Fall 2009

September 11, 2009
Kelly Kraemer
Be Peace, Be Joy, Be Hope: Mindfulness Training with Thich Nhat Hanh

Prof. Kelly Kraemer (Peace Studies) will present some of the mindfulness meditation practices she learned at a summer 2009 retreat with Zen Master, poet, author, and peace advocate Thich Nhat Hanh. Nhat Hanh (who led the Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr.) teaches that in order to do peace we must first learn how to be peace. His books include Peace Is Every Step, Being Peace, and The Miracle of Mindfulness.

October 2, 2009
Tom O'Connell, Joe Farry and Ken Jones
Behind the Pine Curtainin the Rebellious1960s: Student Power, Co-ed Living, and Free Speech

What was going on behind the Pine Curtain in the late 1960s? Did it mirror the upheaval at other educational institutions? If you come, you will learn about the CSB/SJU student-initiated coed living arrangement known as “The Farm,” the issue of coed classes, the debate over whether to allow the scandalous Firehouse Theater troupe to perform on campus, and a host of other contentious issues from the period. Tom O’Connell (student activist and 1969 SJU graduate), and Joe Farry (Professor Emeritus, Political Science) will share their perspectives. Ken Jones (Professor, History) will be the moderator. This Friday Forum will be held in AV-1 in Alcuin Library starting at 4:15.

October 16, 2009
Manju Parikh
Feel good activities or de-escalating tensions?: Assessment of Tracking Two Diplomacy in India-Pakistan Relations

His sabbatical project involved interviewing individuals and organizations involved in Track Two diplomacy (non-official, peace activists) in trying to examine their contribution in improving the India-Pakistan relations. Their activities became significant as the official relations between the two governments became hostile after the November 26, (2008) terrorist attack on Mumbai. This presentation will attempt to assess the role and contribution of Track Two diplomacy in the context of a worsening diplomatic relations.

October 23, 2009
Charles Wright
A Kind of Heresy: Assessment of Student Learning in Philosophy

What do we really teach students in philosphy? There are lots of theories by lots of philosophers that our students study, of course, but odd as it may seem, that may not be the most important part of what we do. Instead, the department has for some time also given serious thought to the particular skills, attitudes and dispositions that our students develop via the study of philosophy. While our students will soon forget the particulars of the ideas of Aristotle, Kant or Heidegger, the skills, attitudes, and dispositions they develop through the study of philosophy could have a formative influence on their persons. But while it is a relatively straightforward matter to ascertain whether or not students get the ideas right, it is a more challenging task to find out whether or not they are developing the skills and dispositions that we hope will shape them for life. At this Friday Forum, Prof. Charles Wright (Philosophy) will present the most recent developments in the Philosophy Department’s ongoing efforts to learn whether or not our students are developing the skills and dispositions that matter to us as instructors.

October 30, 2009
Katie Ebben, Marita Vivering, Megan Sinner
Discovering Our Benedictine Roots

While traveling in Europe, Katie Ebben, Marita Vievering, and Megan Sinner, three St. Ben's seniors, had the opportunity to explore the College of St. Benedict's roots by visiting the convent of St. Walburga in Eichstatt, Germany. This convent sent eight sisters to the United States to start new Benedictine communities, and they eventually founded the monastery and college in St. Joseph, MN. Through stories and shared conversation, these students learned of the convent's rich history and the strength that enabled this community to overcome great difficulties. The students' experience abroad gave them a richer understanding of their college by helping them discover the connections that will forever remain between the German sisters and the current residents of the Benedictine community. Our next Friday Forum (10/30) highlights the students’ adventures within Germany and into St. Ben’s past.

November 6, 2009
Mark Sonkin
Studying Abroad: Myths and Realities of Funding and Surviving Your Study Abroad Experience

CSB/SJU is one of the top liberal arts schools in the nation for study abroad participants. Yet many students still do not know exactly what to expect from study abroad and have a tough decision about which program they should take on. At this week’s Friday Forum, Mark Sonkin (SJU Senior, Economics) will present the myths and realities of studying abroad. Mark will also discuss options that students have for participating in external study abroad programs and will navigate the complex process of funding. In particular, he explores the option of scholarships that are specifically designed to support study abroad participants.

November 13, 2009
Jim Read
John C. Calhoun's Consensus Model of Government

What do antebellum South Carolina, contemporary Northern Ireland, and the ill-fated former Yugoslavia have in common? Answer: they all instituted or advocated the kind of government recommended by John C. Calhoun of South Carolina (1782-1850).

Calhoun was the foremost advocate of the consensus model of government as an alternative to majority rule, which he equated with majority tyranny. Calhoun instead embraced the idea that the political community should be given constitutionally-guaranteed veto rights over collective decisions in order to force all groups and interests to cooperate for the common good.

Jim Read (Professor of Political Science and Joseph P. Farry Professor of Public Policy) will argue that Calhoun’s diagnosis of the potential pathologies of majority rule must be taken seriously, but that Calhoun’s proposed remedy is more likely to produce deadlock or minority domination than true consensus. Nevertheless his theory deserves attention because it is a window on the crisis that led to the American Civil War, and it is also a model of governing in a number of contemporary political orders including Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, and South Africa.

November 20, 2009
Katie Johnson
The Crisis of Journalism: Daunting Challenge or Perfect Opportunity

Accountability journalism… responsible journalism…public service journalism. The very need for journalists and academics to distinguish among different types of news products reveals much about the state of journalism today. The 2009 Annual Report on the State of the News Media by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s calls the situation “bleak”: advertising revenue is down; news staffs cuts are up; audience migration to the Internet accelerating. Only cable news flourished in 2008.

This Friday Forum presentation by Katie Johnson (Assoc. Prof., Communication) will examine the current crisis of journalism, discuss challenges to creating news that serves democracy, and explore possibilities for revitalizing the news industry in the future.

December 11, 2009
Lisa Lindgren, Brian Jose, Doris Matter, Carol Johannes, Peggy Roske, and other participants in the Tour
The 2009 Benedictine Heritage Tour: Overview of the Experience

Members of the 2009 Benedictine Heritage Tour who traveled to Italy and Germany in June of 2009 will share their experiences of the trip. This tour was the first of its kind, but there will be two tours in 2010 (one in May and one in June, as recently announced). The purpose of the tour is to allow staff and faculty to explore our Benedictine heritage. The tour includes visits to important sites in Rome, Subiaco and Monte Cassino (the two monasteries founded by St. Benedict), Munich, and Eichstatt and Metten (the monasteries from which the founding nuns and monks of CSB/SJU came). Employees (staff and faculty) who are considering applying for one of the 2010 tours are especially encouraged to attend. The twelve 2009 participants are members of the monastic community, administrative staff, support staff, and faculty. We had an incredibly awesome trip! NOTE: The PowerPoint presentation made at this Friday Forum has now been made available.