Fall 2007 Voltaire's Coffee Reading List
Voltaire's Coffees filling fast. See Plan II Calendar too. Register now!
Posted: May 30, 2007
The professors we engage to sponsor these discussions select texts which you will read over the summer and discuss in the fall. At the beginning of the semester you will join the professor who is sponsoring one of your books in a discussion. You should read the books for at least one Voltaire's Coffee during the summer; however, we strongly encourage you to read several books and to attend all the coffees that interest you. Voltaire's Coffees are a wonderful opportunity to meet professors and fellow Plan II classmates.
Every year, professors select a delightful mix of books, ranging from the sublime to the scholarly to the entertaining, and covering all areas of study. If the book listed has a translation, please buy the one specified, as different versions can give different impressions. The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is noted for recommended editions. Where no ISBN is noted, choose among the most readily available editions.
Be aware that Voltaire's Coffees will occur during the first few weeks of classes; several of them will meet before classes even begin. Please check the dates and times of the coffees on the Plan II website: www.utexas.edu/cola/plan2.
Sign-ups for the coffees will begin July 20. Please e-mail your full name, UT EID, and choice of coffees to the Academic Co-chairs: Joey Kolker and Esin Saribudak.
1. "An Evening of Poetry" (students who sign up for this coffee will be emailed a packet of poems selected by Dr. Flowers to read beforehand, and will then roam through several centuries of poetry at the Coffee). Sponsor: Betty Sue Flowers, LBJ Museum and Library, Monday, August 27th, in the Presidential Suite of the LBJ Library, from 5-7 pm. Discussion will be from 5-6, and dinner will be served from 6-7.
Until her appointment in 2002 as Director of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, sponsoring professor Betty Sue Flowers was Kelleher Professor of English and member of the Distinguished Teachers Academy at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Senior Research Fellow of the IC2 Institute, an Honorary Fellow of British Studies, a recipient of the Pro Bene Meritis Award, and a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas. She is also a poet, editor, and business consultant, with publications ranging from poetry therapy to the economic myth, including two books of poetry and four television tie-in books in collaboration with Bill Moyers, among them, the best-selling Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. She hosted "Conversations with Betty Sue Flowers" on the Austin PBS-affiliate and has served as a moderator for executive seminars at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, consultant for NASA, member of the Envisioning Network for General Motors, Visiting Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, Public Director of the American Institute of Architects, and editor of Global Scenarios for Shell International in London and the World Business Council in Geneva (on global sustainable development, the future of biotechnology, and, currently in progress, global water issues). Betty Sue Flowers received her B.A. (Plan II Honors major) and M.A. from the University of Texas and her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of London.
2. P.G. Wodehouse (any book, but especially Jeeves stories, Mulliner stories, or golf stories). Sponsor: Michael Starbird, Mathematics. Professor Starbird's coffee will be Wednesday, August 29th, at his home, from 7-9 pm. 7506 Valburn Dr., map will be available in Plan II office and information on carpooling provided to students who signed up for this coffee.
P.G. Wodehouse wrote light comic romances mostly set in the upper class society of early twentieth century England. Jeeves, Bertie Wooster's gentleman's personal gentleman, is Wodehouse's most famous character. Bertie is constantly getting engaged to inappropriate women from whom Jeeves extricates him by brainy schemes. P.G. Wodehouse has a claim to being the best comic writer in English. If you are in the mood to be delighted, dip in.
Sponsoring professor Michael Starbird is a Professor of Mathematics and a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.A from Pomona College and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin. During his tenure at UT, he has accepted visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the University of California at San Diego, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. From 1989 to 1997, Professor Starbird served as Associate Dean of the College of Natural Sciences. He is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. His recent book, The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking, coauthored with Edward B. Burger, was acclaimed by the American Mathematical Monthly as possibly the best math book--textbook or not--for non mathematicians it had ever reviewed. Professor Starbird has won several teaching awards, most recently the 2007 Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo National Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics, which is limited to three recipients annually from the 27,000 members of the MAA. Other awards include a Minnie Stevens Piper Professorship, the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence, the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award, and the Friar Society Centennial Teaching Fellowship.
