Frequently Asked Questions

A Call for Papers

Fall 2009 Schedule

Spring 2010 Schedule

  Past Shop Talks

Fall 2009 Schedule

Presenter:  Sean Cobb (English)

Title:  Paranoia, State Sovereignty and the Bracero Program in Anthony Mann's Border Incident

Time and Place:  September 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


On the surface, Border Incident appears to champion the Bracero Program, the economic productivity of agribusiness in Imperial Valley and the efficient Immigration and Naturalization Services and its officers willing to sacrifice their lives to protect national interests.  Despite the semi-documentary sequences' glowing praise of the economic productivity of the border and the efficient and lawful management of the region, the film noir border-crossing scenes issue a stern warning about the dangers of globalization.  The border crossing scenes stage U.S. paranoia about economic and ethnic challenges to nation-state sovereignty and identity in the postwar United States by delineating how globalization compromises distinct ethnic, regional, economic, and national differences.  At the time of Border Incident's release, postwar attitudes regarding the Bracero Program were changing.  The seeming wartime necessity of the contract labor program to fill manpower shortages no longer justified the program, and rising U.S. paranoia surrounding multifarious border problems; security, illegal border crossers and communism, heightened negative public attitudes towards braceros.  Reflecting divided public opinion surrounding the Bracero Program, Border Incident's "narrative split" is forecast as an explicit focus of its content, registering two contrasting and opposed visions of the border.

Presenter:  Sarah Johnson (Religion)

Title:  Stygian Darkness No More:  American Missionaries? Post-War Portrayals of Christians Abroad

Time and Place:  October 2, 2009 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


In September 1945, the Free Methodist Missionary Tidings featured a poem, “The Converted Heathen Speaks.”  The “heathen” said to American Christians: “Out of the Stygian darkness/Of heathendom, brutish and base,/Out of the black superstition…/We have been lifted and pardoned/In answer to somebody’s prayer.”  By the last decades of the 20th century, however, the helpless native motif had disappeared largely disappeared from evangelical missionary rhetoric.   Some evangelicals suggested that people abroad boasted a more vital, authentic Christianity than the one practiced in the United States.  Yet beneath this new appraisal lay a continuing sense of American Christianity’s normativity.  This shop talk will explore the changes and continuities in American evangelicals’ depictions of people abroad and consider what these depictions suggest about how post-World War II Americans’ understood their role in the world.

Presenter:  Yurie Hong (Classics)

Title:  Classical Conceptions:  Ancient and Modern Discourses on Pregnancy and Childbirth

Time and Place:
  October 16, 2009 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


A common misconception about Classics is that it is a subject that is inextricably rooted in the past; its languages are dead, its monuments are in ruins, and its history is ancient.  The study of ancient Greece and Rome, however, can provide students and scholars with fresh ways of gaining greater insight into many aspects of the modern world.  In particular, this presentation will address the ways that cultural discourses about gender inform medical inquiries into reproduction and the human body.  These medical theories, in turn, have a profound impact on the formulation of men and women's social roles.  I will first provide an overview of ancient ideas about pregnancy and childbirth as reflected in literary and medical texts.  I will then discuss the ways in which contemporary discourses surrounding reproduction continue to influence, both positively and negatively, a range of social practices and beliefs.  I will close with some thoughts on how a close examination of ancient medicine and culture can help students approach such issues as gender, the body, and their own social and familial interactions in a more critical and intentional way.  In turn, this heightened awareness of the many constructed aspects of one's own experience can sharpen critical thinking skills both inside and outside the classroom and help bridge the perceived gaps between our own culture and that of others.

Presenter:  Daniel Moos (Elementary & Secondary Education)

Title:  Technology in the classroom: Frustration meets theory

Time and Place:  October 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Educational technology is constantly evolving, as evidenced by a major shift in design principles. Earlier technologies were designed to transmit standardized interpretations of knowledge to students. However, educational psychologists have found that standardizing instruction with technology may limit learning. In response to this growing body of literature, more recent technology-based learning environments are designed so that students can pursue personal goals and determine the instructional path that best meets their needs. Despite the tantalizing promises of these student-centered environments, research has identified a number of potential challenges that can quite often lead to feelings of frustration when learning with technology. This Shop Talk presentation will first briefly examine these challenges through the theoretical lens of Self-regulated Learning and Cognitive Load. Next, this presentation will synthesize results from my research agenda, which considers such questions as, "How do college students process information while learning with technology?"; "To what extent are there developmental differences in how students process information with technology?"; and "Which motivation constructs affect processing of information with technology?"

Presenter:  Alisa Rosenthal (Political Science)

Title:  Liberal Bodies: State Coercion, Citizens' Bodies, and Liberal Theory

Time and Place:  November 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


What are, and what should be, the limits to legitimate state power over citizens?  Under what circumstances can the state legitimately encroach upon the boundaries of its citizens’ persons?  The attempt to answer these questions – in both theoretical and practical terms – lies at the heart of the liberal project. Liberal political theory is the product of political theorists seeking to provide a principle according to which external authority can be checked. As a political philosophy, liberalism works to justify the regulation and curtailment of state power.  Such regulation aims to protect those rights – the individual rights of all persons – that liberalism takes as its starting point.  The immediate tension within liberalism is the need to protect the rights of each individual from infringement by others and the need to protect each individual’s rights from infringement by the state.  That is, the state must have authority over individuals if it is to protect their rights successfully, but this authority must itself be regulated by some principle.  If individuals are defined in terms of their discrete bodily form and the state can move inside that form, the distinctions upon which liberalism rests – that between the state and the individual, the public and the private – collapse.  The state’s uninvited and unwelcome presence inside the body jeopardizes both the concepts of limited state power over individuals and individual autonomy.  Thus, I examine cases of bodily invasion that necessarily raise these questions of individuals, state power, and the line between them.  In this paper, I consider instances of coercive state actions against pregnant women.





