Through this workshop, we hope participants will be able to incorporate performance art and theory into their teaching at Whitman and future scholarship.
Jack Iverson, Coordinator (FLL-French); Sharon Alker (English); Bob Carson (Geology); Denise Hazlett (Economics); Rogers Miles (Religion); Suzanne Morrissey (Anthropology); and Dean Snider (SSRA) Report - Iverson Workshop
Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Canada
Description:This workshop will bring together a broad range of faculty members in order to advance our collective knowledge of Canada and to allow us to think about how we can promote the inclusion of Canadian perspectives both in our own teaching and in that of our colleagues. We are not proselytes for a Canadian cause, but we do believe that the close proximity, both political and geographic, of Canada to the U.S. makes this nation a particularly fruitful point of international comparison in any number of areas. As prosperous, stable democracies, our two countries share a great number of things in terms of history, culture, and natural environment. And yet, at the same time, national institutions and attitudes differ in significant ways that appear immediately in almost any field of study. We anticipate that our collective reflection on these cross-border differences will lead us to better appreciate the methods and kinds of analysis that we use in our respective fields, even as we see how they can work together to sharpen our vision of the things that define and distinguish Canada. Our combined perspectives will thus contribute to a cumulative deepening of our understanding of the ways in which multiple factors, inextricably linked, define what Canada is. This workshop promises to be particularly rewarding and stimulating insofar as its participants include most of the faculty members who have done the most to sustain the nascent Canadian Studies initiative on campus over the course of the past six years. Ironically, this will be our first opportunity to meet in a sustained way as a group and to discuss our interests in depth.
Christopher Wallace, Coordinator (Biology); Rebecca Hanrahan (Philosophy); Wally Herbranson (Psychology); Doug Hundley (Math); Leena Knight (Biology); Tom Knight (Biology); Matthew Prull (Psychology); and Ginger Withers (Biology) Report - Wallace Workshop
Cross-disciplinary Analysis of Brain, Behavior and Mind
Description:Neuroscience is arguably one of the most cross-disciplinary fields today, and understanding the brain is regarded as one of the great frontiers. Although not offered as a program of major study at Whitman, it is a discipline that captures significant student interest, and a number of the faculty offer expertise in analyses of brain, behavior and mind. Here, we propose a workshop that will gather colleagues from 3 Divisions, representing Biology (L.Knight & T.Knight, Withers & Wallace), Psychology (Herbranson and Prull), Philosophy (Hanrahan) and Mathematics (Hundley) to enter each others intellectual space as we consider issues we face as we seek to reconcile the study of brain with the understanding of mind. The intended practical outcome is that each of will leave the workshop with enhanced readiness and capacity to: 1) Include to perspectives that extend, complement, or provide counterpoint to material we are already teaching, 2) As a result, enhance the links between our existing course and raise the level at which students can participate in current debates in neuroscience and 3) Establish a “web of connectivity” between colleagues as the basis for designing a potential minor in “Neural and Behavioral Science” that would involve synergy with our existing programs.