Scholars Notebook – October 2014

Scholars   Notebook 

DISCOVER YOUR SDIS IDENTITY

WHAT SDIS DOES NOW AND WHAT IT MIGHT DO FOR YOU

A PANEL PRESENTATION followed by
NEW SDIS OPPORTUNITIES

Saturday, October 18, 2014   1:30 - 3:30 PM

Free and Open to the Public

UCSD Chancellors Complex #111A

Free Parking in the Gilman Parking Structure

As the title implies, this Panel Meeting is intended to serve two main purposes. First, it is intended to help the membership of SDIS, and potential new members, discover the heart of the organization, its Study Groups and more recently, the Breakfast and Dinner groups and the Projects. 

For new members, the face of SDIS is the monthly meetings with their talks by experts in a variety of interesting and often topical areas. However, the vast majority of SDIS activity takes place in the small groups that typically meet monthly and have memberships ranging from 6 to 12 people.

Not only don’t new members know much about ˙the study groups, but many of the long time participants in one or another group have little knowledge of what goes on in the other groups.  The Oct. 18 meeting will serve to correct that, and through that bring the entire SDIS family into a greater sense of coherence and cohesion.

The second purpose, and equally important, is to afford both new and long term members the opportunity to get involved in groups of interest to them, including new study groups and perhaps groups with entirely different formants under the umbrella of SDIS.  SDIS provides not only the opportunity for such new activities but also will provide support for their success, by having experienced facilitators help get a new group started.

If you are interested in having the opportunity to get involved in a study or other type of group activity, or just want a better understanding of what SDIS is all about, then you should definitely attend this meeting!

The meeting will have the following format:

PART I - THE ONGOING INNER LIFE OF SDIS
A BRIEF, INTIMATE AND ANECDOTAL SYNOPSIS OF THE SIX STUDY GROUPS:  COLLOQUY CAFÉ, CULTURE I, CULTURE II, FILM, LITERATURE AND NEUROSCIENCE, AS WELL AS THE BREAKFAST AND SUPPER GROUPS, AND THE PROJECTS, WITH OPPORTUNITY FOR QUESTIONS.  

PRESENTERS:  SAM GUSMAN, MARY ELLEN STRATTHAUS, SUE ROSNER, BEATRICE ROSE, GERRY HORWITZ, DOROTHY PARKER AND BARBARA HECKLER.

PART II - WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE SDIS TO DO FOR YOU? 
ARE YOU A CULTURE-VULTURE?  A LIT CRIT?  A FILM BUFF?  A BRAINIAC?

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE PART OF AN EXISTING GROUP, OR A NEW GROUP ON SUCH TOPICS AS ART, MUSIC, SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, OR POETRY?  WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE SDIS SPONSOR SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT, SUCH AS AN E-MAIL DISCUSSION GROUP OR A SCHOLAR’S WRITER GROUP?

YOU WILL BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS YOUR INTERESTS AND THEN BREAK INTO SMALL TOPICAL CLUSTER GROUPS TO EXPLORE OPTIONS, MEET PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR INTERESTS AND TAKE NEXT STEPS.

 

From the President 

For SDIS in October, the focus is on study groups and their recent companions: breakfast roundtable, supper with scholars, and research projects. This takes us on a tour through time: to the past with a glance at the history of Study Groups; to the present with anticipation of this month's SDIS Program Meeting, Panel Presentation (Study Groups etc) and Open Discussion (Learning Opportunities), October 18th; and a glimpse of the future with plans to contemplate, develop, and build.

For history, see Scholar's Notebook, March 2012, for a "Chronological Look at ...Study Groups". It contains a compilation of comments regarding the formation and features of the following SDIS groups: a) "Works-in-Progress" (first, spontaneously formed study group, members exchange and critique each others' research, Alice Marquis' brain-child); b) "Literature" (formed 1993 to discuss "Literature/Discourse Theory", evolved into a literary discussion group, members take turns hosting meetings, selecting texts, leading discussions); c) "Science"  (formed 1998, stimulated by Bea Rose questioning the relation between brain and mind, members select reading assignments, favor informative, current science books, Rose, facilitator); d) "Colloquy Cafe" (2006, new member meeting generated the idea of a study group that focuses on a single word or concept at each meeting, lively discussion ensues without any attempt at consensus, topics chosen by the group, Gusman, initial facilitator); e) Culture One and Culture Two (initiated 2010, for the study of language meaning, while the broad scope of "culture" led to the study of "justice", i.e., what's the right thing to do, in both culture groups, Gusman, facilitator); f) "Film" (suggested in 2010 at a Board Meeting, group views a selected film at each meeting prior to its discussion, films range from documentaries to classics, foreign films to independents, Barbara Heckler, facilitator). 

Continuity is evident in the existence two and a half years later, in October, 2014, of all six study groups with the exception of "Works-in-Progress" and the topical specialization of focus in Culture One and Culture Two. These and other intra-group changes in sub-topic focus appear in the monthly reports of study groups in the Scholar's Notebook and on our website. Such shifts will also be mentioned in the panel presentation at the SDIS October 18th program meeting. Importantly, the meeting will give SDIS members the opportunity to express and share their interests in other areas of study, as well as variations in format. So, mark your calendar for attending the October 18th meeting. 

