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Network Summer 2007

Network Summer 2007 will be held from June 11 to June 15, 2007 at New York University's Washington Square campus.

The following seminars will be offered:

American History through Indigenous Eyes
Archival and Special Collections – Building, Caring for, and Using the Collections
Bio2010:From Epidemics to Epidemiology - Tubersulosis: A Returning Threat
Educating for Civic Engagement: Making Democracy An American Reality
Ensuring Successful Online Learning
Foundations of Online Course Development
From 9/11 to Katrina: Disaster in the Classroom and the News Media
Global Women’s Movements
Multiculturalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Contemporary New York Writing
The Origins of Political Values in Ancient Greece and Their Continuation into Modern Political Thought
Teaching Business Ethics
Teaching Creative Writing and Poetry
The Voice from Sinai: The Sacred Scriptures of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims
The Program

American History is many stories woven together through a multitude of voices. Of the many voices with stories to tell, American Indian voices remain largely unheard – not silent, merely unheard. This seminar will focus on how North American Indian views of U.S. history are not only different, but more importantly shaped by indigenous worldviews which fundamentally challenge the ideal homogeneous narrative voice of U.S. history textbooks.

In God Is Red (1973), Vine Deloria,Jr. suggested the primary reason for the misunderstanding, conflict and continued failure of the dominant society to hear what American Indians are saying resides in the two very different conceptions of history held by the Native Peoples and the European settlers of this land. While the settlers of this land thought of their history as a temporal phenomenon: a series of events unfolding along an imagined linear path of progress, American Indians thought of their history spatially: as the unique relationship of Peoples to a place – a particular landscape on the planet. Every major event, movement or so-called "period” of American history was experienced very differently and often had consequences for the indigenous peoples of this land quite different from than those experienced by the settler citizens of the United States.

The opening of the West, Lewis and Clark’s "corps of discovery”, the policy of Indian Removal were experienced by most indigenous peoples east of Mississippi river as the beginning of many Trails of Tears. How ironic that with the passage of the Kansas- Nebraska Act (1854) the Civil War started on Indian lands. During the two decades preceding this act, dozens of tribal nations within the eastern United States of America experienced their own trails of tears as they were removed to eastern Kansas only to have their new lands turn into Bleeding Kansas.

The Civil War, the reign of the robber barons, the rapid industrialization of the United States during the late 19th and early 20th century, the two world wars of the 20th century and many major historical events provide the context for examining how American history yields a very different picture when seen through indigenous eyes.

Manifest destiny, the "winning of the west” the march of progress and the ideologies surrounding the idea of civilization itself will be examined through indigenous eyes, in order to suggest that U.S. history cannot be the harbinger of democracy until all voices are heard. By examining major U.S. historical events and movements as seen through indigenous eyes teachers can also explore how the idea of history itself might be enriched by indigenous worldviews.


Daniel R. Wildcat is a Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma. He is director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) Center and American Indian Studies faculty member at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Dr. Wildcat received B.A. and M.A. degrees in sociology from the University of Kansas and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He has taught at Haskell for 20 years.

Dr. Wildcat has been an invited speaker on North American Indian worldviews at Harvard Medical School, Creighton University, University of Kansas Medical School, Kansas State University, University of California (Riverside) and many other institutions of higher education. Dr. Wildcat is frequently asked to speak to community groups and organizations on the issue of cultural diversity. In 1992 Dr. Wildcat was honored with the Heart Peace Award by the Kansas City organization The Future Is Now for his efforts to promote world peace and cultural diversity.

The Program

As faculty in the humanities and social sciences become increasingly interested in using primary sources in their teaching, and as our circulating collections become more and more interchangeable, special collections have moved much closer to the center of a library’s mission. Building those collections, working with rare and unique materials ranging from incunabula to 20th-century first editions, from medieval manuscripts to the archives of modern individuals and institutions, from papyri to video tape, is a unique challenge. Providing intellectual access to such materials and giving them the proper care is equally challenging, as is assisting in the use of these materials by patrons ranging from sophisticated researchers to novice undergraduates.

This seminar will examine the changes that are taking place in special collections/archives, address specific issues and identify best practices. The seminar will address the range of special collections/archives facing libraries including:

  • acquisition/selection
  • cataloging rare materials
  • archival processing in the world of EAD
  • curation
  • working with donors
  • access
  • security
  • environmental issues/li>
  • preservation
  • providing reference service
  • integration into the curriculum

Print and non-traditional media, including digital archive issues will be covered.

The emphasis of the seminar will be on the changing landscape of special collections – new standards, new users and new challenges. Workshop sessions will be a mix of lecture and hands-on. Seminar participants will develop a special collections/archives project based on a need in their home institution and present their work on the closing day of the session.