Dr. Starbird has also won Plan II's Chad Oliver teaching award for his Plan II mathematics course, which introduces students to intriguing ideas including infinity, the fourth dimension, rubber sheet geometry, chaos, fractals, and coincidence. And if all goes well, you may one day hear him perform "Jabberwocky" in German.
3. Raymond Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. Sponsor: David Laude, Chemistry. September 4th, 7-9 pm, in 007B.
The idea behind the book is that human knowledge and achievement is accelerating at an exponential rate that will soon result in an epochal (singular) moment in history beyond which, well basically, robots take over the world. Even if you don't buy his zealous optimism about technological advances, the book will prompt immediate debate about just exactly what the human race is in for with these advances. For those interested in neurobiology, it is a chance to examine what it means to be human around the singularity when we are exploiting technology to maximize the brain's potential. So basically this is a book for futurists, which should include anyone alive 30 years from now and thinking about whether to promote or resist a redefinition of what it means to be human.
Dave Laude is a Professor of Chemistry and a University Distinguished Teaching Professor, Associate Dean of Students, and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education in College of Natural Sciences. He spends his days developing and running programs to make undergraduate education in the sciences all that it can be, and his nights doing whatever his five kids make him do. Perhaps his proudest moment as a faculty member was recently being selected funniest professor on campus by the students, an honor made all the more astonishing because he did it while teaching freshman chemistry and exploring the underlying hilarity of ice melting.
4. Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Sponsor: Paul Woodruff, Philosophy/Undergraduate Studies. Dean Woodruff's coffee will be Thursday, August 30th, at his home from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Map will be available in Plan II office and information on carpooling provided to students who signed up for this coffee.
This absorbing account by a young man who, as a boy of 12, gets swept up in Sierra Leone's civil war goes beyond even the best journalistic efforts in revealing the life and mind of a child abducted into the horrors of warfare. Beah's harrowing journey transforms him overnight from a child enthralled by American hip-hop music and dance to an internal refugee bereft of family, wandering from village to village in a country grown deeply divided by the indiscriminate atrocities of unruly, sociopathic rebel and army forces. Beah then finds himself in the army--in a drug-filled life of casual mass slaughter that lasts until he is 15, when he's brought to a rehabilitation center sponsored by UNICEF and partnering NGOs. The process marks out Beah as a gifted spokesman for the center's work after his "repatriation" to civilian life in the capital, where he lives with his family and a distant uncle. When the war finally engulfs the capital, it sends 17-year-old Beah fleeing again, this time to the U.S., where he now lives. (Beah graduated from Oberlin College in 2004.) Told in clear, accessible language by a young writer with a gifted literary voice, this memoir seems destined to become a classic firsthand account of war and the ongoing plight of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide.
Sponsoring professor Paul Woodruff is a philosopher and translator. He designs and builds furniture, rows a single scull on Town Lake, and hacks away at the cello from time to time. He has had a little military experience, serving in Vietnam as a junior officer in 1969-70. Woodruff served as Chair of the Philosophy Department and then Director of Plan II for fifteen years. In September 2006, President Powers appointed Woodruff to be the inaugural Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
5. Jorge Luis Borges, Packet of Selected Short Stories, to be distributed. Sponsor: Nicolas Shumway, Spanish and Portuguese. Monday, September 3,2007. Professor Shumway's coffee will be Monday, September 3rd (Labor Day), in CRD 007A, from 6-8pm.
Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine twentieth century writer of fiction, poetry, and criticism. Borges is recognized all over the world as one of the most original and significant figures in modern literature. The reading packet will include stories from Labyrinths. Copies of all stories will distributed in both an English translation and their original Spanish; the discussion will be in English. All incoming freshman are encouraged to consider this coffee; however, students with Spanish proficiency are especially encouraged to consider it, although Spanish proficiency and reading ability are not required to attend this coffee.
