Issuu on Google+

MASTER OF ARTS IN LIBERAL STUDIES 505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ 07430 mals@ramapo.edu 201.684.7709

MALS Newsletter Fall 2013

MALS Faculty Profile: Lisa Cassidy

Society and Culture, as well as American Labor History and the Cultural History of Technology in America.

SSAIS Welcomes Dean Stephen Rice As of July 1, 2013 the Salameno School of American and International Studies has a new Dean, Stephen P. Rice. Rice received his B.A. in Philosophy and English from Gonzaga University, a M.A. in History and M. Phil from Yale, and a Ph.D. in American Studies, also from Yale. His expertise is in 19th Century American

A Professor of American Studies at Ramapo since 1996, and graduate MALS Professor since 2004, Dean Rice comes to this job at a time when exciting things are happening in SSAIS. The refurbishment and reconfiguration of the A-wing of the School has been completed, and further work will begin next summer on both floors of the B-Wing. The newly finished A-Wing space will include professors’ and administrative offices, classrooms and seminar rooms, an Honors Suite and offices, Student Lounge, Computer Lab and Conference Rooms. There will also be an Office of British Studies, MALS Graduate Program Office and Adjunct Faculty Office. We welcome Dean Rice to SSAIS and look forward to working with him.

Lisa Cassidy’s quick intelligence, bright smile, outgoing manner, and respected scholarship have been an asset to SSAIS classrooms for the 11 years she has taught at the College. An Associate Professor of Philosophy, she has been on the MALS faculty since 2008. Lisa co-taught the MALS core course “Search for Meaning” and teaches the elective “Jealousy, Envy, Revenge and Forgiveness.” She also serves on the MALS Academic Committee. She and her husband Mark are the parents of a 20 month-old-son, Mark, known to all as Marky.

MALS Faculty Dr. Anthony Padovano, Director

Karl Johnson

Lisa Cassidy

Jennefer Mazza

Erick Castellanos

James Morley

Rosetta D’Angelo

Hassan Nejad

Ellen Dolgin

Stephen Rice

Martha Ecker

Ellen Ross

Donald Fucci

Bernard Roy

Shalom Gorewitz

Edward Saiff

Howard Horowitz

Jeremy Teigen

MALS Academic Committee Dr. Anthony T. Padovano Dr. Lisa Cassidy Dr. Donald Fucci

We asked her to respond to some questions for this profile: What experiences or academic study made you decide to be a philosopher? I began college thinking that I would become a lawyer and work in politics. As a teenager I was interested in politics so I headed off to attend university in Washington D.C. to major in Political Science. I was profoundly disillusioned. Naïve as I was, I thought Washington politics was about ‘big ideas:’ justice, freedom, truth. However, the students and professors focused on the gamesmanship of winning and losing. So I decided to transfer to a school with a bigger Philosophy program. I announced to my parents (who assumed I was headed for a Law degree) that I was going to be a philosopher. They were then, and have always remained, incredibly supportive. Most Philosophy majors will probably not earn a living as philosophers or Philosophy professors. What qualities and skills does the study of Philosophy give students that will help them in their varied careers? One story I like to tell is about Don Shula,

the famous NFL coach. Shula actually has credited his experience taking Philosophy courses as an undergraduate to his success as one of the all-time best coaches in football. It might seem like a long way from Plato’s cave to the football field. Yet thinking about important questions (Why are we here? What is real? How should I treat others?), and reading established philosophical reflections on them, sharpens the mind. I think we all have a basic curiosity about these ‘big questions.’ Studying Philosophy in a formal setting allows us to nurture this curiosity. A happy accident is that employers need exactly what Philosophy students are good at: communicating persuasively and clearly amidst confusion, and solving seemingly- impossible problems. These skills can be used by anyone – from professors, to NFL coaches, to businesspeople (including former Philosophy majors and business magnates Carly Fiorina and George Soros.) Does being a philosopher affect your parenting style? Like every parent, I am focused on my child’s well-being. As a philosopher, I try to understand well-being, what a good life for my son would be, and how he might make the world better. For example, our good-night routine includes me putting the day’s highs and lows into perspective,