Michael Stoller has been Director of Collections and Research Services at New York University since 2001. His position has responsibility for all three of NYU’s special collections: the Fales Library, the Tamiment Library, and the University Archives. In addition to overseeing NYU’s $10.5-million materials budgets, he is also responsible for the Library’s Preservation Department. Prior to his arrival at NYU, he was Director of the Humanities and History Libraries at Columbia University and was previously History Bibliographer to Columbia’s Libraries. Mr. Stoller has a B.A. in History and Philosophy from the University of Minnesota and an M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University in Medieval History. Mr. Stoller lives in Greenwich Village with his dog, and his daughter also lives and works in Manhattan.

The Program

Many critics have pointed out that the current curriculum for undergraduate biology students in the U.S. is not congruent with the demands of modern life sciences for quantitative skills. The Bio 2010 report from the National Academies emphasized the need to enhance the role of mathematics and natural sciences in educating future life scientists. Peter Bruns from HHMI has pointed out the vital role of the faculty in any effort to transform the curriculum: biology faculty can add quantitative material in their courses, while mathematics, physics and chemistry faculty can introduce modules in their courses that relate to the life sciences. In 2005 the FRN undertook a program of workshops to develop connections among the mathematics and natural science faculty who teach biology students. The goal is to promote integrative science education projects among faculty from different departments. Our initial offering was a survey of promising subjects for collaborative interactions among biologists, chemists, mathematicians and physicists. Next we convened two more focal workshops, one on species and speciation, the other on genes in populations. Both workshops emphasized the quantitative role of genetics, molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatics in addressing problems in modern biology. Participants included faculty from departments of mathematics and computer science, biology, chemistry and physics. One outcome of these workshops is a series of integrative modules that connect topics of biological interest such as sickle cell anemia or osmosis to mathematics, chemistry and physics courses.

This summer the FRN offers a workshop using tuberculosis as a topic to foster faculty collaborations in mathematics and biology. The re-emergence of tuberculosis as a growing threat reflects the interplay of drug resistance, susceptibility of immuno-compromised patients, economic, social and structural issues, and increased population flux due to travel and immigration. While tuberculosis rates in the United States have been in almost constant decline since the beginning of the 20th century, annually, more than 4 million people worldwide are diagnosed with tuberculosis, and 1 million die, making its global toll second only to HIV/AIDS. Within the United States, tuberculosis mostly affects racial minorities and the foreign-born, who together account for 82% of tuberculosis morbidity.

*Please read: Special application requirements for Bio 2010 *


To apply for the Bio 2010 seminar, please note the following requirements. To be eligible for this seminar, individuals must apply in teams of three. Each participant in the team must be from a different discipline (biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics or computer science.) Each participant in the team should fill out an individual application, and the applications from your team must be mailed together in one set. We only require one letter of support for your team.


Sylvain Cappell is Professor of Mathematics at New York University. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. Dr. Cappell has been the recipient of several awards and distinctions, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and his research on algebraic and geometric topology and algebraic geometry has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and book chapters.

Amy Davidow is Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Davidow, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics, is an international authority on tuberculosis epidemiology. Her program will emphasize the importance of linking epidemiology, statistics and mathematical modeling in approaching the study of infectious and non-infectious diseases. Together with leading laboratory researchers and clinicians, she will present the public health and biological aspects of tuberculosis, including its history and life cycle, the role of drug treatments and social factors.

Neville Kallenbach is Professor of Chemistry at New York University. Dr. Kallenbach's research focuses on the biophysical chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids. His recent research is directed at design and synthesis of functionally active peptides and biomaterials. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and has received numerous awards for his work including the prestigious Golden Dozen Teaching Award, and the Herman and Margaret Sokol Award for Research

The Program

According to the latest available statistics on voting, American voter turnout ranks near the bottom among democratic nations, while the income, education, health and housing gaps between the rich and poor multiply at astounding rates. In many respects, civic engagement in America is on the decline and democracy, as we have known it over the years, has not manifested itself as a reality for all Americans. In response to this sad state of affairs, many leading colleges and universities have issued clarion calls for the education of citizens and future leaders not only about their professional duties but also about their civic responsibility.

Toward this end, the two-week seminar is structured to explore research from a variety of social science disciplines in an effort to understand as well as to promote more responsible civic engagement among the students that we teach, mostly because civic engagement is deemed to be the engine that drives democracy. Our method, however, will be to go beyond the traditional focus on America’s political institutions, processes and the notions of democracy espoused by our founding fathers. Instead, participants will critically assess of the current state of democracy from a variety of perspectives. During the second week in Washington, D.C., we will apply our knowledge in practical ways through site visits and interactions with policy experts, which will provide the opportunity to understand the human dimensions of the issues that we analyzed during our week at NYU.

