It's absolutely no secret whatsoever that I am about as bright as a bag of doorknobs. I don't say this as a means to get you to say "Oh no, Spinster Stitcher. You are so smart and funny and pretty and wonderful."...but rather as a simple statement of fact. I've never really been smart, actually, so rather than try to hide it and be ashamed of it, I figure I'll put it right out there in front so that the world will know not to expect too much of me.
Yes, it's true that I graduated from the University of Notre Dame (which I'm pretty sure doesn't say too much about THEIR brains in admitting me in the first darn place), but what's more important to me is the fact that I graduated from the Great Books Program, or as it's more commonly known, the Program of Liberal Studies/PLS at the University of Notre Dame.
I'm proud of this for two reasons, actually.
The first is that I was able to go to school with the idea that just getting an education was enough for my parents, and that if I wanted to study underwater basket weaving it would be fine as long as underwater basket weaving was what was going to make me happy. (See, Dad was actually a genius, since he figured that I wouldn't TAKE underwater basket weaving because I'd want to impress all of my high school buddies back in Lima by taking the most ridiculously hard classes that I could find...and he was dead on.) So I scoured the university and came up with this major that meant I would have my nose in a book and my fanny at a seminar table for the better part of four years. (I just never realized that faking it wouldn't be an option.)
I'm also proud of the fact that despite my idiocy, my manners and personality were such that my professors didn't ask me to leave the room or to declare another major. They let me stay in the ridiculously hard classes, and some of them didn't even bat an eyelash when it was all I could do to sit in a corner with a coloring book and some Crayons so as to not interrupt the fascinating and heated discussions about the ontological realization of one's self through the actualization of one's psyche as it relates to Homer.
So today I got the email that comes every year announcing the line up for the Summer Symposium. This is a week long event that gives PLS majors an opportunity to return to campus each summer and stretch their brains around a selected topic of discovery. Sadly, for me anyway, they've yet to come up with "An Exploration of the Effect of dietCoke and Specialty Fibers on the Mind of a Rather Unsophisticated Spinster Who Should Probably Stop Telling People That She is a Graduate of our Program". So until they do come to their senses and find a week in which I can go over to Notre Dame and sit and stitch, I guess I'm going to have to figure out if I can do....this:
ANNOUNCING THE THIRTEENTH ANNUAL
PLS/GP SUMMER SYMPOSIUM
JUNE 5-10, 2011
“THE HUMAN ODYSSEY”
This year’s annual PLS Alumni/ae Summer Symposium will be held from Sunday, June 5 to Friday, June 10. We took our cue from suggestions we received from last year’s participants that we include both Greek and contemporary writings in the next symposium. Accordingly, we have organized the readings under the theme of the human odyssey – a term that can refer both to a journey filled with adventures and to a process of development and change. The focus of this year’s symposium will be a week-long seminar on Homer’s Odyssey led by Professor Steve Fallon. Some of the other seminars return to the figure of Odysseus as he appears in later writings. There will be two sessions led by Professor Robert Goulding on Odysseus in classical and late-antique Latin poetry and one session led by Professor Krista Duttenhaver on the treatment of Odysseus in the writings of the twentieth-century philosophers Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. In addition, Professor Bernd Goehring will lead two seminars on the human journey to God as St. Bonaventure understood it. Time and again, the human journey unfolds with a conscious looking backward. Professor Pierpaolo Polzonetti will lead two seminars on the representation of ancient Rome in eighteenth-century opera, specifically Handel’s Giulio Cesare. The journey also unfolds with very deliberate efforts to move forward. In his seminar, Professor Clark Power will juxtapose Platonic and evolutionary accounts of moral knowledge. Professor Tom Stapleford will lead two seminars on contemporary views of homo economicus. In their two sessions, Professors Felicitas Munzel and Matthew Dowd will venture once again into the fascinating encounter of quantum mechanics with consciousness. Professor Henry Weinfield will bring the symposium to a close with two seminars that return us full circle to the understanding of human life in some of the earliest myths of the West, in this case as we find them recorded in Hesiod’s poems, the Theogony and the Works and Days. As always, we promise a very rich week of stimulating conversation on great books and important ideas.
Stay tuned, kids! I've got a few days to ponder whether or not this stitcher of very little brain has it in her to accept a challenge....