Wabash Blogs Detchon Dialogs -

February 22, 2008

French Intern visits the Crescent City

Homer L. Twigg IV

Several weekends ago, Emilie Darbois had the opportunity to travel down to New Orleans, LA in order to meet up with her parents, Pauline and Antoine. As an intern in the modern languages department at Wabash, Emilie has been tied up with students and work and distance has put some space between her and home. New Orleans, one might say, was a half-way mark between French and American culture.

“It’s an evolution of American culture…but a degradation of French culture,” she says, laughing inoffensively although halfway tempted to recant her statement. She called the atmosphere there “spicy”, and despite the lack of authentically French culture, Emilie found room for fun and learning. Although the nights in the Big Easy were short (her parents had a strict bedtime of 8PM), her family had the chance to see street jazz, enjoy beignets and visit some of the more historical – as well as impoverished—areas of New Orleans. One of the most distinguishing features even today is the wealth gap. Everywhere she noticed were the ruins of one house next to a trailer, which were next to a rebuilt mansion. It seems there is much work to be done. Wabash too is well aware of this, and will be sending a dozen students down to New Orleans this spring to help with the reconstruction.

This is not to say that the affluent can’t be entertaining. Emilie said that the best part of the trip was visiting a historically re-built plantation. She called it “neat”, and smiled commenting on how “filthy rich” it came off, as well as authentic. Compared to the constant mashing of French and American cultures, it was a chance to see something strictly southern high class.


Even if M. & Mme Darbois weren’t up to the red-eye nightlife that New Orleans brings, they did have room for the food. “My parents eat well,” says Emilie, and mentioned in particular the bread, gumbo and oysters. While she appreciates raw more, cooked oysters were a tasty creole délicatesse.

For Emilie, one of the most conspicuously French aspects of New Orleans can never be demolished by bad weather. The layout of the city—from its wards and centralization around churches to the simply “dense” nature of small shops and the omission of corporate chains—added a French town touch (The Darbois’ themselves are from around Burgundy) that one rarely sees in the midst of amber waves of grain. If this is true, perhaps the tight-knit kinship fostered at Wabash and the larger Crawfordsville community is not the “Athens” but “Paris of Indiana.” I doubt however, if my suggestion will reach much farther than the blog.

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February 21, 2008

Conference Opportunity for Students Interested in Japan

60th Japan-America Student Conference
Reed College, UCLA, Univ. of Montana, Harvard Univ.

Join 40 other students from the US and Japan for a month of cultural exchange, travel and fun!

Applications Due: March 1

Meet leaders and students that will improve your career network in this unique student-led cultural and academic exchange which will host its inaugural program next. Students will discuss their research on topics of bilateral and global interest and enjoy prominent speakers in the month-long conference.

The theme for the 60th Japan-America Student Conference held July 25-Aug 21, 2008, will be “Students Redefining Their Role Through Insight and Action”

Long-standing and dynamic, the relationship between Japan and America is one that intimately knows both the strains of war and the fruits of peace. It is a strong testament to the power that resides in the exchange of ideas. Ever since its inception in 1934, The JASC has been driven by ambitious students aspiring to initiate open dialog in the hope of improving the international community. If we can speak of a JASC tradition, then it is certainly innovation - students working as agents of change.

This year’s Roundtable topics include:

Minority Issues: From Social Discrimination to Social Contribution
Exploring the Relationship between Tradition and Modernity
Communicating Environmental Ethics: Media, Mindset and Ecological Inspiration
Ethics: Holding Science Accountable to Humanity
Corporate Social Responsibility in Development
Comparative Law and Society
Memory of Tragedy: Examining Vehicles of Bias, Education, and Peace

Although many participants will be Asian Studies and East Asian Studies majors, this is not a requirement. All types of students from any field and level of study are welcome at the conference. Knowledge of the Japanese language is not required.

For applications or more information, please visit www.iscdc.org or e-mail jasc@iscdc.org.

JASC is a program of International Student Conferences, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting peace by furthering mutual understanding, friendship, and trust through international student interchange.

Join a group of 40 students from universities across the U.S. and Japan for a summer of study, travel, and fun!

