SWORD PLAY: Partners spar during the Reed Lightsaber Academy, held during Paideia.

SWORD PLAY: Partners spar during the Reed Lightsaber Academy, held during Paideia.

Would Frodo Wear Tie-Dye?

And Other Paideia Concerns

By Randall S. Barton | April 3, 2022

Seneca, an eminently quotable Roman Stoic philosopher, once observed, “My joy in learning is that it enables me to teach.” For more than 50 years, Reed students returning from winter break have shared their learning at Paideia, a week of classes, presentations, and workshops led by members of the Reed community. These classes often run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. Even the ridiculous, held in low esteem by society, takes on new meaning and context when studied seriously. To mitigate COVID-19 risks, this year’s Paideia was limited to current Reed students, faculty, and staff, and some classes were presented online.

Offerings included a virtual tour of the evolution of 20th-century architecture, exemplified by such on-campus examples as the Collegiate Gothic works of A.E. Doyle, the modernism of Pietro Belluschi and Neil Farnham ’40, and the postmodernism of the Zimmer Gunsul Frasca era. Another class offered an introduction to the tools and techniques of digital fabrication,

Budding musicians were able to learn the basic electronics design and construction skills to build their own synthesizers. Aspiring mycologists became acquainted with the kinds of mushrooms that grow in the Pacific Northwest, including prominent fungi in the canyon. Would-be Skywalkers learned how to duel with lightsabers. A crash course in tie-dyeing was in service to those who hold tie-dye as the plaid of the Reed clan. Ardent ursinologists explored the global worship of bears, discussed bear conservation efforts, and learned to identify which of the eight species of bears they were most like.

“A Beginner’s Guide to The Silmarillion” introduced J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional mythology about the realm in which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.

Rounding out the selection were Queering Rock Climbing; A Beginner Guide to Arabic; Show Me How You Burlesque; and Chinese Calligraphy.

Tags: Campus Life, Students