Volume VI, Number 3

sometimes by expressing appreciation for someone to whom I was grateful that day, or voicing something I would like to do better tomorrow. I do get a bit carried away and slip some Nietzsche quotes to him in between “Goodnight Moon” and “Spot Bakes a Cake.” I’m pretty sure he is the only nineteen month old on our street who gets a Nietzsche recitation at bedtime. (Poor thing!) Tell us a little about your MALS course, “Jealousy, Envy, Revenge, and Forgiveness”; how have students responded to this popular course? The wonderful thing about this class is that we all get to read, talk about, and write about these four emotions and their place in our lives. Students report that simply spending fifteen weeks mediating on these topics is transformative -- it will change who you are. We read Philosophy articles, short stories, novels, Social Science articles and popular journalism on the four topics, and view some really unique films. The last time this class was offered we had two excellent Master’s theses projects grow out of papers written for class: Greg Fenkart’s work analyzed why we enjoy fear in the context of entertainment and Carolyn Cardaci-Miron’s argued that any offense can be forgiven. What other course or courses would you like to develop for MALS? Right now I am interested in the role of technology in our lives. I am thinking about technology --social, medical, military-- who has access to technology, and who is denied access. Human beings are the same as we have been for the past hundred thousand years, but now an ordinary individual can instantly communicate with millions of strangers, can employ a woman on another continent to bear a pregnancy to term, can drop a bomb on a car thousands of miles away with the click of a mouse. What ethical dilemmas do these new technologies give us? Can the classic philosophers, novelists, and artists help us understand it all? I could call the course “The Ethics and Arts of Technology.”


MALS Student Profile: Meet Award-winning Documentarian, Nicole Franklin

Fall 2012 Presentation Night Graduates On December 4, 2012 four MALS students presented their theses to faculty, family and friends. Their work represents the broad spectrum of MALS thesis topics. Presentations were as follows:

Pamela Lee’s goal is to help young women strengthen themselves and heal emotional wounds due to abuse and early life trauma. She is founder of SLAP, Shoplifters Anonymous Program, in Bergen County. It is an independent, self-run, self-help group of women of diverse backgrounds attracting a

s

Robyn Bartscherer presented her thesis “The Purposeful Road to Resilience: A Developmental Path to the Health of Mind, Body and Spirit,” mentored by Dr. Marshall Harth, Professor Emeritus of Psychology. Robyn found a need to develop integrated, interdisciplinary approaches to healthcare that bridge gaps between our biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual needs, addressing the broader need for resilience in the administering healthcare.

mix of court-appointed and voluntary participants. Her thesis, “Adult Behavior Due to Early Life Trauma—the Case of Kleptomania” was mentored Judy Miller, Robin Robinson, Pamela Lee and Robyn Bartscherer by Dr. Maya Poran, Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology. Professor of Video Art and New Media. Judy Miller has been an aircraft interior designer for over 17 years. Her creative capstone project, titled “The Art of Aviation: The Airplane as Subject and Canvas, and its Influence on Modern Art and Design” produced a coffee table book of photographs of art work representing aircraft, and the evolution of aircraft interior design and how airlines presented their image to the world through design. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Shalom Gorewitz,

Spring 2013 Presentation Night Graduates On April 29, 2013, MALS students presented their thesis projects at the Spring Presentation Night. Presentations included:

s

Caitlin Carroll and Lederer

Caitlin Carroll is a middle school teacher who developed her thesis after teaching a class in which half the students had lost one or both parents during their middle school years. Her thesis, “Out of Darkness: Death Education in Public Schools” was written in the hope that it would address the effects of the loss felt by these students and give them the

Robin Robinson would like to remove the barriers to the educational success of young black males in all phases of their schooling. She researched the history and political influences affecting education of young black males, and wrote her thesis on “Black Boys: The Prospect of Letting Them Reach Their Full Potential.” She was mentored by Dr. Karl Johnson, Associate. Professor of African-American Studies.

help they deserve. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Ellen Dolgin, Adjunct Professor of Literature.