Seminar’s Anticipated Experiences, Queries and Conclusions:


The seminar will explore the following enumerated queries: (i) In which different ways is democracy defined, and how do our definitions of democracy influence the nature of civic engagement as well as public policy? (ii) How does the American form of democracy differ from democracy in other advanced, industrialized countries? (iii) What is the relationship between power and democracy? (iv) To what extent does democracy in America vary, depending on native versus immigrant status, gender, class or racial backgrounds? (v) In what ways has our democracy created more opportunities for the amelioration of the historical bases of gender, racial and class discriminations? (vi)What is civic engagement? (vii) What is the relationship between civic engagement and democracy? (viii) Is all civic engagement good for democracy? (ix) If not, how has civic engagement in American society been used to discriminate against and to marginalize groups in American society? (x) What role have governmental policies and political choices played in creating privilege, marginalization, discrimination and the perpetuation of inequalities in education, housing and wealth accumulation in American society? (xi) To what extent have existing inequalities attenuated citizens’ investment in American democracy, its traditions and its future? (xii) What models for proposed change provide the best possibilities for improving the quality of civic engagement, access to democracy, increase in multiracial understanding and the eradication of gross inequality in American life? (xiii) What responsibility does higher education have to educate citizens in socially-responsible ways and what are the best ways to achieve those ends?

Day-to-Day Activities:


Each day, the NYU seminar will grapple with one or more of the aforementioned queries by focusing on social science research and data. In an effort to engage the literature, our seminar will go beyond a mere discussion of the themes to utilize role-playing, debating, briefs, in-class writing exercises and media presentations for an understanding of the human dimension of these issues.

The seminar will be based on a book as well as a seminar packet of book chapters and articles. We will, above all, engage in critical analysis of the readings and issues in ways that encourage problem-solving techniques among ourselves as educators and also among our students. Apart from factual discussion of the contents of the three prescribed texts, our critical assessments of the texts will not only focus on substantive issues but also on pedagogical issues related to the process of educating for citizenship.

During the second week, the seminar will convene in Washington, D.C. While in the nation’s capital, participants will gain perspective on the 13-point questions from a variety of expert guest speakers. Participants will interact with individuals who are working in a variety of organizations to improve society on multiple levels. Combining lectures, site visits and tours, the participants will develop their own insights about the role the higher education can play in addressing these issues.

In many respects, the questions being explored in this seminar are derived from John Dewey’s contention that relational living is an important hallmark of democracy. If Dewey’s classic sentiments are accurate, then educators have a responsibility to teach their students that the actions of one group of citizens must be assessed in terms of their influence on the lives of others. That is why an important aspect of our seminar is its exploration of issues that prompt us to educate our students for civic engagement in ways that promote deliberation as well as cross-cultural and multi-racial understanding. Invariably, the stability of our democracy depends on the ability and willingness of citizens to engage and, then, embark on problem solving across individual differences in an effort to improve the quality of life and to make democracy a reality for all of American citizens as well as our foreign-born friends, who live among us as Americans.


Yvette Alex-Assensoh, who holds the Ph.D. in Political Science from The Ohio State University, and a law (J.D.) degree from Indiana University Law School, is a political scientist who researches on the politics of race, civic engagement, urban politics and immigration. She is the author of three books, an edited volume and a dozen book chapters and refereed journal articles. Yvette, who writes occasional guest columns in Indiana newspapers, has had her research funded by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, Spencer Foundation, CIES and the Ford Foundation. In addition to her work on civic engagement, she is a frequent convener of workshops on diversity and equity issues in higher education.

Mary Ryan has over 25 years of experience in the field of Experiential Learning. She is the founder and President of the Washington Internship Institute, an academic internship program in Washington, D.C. The institute has partnered with institutions across the country to provide academically relevant, credit-bearing internships for students, who spend a semester or a summer in Washington, D.C., experiencing a "doing and reflecting” model of internship.

The Program

Numerous challenges associated with online learning and teaching have been identified. The difficulties of designing, implementing, and facilitating online learning environments often stem from the complexity of providing the diverse types of scaffolds needed for successful and meaningful learning. A great number of tools and guidelines have been created to support online learning and teaching. However, critics suggest that they may emphasize intuitive beliefs that fail to either reflect how students learn or optimize technological affordances. In practice, students often experience difficulty gaining meaningful learning experience without adequate assistance.

In particular, research shows that it is challenging for teachers to promote student problem solving in online learning environments. Some researchers (Hannafin & Land, 2000; Papert, 1987) argue that teachers hold traditional, didactic beliefs and use "old tricks” without substantial, sustainable support for student-centered problem solving. Other researchers note that the difficulty stems from competing curriculum and assessment pressures and limited time and resources needed to initiate and sustain support (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001; Fishman & Krajcik, 2003; Zhao & Frank, 2003).

