Geology on the Mountain Top
For the sixth summer in a row, Jeff Strasser and Mike Wolf have led a group of incoming first-year students into the Rocky Mountains (and safely back again) to study geology right on the outcrop. For 2-½ weeks in August, 16 students survived the rigors of cramped vans, cold nights with snoring tent-mates, high-elevation hikes at “Wolf-speed,” Krusteaz pancakes a lá Strasser, ice-cold dips in mountain creeks and lakes, one rattlesnake, two quizzes, two 3-hour exams, and a final field project – all in order to study the wonders of the natural world. In addition to earning 3 credits of a lab science (GL105: Physical Geology in the Rocky Mountains), the students quickly learned about college-level work loads and professorial expectations, and many made friends-for-life in just days. What a way to begin college!
Anette Ejsing is giving the presentation, “Magic Lost: Truth, Morals, and Tragedy in The Prestige,” at the national, by-invitation-only, seminar, Faith, Film and the Intellectual Life , Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, co-sponsored by Gonzaga University's Faith and Reason Institute and Whitworth University's Weyerhaeuser Center for Faith & Learning.
Abstract excerpt: Obsession with truth crushes the creative energy of magic. It misdirects the power of choice and creates relational, moral dramas that change human life from an adventure of personal fulfillment to a story of escalating tragedy. This, in any case, is how The Prestige relates truth, magic, moral choice, and personal fulfillment. Now set this in the context of philosophical ethics, more specifically the tension between metaethics and normative ethics, and contemporary moral inquiry gains new meaning. No longer must it surrender to either irrelevant theory or unreflective practice but can evaluate the complex experience of moral life in its entirety. With this background, The Prestige reminds us that evaluating the experience of moral life in its entirety requires submission to the magically creative power of truth. Wanting more leaves us with less. It will hinder meaningful reflection on the theoretical and practical significance of philosophical ethics in the pursuit of personal fulfillment. Moral inquiry loses meaning if it cannot help us understand how the drive toward personal fulfillment so often leads to human tragedy.
Bill Hammer finished his work as co-editor for the Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences in August. The proceedings are now published on-line with a hardcover edition to follow in 4-6 months. Bill also had two papers published in the volume: one is titled "The Dinosaurs of the Early Jurassic Hanson Formation of the Central Transantarctic Mountains: Phylogenetic Review and Synthesis" and was co-authored with former Augustana student Nate Smith and others. The second paper is titled "Migration of Triassic Tetrapods to Antarctica " and was co-authored with another much older Augustana alum, Jim Collinson. Bill chaired a session at the symposium, which was held during the last week of August at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A paper Hammer submitted last spring to the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "A Tritylodont postcanine from Antarctica," has been accepted for publication and will be published this fall.
In August, Bill was awarded a new grant for $100,022 from the National Science Foundation for his project entitled Continued Research on the Jurassic Vertebrate Fauna from the Beardmore Glacier Region, Antarctica .
Since the end of the last school year, Peter Kivisto has seen the following books, articles, and reviews published:
- Citizenship: Discourse, Theory, and Transnational Prospects (with Thomas Faist, Blackwell, 2007). The cover of the book makes use of a painting from the Augustana College Art Collection, “Italian Piazza with Beacon.”
- Social Theory: Roots and Branches, 3rd edition (Oxford University Press, 2008). The cover of this book, like its previous editions, makes use of Peter Xiao’s “Intellectual Pursuits,” which can be found in the hall of the science building.
- Illuminating Social Life, 4th edition (Pine Forge Press, 2008).
- “In Search of the Social Space for Solidarity and Justice, Thesis Eleven, No. 91, 2007: 110-127.
- “The Protestant Ethic Thesis as American Sociology of Religion” (with William H. Swatos, Jr.), in American Sociology of Religion, Anthony Blasi, ed. Leiden: Brill, 2007: 87-119.
- “What Would a Racial Democracy Look Like?” in Handbook of the Sociology of Racial and Ethnic Relations, Hernán Vera and Joe R. Feagin, eds. New York: Springer: 219-239.
- “Applied Sociology’s Need to Rethink the Tradition: Sociological Theorizing in a Global Framework,” in Discourse on Applied Sociology, vol. 1, Theoretical Perspectives, Samir Dasgupta and Robyn Driskell, eds. London: Anthem, 2007: 135-155.
- Book Review of Michael O. Emerson’s People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States in the American Journal of Sociology, vol. 113, no. 1: 276-278.
Peter also gave talks at two conferences over the summer:
- “How America’s Finns Became White (and What It Meant for Diasporic Finnishness, keynote address at FinnForum VIII, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna, Sweden, June 20, 2007.
- “Speaking the Same Conceptual Language,” talk given at the Transnationalism and Development: Towards a North-South Perspective conference at Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany, June 1, 2007.
Among the other things he has to report:
- His syllabus for Social Theory (SO-340) was included in the fifth edition of the American Sociological Association’s Resource Book for Teaching Sociological Theory, which included a focus feature on the course’s photographic portfolio assignment.
- He did manuscript reviews for Rutgers University Press and Polity Press and journal article reviews for Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Intercultural Studies, and the American Journal of American Ethnic History.
On September 5th, Jason Koontz led a “Learn How to Identify Local Trees” workshop at Black Hawk State Historic Site for the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalists and the public. Jason gave basic tree ID tips and led a hike along the trails at Black Hawk where he discussed the major tree species at the site. About 30 people attended, even with the rainy weather!
One of Sarah Lovern's recent publications, “Toxicity of nanoparticles in aquatic environments,” was featured on September 7 in Nanowerks , an online nanotech news source. http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=2491.php