Japan-America Student Conference
Regina Dull, Executive Director
1150 18th St. NW, Suite LL2
Washington, DC 20036
202-289-9088

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February 18, 2008

Students Travel to Bloomington for a Night of Hispanic Theater

On Feb 8th Spanish students attended the performance “Magia, misterio, amor y desamor” by the Bloomington drama company VIDA. The production featured plays by Miguel de Cervantes, Griselda Gámbaro, and Federico García Lorca, which were performed in Spanish. Students were accompanied by professors JaneHardy and Isabel Jaén, and Spanish interns María Pilar Simil and Adrián Martínez. Some of the participants wrote comments about the experience:

“As we waited for the silver van to transport us down to Bloomington for a night full of Magia Misterio Amor y Desamor many of us wondered how we were going to traverse back into the world’s of Cervantes, Gambaro, and Lorca; where time and space does not exists, where the irrational becomes rational, where the societal masks of the time affect, defect, and erect the relationships of the characters. The young directors incorporated elements of surrealism in the play, making the show very refreshing because it highlighted the universality of the plays by adapting the story to the viewer of the time.”(Julio Enriquez)

“The trip to Bloomington was a pleasant experience for several reasons. Reason number one, the purpose of the trip was to see a play production in Spanish. For myself this was no easy task. When seeing the play I was able to keep up with a lot of the actor/actress’ body movement and with the help of reading the synopsis before seeing the show. The other fun part about going to this show was the interaction I was able to have with other Spanish speaking students who go to Wabash, some of whom I met for the first time. A couple of them are native speakers and the rest of us had varying degrees to which we could speak the language. It was a great opportunity to engage in conversation with other students.”(Jarryd Morton)

“This trip was exactly what Wabash is about: a small group of guys (and faculty/staff) getting together and heading off on a day of exploration and learning. Some of the guys on the trip I had never really met before and I met lots of new and quite interesting people. The play itself was excellent. Though I shall admit that I did indeed have trouble getting over the accents, I enjoyed myself nevertheless. The actors were great and the costumes were… well… let’s just say interesting. Especially as a Spanish minor, I like these rare opportunities to see what I learn in the classroom personified and displayed through, in this case, theatre. The application of culture and language makes my experience at Wabash all the more enjoyable and most importantly, memorable.
I look forward to future emails from the Spanish department in regards to other excursions they may have.” (Víctor Nava)

“El viaje fue una experiencia valiosa. Me gustaron las tres obras, aunque la primera y la tercera eran difíciles de entender. The second two plays were also more interesting to me as they were much more modern in presentation. Overall, I thought it was a great experience and think that we could do this type of thing at Wabash in the future, maybe even better than the presentation at IU. !Debemos hacerlo otra vez pronto!” (Brent Graham)

“La experiencia de ver las obras del teatro en Bloomington estuvo estupenda. Como estudiante de biología, no he podido tomar muchas clases de español durante los últimos tres años. Me he sentido un poco mal porque hubiera querido más experiencia con la literatura hispana. Me dijo un amigo que él iba al teatro con el grupo del departamento de español. Agarré la oportunidad de preguntar si tuvieran un poquito de espacio para mí. Lo tuvieron, y ¡qué bueno, porque me divertí mucho! Muchos de los actores eran estudiantes avanzados del español. Otros eran nativos. Nunca he visto una obra en español, y esa noche vi tres. Además de eso, eran obras de tres dramaturgos bien conocidos. Agradezco mucho la oportunidad de ir con los profesores y estudiantes concentrados en español. Me encanta practicar el español y aprender de la literatura y las culturas diferentes. El teatro es buen lugar para hacer estas cosas.” (Juan Carlos Venis)

It was a bit chilly but all-in-all a good night for theater. We travelled for a quick hour and a half to the campus of Indiana University, and after devouring some authentic Bloomington cuisine at Subway, we headed over to the John Waldron Arts Center to watch Magia Misterio Amor y Desamor. This was a series of three one-act plays put on by VIDA, a Spanish language performance group. We entered a very small theater in which we were very close to the actors, making us feel as if we were a part of these performances we were watching. Our proximity to the action enhanced the conveyance of emotions from each actor as well as the overall ambience of the show. I greatly enjoyed watching these tales unfold; one a comedy of love, one about an oppressed female magician, and one of the suffering of a disgruntled lover. It was especially excellent to see these works performed in their original language, as we could better deduce the true sentiments imparted by the authors. Overall, and outstanding experience! (Bryan Engh)

“The Spanish Theatre performance that we attended in Bloomington was without a doubt an amazing experience. The preface before each of the plays allowed people who are not even Spanish speakers to understand the play which opened it up to imagination as well. It was definitely an interesting cultural experience and one I hope to repeat if given the opportunity” (Brian Secrest).

