While some graduating presentations have been and will elaborated upon in other posts, here’s a listing of others that made for a fabulously integrating and interdisciplinary weekend for our new graduates:
Myth of Unification: The Birth of the Early Republic and the Construction of Nationalism, with IMA graduating student Mary Jane Desmarais. I’m not going to take you on a journey per se, but rather a 45 min extravaganza of reinterpreting some old truths that we hold to be self‐evident from the era that sprang forth the Republic. Much to popular dismay, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War were not unifying agents for the United States, at least not on a micro level. If only history were so simple, especially the history of the United States — a nation that prides itself on its sense of nobility,justice, and liberty for all humanity. But this is not a history of a noble battle for unity in the face of capital and political greed—this is a history of disunity; a history that reveals a people who roamed the frontier not to unite the east and west coasts, but to run away from the politics and greed of manifest destiny of an industrialized landscape in search of their own fortune.
Teaching Learning ‐ A progressive approach to conventional education, with IMA graduating student Zachary Katz. Progressive education is not so much a thing as it is an evolution of an idea that has been discovered thousands of times. Because of this, it has taken many names and exists in many contexts. This presentation will attempt to define what it means to be a progressive and how progressives can function in a larger system that is at times unaware, indifferent, and even hostile. To illustrate the potential for progressive, embodied approaches in conventional contexts, the author will relate his own experience as a progressive private SAT tutor.
Identity and Place Theory in North Central Florida, with IMA graduating student Braja Smith. How is our identity affected by the place where we live? While North Central Florida was both the site of my childhood home and the placewhere I’ve lived for the past year, I find it hard to think of either the rural Hare Krishna community of dirt roads and hot
summers or the suburban college town where I went to school as home. In the past year, I’ve deliberately set out to
change my perspective on my childhood home, by exploring the ecosystems, history, and local literature of the area. As I’ve examined my own experiences and considered place theory, I’ve come to realize that home is commonly a site of conflict, and that a sence of place can be foreboding as often as it is benig, and that our security in place often comes atthe exclusion of others. In this presentation, I will consider the responsibility that we have towards our environment, the
way that natural history can contribute to our understanding and appreciation of place, and finally some of the ways that
landscapes and places are sites of not only personal, but political struggles.
Moral Medicine: The Body as Symbol of Soul, with IMA graduating student Ann Tabor. The purpose of my paper was to examine the symbolic meaning of illness as seen through two models of interpretation, the religious, in which the state of the body is seen as a reflection of the state of the soul, and the secular, which focuses on the relationship of body to mind or character. Both models of interpretation originate from a dualist worldview in which the spiritual or immaterial
are considered separate from, and often superior to, the body. Drawing examples from literature, film, history, and art, my thesis explores the models as seen in three case studies: epilepsy, consumption (tuberculosis), and illness in children’s literature. I argue that the application of such models to illness is dangerous because they link immaterial concepts like soul, mind, or character to the body in ways that can be extremely damaging, while at the same time, neglect the body in fundamental ways. Finally, the paper suggests two approaches to revising harmful dualist notions
about the self and rethinking the relationship of body to soul or mind. The first is through a scientific materialism that reasserts the primacy of the body and focuses on mind and “soul” as functions of body; the second is based on the philosophy of Walt Whitman and stresses the union of body and soul.
Consciousness as Embodied Movement: Discovering intimate and more effective ways of living together, with IMA
graduating student Mary Abrams. This project presentation explores the practice of embodied movement’s effect on
human consciousness, based on the research of neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers, and somatic movement
researchers. A key concept is that affect, feeling and emotion do not live “in” the brain; they are all moving as part of an
entire body process and are all essential to human consciousness. Therefore, consciousness exists as a whole body
process, rather than existing “in” the brain or as identical to the brain. I will discuss and demonstrate somatic movement
practices developed for this project, and present interviews that I did using first person research and qualitative research
methodology to explore how these practices effect consciousness. Results from this research suggest that individuals
discover unique personal meaning through body movement awareness, and these discoveries of unique meaning offer
support for more satisfying and effective individual, community, and cultural relationships. This research concludes:
Exploring human consciousness as embodied movement is not a step by step protocol for personal or social healing;
rather somatic movement practices offer possibilities for discovering new ways to experience one’s body and one’s
needs as moving processes, which offer support for changing the way we can attend to personal needs and how we can
engage more effectively in living together on this planet.
Entraining the Fragmented Self: A Drummer’s Perspective, with IMA graduating student Scott Robertson. Entraining the
Fragmented Self illustrates a journey through the struggles of drug addiction and psychotherapy, the recovery of the self
and discovery of the drum as a therapeutic tool, the investigation of the cultural uses of drumming outside of America,
and the entrainment that occurs between systems of the body as a result of a drumming practice. The experiential
practice of drumming offers the drummer the potential to synchronize a fragmented self through the entrainment of
inner and outer rhythms. This presentation will include excerpts from the thesis, audio recordings, and an interactive
group activity to explore the nature of polyrhythm.