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Network Summer 2012

Network Summer 2012 will be held from June 11 to June 15, 2012 at New York University's Washington Square campus.

The application deadline for Network Summer 2012 has passed. To view our "Frequently Asked Questions" section please click here.

To learn more about the Summer 2012 Scholar-in-Residence program, please click here.

The following seminars will be offered for Network Summer 2012:

The 1960s: Politics, Race, and Law
Contemporary Latin-American and Caribbean Cinema
Exploring Women's Knowledge through Oral History
Interactive Technologies for Teaching and Learning
Interprofessional Competencies: A New Paradigm for Nursing Education
Memories of Malcolm X: Gender, Class, and Ideology
New Orleans Jazz: A Metaphor for American Life
People Power: Revolts in the Arab World
Practicing Critical and Creative Thinking
Tackling Tough Topics through the Classics
The Tree of Life: Teaching Evolution and Genomics

The Program

"The sixties"—the phrase itself summons up images, as one writer has said, of "passion, violence, and tragedy." Even the titles of books written about the decade-–America Divided, Coming Apart, The Unraveling of America, America’s Uncivil Wars—imply that the years were marked by bitter social, economic, and political divisions, and sometimes by feelings of rage that could (and did) erupt into violence. The sixties began with the bright promise of John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier but ended with social reform at a standstill and the nation mired in the quagmire of Vietnam.

The seminar will focus on five topics. First, we'll look at the reform agendas of John F. Kennedy's New Frontier and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, including the origins of those programs, the debate over them, and the extent to which they accomplished their goals. Second, we'll turn to the war in Vietnam, with a focus on the reasons for its escalation and its impact at home. Third, we will examine the civil rights movement with particular attention to its successes as well as to the way it was affected by urban race riots and by white backlash. A fourth subject will be the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren, and the impact of judicial activism in such areas as freedom of speech, religion, and criminal justice. Finally, we'll explore some of the social movements that defined the decade: feminism, environmentalism, conservatism, and the counter-culture.

We will read chapters from books about the sixties, including Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin's America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s. However, our discussions will center chiefly on primary sources: relatively short documents in which participants presented their views on the crucial issues of the day. In addition, we will view films, such as "Medium Cool" (1969), documentaries, and newsreel clips. We also will listen to some of the music that came to define the decade. Lastly, guest speakers will lead discussions on such issues as feminism and civil rights.


Richard Polenberg is Marie Underhill Noll Professor of History and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1964 and has taught at Cornell since 1966. He is the author of several books: Reorganizing Roosevelt's Government (Harvard, 1966); War and Society: The United States, 1941-1945 (Lippincott, 1972); One Nation Divisible: Class, Race, and Ethnicity in America since 1938 (Viking, 1980); Fighting Faiths: The Abrams Case, the Supreme Court and Free Speech (Viking, 1987), which received the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award; and The World of Benjamin Cardozo (Harvard, 1996). He also has edited four other books, including In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer: The Security Clearance Hearing (Cornell, 2002) and co-authored a textbook in recent American history. He has held a Fulbright visiting professorship, and has been the recipient of Cornell's Clark Distinguished Teaching Award.

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Co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University

The Program

In today’s popular culture, Latin stars such as Shakira, Andy Garcia, Jennifer Lopez, and Edward James Olmos stand brightly visible in the USA. Far less visible—indeed, almost invisible—is the rich tradition of filmmaking produced in the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese speaking people. This seminar will explore the diverse traditions of narrative feature filmmaking in the Caribbean and Latin America since World War II, with particular emphasis on the past twenty-five years. We will first look at two early films that set a standard for those that follow: Los Olvidados (Mexico, 1950), directed by Luis Bunuel, and Memories of Underdevelopment (Cuba, 1968), directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea. We will then look at award winning films from Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and Peru made since 1980. Finally we will glance at the emerging cinemas of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Central America.

