SCHOLAR'S NOTEBOOK - January 2011

Implications of the Gulf Oil Spill

 JEREMY JACKSON, PhD

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

1:30 p.m.

Room 111-A Chancellor’s Complex, UCSD Campus

 

Jeremy Jackson, a renowned marine ecologist, is Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity & Conservation (CMBC) at Scripps; the William E. and Mary  B. Professor  at Scripps; and a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Republic of Panama.

Dr. Jackson is the author of more than 100 scientific publications and five books.  His current research includes the long-term impacts of  human activities on the oceans and the ecological and evolutionary consequences of the gradual formation of the Isthmus of Panama.  He has also worked extensively on the ecology of coral reef communities and the tempo and mode of speciation in the sea.

 

 

From the President

In previous columns I’ve written about members’ perceptions of SDIS and emphasized the various ways we can use SDIS as a collegial home base for intellectual interactions with each other.  Three themes emerged:

A focus on exploring ideas:  scholarly work, learning, thinking, sharing;

A focus on mode of interaction and sharing:  reasoned, thoughtful, scholarly;

A focus on people:  sharing, collegiality.

In every way, SDIS is a place for sharing, for giving and receiving ideas and insights. This is all to the good and is driving the expanded use of study groups in which members have the opportunity to learn from and with each other. Of course, the grandparent of study groups is our Works in Progress group. It is a prototype for the evolution of SDIS as an organization in which study groups can flourish. Donna Boyle has more to say about Works in Progress in this issue of the Notebook.

With thanks especially to Marla Jensen, the SDIS party in early December was by all ordinary standards a fine occasion. During the event, I began to realize that there was something else at work, aside from ordinary standards. I sensed around the room an undertone of simple pleasure at being in each other’s company. This speaks of something at the heart of SDIS in addition to stated goals and themes and concepts. Perhaps SDIS can also be described as a self-selecting group of people who share that particular bent of mind which expresses itself as a love of learning for its own sake — and who take pleasure in sharing moments with each other. Whatever the reason, I am pleased to be a part of it.

Sam Gusman    

 

 

COMMUNITY RESOURCES: IN FOCUS

SAN DIEGO: MINGEI LIBRARY

If it can be said that Balboa Park is the “crown” of San Diego, then Mingei International Museum must be considered one of that crown’s jewels. And its library adds to the institution’s value by providing a rich source of research materials for staff, volunteers, scholars, students and others pursuing knowledge about folk art, craft, and design.

Dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of “art of the people” (mingei) from all cultures, the museum collects, conserves, and exhibits the arts of daily life, created by craftsmen and designers past and present, known and unknown. First opened in 1978 in University Town Center, Mingei moved in 1996 into a new 41,000 square foot location in the Park’s House of Charm.

From its inception, the Frances Hamilton White Art Reference Library has existed to underscore the museum’s mission and to make available for research materials that relate to the institution’s collection and philosophy. The 2,350 sq. foot library houses over 9,500 books, periodicals, videos, photographs, and reference materials.

Named for the immediate past Chairman of the museum’s Board of Trustees, the library's special collections include materials about Japanese folk art and craft; Chinese ceramic arts; worldwide costumes, adornment and textile arts; and the arts and crafts of Mexico and India.  Two paper reference collections, the Florence Temko Paper Collection and the V’Ann Cornelius Origami Collection, together consist of over 800 books, documents, videos and ephemera. Items in the Lucia Ionescu Kanchenian Collection and Archives deal with Romanian Folk Art.

A partial list of other resources in the library includes exhibition catalogues and Catalogues Raisonnés of individual artists, conference proceedings, music and spoken word recordings, over 400 film reels and videocassettes, as well as institutional records and assorted pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, and theses.

Located in the museum’s lower level, the library, non-circulating, has two video stations, copying machines, comfortable reading niches and a conference table. It is open Tuesday through Friday, 10-noon and 1-4 p.m., and its staff welcomes those conducting research or merely seeking to deepen their knowledge of folk art, craft, and design.  For an appointment, contact Kristi Ehrig-Burgess at 619-239-0003, ext. 132.

Gerry Horwitz

 

 STUDY GROUPS

Works in Progress

One of SDIS's foundational study groups is Works-in-Progress (WIP).  It had long been championed, hosted, and led by one of our founders, Alice Marquis, until her death in 2009.  I consider WIP a distinguishing feature of SDIS.  It exemplifies the study group principle – to enjoy learning from and with each other – that sets us apart from organizations which engage principally in lectures. 

In this study group we share our own ideas, research, and creative writing.  Over the years WIP has encouraged scholarly books and articles in the presenters' particular areas of expertise; papers by members who step beyond their own fields; talks preparing for conference presentations; translations; history and memoir; and original poetry. 

WIP functions as a kind of testing ground.  In an arena full of goodwill, members present projects in various stages of completion; they benefit from the variety of reactions a substantial group can offer.  Although participants do not act as copy editors, they may comment on language issues. Their primary role, however, is to offer insight and suggestions as to whether the work seems coherent, well organized, and understandable, noting what works in the piece as well as awkward places. Usually the presenting author emails the selection to be read ahead of time, describing the work and the target audience. As with other SDIS study groups, participation is limited only by space and group effectiveness.  The usual size is about ten.

