Your Pen Will Finally Pour Its Ink Into A Poem:
A Symposium on Handwritten Documents

March 19th – April 24th, 2012

Handwritten Documents Exhibition
March 19th – April 20th, 2012
Frank and Anne Piskor Reading Room

The Vance Special Collections of the Owen D. Young Library is home to a remarkable collection of handwritten documents.  These include letters, manuscripts, diaries, the discourse of pen and ink. An overview of the collection will be on display in the Special Collections Reading Room.  Stop by and see what we've got!

Symposium Afternoons

Stress Busting Handwriting for Students
Tuesday, April 10th and Tuesday, April 17th from 3:00p.m. - 5:00p.m.
Monaco Room in the Sullivan Student Center

April is indeed the cruelest month of papers due and exams at hand—what better way than to bust the stress your studies bring than spend a little time writing something by hand. There will be some beautiful paper and pens available to write or draw your stress away...this isn't legal tablet or computer sheets, this is paper pleasant to the touch - perfect for a letter or thank you, drawing or cartoon, see how making words and shapes with your wrist inspires the soul. Sit and write, or stop by for five minutes.

Reading and Discussion with Local Poets
April 23rd at 4:30p.m.
Location: Ireland Room, Noble Center

Alan Casline, Founder of Rootdrinker Magazine

John Behrbrich, Founder of the St. Lawrence Area Poets Group

Some of us grew up with handwritten documents a commonplace, some of us grew up writing at the keyboard. Join local poets who have thoughts on writing by hand and what it means to understand composition that way, as well as those of us here at SLU who are to a keyboard born. There will be poems read, poems discussed, and maybe even a few poems written.

Book Making Exercise
April 24th at 4:30p.m.
Location: Herring-Cole Hall

Stress busting! Good paper, staplers, pens, ink, make a simple book...a keepsake of this moment in time or a remembrance for a friend, something to mail home to your folks or friends. Join us in Herring-Cole with SLU Senior Nick Sirianno for the creation of simple and serviceable books.

Hand to Mouse: How the Way We Write is Changing Who We Are *****CANCELED*****
Lecture by Christine Rosen
Senior Editor, The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society
April 24th at 7:30 p.m.
Location:  Sykes Common Room

Not long ago Christine spoke to the outgoing headmaster of an elite Washington, D.C. private school. They talked about his many years in the trenches of private school education and the range of challenges facing the twenty-first-century educator. But when she asked him about the most striking transformations he'd witnessed in his twenty-odd years as an educator, he said something deceptively mundane: "No one cares about handwriting anymore."   

In fact, several recent studies reveal that we—parents, educators, and students—should care about handwriting, because like many aspects of kinesthetic (“hands-on”) learning, its seemingly basic function masks a wealth of complex neurological power.  One recent study of handwriting in preschool children divided the children into two groups, one of whom saw images of letters and the other of whom practiced writing letters for one month.  Neuroimaging scans later revealed brain activation patterns similar to adults in the children who had written the letters, as well as improved letter recognition compared to the group who saw but did not write the letters.

Doing things with our hands – writing, building, drawing – is disappearing in the age of ubiquitous keyboards and touchscreens.  This has serious implications, particularly for early learners.  As neurologist Frank R. Wilson observed in his exhaustive study of the evolutionary, psychological, and cultural impact of the human hand, “We have no idea what will happen to the child who watches eye-catching imitations of juggling over the Internet if that child never gets around to trying a three-ball toss himself or herself.”   What impact will this have on the development of that child’s brain and the brain’s sensorimotor system?  More broadly, what are some of the long-term cultural effects of a world where hands-on physical engagement with the world has become the exception and mediated screen time the norm? As we move from learning by hand to learning by mouse or touch screen, how does this change our experience of the world?

Christine Rosen is senior editor of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society, where she writes about the social impact of technology, bioethics, and the history of genetics.  She is the author of Preaching Eugenics: Religious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement, a history of the ethical and religious debates surrounding the eugenics movement in the United States, published by Oxford University Press in 2004, and My Fundamentalist Education, which tells the story of a Christian fundamentalist school in Florida and was published by PublicAffairs in 2005.  Since 1999, Ms. Rosen has also been an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.  She is currently working on a book, The Extinction of Experience, which explores the myriad ways technology is changing human behavior, to be published by W.W. Norton in 2013. Her essays and reviews have appeared in publications such as The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The American Historical Review, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Wilson Quarterly, and Policy Review. She earned a B.A. in History from the University of South Florida in 1993, and a Ph.D. in History from Emory University in 1999.  Ms. Rosen lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Jeffrey, and their children.