A number of questions will animate the course: How do the films relate themselves to their northern neighbor Hollywood? How do the films portray national identity, regional characteristics, or historical circumstances? In what ways to the films support, differ from or comment upon “official” versions of their national cultures? In what ways do the films seek to bring to light new aspects of experience in their societies, facets little understood by the world beyond their frontiers? How do the films look at issues of race, class, gender, and ethnicity? In what ways can films from “south of the border” be felt in “Latino” movies made in the USA? Close readings of the films will be supplemented by readings in the theory and history of cinema. In addition, there will be presentations by professionals from film production, programming, and distribution. Readings will include: Eduardo A. Russo, The Film Edge: Contemporary Filmmaking in Latin America; John King, Magical Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin America; and Michael T. Martin (ed.), New Latin American Cinema, Volume 1.


Jerry Carlson is director of the Cinema Studies Program in the Department of Media & Communication Arts at City College (CUNY), and a specialist in narrative theory, global independent film, and the cinemas of the Americas. At the CUNY Graduate Center, he is a member of the doctoral faculties of French, Film Studies and Comparative Literature and a senior fellow at the Bildner Center for Western Hemispheric Studies. He also is an active producer, director, and writer with multiple Emmy Awards. As a senior producer for City University Television (CUNY-TV), he created and produces the series City Cinémathèque about film history, Canapé about French-American cultural relations, and Nueva York (in Spanish) about the Latino cultures of New York City. As an independent producer, his recent work includes the Showtime Networks production Dirt, directed by Nancy Savoca, and Looking for Palladin directed by Andrzej Krakowski. In 1998 he was inducted by France as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes. He was educated at Williams College (B.A.) and the University of Chicago (A.M. and Ph.D.).

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The Program

Knowledge in academia is often filtered through a hierarchical framework that leaves out most non-Western, non-rationalistic, and non-written traditions, ideas, experiences and products, except as curiosities, relics, or anthropological objects. Much of the knowledge generated and transmitted by women through the ages lies at the bottom of this hierarchy, because it is produced in eclectic ways outside the structures of power. Feminist theorists, as well as some historians and social scientists, have called attention to the exclusion of oppressed and marginalized groups from official accounts and interpretations of the past and the present. Women who find themselves at the margins of history, such as black, indigenous, or illiterate women, have made their voices heard in various ways. Oral history is one of those ways.

Reconstructing the narratives that have gone untold or unacknowledged throughout various disciplines and cultures is a necessary task for a full understanding of history, and of women’s contributions to society and to the production of knowledge. Moreover, preserving and sharing these reconstructed and often hidden stories allows for more inclusive heritages and for critical learning.

This seminar will draw on the teaching and research expertise of participants in order to:

  • Reflect upon the incorporation of women´s memory and women as producers of knowledge into academic curricula;
  • Discuss the pros and cons of situating women’s knowledge within a transdisciplinary approach as a research and pedagogical strategy;
  • Analyze oral history methodologies for the recovery and reconstruction of women’s memory;
  • Explore how different technologies can contribute to the recovering and sharing of memories and knowledge(s) (i.e. video oral history interviews).

Readings may draw from, but are not limited to: Saskia E. Wieringa (ed.), Travelling Heritages: New Perspectives on Collecting, Preserving, and Sharing Women’s History; Torry D. Dickinson and Robert K. Schaeffer (eds.), Transformations: Feminist Pathways to Global Change, An Analytical Anthology; Sherna Berger Gluck and Daphne Patai (eds), Women’s Words: The Feminist Practice of Oral History; Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson (eds.) The Oral History Reader; and extracts from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present.


Teresa Langle De Paz is a feminist theorist and a specialist in literary criticism and 17th-century Spanish feminism. She is co-director of Women’s Knowledge International, an emerging global project and network of universities, cultural institutions, and feminist groups; it is headquartered at the UNESCO-backed Foundation for a Culture of Peace in Spain and has a growing presence in the United States.