A 20-year Veteran Editor of Television News and Documentaries, Nicole Franklin is an award-winning filmmaker and producer, editor, stage manager, director of television and theatre and a full-time college instructor in the field of Communications. For more than a decade, her company EPIPHANY Inc. has been producing independent films for numerous cable networks including Showtime, BET, IFC, Nickelodeon, Sundance Channel and most recently, The Documentary Channel. Her credits include the feature length film “I Was Made To Love Her: the Double Dutch Documentary” (Sundance Channel, numerous festival awards including Best Documentary at the Hollywood Black Film Festival), the short film “The Double Dutch Divas!” (Filmakers Library/Alexander Street Press, numerous festival awards including The Inspiration Award at the Riverrun Film Festival), and the television program “Journeys In Black: the Jamie Foxx Biography” (BET). Nicole produced, directed, wrote and edited all three productions. Nicole has worked as a full-time Communications Instructor in the Division of Humanities at Bloomfield College, and formerly an adjunct professor of Televi-

Jennifer Lederer discovered eighteen years ago that a native American people lived in the nearby Ramapo Mountains and there was very little knowledge of this group among her students. Through research and interviews, Jenny has brought the Ramapough Lenape Nation to life for many of her students, some of whom are tribe members. Her thesis, “The Ramapough Lenape Nation: Mahwah’s Keepers of the Pass and Past” was mentored by Dr. Howard Horowitz, Professor of Geology.

Paul has taken threads from the memoir and turned them into stand-alone pieces. One of these, “Eastertide,” won the 2013 BLOOM Nonfiction Chapbook Prize.

The judge’s citation read: “Eastertide is a fragmented story of lost and found connections, a narrative both lifelike and realistically inexplicable. The subtle turns of awareness in this telling echo the social-sexual shifts many of us who’ve spent our lives in queer worlds will remember from the late 1980s, that dimming time when AIDS was just beginning to permeate our daily grasp. This is a narrative made of small and succinctly embodied intimacies. On their own these moments are understated but strung together they form a moving portent of the coming tempest.”

Ramapo College is New Jersey’s Liberal Arts College. Its Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is the graduate program that most immediately resonates with the way the College is publicly identified.

Paul continues to polish his memoir man-

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences published recently a report entitled “The Heart of the Matter.” The report contains a few arresting statements.

We have been enriched by sharing Paul’s life story, and congratulate him on this impressive accomplishment.

Nicole’s MALS thesis has been supported by a grant from The Campaign for Black Male Achievement (Foundation to Promote Open Society, funded by the Soros Foundation. The thesis is titled: “The Truth About Little Brother: A Curriculum Revolutionizing the Life Experience of Black Boys.” In her own words, her thesis “provides a guide to cultural interventionists from the point of view of s documentary filmmaker.” She states the premise of the work: “If young Black men, from 10 different areas of the United States, were to express their thoughts on love in their own words, how might this nation change its perception of a large section of the population often seen as disadvantaged and menacing?”

American form of education: comprehensive and balanced, recognizing the interdependence of all areas of knowledge.”

Written by: Dr. Anthony Padovano

uscript for submission to publishers in its full length form.

Most recently, she produced and directed the inaugural feature documentary on gun violence for the latest division of the global digital media company Moguldom Media Group, LLC.

Nicole’s curriculum offers the tools needed to deliver more accurate cultural messages about how black boys are conceived and received. It is “inspired directly from the voices of the wonderful young men I have had the pleasure of meeting.” Her course of study combines the voices of preteen young black males, and surveys of adults, mentors and older siblings how they can contribute to the formation of a “loving circle” supporting these young men in a society whose culture and media picture them as fearsome and often dismissed as incapable of love. We look forward to Nicole’s presentation of her thesis in this fall’s Presentation Night and wish her well in her project. (View some of Nicole’s work at: www.YouTube.com/NicoleFilms)

Director’s Column: The Heart of the Matter

Mast Wins 2013 Bloom Nonfiction Chapbook Prize Paul Mast, a 2012 MALS graduate with a concentration in Gender Studies, wrote a memoir, “Necessary Scars,” as his creative capstone project in the program. Paul’s faculty mentors were the late Dr. Kathleen Fowler, and Dr. Maya Poran. His book is a coming-of-age story of family and gay identity. He held the focused attention of the audience when he read excerpts from it at the MALS Presentation Night in April, 2012.

sion Broadcast Techniques and Digital Video Workshop at Long Island University (Brooklyn, NY) as well as an adjunct at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she taught Sight and Sound Studio. Nicole was featured in the NY 411 Production Guide’s tribute to women filmmakers.