Nicolas Shumway is the Tomas Rivera Regents Professor of Spanish American Literature at UT, and the interim chair of the department of Spanish and Portuguese. Shumway came to UT from Yale University, where he taught for fourteen years and had attained the rank of full professor. Until last year, he was also the director of UT's Institute of Latin American Studies, now know as the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies.
Professor Shumway has published widely on Latin American literature and intellectual history, with particular emphasis on Argentina. His book, The Invention of Argentina, won international recognition and was selected by The New York Times as one of the notable books of the year. Its Spanish translation was chosen by two Buenos Aires papers, El Cronista de Buenos Aires and Página 12, as one of the best books of 1995. He is also the author of a Spanish language textbook, now in its fourth edition. Professor Shumway lectures widely in both the United States and Latin America.
6. Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America. Sponsor: Professor James Galbraith, LBJ School of Public Affairs/Economics. Professor Galbraith's coffee will be Wednesday, September 5th, in CRD 007B, from 6-8pm.
The Metaphysical Club was an informal intellectual gathering of philosophers and academics that met in Cambridge, Mass., for only nine months in 1872. Menand, known for his contributions to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, follows the evolution of pragmatism as it emerged from the minds of four of the club's "members": Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, William James, Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey. The Metaphysical Club describes how the lives of these great thinkers interconnect in an enjoyable, though sometimes complex, narrative. This book is stimulating for our nation today, as Menand stresses the important role of intellectuals in times of chaos (in this case, after the Civil War), when people's beliefs are put to the test.
James K. Galbraith teaches economics and a variety of other subjects at the LBJ School. He studied economics as a Marshall Scholar at King's College, Cambridge in 1974-1975, and then served in several positions on the staff of the U.S. Congress, including Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee. He was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in 1985. He directed the LBJ School's Ph.D. Program in Public Policy from 1995 to 1997. He directs the University of Texas Inequality Project, an informal research group based at the LBJ School.
Galbraith maintains several outside connections, including serving as a Senior Scholar of the Levy Economics Institute and as Chair of the Board of Economists for Peace and Security. He writes a column called "Econoclast" for Mother Jones, and occasional commentary in many other publications, including The Texas Observer, The American Prospect, and The Nation. He is an occasional commentator for Public Radio International's Marketplace.
7. Ursula Le Guin, The Earthsea Trilogy and also The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. Sponsor: Hina Azam, Middle Eastern Studies/Women's and Gender Studies. This coffee will meet on September 11th, 7-9 pm, in 007B.
Professor Azam received her Ph.D. and her M.A. from Duke University. She currently serves in both the Department of Middle East Studies and Center for Women's and Gender Studies. She has previously taught at Stanford University and St. Mary's College of California, and is a frequent speaker at interfaith events. Her areas of specialty include Islamic law, Islamic studies, and gender issues.
8. Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope. Sponsor: Gretchen Ritter, Government/Women's and Gender Studies. Professor Ritter's coffee will be Sunday, September 9th, in CRD 007A, from 6-8pm.
In The Audacity of Hope, Senator Obama calls for a different brand of politics--a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the "endless clash of armies" we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of "our improbable experiment in democracy." He explores those forces--from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media--that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.
Professor Ritter specializes in studies of American politics, constitutional development, and gender politics from a historical and theoretical perspective. She is currently examining the impact of work-family issues on gender equity in the United States. Professor Ritter has been a Faculty Fellow at Princeton University, a Liberal Arts Fellow at Harvard Law School, and has received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. She is the Director of the Center for Women's and Gender Studies at UT.
She is the author of two books, Goldbugs and Greenbacks: The Antimonopoly Tradition and the Politics of Finance in America and The Constitution as Social Design: Gender and Civic Membership in the American Constitutional Order. She also has a co-edited book entitled Democratization in America, forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press. She has published articles, reviews and essays in numerous peer reviewed journals in law, political science, sociology, and gender studies.
9. Robert Jensen, Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. Sponsor: Professor Jensen, Journalism. MProfessor Jensen's coffee will be Monday, September 10th, in one of the Joynes seminar room 007A., from 6:30-8:30pm.
