Frequently Asked Questions


A Call for Papers


Fall 2006 Schedule

Spring 2007 Schedule


Past Shop Talks


Fall 2006 Schedule

Presenter:  Stewart Flory (Classics)

Title:  The Archaeology and Psychology of Ancient Literacy: Silent Reading

Time and Place:  September 8, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


In kindergarten children start by reading aloud, but are soon trained to read silently. Eventually they must give up even moving their lips. Myometric instruments detect cheaters who are inwardly, deep-throatedly, mouthing what they read (a phenomenon known to psycholinguistics as “subvocalizing.” Modern reading aims above all at speed, the ability to skim. Reading we make an entirely intellectual (and silent) exercise.

In the ancient and medieval world, on the other hand, people apparently always read aloud or else had someone read to them. Pliny the Younger, for example, describes his uncle taking a sunbath while one slave reads aloud, and a second stands by to note down the master’s comments.

Though classicists agree that reading aloud was the norm in antiquity, a few of my colleagues maintain that there were in olden times certain very smart people (such as St. Ambrose and Thucydides, for example) who read just like you and me.

This paper argues that apparent examples of silent reading are actually subvocalization, a slow internal murmuring. Modern, truly silent reading was not possible for the ancients. A crucial phenomenon was scriptura continua, writing without spaces between words, which endured until the 10th century A.D. and demanded (as modern experiments show) that such writing be read aloud in order to be understood. The ancients had no need or desire for reading quickly. They wanted to read and reread a relatively small body of texts. So silent reading was one of a number of techniques and devices, like the steam engine, which the ancients could have used (and  fragmentary  prototypes show they were capable of doing so) but did not do so because they had no use for them.

Presenter:  Debra Pitton (Education)

Title:  English Language Learners:  Support for cognitive academic language proficiency.  (CALP)

Time and Place:  September 29, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Changing demographics have created a need for all educators to develop knowledge and skills related to teaching students with limited English skills.  This Shop Talk will highlight key strategies identified in a review of the literature and discuss the results from the implementation of these strategies with a small group of non-native English learners ages 5 –14.  In addition, insights gained from working with Spanish speaking youth during NYSP (National Youth Sports Program – a summer program for disadvantaged youth) at Gustavus will be shared.

Presenter:  Scott Bur (Chemistry)

Title:  The Art of Synthesis: Reproducing the Beauty in Nature

Time and Place:  October 13, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


The beauty of nature goes beyond what can be seen.  Living organisms produce a lot of molecules that are useful as medicines (such as the antibiotic vancomycin) or materials (like Tyrian purple dye).  These molecules, called natural products, have attracted the attention of synthetic organic chemists for their beauty as well as their function.  This talk will focus on different ways that organic chemists think about molecules (what are they, what do they look like, and how can they be "beautiful"?), and how we use techniques like pattern recognition to aid in synthetic design.  In the context of natural product synthesis, the theme of organic chemistry as a creative activity will be developed.

Presenter:  Mark Bjelland (Geography)

Title:  Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Competing Models for the U.K.’s Urban Renaissance

Time and Place:  November 3, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


In 1999, the U.K.’s urban task force headed by superstar architect Lord Richard Rogers issued a report entitled, "Towards an Urban Renaissance". The report made a strong argument for the importance of innovative urban design in order to stem the destruction of the British countryside and reinvigorate urban cores that were falling victim to American-style neglect and dereliction. One outcome was the Blair government’s creation of a set of millennium communities that were to demonstrate the way forward for British cities. The most prominent of the millennium communities was Greenwich Millennium Village which opened just in time for the millennium celebration. Meanwhile, Prince Charles has offered a different vision for the future of British cities and sponsored the creation of a model community in Dorset County called Poundbury, Not to be out-done, the Peabody Trust, a non-profit housing association, teamed up with an eco-architect to build their own model for the future of British cities. In this presentation, I compare and contrast these very different models for the future of British Cities—models that either draw on the past or the future for their inspiration, and reflect diverse influences and agendas. This work is based on my 2004-2005 U.S.-U.K Fulbright grant to Cardiff University’s School of City and Regional Planning.

Presenter:  Brian Johnson and Carolyn O'Grady (Chaplain's Office and Education)

Title:  The Spirit of Service

Time and Place:  November 17, 2006 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


This Shop Talk will explores themes raised in our recently published book, The Spirit of Service: Exploring Faith, Service, and Social Justice in Higher Education. We asked several Gustavus faculty, staff, and former students to contribute chapters in which they describe and reflect on the confluence of service, spirituality, and social justice as those concepts are enacted here. We will describe why we became interested in this topic, what we learned from our research, and what questions still remain for us. Some chapter contributors will be able to join us for this conversation.