“La noche del viernes pasado yo fui a la Universidad de Indiana a mirar algunas obras. Las obras fueron en el John Waldron Centro de Artes. La obra primera fue “La cueva de Salamanca” de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Esta obra empezó con la conversación de Pancracio y su novia Leonarda. Pancracio deja su casa y su novia. La conversación es muy emocional, pero cuando Pancracio se va, Leonarda y su sirvienta invitan a unos hombres para tener una fiesta. Un estudiante pobre de Salamanca visita la casa también y las mujeres le dan comida y él toca la guitarra para la fiesta. Pancracio vuelve a la casa y las mujeres esconden a los hombres. El estudiante de Salamanca dice que los hombres son diablos con forma humana. El estudiante empieza a tocar la guitarra y la fiesta sigue. La segunda obra fue “Vayamos a lo profundo” La obra fue sobre una maga de Argentina que hace trucos para le audiencia. Ella dice que es mejor que David Copperfield de América. La última obra fue “Amor de don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín: Aleluya erótica en cuatro cuadros”. La obra fue muy interesante pero la situación fue un poco incómoda. En la obra, el hombre, don Perlimplín, tiene 50 años y la mujer, Belisa, es muy joven. La sirvienta de don Perlimplín le recomienda que se case. Él se casa con Belisa, quien pasa mucho tiempo con otros cinco hombres que son más jóvenes que don Perlimplín. Para obtener el amor de Belisa, don Perlimplín finge ser uno de los cinco hombres. Al final, don Perlimplín muere. Todas las obras fueron muy interesantes y divertidas. Al principio, yo tuve problemas para comprender a los actores, pero después de un tiempo, pude comprender mucho más de las obras.” (Mark Thomas)

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February 12, 2008

La Dra. Isabel Jaén Portillo

Por Juan José Cricco

La Dra. Isabel Jaén Portillo promueve desde el departamento de español de Wabash una aproximación cultural e histórica como medio más efectivo para el aprendizaje de lenguas.

La Dra. Jaén estudió en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid dónde completó su carrera en Filología de la Lengua Inglesa. Después de una estancia de un año en Londres, donde trabajó como Asistente de Profesora de Lengua, la Dra. Jaén comenzó sus estudios de postgrado en la Universidad Complutense, donde decidió centrarse en la Filología Hispánica. En 1996 se muda a los Estados Unidos y se matricula en la Universidad de Purdue, donde enfoca sus estudios en la Literatura y la Ciencia Cognitiva, un área que hasta día de hoy le tiene fascinada.

“La Teoría Cognitiva de la literatura es una nueva corriente crítica que engloba diferentes disciplinas como la psicología, la neurología, la sociología o la antropología. Es un puente entre las humanidades y las ciencias, y representa el futuro de nuestra investigación acerca de la mente humana y sus manifestaciones culturales”.
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La profesora Jaén está especialmente interesada en los aspectos neurológicos y evolutivos de la literatura: “Gracias a recientes descubrimientos como las células espejo, podemos entender mejor cómo nuestra mente es capaz de leer las intenciones de los demás y adaptar su comportamiento a estas predicciones. La literatura no sólo cumple una función estética, sino que ayuda al ser humano a desarrollar esa capacidad de “leer” mentes que es fundamental para nuestra supervivencia. Cuando nos sumergimos en un mundo de ficción, seguimos las mentes de los personajes, sus emociones, motivaciones e interacciones. La literatura nos ofrece una maqueta de la condición social y, por tanto, una poderosa herramienta de adaptación”. La profesora Jaén expone estas ideas en su artículo “"Literary Consciousness: Fictional Minds, Real  Implications", entre otros trabajos. Éste y otros ensayos pueden leerse en su página http://www.cognitivecircle.org.

La Profesora Jaén Portillo llega a Wabash después de enseñar español en la Universidad de Yale por 6 años, donde también fundó el grupo de investigación “Literary Theory and Cognition” (Teoría Literaria y Cognición). “Es un sitio pequeño, y por lo tanto relacionarse con los estudiantes es más natural y, de esa manera, la educación es más efectiva”, dijo la Dra. Jaén Portillo refiriéndose a Wabash. También habló de los métodos de enseñaza de lenguas que incorporan la cultura y la historia como contenido: “La metodología de la enseñanza ha ido cambiando”, de un método estructural a uno comunicativo que busca la transmisión de un contenido relevante y, más recientemente, se intenta incorporar ese contenido de modo más orgánico. “Todo esta unido—dijo la Dra. Jaén—el español no lo puedes separar de la cultura y la historia.” La importancia de la literatura según la Dra. Jaén yace en su característica de “catálogo de seres y comportamientos humanos”. Es una guía de estudio “no solo de la lengua, sino del universo cultural” y por lo tanto, del ser humano en sí.