• “American universities are among the best in the world.” • They achieved this status because they are based on “a liberal arts model of education, not the early push to specialize found in more of the developed world.” • Liberal Arts colleges are a “practically unique American contribution.” • The Liberal Arts shape a “distinctively

There will always be something elusive about the liberal arts. Single-mindedness may prompt some to expect the same clarity for liberal arts that skills-training gives. Technical training gives us certitude, and this is commendable. Human life, however, is inseparable from ambiguity. There are no easy ways to quantify love and friendship, magnanimity and generosity, compassion and suffering. If one lives a restricted life of success and skills only, profound levels of our humanity will be forfeited. A liberal arts education, I suggest, explores five areas of learning that enrich the life we are living. Career and skills education does not ignore these but gives them less emphasis and analysis. • The development of ideas that are comprehensive and inclusive. • Compassion and the capacity it gives us to identify with the other and even with

ourselves in our fallibilities. Compassion rescues us from sterile abstraction and from the gratuitous judgments we make about what or who is disposable. • Ethical choices. When we call a colleague “decent” or “reliable,” “trustworthy” or “caring,” it is often because we sense ethical integrity. • Awe and vulnerability before the larger mysteries of life. Love is one of those mysteries. There are many others: birth and loss, friendship and conscience. Einstein often verbalized his astonishment at the mysterious character of reality. Philosophers speak of mystery as woven into the very character of “being.” • The facts and skills we quite rightly accumulate over a lifetime can crowd or obstruct our life unless we give them a human dimension. The world we want to live in and give to our children must be a world where efficiency does not marginalize hope and does not eliminate the inefficiencies human life sometimes requires. The parameters we explore in liberal education are not wholly neglected by other forms of learning. Liberal studies, however, attends to them more intensely and with greater force. Success, for all its intoxicating splendor, is less important than our relationships and the construction of a world where the human heart has a chance.


MALS Student Profile: Meet Award-winning Documentarian, Nicole Franklin

Fall 2012 Presentation Night Graduates On December 4, 2012 four MALS students presented their theses to faculty, family and friends. Their work represents the broad spectrum of MALS thesis topics. Presentations were as follows:

Pamela Lee’s goal is to help young women strengthen themselves and heal emotional wounds due to abuse and early life trauma. She is founder of SLAP, Shoplifters Anonymous Program, in Bergen County. It is an independent, self-run, self-help group of women of diverse backgrounds attracting a

s

Robyn Bartscherer presented her thesis “The Purposeful Road to Resilience: A Developmental Path to the Health of Mind, Body and Spirit,” mentored by Dr. Marshall Harth, Professor Emeritus of Psychology. Robyn found a need to develop integrated, interdisciplinary approaches to healthcare that bridge gaps between our biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual needs, addressing the broader need for resilience in the administering healthcare.

mix of court-appointed and voluntary participants. Her thesis, “Adult Behavior Due to Early Life Trauma—the Case of Kleptomania” was mentored Judy Miller, Robin Robinson, Pamela Lee and Robyn Bartscherer by Dr. Maya Poran, Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology. Professor of Video Art and New Media. Judy Miller has been an aircraft interior designer for over 17 years. Her creative capstone project, titled “The Art of Aviation: The Airplane as Subject and Canvas, and its Influence on Modern Art and Design” produced a coffee table book of photographs of art work representing aircraft, and the evolution of aircraft interior design and how airlines presented their image to the world through design. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Shalom Gorewitz,

Spring 2013 Presentation Night Graduates On April 29, 2013, MALS students presented their thesis projects at the Spring Presentation Night. Presentations included:

s

Caitlin Carroll and Lederer

Caitlin Carroll is a middle school teacher who developed her thesis after teaching a class in which half the students had lost one or both parents during their middle school years. Her thesis, “Out of Darkness: Death Education in Public Schools” was written in the hope that it would address the effects of the loss felt by these students and give them the

Robin Robinson would like to remove the barriers to the educational success of young black males in all phases of their schooling. She researched the history and political influences affecting education of young black males, and wrote her thesis on “Black Boys: The Prospect of Letting Them Reach Their Full Potential.” She was mentored by Dr. Karl Johnson, Associate. Professor of African-American Studies.

help they deserve. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Ellen Dolgin, Adjunct Professor of Literature.

