No Summer Vacation for Some
While many take the summer off, several students and faculty have remained at Shimer College to continue their exploration of the Great Books. Professor Harold Stone has offered both Integrative Studies 2 and a tutorial on WWII Literature during the months of June and July.
Integrative Studies, examining the foundations of logic and mathematics, has proven to be the usual challenge to students' pre-conceived notions of what we assume to be "certain" in those fields. To illustrate Lobachevski's Imaginary Geometry, the class took a trip to Chicago's Bean at Millenium Park, with students weaving through the typical crowds of tourists while holding atypical conversations about the figure's geometry and its reflections of "straight" lines. In the WWII Literature tutorial, students are reading through a wide array of authors whose works are derived from personal experiences during the war. Heidi Angeles, an employee of the Admissions Office, took the class along with several weekday students. Reading books like History: A Novel, The Immigrants, and the Poetry of Paul Celan has “made the internal suffering of German and Italian civilians during the war so much clearer, sometimes to a disturbing extent,” Heidi commented. The course is an exploration of literature’s power in both the face of tyranny, and how many struggled to remain human while enduring one of the cruelest periods of history.
So, while some may have the summer off, others continue to explore and learn. In all it appears that the classes at Shimer this summer have remained in the tradition of both changing perspectives and posing stark challenges to students seated around the octagonal table.