Forum

The Forum provides opportunities for community members to offer public presentations on their scholarly and other interests. The Forum meets on most Thursday afternoons during the academic year, from 4:15-5:15. Presentations are informal, generally lasting about 40 minutes, and are followed by a question and discussion period to end the hour.

All are welcome to attend — students are especially encouraged — and refreshments are provided.
Spring 2014:

January 23, 2014
Molly Kelly, Kathy Larrea, Stephanie Pinkalla, Jessica O'Reilly
GDCC Pres. Conf. Room at CSB
Making the World a Wilder Place: The World Wilderness Congress and Public Perceptions of Antarctic Wilderness

The World Wilderness Congress is a forum for people interested in wilderness protection, from policymakers to indigenous groups, and is noted as "the world's longest running conservation project." In addition, the Congress holds an academic conference to promote the sharing of knowledge and research regarding wild land conservation from a multitude of representatives from different countries and organizations. As participants in the 2013 World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca, Spain, student researchers Kelly, Larrea, and Pinkalla (under the supervision of anthropologist Jessica O'Reilly) experienced firsthand the political climate surrounding the international conversation on wilderness policy and protection.
The student researchers also presented their original research findings to the World Wilderness Congress. Their major project was to conduct recorded interviews on public perceptions of Antarctic wilderness and analyze their results. This interview project is part of a multiyear, international initiative to provide public input on Antarctic wilderness management issues.
Our Thursday Forum will briefly overview our research as well as discuss about our broader experience at the World Wilderness Congress: the issues that international conservationists are discussing today, the challenges facing global wilderness preservation, and what we at CSB/SJU can do to protect wilderness at home and abroad.

January 30, 2014  
Anna Lisa Ohm & Austin Eighan
GDCC Pres. Conf. Room at CSB
Update on Germany: Shifting Priorities and Overcoming Crises

With globalization, the traditional postwar Atlantic Alliance between the U.S. and Germany is crumbling, the Holocaust narrative, which dominated the public discourse in the postwar period, is being disrupted by a greater willingness on the part of Germans to speak openly about their own victimization in the Third Reich, and, despite huge investments in former East Germany since unification in 1989, Germany remains Europe's most economically powerful and relatively most politically stable nation. Germany's place is demonstrated in part by the re-election of Angela Merkel's party in September 2013 and her third term as chancellor. Despite the somewhat shaken Euro, the European Union continues to expand, fueled in part by Germany's strong leadership role.
Ohm was one of a group of fourteen U.S. university German professors who were guests in July of the education and culture section of the German Foreign Office. Senior Austin Eighan, German and Political Science major, spent last year at the University of Munich and is writing his thesis on the cultural-historical context of Germany's social economy and its ability to overcome crises.

February 6, 2014  
Dr. Mary Stenson
Gorecki 120 at CSB
Beyond Basic Exercise Guidelines: Is Sitting Really the New Smoking?

The "Just Stand" movement has recently gained a foothold at CSB|SJU with the addition of sit-stand workstations in Clemens Library, Murray Hall, and several faculty and staff offices. Researchers have been studying "sitting disease," more formally termed sedentary physiology, for over a decade and have begun to conclude that simply meeting exercise guidelines is not enough to reduce risk for chronic diseases. An individual can be physically active and lead a sedentary lifestyle. The two are not mutually exclusive. The average American adult, even those who meet the general exercise guidelines, spends 55% of their waking hours sedentary. Sedentary behaviors are characterized by wakeful activities that require little physical movement, low energy expenditure, and are performed in a sitting or lying position. Sedentary time is closely related to adverse health risks even if individuals perform physical activity on a daily basis. So what exactly happens when we sit and how can moving more help us decrease our risk for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes? During this presentation, I will discuss why too much sitting can be detrimental to health, examine how sedentary time impacts our students, faculty, and staff, and share simple ways you can decrease your sedentary time both at work and at home.

February 13, 2014   
Tom Sibley
Little Theatre (Q346) at SJU
The Nature and Nurture of Intuition

Are people just innately good at mathematics or not?  My teaching experience suggests mathematical ability is not just fate: Students develop their mathematical abilities by doing mathematics.  In particular we'll discuss geometric intuition, its connection with geometric reasoning and the possibility of developing them, using examples to get the listeners actively thinking about their own geometric thinking.

