2018-19 Senior Tutorials
- Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
- Comparative Art History: Diversifying the Canon
- Constructing Reality: The Psychology of Perception, Emotion, and The Self
- Contemporary American Film as Literature
- Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend: In Print and On the Screen
- Global Health
- Native American and Hawaiian Mythology
- A Natural and Human History of the Upper Appoquinimink River, Delaware and Vicinity
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
- Popular Poets
- Practical Wisdom
- A Sensory Exploration of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
- Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science
- U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Latin America & Cuba — A Whole New Ballgame
In this tutorial, we will read Tolstoy’s tremendous novel of family, identity, love, marriage and self-exploration. This novel, labeled by many as the greatest ever written, bursts with memorable and riveting scenes, one after another. Students will take turns leading discussions, and write weekly essays.
In this tutorial, we will compare art across time and space to explore the ways in which different peoples and communities have processed themselves, and their surroundings, through the creation of art.
Through considering thematic pairings, students will develop skills of visual literacy, and visual, contextual and comparative analysis. Some of the themes we will grapple with include: glory of empire, female representation, the male gaze, violence and technology, toxic masculinity, and queer and gender-bending art. Students will draw from a variety of text and video resources to understand the historical forces that gave rise to the astonishing richness of imagery produced by such diverse groups. Students will design visual presentations that seek to compare given works across cultures and time periods, and will then write short comparative analysis essays that articulate how different artists have addressed the given theme. This tutorial attempts to specifically challenge the traditionally Western, male, heteronormative, art historical canon.
In 1886 Thomas Huxley asked, how it is that “anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue?”
In this tutorial we will study how our perceptions relate to our thoughts, how our thoughts produce our experiences, and how our experiences give rise to a sense of self. Although cognitive scientists are still struggling to answer Huxley’s question, their struggle has generated abundant insights and fascinating follow-up questions. We’ll read books and papers by Lisa Feldman Barrett, who challenges the conventional view that emotions are produced in response to external events; Anil Seth, who asks us to consider that we are all hallucinating all the time; Donald Hoffman, who argues that natural selection favors animals that misperceive reality; and V.S. Ramanchandran, who dissects the different forms of self that each of us generates.
Although we don’t typically think of film as literature, cinema is a serious art form that adheres to many of the same narrative structures as novels and short stories.
Like any good book, a film begins with a break in routine that disrupts the life of the protagonist and ends when the protagonist experiences a life-altering change of perspective. Although we don’t typically think of film as literature, cinema is a serious art form that adheres to many of the same narrative structures as novels and short stories. Like any good book, a film begins with a break in routine that disrupts the life of the protagonist and ends when the protagonist experiences a life-altering change of perspective. Over the course of this tutorial, we’ll watch, discuss and carefully dissect nine of the most significant and acclaimed films produced by American directors in the 21st century. In addition to weekly viewings and group discussions at the Motter House, students will write essays on each film, and, in some cases, put their own assertions in conversation with those of scholars and film critics. Overall, the tutorial aspires to expose students to a broad spectrum of contemporary film while continuing to hone the critical thinking and analytical writing skills they’ve developed over the past four years at St. Andrew’s.
Ferrante (a pen name—in fact, no one actually knows her real identity) has said that she likes to write narratives “where the writing is clear, honest, and where the facts—the facts of ordinary life—are extraordinarily gripping when read.”
Indeed, I have never read a writer who is so raw, so candid. Set in Naples, Italy, her novels explore, in vivid detail, the complexities of friendship, love, gender, motherhood, family, and identity. From page to page, Ferrante takes her reader on a ride of real-time psychological and emotional upheaval: rage, tenderness, lust, abuse, betrayal, violence, and loyalty. In this tutorial, we will study the first novel in her Neapolitan series, My Brilliant Friend, both in print and in its recent iteration as a mini-series (for which Ferrante, herself, consulted) as we consider how the author depicts the many layers of this friendship within the world of Naples in the mid-twentieth century.
The delivery of health care to underserved populations poses unique challenges for physicians, public health officials and governments. This tutorial will expose students to the stories of three physicians who made it their life’s work to address some of these challenges.
We will read Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder and Second Suns by David Oliver Relin. Mountains Beyond Mountains tells the story of Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, who began traveling to Haiti during medical school. The profound lack of access to health care among the Haitian people motivated him to work to change that disparity. The success of his work in Haiti with HIV and tuberculosis altered the paradigm for managing those conditions across the world. Second Suns chronicles the work of Dr. Sanduk Ruit and Dr. Geoff Tabin, two physicians working in the mountains of Nepal to provide eye care to remote populations. Their work, and particularly their development of a new surgical technique, have changed the approach to the treatment of cataracts all over the world. Together, these books will expose students to the challenges of global public health and explore how individuals can make a profound difference in this field.
