Horizon: Where Land Meets Sky

[Miracles rest simply] upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears hear what there is about us always.
WILLA CATHER, Death Comes to the Archbishop, 1958 

Horizon is nothing but the limit of our own sight

Winter and Spring Books For Horizon: Where Land Meets Sky

Winter Seminar

Scott Momaday House Made of Dawn
Lucy Tapahanso Blue Horses Rush In
Lucy Tapahanso The Women are Singing
Leslie Silko Yellow Woman and a Beauty of Spirit
Paul Zolbrod Diné bahané: Navajo Creation Story
Alphonso Ortiz Tewa World
Elsie Clews Parsons Tewa Tales

Spring Seminar

Dan Usner Sabino's Map, Life in Chimayó's Old Plaza
Gregory Schaaf Ancient Ancestors

Modular (Horizons and Stars Sky and Culture students)

J. McKim Malville Boulder Preshistoric Astronomy in the Southwest
Johnson Books Earth and Sky: Visions of the Cosmos in the Southwest. Ed. Williamson and Farrar

Week 1

  • Brief Introduction to the theme Horizons, how the elements of the class fit together and build 
    • Frasca and De Danaan bring in a piece of work and introduce selves in relationship to theme of program. De Danaan speaks of the respect required in order to enter into the work. Our work is to study and learn from texts and images but not to be imitative of others' cultures.
  • Governance: Select group or groups to work toward field trip: De Danaan facilitates. Recommend a look at Shor and Freire re: liberatory education. Reflection on own participation a key. You will be assigned tasks/things about which to make decisions.
  • Covenant: Faculty draft/student conversation and addenda: De Danaan and Frasca
  • Seminar preparation workshop: De Danaan facilitates. What to read, how to notate, use of bibliography, footnotes, prefaces, book jackets, introductions. Look up all vocabulary words. If something is hard to understand, do your best to prepare to explain it to someone else. If you really can't get it, bring in the question with all the work you've already done on it. The study questions: Everyone is required to respond to the study questions. One typed page to be prepared for program book. A copy will be collected on Monday of each week (a box at De Danaan's office). Faculty will occasionally review. The book will be available on Tuesdays for your review. Another copy of your response page and other response notes are to be brought to Tuesday seminar meetings. 

  Organization of seminars: First 5-10 Minutes. (Approximately 1:20) Group Facilitating that week gives any special direction, extra questions, etc. to whole group. 

Seminar study groups 1:30-2:30 Each group works with answers to the study questions provided and any other guidance from facilitating group.

2:30-3:30 The group facilitating uses time according to its plan: report of discussion, faciliates any special writing or other exercise to help deepen understanding of the text. This could include reading aloud, writing responses in class, acting or dancing the text, etc. 

Study Questions: For each new book, answer the following.

a. Who is the author. What else has she or he written? What have been the stepping stones of

their lives? 

b. What reviews have been written about his or her work? What has been said about the work?

c. Who is the intended audience for the book?

d. What if any awards has the book or author received?

e. What is the purpose of the book? The motivation of the author in writing the book?

The Role of The River that Runs Uphill: to be read on line during the quarter as supplementary text but not specifically seminared on. William H. Calvin , the author, "is a theoretical neurophysiologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine with a long association with neurosurgeons, zoologists, and psychiatrists. He studied physics at Northwestern University, made the transition to neuroscience at M.I.T. and Harvard Medical School, and received his Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from the University of Washington in 1966." A number of other articles by him are on line as well as titles of his other books. The other text to be used in this way (as model and personal reflection) is Canyon Solitude by Patricia C. McCairen. Chose one or both or neither for enrichment and thoughts about your own possibilities for using a journal in the spring.

  • Divide group into six or seven groups of five for seminar study groups
  • Decide which group has which week to prepare to facilitate 
  • Give time for groups to meet, exchange phone numbers, get acquainted, make plans 
  • Divide into section A and B for Wednesday morning classes 
  • Governance time: First decisions. Ex. having coffee and tea available throughout day; weekly potluck organization/responsibility; begin to plan a midquarter one day retreat.