In response to the proliferation of computers and Internet access, standards and benchmarks that guide teaching and learning practices have been proposed linking technological capabilities to improved student problem solving. For instance, in Technology Foundation Standards for All Students, the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Project identified technologies as "problem-solving and decision-making tools.” NETS also advocates the preparation of teachers capable of integrating technologies into their classrooms to foster "students’ higher order skills and creativity” in Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for All Teachers. Consistent with the rationale behind the standards, proponents claim that through everyday use of computers, students can become technologically literate citizens capable of knowing how to think rather than only what to think (Bransford et al., 2000).

Based on research on student-centered problem-solving, scaffolding, and online learning environments, and instructional design approaches, this seminar seeks to provide both theoretical foundations and practical applications for designing and facilitating online learning environments. This seminar will examine technology-enhanced (open-ended) learning frameworks, principles, and examples. The topics that will be covered include:

  • frameworks that guide research and practice in online learning environments,
  • promises and challenges associated with online learning environments,
  • scaffolds (peer-, teacher-, and technology-enhanced) that facilitate online learning,
  • practical pedagogical strategies effective for online classroom teaching, and
  • successful exemplars of online teaching and learning.

Participants will have opportunities to collaborate in designing (or re-designing) their courses and to exchange their ideas and professional experiences. At the beginning of the seminar, the seminar participants will identify the system (course) of interest to which they want to apply online learning and teaching strategies.


Dr. Minchi Kim is Postdoctoral Scholar in the Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education (CREATE) and the Educational Communications and Technology Program at New York University. Her research focuses on scaffolding students’ scientific problem solving with technology-enhanced learning environments, advancing pedagogical frameworks for learning and teaching in Web-enhanced classes, and integrating emergent technologies into classrooms. Previously, she worked on several projects funded by NSF and the DOE as a Research Assistant at the Learning and Performance Support Laboratory at the University of Georgia. Her research on online learning and scaffolding has been published in numerous journals, such as Journal of Computing in Higher Education, Quarterly Review of Distance Education, Instructional Science, and Distance Learning.

The Program

The choices that faculty members face when designing an online course can be overwhelming. Decisions about what type of content to include, what types of work students will do, and what type of delivery platform(s) to employ impact a course at the most fundamental levels and ripple out to every aspect of online teaching. Developing a successful online course requires an understanding of not only technical issues, but also of learning theory, and in particular, how students learn from multimedia-based teaching materials.

This seminar will combine hands-on technical exploration with readings and discussions of related educational theory, enabling participants to gain a solid understand of the tools available and the many ways they can be custom-tailored to fit specific needs and situations. In addition participants will work collaboratively and on their own to develop course outlines and learning modules, and can begin to adapt existing course to an online environment.

Topics include examinations and comparisons of different course related technologies such as Blackboard, a proprietary course management system; Moodle, a free open-source course management system; and free web-based tools such as wikis, multi-user web pages that viewers can easily edit, and blogs that enable people to readily share text and images online. Participants will also learn how to prepare course materials for effective online delivery using technologies such as PDFs to deliver consistently readable text documents, and JPG or PNG files to display images. Hands-on work will be interwoven with discussions of theory-based approaches to the use of technology and computers such as cognitive flexibility theory, situated cognition, and multimedia learning theory.

The seminar will be structured to provide participants with ample time to work together and collaboratively gain a deeper understanding of the material presented, and also to work individually to develop their own course materials.


Ian David Aronson formerly served as Assistant Professor of Digital Media at Ramapo College of New Jersey, where he was a Faculty Resource Network Scholar in Residence. He is currently a doctoral candidate in New York University’s Educational Communication and Technology program. Since coming to NYU he has worked extensively with program chair Dr. Jan L. Plass to develop innovative online learning environments for a variety of academic uses. His doctoral research focuses on the effects of emotional content and ethnic matching in video-based interactive learning environments. Ian is a graduate of the Stanford University Master’s program in Documentary Film and Video. His most recent book is DV Filmmaking: From Start to Finish (O’Reilly Media).

The Program

Disasters of national and international significance have a way of ingraining themselves in the psyches of all who experience their ramifications. In an educational setting, students and teachers alike have discovered that the onset of a disaster perpetuates a level of critical thinking and reflection that become an integral (and certainly unexpected) part of the classroom environment, the course structure, even the curriculum. Events such as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina, both of which struck in the early days of their respective Fall semesters, introduced the unique challenge of adjusting established subject matter to address the issues that had taken priority in the minds of students. How could a set of previously-articulated course objectives, assignments, and required readings be restructured to accommodate each student’s need to process the devastating happenings that had just taken place?

