Scholars   Notebook 

May, 2014


SATURDAY, MAY 17,   1:30 - 3:30PM


Free Parking in the Gilman Parking Structure



SDIS Members and Hawkins Grant awardees, Diana Withee and Michael Seidel, will describe the results of their year-long researches. Withee’s subject concerns the 16th century Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch; Seidel’s concerns his ancestors and the conditions affecting their lives in 19th century central Germany.

Diana Withee traveled to Spain, France, Belgium and Germany in order to see certain Bosch paintings and to continue her investigation into the artist’s relationship with the family who commissioned “Le Depart Pour La Chasse”, a tapestry containing an image of Bosch which she had previously discovered and described at the September 2010 SDIS meeting. The family had never been connected to any of the artist’s paintings until Withee was able to identify a family member and references to his life in Spain’s Escorial, the traditional royal residence. “Christ Carrying the Cross” is a Bosch painting kept there, from the collection of King Philip II. She will present a brief review of “Some Additions to Bosch’s Noble Circle of Patrons,” a paper she presented at the Jheronimus Bosch Centre in his home town, Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands. She will also describe her trip.

Mike Seidel will discuss his work tracing two of his ancestral families: the Seidels from the early 1760s in Saalfeld, Thuringia whose fate mirrors the economic conditions and pressures of the 19th century that caused many members of the working class to emigrate; and the Lommers, whose family story illustrates the difference between the improving economic situation of the developing merchant middle class and that of state employees, as well as the remaining, and constraining, influences of the Westphalian peace of 1648.



The May SDIS meeting will feature presentations of two kinds: presentations by Hawkins Grant winners, and presentations of information by all of us to all of us who are members of SDIS — in other words, the results of this year’s SDIS election.

But first we must hold the election! You will soon be presented with a ballot in which you will see a slate of candidates recommended by our Nomination Committee. In recent years the majority of members chose to vote early by email ballot, though the option of course remains to vote in person at the May SDIS meeting. 

Your vote is very important to SDIS. However you choose to do it, PLEASE VOTE! 

You will not see my name on the ballot as a candidate for any office. Having served for a long time, I am personally “termed out” and the time in any event has come for new leadership. 

I used the previous From The President column to express my appreciation to all of you with whom I have shared such interesting, informative, and constructive interactions while I was in office as President. SDIS has been and continues to be for me an organization which enhances my intellectual life. I sincerely hope it does the same for you. 

Sam Gusman



Colloquy Café

Evasive, elusive, equivocal: all are adjectives we could use to categorize our understanding of "perception."  To put the problem in perspective, consider the question raised by one of the group: "Is perception reality?"  In one sense, yes, because perception is a thought or conception that comes from our bodies picking up specific information related to sight, touch, sound, air temperature, taste, internal bodily movements, etcetera.  This perceived information is relayed directly to our brain and, through pathways we can't yet map, is conveyed to other areas that condense and evaluate it before we have the mental information that we've perceived something.  However, in another sense, perception is reality only to the perceiver.  Two people can hear the same statement or taste the same food or lie on the same surface and have different perceptions.  Beyond that, background and beliefs, as well as level of education, emotional state, physical condition and other influences contribute to an individual's perception.  Another attendee brought up the importance of perception in trials by jury, because the jurors' perception of the people in the court and the information they're given will decide the accused's future.  

At our next meeting on Wednesday, May 21st, we will be discussing "risk."  For more information, contact M. E. Stratthaus at


Culture One

At its April 23rd meeting, Culture One discussed "Self as Cultural Mode of Being" (Chapter. 6 in the Handbook of Cultural Psychology).This included examining the ways in which "self" and "culture" are related, and cultural differences in patterns of social relations (independent vs interdependent), action regulation (self-directedness vs social responsiveness) and mode of being (analytic vs holistic cognition).

In addition, cultural differences in "Conceptions of the Self," (e.g., self-consistency across situations, stability over time, self-verification, confirming self-appraisals) were evident in Spencer-Rodger's 2010 research article (reference upon request). Finally, the Culture One group started discussing whether they wish to continue their study of cultural differences in the "Self", and "Social Relationships", or to shift their study to another major component of "Culture," such as "Language" or "Neuroscience." This discussion will continue at the next meeting of Culture One, Wednesday, May 28th, 2:00-4:00 PM. Contact Sue R. Rosner,, for further information about Culture One.


Culture Two  

As this issue of Scholar’s Notebook goes to press, the Culture Two Study Group continues its focus on globe strategic issues as seen by Zbigniew Brzezinski and described in his book Strategic Vision. The Study Group’s Friday, April 25 meeting at 1:30 PM is expected to complete its focus on Part 3 of this book “The World After America: By 2025, not Chinese but Chaotic”.  

The group has decided that its next focus will be on India and that it will select appropriate background reading which provides a suitable introduction to the complex cultures of this vast nation. This time of changing focus is one of those especially good times for those SDIS members possibly interested in this subject to join the group. For further information contact Sam Gusman at


Film Group

The Film Group will meet Wednesday, May 7, at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Barbara Heckler to view 2012 historical drama, A Royal Affair, directed by Nikolaj Arcel. The film is a co-production of Denmark, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards, the story is set in 18th century Denmark and focuses on the relationship between the mentally ill King Christian VII’s wife and the royal family physician. Contact Barbara Heckler at for information about attending.

April’s movie, The Well-Digger’s Daughter charmed those of us in attendance. This 2011 French drama was written and directed by, and featured well-known French actor Daniel Auteuil, who starred as a hard-working well-digger who raised six daughters alone.  Auteuil was torn between his concept of honor and his love for his favorite eldest daughter.


The Literary Group's next meeting will be Monday, June 16th, 10:30 am, at Gerry Horwitz's home.  We are reading Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior (2012). ("A young mother witnesses a colorful alteration in the flight of butterflies.  When everyone else in town wants to market the phenomenon, she tries to understand it.")  Donna Boyle will be leading the discussion. Please RSVP to Gerry Horwitz,


The meeting for April was cancelled.  A new time will be announced for May’s meeting. Contact Bea Rose at for further information 



Supper with Scholars

The “Supper with Scholars” will be held Thursday, May 1, at 6 pm at Humphrey’s La Jolla Grill, 3299 Holiday Ct., La Jolla 92037.  Dutch treat, and plenty parking.  Would persons who are coming please make reservations?  Email


Breakfast Roundtable

We'll meet at Coco's on Monday, May 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast and roundtable discussion.  Coco's is located in University City at the intersection of Genesee and Nobel Drive in the Costa Verde shopping center, across the street from University Town Center.  To make a reservation, contact Barbara Heckler at by Saturday, May 17.  Don't hesitate to call at the last minute - we'll make space!