Continuing DePauw's tradition of asking the "big" questions through small, faculty-led reading groups.
Each semester, The Prindle Institute sponsors between 4 and 6 reading groups on various topics related to ethics. The reading groups are composed of faculty, staff and students who meet several times throughout the semester to delve into the important questions of our time. Books and refreshments are provided by The Institute.
If you are interested in creating a reading group for Spring ’13, please contact Martha Rainbolt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Fall 2013 Reading Groups at The Prindle Institute
1. Elaine Scarry's The body in pain: The making and unmaking of the world
Led by Keith Nightenhelser
Part philosophical meditation, part cultural critique, The Body in Pain is a profoundly original study that has stirred excitement in a wide range of intellectual circles. The book is an analysis of physical suffering and its relation to the numerous vocabularies and cultural forces--literary, political, philosophical, medical, religious--that confront it.
2. Lawrence Lessig's Republic Lost: how money corrupts congress-and a plan to stop it
Led by Jeffery Smith
While America may be divided, Lessig vividly champions the idea that we can succeed [in returning our republic to its intended greatness] if we accept that corruption is our common enemy and that we must find a way to fight against it. InRepublic, Lost he not only makes this need palpable and clear--he gives us the practical and intellectual tools to do something about it. The group will focus especially on “institutionalized corruption and how it differs from individual corruption” and “recent Supreme Court decisions pertaining to corporate spending and free speech.
3. Barbara Kingsolver's Flight behavior
Led by Jeanette Pope
Barbara Kingsolver’s new book is driven by a single question: "Why do we believe or disbelieve the evidence we see for climate change?" To address this, Kingsolver says: "I really wanted to look into how we make those choices and how it's possible to begin a conversation across some of these divides between scientists and nonscientists, between rural and urban, between progressive and conservative — that when it comes to understanding the scientific truths about the world, there must be another way to bring information to people ... that's beyond simply condescending and saying, 'Well, if only you had the facts. If only you knew what I did, then you would be a smart person.' That gets you nowhere."
4. Ken Bain's What the Best College Teachers do
Led by Jonathan Nichols-Pethick
What makes a great teacher great? Who are the professors students remember long after graduation? This book, the conclusion of a fifteen-year study of nearly one hundred college teachers in a wide variety of fields and universities, offers valuable answers for all educators.
The short answer is--it's not what teachers do, it's what they understand. Lesson plans and lecture notes matter less than the special way teachers comprehend the subject and value human learning. Whether historians or physicists, in El Paso or St. Paul, the best teachers know their subjects inside and out--but they also know how to engage and challenge students and to provoke impassioned responses. Most of all, they believe two things fervently: that teaching matters and that students can learn.