In this workshop, faculty will explore ways to bring the topic of disaster into the classroom. Looking at models of 9/11 and Katrina, participants will examine strategies to expand syllabi in a variety of disciplines to accommodate the issue of disaster and how it has been portrayed. Faculty will also look at how media coverage of disaster can serve as a form of analysis, and how that can be meaningfully incorporated into various academic subject areas.

Additionally, the seminar will address the issue of dealing with the mental health of students who may have been impacted by disaster. Faculty will look at how to enable students to use the experience of a disaster in order to grow in the areas of writing and reflection. In order to foster a richer understanding of this concept, participants will also gain exposure to writing on a topic for the popular press. Seminar members will select a topic related to disaster and develop a publishable Op-Ed piece. In addition, we will bring in two editors from major publications to talk about the Op-Ed process. The morning sessions of the seminar will be focused on the subject of bringing the topic of disaster into the classroom. The afternoons will be devoted to a workshop on the pieces.


David J. Dent is the author of In Search of Black America, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2000, and the forthcoming American Extremes. He has lectured on the "invisible black majority” at universities across the country. He also an also Associate Professor of Journalism at NYU and a recipient of Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, which is funding research on the mental health impact of relocation of victims of Katrina. In 2005, he led a group of journalism students to the Houston Astrodome to report on resettlement of Katrina victims. His articles have appeared in several publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Book Review and Education Life sections, GQ, Psychology Today, Savoy, Inc., Fortune Small Business, Details, Playboy, Essence and The Washington Post. He has twice received the university’s Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service and has previously served as a workshop leader for the Faculty Resource Network. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

The Program

Despite the fact that women’s movements have emerged around the globe during the 20th century, Western feminist scholars have focused on the U.S. in their histories and theorizing about the evolution of "second-wave” feminism. While these resistance movements have been analyzed within their local and national contexts, more recent scholarship explores the emergence of transitional feminist organizations and the broader global context in which women’s organizing and mobilizing occurs. For example, women’s activism around violence against women, militarism, or sex trafficking (including the U.S.) transcends regional or national boundaries.

This seminar will explore the complex history of the emergence of women’s movements around the globe during the 20th century, with particular attention to indigenous women’s movements. It will deconstruct conventional narratives about "second-wave feminism,” a discourse that marginalizes or erases women’s activisms in other parts of the world. The seminar will also explore "women’s rights” discourse in the U.S. (including among women of color), Africa, the Caribbean, and India. It will be organized thematically and deal with topics such as economic justice, global Black feminisms, sex trafficking, democracy and human rights, land rights, war, LGBT activism, and reproductive rights and health, and violence against women. We will contextualize and interrogate various debates surrounding the significance of activism in the lives of women in particular cultural contexts as well as analyze the meanings of feminist solidarities in a globalizing world. In addition to print sources, several films that focus on women’s activism will be included. Guest lecturers include M. Jacqui Alexander, Zillah Eisenstein, Leslie Fineberg, Patricia McFadden and bell hooks.

Readings for the seminar may include, but are not limited to, The Global Women’s Movement: Origins, Issues and Strategies by Petty Antrobus; The Challenge of Local Feminisms: Women’s Movement in Global Perspective, edited by Amrita Basu; The History of Doing: An Illustrated Account of Movements for Women’s Rights and Feminism in India, 1880-1990, edited by Radhar Kumar; and Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks by Valentine M. Moghadam.


Beverly Guy-Sheftall is founding director of the Women's Research & Resource Center and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women's Studies at Spelman College.She also teaches courses on African American feminist thought and global black feminisms in the doctoral program in women's studies at Emory University. Her most recent book is Gender Talk: The Struggle for Women's Equality in African American Communities (with Johnnetta Betsch Cole).

The Program

"Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," wrote the poet Emma Lazarus in "The New Colossus." These famous lines epitomize the idea that New York City is a city of immigrants, where many different cultural traditions flourish side-by-side. But is it a multiculture, a city of enclaves (at best) and segregated neighborhoods (at worst)? Or is it a cosmopolitan space, as Thomas Bender and others have argued, where cultures meet, interact, and change one another? Do New York’s immigrants and descendants of immigrants aspire to cultural purity, to the preservation of traditions brought to the city from older worlds? Or do they aspire to what the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah calls "cultural contamination”?

This seminar will offer a comparative approach to what is commonly called "multicultural writing” produced by New Yorkers after World War II. Treating New York City as both a historical site and as a literary construct, the course will explore the potential of text-based modes of analysis as the basis for cultural studies. We will use Appiah’s recent philosophical text Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers as an interpretive frame, in order to investigate the ways in which New York writers offer resources that might help us as scholars and teachers to move beyond multiculturalism as we currently understand it.

Primary readings will be chosen in consultation with seminar participants and will be drawn from a variety of genres (including fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction) and a variety of traditions (including but not limited to Jewish American, African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and gay and lesbian). We will also examine texts that defy categories of genre and categorization and thereby offer models for innovation and cultural change.