This course is a study of the unique features and shared themes of North, Central, and South America, and Hawaiian indigenous traditions as expressed in myths, stories, and folktales. The course begins with the question of how mythology is defined and understood in the context of indigenous lifeways, and an exploration of how to cultivate mythological literacy through a survey of the archetypes commonly found in these stories.
Through reading myths on creation, the hero’s journey, and communication with animals and the natural world, students will learn how these traditions frame the individual’s place in the world, the individual’s relationship to the community, and the connection between the community and the cosmos.
Do you know much about the natural history of your backyard, whether here or at home? What do you know of the plants, the flowers, the fruit that surround you? What do you know of the animals these plants support? How about the surrounding soil, water, and air? Is our land richer than that of the Great Plains? What’s been the effect of these resources on the quality of life for humans and our communities? Did Native Americans sleep and hunt here, on this very spot, 800 years ago? Why do we build houses on some of the richest land in America? What’s been the human influence on the natural resources over time? Where are we heading as a community, as a civilization? What will be the local effects of climate change, on you, and on your immediate environment?
In this tutorial we will explore the outdoors, to help us better understand sustainability and encourage its practice while having a fun, rewarding time trying to answer some of these question. In the process, we will further appreciate the natural world and apply what we learn from our explorations and readings to our “backyard”—our natural world. The more we appreciate our natural environments, the better care we will give them for years to come.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of Latin America’s novels of excellence and one of the most important novels of the 20th century. Nobel Prize Winner Gabriel García Márquez wrote it in 1967, and in the novel he breaks with all “realism” and introduces myth in fiction, constructing a mythical past in which fantastic elements are part of daily existence. Macondo, the town founded by Buendía family at the center novel, is more than just a place in the world; it is a state of being. We will discuss the novel within the frame of Latin America’s history and the creation of memory.
Poetry reaches well beyond our English classrooms, and lines from famous poems persist over decades—“Just like hopes springing high/ still I’ll rise” … “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood/ and sorry I could not travel both” … “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?”
This tutorial will explore some of the most well-known, popular poets of the 20th and 21st century—Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, Seamus Heaney, Billy Collins, Sylvia Plath and others. What made these poets so engaging and enjoyable to the average reader? Can poetry have popular appeal and still merit a place in the academy? Focusing on a different poet each week, students will have some input on the poets and the poems we focus on. Through readings, research, and writing, we will experience each writer’s unique voice, context and style.
What virtue will make one a better firefighter, teacher, doctor, or friend? Practical wisdom: The ability to do the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.
In our pursuit to learn the moral skills required to make difficult decisions, we will examine the following questions: What is practical wisdom? When and why do we need it? How do we learn it? What systematic rules and principles may threaten practical wisdom? We will investigate these questions through a variety of lenses including friendship, the workplace, and parenting. Readings pertaining to ethical theory and case studies will provide the background for our discussions. Students’ personal stories will enhance conversation as practical wisdom is often learned through reflection on experiences and practices.
This tutorial will center on reading and exploring Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Using the novel as our primary text, we will use a sensory approach to consider the questions around “race” that Ellison presents, such as: What is “race” and how has it changed over time? How and why does race matter? How might listening to and seeing differences lead to a fuller understanding of “race”—and to fuller understandings between people across racial lines? We will explore these questions as we read, write, think, and listen to cultural ideas of race and racial identity. Our work will ultimately invite us to explore ideas about our own developing racial identities of our distinctly American cultural selves. In addition to reading Invisible Man, we will also explore other artists, musicians, and writers such as James Baldwin, Cornel West, Sherman Alexie, and Shamus Khan. Our tutorial will culminate in a walking tour of Harlem, the principal setting for Ellison’s novel.
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is “really” like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe?
The goal of this course is to address these kinds of questions by taking a tour of roughly one hundred years of philosophical debate about science. In doing so, we will introduce some main themes of the philosophy of science through epistemological, metaphysical, sociological, psychological , and historical lenses. The foundation of this course is the book Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science by Peter Godfrey-Smith.
The United States has a unique relationship with Latin America due to historical coincidence and geographical proximity. Perhaps no other country in Latin America has as special a relationship with the United States as Cuba.
Cuba’s destiny has been inextricably tied to the foreign policy decisions of the U.S. since before its independence from Spain. (Indeed, Cuban independence followed directly from United States military intervention.) The relationship has gone through many phases, beginning when both were colonies of European powers, through independence for one, then the other, through revolution, the Cold War and a fifty year estrangement during the Revolutionary Period, to the brand-new age of regularized relations, to a horizon which is again cloudy on both sides of the Florida Straits. In this tutorial, politico-historical in nature, we will explore the entire span of this relationship, and will follow current events in U.S.-Cuban relations as they occur. We will make our best guesses as to how the next phase of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba will develop. There is no more timely a moment to take on this case study than right now.