A 20-year Veteran Editor of Television News and Documentaries, Nicole Franklin is an award-winning filmmaker and producer, editor, stage manager, director of television and theatre and a full-time college instructor in the field of Communications. For more than a decade, her company EPIPHANY Inc. has been producing independent films for numerous cable networks including Showtime, BET, IFC, Nickelodeon, Sundance Channel and most recently, The Documentary Channel. Her credits include the feature length film “I Was Made To Love Her: the Double Dutch Documentary” (Sundance Channel, numerous festival awards including Best Documentary at the Hollywood Black Film Festival), the short film “The Double Dutch Divas!” (Filmakers Library/Alexander Street Press, numerous festival awards including The Inspiration Award at the Riverrun Film Festival), and the television program “Journeys In Black: the Jamie Foxx Biography” (BET). Nicole produced, directed, wrote and edited all three productions. Nicole has worked as a full-time Communications Instructor in the Division of Humanities at Bloomfield College, and formerly an adjunct professor of Televi-

Jennifer Lederer discovered eighteen years ago that a native American people lived in the nearby Ramapo Mountains and there was very little knowledge of this group among her students. Through research and interviews, Jenny has brought the Ramapough Lenape Nation to life for many of her students, some of whom are tribe members. Her thesis, “The Ramapough Lenape Nation: Mahwah’s Keepers of the Pass and Past” was mentored by Dr. Howard Horowitz, Professor of Geology.

Paul has taken threads from the memoir and turned them into stand-alone pieces. One of these, “Eastertide,” won the 2013 BLOOM Nonfiction Chapbook Prize.

The judge’s citation read: “Eastertide is a fragmented story of lost and found connections, a narrative both lifelike and realistically inexplicable. The subtle turns of awareness in this telling echo the social-sexual shifts many of us who’ve spent our lives in queer worlds will remember from the late 1980s, that dimming time when AIDS was just beginning to permeate our daily grasp. This is a narrative made of small and succinctly embodied intimacies. On their own these moments are understated but strung together they form a moving portent of the coming tempest.”

Ramapo College is New Jersey’s Liberal Arts College. Its Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is the graduate program that most immediately resonates with the way the College is publicly identified.

Paul continues to polish his memoir man-

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences published recently a report entitled “The Heart of the Matter.” The report contains a few arresting statements.

We have been enriched by sharing Paul’s life story, and congratulate him on this impressive accomplishment.

Nicole’s MALS thesis has been supported by a grant from The Campaign for Black Male Achievement (Foundation to Promote Open Society, funded by the Soros Foundation. The thesis is titled: “The Truth About Little Brother: A Curriculum Revolutionizing the Life Experience of Black Boys.” In her own words, her thesis “provides a guide to cultural interventionists from the point of view of s documentary filmmaker.” She states the premise of the work: “If young Black men, from 10 different areas of the United States, were to express their thoughts on love in their own words, how might this nation change its perception of a large section of the population often seen as disadvantaged and menacing?”

American form of education: comprehensive and balanced, recognizing the interdependence of all areas of knowledge.”

Written by: Dr. Anthony Padovano

uscript for submission to publishers in its full length form.

Most recently, she produced and directed the inaugural feature documentary on gun violence for the latest division of the global digital media company Moguldom Media Group, LLC.