At our next gathering, Carol Gartner will present selections from her biography of Mary Putnam Jacobi, M.D., a very early woman physician and the first woman accepted into the medical school of the University of Paris. She went on to become one of the foremost American physicians of the late 19th century.

WIP will meet Saturday, February 12, at 1:30 PM, at the home of Aline Hornaday.  Consider attending!  And dust off that project that's lying fallow.  Let us help you bring it to life.  If you wish to attend, please RSVP to Donna Boyle at dboyle101@cox.net.

 

Colloquy Café Study Group

The next Colloquy Café, on Wednesday, January 19, at 1:30 PM, will be on the subject, Forgiveness, at the home of Jean Mayer. Those who are interested in attending can contact Sam Gusman at sagus@sbcglobal.net .

Culture One Study Group

The next meeting of the Culture One study group will be held on Thursday, January 20 at 2:30 PM. The group will continue its study of Metaphors We Live By, by Lakoff and Johnson, with special attention to chapters 2 through 4. Those who are interested in attending should contact Sam Gusman at sagus@sbcglobal.net.  

 

Culture Two Study Group

The next meeting of the Culture Two study group will be held on Wednesday, January 26 at 2:30 PM. The group will continue reading the Canto edition of C. P. Snow's The Two Cultures, including the introductory remarks and C. P. Snow's further recollections several years after his Rede lecture. Those who are interested in attending should contact Betty Hiller at bhiller@sbcglobal.net.

Film

TheFilm Groupwill meet Wednesday, January 5 at the home of Barbara Heckler in University City.  At 11 AM we will view the Argentinean film “The Secret in Their Eyes", winner of the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2010 Academy Awards. If you have already viewed the film, discussion will begin at 1:30 PM.  Contact Barbara at bheckler@san.rr.com for information on where to rent the film or to RSVP.

Literature

The Literary Group will meet on Monday, January 10 at 10:30 AM in the home of Gerry Horwitz.  Carol Gartner will lead the discussion of selected stories of Ernest Hemmingway.  Contact Harry Boyle at hhboyle28@cox.net.

  Science (aka Brain Study Group)

The Science (aka Brain) Study Group will meet on Monday, January 3, 2011 at 2:30 PM in the apartment of Bea Rose.  The discussion will focus on Chapter 7 of the Dali Lama's book Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying. This chapter is the report of the conference he held with neuroscientists on the subject.  Visitors are welcome but are asked to first call Bea Rose at (858)458-9263 or bea.rose@sbcglobal.netto be certain that it is feasible.

 

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH JEAN MAYER

Jean is SDIS Membership Chair and host of Colloquy Café.  I have been struck by the twinkle in her eye, her subtle sense of humor, and her lovely smile.  She’s just the right person to interact with prospective members.

Barbara Heckler

Q.  Your email address includes “pcluddite”.  Any comments?

A.  About five years ago, at a free public library class taught by Steve, a good but very cautious volunteer teacher, we were asked why we joined.  I was trying to decide whether I should remain computerless, and one of the reasons I gave him was that I was tired of being called a Luddite by my friend, the late Alice Marquis. Steve, who told us never to use our real names, thought luddite would be just right for my ID and made the unwarranted assumption that I would become a pc user.  (Update:  Alice later apologized, and I bought a Mac.)

Q.  What kind of career did you have?  Any special training?  What was your hardest job?  Your most rewarding?              

A.  Earning an M.A. in Sociology at the University of Chicago was followed almost immediately by earning an MRS., followed in turn by:  demographer, pollster, epidemiologist, stay-home mom (the kept variety), writer, editor. They were all demanding, but all were interesting.

Q.  You stepped in at the last minute as Membership Chair for SDIS.  Thanks for your help!  What does the job involve?  Were you a prior volunteer with SDIS?  When did you join?

A.  The job entails a lot more than graciously standing around with a clipboard at meetings, but like many, it's what you make of it.  I try to take advantage of opportunities to recruit and retain members, keep membership records, and work directly with Treasurer Edwina, Directory/Data Base Manager Donna, and Newsletter Editor Barbara.  I also like to help with board issues that concern all of us (e.g., our SDIS mission statement and study group promotion).  I joined SDIS in 1982 and have served as refreshment host, membership chair, and secretary (several terms of each).

Q.  Are you a member of other organizations?  What about hobbies or special interests?            A.  I guess my other memberships are my hobbies!  At UCSD I’m a member of Emeriti and Oceanids (a group which promotes friendship and shared interests for people who support the University of California). Two other groups I’m active in are Jewish (Community Center and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC).  Special interests include classical music and, for special treats, crime fiction (print and TV), if not too gory.