Pornography is big business, a thriving multi-billion dollar industry so powerful it drives the direction of much media technology. It also makes for complicated politics. Anti-pornography arguments are frequently dismissed as patently "anti-sex"--and ultimately "anti-feminist"--silencing at the gate a critical discussion of pornography's relationship to violence against women and even what it means to be a "real man."
In his most personal and difficult book to date, Robert Jensen launches a powerful critique of mainstream pornography that promises to reignite one of the fiercest debates in contemporary feminism. At once alarming and thought-provoking, Getting Off asks tough but crucial questions about pornography, manhood, and paths toward genuine social justice.
Prior to his academic career, Professor Jensen worked as a professional journalist for a decade. At UT, Jensen teaches courses in media law, ethics, and politics. He also is director of the Senior Fellows Program, the honors program of the College of Communication.
In his research, Jensen draws on a variety of critical approaches to media and power. Much of his work has focused on pornography and the radical feminist critique of sexuality and men's violence. In more recent work, he has addressed questions of race through a critique of white privilege and institutionalized racism.
In addition to teaching and research, Jensen writes for popular media, both alternative and mainstream. His opinion and analytic pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics, and race have appeared in papers around the country. He also is involved in a number of activist groups working against U.S. military and economic domination of the rest of the world.
10. Robert F. Kennedy, Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sponsor: Steven Isenberg, Humanities. Monday, September 24, from 7-9 pm in CRD 007A.
The unique, gripping account of the perilous showdown between the United States and the Soviet Union. During the thirteen days in October 1962 when the United States confronted the Soviet Union over its installation of missiles in Cuba, few people shared the behind-the-scenes story as it is told here by the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In a clear and simple record, he describes the personalities involved in the crisis, with particular attention to the actions and attitudes of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. He describes the daily, even hourly, exchanges between Russian representatives and American. In firsthand immediacy we see the frightening responsibility of two great nations holding the fate of the world in their hands. Steven Isenberg is a Visiting Professor of Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, teaching courses on George Orwell, literature of the Great War, World War II, 20th century British and American literature, and Watergate. He has degrees from University of California - Berkeley, Yale, and Oxford. His career includes newspapers, government, academia and the law. He was publisher of New York Newsday, The Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Times, deputy publisher of Newsday and the Executive Vice President of The Los Angeles Times. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Committee to Protect the Journalists. He served as Chief Staff to New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay and was a litigator at Breed, Abbott and Morgan. Isenberg is now Chairman of the Board Emeritus of Adelphi University where he was President ad interim. He has taught at Berkeley, Yale, Davidson, and The New School and Polytechnic in New York. He is currently an Honorary Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford.
11. Marc Hauser, Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. Sponsor: Eli Cox, Marketing. Cox, September 17th, 6:30-8:30 pm, 007A.
Drawing on the linguistic theories of Noam Chomsky, Hauser argues that humans have a universal moral grammar, an instinctive, unconscious tool kit for constructing moral systems. For example, although we might not be able to articulate immediately the moral principle underlying the ban on incest, our moral faculty instinctually declares that incest is disgusting and thus impermissible. Hauser's universal moral grammar builds on the 18th-century theories of moral sentiments devised by Adam Smith and others. Hauser also asserts that nurture is as important as nature: "our moral faculty is equipped with a universal set of rules, with each culture setting up particular exceptions to these rules." All societies accept the moral necessity of caring for infants, but Eskimos make the exception of permitting infanticide when resources are scarce.
Sponsoring professor Eli Cox is the La Quinta Motor Inns Centennial Professor in Business, Chair and Professor of Marketing, and director of the Business Honors Program (BHP). He received his B.A. in 1965 and MBA in 1996 from Michigan State University. He earned his D.B.A. from Indiana University in 1973. His primary research interests are in marketing strategy, the design of product warnings and quality management.
12. Lawrence Sager and Christopher Eisgruber, Religious Freedom and the Constitution. Sponsor: Lawrence Sager, School of Law. Dean Sager's coffee will be Tuesday, September 25th, from 6-8pm, in the Dean's Law School office. We will be meeting in the quad at 5:30 to walk together to the coffee.
