Frequently Asked Questions


A Call for Papers


Fall 2005 Schedule

Spring 2006 Schedule


Past Shop Talks




Fall 2005 Schedule

Presenter:  Marie Walker

Title:  Vocational Identity Development in College Students:  Cross-sectional and Preliminary Longitudinal Evidence for a Theoretical Model

Time and Place:  September 16, 2005 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Results of a Lilly-funded, cross-sectional study indicated that college students at a private, Lutheran, liberal-arts college (Gustavus) spontaneously articulated elements of personal identity, civic engagement, and faith/spirituality when asked about their calling or vocation. Students' inclusion of the elements of civic engagement and faith increased across year in school. Surveys quantitatively assessing similar theoretical elements revealed differences due to year in school, gender, and identity status. For individuals attempting to develop vocational reflection in college students, gender and year in college are important factors to take into consideration. Early exposure to vocational concepts during new student orientation appears to be related to the proposed three elements of vocational identity, as does participation in activities related to
diversity, leadership, and self-exploration.

Presenter:  John Mattson

Title:  COPD and skeletal muscle dysfunction:  real or imagined?

Time and Place:  October 7, 2005 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects ~16 million people in the United States. The American Lung Association reports that over half of COPD patients indicate their condition limits daily activities.  Historically, reductions in exertional capacity have been attributed to decrements in lung function and blood gas perturbations.  However, evidence is emerging that suggests alterations in locomotory muscles may contribute to exertional intolerance.  Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to analyze whether locomotory muscle dysfunction results from COPD and what contribution it has on exercise tolerance.

Presenter:  Jean Lavigne

Title:  The Machine in the Garden:  Environmental Rhetoric and the Politics of Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park

Time and Place:  October 21, 2005 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


In the 1970s, snowmobiles were banned from most National Parks due to concerns about noise, pollution, and disruptions to both visitors and wildlife. Today, Yellowstone is one of the few Parks that still admits recreational snowmobiles:  as many as 750 per day under current regulations. Since 1998 the Park Service has been re-evaluating winter use in Yellowstone, carrying out two full Environmental Impact Statements and an Environmental Assessment, each involving thousands of pages of data, public comments, and analysis. All three studies have concluded that the Park would be significantly better off without snowmobiles, yet the machines seem impossible to banish. In this talk, I analyze some of the rhetoric used by opposing sides in this contentious environmental conflict, and attempt to explain the curious persistence of large numbers of snowmobiles in America's first and most famous national park.

Presenter:  Mimi Gerstbauer

Title:  The Quality of Mercy:  Forgiveness in International Relations

Time and Place:  November 4, 2005 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


The 1990s has been called the age of apologies due to the escalation of political apologies beginning in this time period.  Apologies by governments include the British apology to the Irish and the Maoris, Japan's apology to the Korean comfort women, and the apology of the United States to the native Hawaiians.  These apologies are deemed to be part of reconciliation processes for past wrongs.  It is notable, however, that official acts of forgiveness rarely accompany these apologies.  In fact, forgiveness is not something that nation-states or their representatives seem to do.  Why not?  What possibilities exist for nation-states to forgive as part of reconciliation processes after wars or atrocities?  What would it look like and what meaning would it have?  Can and should nations forgive?

Presenter:  Barbara Zust

Title:  Listening to the Voices of Abused Women Describe an Intervention of Self Discovery

Time and Place:  November 18, 2005 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Healthy People 2010 declared the reduction of intimate partner violence a national priority.  Up to six million women are believed to be beaten in their homes each year.  It is the second leading cause of death for women ages 15-24.   Although there are numerous studies that explore the effect and incidence of intimate partner violence, there is a dearth of intervention studies. The purpose of this shop talk presentation is to share the results of a qualitative research study  that explored the meaning that women with violent partners found in participating in a nurse led cognitive therapy program designed specifically for women to increase self-esteem.  Through a two step interview process 10 women told their stories of what it meant to them to participate in INSIGHT.  The women had experienced violence at the hands of their partners before or during their participation in INSIGHT.  The transcribed data were analyzed using Max van Manenís approach with interpretative phenomenology.  The results indicated that the ongoing meaning of the experience was described as a process of Rescuing Self.