Q.  You’re big on exercise.  What kind?  Is this a long-term interest?

A.  Started in the 60's, once a week (modern dance); increased to twice a week (aerobics); then three times a week when I retired in 1993 (nonimpact aerobics).  I'm still at it three times a week, a mix of therapeutic yoga and very pedestrian stretch and cardio classes. For me, being "big on exercise" means sticking to it, even if it's not as often as recommended by the so-called experts.

Q.  Is there anything you wouldn’t be caught dead doing?

A.  Disneyland!  I've successfully avoided it since opening day and plan to continue this avoidance.

Q.  Are there any particular bragging points or interesting things that I don’t know you well enough to ask?

A.  Laid off twice!  Never fired!

Q.  What brought you to San Diego?

A.  My former husband was hired by Emory University in 1957, right after his postdoc year, and was wooed not long after by other institutions.  The best and last location that was offered (my main criterion) was at UCSD in 1969.  I finally said "Time to go!" and have lived in San Diego ever since.

Q.  What about family?  Are there lots of grandchildren?

A.  My daughter has contributed Rachel, 14; and my son has two sons, Arthur, 16 and Peter, 20.  All three are amazing, but I'm glad I don't have to raise them.  Their parents were relatively easy; I was fortunate to be "kept" so that I had enough time to do what was the most satisfying of my careers.  No regrets about the "opportunity costs" after I returned to "gainful" employment!

 

MARQUIS BOOK PUBLICATION AND DONATION

The SDIS Board of Directors only recently learned that The Pop Revolution:  How An Unlikely Concatenation of Artists, Aficionados, Businessmen, Collectors, Critics, Curators, Dealers, and Hangers-on Radically Transformed the Art World, by the lateAlice Goldfarb Marquis, was published in April of this year, ten months after she had passed away.  Alice was a founder of SDIS in 1982, had served as president, as newsletter editor, and as a mainstay of the Works in Progress study group, remaining active until her death.

According to Mark Polizzotti, her editor at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts Publications, The Pop Revolution is “the first social history of the tumultuous Pop era… Plainly put, it is a treat: informative, witty, and full of surprising insights.”  The author’s previous seven books chronicled such topics as the careers of artist Marcel Duchamp and critic Clement Greenberg, the founding of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, public arts funding, and the covert nature of art as a business.

Having spent twenty years as a practicing journalist, after which she pursued degrees in both art history (MA, SDSU) and modern European history (PhD, UCSD), Alice wrote the following in an autobiographical essay:

The historian wants to find patterns and interpret events, while the journalist

wants to tease out fresh information and vivid personalities.  Pursuing these

two closely related disciplines has been the great, central challenge

of producing all my books.

In addition to her books, Alice’s works include many talks and published articles, covering subjects from the sober to the idiosyncratic, (i.e., the development of sneakers), all in scholarly mode.

SDIS has purchased two copies of The Pop Revolution, published by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, for donation to UCSD’s Geisel Library and to San Diego’s Public Library system.  This conforms to an SDIS policy which calls for the purchase of two copies of any book by an SDIS member newly published during his/her membership, and the presentation of one copy to each of the two libraries.

Gerry Horwitz

 

 

MEMBERS’ CORNER

San Diego Independent Scholar Willard Wells will be an invited speaker at Rome’s sixth International Science Festival in January, 2011. He will present his work on the mathematical calculation of the future of our species and of our civilization. This intriguing research capped by the book that he wrote, Apocalypse When? are timely endeavors. This year’s conference in Rome has as its theme “Science and the End of the World.”

Many Independent Scholars heard his lecture to SDIS in February 2006, three years before the book was published. Among other talks he also gave a presentation to the University of California, San Diego in October 2009.  You can read a reporter’s summary at http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/thisweek/2009/10/19_apocalypse.asp or an abstract at http://www.calit2.net/events/popup.php?id=1647 .

As a result of this lecture and his writing, he was invited to become a member of the Lifeboat Foundation. This organization was formed to exchange ideas on how we can save our civilization and our species in these troubled times. Willard accepted the invitation to become a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the organization. Will and his wife Judith Green, also a member of SDIS for many years, will attend the conference in Rome and visit the museums in Florence and Venice and old friends in Bologna before returning to San Diego.

 

 

February Meeting

SDIS Member

JACK  CUMMING

 

OPTIONS FOR AGING:

Congregate Living

or

Aging in Place

 

The usual UCSD meeting place,

Room 111-A Chancellor's Complex

Saturday, February 19, 2011, 1:30 P.M.

 

About SDIS

San Diego Independent Scholars (SDIS) supports unaffiliated writers and researchers and welcomes everyone who appreciates creative and intellectual activities in the humanities, science, and the arts.  SDIS is a non-profit organization and an affiliate of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.

Sam Gusman, President, saugus@sbcglobal.net

 

Scholar’s Notebook is the newsletter of SDIS. Please send your news for the Notebook to Barbara Heckler, the Notebook editor: bheckler@san.rr.com or by mail to 3489 Wellesly Ave, San Diego, CA 92122. The deadline for submissions is the 22nd of the month prior to publication date.

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