La transmisión y el aprendizaje de la literatura sirven para desarrollar madurez. “Mucha gente le da poco valor a la enseñanza. Un ser humano tiene necesidades fisiológicas, pero la necesidad fundamental para poder llegar a la tolerancia es la educación” comentó la Profesora Jaén. “Si invirtiéramos más en educación se arreglarían muchos problemas” añadió.

El compromiso con la enseñanza es notablemente claro en la Profesora Jaén Portillo. La delatan la pasión y la sinceridad con las cuales se refiere a su trabajo como profesora. Profesora no meramente de español, sino del significado de ser humano.

 

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February 11, 2008

Spanish Students Meet with Carlos Andrés Gómez , Slam Poet

John McGaughey

Slam poetry, a form of spoken word poetry typically done in competitions with set time limits and specific topics, is a rare but powerful genre of literature used by poets around the world to present important topics in world affairs. Carlos Andrés Gómez, a nationally recognized slam poet, was invited to Wabash College this past November to speak about several controversial topics, including AIDS and genocide.

Brought to campus by the College’s Hispanic culture club, Unidos Por Sangre, Gómez performed in Ball Theater and was invited by the Spanish Department to join students the following day in Detchon International Hall, where he did an encore of his piece, “What’s Genocide?” Following this, Gomez spoke with the students bilingually over a Mexican lunch and discussed important issues. Jacob Surface, a freshman enrolled in Prof. Jaén’s Spanish class, wrote a blog about the experience of meeting the poet.

Jacob Surface ‘11

A few days ago, Wabash College was fortunate enough to have Carlos Andrés Gómez, renowned slam poet and actor, come and perform some of his most popular and inspiring spoken word at the Fine Arts Center. As a freshman here at Wabash, I've had a lot of opportunities to see the wide variety of talent that comes to our school through the Visiting Artist Series and other presentations, and I have to say that Carlos has been my favorite so far.

I have had an interest in slam poetry since I was introduced to it as a sophomore in high school. Since that time, I have wanted to see a live performance, so I could not believe my luck when I heard that an international champion in the spoken word genre was going to perform for free for Wallies. The performance itself was not disappointing either. Carlos initially stunned the crowd with his deeply personal commentary and criticisms of American society, especially the issues facing the impoverished, inner cities of our country. In addressing issues as touchy as abortion, education policies, and the American ideology of masculinity, Carlos delivered messages that were both relevant and intriguing to the audience of Wallies. His personal experiences as a social worker, drug counselor, and teacher in districts such as the Bronx, NY, showed through in Carlos' passion as he flawlessly performed energetic pieces such as “What's Genocide”. After the performance, students were able to talk to Carlos one on one. I was able to talk to him about his work with my favorite hip hop artists as well as his views on sex education in public schools. It was very exhilarating to be face to face with a celebrated artist in one of my favorite literary genres. I really hope that Wabash, and Unidos Por Sangre, will continue to bring such awesome performers to our stage, especially more slam poets.

Students meeting with GÛmez.The day after his performance, Carlos was kind enough to join us for a discussion in Detchon International Hall. Lunch was provided and a large majority of students of the Spanish language showed up to talk to Carlos about his work as well as his Colombian heritage. It was again awesome to see just how well Carlos connected on such a personal level with his audience. Topics were discussed ranging from what he used as inspiration to his opinions on the use of different words such as Hispanic and Latino to describe Americans with roots in Spanish speaking countries. I got to ask him what he considered his favorite venues to perform in. He responded, “Prisons…they are so receptive and involved with what I am saying…they are the most active, intelligent listeners…they have seen the same stuff”. It was cool to meet up with Carlos again in an informal manner and share a meal with him as well as my fellow Spanish students and Unidos Por Sangre.

 

Photos courtesy of Tim Ulrey ‘08

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February 07, 2008

Wallies on DePauw Campus?

John McGaughey

Wabash College has a very fine Modern Languages Department; however, in a liberal arts school with a student body not exceeding a thousand, only so many languages can be represented. Currently, only French, German, and Spanish are offered. Minors in Russian used to be offered, but in the absence of Russian professors or interns, that option is no longer available.