Sara De Jong is a researcher in politics, specialized in critical NGO perspectives, gender and postcolonial theory. She is the research manager of the Aletta Institute for Women’s History (formerly the International Information Centre and Archive for the Women’s Movement). Since 1935, the Institute has documented, researched, and collected sources and testimonies for the history of women, and their contributions to political, social, and intellectual movements around the world. From its base in the Netherlands, Aletta has expanded beyond Europe to work closely with activists, scholars, and researchers in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Dr. De Jong will share Aletta’s methodology for the collection of oral histories as a powerful tool for research and teaching.

Margarita Benitez's lifelong involvement with higher education began at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). As Chancellor of the UPR-Cayey Campus, she created the Women’s Studies Project, now in its 25th year. She has held various senior positions at the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education. She has been a consultant to the Institute for Higher Education Policy, Excelencia in Education, Lumina Foundation, and Southern Education Foundation, among others. Together with Teresa Langle de Paz, she directs Women’s Knowledge International.

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The Program

How can new interactive technologies (ePortfolios, social networking, blogs, wikis, twitter, web conferencing, etc.) be used to enhance or support teaching and learning? Can these technologies move us from a “transactional” mode of teaching and learning (single delivery in specific time and place) towards a more robust, lifelong engagement with learning where students are increasingly producers of knowledge? Technologies come and go. Is Web2.0 the latest fad or can we harness these new technologies to help redefine the “learning environment”? Are “distributed” teaching methodologies replacing traditional face-to-face classroom methodologies? Are the new web collaborative technologies the answer to the traditional challenges of working in groups when in an online environment?

This seminar will provide faculty members with a deeper understanding of emerging web tools and how they may be used to inform our teaching practice. Readings and discussion will provide context and insight into how these technologies can help us respond to the new educational and assessment landscape emerging as a result of changing student demographics, new demands on the curriculum due to a rapidly changing social, economic, and global environment, and increasing use of interactive technologies by students for social networking and “infotainment.”

This seminar will combine demonstrations, as well as readings and discussion with hands-on opportunities to explore and design within the framework of these new web technologies. Attention will be given to library applications. Group work and participation is encouraged by the facilitators. The seminar is designed for faculty participants and librarians who are comfortable with basic computer tools (Google, email, Microsoft Word) and are familiar with at least one technology application used for teaching and learning (course management system, assessment tool, etc.). Guest speakers will be invited to present on topics related to the use of new technologies for teaching and learning.


Beth Gordon Klingner is the executive director of academic technologies at Pace University, and also is an adjunct instructor in English, communications, and psychology. Beth has been an ePortfolio enthusiast for the past ten years. This year, Dr. Klingner is participating in LaGuardia Community College’s Making Connections program on ePortfolios. In addition, Dr. Klingner also is interested in blended learning, distance education, and emerging technologies. She recently co-authored a chapter in Teaching Inclusively in Higher Education, titled “The Technological Age of Teaching.” Dr. Klingner earned her B.A. in literature from Binghamton University, her M.A. in English education from SUNY-Albany, and her Ph.D. in educational technology from Walden University.

James F. Stenerson is the founding executive director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology which oversees faculty development initiatives at Pace University. Dr. Stenerson is an adjunct professor in the Dyson College of Arts and Science where he designed and implemented a number of online courses. He remains instrumental at Pace in the incorporation of technology into the instructional process. He designed a number of faculty workshops addressing the challenges of instructional technology. Dr. Stenerson’s office provides key support for both faculty and students when introducing and assessing new teaching and learning techniques.

Dr. Stenerson received his Ph.D. from Long Island University concentrating in the field of philosophy of technology. He received his M. A. in media studies from the New School and his bachelor’s degree majoring in secondary education from Pace University. Dr. Stenerson has presented at a number of national conferences and faculty groups addressing the issues of the changing paradigm of distributed education.