Religion has become a charged token in a politics of division. In disputes about faith-based social services, public money for religious schools, the Pledge of Allegiance, Ten Commandments monuments, the theory of evolution, and many other topics, angry contestation threatens to displace America's historic commitment to religious freedom. Part of the problem, the authors argue, is that constitutional analysis of religious freedom has been hobbled by the idea of "a wall of separation" between church and state. That metaphor has been understood to demand that religion be treated far better than other concerns in some contexts, and far worse in others. Sometimes it seems to insist on both contrary forms of treatment simultaneously. Missing has been concern for the fair and equal treatment of religion. In response, the authors offer an understanding of religious freedom called Equal Liberty.
Equal Liberty is guided by two principles. First, no one within the reach of the Constitution ought to be devalued on account of the spiritual foundation of their commitments. Second, all persons should enjoy broad rights of free speech, personal autonomy, associative freedom, and private property. Together, these principles are generous and fair to a wide range of religious beliefs and practices.
With Equal Liberty as their guide, the authors offer practical, moderate, and appealing terms for the settlement of many hot-button issues that have plunged religious freedom into controversy. Their book calls Americans back to the project of finding fair terms of cooperation for a religiously diverse people, and it offers a valuable set of tools for working toward that end.
Lawrence Sager is one of the nation's preeminent constitutional theorists and scholars. His appointment as Dean is widely regarded as an event of great promise for the School of Law. Dean Sager came to Texas from New York University School of Law, where he was the Robert B. McKay Professor and Co-Founder of the Program in Law, Philosophy and Social Theory. He has also taught at Harvard, Princeton, Boston University, UCLA, and the University of Michigan. Dean Sager is the author or co-author of dozens of articles, many now classics in the canon of legal scholarship. The Yale University Press recently published Dean Sager's book, "Justice in Plainclothes: A Theory of American Constitutional Practice," which provides a systematic account of the central features of American constitutionalism. Harvard University Press just published his book "Religious Freedom and the Constitution."
13. Janna Levin, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines. Sponsor: Wendy Domjan, Psychology. Tuesday, September 18th, in one of the Joynes seminar rooms (to be confirmed), from 7-9pm.
The lives of Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing never crossed physically, but did intellectually: Gödel's incompleteness theorem implies a sort of Platonism, and Turing's mechanical decision theory implies, conversely, hard-nosed materialism. Levin, a mathematician, juxtaposes both lives in her debut novel. She begins with Gödel as a young man in Vienna, his incompleteness theorem destroying the line of inquiry (arguably spearheaded by Wittgenstein, who cameos) that argued math was complete in itself; his courtship with a nightclub dancer, Adele; his misunderstanding of the Nazi takeover of Austria. Alan Turing's not very charmed life is skewed not only by what looks like autism but by being hounded for his homosexuality in Britain"after breaking the German Enigma code during WWII. Turing is an innocent in many ways, while Gödel, a greater thinker, is a monster of selfishness; both, however, have a passion for the invisible that is hard to dramatize. Gödel becomes a paranoid old man, living with Adele (who comes alive through Levin's shrewd novelistic guesswork) in solitude in Princeton, and eventually starving himself to death.
Sponsoring professor Wendy Domjan has a Ph.D. in psychology from The University of Wisconsin, with specialties in perception and cognition. She has been teaching for Plan II since 1999, offering the SS 301 in psychology and a junior seminar in psychology and religion. This fall, she will be teaching a freshman seminar on the psychology of optimism and virtue. Dr. Domjan received the College of Liberal Arts Harry Ransom Teaching Award in 2003, and the Plan II Chad Oliver Teaching Award in 2004. She is a practicing Jew, a community activist, a passionate reader of nearly everything, and a devoted fan of all forms of science fiction (especially Star Trek!).
14. James E. Crisp, Sleuthing the Alamo: Davy Crockett's Last Stand and Other Mysteries of the Texas Revolution. Sponsor: Professor Michael Stoff, History/Plan II. Professor Stoff's coffee will be Wednesday, September 19th, in CRD 007B, from 6-8pm.