Nicole’s curriculum offers the tools needed to deliver more accurate cultural messages about how black boys are conceived and received. It is “inspired directly from the voices of the wonderful young men I have had the pleasure of meeting.” Her course of study combines the voices of preteen young black males, and surveys of adults, mentors and older siblings how they can contribute to the formation of a “loving circle” supporting these young men in a society whose culture and media picture them as fearsome and often dismissed as incapable of love. We look forward to Nicole’s presentation of her thesis in this fall’s Presentation Night and wish her well in her project. (View some of Nicole’s work at: www.YouTube.com/NicoleFilms)

Director’s Column: The Heart of the Matter

Mast Wins 2013 Bloom Nonfiction Chapbook Prize Paul Mast, a 2012 MALS graduate with a concentration in Gender Studies, wrote a memoir, “Necessary Scars,” as his creative capstone project in the program. Paul’s faculty mentors were the late Dr. Kathleen Fowler, and Dr. Maya Poran. His book is a coming-of-age story of family and gay identity. He held the focused attention of the audience when he read excerpts from it at the MALS Presentation Night in April, 2012.

sion Broadcast Techniques and Digital Video Workshop at Long Island University (Brooklyn, NY) as well as an adjunct at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she taught Sight and Sound Studio. Nicole was featured in the NY 411 Production Guide’s tribute to women filmmakers.

• “American universities are among the best in the world.” • They achieved this status because they are based on “a liberal arts model of education, not the early push to specialize found in more of the developed world.” • Liberal Arts colleges are a “practically unique American contribution.” • The Liberal Arts shape a “distinctively

There will always be something elusive about the liberal arts. Single-mindedness may prompt some to expect the same clarity for liberal arts that skills-training gives. Technical training gives us certitude, and this is commendable. Human life, however, is inseparable from ambiguity. There are no easy ways to quantify love and friendship, magnanimity and generosity, compassion and suffering. If one lives a restricted life of success and skills only, profound levels of our humanity will be forfeited. A liberal arts education, I suggest, explores five areas of learning that enrich the life we are living. Career and skills education does not ignore these but gives them less emphasis and analysis. • The development of ideas that are comprehensive and inclusive. • Compassion and the capacity it gives us to identify with the other and even with

ourselves in our fallibilities. Compassion rescues us from sterile abstraction and from the gratuitous judgments we make about what or who is disposable. • Ethical choices. When we call a colleague “decent” or “reliable,” “trustworthy” or “caring,” it is often because we sense ethical integrity. • Awe and vulnerability before the larger mysteries of life. Love is one of those mysteries. There are many others: birth and loss, friendship and conscience. Einstein often verbalized his astonishment at the mysterious character of reality. Philosophers speak of mystery as woven into the very character of “being.” • The facts and skills we quite rightly accumulate over a lifetime can crowd or obstruct our life unless we give them a human dimension. The world we want to live in and give to our children must be a world where efficiency does not marginalize hope and does not eliminate the inefficiencies human life sometimes requires. The parameters we explore in liberal education are not wholly neglected by other forms of learning. Liberal studies, however, attends to them more intensely and with greater force. Success, for all its intoxicating splendor, is less important than our relationships and the construction of a world where the human heart has a chance.


MASTER OF ARTS IN LIBERAL STUDIES 505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ 07430 mals@ramapo.edu 201.684.7709

MALS Newsletter Fall 2013

MALS Faculty Profile: Lisa Cassidy

Society and Culture, as well as American Labor History and the Cultural History of Technology in America.

SSAIS Welcomes Dean Stephen Rice As of July 1, 2013 the Salameno School of American and International Studies has a new Dean, Stephen P. Rice. Rice received his B.A. in Philosophy and English from Gonzaga University, a M.A. in History and M. Phil from Yale, and a Ph.D. in American Studies, also from Yale. His expertise is in 19th Century American

A Professor of American Studies at Ramapo since 1996, and graduate MALS Professor since 2004, Dean Rice comes to this job at a time when exciting things are happening in SSAIS. The refurbishment and reconfiguration of the A-wing of the School has been completed, and further work will begin next summer on both floors of the B-Wing. The newly finished A-Wing space will include professors’ and administrative offices, classrooms and seminar rooms, an Honors Suite and offices, Student Lounge, Computer Lab and Conference Rooms. There will also be an Office of British Studies, MALS Graduate Program Office and Adjunct Faculty Office. We welcome Dean Rice to SSAIS and look forward to working with him.

Lisa Cassidy’s quick intelligence, bright smile, outgoing manner, and respected scholarship have been an asset to SSAIS classrooms for the 11 years she has taught at the College. An Associate Professor of Philosophy, she has been on the MALS faculty since 2008. Lisa co-taught the MALS core course “Search for Meaning” and teaches the elective “Jealousy, Envy, Revenge and Forgiveness.” She also serves on the MALS Academic Committee. She and her husband Mark are the parents of a 20 month-old-son, Mark, known to all as Marky.