Sarah Burns Feyl is an assistant university librarian for instructional services at Pace University, and also has served as an adjunct instructor in the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University. She manages and teaches in the Pace Library’s Information Literacy Instruction programs. She chairs the Library Web Team, serves as “embedded librarian” in a variety of Blackboard course shells, and has led workshops for faculty on topics in technology, including the use of RSS feeds and journal alerts from research databases. Ms. Feyl was part of the Presidential Learning Assessment Grant ePortfolio team in 2003 and continues to serve on the ePortfolio Advisory Board. She uses Camtasia to create online instructional videos, recently recorded the library’s first audio walking tour, serves on numerous faculty development teams, and is an advocate for building a culture of assessment at Pace. She obtained her B.A. in English from SUNY Geneseo, her M.A. in theology and religious studies from Villanova University, and her M.L.S. from SUNY Albany.

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The Program

For more than a decade, the health professions have been challenged to increase the focus on interprofessional collaboration in ways that decrease professional silos and improve professional accountability for clinical outcomes in terms of quality and cost-effectiveness. Several publications, including Crossing the Quality Chasm (Institute of Medicine, 2001) and Team-Based Competencies: Building a Shared Foundation For Education and Clinical Practice and the Interprofessional Education Commission (Josiah Macy Foundation/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2011) have challenged all health professionals to reconceptualize educational programs, scholarship, and clinical practice to reflect core interprofessional competencies that utilize informatics, employ evidence-based practice, apply quality improvement, and provide patient-centered care. Undergraduate and graduate nursing programs are committed to advancing this paradigm by preparing the next generation of nurses who will influence the nature and direction of health care delivery using interprofessional competencies as the guiding principle for enhancing high quality and cost-effective patient care.

This seminar will address the issues and challenges in making interprofessional competencies an integral component of undergraduate and graduate nursing curricula. Core interprofessional competencies related to informatics, evidence-based practice, quality and safety, and patient-centered care must be evident not only in one course, like professional nursing or research, but threaded throughout the curriculum. We will address strategies for identifying and obtaining interprofessional partners, building organizational infrastructure, developing collaborative classroom and clinical practice opportunities, and enhancing scholarship initiatives.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Demystifying interprofessional competencies;
  • Identifying interprofessional partners and teams in large and small organizations;
  • Strategies for building interprofessional infrastructure within and across campuses;
  • Using technology to advance interprofessional education, practice, and scholarship agendas;
  • Embedding evidence-based practice competence in interprofessional curricula;
  • Integrating quality and safety competencies across disciplines;
  • Developing innovative collaborative classroom and clinical strategies and experiences;
  • Overcoming interprofessional barriers in undergraduate and graduate education.

Additional speakers will include: Judith Haber, interim dean, NYU College of Nursing; Maria Dolce, clinical assistant professor and director of the Oral Health Nursing Education and Practice (OHNEP) Program; and Polly Bednash, CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.


Barbara Krainovich Miller is associate dean for academic and clinical affairs in New York University’s College of Nursing. Professor Krainovich Miller is the academic leader for interprofessional initiatives in undergraduate and graduate programs. She is also the leader for accreditation, simulation, and quality and safety.

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The Program

In this seminar, we will take Manning Marable’s provocative 2011 biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, as the starting point for an in-depth exploration of Malcolm X as an icon in Black radical politics. We will examine Malcolm’s history and legacy through a Black feminist lens and with an eye toward the scholarship of engagement, looking at class politics and ideological differences within the Black community as they impact how Malcolm is described, remembered, and lionized. We also will explore Malcolm through a radical internationalist lens, which was Marable’s approach. Finally, we will explore how Black nationalists and Muslims the world over have claimed Malcolm as their own, with their own emphases and nuanced narratives. Underlying questions throughout our discussions will be: What are the politics of memory? What is at stake in how we frame, celebrate, or critique a figure like Malcolm X? Malcolm will also be viewed in comparative perspective vis-à-vis women activists and thinkers from Ella Baker to Fannie Lou Hamer to Assata Shakur.

