What They Said at Sarah Lawrence Last Semester
September 20, 2002
Environmental Studies/ Science, Technology and Society Colloquium Series, “The Politics of Food, ” co-sponsored by Barbara B. and Bertram J. Cohn, and the Marilyn M. Simpson Trust
One of the deliberate policies of the federal government is to keep food prices down. Nobody could possibly argue with that. Low prices mean that everyone in the country can afford an adequate diet. But it also means that processed food prices are kept artificially low. For example, soft drinks, which contain corn sweeteners, and processed foods that have corn and soybeans as their main ingredients, are especially inexpensive, and that encourages their consumption. Corn and soybeans are grown by some of the largest landowners and corporations in the United States—we’re talking about ConAgra and Archer Daniels Midland. Broccoli and carrots just don’t have anywhere near the political clout.
Nestle, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University, published Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, in 2002.
October 23, 2002
A talk and question-and-answer, one of a three-part series on minimalism in music and art entitled, “Less is (Sometimes) More”
I’d been thinking: How could I develop a new kind of music—something that was meaningful to me, that was progressive? When I began writing music, I thought that no one would ever play it. They’d say, “You can’t write music like this.” Then I noticed that there were taboos in the music world. The difficulty is that taboos are very hard to find—we’re trained not to see them. But if you happen to break one, you find yourself in a world of music that’s very fresh. In the 1960’s, to write repetitive music was completely taboo. The reaction to my music was very violent. I had found a taboo.
Glass has composed concert music and works for theatre, opera, film and dance.
December 12, 2002
Discussion sponsored by the Noble Foundation Chair in Art and Cultural History and the undergraduate programs in Visual Culture and Filmmaking
Time is the key to film. It’s why we go to the movies. You can look at a painting and then walk away, but film grips you because it’s temporal. Even if you don’t like a movie, you will usually watch it until the end, because that’s why you’re there—to spend your time, to concentrate on something other than your own life. In my films I sometimes focus on one action for an extended period of time, to force people to really concentrate on it. When I make films, I don’t blink; and I don’t want the viewer to blink either. Protracted observation alters your understanding of that which you observe.
Mangolte, a film professor at the University of California, San Diego, is among the first female filmmakers in France.
November 4, 2002
Cynthia Longfellow Lecture: “In Schools We Trust: What Kind of Schooling Nourishes Democracy?”
Someone asked me about the fact that we don’t teach a second language in our school. My response was that there isn’t enough knowledge about how to teach it effectively. Four years of Spanish didn’t teach me Spanish. And then I had to laugh, because four years of math didn’t teach me math either. Maybe four years of almost anything isn’t enough time to become fluent in a subject. Ideally, schools would demonstrate what real expertise in a subject looks like, provide students with opportunities to put what they learn to practical use, and reveal a glimpse of how one could go about a lifetime of learning on the subject.
Meier is an author, educator and learning theorist and founder of Central Park East, an alternative public school in Harlem.