Spring 2006 Schedule

Presenter:  Chris Gilbert

Title:  The Political Influence of American Congregational Life

Time and Place:  February 10, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Religion is known to be one salient factor structuring the political beliefs and actions of American citizens, most of whom belong to and many of whom participate in some organized religious institution.  Political scientists have generally conceived of religionís influence as individual in nature:  a personís specific church affiliation, her attendance and religious practices, and her theological beliefs combine to affect her political views to some degree.  Using a unique study that collects information at the individual and the congregational level, from both ministers and church members in the ELCA and Episcopal Church, my research* demonstrates that the political influence of religion is social as well as individual. What happens in congregations ≠ sermons, group activity, adult education, discussions with fellow members ≠ dictates the political influence of churches on individual members, sometimes to a greater degree than membersí personal characteristics.  This shop talk will explain the theoretical basis of this assertion, and present empirical evidence demonstrating the multifaceted nature of religionís influence on the political beliefs and actions of church members, especially considering how congregations promote political participation and the development of useful civic skills through church-based activities.
* This research has been conducted jointly with Dr. Paul Djupe, Gustavus í93 and assistant professor of political science at Denison University.

Presenter:  David Wolfe

Title:  A Taste of Recreational Mathematics

Time and Place:  February 24, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


The field of recreational mathematics includes games, logic, and puzzles, magic squares and fractals.  Much of the area is approachable to the non-specialist, as is evidenced by Martin Gardner's column in Scientific American spanning 3 decades. 

Once every few years, a group of mathematicians, magicians and puzzle designers assemble in honor of Martin Gardner, many of whom were strongly influenced by Martin's writings in all these areas.  All participants bring contributions to share with the group.  At the Shop Talk, I will present my past contributions which include logic applied to Scrabble puzzles, curious properties of pandigital numbers (numbers made up of the digits 0-9 anagrammed), and some miscellaneous underspecified puzzles. 

This work was conducted jointly with Susan Hirshberg.

Presenter:  Tim Robinson

Title:  What Happens to Shy Children

Time and Place:  March 10, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


I will describe a line of research I got into about 8 years ago when a student asked me if I knew anything about a possible relationship between being shy as a child and suffering from asthma as an adult.  Since then Iíve been engaged in a retrospective examination of how early temperament issues, such as shyness, affect the development of adult personality.  Iíll talk about what Iíve learned about the prevalence of shyness among Gustavus students, the patterns of shyness development throughout the school years, how these patterns of shyness are expressed in measures of adult personality, and the kinds of coping strategies shy students adopt to deal with everyday stress.

Presenter:  Peg O'Connor

Title:  Morality and Our Complicated Form of Life: Feminist Wittgensteinian Metaethics

Time and Place:  April 7, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


In metaethics (and in epistemology too) foundation is the metaphor around which theory turns. There is massive disagreement about foundations and the role they play in our livesóis there a foundation for moral judgment? If yes, then whatís it nature? Is it universally or absolutely binding on all? How can we know it? If the answers are negative, then how does morality function in any binding sense? Is it all a colossal error; there really isnít a foundation but we just act as if there is one?  Within these trenchant disagreements, the commonality is the assumed coherence of a foundation. The coherence, under close scrutiny, disappears.

I replace this dominant metaphor of foundations with an architectural alternative that creates stability with various elements in relationship and tension with each other. My image is a Rem Koolhaas designed villa in Bordeaux that is built into the side of cliff. Not only does this house have no foundation in the typical sense, but it appears to be launching itself off that cliff. It is only against this stability that we can and do engage in moral practices.

Presenter:  Mike Hvidsten

Title:  Concrete Axiomatics: Designing Software for the Study of Non-Euclidean Geometry

Time and Place:  April 28, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Euclidean Geometry is a subject we all took (and loved?) in high school.  It is one of the few math courses where a carefully constructed set of axioms (agreed upon truths) and definitions is used as a starting point to derive theorems.  In practice, however, geometric intuition plays an important role in our ability to reason geometrically. This intuition comes from experience, from drawing figures in the sand or on a piece of paper. 

Non-Euclidean geometry is a carefully constructed axiomatic system, equal to Euclidean Geometry in logical rigor. However, it is alien to our geometric intuition.  Though our universe is probably Non-Euclidean on cosmic and sub-atomic scales, such realms are off limits to our everyday experience.  In this talk I will describe the creation of a computer world that is Non-Euclidean, yet at a human scale.  The goal of this project is to give students an environment where they can experiment with Non-Euclidean lines, circles, etc, so that they can develop the geometric intuition needed to make this rather strange geometry "real".




A Call For Papers

The Shop Talk coordinator (Paul Saulnier) would like to solicit abstracts for the Shop Talk series.  These 20-30 minute presentations allow Gustavus scholars to share their original research/art and enthusiasm.  A title, brief abstract (electronic format), and A/V requirements should be sent to Paul (PSAUL@GUSTAVUS.EDU).   If the current Shop Talk schedule does not have any vacancies do not hesitate to contact Paul to reserve a future date.