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Video Oral Arguments: Literature on Trial

Students on Film (in order of appearance): Charlotte Wood, Jenny Deveaux, Joey Smith, Amanda Christie, Josh Loveridge, Gabe Brower, Janelle Carmichael, VI Form

Video Oral Arguments: Literature on Trial

Editor’s Note: This is a highlight reel from Ms. Matthews’ Literature on Trial class (2016 VI Form fall semester English). The course is divided into two sections. In the first half, the focus is on trials, plaintiffs, prosecutors and defendants, reading works of literature and brainstorming criminal or civil wrongs committed by characters in the text. Students work in trial groups to gather evidence, prepare witnesses, and put on their best case. The second half consists of appellate work where students focus on the after effects of a trial, reviewing lower court records for Constitutional issues, drafting briefs for appeal and preparing for a final oral argument.

Please click here or on the images for the “student attorneys” in action! screenshot-2017-02-20-19-30-09screenshot-2017-02-20-19-30-57 (more…)

Letter to the Editor: Native American Policy

By Mo Liu and Jamie Lance, V Form

Letter to the Editor: Native American Policy

Dear Editor Jackson,

It occurs to me that there is much attention raised among the general public regarding our government’s policy towards Indians, and therefore in writing to you, I, as a member of the Board of Indian Commissioners, want to clarify my position. Indians cannot be entirely excluded from our picture as a nation. However, the Indian society is not a cultivated society likes ours. One of my colleagues, who is experienced with Indian affairs and always provides us with elaborate information about the Indians, says their tribes are corrupted by “idleness, improvidence, and indebtedness”. The lack of private property or land and the underdevelopment of laws mark the Indian society as barbarous and inferior to ours. Because of this difference, since 1871 Indian tribes are no longer considered sovereign nations. Governments before us circumvented the Indian dilemma by relocating and establishing reservations west to the Mississippi River, yet now with a closed frontier and western migration, conflicts between settlers and the Indians are inevitable. The issue is pressing. (more…)

Paul Tillich and Marcus Borg: Responses to the Challenges of Unbelief

By Charlotte Wood, VI Form

 

Paul Tillich and Marcus Borg: Responses to the Challenges of Unbelief

Paul Tillich and Marcus Borg are Christian Existentialists. They see God and religious life in a radical way. Therefore, they would address the four major challenges to belief (in Philosophy, Psychology, Theodicy, Politics) in thought-provoking ways.

The Challenge from Philosophy is that there is no real “proof” of God’s existence. It is important to note that the “God” most often referenced in this challenge is the God of supernatural theism, that is, the God “out there,” separate from us and our universe. Tillich and Borg would likely agree that there is no proof of this God, however, that is not their God. Tillich describes religion as “asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt. Such an idea of religion makes religion universally human, but it certainly differs from what is usually called religion. It does not describe religion as the belief in the existence of gods or one God” (Tillich 1). Faith doesn’t necessarily need to involve “God” at all, and definitely does not need to involve the God of supernatural theism or the monarchical God. (more…)

Frederick Douglass & The Power of Literacy

By Riya Shankar, V Form

Frederick Douglass & The Power of Literacy

In Frederick Douglass’s autobiographical narrative, he explores the power of education in slavery, one of the most important themes in the narrative. Literacy is initially the beacon of hope that reminds Douglass that there is ultimately freedom from slavery. However, learning to read reveals to Douglass the horrific truth of slavery, transforming his views on the opportunities that are rooted in literacy. He realizes that learning to read has only pushed him further into the depths of slavery rather than helped him fight for liberty. Though the immediate impact of literacy on Douglass reveals the paradox of education in his life as a slave, Douglass’s views on literacy ultimately shift from paradoxical to positive. Douglass finds that education has only led him deeper into the chains of slavery, but he eventually sees the power to be gained from literacy and the potential to use literacy as a tool to fight against slavery. (more…)

World War I Primary Sources Collection at the Library

By Marion Donovan, Assistant Librarian

World War I Primary Sources Collection at the Library

As a librarian at St. Mark’s this fall, I have begun to “weed” through our history collection and have taken a deep dive into time travel. In the past, I was a history teacher myself, so the primary sources that bring the past to life call out to me. A particular section in the library especially rich in those sources covers World War I. Both of my grandfathers fought in WWI on the Allied side, one as a doctor and the other as an engineer, so I grew up with stories and artifacts of “The Great War,” as it was first known. When I applied to graduate school for history at the University of Chicago, I discovered that La Verne Noyes, an American inventor and manufacturer of agricultural equipment, book holders, and windmills, had left the bulk of his fortune to scholarships for Allied veterans of WWI and their direct descendants. These scholarships have now expanded to include 48 colleges. April 6, 2017 will be the one-hundredth anniversary of the United States’ entry into WWI. The European side of the war began in 1914, so many newspaper and magazine articles have already examined new and old perspectives on those events. More will be coming with April 6 in view. We at St. Mark’s are lucky to have an extensive collection of first-hand material (diaries, letters, memoirs, news reports, propaganda, art, photographs) from marshals and generals to privates and civilians on wide-ranging aspects of this war. (more…)

America: A Country of Apple-Eaters (Salinger’s “Teddy”)

By Minjae (Izzy) Kim, V Form

America: A Country of Apple Eaters (Salinger’s “Teddy”)

A seven-year-old child is in a math class learning simple addition and subtraction of single digit numbers. To logically approach this mathematical concept, the instructor employs the analogy of cookies; she asks, “If your mom left four cookies on the table, but your sister took two of the cookies, how many cookies can you eat?” A smart and logical child raises his hand and says, “I can eat two cookies!” and the teacher rewards him with a lollipop for correctly answering the question. However, according to Salinger, that child does not deserve a lollipop because he only answered the question logically, not spiritually. Although logic is the primary approach people take to solve most problems, in “Teddy” from Nine Stories, Salinger highlights the conflict between spirituality and logic and uses this dichotomy to guide the readers in interpreting the enigmatic epigraph. To accomplish this, Salinger kills Teddy at the end of the story to verify Teddy’s esoteric wisdom of spirituality, condemn the American view on spirituality, and usher the readers to interpret things spiritually rather than logically. (more…)