Spring 2010 Schedule

Presenter:  Sidonia Alenuma and Jane Schuck (Elementary & Secondary Education)

Title:  Meeting the Needs of Diverse Students with Emphasis on ELLs (English Language Learners): Some Dos and Don’ts

Time and Place:  February 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


This shop talk will address important and basic teaching strategies for all students and in particular, ELLs (English Language Learners). English Language Learners are part of the student population at GAC and irrespective of your discipline this shop talk will give you ideas on how to meet the needs of diverse students. The audience will be introduced to some dos and don’ts as they apply to meeting the needs of all students in your classrooms. Both presenters teach these research based strategies in their education courses at GAC.

Presenter:  Amanda Nienow (Chemistry)

Title:  What happens to herbicides sprayed on MN crops?

Time and Place: 
March 5, 2010 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


After application to crops, pesticides (a broad classification for both herbicides and insecticides) can undergo a variety of physical or chemical processes/reactions. Four major processes/reactions include penetration into epicuticular wax of plants, volatilization into the atmosphere, run-off into water systems, and/or photochemical transformation. Knowledge of these processes and other important processes, chemical reactivity, and identification of any chemical products formed allows us to more fully understand the fate, transport, and environmental health implications of these compounds. This talk will summarize some of these processes and what is currently known about them. I will also discuss work done by undergraduate students in my research lab that explored the photochemistry of nicosulfuron, a sulfonylurea pesticide, and imazethapyr, an imidazolinone pesticide, under laboratory and environmental conditions, the photochemistry of imazethapyr and other imidazolinone pesticides when sorbed to surfaces (such as corn and soybean cuticle waxes), an analysis meant to explore what happens immediately after pesticide application, and a project exploring the biotic degradation of imazethypyr with bacteria.

Presenter:  Julie Gilbert (Library/Faculty Associate for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning), Julie Bartley (Geology), Kyle Chambers (Psychology)

Title:  Exploring the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Gustavus

Time and Place:  March 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Julie Bartley will discuss implementing process-oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL) in the Stratigraphy and Geochronology course at the University of West Georgia. Students spent class time doing hands-on work, which guided them to construct explanations of geologic phenomena, viewed through the lens of fundamental physical processes. Students developed an understanding of process first, and learned terminology second. From an instructor’s perspective, guided inquiry requires a high degree of flexibility, and is labor-intensive compared to a traditional format. Students were more engaged in the course material than in previous years, attended class more regularly, and participated more fully in hypothesis construction. Overall, POGIL instruction represents an effective approach to teaching stratigraphy, and the benefits outweigh the challenges.

Kyle Chambers will discuss a process for helping students compose exam questions. Anecdotally, faculty members feel that they understand course material better after constructing exams for their classes. The current project asked whether students would also benefit from generating exam questions. Students enrolled in Introduction to Psychology wrote multiple-choice exam questions that covered course content and that emphasized the different levels of Bloom's taxonomy. Students revised their questions after receiving feedback from peers, which made their questions eligible to be included on the actual exams. This presentation will discuss student responses to this assignment and explore ways in which this activity enhanced student learning.

Presenter:  Maria Isabel Kalbermatten (Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)

Title:  Are men more ironic than women?

Time and Place:  April 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Are men more ironic than women? Or are women more ironic than men? Why? In this Talk Shop I will discuss the gender differences in the use of verbal irony in Spanish conversation. In general, speakers choose irony over literal language in order to be funny, to soften the edge of an insult, to show themselves in control of their emotions, and to avoid damaging their relationship with the addressee while nonetheless delivering a criticism. On the other hand, verbal irony is also used to show solidarity. The analysis of real conversations in Argentinean Spanish shows that men use irony more often than women. Furthermore, each gender uses irony for different purposes. For example, men use verbal irony because it allows them to be more aggressive and to show that they are in power. However, women use verbal irony because it allows them to show solidarity with the other members of the group. Do you agree with these results? What happens in conversations among English native speakers?

Presenter:  Sean Easton (Classics)

Title:  Ancient Greece in U.S. Popular and Political Culture during the Second Gulf War

Time and Place: 
April 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center


Since 2002, Ancient Greece has received wide and varied forms of public attention in the US.  Conservative pundit and Cal. State Fresno Classical historian Victor Davis Hanson in particular has kept the example of Greece relevant to modern conservative discourse, while the political left has seen such events as the 2002 worldwide staging of Aristophanes’ comedic play Lysistrata as a protest to the build-up to war in Iraq.  Hollywood, for its part, has offered mass audiences such varied receptions of Greek antiquity as Wolfgang Pedersen’s Troy, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, and Zack Snyder’s 300.  This shoptalk explores the links between Greco-Roman Classics as an academic discipline, Greek-themed vehicles of mass entertainment, and the packaging of Greek antiquity in the political discourse of the last eight years.




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).