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Guidelines for Provost Lectures »

April 13: Simon LeVay

simon levayMy Brain Made Me Gay: Scientific Perspectives on Sexual Orientation
British-born neuroscientist Simon LeVay has served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He achieved international fame with a 1991 Science paper that reported on a difference in the structure of the hypothalamus between gay and straight men. This study helped trigger an avalanche of new biological research into sexual orientation—research that has influenced popular views on the nature of homosexuality. Since retiring from laboratory science LeVay has authored or co-authored 12 books, including Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why, the textbook Discovering Human Sexuality, and the historical novel The Donation of Constantine. He has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Co-Sponsors: Stony Brook University Graduate Queer Alliance,  Neurosciences Institute

Abstract: The now-dominant biological theory of sexual orientation proposes that our sexual attraction to males, females, or both sexes emerges from prenatal interactions between genes, sex hormones, and the developing brain. LeVay presents some of the evidence supporting this theory. He also asks whether the biological perspective has—or should have—any bearing on the moral status of homosexuality or on how gay people should be treated by society.

Monday, April 13, 4:00 pm, Wang Center Theater

April 16: Georgiy Kasianov

kasianovUkraine between "The East" and "The West:" The Final Cut?
Georgiy Kasianov is Head of the Department of Contemporary Politics and History at the Institute of the History of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine.  He is the author, editor and co-author of more than a dozen books and collected volumes on the modern history of Ukraine, Ukrainian nationalism, and the politics of history, including A Laboratory of Transnational History: Ukraine and Recent Ukrainian Historiography and Danse Macabre: The Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Politics, Mass Consciousness and History Writing, 1980s - 2000s. His scholarly interests are the modern history of Europe, methodology of history, intellectual history (Europe, US), history of Ukraine, education policy, and teaching/learning methods.

Co-sponsors: The Post-Socialism Research Institute; Department of History; Department of European Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Humanities Institute

Abstract: The most conventional vision of Ukraine holds that this country is historically locked in an ambivalent position between "the West" (or Europe) and "the East" (as a rule equated to Russia). Additionally, Ukraine has its own internal East-West division determined by different political, cultural, historical legacies. The recent Maidan revolt started as a protest against halting the pro-European, pro-Western drive of Ukraine. In fact, contemporary events in Ukraine: the Revolution of Dignity, the war in the east of the country, attempts of broad societal reforms aimed at future accession to the European Union manifest the most decisive attempt to overcome the East-Wes' ambivalence in favor of "the West" and "Western civilization." 

Thursday, April 16, 5:00 pm, Humanities 1006

Darwin Day Lecture
February 13: Mark Pagel

futuymaThe Evolution of Languages: An Evolutionary Biologist’s Perspective
Mark Pagel, professor of evolutionary biology at Reading University, UK, and Fellow of the Royal Society, is one of the world’s most distinguished evolutionary biologists. He has contributed significantly to our understanding of how to construct evolutionary trees and has applied these accomplishments to understanding the evolution of our written language. His book Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind (WW Norton) was named one of the best science books of 2012 by The Guardian.

Co-sponsors: Department of Ecology and Evolution, Department of Linguistics, Department of Anthropology.

Abstract: Human beings speak approximately 7,000 mutually unintelligible languages around the world, giving our species the curious distinction that most of us cannot understand what most other people are saying. This talk will explore the origins of our unique language capability, ask whether any other species could speak, and highlight the remarkable features of language that allow it to evolve and adapt much like genes do, meaning we can trace its evolution back thousands of years into our past.

Friday, February 13, 7:30 pm, Earth and Space Sciences 001

 20th Annual Leadership Symposium   
March 12: Jennifer R. Keup

Jennifer R. KeupChallenges in Higher Education:
High Impact Practices and the Success of First Generation and Low Income Students

Jennifer R. Keup, PhD, is Director of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina. Among the numerous roles of public higher education is to ensure access to opportunities with the potential to improve individuals’ lives and the quality of our communities. To that end, enhancing the success of those who are the first in their family to go to college and of those from low income families, is a priority consistent with and representative of public universities’ mission. Jennifer Keup provides leadership for all operational, strategic, and scholarly activities of the Center in pursuit of its mission "to support and advance efforts to improve student learning and transitions into and through higher education." In particular, Dr. Keup has developed significant expertise in high-impact practices and institutional interventions. As such, she is well qualified to inform our efforts to improve upon our successes with first generation and low income students, in the context of our overall commitment to improving four-year graduation rates. Joining Dr. Keup for this, our 20th Annual Leadership Symposium, will be Dr. Sacha Kopp, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Dr. Timothy Ecklund, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Drs. Kopp and Ecklund will each respond to Dr. Keup’s presentation, after which the presenters will address questions from the Symposium audience.

Co-sponsors: Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, School of Social Welfare
This year’s Leadership Symposium is also part of the Division for Student Affairs Professional Development Series.

Thursday, March 12, 9:00 am, Charles B. Wang Center Theater


For more information, contact the Provost's Office at 632-7211.

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