Additional themes we will explore in the seminar include:

  • Black masculinity and the role of messianic leadership in movements for social change;
  • The debate about reform versus revolution in Malcolm X’s time;
  • The evolution in Malcolm X’s thinking as he moved from leading a U.S.-based Black religious movement to his global vision of Islam and the African Diaspora;
  • The class-based politics of who Malcolm X was and what he represented to poor, working class, middle class, and elites in the Black community and American society.

We will fast forward to the late 20th century to examine how this enigmatic and powerful icon of Black militancy has been remembered, mythologized and distorted. Marable’s book, and its critics, raise the issue of how the world viewed Malcolm X, but this seminar will also explore how the various interpretations of Malcolm X and the organizations with which he was most closely associated, the Nation of Islam and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, challenge us to rethink the dominant narrative of the late 20th-century Black freedom movement.

During the seminar, we will hear from guest speakers who represent distinct perspectives on the subject including labor activists, cultural workers, youth organizers, nationalists, socialists and feminists. In addition to Marable’s book, we will examine competing interpretations of Malcolm X’s life and legacy, and explore the lively and passionate debate about Malcolm X among scholars and activists. Some of the scholars and writers whose work we will read include (but are not limited to): Patricia Hill Collins, Michael Eric Dyson, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Amiri Baraka, and James Cone.


Barbara Ransby is a professor of African-American studies, gender and women’s studies, and history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of the award-winning biography, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision and the forthcoming biography, Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson. Professor Ransby worked with Manning Marable on various intellectual and political projects over twenty years, and they served together on the board of the London-based journal, Race and Class. She will succeed Professor Marable as editor of the journal, SOULS.

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The Program

Jazz is universally considered to be America’s only truly artistic contribution, though its origins, cultural and social significance, musical makeup and philosophical implications are often misunderstood or ignored. This seminar will examine the original jazz tradition of New Orleans and its importance and influence in American life and global culture. Jazz first appeared over 100 years ago as the result of social, musical, and political developments that converged among the city’s African-American population. New Orleans’ unusual early blend of ethnic groups and varied cultural history laid the foundation for one of the most unique urban environments in the United States—and subsequently the development of the first jazz style. Underlying early jazz was an intense and turbulent social backdrop in which democratic ideals, collective community creation and individual exposure lead to the spread of the music throughout the New Orleans area and eventually the rest of the United States and the world.

After the Jazz Age in the 1920s, the music began a path of constant change and innovation that continues into the present. In New Orleans, the traditional style of jazz continued and evolved as a highly functional community expression that was passed on through several generations in social club parades, jazz funerals, and a host of local events. The “New Orleans Jazz Revival,” which began in the 1940s, brought international attention to the older form of jazz and lead to it becoming a small but continuous cult music. Today, this older form of jazz is played, performed and supported all over the world, including in much of central Europe, Scandinavia, Japan, and parts of the Americas. While rarely discussed, jazz’s ability to express universal human emotions, as well as serve as a metaphor for the philosophies of change, freedom, democracy, possibility, incorporation, collectivism, and individual expression contribute to the timeless appeal and continued importance of the New Orleans tradition.

The seminar will include lecture and discussion, supplemented by recordings, films, photographs, and live musical performances. Readings will include selections on New Orleans and jazz history, musical biographies and some of Professor White’s publications, including: “New Orleans’ African American Musical Traditions: Spirit and Soul of a City” in Seeking Higher Ground: The Hurricane Katrina Crisis, Race and Public Policy Reader, edited by Manning Marable; “Traditional New Orleans Jazz as a Metaphor for American Life” (available as a “Foreseeable Futures” publication on the Imaging America website: ); and “Reflections of an Authentic Jazz Life in Pre-Katrina New Orleans” in the Journal of American History (vol XXIII; 2010).


