One of the most challenging classes, here at St. John’s, is Seminar and everyone always awaits with excitement, and a little bit of fear, the first seminar of each year. Therefore, in my opinion, it is an amazing opportunity to get to know your seminar tutor better to dissolve that feeling! One of my tutors this year is Ms. Locke and I decided to get coffee with her, while following safety measures, so that we both could learn more about each other, outside of a Zoom class setting.
Ms. Locke was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She has always had a strong passion for philosophy and the arts, which is the reason why, despite her mother’s surprise, she studied philosophy and literature. Ms. Locke got her bachelor’s degree at Gonzaga University and her PhD at Boston College and her dissertation was on Hegel’s Aesthetics. However, since coming to St. John’s, she has shifted her focus of personal studies to French phenomenology.
Having coffee with her was a very enlightening and pleasing experience. I discovered that Ms. Locke, just like me, thinks that the arts, whether they are works of literature or paintings, have away of transcending time and cultures; therefore, they can help you analyze the world with different perspectives. As a result, it is very interesting trying to understand how they manage to do so by reading the Great Books, which can give a completely shifted view of a concept that one might think they are familiar with.
According to the seminar she is tutoring, Ms. Locke’s favorite seminar book changes every year: “I pick a couple of books to study more closely. This year’s favorite: Augustine’s Confessions.” On the other hand, when it comes to non-seminar books, the ones she is most entangled with right now are Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and Simondon’s Individuation In Light of Notions
of Form and Information.
Additionally, Ms. Locke is very charismatic and likes to joke around with the students to break the ice or just to make the environment more comfortable. She is so inquisitive and is looking for ways to grasp the meaning of the world as a whole non-stop. In fact, as she is constantly full of surprises, she is currently diving into learning Korean and that highlights even more how much Ms. Locke is a citizen of the world, who sees life as a never ending learning journey.
A class with her is always something to look forward to, even when it is virtual and it is thanks to tutors and staff like her that St. John’s is able to create such a tight community. One doesn’t feel like they are just numbers in an equation, but they feel like a family because people like Ms. Locke make them feel welcomed and at home.