First-Year Tutorial:  Neighbors (Fall 2006)

Daniel H. Kaiser

Mears 216/x3088

kaiser@grinnell.edu

http://www.grinnell.edu/individuals/kaiser

 

Some commentators describe conflicts of the contemporary world as reflecting a “clash of civilizations,” pitting great cultural constructs like Christianity and Islam or Occident and Orient against one another.  But many of the most violent episodes of the twentieth century have played out not between civilizations, but among neighbors, the people who lived next door, down the street, or around the corner.  This tutorial will concentrate attention upon these close encounters in an effort to determine what explains them and what can be done to avoid their recurrence in the future.  Case studies will use history, fiction and film to examine local conflicts in war-time Poland, in an Iowa small town, in Bosnia and Rwanda, among others.

 

Required Texts Available for Purchase in College Bookstore

 

Andric, Ivo.  The Bridge on the Drina. Tr. Lovett F. Edwards.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.

Bloom, Stephen G. Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America.  NY: Harcourt, 2000.

Fulwiler, Toby, and Alan R. Hayakawa.  The College Writer's Reference [CWR].  4th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 2005.

Gourevitch, Philip.  We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda.  NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.

Gross, Jan.  Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland.  NY: Penguin, 2002.

Polonsky, Antony, and Joanna B. Michlic.  The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Sells, Michael A.  The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

 

Materials Available on Reserve in Burling Library:

 

Postville: When Cultures Collide. (60 mins). Burling Listening Room. P8411.

Qasimi, Ahmad Naseemi.  “Parmeshar Singh.” In The Old Banyan and other Stories.  Trans. Faruq Hassan.  Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2000.  e-reserves

Sometimes in April.  HBO docudrama (2005).  Burling Listening Room. So55

 

Aims and Organization of the Tutorial

 

Many aims drive the tutorial, but most importantly the tutorial aims to teach students to become acute analysts of information, skilled and persuasive writers, and better public speakers—in classroom discussion as well as in more formal contexts.  All these skills will serve the student well, no matter what major or area of study the student may subsequently concentrate upon.  Therefore, although the exact texts or subject matter of the tutorial may never recur in any other Grinnell course the student takes, conscientious participation in the tutorial will inevitably contribute to the student's later success at Grinnell (and after Grinnell).

            For much of the time, the tutorial will operate like any other course, although with fewer students than many courses, and often in a consciously less formal atmosphere than many other courses.  However, to fulfill the promise of its name, the tutorial will also employ individual or small-group sessions.  On these occasions, students will bring to tutorial a piece of their own writing about which they are prepared to speak, both to defend their argument as well as to clarify their writing. 

            For the tutorial to work, everyone must be prepared to participate, every day.  Therefore, it is vital that everyone keep up to date with the assigned reading (and viewing, in the case of videos), and come to class already having thought about the assignment.  To help stimulate useful discussion as well as encourage regular writing, each student will maintain a journal in which the student records both what the piece under discussion aspires to say, as well as what the reader thinks about that work.  A handout will suggest a format to observe. All students must bring a printed copy of the appropriate daily journal entry to tutorial each time we meet. 

The final paper will require students to identify and report on another case of “neighbors,” and, borrowing from our common study, decide what principles or experiences explain how these “neighbors” did, or did not, get along.  All students must submit a first version no later than November 22; final, revised essays are due no later than December 8.  All students will also make a presentation of their research during the last two weeks of the semester.

 

Assignments, Grading

 

Academic Honesty Assignment                                required, not graded

Writing Assignments

      •Journal                                                                  20%

      •First Essay/Tutorial                                                15%

      •Second Essay/Tutorial                                           20%

      •Final Paper                                                           25%

Oral Assignments

      •Discussion/Participation                                         25%

                                                                                   

The total, 105%, serves as a bonus, making possible a slight upward adjustment in grades.

 

Schedule of Meetings

 

8/20     INTRODUCTORY MEETING

§         What is the Tutorial? What Will Be Expected?  How Will This Course Work?

§         Registration; Advising Appointments

§         Foreign Language Placement Tests (today!); Reading Test (Mon. and Tues. 2 PM, ARH 102)

§         What is a Liberal Education?

 

8/21-22  ADVISING APPOINTMENTS, MEARS 216  (see posted schedule)

 

8/23, 1:30-2:45 PM    REGISTRATION: HARRIS CENTER

If you need to make amendments to your proposed schedule, you can find me at the Department of History table.

 

8/24     MY NEIGHBOR AND I:  Who Is My Neighbor?

§         Read handouts: “Baghdad’s Daily Bread” and “Braids of Faith”

§         Writing Assignment: Compose and bring to class a brief—one- paragraph—description or definition of “neighbor.”

About Writing: read CWR on diction: 167-190.  Find in the CWR “Glossary of Usage” (427-445) three examples of confusing word choices or diction errors, and bring them to class for discussion.