Finally, insights into what accounts for the continuing success of almost all of our long-term study groups may be gleaned by examining their organizational components.  Going from the concrete to the abstract, primary elements are the appeal of the topic of interest, the assigned material, the enthusiasm and analytic skills of the members and, in particular, the facilitator (leader). In common across groups, there is a delight in discovering new ways of viewing one's experience, interpreting beliefs, attitudes, or theories, gaining another perspective of the world or its simplest elements, and an implicit acceptance of the democratic process in decision making and in taking turns. Along with this there is a sense of collegiality, mutual respect, comfort in each other's company. Study groups also provide tangible experience in seeking the basic goals of SDIS: intellectual stimulation and discussion; sociability and camaraderie; and access to resources that promote scholarship. In fact, the flavor of SDIS study groups may be summed up by referring to one of our tag lines, "we learn from and with each other". This month's SDIS program meeting of panel presentation and group sharing of ideas provides just this kind of opportunity for growth. 

 


Colloquy Cafe

Our discussion in September covered “anxiety."  There was no update this month for the Study Group.  For further information on the next meeting date, please email M.E. at strattme@san.rr.com

 


Culture One

Culture One is temporarily inactive while searching for a text on the topic:  Evolution and Development of Homo Sapiens.  In the meanwhile, SDIS members interested in this topic are referred to the upcoming CARTA Symposium, "Domestication and Human Evolution,” for information relevant to our Culture One topic.  

In fact, the study of domestication tells us a great deal about our evolution as a species.  "Specifically, it has been suggested that a number of the unique anatomical, neural, developmental, social, cognitive and communicative traits that define our species may be attributive to selection for lack of aggression and to a process of self-domestication.”  Intriguing proposals, cutting-edge research, and far-reaching theories.

The CARTA symposium takes place October 10, 1:00 - 5:30 PM. For information regarding the symposium and abstracts of the talks, see the carta.org website. Please contact Sue R. Rosner, rosnersue@gmail.com, for information regarding Culture One and the Carta Symposium. 

 


Culture Two

At the Culture Two Study Group’s September 26 meeting it completed its discussion of A. Varshnay’s book, Battles Half Won, India’s Improbable Democracy, but it did not complete its discussion of issues related to India. This will continue at its next meeting on Friday, October 24 when the group will discuss the first part of Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City (Bombay Lost and Found). The New York Times Book Review described this book, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, as “Probably the best work of non-fiction to come out of India in recent years.” If you are interested in joining this discussion please contact Sam Gusman at sagus@sbcglobal.net.  There is room to add one or two people to the list of this study group’s participants.

 


Literary Group
 

SDIS's literary group will meet Monday, October 27th, at Larry and Carol Gartner's home at 10:30 a.m.  Please bring your lunch; the Gartners will provide dessert.  Marla Jensen will lead our discussion of  selections from the Welsh writer,  Dylan Thomas.  Please email Marla Jensen for the selections.  If you need directions, please call or email Larry or Carol.

 


Film Group

The Film Group will meet Wednesday October 1 at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Barbara Heckler to view the 2005 Canadian film Water. Receiving high acclaim, Water was one of five finalists for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007.  This film tells the story of a seven year old widow sent to live in an ashram in colonial India in 1938. At that time child marriages were common, and widows were an undesirable part of society.  Contact Barbara at bheckler@san.rr.com for information about attending.

 


Neuroscience Group

The next meeting is TBA, and will be posted on the website soon.  The meetings are usually scheduled on Mondays at 3pm in Bea Rose’s home.  The reading has been ‘Self Comes to Mind’ - Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio.  Visitors are welcome but because of the constraints of space, it is wise to contact Bea at (858) 458-9263 or beabe@me.com beforehand.  

 


Breakfast Roundtable

The “Breakfast Roundtable” gathers at Coco’s monthly, on Mondays from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. for breakfast and roundtable discussion.  Coco’s is located in University City at the intersection of Genesee and Nobel Drive in the Costa Verde Shopping Center.  The next meeting is on Monday, October 2, at 9:30 a.m. To make a reservation, contact Barbara Heckler at bheckler@san.rr.com by the Saturday prior to the meeting.  Don’t hesitate to email at the last minute - we’ll make space!  

 

Supper with Scholars

Meets on the 1st Thursday of every month at 6 pm at Humphreys La Jolla Restaurant, 3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla, CA.  Meals are from the menu (see www.humphreyslajolla.com ). Meeting dates for the rest of 2014 are October 2, November 6, and December 4.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP at least 2 days before each date to Dave Parker at parkerd1954@gmail.com, stating whether you are coming alone or bringing friend(s).  Group discussion is based on suggested topics that have particularly interested the attendees in the last month.  If possible, we select a question that can be addressed from the viewpoints of the various areas of expertise of the participants, who ordinarily represent the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and several professions.  All SDIS members and persons interested in joining SDIS are welcome.

We hope to see you on October 2.

Dave and Dorothy Parker