For better or worse the gadfly breeze of Cambridge intellectual life is riffling through blissful, moss-draped trees of Mississippi's Tougaloo College, thanks to a group of Harvard faculty members and graduate students.
This northern contingent is helping to teach courses in Tougaloo's summer session. In addition to the college's regular summer offerings, they offer two entirely new programs, one for upperclassmen, and one for entering freshman attending campus orientation sessions.
For the almost 300 upperclassmen, several of the grad students have been conducting special seminars in their respective fields, which range from harmony and math, through a variety of social sciences, to modern literature.
One of these seminars, Forms in English Literature, has the special attraction of three guest lecturers, each of whom will visit for a week; William Alfred, professor of English; Stanley Cavell, associate professor of Philosophy; and Monroe Engle, lecturer on English.
For the 100-plus entering freshmen, the aims are exposing them to new ideas, allowing them to discuss hitherto taboo topics, stimulating critical thought on their part, and encouraging them to pursue the interests they have already developed.
A system of group and individual tutorials have been set up. The meetings are quite informal and unstructured, and the participants decide on the reading they will do. Freud and Erikson have been very popular, though several of the tutorials prefer to discuss some of the questions that the state-law-required high school communism course never quite got around to covering. Still other groups read plays.
The project was conceived and organized by John Mudd, a tutor in the social sciences.
Other elements of the Tougallo-based neo-Harvard Square culture include movies, courtesy of the producers of Ivy Films, weekly concerts by a faculty trio and a dog-eared paperback library which keeps expanding weekly.