Paideia 3a
Fall 2008

We will weave together intentionally the strands of Paideia: academics, intercultural, collaborative, and civic engagement. The Paideia Program seeks to assist the Paideia Scholars in their search for a life that is connected, thoughtful, and authentic. Our seminar and tutorial sessions are designed to assist each seminar member in the pursuit of such a life.

The following shared values, methods, and procedures continue to clarify our approach to learning in this seminar:

Therefore, this seminar will require all of us to “stretch” beyond our established frames of reference, limits of understanding, and levels of comfort. The end result will be the integration of diverse learning experiences and progress toward the realization of our respective personal goals with regard to our educations.


Session #36 (Sept. 8, 2008)
Please read the relatively short definition of my very favorite topic (!), civic engagement at:

is ANYthing in this article relevant? realistic? genuine? not bs?


Session #37 (Sept. 22)
Michelle's topic:

Questions for the reading:

1. How do we as a cohort or as a generation define "culture?"
2. What is the purpose of studying different cultures? Why do we think it's a part of the Paideia program?
3. What do these things tell us about intercultural experiences?


Session 38 (Oct. 6)
Since we have just begun our discussion of culture and intercultural experience, I thought it would be a good idea to continue in that direction with the topic of the play, Lysistrata. Southwestern's SSFA website gives an idea of what the play's adaptation will cover with this short description:
Is that a spear in your toga or are you just happy to see us? In this classic and timely farce, Aristophanes gives us an original weapon for bringing peace to a war-torn world. What would it take to put an end to war? How about an end to sex? The heroine Lysistrata inspires the women of the world to keep the peace by keeping their legs closed and vow not to "put out" until the weapons are put down. Aristophanes' classic comedy comes to life in a brand-new, fast-paced, ridiculous and bawdy adaptation. In this hilarious battle of the sexes, men and women in compromising political positions duel it out before a sidesplitting reconciliation between ages and genders.

Recommended for mature audiences

The following article is written by Nehad Selaiha, a writer for Al-Ahram Weekly, a newspaper in Cairo, Egypt.

Questions for the reading:
1. Do issues of race, ethnicity, and cultural differences complicate conflicts, specifically wars, as Selaiha suggests? If so, how?
2. Do you expect to see any similarities between the Iranian adaptation and Southwestern?s adaptation?
3. General thoughts about Selaiha?s article?


Session #39 (Oct. 27)
Collaborative Learning Assignment
I thought it would be interesting to discuss Collaborative Learning. The article is called Collaborative Learning: Its Impact on College Students'
Development and Diversity. Although it is a primary article, I thought it would be interesting and something different to bring to our discussion.'+...%22+&um=1&ie=UTF-8&oi=scholarr

and then click on the PDF.

Please read and come ready to discuss. Things to think about:

-reason for the study
-how the researchers conducted the study
-the specific results of the study
-why this is important to us
-how this study is directly related to our cohort, if at all


Session #40 (Nov. 10)
I would like us to listen to the following podcast on the economic crisis and why it occured. It is in pretty simple terms, but it is a little lengthy. Listen to as much as you can and think about the following questions:

How can we prevent this in the future?
How did this affect the Presidential election?
How much did we as individuals contribute to this problem?
Are there moral and ethical principles that could have prevented the situation?

Get the podcast by googling

This American Life.

Go to their "episode archive."

The show is:
5/9/08 The Giant Pool of Money


Session #41 (Nov. 24)
My article is from the Washington Post and is about 10 years old, but after reading it, I think it's still as relevant as it was a decade ago. It deals with the assimilation of immigrants and the notion of the U.S. as a melting pot. It can be found at:

After reading this article, examine first your personal national, racial, or ethnic identity and what you consider to make you you, and then secondly, discuss what you think of assimilation and the identity of America. Possible questions to ask yourself:

Where are your ancestors from? Do you still identify with that country or people from that country? Why or why not?

What role do you think race plays in the conception of your identity, your culture, how you act, etc.? (please don't be afraid of sounding politically incorrect)

What does it mean to you to be an American?

Is there an American identity? If so, what is it and what are its characteristics?

How and why is assimilation different today than in the past? In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of assimilation and multiculturalism, and on which side of the argument do you fall?