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Evolving Systems Course: PGnotes1

Paul Grobstein's picture

Making sense of ourselves in an evolving universe

Paul's notes - Session 1


Course subject: evolution (physical, biological, cultural, individual)

Course method: co-evolution, co-constructive inquiry, evolving by telling/hearing each other's stories, using them to create new ones, individually and collectively = co-constructive dialogue

Course arrangements (see course home page):

  • Reading assignments for Thursday discussions
  • Writing assignments due by 6 pm Wednesdays, emailed to
  • Forum commentary on previous week's discussions due by Monday evening (engage each other and world)
  • Biweekly individual meetings (sign ups on Thursday)
  • In bookstore: Truth About Stories, Parable of the Sower, Logicomix, Pocket Manual of Style
  • From esem program: Writing with Sources (see Plagiarism, intellectual property, and creative story construction)
  • Grades (least interesting form of co-construction) based on engagement with class, essay and forum writing, portfolio with own evaluation turned in at end of semester

Serendip arrangements:

Getting started: finding out who we are now

Getting started: stories and where they come from

  • Brain drain

Getting started: stories and their evolution through, among other things, co-constructive inquiry

  • For Thursday, go to the course forum, briefly introduce yourself, include a link to a creation story that appeals to you
  • For Thursday, read quickly through Thomas King's The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative
 Born in 1943 in Sacramento, California, Thomas King is of Cherokee, Greek, and German descent, and is currently Professor of English and native literature at the University of Guelph in Canada.  His writing derives from the experiences of Native Americans and has much to offer in that context.  More generally, King writes about cultural conflict and stories in ways that transcend the idiosyncracies of particular social and cultural perspectives.  As you read The Truth about Stories, think about aspects of your own life that may parallel the stories King tells, as well as about the more general issues the book raises for all human beings: "The truth about stories is that that's all we are."