2014 Arete Seminar Chair
Jennifer Rapp is the Robert Aird Chair in the Humanities at Deep Springs College, having taught previously at Stanford University in its core humanities program for undergraduates and its Department of Religious Studies. She has an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a PhD from Stanford University. Her book, Ordinary Oblivion and the Self Unmoored: Reading Plato’s Phaedrus and Writing the Soul, will be released by Fordham University Press in 2014. Her commitment to teaching within unorthodox, innovative liberal arts settings is grounded in the ethos expressed by James Baldwin in The Fire Next Time, namely, that barring a door to someone’s social and spiritual ease is “hard and odd as it may sound, the most important thing that one human being can do for another.” For Jennifer, teaching in the liberal arts involves not only creating such disruptions but also developing students’ capacities for living from them. When not surrounded by piles of books you can find her enjoying the outdoors, her yoga mat, a far-flung corner of the world, or a good laugh.
Born in Hartford, CT, Justin Kim received a B.A. from Yale and an MFA from the American University in Washington, DC. He interned with the artist David Hockney, has taught at Yale, Dartmouth, Smith College and Deep Springs College in CA. The recipient of several residencies, he has exhibited both regionally and nationally. Justin’s work combines the grand tradition of figure painting with a contemporary sensibility, exploring themes including archetype, pastiche, authenticity and the relationship between technology and the artist’s hand. In addition to landscapes and figures, Mr. Kim works on miniature collages, combining forms and figures from traditional painting. His work generates tension between artifice and reality while challenging traditional painting structures.
Frances Chen is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and head of the Social Health Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Her research investigates how people establish, negotiate, and sustain social relationships. She has been a short-term faculty member at Deep Springs College twice and enthusiastically supports educational opportunities for women based on the ideas of L.L. Nunn. Frances studied at Harvard University (A.B.), Stanford University (Ph.D.), and the University of Freiburg, Germany (postdoctoral fellowship).
Amity Wilczek is the Herbert Reich Chair of Natural Sciences at Deep Springs College. Working closely with students has been an important and constant emphasis, and prior to Deep Springs she taught and mentored undergraduates at Brown and Harvard University, where she received her PhD and multiple teaching awards. She studies a broad range of questions in evolutionary ecology using a holistic approach combining fieldwork, genetic analysis and mathematical modeling. Her current research explores how plants, both wild and cultivated, tolerate and adapt to diverse climates. As a teacher, she strives to emphasize the dynamic nature of scientific knowledge by incorporating practices that allow students to contribute to the process of building scientific understanding of the natural world. A natural world enthusiast, Amity expands her own experience and revives her sense of wonder through hiking and travel. She has, for instance, served as a naturalist lecturer for the Harvard Museum of Natural History on trips to Cuba, Australia, Costa Rica, Panama, the Azores and Canary Islands and New Zealand as well as excursions by private jet to the “Islands of the World” including stops in Malta, Sri Lanka, Borneo, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Hawaii, Rapa Nui, Tasmania, the Galapagos, the Maldives and the Seychelles.