Michael Gerard White is the Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Xavier University in New Orleans where he has served as a professor of Spanish and African-American music for over 30 years. He is a relative of several first generation jazz musicians and learned his craft performing in community parades and jazz funerals, and through years of working alongside dozens of jazz musicians born between the late 1890s and 1910. Professor White has performed and recorded with a variety of well-known artists in jazz and other areas, including Wynton Marsalis, Kid Thomas Valentine, Odetta, Emeline Michelle, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Beausoliel, and Taj Mahal. Dr. White has won numerous honors and awards, including the Chevalier of Arts and Letters from France, the National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Louisiana State Humanist of the Year from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. His current cd, Adventures in New Orleans Jazz – Pt. 1 (Basin Street, 2011) has received critical acclaim and made several national jazz charts. In 2011, White was selected to the Downbeat Magazine’s Critics’ Poll as being among the top current jazz clarinetists.

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The Program

Recent events across the Arab World require us to rethink how we approach this region in both the classroom and in our own research. On January 14, 2011, following widespread public protests, Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali relinquished the presidency of Tunisia, a post he had held for 23 years. The Tunisian people’s sudden and unexpected toppling of the authoritarian regime resonated with millions across the Arab World. Significant popular protests began to swell in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Syria and elsewhere, capturing world attention and threatening the status quo in many countries in the Middle East as the regional geostrategic order. Less than one month after Ben Ali’s ouster, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was also removed from power, and eight months later Muammar Qaddafi, the longest reigning leader in the Arab world, was captured and killed following a brutal war between Qaddafi’s loyalists and Libyan rebels. These events, among many others, have kept the region in the spotlight and have been the focus of much analysis by journalists, policy-makers and scholars alike.

Popular opinion seems quick to describe these social movements as enacting a “domino-effect” of revolutions, democratic openings, and inevitable Islamist takeovers in the absence of the stabilizing, if brutal, dictator. Such a simplistic narrative, predictably, does not accurately capture the varied contexts of these revolts, nor does it reveal the complex social dynamics experienced by the protesters flooding the streets of Egypt, Syria, or Yemen. How can we better understand the common threads of these uprisings in a way that is mindful of such overgeneralization? Why have some despots collapsed so quickly, while other regimes have persisted (often through violent means) despite widespread public revolts? Who are the political actors vying for power in the wake of so many so-called “revolutions,” and how can we understand the myriad challenges that lay ahead for new leadership and the citizens hoping for a more accountable and effective polity? Drawing upon scholarly, journalistic, and primary source materials, this seminar will investigate these questions in order to develop a nuanced understanding of the events of 2011 and beyond.

This intensely interdisciplinary seminar will be of interest not only to faculty members in journalism, political science, and anthropology, but also to those from the fields of history, cultural studies, women’s studies, religion, and sociology whose focus is the Middle East or comparative studies. In our discussions, we will examine ways to use this material in the classroom across a wide range of disciplines.

Readings may include and are not limited to the following:


Chris Toensing is editor of the hard-hitting and academically respected Middle East Report. He is also executive director of the Middle East Research and Information Project ( In addition to his work for MERIP, Toensing has written for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Progressive and other U.S. newspapers and magazines. He has traveled widely in the Middle East, including Egypt and Iraq, and has appeared hundreds of times on radio and TV programs to discuss Israel-Palestine, Iraq and U.S. Middle East policy.

Jeannie Sowers is an assistant professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, where she teaches courses in Middle East politics, environmental politics, and international affairs. Her research interests focus on environmental change and politics in the Middle East, with a focus on Egypt. She has published articles and book chapters on environmental protest, conservation and tourism, climate change adaptation, and water management in Egypt. She is the author of the forthcoming book Environmental Politics in Egypt: Activists, Experts and the State (Routledge 2012) and co-editor, with Chris Toensing, of Journey to Tahrir: Politics, Protest, and Social Change in Egypt, 1999-2011 (Verso Books, in press). She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University and her B.A. from Harvard University.