Spring 2007 Schedule

Presenter:  Ben Laabs (Geology)

Title:  Reconstructing Paleoclimate in the Central Rocky Mountains: Examples from the Last Glaciation

Time and Place:  February 16, 2007 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Mountain glaciers are sensitive indicators of millennial to centennial-scale climatic change.  Their records of advance and retreat in the recent geologic past (i.e., the last ~160,000 years) are well preserved in the form of dramatic moraines and trimlines in many mountain ranges of the western U.S. While the chronology of glaciation in this region is becoming increasingly well understood, traditional methods of translating past ice extents into paleoclimate have proven to be problematic and inconclusive, especially in places where glaciers no longer exist.  To address this issue, colleagues and I have applied a rigorous numerical-modeling approach to using field-based reconstructions of past glacier extent to infer paleoclimate in the Sierra Nevada and Central Rocky Mountains.  Our findings provide more precise limits on climate at the peak of the last glaciation (at 21,000 to 17,000 years ago) and clues to the major controls on ice extent in the interior western U.S.  For example, glaciers in northern Utah advanced in response to climatic cooling at the peak of the last glaciation and likely sustained their maximum extent in response to enhanced moisture derived from the surface of Lake Bonneville, a “pluvial” lake that covered most of western Utah at about 19,000 to 17,000 years ago.

Presenter:  Elizabeth Jenner (Sociology)

Title:  More Than Words:  Goffman's Gender Advertisements and the Social Tableaux of Nursing Images

Time and Place:  March 2, 2007 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Goffman's Gender Advertising provides a relevant tool for the examination of visual images about the work that women engage in US society using nursing as a case study.  Goffman's appraisal of commercial advertising reveals how images can reproduce, and form, socially appropriate "masculine" and "feminine" behavior.  This analysis contributes to our understanding of how imagery is used to convey social information that is reflective of broad social tropes about gender and the value we place on gendered work. A compelling example of this process can be found in the public images of nurses in the ephemera of 20th century U.S. culture. In this talk I examine the portrayal of nurses in several types of ephemera, including posters and postcards, to look at the overarching framework that supplies rules regarding the relationship within the "frame".  In this work I discuss how frames serve to shape our social construction of reality and are critical to unraveling the complex and dynamic social processes involved with circulating representations of "nurses", "women as nurses", and more broadly gender. By looking at the specific codes present in this imagery we will consider what it says about society, power, and social relationships.

Presenter:  Pamela Kittelson (Biology)

Title:  Invaders in the midst: how does native plant diversity and resource availability affect the impact of an invader?

Time and Place:  March 16, 2007 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Invasive plant species cause economic losses that cost at least $40 billion a year.  Moreover, invasive species can degrade the abundance of native species and negatively alter important ecosystem functions such as soil fertility.  In some states, 1/3 of the flora is comprised of invasive plant species. Thus, it is important to understand how environmental and biological factors influence the success of an exotic plant in a native community.  Additionally, the exact impact of the exotic species on the native community is crucial to understand before formulating management plans.  In this Shop Talk, I will outline how resource availability and native community diversity of Montana grasslands influences susceptibility to invasion.  I also will describe how a pernicious exotic called spotted knapweed, Centaurea maculosa, affects the physiological traits of a native grass (Junegrass, Koelaria macrantha) and a forb (bergamont, Monarda fistulosa).  Finally, I will discuss the implications of these results to invasive species management.

Presenter:  Mark Kruger and Dick Martin (Psychology)

Title:  Gender Differences in Co-Rumination Depend Upon Relationship Type

Time and Place:  April 13, 2007 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Gender differences have long been a source of public interest, discussion and controversy, as well as a source of considerable research interest.  Some of this research in psychology has focused on evidence that women show higher levels of depression beginning around the time of adolescence and continuing into middle adulthood.  Recently, a study by Amanda Rose found that high school girls showed higher levels of depression than boys and that it was related to a characteristic that was more common in female friendships.  This characteristic which  she labeled co-rumination, was defined as spending more time and effort listening and responding to their friends problems.  Our research investigated depression and co-rumination in friendships among college students, and pursued whether this held true for romantic relationships as well.

Presenter:  Yuki Sakuragi (Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)

Title:  Attitude toward language study and cross-cultural attitude: a survey of students at Gustavus and other universities

Time and Place:  April 27, 2007 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Supporters of world language education generally seem to assume that people who are interested in language study tend to be more "open-minded" toward different cultures and have a stronger sense of being "world citizens."  There is, however, a dearth of empirical studies examining such a relationship between an attitude toward language study and a cross-cultural attitude.  In this presentation, I will share the results of a survey of students at Gustavus and other universities, including those in Japan.




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.