February 27, 2014 
Kaarin S. Johnston
TRC Board Room at CSB
Creating Worlds Onstage: the Theater Director's "Concept" as Production Blueprint

How do theater artists create living worlds onstage that are inspired by printed words on a page? Directors usually come up with a "concept" that they try to use as inspiration when they meet with light, set, sound and costume designers. Just as science fiction writers create worlds complete with a logic of their own, directors envision realities which never quite reproduce the world we know and live in. Having directed over 120 productions in 30 different spaces with staging styles ranging from proscenium to environmental,in the round to portable pods, Kaarin looks forward to sharing how conceiving fantastical realities is a wonderful way to live. (Images will be shown from assorted productions.)

March 13, 2014  
Mike Ross
TRC Board Room at CSB
Digital Natives-Digital Immigrants Engaging the Google Generation

Our students are the "Digital Natives" in that they have grown up using the technology we as "Digital Immigrants" have considered tools. Tools which make us better teachers, learners and researchers. On the other hand our students do not think of the technology as tools but as an extension of their lives, using these technologies for personal interactions, group exploration and of course a source of content which we consider knowledge. In this digital immigrant presentation I will try to highlight where our students are and suggest things we must do to help their learning.

March 20, 2014 
MJ Bach
Little Theatre (Q346) at SJU
Saint John's Sweet Tradition: Maple Syrup

Since 1942, the monks of Saint John's Abbey have tapped sugar maple trees to make maple syrup. Today, Brother Walter Kieffer, OSB, Saint John's Outdoor University, and hundreds of volunteers and community members continue the operation. This forum is an introduction to maple syrup from both cultural and scientific perspectives. Come to hear about the history of maple sugaring in the CSB/SJU community, learn to identify a maple tree, and explore the science of why sap flows. I will also perform a song I wrote about Saint John's maple syrup. Finally, find out how you can be involved in this sweet tradition!

April 3, 2014

Wendy Sterba
Little Theatre (Q346) at SJU
Adoring Adorno: A Door to Aesthetics in a Postmodern age?

We live in a postmodern wonderland where master narratives, authority and values such as good and bad are hard to assess (well, we would have called them bad back in the day but now I guess they are instruments of hegemonic discourse.)Does this mean we are destined to consider all texts as equally valuable? Do we as Walter Benjamin would have it, politicize art at the risk of aestheticizing politics, or is there another answer to this dilemma of disappearing authority. This presentation seeks to look at three directions in German thought and what they say to us about the problems of art in culture and it does so in VERY SIMPLE straightforward terms that we can all understand and interact with. 

April 10, 2014
John Hasselberg
GDCC Pres. Conf. Room at CSB
Why are Scandinavians so Happy?

Perhaps somewhat surprising to many in central Minnesota, Scandinavian societies are ranked as having the happiest people in the world. Long-term longitudinal studies such as "Development, Freedom, and Rising Happiness: A Global Perspective (1981-2007)" by Inglehart, Foa, Peterson and Welzel of the University of Leicester, and recent research reported by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in its "World Happiness Report 2013", edited by Helliwell, Layard & Sachs, consistently come to the conclusion that Scandinavians are the happiest people in the world. Why? How is this possible? What can we learn from them?

May 1, 2014
Karen Erickson
Little Theatre (Q346) at SJU
The Gospel Dancer: Echoes in Scripture

This forum presents the first chapter of my book-length study of Salome in the Bible, arts, and culture. I provide a close reading of the dance narrative in the gospels, comparing key features of Salome with other figures from scripture, and reviewing various ways of reading (biblical literary criticism, medieval allegory, 20th century inter-textual, contemporary cultural studies). I approach Salome as a test case for reviewing how we produce, distort, project, market and consume iconic images, especially those that have an initial or important grounding in an authoritative text.

May 8, 2014
Carol Brash
Little Theatre (Q346) at SJU
Reacting to the Past: A Liberal Arts Pedagogy (with games from Art to STEM)

Please join me to examine how the pedagogy of Reacting to the Past is particularly well-suited to liberal arts goals. I am designing a full-length module and will share my experience as author, development editor for other authors, player, and gamemaster. If you are curious about RTTP, please bring your questions.