Cyrus R. K. Patell is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the English Department at NYU. He is the author of Negative Liberties: Morrison, Pynchon, and the Problem of Liberal Ideology (Duke University Press, 2001) and Multicultural Literatures: An Introduction to Emergent Writing in the U.S. after 1940 (forthcoming from NYU Press).

Bryan Waterman is Assistant Professor of English at New York University. He holds a Ph.D. degree in American Studies from Boston University. Dr. Waterman's research has focused on intellectual and cultural histories of early American literature; New York City literary, performance, and knowledge cultures; and literature and the professions. His published works have appeared in the William and Mary Quarterly, Early American Literature, and American Literary History. His book, Republic of Intellect: The Friendly Club of New York City and the Making of American Literature, is forthcoming from the Johns Hopkins University Press. He is currently at work on a book about seduction narratives in the era of the American and French Revolutions.

Professors Patell and Waterman co-teach an undergraduate lecture course entitled "Writing New York” and are collaborating on a cultural history of New York. Last summer, they led the Faculty Resource Network seminar "New York City, American Literature, and The Cosmopolitan Ideal.”

The Program

In 1992 an exhibition in Washington D.C. entitled "The Greek Miracle: Classical Sculpture from the Dawn of Democracy” displayed original sculptures from the Parthenon and other outstanding pieces of classical Greek art. The 2000th anniversary of important reforms implemented in ancient Athens in 508/7 bce was coming up. For many scholars, these reforms represent the foundation of democracy, the first ever in world history. No wonder that the Greek Prime Minister, Constantin Mitsotakis declared in his message for the opening of the exhibition: "The exhibition… celebrates the birth of humanism in Greece twenty-five centuries ago. There the value of the individual was first recognized, and that recognition produced the first self-government on earth — the first democracy… The sculptures in the exhibition are the finest pieces that have survived from Greece’s Golden Age. It is fitting that their first journey from their homeland is to the United States, a country founded on the model of Greek democracy.” A bold statement: Athenian democracy was Greek democracy, and Greek democracy provided the model for American democracy. Is it correct? Many would question especially the second part and claim that modern democracies have multiple ancestries, that no direct line leads from Athenian to modern democracy, and that the political concerns of the Founders of the United States of America differed greatly from those of the leaders of ancient Athens.

Still, the ancient Greeks invented not only democracy but also constitutional thought and theory. Even if this democracy, like all ancient constitutions, did not extend political rights to women, even if it was realized in a society that relied on slave labor, and even if later centuries rejected what they considered a radical or excessive form of democracy, the challenge presented by a provocative, unprecedented constitutional model, the patterns of thought and the theories that had produced it, and the intense discussions surrounding it provided one of the most important legacies of ancient Greece. Immortalized by comprehensive and profound analysis in the works of two of the greatest philosophical minds of all times, Plato and Aristotle, it had a powerful and lasting impact on constitutional thought and developments through the ages.

Moreover, some other political concepts and values that have remained central to politics and political thought even in our modern world originated in ancient Greece: justice (with important antecedents in ancient West Asia and Egypt), liberty, and equality, among others.

It is the purpose of the first part of this seminar to trace the origins and development of these value concepts, together with the evolution of political thought itself, in ancient Greece. We will do this by analyzing how some of the leading early poets and thinkers dealt with them: Homer (beginning of political thought), Hesiod and Solon (justice, order), Aeschylus (liberty), the sophists (equality), and Thucydides (democracy). In the second half of the seminar, specialists in later political thought will discuss with us the later development and use of these concepts (for example by Plato and Aristotle, the Romans, early modern and modern political thinkers). This will help us to understand how value concepts invented under specific conditions in the simple world of ancient Greece persisted, though being developed further, transformed, and adapted to changing conditions, to become values that we still and again cherish in our infinitely more complex modern world. A final session will be devoted to considering ways in which the materials we have read and discussed can be used in today’s teaching: "Thinking through ancient texts in today’s class rooms.”


Kurt A. Raaflaub received his Ph.D. at the University of Basel in Switzerland. He was a Secondary School teacher before entering an academic career. He taught at the Free University of Berlin, Germany, at the height of the Cold War, before joining the faculty at Brown University where he has been teaching since 1978. In 1992-2000 he was co-director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, a research institute for ancient Greek studies in Washington DC. He is David Herlihy University Professor and Prof. of Classics & History as well as Director of the Program in Ancient Studies. He is also holding a three-year appointment as Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence. His main interests cover the social, political, and intellectual history of archaic and classical Greece and the Roman republic, and the comparative history of the ancient world. Recent (co-)authored or (co-)edited books include: Democracy, Empire, and the Arts in Fifth-Century Athens (1998); War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds (1999); The Discovery of Freedom in Ancient Greece (2004); Social Struggles in Archaic Rome (2nd edn. 2005); War and Peace in the Ancient World (2006), and Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece (2006).

