POWER and LIMITATIONS of DIALOGUE
(Still Tentative) Syllabus
Instructors: Patrick Hill (x 6595) with Sarah Pedersen
"We are cursed to believe that we speak the same language."
(Anatol Rapoport, Fights, Games and Debates)
"Words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in a silver setting." (Hebrew Testament, Book of Proverbs, 25:11)
"If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence." (George Eliot, Middlemarch)
"Attention is akin to the capacity for empathy, the ability to suffer or celebrate with another as if in the other's experience you know and find yourself. However, the idea of empathy, as it is popularly understood, underestimates the importance of knowing another without finding yourself in her.... Attention lets difference emerge without searching for comforting commonalities, dwells upon the other, and let's otherness be...." (Sara Ruddick, Maternal Thinking)
"In order to understand what another person is saying, you must assume it is true and try to imagine what it might be true of." (George Miller, "Thirteen Maxims for the Mind")
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Ghandi)
3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Movie/video and discussion Library 1600
Individual Conferences Times and locations TBA
3:00--6:00 p.m. Lecture
Integrative Seminar Library 1600
Probable Lecture Topics
(in probable order of use)
*Elbow, Peter, "Methodological Doubting and Believing: Contraries in Inquiry," from Embracing Contraries
Tannen, Deborah, You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation
*Belenky et al, "Procedural Knowledge: Separate and Connected Knowing," from Women's Ways of Knowing
Coetzee, J.M., The Lives of Animals"
Yancey, Philip, What's So Amazing about Grace?
"Race in America", New York Times ten-part series
Guinier, Lani, "Race: Creating a National Conversation"
Senge, Peter, The Fifth Discipline (selected chapters)
*Harding, Sandra, "Thinking from the Perspective of Lesbian Lives" and
"Re-inventing Ourselves as Other" from Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?
Thinking from Women's Lives
Bohn, David, On Dialogue
Brown, Beverly A., In Timber Country: Working People's Stories of Environmental Conflict and Urban Flight
Hacker, Andrew, Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile and Unequal
(The three asterisked items, xeroxed excerpts from the books, are packaged as a single unit and available in the College bookstore.)
(On Closed Reserve):
Hill, Patrick, "The Search for Commonality in a World of Diversity",
in Frontiers of American Philosophy
_____________, "Multi-culturalism: the Crucial Philosophical and Organizational Issues" in Change
_____________, "The Structure of Controversy," in Philosophical Studies
Rapoport, Anatol, Fights, Games and Debates
Films and Videos (to be whittled)
"Men and Women Talking Together"
“Dead Men Walking"
"The Mystery of Chi"
"The Color of Fear"
"Wounded Healers" "Man Facing Southeast"
"Hope out of the Ashes"
"The Steel Shudder"
"Do the Right Thing"
"My So-called Life”
There are seven major requirements in the program.
1. Attendance and participation at all lectures, films, and seminars. The books, lectures, and films of each week have been constructed as coherent units with distinctive intellectual and pedagogical purposes relative to our topic. Participation in each program-activity of the week is vital to the success of the weekly "Integrative Seminar" and to the writing of your mid-term and the two end-of-quarter "Integrative Papers" (See below). Consequently, activities which are unavoidably missed must be made up as quickly as possible in two ways: (a) acquainting yourself with the missed material (e.g. by having a friend tape the lecture, by obtaining the film, or by buying pizza (with anchovies? ?) for someone in exchange for a re-cap of a missed seminar) AND (b) by writing up in your Portfolio (see below for a description of the Portfolio) a summary of what occurred during the missed meeting. The hardest thing to make up is a missed seminar.
2. The second major requirement of the program are the two "Integrative
Papers," which bring together or crystallize your reactions to the lectures,
books, films, and seminar-discussions into coherent (not to say `conclusive')
essays on the major themes and issues of the whole of the program.
The Integrative Papers are not in any sense research papers. They are essentially built upon and reacting to the assigned readings and films, the lectures, our discussions, your in-seminar writings and to the notes which make up your Portfolio. The Integrative Papers do indeed demand sustained conversations with your seminar-colleagues (with or without pizza) and some hard thinking on your own; but if you are attentive to and engaged with the conversations of the program, these papers ought to flow naturally from the paragraphs and pages you have been writing from day to day and week to week in your Portfolio.
Please pay special attention to the three defining characteristics of an integrative paper: personal, comprehensive and comparative. The instructor will explain these characteristic in the first two weeks of class.
The focus of each of the two "Integrative Papers" is as follows:
a) My Progress and Blockages with Dialogue:
? A Personal/Philosophical Reflection on your own progress or lack thereof with the implementation of program themes into your life. This essay should flow from and crystallize the thrice-weekly entries in the "Personal Reflections" section of your Portfolio. (See below.)
? Length: between 1,500 and 3,000 words.