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The Program

This seminar provides an opportunity to think about thinking, both critical thinking and creative thinking, which together provide us with a holistic approach to higher order thinking practices. The conveners invite participants to engage with them in a series of provocative thinking exercises. We will actively explore practical strategies for fostering critical and creative thinking. Our goal is to experience together what we would like our students to learn by taking thinking seriously yet joyously. Our collective work as seminar participants and conveners will be to enact aspects and elements of critical and creative thinking. By the end of the week we will be able to explain what we consider essential habits of mind for both critical and creative thinking.

The emphasis of the seminar will be on practical pedagogy—applying thinking tools and techniques, strategies and approaches to classroom situations in varied disciplines. The seminar will be interactive and participatory, and will consist of critical thinking and creative thinking exercises-sometimes as a large group, sometimes in small groups. The exercises are designed to illustrate and demonstrate particular critical and creative thinking strategies and techniques. Course materials will include a variety of visual and verbal texts, such as: Edward de Bono, Serious Creativity; Richard von Oech, A Whack on the Side of the Head; S. I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action; John Chaffee’s Thinking Critically, 10th edition; and Robert DiYanni, Da Vinci Thinking: Practicing Critical and Creative Thinking.


Robert DiYanni is senior lecturer in expository writing and adjunct professor of humanities at New York University, where he has worked for the past decade. He holds a B.A. in English from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in English language and literature from the City University of New York. He has taught writing, English and humanities at Queens College (CUNY), Pace University, Harvard University, and NYU, where he teaches courses in expository writing, literature, interdisciplinary humanities, and critical/creative thinking. Dr. DiYanni has written and edited forty books, most of them texts for college students. His most recent books include Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities, The Humanities Handbook, Da Vinci Thinking, and New Thinking. In the works are two additional thinking books: Ways of Thinking and Disciplined Thinking. He has given workshops and conference presentations for secondary teachers and college professors in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, and East Asia. He also serves as director of arts and aesthetic education for the Scarsdale (New York) public schools.

John Chaffee is a professor of philosophy at LaGuardia College and the director of the New York Center for Critical Thinking. While at LaGuardia he has developed an interdisciplinary program in Philosophy and Critical Thinking, which involves 30 faculty and 4,500 students annually. He is a nationally recognized figure in Critical and Creative Thinking, having authored many articles and conducted numerous conference presentations and workshops throughout the country. His books, Thinking Critically, 10th Edition; Critical Thinking, Thoughtful Writing, 5th Edition; and The Philosopher’s Way: Thinking Critically About Profound Ideas, 3rd Edition, have been adopted at over 1,000 colleges and universities. Dr. Chaffee’s trade book, The Thinker’s Way: Create the Life You Want, has been translated into seven languages. NPR recently did a story on LaGuardia’s distinctive philosophy program:

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Co-sponsored by the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University

The Program

The Greeks and Romans left us a rich legacy of poetry, philosophy, and historical texts, but many of these also are grounded in disturbing events. The Trojan War encompasses rape, slavery, human trafficking, and the relation of gender, race, and ethnicity to warfare. The origin-tale of Rome—the rape of the Sabine women—shows the Eternal City as established on sexual violence. Beyond the well-known tales staged in Greek tragedy, ancient history and myth are replete with these topics and others (such as torture, homophobia, and infanticide).

These problems still plague the world today. In many global conflicts, social problems, and gender issues, rape is used as both a tactic in war for territory (Darfur, the Congo, Bosnia) and as a post-victory reward for soldiers (Berlin after World War II). The politics of abortion (both in the U.S. and abroad), discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the use of torture in warfare provide additional examples. Sexual exploitation and rape—repeated events in ancient myth, art, and literature—are pressing issues on college campuses, and in the minds of college students, who often respond to what they’re studying with great distress and even anger.