The Program

As corporate scandals have proliferated, there has been an increasing call on Op/Ed pages for business schools to include business ethics in their curriculum. The fact that some of the more egregious executive malefactors have MBAs from the nation’s top universities has, no doubt, lent some urgency to this idea. And recently a number of prominent schools have announced, with some fanfare, the formation of business ethics courses and other initiatives. Still, within the academic and business community, doubts remain as to whether or not business ethics is something that can, in fact, be taught.

The argument against teaching business ethics is that, by the time students get to business school, their values and ethics are already well formed through the influence of family, religion, and culture. This misses the point: Business ethics are not personal ethics; rather, they are the ethics of a profession, performing a specific role for society. Persons in such roles are judged by how well they perform their associated professional duties, not by their personal values or proclivities. In this sense, the job of a business ethics course is not unlike that of a legal or medical ethics course. Business professionals, however, differ from doctors or lawyers because they are not licensed by the state or members of a guild. Business is in this sense an "open" profession because people can practice it without obtaining specific degrees or passing tests, and (with some exceptions, like the securities industry) cannot be barred from practice, short of incarceration.

The premise of this seminar is that business schools graduate professionals to whom business ethics can, and should, be taught. And even if their profession is open in the sense just described, such professionals still have a responsibility to perform their role in society with care and integrity.



Two major ideas underlie the concept of professional responsibility in business. First, business professionals work to further the interests of shareholders in a context of fiduciary duty. The fiduciary is long established in law—an agent occupying a position of trust who acts on behalf of a principal, behaving as a reasonably prudent person would in the conduct of his own affairs. Senior corporate officers and directors are fiduciaries per se, and are held by the courts to this standard, but even employees within the ranks of the firm are controlled by the fiduciary imperatives of care, loyalty, and disclosure. Thus a large part of business ethics consists of understanding the fiduciary duties of business professionals in the modern economy. A quick perusal of reported behaviors in the major scandals—business professionals booking expenses as assets to increase reported income, CEOs throwing lavish parties for their spouses using corporate funds, outside directors failing to question wildly nonstandard accounting procedures—shows that many of these were violations of fiduciary duty.

But from the standpoint of the business profession, fiduciary trust is broader than its legal definition: whenever a business professional violates his or her relationship of trust to shareholders, whether or not a specific law is broken, the profession of business is itself degraded, with deleterious effects to the firm and society.

Our second major idea is that business professionals are responsible for the firm’s behavior to stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, employees, and local communities. A firm’s actions may maximize shareholder wealth while imposing negative results on its stakeholders. Unsafe products and misleading advertisements harm consumers; pollution and abrupt plant closings affect local communities; discrimination and unsafe labor practices violate the rights of workers.

There are times when the interests—especially the short run interests—of shareholders are opposed to the interests, and sometimes the rights, of stakeholders. In such situations, absent a binding law, the business professional must decide for the shareholder—and for society—what the actions of the firm will be. Sometimes the ethical high road does not maximize profits. Yet many would argue that society expects business professionals to strike some ethical balance between shareholders and stakeholders. And of necessity they do.

The study of business ethics, then, helps students to see the unavoidable conflicts between the interests of shareholders and stakeholders. Sometimes these are resolved by controlling law; other times, especially in multi-national contexts, they are not. The role of the business professional is to ensure that the firm obeys laws when they exist and to somehow adjudicate these conflicts when there is no law to do so. This is not to say that a business ethics course will provide the answers to these difficult conflicts—it won’t—but it will alert aspiring professionals to the nature of the role they are about to assume.


Bruce Buchanan is C.W. Nichols Professor of Business Ethics at the NYU Stern School. He teaches Professional Responsibility and Corporate Social Responsibility, as well as Marketing and Statistics. He received his B.S.E.E. from M.I.T. in 1977 and his Ph.D. in Business Economics from Columbia University in 1983. His interests include business and professional ethics, the self-regulation of business, ad claim substantiation, market research methodology, and information markets. He has published articles in the Journal of Ad Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Psychometrika, Harvard Business Review, and other journals. He has consulted to numerous companies, and acted as a pro bono consultant to the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in matters of ad claim substantiation. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Business School and the Yale School of Management.

The Program

It has been my experience as a poet and as a teacher of literature (chiefly poetry) that both readers of poetry and those who aspire to write poetry (not entirely the same individuals) are these days likely to be uncertain about the conventions and techniques of verse as it has been practices, enjoyed, and lately repudiated over the centuries of poetry in English. This seminar will be largely concerned with this situation, its causes, its "cure”, and its likely perpetuation.