 

8/29     NEIGHBORS IN THE HEARTLAND:  Culture and “Neighborliness”

§         Read Postville, ix-xiv, 1-114

About Writing: read CWR on sentences: 156-167.  Find a particularly effective, well-worded sentence in the assigned reading and bring it to class.  Be prepared to explain your choice.

 

8/31    OIL AND WATER: What’s Wrong with Assimilation?

§         Read Postville, 115-240

            About Writing: read CWR on paragraphs:  143-150.

 

9/5       DOC WOLF: Sell-out or Model?

§         Read Postville, 241-359 and handout, “Synagogue in Bible-belt Town

     About Writing: read CWR on openings/closings: 151-55.

 

9/7       LOOKING AHEAD: Thinking about the Final Paper

Meet at 8:15 AM in Burling Library Reference Area (to left of entrance) to meet with Ms. Catherine Rod, Associate Librarian and College archivist.  We will do some brainstorming about paper topics, and become familiar with some of the research resources available through Burling Library.

 

9/11-15 TUTORIALS— POSTVILLE REPRISED

§         Watch the video “Postville: When Cultures Collide” (60 mins.)

On reserve in Burling Library Listening Room (P8411)

§         Writing Assignment (~3 pp.): compose a brief essay that identifies the line of argument in the video and your view of that claim. The goals here are 1) to clearly identify the thesis of the video; 2) to clearly establish your own point of view (contesting or sustaining the claim); and 3) to briefly support the contention with evidence from the video itself or from Stephen Bloom’s book.

 

9/12     NO CLASS

 

9/14     NO CLASS

 

9/19     UNDERSTANDING MY NEIGHBOR: Is She Like Me?

§         Read: Ahmad Nadeem Qasimi, “Parmeshar Singh” (e-reserve) and handout, “Mirrored Emotion”

§         Begin reading Ivo Andric, The Bridge on the Drina

            About Writing: read CWR on “explaining” and “interpreting,” 30-46.

 

Visegrad Bridge over the Drina River,  ca. 1900

 

9/21     BUILDING BRIDGES: Multiculturalism in the Balkans

§         Read: Andric, Bridge on the Drina, 1-71

You might find it helpful to reference the “Historical Guide to The Bridge on the Drina.”

 

9/26     DRAWING BOUNDARIES: “As Close as the Priest & the Hodja

§         Read Bridge on the Drina, 72-199

     About Writing: read CWR on evidence and arguments: 46-48, 50-58.

 

9/28     “AGE OF PROGRESS”:  Destroying Bridges

§         Read Bridge on the Drina, 200-314

 

10/3     UNDOING MULTICULTURALISM IN BOSNIA

§         Read The Bridge Betrayed, xiii-xxiii, 1-70

 

10/5     MASKS OF OTHERNESS—NEIGHBORS NO MORE

§         Read The Bridge Betrayed, 71-155

     About Writing: read CWR 64-74 on revising.

 

10/6-12 TUTORIALS

 

The Bridge at Mostar, Destroyed in 1993

 

10/10   RESEARCHING THE FINAL PAPER

Meet with Ms. Rod in Burling Library Interactive Instructional Facility (basement) to discuss research strategies for final papers.  Bring to this session the topic you propose for your final paper.

 

10/12   NO CLASS

 

*******************F    A    L    L         B    R    E    A    K******************

 

10/24   NEIGHBORS AND MASS MURDER

§         Read Jan T. Gross, Neighbors, 1-124; the chronology in Neighbors Respond 451-58 may be helpful

 

10/26   WHO WAS AT FAULT?  WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE NOW?

§         Read Neighbors, 125-49

§         Read Neighbors Respond, 69-86, 121-44, 181-206

 

10/31   HOW IMPORTANT IS CONFESSION?  FORGIVENESS?

§         Read: Neighbors Respond, 93-118, 147-78, 267-303

 

11/2     HOW BEST TO EXPLAIN JEDWABNE?

§         View video“Obedience” (45 mins.) on the Milgram experiments

§         Read: Neighbors Respond, 386-400, 434-49

 

11/7     EXPLAINING PREJUDICE

§         View the on-line video “A Class Divided”.  Be sure to watch at least the first 3 chapters; if you have time, go on to view the experiment with adults and their discussion in chapters 4 & 5.  Bring your observations to class.

 

11/9     HUTUS AND TUTSIS: Killing “Cockroaches” in Rwanda

§         Read Philip Gourevitch, I wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, 5-62

 

11/14   “PEOPLE CAN BE MADE TO BE BAD”

§         Read I wish to inform you, 63-144

 

11/16   NO CLASS

§          Watch video “Sometimes in April” (140 mins.) So55, Burling Listening Room

 

11/21   MURDERERS AS NEIGHBORS

§         Read I wish to inform you, 145-353

 

11/22   PAPER DUE

 

***********************T H A N K S G I V I N G**************************

 

11/28   PRESENTATIONS

 

11/30   PRESENTATIONS

 

12/5     PRESENTATIONS

 

12/7     PRESENTATIONS

 

12/8     FINAL, REVISED PAPER DUE