Frequently Asked Questions


A Call for Papers


Fall 2007 Schedule

Spring 2008 Schedule

  Past Shop Talks



Fall 2007 Schedule

Presenter:  Joyce Sutphen (English)

Title:  About Poetry

Time and Place:  September 14, 2007 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


W. H. Auden once said that “Literary gatherings, cocktail parties and the like, are a social nightmare because writers have no “shop” to talk.  Lawyers and doctors can entertain each other with stories about interesting cases, about experiences, that is to say, related to their professional interests but yet impersonal and outside themselves.  Writers have no impersonal professional interests.  The literary equivalent to talking shop would be writers reciting their own work at each other, an unpopular procedure for which only very young writers have the nerve.”

Since I am not a “very young writer,” I will not recite “at” you in lieu of a shop talk; besides, I happen to think that writers DO like to talk shop and that they “talk” it often.  I hope to present some ways to think “About Poetry” and perhaps introduce you to some poems and ideas that might—in the words of Seamus Heaney—become “a path . . . into the kingdom of rightness.”

Presenter:  Karl Larson (Health and Exercise Science)

Title:  Hochbaum, Kholberg, Brain Development, and Student Health Behavior

Time and Place:  September 28, 2007 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Theories of student development and theories of health behavior have been present for decades, yet rarely have their paths cross. As the collegiate environment continues to work to help students maintain health and safety, and thrive academically, the number of programs to address student health issues continues to increase. New research on brain development has allowed a bridge to be built between these two pools of theory, and provide the college environment with a unique opportunity to ask the question, "Are we asking students to exhibit behaviors for which they are not developmentally prepared?"

Presenter:  Elizabeth Jenner (Sociology & Anthropology)

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

Time and Place:  October 12, 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:  Paschal Kyoore (Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)

Title:  Speaking Wisdom, Listening to Wisdom: Proverbs among the Dagara People of West Africa

Time and Place:  October 26, 2007 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


This presentation will focus on  part of my research findings on verbal art among the Dagara people of West Africa.  It is a study of proverbs in context.  The study identifies similes, metaphors, allusions, and other symbols of speech as characteristics of Dagara proverbs.  It also demonstrates the importance of context in the determination of the meaning of proverbs, and concludes that Dagara proverbs are didactic in nature and that they are used to control human behavior.

Presenter:  Patricia Costello (Psychology)

Title:  Perception of Age in Human Faces

Time and Place:  November 9, 2007 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Faces convey a substantial amount of information about their owners including emotional state, gender, and age.  Perception of age plays an important role in how we interact socially with others.  Although face processing continues to be intensely researched, the factors involved in the perception of age have been largely ignored.  Any theory of face recognition is incomplete without an understanding of age perception since age is an important facial characteristic.  This study seeks to understand how people’s age and gender influence their age judgment of an unknown face.  Age estimation accuracy was also assessed for two different exposure times in order to determine how much viewing time is needed to best estimate age.  College age participants viewed male and female faces and estimated how old each face was.  All participants also categorized the faces as “young” or “old” based on their individual criteria.  In general, participants were more accurate for their own age group and less accurate for older faces.





Spring 2008 Schedule

Presenter:  Laura Behling (English)

Title:  Technology with a human face:  The Virtual Patient

Time and Place:  February 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


In recent decades, American medical practice has moved in two radically, and seemingly contradictory, directions. First, it has come to rely on increasingly sophisticated computer technology that replicates and replaces not only the anatomical structure, but also physiological reactions of the human body. Surgeons can polish their dexterity on video-game like programs for procedures such as endoscopy and colonoscopy. Life-size, computer-driven mannequins, named “Simantha™” and “Stan” (short for “standard patient”), talk, breathe, move, and mimic physiological changes so that health care workers can practice their skills and experience new situations without the risk of harming a real person. Second, medical schools and hospitals have integrated the humanities into their education and training. Several programs now boast of curricula in the medical humanities, where students are required to take courses in literature or art. Physicians and nurses participate in writing groups that allow them to express their experiences in poetry or drama. Other programs have adopted what Dr. Rita Charon terms the “parallel chart,” a way of recording the patient’s life history along with the more typical vital signs. This Shop Talk will consider the relationship (sympathetic and contradictory) between the patient, once flesh-and-blood and now wires-and-pixels, and the increasing role the humanities is playing in medical practice.

Presenter:  Michele Koomen (Education)  Postponed

Title:  Listening to Their Voices: What do regular and special education students tell us about their experiences in learning science?

