SCHOLAR'S NOTEBOOK - April 2013

DR. SUSAN CAHILL 

Presents: 


CHINA'S ENDURING LEGACY: THE WEIGHT OF THE PAST

 

 A specialist of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Dr. Cahill will deliver insight into Chinese beliefs about relations between the living and the dead as revealed by artifacts excavated from ancient tombs near Xi'an.  She is a professor of History and East Asian Studies at UCSD who has published widely on Chinese art, history, religion, literature, gender studies and material culture.  

 

Suzanne Cahill received her BA from UC Berkeley in Chinese Art History in 1968, her MA from UCB in Chinese Literature (Tang Dynasty Poetry) in 1976, and her PhD in Chinese Literature (Tang Daoist scriptures) from UCB in 1982. Important interruptions in her studies include a year at Taiwan Normal University's Mandarin Training Center (1968-69), a year in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin (1969-70), a term in the Peace Corps, (Afghanistan 1970-71), and two years at Beijing University (1980-82). 

 

Saturday April 20, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.   Room 111A  Chancellor's Complex, UCSD campus

 


FROM THE PRESIDENT  

 

Last month's From the President column included the following statement:  

"Our hyper-busy lives offer easy potential to slip-slide along the habitual but ultimately less fulfilling path of just reading what others have written and attending to the gloss on the surface of issues and ideas, rather than engaging in one's own deeper study of something. Of what? Well, of whatever appeals. Perhaps a luncheon with a few SDIS friends would catch you up short and reveal something of mutual interest, whatever it may be, which jointly you wish to explore as a project. Playing off each other's support and interest can motivate action. I don't mean a life-long effort, only perhaps a project for some months to come. A brief written project report opens the way toward e-publication by SDIS and perhaps more. ... Let me know by email what you might want to do to get started and with whom you might like to work. I'll do what I can to help you make that happen. ... Send me an email soon (sagus@sbcglobal.net) so we can start a conversation about all this."

 

This idea has yet to take hold. Perhaps I am being too hasty in expecting much to happen in just one month. Or is there some other reason? Perhaps the idea is impractical. That's a possibility worth exploring. So, I've decided to test it and see for myself what happens if I reach out and start something of this sort with some people on a subject of possible mutual interest. I recently did exactly that. I presented a specific idea to two SDIS members. We agreed to meet next week for lunch. This surely will be a pleasure, and something positive may (or may not) emerge as a result of the conversation. So, the learning experience to date is obvious. Nothing can happen unless someone takes a first step. Stay tuned for a progress report sometime soon.

Incidentally, last month's invitation remains open. Do send me an email with your comments. Let's talk. This is a process worth talking about, worth exploring, and worth discovering a way to make it work. The potential satisfaction of actually doing a bit of personal research on a topic which excites your interest is too great to dismiss.

Sam Gusman

 

Colloquy Cafe

   

On March 27 we took on the topic of "inspiration."  Our discussion was lively, from initial comments about the source of inspiration such as divine influence, the subconscious, "racial memory," or even drugs or brain lesions, to the power of dangerous inspirations such as mass murderers apparently have.  One member called inspiration "a breakthrough," while another saw it as an "invisible mandate" and another an "animating thought."  One person described the connections within our minds as our inspiration.  Another questioned whether inspiration came from inside or outside or some combination. We all agreed that inspiration is multi-faceted and includes spirituality in those who believe.  People spoke of being inspired by the behavior of children and the death of a friend, while concluding that inspiration can be a powerful force.    
The topic for the April meeting is “habit.”  We meet on the fourth Wednesday, April 24.  For further information contact M.E. Stratthaus at strattme@san.rr.com.   

 

 

Culture One

 

The Culture One Study Group expects to complete its reading and discussion of Public Discourse in America at its next meeting on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 2:00 PM. In May this Group will move in two directions alternating between attention to two books, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond and The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently ... and Why by Richard E. Nisbett. See last month's Scholars Notebook for comment about the Nisbett book and about the Culture Study Groups' general approach. Attendance is limited to 12 people; at present there is one vacancy. The May meeting would be an ideal time to join the Group. If you may be interested please contact Sam Gusman at sagus@sbcglobal.net

 

 

Culture Two

 

At its next meeting, at 1:30 PM on Friday, April 26, the Culture Two Study Group will begin its study and discussion of Richard E. Nissbett's The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently ... and Why. See last month's Scholars Notebook for comment about the Nisbett book and about the Culture Study Groups' general approach. Attendance is limited to 12 people; at present there is one vacancy. The April meeting would be an ideal time to join the Group. (Special Note: In addition to the April 26 meeting a duplicate meeting to introduce the Nisbett book may possibly also occur, date and time yet to be determined.) If you may be interested please contact Sam Gusman at sagus@sbcglobal.net.

 

 

The Film Group 

 

We meet Wednesday, April 3, at 10:00 AMat the home of Barbara Heckler to view the 2003 Brazilian crime drama City of God.  It has appeared on several “100 Best” film lists.  Contact Barbara at bheckler@san.rr.com for information about attending. 

 

March’s selection was The Renaissance of Mata Ortiz, a 2012 documentary which is not in commercial distribution yet. When San Pedro, California, anthropologist Spencer MacCallum found three large pots in a second-hand store in Deming, New Mexico in 1976, he thought they might be prehistoric.  The shop owner informed him, however, that they were not old.  MacCallum was so enamored with the quality of the pots that he began tracking down the maker.  Knowing only that the pots might have come from northern Mexico, he began driving from village to village.  He had only pictures to show; he left the pots home because he was afraid border inspectors might think they were old.  He found the pots’ creator – a self-taught potter who had dropped out of school at an early age. MacCallum soon realized that he had discovered a brilliant artist.   Today Juan Quezada’s pots are sought after around the world. His story and Mata Ortiz pottery have been documented in a number of books.  He has trained many villagers, and pottery is now the major occupation in Mata Ortiz.  Among the credits at the end are the San Diego Museum of Man and SDIS member Grace Johnson, who obtained the film for our viewing.  

 

 

Literature Group

 

Novelist Willa Cather's work "Death Comes For The Archbishop" will be addressed by the readers at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 22, in the home of Aline G. Hornaday. The discussion will be led by Donna Boyle. For information contact Harry Boyle at hhboyle28@cox.net.

 

 

Neuroscience Group 

 

The Neuroscience Group's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 22, 2013 at 3 PM in Bea Rose's home.  Our discussion will center on Chapter 5 in Mind, edited by John Brockman, titled "Rescuing Memory".  Members recall that the first reading assignment of the then called Brain Study Group was a series of essays compiled by Steven Rose, chosen for its content, not the editor's last name. Visitors are welcome but are asked to call Bea Rose (858-458-9263 or beabe@me.com) to ensure that there is space available.

 

Works-In-Progress

 

Works-In-Progress will meet Saturday, April 13, at 1:30 PM, at the home of Will Wells. Jean Renshaw will present an article she is working on about women in management.  RSVP to Donna Boyle dboyle101@cox.net to be sure that you receive the required material and that we have enough chairs.

 

 

Founding Member Remains an Active Scholar

 

Mary Stroll, one of the founders of SDIS, will deliver "Framing Anacletus II Antipope, 1130-1138," the opening address at a conference in Rome April 10-12 sponsored by Sapienza–University of Rome and John Cabot University.  Her paper is entitled "Anacletus II and the Papal Schism of 1130-1138:  An Overview."  While in Rome, Stroll will also do research for a chapter she has been requested to write on the papacy in the high middle ages for E. J. Brill.

 

Gerry Horowitz