The ancients offer, not only for classicists but for faculty and students in many fields, a set of very focused and concentrated texts, artworks, and stories that place these sensitive topics in high relief and thus allow us to think about post-classical and modern social, political, and personal problems in a larger context. They also can help faculty to discuss some of these difficult issues in class by offering that context to students and then leading students to make links between the ancient world, today’s world, and their own experiences and opinions. Such a sequence can help students to negotiate and manage their own reactions to these upsetting issues and materials, and to develop a more balanced and nuanced understanding.

This seminar will explore both troubling subjects in classical studies and the ways in which faculty can prepare for teaching them, and for integrating the ancient materials into studies in other fields. Primary readings will include: Euripides, Trojan Women, Andromache; selections from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey; selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses; selections from the comedies of Plautus and Terence. Secondary readings will be drawn from classical scholarship, anthropology, and modern news media.


Sharon L. James is an associate professor of classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has published numerous articles on women and gender in Latin literature, as well as Learned Girls and Male Persuasion: Gender and Reading in Roman Love Elegy (Berkeley, 2003). She is completing a major book project, Women in Greek and Roman New Comedy, and will soon turn to studies on Ovid and on depictions of rape in antiquity.

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The Program

Charles Darwin coined the term “tree of life” to describe the branching pattern of species in nature as a result of descent with modification. His poetic description of how life evolved has been the subject of decades of research at universities across the globe. The “Tree of Life,” then, promises to become a key metaphor for the biological sciences. With its ability to frame various forms of life within the context of relationships, it serves as a fundamental concept and teaching tool within all facets of the biological sciences, including genomics, genetics, anthropology and ecology. This seminar will examine ways to integrate the “Tree of Life” metaphor into a range of undergraduate biology courses. Seminar sessions will be held at both NYU’s Washington Square campus and the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

This seminar will introduce participants to the basics of phylogenetic tree building, using both morphology and cutting edge DNA sequence analysis. Participants will work with biological specimens drawn from AMNH’s extensive exhibition halls and collections. In addition, they will learn how to use DNA sequence data to construct phylogenetic trees. We will see how the “Tree of Life” not only underlies all branches of Life Sciences, but also helps to explain patterns of the descent of organisms. The “tree’s base” centers on the relationships of multi-cellular microbes, as well as the most basic relationships between species of plants and animals, while the “tips of the tree” focus on the use of DNA sequencing and genomics to study how different species populations are related to one other. The “Tree of Life” can add a temporal and structural dimension to teaching that other approaches cannot: it can be used to teach evolution or genetics in basic biology courses, and/or used to augment upper level courses on evolution and genomics.

Relevant readings will be drawn from the research literature in evolutionary biology and genomics, including the convener’s own studies. This seminar is suitable for faculty with a foundation in biological science or anthropology but no previous experience in genomics is required.


Rob DeSalle is a curator in the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History. He is affiliated with the AMNH Division of Invertebrate Zoology where he leads a group of researchers working on molecular systematics, molecular evolution, population and conservation genetics, and evolutionary genomics of a wide array of life forms. His current research uses sequences of genomes from a wide range of organisms to model how the tree of life branches. More recently, he has focused on bacterial relationships and the problems involved in reconstructing a tree of life for bacteria. The research involves using new next generation sequencing approaches and high throughput computing. Dr. DeSalle is also adjunct professor at Columbia University (Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology), Distinguished Professor-in-Residence at New York University (Department of Biology), adjunct professor at City University of New York (Subprogram in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior), resource faculty at the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, and professor at the AMNH Richard Gilder Graduate School. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Mitochondrial DNA, and author of two new books Race: Debunking a Scientific Myth (Texas A&M Press, 2011) and Brain: Big Bang, Belief and Behavior (Yale University Press, 2012).

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