By Cordell Wilson & Regan Hooker
Originally exclusively published in the February 2019 print edition.
For this segment of University: After Hours we interviewed history teacher Maggy Dean.
Dean, who has been with the school for 17 years, tells us that she is from Indianapolis, born and raised, and attended high school at the all-girls school, Tudor Hall, that would later merge with a nearby boys school to become University’s now sports rival Park Tudor.
When asked how she spends her time Dean readily replied, “Reading,” she went on to say, “I love reading…. Just all kinds of things frivolous stuff, funny stuff, you know serious history–nonrelevant–history.”
Dean, thinking a lot about war, has taught many classes on war and is spending her j-term preparing for her upcoming “World Wars” class. She recommends that all University students should read James Hillman’s “A Terrible Love of War” which she claims is “amazing”.
On the subject of war Dean says, “One of the things that comes up a lot when I teach is something Hericlitus said that, ‘War is the father of us all.’” She went on to say, “It’s the question that ‘Is war natural to us?’ It’s a fascinating idea to mess with.”
We asked Dean how she defines a “successful” class to which she replied, obviously having put thought into this question before, “It’s not the question of ‘How do you not convert the class so that everyone becomes a historian?’, but rather ‘How do you get it across–even if you would rather be doing something else–that there’s something to be discovered?’”
We asked Dean, whose love of history can be seen from the bookshelves full of history books, history films and documentaries, and the mod-podge of history-related pictures pinned on her corkboard, how she came to go to school for history. After pausing to think Dean candidly replied, “I’m not really sure why I went after History instead of something like English,” she went on to say, “I can’t really say its because History tells a story because English also tells a story. I think that’s just where I gravitated.”
Thoughtfully, Dean continued to reply to the question, “There’s an interesting comment made when I was in graduate school by the professor I had there.”
“We asked him, ‘Why do I have to tell you, if I’m going on in history, that I can do math?’, and he said ‘Because in history you wanna balance between…’, she paused for a moment, ‘The logic of Math and the creativity of English’”
Earlier in the interview, Dean told us that, “I used to do a lot of needlepoint. Basically, I can’t draw, but I can trace. And then basically you can get graph paper and trace, and you can say, ‘Well I do it on graph paper then each box or five boxes can be a stitch and you can create a pattern.’” We can see that Dean balances the left and right sides of her brain–the creativity and logic–in her personal and academic life.
We were taken aback when Dean told us of her law degree. We were quick to ask if she would ever consider practicing law to which she readily responded, “I don’t wanna practice law. But I’m really glad I have that degree because when I hear politicians debating about stuff I can say, ‘Ha!’ and I can understand why people get frustrated with the law because it’s doing the crazy things it does.”
With her political background, we asked her opinion on the current government shutdown and she replied, “I don’t have terribly strong feelings about it, I think it’s too bad.”
She went on to say, “I think it is people in power… … are not doing their jobs and they’re stamping their feet and refusing to do their jobs which means that people aren’t paid, but still have to work. It’s just a whole bunch of people stamping their feet and refusing to give up their privileges.”
Dean went on to quote Lord Acklin, “‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ and I think you see that in politics. I think the shutdown is a failure of the people in Washington.”
After hearing her opinions on a current event, we then asked her what current trends are baffling her to which she replied, “I do crossword puzzles and stuff and they’ve started doing the ‘text abbreviations’ and I do know ‘LOL’ means ‘laugh out loud’, but I think that’s about the only one I know.”
We finished our interview with our usual final question of who should be interviewed next. Look out for our next article to find out who she picked.
Thanks for reading University: After Hours.
“After Hours” is the UPost’s inside look into the staff and faculty that University students love.