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Release date: August 1, 2000
Contact: Deb Hammacher, Assistant Director, 404-727-0644, or dhammac@emory.edu

 

"Stressed-out Brain" Helps Freshmen Understand and Cope With First Year of College
"Shakespeare and Music" Fulfills Requirements on Many Different Levels
"Shakespeare and Melville:" A New Course Taught by President Bill Chace
Emory's Lipstadt Returns to Classroom After Highly-Publicized Libel Trial
Theory-Practice Approach Helps Students Understand Relationship Between Religion, Natural World

 

"Stressed-out Brain" Helps Freshmen Understand and Cope With First Year of College
High school might have been a breeze for many incoming Emory freshmen. Dreams of careers as doctors, musicians, lawyers, professors and business tycoons fill their heads as they head for campus. Then comes the first semester of college filled with organic chemistry or calculus, and a dizzying array of activities competing for their time and attention. A new freshman-only seminar, "The Stressed-out Brain," looks at the biology of stress, so students can understand what's happening to them during their first year at college. They will examine the difference between physical and psychological stress, what causes it, the effects of short-term and long-term stress, and strategies for coping with it.
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"Shakespeare and Music" Fulfills Requirements on Many Different Levels
For music majors who still needs to fulfill a writing requirement, or biology majors who are interested in classical music but intimidated by taking a formal music course, or for those who just can't get enough of
Shakespeare---a new course, "Shakespeare and Music," fits the bill for all. Co-taught by English and music professors Sheila Cavanagh and Ben Arnold, the course will study five of Shakespeare's plays and the classical music inspired by them, including works by Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Vaughan Williams and Bernstein. Students will read "Othello," "Midsummer Night’s Dream," "Romeo & Juliet," "The Tempest" and "The Merry Wives of Windsor."

Thanks to a grant from the college's joint activities fund, the students will see performances of the works they study, including the Atlanta Ballet's "Romeo & Juliet," and the Georgia Shakespeare Festival's "Midsummer Night's Dream." The Emory University Orchestra will perform a concert of works inspired by Shakespeare to complement the course. The class will look at the plays and how the various musical pieces relate, where they differ, and even music within the plays themselves. Students also will present reports on Shakespeare-inspired music not covered in the course, including contemporary pieces such as "West Side Story." Students will use a web site developed by Cavanagh for the course that eventually will include video and audio clips.

"I think this course is going to be a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to learning a tremendous amount myself," says Cavanagh, the English professor on the teaching team. "I like the music, and I’ll be able to appreciate it with a higher level of sophistication." For his part, Arnold is a great lover of literature and avid book collector, so this class is the marriage of two passions. "To be able to concentrate on music in this way, to look at it for its subject matter, I’ll be able to teach pieces that I’ve never taught before," Arnold says. He adds that the chance to work with a Shakespeare scholar is a treat for him. Apparently a lot of students feel the same way; the course filled up as soon as registration opened.
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"Shakespeare and Melville:" A New Course Taught by President Bill Chace That Explores Issues of Leadership, Ambition and the Nature of Loyalty
Emory President Bill Chace has taught for a total of 35 years, including throughout his presidency at Wesleyan and now at Emory. But this semester, Chace (who is a James Joyce scholar) is teaching a new course for non-English undergraduates on "Shakespeare and Melville." The students will study a total of six plays and works by these authors and explore issues such as the costs of action and inaction, the advantages and disadvantages of great ambition, the private life vs. the public life, and the nature of loyalty--to others, to institutions and to codes of behavior.

Among the questions considered by the students will be "how do we assay the probabilities that what we find in a book can ever plausibly be connected to the life we have led and known." Chace clearly brings a unique perspective to these discussion topics. As he has noted, "…a professor can become a president---only if he keeps clearly in his mind the ruling fact that his presidency is but a peculiar distillation of his knowledge of the classroom and its unique and captivating drama…"
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Emory's Lipstadt Returns to Classroom After Highly-Publicized Libel Trial
Professor Deborah Lipstadt will return to the Emory classroom this fall to teach her undergraduate course on the Holocaust after winning a highly publicized libel suit brought by Holocaust denier David Irving. The trial, which concluded in London this past spring after consuming a year of Lipstadt's professional and personal lives, generated international media coverage that has brought discussions on the nature of history and truth to the forefront of public consciousness. During the course students will have an opportunity to meet and talk with survivors of the Holocaust, and also to discuss with Lipstadt the intellectual and emotional challenges of combating Holocaust denial. Lipstadt, director of Emory's Institute for Jewish Studies, is author of "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory" (1993), the first full-length study of the history of those who attempt to deny theHolocaust. For more information go to: www.emory.edu/EMORY_REPORT/erarchive/2000/April/erapril.17/4_17_00innocent.html.
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Theory-Practice Approach Helps Students Understand Relationship Between Religion, Natural World
How do you teach students about the Buddhist concept of sitting on a rock until you "become" that rock? In a course on religion and ecology, Professor Bobbi Patterson uses a teaching strategy known as theory-practice to help students understand and internalize the relationship between religion and the natural world. Students attempt to unpack the explicit or assumed practices behind the concepts, from philosophical world-views such as Buddhism, or theistic approaches such as Christianity. Once they identify those practices, they go do them, whether it's meditation in a natural setting, or detailed observations of an urban landscape. "The combination of thinking and doing together," says Patterson, "allows students to become both teachers and self-initiated learners. It's a powerful way to learn." For more information on theory practice learning go to: www.emory.edu/EMORY_REPORT/erarchive/2000/June/erjune.12/6_12_00patterson.html.
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