? Due on Wednesday of the tenth-week and distributed to all members of your small discussion group. To be discussed in class on the following Thursday.
? This essay substitutes for the Fall-quarter self-evaluation for those continuing with the program into Winter quarter.
b) The Goals, the Power and the Limitations of Dialogue.
? The "Goals" section of this essay, for which additional guidelines will be given in class, should reference centrally the many goals that will be discussed in class, but ultimately focus on how you yourself are framing the goals of dialogue in your life.
? This essay on the power and limitations should focus on your own views but must include as well the views of at least two other classmates with different views from whom you have learned at lot.
? A short statement about the most important things learned about the power and limitations of dialogue from at least five of the books and five of the films/videos of the fall quarter.
? Length: between 2,500 and 3,500 words.
? Due 48 hours before your scheduled evaluation-conference in the week of June9 to 15.
3. Third major requirement of the program: A take-home, open-book, consult-your-classmates, "Midterm Exam." This mid-term exam (depending on how things are going) may turn into two shorter exams or more likely one lengthier exam following the eighth-week of classes. The exam will test your comprehension of and provide you feedback on the basic concepts introduced in the program. Students experiencing difficulty will receive help and several opportunities to re-do the exam. Everyone willing to work will eventually pass.
4. Seven to Nine short "Book/article-Response" papers of one-to-two pages in length. The instructor will provide guidelines for the response to each book. These papers form the basis for discussion in the "Book Seminars" which will take place on most Thursday evenings. The papers need to be duplicated five times: one copy to the instructor, and one each to the members of your small seminar group. The papers are due before the seminar and must be on time; or there is no point to the seminar. The papers are your "ticket of admission" to the seminar.
6. Sixth requirement of the program: a deep commitment to the Program Covenant, which includes centrally a willingness to enter into "conversations of respect" with people with very different opinions, and a willingness to help each other think, speak and behave in less biased ways. See separate handout on the program covenant and on "conversations of respect."
In order to make this requirement more than a rhetorical celebration of diversity, special attention will be given in the program to the accessing of diverse views. In both your "Integrative Papers" each student should give evidence of having learned from people with views quite different from one's own. One good way to do this is to enter into sustained conversations of respect with such people. One of the worst ways we can do it is to project out of our own limited experience what we suppose they might say were we to speak with them.
7. Last requirement: all students are required to keep a
"Program Portfolio". The instructor will review these portfolios
in detail in the process of evaluating your work for the quarter.
Additionally, he will review your portfolio during one-on-one conferences
and may ask from time to time to see portfolios randomly.
The Program Portfolio should have separate and distinctly labeled sections:
A) Notes on lectures and responses to lectures
B) Notes on seminars and responses to seminars. Include things learned from others.
C) Notes on films and responses to films.
D) Notes on books. (Some students take copious notes while reading a book. Other students vigorously mark up the text itself. Do what works for you. The bottom line, as noted below, is the quality of your Integrative Essays. The next-to-bottom line is that there must be visible evidence during seminar and afterwards that each assigned book and article has been seriously interacted with.
E) Book/article Response Papers
F) Mid-term exam(s), including the instructor’s comments and any optional re-writes you may have done.
G) Personal Reflections. This section of your portfolio should be looked upon as the notes you are taking for the first of the Integrative Essays described above. This section must include a self-monitoring of your progress and feedback from trusted (but honest) friends/colleagues/classmates. A special section of these Reflections should be earmarked for your semantic allergies (a concept to be explained in class) and their treatment.
H) Integrative Essays: Note: this is the singlemost important section of your portfolio. Lest the portfolio requirements be interpreted too mechanically, it needs to be said that excellence here can make up for many an idiosyncrasy elsewhere. Every other section of the portfolio should be used to feed the quality of this section.
I) Peer Evaluations. By the third week of the program, students will find themselves conversing and working with a small, relatively constant group of classmates. At the end of the quarter, students will be asked to provide feedback on the preparation, contributions and progress of the four-to-five students with whom they have interacted most regularly.
J) Program Handouts.
K) Media Watch. Each student will choose and monitor one regularly scheduled radio or television show or internet site that purports to be seriously exchanging opinions about controversial issues. Minimally twenty hours should be invested in listening/watching. In addition to the notes taken in the monitoring, the section should conclude with a two-page essay on the strengths and weaknesses of the site as a contribution to societal understanding.
L) Log of Hours
M) Absences and Latenesses. See Covenant for expectations. This section of the portfolio should detail how excusably missed classes and seminars have been made up.
N) Self-Evaluation. Given the nature and focus of this program, the self-evaluation is required. (It can be looked on as a summary of the two integrative essays, possibly softened a bit in view of its importance for your employment possibilities. Printed guidelines of a general sort for self-evaluations are available in the College's Advising Office in Library 1400.