Monday, April 12, 2010

Wrapping Upchuck: Monday, 4-12-10

Today was a busy day. Started out with the usual morning routine of breakfast and paper-reading. Caught a ride with the B-2/3 and the squirrelly girlies up to work, which started off bright and early with a Graduate Student Summer Field Research Grants committee meeting. Glad that's over with. Now I need to get the news out on the decisions the committee made. That's always a tough job, given that I'm the one that has to be the bearer of bad new for some; but it'll be over by tomorrow.

Immediately after this meeting, I had my Monday morning seminar for the Public Service Fellows. The Seminar theme is "Social Justice and Civic Engagement in the Americas." For this seminar session, we discussed the topic of structural violence and human rights as presented by Paul Farmer in his book Pathologies of Power. Farmer is an interesting and impressive scholar and physician who is an unabashed advocate for the idea that healthcare is a fundamental human right. Farmer's belief comes out of years of working with victims of structural violence in the developing world. The stories he tells are gripping and they provoke a lot of thought. We had a great classroom discussion of his argument's strengths and weaknesses.

After class, I did a little office work for the remainder of the afternoon, which involved coordinating some more meetings, answering some emails, meeting with a couple current students about the outcome of their summer field research grant applications, chatting with one of my thesis advisees, and discussing our graduate doctoral program with a prospective applicant.

Then I caught a ride home with the B-2/3 and from there I went and picked up the squirrelly girlies from the ballet studio. From there it was back home, where I assumed responsibilty for dinner and the bedtime routines for the kiddies, given that my B-2/3 had a business meeting up at church, which was followed by her attendance at a Carlos Fuentes lecture up at the University. I was interested in attending that lecture myself, but someone had to be with the kids, and my B-2/3 really wanted to go. So I stayed home. Interesting story concerning my B-2/3 and Carlos Fuentes from many years ago, even before I knew Michele. When Michele was at George Mason University, she took an English class that focused on the work of Carlos Fuentes, who also was a visiting author in residence at her university at the time. Of course, Michele got to meet Fuentes at that time and had the chance to get Fuentes to sign her copies of his novels. When she went up to Fuentes with her books, Fuentes took a long look at her and then took Michele's copy of Aura and wrote: "To Michele, who looks like Aura. Carlos Fuentes." Quite a compliment! So, how could I not want Michele to have the opportunity to hear Fuentes speak, and perhaps even meet him in person again at the book signing following his lecture. Of course, Michele is bringing a few more of Fuentes's newer works for him to sign, but she's also toting along her signed copy of Aura just to remind Fuentes of their previous encounter. Michele is still up at the event as I write this and should be home shortly. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. Anyway, that's the "Wrapping Upchuck" for today.

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