In Sleuthing the Alamo, historian James E. Crisp draws back the curtain on years of myth-making to reveal some surprising truths about the Texas Revolution--truths often obscured by both racism and "political correctness," as history has been hijacked by combatants in the culture wars of the past two centuries. Beginning with a very personal Prologue recalling both the pride and the prejudices that he encountered in the Texas of his youth, Crisp traces his path to the discovery of documents distorted, censored, and ignored--documents which reveal long-silenced voices from the Texan past. In each of four chapters focussing on specific documentary "finds," Crisp uncovers the clues that led to these archival discoveries. Along the way, the cast of characters expands to include: a prominent historian who tried to walk away from his first book; an unlikely teenaged "speechwriter" for General Sam Houston; three eyewitnesses to the death of Davy Crockett at the Alamo; a desperate inmate of Mexico City's Inquisition Prison, whose scribbled memoir of the war in Texas is now listed in the Guiness Book of World Records; and the stealthy slasher of the most famous historical painting in Texas. Here then is an engaging first-person account of historical detective work, illuminating the methods of the serious historian--and the motives of those who prefer glorious myth to unflattering truth.
Currently Interim Director of Plan II, Professor Michael Stoff serves as co-editor of the Oxford New Narratives in American History and is writing a book on the atomic bombing of Nagasaki for that series. Stoff is a historian of the twentieth century US; he is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor, and also teaches in the Normandy Scholars program for the study of the Second World War.
15. Walter Russell Mead, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World. Sponsor: James Steinberg, LBJ School of Public Affairs. Date: Thursday, September 20, in CRD 007B, from 6-8pm..
From one of our leading experts on foreign policy, a full-scale reinterpretation of America's dealings--from its earliest days--with the rest of the world. It is Walter Russell Mead's thesis that the United States, by any standard, has had a more successful foreign policy than any of the other great powers that we have faced--and faced down. Beginning as an isolated string of settlements at the edge of the known world, this country--in two centuries--drove the French and the Spanish out of North America; forced Britain, then the world's greatest empire, to respect American interests; dominated coalitions that defeated German and Japanese bids for world power; replaced the tottering British Empire with a more flexible and dynamic global system built on American power; triumphed in the Cold War; and exported its language, culture, currency, and political values throughout the world. Yet despite, and often because of, this success, both Americans and foreigners over the decades have routinely considered American foreign policy to be amateurish and blundering, a political backwater and an intellectual wasteland. Now, in this provocative study, Mead revisits our history to counter these appraisals. He attributes this unprecedented success (as well as recurring problems) to the interplay of four schools of thought, each with deep roots in domestic politics and each characterized by a central focus or concern, that have shaped our foreign policy debates since the American Revolution--the Hamiltonian: the protection of commerce; the Jeffersonian: the maintenance of our democratic system; the Jacksonian: populist values and military might; and the Wilsonian: moral principle. And he delineates the ways in which they have continually, and for the most part beneficially, informed the intellectual and political bases of our success as a world power. These four schools, says Mead, are as vital today as they were two hundred years ago, and they can and should guide the nation through the challenges ahead.
Sponsoring professor Dean Steinberg became dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs on January 1, 2006. Before joining the School, he was the vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. (2001-2005), where he supervised a wide-ranging research program on U.S. foreign policy. From December 1996 to August 2000, he served as deputy national security advisor to President Bill Clinton. During that period he also served as the president's personal representative ("sherpa") to the 1998 and 1999 G-8 summits.
Prior to becoming deputy national security advisor, he served as chief of staff of the U.S. State Department and director of the State Department's policy planning staff (1994-1996), and as deputy assistant secretary for analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1993-1994). Steinberg has also been a senior analyst at RAND in Santa Monica, California (1989-1993), and a senior fellow for U.S. Strategic Policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London (1985-1987). He served as Senator Edward Kennedy's principal aide for the Senate Armed Services Committee (1983-1985); minority counsel, U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee (1981-1983); special assistant to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General (Civil Division) (1979-1980); law clerk to Judge David L. Bazelon, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1978-1979); and special assistant to the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1977).