Time and Place:  Postponed     February 29, 2008 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


This Shop Talk reports on a phenomenological study of nine regular and special education students as they studied insect biology and ecology in their inclusive seventh grade life science class. Three fundamental data collection methods of qualitative research (student observations, interviews and artifact analysis) framed the data collection of this study. Hermeneutic phenomenological analysis (Van Manen, 1990) and the seven-step framework from Cohen, Manion, and Morrison (2000) were used to systematically analyze the data. The results of the data analysis reveal three main findings. The first speaks to some of the contextual features (for example working with others or using external cues) of the science classroom that serve to support the learning of the seventh grade students, both regular and special education, as they navigate in life science. The second major finding exposes some of the anxiety and the challenges that are part of the lived experiences of the students as they studied monarch biology and ecology in their seventh grade inclusive science classroom. The third major finding, the practice of inquiry learning in science is fragile, represents the complexity of teaching all students science. Listening to their voices serves to “prime” us to consider and value their perspectives as we make decisions as teachers (both special education and regular education), teacher educators and administrators.

Presenter:  Linnea Wren (Art and Art History) and Travis Nygard

Title:  Gumming up archaeology: Archaeologists, rebels and research in Mexico’s separatist state

Time and Place:  March 14, 2008 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Chiclet chewing gum is a ubiquitous element in North American culture. As familiar as most of us are with Chiclets, chicle has a surprising history in the archaeology of Maya regions of Mexico, as well as a startling role in international economics and politics. During the second half of the nineteenth century, chicle connected the Maya speaking peoples in the independent Maya state of Chan Santa Cruz, now Quintana Roo, Mexico, with big business interests in the United States. Through the income derived from chicle gathering, the Maya peoples were able to purchase arms and munitions and to mount the most successful Indian rebellion of the Americas.

This presentation by Linnea Wren and Travis Nygard will use chicle as the anchor upon which to tell the history of archaeology in Quintana Roo. By focusing on a product from the local economy, we are able to reconstruct a history entirely absent from the scholarly reports, articles and books that are the core literature of the discipline. Traditional scholarship has erased the participation of the contemporary Maya in shaping the course of archaeology. In contrast, we forefront Maya agency to show how contemporary knowledge of the ancient culture of Quintana Roo has been the result of complex economic, political and symbolic negotiations among a global network of Maya leaders, foreign scholars, and transnational business owners.

Presenter:  Anne-Marie Gronhovd (Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)

Title:  Morocco at the crossroads of Muslim and Western Worlds.

Time and Place:  April 11, 2008 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


A Summer Seminar in Morocco:  The politics and culture of Morocco.  The Moroccan social issues raised by the EU laws on immigration and the Morocco-Spain dependence at the Mediterranean Sea borders.  A cross cultural journey throughout Tangiers, Asilah, Rabat, the Rif Mountains.  Reflections on the challenges faced by the Spanish border cities of Ceuta and Melilla on Moroccan territory.

Presenter:  Margaret Bloch Qazi (Biology/SOTL coordinator), Brenda Kelly (Chemistry), Leila Brammer (Communication Studies)

Title:  SOTL Projects --- Innovations in the Biochemistry Laboratory Curriculum and Public Discourse and civic engagement:  The introductory communication course as training for citizenship.

Time and Place: 
April 25, 2008 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Some of the teaching challenges in science laboratories are similar to those in lecture-based courses and include a lack of student engagement and ability to apply laboratory knowledge to address a ‘real’ scientific question.  Through this Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Project, conducted in collaboration with Jeff Dahlseid, Mark Levandowski (Grinnell College) and Elizabeth Trimmer (Grinnell College), we hope to make student learning more effective in the biochemistry laboratory through the development of a curriculum that is inquiry based, has a continuity of focus, and emphasizes the communication of scientific results.  In this Shop Talk, I will discuss the development, current outcomes, and future goals for this project to support the effectiveness of this type of curriculum in enhancing student learning and engagement in the laboratory.

In fall 2007, the Department of Communication Studies began teaching Public Discourse in place of Public Speaking as an introductory course to curriculum in the major. The objective of this change is to more fully introduce students to the principles and skills of civic engagement in order to better prepare students for advanced work in the major and for their lives as citizens. Preliminary results of the course assessment, including survey data, a critical thinking evaluation, example assignments, and student projects from the course, will be presented.




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 (a waiting list is maintained).