MALS Faculty Dr. Anthony Padovano, Director

Karl Johnson

Lisa Cassidy

Jennefer Mazza

Erick Castellanos

James Morley

Rosetta D’Angelo

Hassan Nejad

Ellen Dolgin

Stephen Rice

Martha Ecker

Ellen Ross

Donald Fucci

Bernard Roy

Shalom Gorewitz

Edward Saiff

Howard Horowitz

Jeremy Teigen

MALS Academic Committee Dr. Anthony T. Padovano Dr. Lisa Cassidy Dr. Donald Fucci

We asked her to respond to some questions for this profile: What experiences or academic study made you decide to be a philosopher? I began college thinking that I would become a lawyer and work in politics. As a teenager I was interested in politics so I headed off to attend university in Washington D.C. to major in Political Science. I was profoundly disillusioned. Naïve as I was, I thought Washington politics was about ‘big ideas:’ justice, freedom, truth. However, the students and professors focused on the gamesmanship of winning and losing. So I decided to transfer to a school with a bigger Philosophy program. I announced to my parents (who assumed I was headed for a Law degree) that I was going to be a philosopher. They were then, and have always remained, incredibly supportive. Most Philosophy majors will probably not earn a living as philosophers or Philosophy professors. What qualities and skills does the study of Philosophy give students that will help them in their varied careers? One story I like to tell is about Don Shula,

the famous NFL coach. Shula actually has credited his experience taking Philosophy courses as an undergraduate to his success as one of the all-time best coaches in football. It might seem like a long way from Plato’s cave to the football field. Yet thinking about important questions (Why are we here? What is real? How should I treat others?), and reading established philosophical reflections on them, sharpens the mind. I think we all have a basic curiosity about these ‘big questions.’ Studying Philosophy in a formal setting allows us to nurture this curiosity. A happy accident is that employers need exactly what Philosophy students are good at: communicating persuasively and clearly amidst confusion, and solving seemingly- impossible problems. These skills can be used by anyone – from professors, to NFL coaches, to businesspeople (including former Philosophy majors and business magnates Carly Fiorina and George Soros.) Does being a philosopher affect your parenting style? Like every parent, I am focused on my child’s well-being. As a philosopher, I try to understand well-being, what a good life for my son would be, and how he might make the world better. For example, our good-night routine includes me putting the day’s highs and lows into perspective,

Volume VI, Number 3

sometimes by expressing appreciation for someone to whom I was grateful that day, or voicing something I would like to do better tomorrow. I do get a bit carried away and slip some Nietzsche quotes to him in between “Goodnight Moon” and “Spot Bakes a Cake.” I’m pretty sure he is the only nineteen month old on our street who gets a Nietzsche recitation at bedtime. (Poor thing!) Tell us a little about your MALS course, “Jealousy, Envy, Revenge, and Forgiveness”; how have students responded to this popular course? The wonderful thing about this class is that we all get to read, talk about, and write about these four emotions and their place in our lives. Students report that simply spending fifteen weeks mediating on these topics is transformative -- it will change who you are. We read Philosophy articles, short stories, novels, Social Science articles and popular journalism on the four topics, and view some really unique films. The last time this class was offered we had two excellent Master’s theses projects grow out of papers written for class: Greg Fenkart’s work analyzed why we enjoy fear in the context of entertainment and Carolyn Cardaci-Miron’s argued that any offense can be forgiven. What other course or courses would you like to develop for MALS? Right now I am interested in the role of technology in our lives. I am thinking about technology --social, medical, military-- who has access to technology, and who is denied access. Human beings are the same as we have been for the past hundred thousand years, but now an ordinary individual can instantly communicate with millions of strangers, can employ a woman on another continent to bear a pregnancy to term, can drop a bomb on a car thousands of miles away with the click of a mouse. What ethical dilemmas do these new technologies give us? Can the classic philosophers, novelists, and artists help us understand it all? I could call the course “The Ethics and Arts of Technology.”


MALS Newsletter Fall 2013