Steinberg received his B.A. from Harvard in 1973 and J.D. from Yale Law School in 1978. He is a member of the D.C. Bar. He is a member of the board of directors of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and the President's Council on International Activities of Yale University. He is also a member of the editorial board of The Washington Quarterly. Steinberg has written numerous books and chapters on foreign policy and national security topics, including Protecting the Homeland 2006/2007 and An Ever Closer Union: European Integration and Its Implications for the Future of U.S.-European Relations. His publications on domestic policy include "Urban America: Policy Choices for Los Angeles and the Nation," and "Were You Counted?--Civil Rights and the 1990 Census" in One Nation Indivisible: The Civil Rights Challenges for the 1990s, published by the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights in 1989.
16. Tobias Wolff, In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War, Sponsor: Professor Tom Palaima, Classics. Professor Palaima's coffee will be Sunday, September 9th, at his home, from 2-5pm. Map will be available in Plan II office and information on carpooling provided to students who signed up for this coffee.
Novelist and short story writer Wolff served as a junior officer adviser to a South Vietnamese army unit in the Mekong Delta for his tour in Vietnam. Wolff, a reluctant warrior at best, offers in this memoir an idiosyncratic, witty, and thoroughly enjoyable glimpse into his military service and his civilian life immediately before and after Vietnam. This extended essay is not so much a combat narrative as the story of a young man's struggle to reach maturity and coming to terms with his family, his loves, his America, and himself. Wolff's characters (most especially his father and the long-suffering Sergeant Benet) and the American and Vietnamese settings are vividly depicted in a style only a skilled craftsman could devise.
Professor Thomas Palaima is a Mycenologist, the Raymond F. Dickson Centennial Professor of Classics, and the founding director of the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory in the Department of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. Palaima has received numerous awards and honors including a MacArthur fellowship, Fulbright professorship, and the Plan II Chad Oliver Teaching Award.
His recent interests include work on war and violence studies and work with providing poverty-level adults the opportunity to return to higher education through an innovative program focusing on teaching the humanities, broadly defined.
17. Diane Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual (ISBN: 0312406843, Bedford/St Martin's, 4th Spiral Edition, December 2003).
This manual provides the standard for all writing in Plan II, from your first-year TC to your senior thesis. It is clear, condensed, and highly readable. All incoming freshman are encouraged to buy it now.
Additional Recommended Reading
The university will host several exciting authors and writers in the next year for lectures, classroom visits, readings, and workshops. The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center has recently acquired the entire archive of renowned playwright and screenwriter David Mamet; Mamet will be visiting the university several times over the next two years. We recommend that interested students read any of his plays, such as "American Buffalo". Mamet has also written many screenplays, and we suggest that students watch one of the films he penned, such as Wag the Dog.
The HRC will also be opening a new exhibition in September entitled "Rehearsing the American Dream: Arthur Miller's Critical Theater". We recommend any of Arthur Miller's plays, especially Death of a Salesman or The Crucible if students have not already read the works. There will be exciting programming around this exhibit in the fall; more information will be available as we approach September.
Finally, we are pleased to announce that memoirist, novelist, and short story writer Tobias Wolff will be coming to the Joynes Reading Room next year to read his work. Aside from signing up to attend Professor Palaima's coffee on Wolff, we encourage interested students to pick up one of Wolff's other well-known works, such as This Boy's Life (memoir) or In the Garden of the North American Martyrs (short stories).
PLEASE NOTE: All Voltaire's Coffees will be completely handicapped-accessible. The majority of the coffees will be held in one of the seminar rooms of the Joynes Reading Room. However, although construction in the Honors Quad directly in front of the Joynes Room should be finished before school starts, we anticipate the possibility of construction running late. If this is the case, we may have to open a different entrance to facilitate the attendance of mobility-impaired students. If you have any concerns or would like to let us know ahead of time to minimize the possibility of difficulties, please feel free to contact the Academic Co-chairs: Joey Kolker and Esin Saribudak.