To Be Announced (During first two weeks. Probably a Thursday)

  • Library print and internet workshop: Everyone learns to look up book reviews, authors; how to do annotated bibliography; MLA guidelines.
Week 2 Scott Momaday House Made of Dawn

Additional study questions: What is the significance of the title of the book? Who are the characters? Outline their motivations, characteristics, contribution to the story? What is the "spine" of the book or central story line? Where is the book set? What are specific, important moments or turning points in the book?

Week 3 Paul Zolbrod Diné bahané: Navajo Creation Story

Additional study questions: What are the issues, ethical and otherwise, involved in translating and epic work from a language and culture other than your own? What gives Zolbrod permission to do this kind of work? What other translations are available in English? Who produced them and what are their credentials? Who is Hastiin Klah and would it make a difference to have a Navajo's translation of this work? What differences? Begin a visual representation of the worlds, the characters you meet in these worlds and their significance.

Week 4 Paul Zolbrod Diné bahané: Navajo Creation Story

The River That Runs Uphill W.H. Calvin http://weber.u.washington.edu/~wcalvin/bk3/bk3ch1.htm

Prologue and Day 1

Canyon Solitude Patricia C. McCairen

Additional study questions: Relate the Navajo Creation Story to Momaday's book. How does the Creation Story relate to the theme of Horizons? What is your personal creation story? What world are you living in? Who are the characters and what experiences are you having that might lead you to seek a different horizon? Develop a rough draft or plan for an expression of your creation story.

Week 5 Lucy Tapahonso Blue Horses Rush In

The River That Runs Uphill Day 2 and 3

Given what you know of the Navajo Creation Story, how do you understand Tapahanso's work to be informed by this ideology/cosmology? Select one of Tapahonso's pieces to analyze and interpret carefully in terms of imagery, use of language, and meaning. Select another piece and write a personal response or use her style to create a piece of your own to share.

Week 6 Lucy Tapahanso The Women are Singing

The River That Runs Uphill Day 4 and 5

If you were to meet Lucy Tapahonso, what would you like to ask her? What would you like to tell her about her work? Do an analysis of one piece of her work and write a personal response to another (as above).

Week 7 Leslie Silko Yellow Woman and a Beauty of Spirit

The River that Runs Uphill Day 6 and 7

Take a week to breathe. Use sense you haven't used this quarter to hear Silko's words. Try touch, taste, smell. Think about all that she evokes. Write or talk or draw about the experience of doing this.

Week 8 Alphonso Ortiz Tewa World

The River that Runs Uphill Day 8 and 9

Ortiz was a Tewa anthropologist (as you'll discover in researching his bio). What special implications does this have? For him? For the Tewa people? For us as readers? Make a schematic drawing/graph of your understanding of the central structure of Tewa society and the related beliefs and values. Find one thing especially difficult for you to understand in the book and come up with a way to explain it to others.

Week 9 Elsie Clews Parsons Tewa Tales

The River that Runs Uphill Day 10 and 11

Parsons was also an anthropologist. Describe her method. Did she work through a translator? What implication for the tales she collected? What ethical problems does she face and how does she resolve them? Or does she? Take one tale and create a visual representation of it. Compare at least one tale with the Navajo Creation story. How does Ortiz book help you (if it does) understand the Tales? Use specific examples of ways in which social structure or values and beliefs are reflected in the tales.

Week 10 Review: 

Finish The River that Runs Uphill if you are reading it.

What Horizons do the images represented in our books this quarter open for you? What sense of the solid and not so solid, the concrete and the abstract meeting? What sense of climbing into new worlds? New world views? Different sense of possibilities and promises? How will you carry these images forward into the next quarter? Into your personal work?

During the last Tuesday and Wednesday class, each student will have opportunity to present answers to these questions and also present their own personal creation story begun in Week 4.