However, such restrictions do not halt the learning process of Aaron Bonar ’10, who studies Russian, and Kyle Trusgnich ’08, who studies Italian.

Through an agreement with DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, both Bonar and Trusgnich have the opportunity to continue with their language of choice by traveling to DePauw and sitting in on their classes. Bonar is currently taking DePauw’s 222 to fulfill the requirements of his Russian minor, and Trusgnich is continuing to study Italian after spending a semester abroad in Rome.

“I started out my Wabash career with a major in Russian, which was typically taught by Russian interns (since there are no professors)” said Bonar. “There hasn’t actually been a staff professor for awhile now, and I don’t know that the Modern Languages Department is going to hire one soon. For now I’m taking 222, which would have its equivalent as a 201 level language course here at Wabash. After that I need just three more classes in Russian, and study abroad in St. Petersburg next year, and then I’m done.”

“After studying abroad in Rome for a semester, I learned a decent amount of the language and wanted to continue with my Italian once I returned to campus,” said Trusgnich. “When I returned to Wabash, I spoke with Dr. Rogers, and we began implementing the program. I needed to continue my Italian because I am hoping to return to Italy and work for the study abroad program that I attended, Loyola University Chicago at Rome. It looks very good for a candidate to have achieved some level of fluency.”

For those of you who don’t know, Wabash College and DePauw University are arch rivals dating back over a century. Each year the football teams from both schools face each other in the Monon Bell Classic. This competition faces off DePauw’s Tigers against Wabash’s Little Giants to see which school will get to possess the bell for one more year. So, how exactly do these Wallies (a nickname for Wabash students) manage to survive on DePauw’s campus, let alone be enrolled in their classes?

“It’s not really different for me,” said Bonar. “In my case there is just me and another student.” The other student in Bonar’s class is a female; this, of course, is a sharp contrast to the all-male environment of Wabash. However, Bonar blends in with the student body at DePauw very well. “I remember visiting Wabash and DePauw as a prospective student. I thought they were the same size, but in comparison DePauw is much bigger. I am not that noticeable.” Bonar recalls a humorous experience from Russian 222 when he and his classmate were instructed to direct five imperatives at each other in Russian. “I told her to say, ‘I love Wabash,’ and she made me say, ‘I love DePauw,’ and then I made her sing the DePauw fight song, which she did not know,” he said with a smile, knowing full well that all Wabash students know their fight song, the longest one in the nation, by heart.

Trusgnich’s class size is more formidable. “My Italian class has an enrollment of about twenty students,” he said. “Interestingly, there are only four men, which is a slight change for me. Don not worry though, I am definitely not complaining.” Thinking back on the issue of being a Wally in Danny (a nickname for DePauw students) territory, Trusgnich says, “Two things come to mind: First, I know that I am a Wabash student down on DePauw’s campus. However, they have no idea I come from Wabash three times a week and would most likely never consider this situation. The other thought concerning this issue occurred in class. While my classmates and I were cramming for our first quiz and the room was relatively still, my professor turned to me and asked why I was not on her roster for the class. I replied that I was not in the system and therefore, could not officially enroll through their university. Again, she asked why that was and I replied that it was because I was from Wabash. At which point, I felt that every student in the room was looking at me. One of the women sitting next to me, quickly turned to me and asked, assumingly, as a point of reassurance, if I was from Wabash and I replied that I was. Those were the last words that she spoke to me all morning.

“However, the other students sitting around me were genuinely interested in why I drive to Greencastle three times a week to take Italian. I gave them the brief story throughout class and they seemed very cordial and even sympathetic about it, granted they were girls. The one guy that I have been doing in-class exercises with down there turned to me and said a rather harsh comment about Wabash and immediately followed with an ‘I’m kidding.’ I said I understand and would expect these sorts of things but again he said he was just kidding. All in all though, my classmates seem interested in having me in class and do not mind having a “caveman from the North” in their presence.”

The conditions for study thus far do seem to be kind to both Wallies, and the half hour drive to Greencastle, in their eyes, is only a small hurdle.

“I actually don’t drive there three times a week like Kyle does,” said Bonar. “I drive there Monday, the professor comes here Wednesday, and then on Friday I have a video conference.”


“Obviously, the drive is inconvenient,” said Trusgnich. “If it could work, I would much rather stay at home here at Wabash and continue with my Italian studies. However, driving thirty minutes down and back to DePauw is a small price to pay for the opportunity to live and work in Italy.”