It is properly axiomatic that one cannot teach poetry, but one can – and inevitably one does – teach the reading of poetry. Reading poetry (especially contemporary poetry) and more to the point, knowing and learning how to read poetry is the most salient undertaking of the seminar in the teaching of poetry that I propose to conduct. But there are other scarcely less obtrusive enterprises which must be confronted: for instance, the possibility of assigning and performing and discussing "exercises” – (I have been given some spectacularly revealing examples by no less a guru than W.H. Auden, who is delighted in this aspect of mastering the secrets of magic craftsmanship by a virtually medieval sense of initiation) – and even, at some point, of criticizing in class the work of individual members…by each other! Ultimately such "workshop” procedures have never found much favor with me, tutorial creature that I am, but surely it is profitable to discuss the matter with incipient teachers of poetry: not to determine with any security for or against, but to be sure we all understand the varieties of vulnerability likely to be encountered in this sort of group behavior ("No, I wanted it to sound clunky right there”).

In the week (more or less) during which we have to concoct together a practice, a procedure which will afford some new (and real) confidence to members of such a seminar facing the daunting task of teaching a literary art of which they themselves may be shaky or at least wavering practitioners, there are, then, three fundamental processes which I would constantly be stirring into the pudding: a) the Matter of Reading Poetry (aspirants have actually expressed the dread of being influenced if they were to read too much); b) the chance of classroom procedures, or rather of which classroom procedures, might be valuable in the achievement of some confidence in writing "one’s own” poetry; and c) the effort to create the evanescent but memorable sense that taking a class in writing is a heartening enterprise – that a community is to be formed whose mutual practices can restore and reward even the most hesitant and flagging will to make poems, and to continue such makings after the community has dispersed.


Richard Howard was born in 1929 in Cleveland and studied at Columbia University and the Sorbonne. After working for some years as a lexicographer, he began making translations from the French and has now published over 200 works, including volumes by De Gaulle, Cioran, Stendhal, Barthes, Deleuze, Foucault, Gracq, Gide, Robbe-Grilletm Butor, and Claude Simon; in 1983 he received the American Book Award for his translation of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs de mal. In 1970 he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his third book of poems, Untitled Subjects, and has since published ten more volumes of verse. He has received an American Academy of Arts & Letters Award for his poetry; a Guggenheim Fellowship; the PEN Translation Prize; the French-American Translation Prize (twice); and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle (2003), as well as a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2002 he was made an Officer of the Legion of Honor, having served as Poet Laureate of New York State (1989), Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets (1973-1993) and President of P.E.N.-American Center (1978-1979). His comprehensive critical study Alone with America: Studies in the Art of Poetry in the United States since 1950, originally published in 1969, was reissued in an expanded edition in 1980. For 11 years he served as the poetry editor of The Paris Review and is currently poetry editor of the Western Humanities Review and, for the last nine years, Professor of Practice in the School of the Arts (Writing Division) at Columbia University. In late 2004, Farrar, Straus & Giroux published Inner Voices: Poems 1963-2003 and Paper Trail: Criticism (Poetry, Prose, Art) 1963-2003.

The Program

Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe that their Scriptures preserve God’s words to humanity, and that those words were spoken uniquely to them. This seminar will lead the participants on an extraordinary journey down through the centuries of script and tradition, sacred and profane, to uncover the human fingerprints on those Words as collected and enshrined in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Quran, sacred texts that have enriched millions of lives.

Deploying the latest Biblical and Quranic scholarship in an accessible way, the seminar will explore how these three powerfully influential books passed from God’s mouth, so to speak, to become the Scriptures that we possess today. It will investigate their origins, contents and canonization, as well as the important role they have and do play in the lives of their communities. Topics to be discussed include how the Scriptures evolved through time from oral to written texts, who composed them and who wrote them, as well as the theological commonalities and points of disagreement among their adherents; and finally, the process of unpacking the Words of God. The seminar will chart the transmission of faith from the spoken word to the printed page, from the revelations on Sinai and Mount Hira to Mamluk ateliers in Cairo and Gutenberg’s press in Mainz, from prophets and scribes to synagogues, churches and mosques.

The primary texts for the seminar will be, of course, the Bible, the New Testament and the Quran, as well as the convener’s own newly published The Voice, the Word, the Books (Princeton 2007), written on special commission from the British Library to accompany its current London exhibition on the Scriptures of the three religions.


Frank E. Peters is Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Religion at New York University who has written extensively on these three great world religions that trace their origins to the faith of Abraham. His books include The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam: A New Edition; the prize-winning two volumes of The Monotheists: Jews, Christians and Muslims in Conflict and Competition; and his forthcoming The Creation of the Quran: The Making of Muslim Scripture (all from Princeton University Press).