For now, the Modern Languages Department has no plans of hiring faculty for other languages outside French, German, and Spanish. The demand does not merit such an undertaking, but the agreement with DePauw has interesting possibilities.

“This is a pilot year,” said Bonar, “but if it remains as successful as it’s been this first week, I can see it growing. I can even see them adding other languages!”

“I am not certain what the modern languages department is planning over in Detchon,” said Trusgnich. “I know that I have spoken with Dr. Rogers about hiring a French professor who also knows Italian, which is not very uncommon. But realistically, with the small enrollment that we have and the high demand for various languages in our modern world, some goals may be impossible to reach. That is why the department is trying to create this cooperative program with DePauw to expand the language opportunities for students here at Wabash.”

Despite the obvious rivalry between DePauw and Wabash, a mutual mission to instruct students and train new leaders exists at both of these schools. Bitter enemies in the athletic world, Wabash and DePauw have formed an alliance between two of the nation’s best liberal arts institutions to develop something truly beautiful.

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February 05, 2008

Archeoastronomy and Liberal Arts?

Homer Twigg

Professors Brown, Warner and Rogers have joined forces to offer one of the most unique classes offered by Wabash to date. The Archaeoastronomy course taught by these three professors is a careful combination of physics, Spanish and history that ties together the most important scientific and cultural aspects of the Mayan civilization. Put simply by Prof. Warner, it is “a way to study astronomy through a cultural lens”. Students spend the semester preparing for a trip to Guatemala during spring break in which they will put their new skill sets to work.

Something must be said about the content of this class, and how distinctively liberal arts it is. The time span that the students have to get under their belt is no laughing matter; the Maya existed from the 3rd century BC until the 11th CE. Within this time period students are responsible for learning about the history and culture of the Mayan civilization, especially in Chiapas, the southernmost state located on the Yucatan peninsula.

What is it about this region its people and culture that makes it so applicable to liberal arts education? The answer is a collection of coincidence and some clever consideration. Professor Rogers said that the class was analogous to an onion: the core of the class lies in a thorough understanding of astronomy; the inner peel being history provides the context in which to understand a particular astronomy; the outer peel being Spanish provides the tools necessary to assimilate in Guatemala, as well as to study early secondary sources on the Maya—which were all in Spanish. Thanks to immense work by Harvard to collect and preserve Mayan texts, scholars have plenty to chew on, and tremendous strides in translation of Mayan texts have yielded a huge amount of knowledge about the lives of those people. Prof. Rogers jokingly remarked that Mayan archeologists today still excavate a number of glyphs and throw them into the G.O.K. pile—the “God only knows” collection of unsolved glyphs.

This combination of academic enterprise and the ability to incorporate different fields of learning is not the only reason why this class works. Several historical coincidences also contribute to the success of this class. The first is in the weather. Because the seasons in Central America are less pronounced, there was a real need to mark the beginning and end of rainy seasons in order to time planting and harvest times. Furthermore, this knowledge needed to be written down. Many societies comparable to the Mayans existed, but were not nearly as prolific. Mayans, infatuated with the wisdom of cyclical patterns in the sky and on earth, created a system to record their findings.

Where academics end, immersion and learning of a different type begin. Students of Archaeoastronomy have prepared topics of investigation and personal research that they will study in a week-long immersion trip in Guatemala. Prof. Brown considers the experience new and out-of-the-box even for him, saying “This is the sort of experience you do not get in the classroom. I might take students to a particle accelerator lab…but up a river in Guatemala?” Prof. Rogers added “Education should be cool,” with a wild factor built in.
Students will not spend their whole time researching and slaving away to get their projects done. David Orr ’57 has provided an additional amazing experience for students: service. Students of this trip and in the past have gotten together with Dr. Orr to conduct several service projects. The professors in the class all agreed that there is a huge difference between looking at a culture and working with a culture. Considering the multi-tiered education program in Guatemala and the amount of work needed to succeed in this class, it is no surprise a large number of students in the class are double majors.

“Being in an uncomfortable situation is a great way for people to learn,” remarked Prof. Brown toward the end of our interview. Students of Archaeoastronomy have the inimitable chance to get out of the comfort of the United States and immerse themselves with a people and time that have so much to teach.

For further reading:

http://www.nabolom.org/
http://www.stellarium.org/
http://www.garyjennings.net/aztec.htm

http://mayaexploration.org

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