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How Class Works Conference
June 5: Saket Soni

saket soniOrganizing A Multi-Racial, Multi-Ethnic Working Class
Saket Soni is the executive director of the National Guestworker Alliance and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, dedicated to organizing African American and immigrant workers for a just reconstruction of post‐Katrina New Orleans. Saket has worked as an organizer in Chicago at the Coalition of African, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois, a city‐wide immigrant rights coalition, and at the Organization of the North East. Saket was born and raised in New Delhi, India. Saket co-authored “And Injustice For All: Workers’ Lives In the Reconstruction,” the most comprehensive report on race in the Reconstruction of the post-Katrina Gulf Coast, and “Never Again: Lessons of the Gustav Evacuation,” an account of the treatment of African Americans in the sheltering process. Saket has testified before Congress on racial justice and labor rights issues. He has crafted strategic campaigns with direct organizing, litigation, communications, and research components to advance the human rights of guestworkers. The New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ) organizes day laborers, guestworkers, and structurally unemployed workers to advance a racial and economic justice agenda and build a movement for dignity and rights. In the current economic and political climate, that translates into work on the key issues of immigration, jobs, and displacement. NOWCRJ engages in direct action, leadership development, strategic litigation, and communications work to win organizing and policy victories that add breadth, depth, and momentum to a social movement for racial inclusion, opportunity, and equity.

Thursday June 5, 7:00 pm, SAC Ballroom B

Previous Lectures
February 14: David Jablonski (CANCELLED)

malabouEvolution and Extinction: Lessons from the Fossil Record
David Jablonski is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology (a multi-institutional PhD program) at the University of Chicago. He combines data on living and fossil marine organisms to ask large-scale evolutionary questions about origins, extinctions, and geographic distributions. He grew up in New York City a few blocks from the American Museum of Natural History; he knew he wanted to be a paleontologist by the age of five. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2010. He has published more than 140 scientific papers and book chapters on topics ranging from mass extinctions to the origin and maintenance of the diversity gradient from poles to tropics and the role of multilevel processes in evolution. Co-sponsors: Department of Ecology and Evolution, Department of Anatomical Sciences, Department of Geosciences

Abstract: The fossil record is punctuated by extinction events at all scales, from the loss of one or two fish species with the drying of a lake, to the wholesale disappearance of dinosaurs (birds aside) 65 million years ago. The handful of events that are global in scale and bring down a wide spectrum of species are termed mass extinctions, which account for less than 10% of all the extinction over life’s long history, but have been pivotal in shaping the world’s biota. Because most research has centered on the causes of mass extinctions, we are just beginning to understand their evolutionary roles. Growing evidence points to a change in the rules of survival during mass extinctions, so that evolution is re-channeled during these rare but intense episodes. The evolutionary bursts that follow the extinctions may be just as important as the extinctions themselves, as new or previously obscure lineages take advantage of the opportunities opened up by the demise of dominant groups. However, a closer look at recovery intervals shows that survival alone does not guarantee evolutionary success: not all survivors are winners. The implications of this new understanding of extinction for present-day biodiversity are complex but wide-ranging.

Friday, February 14, 7:30 pm, Earth and Space Sciences 001

February 26: Lilia Moritz Schwarcz

lilia moritz schwarczRace and Citizenship in Turn-of-the-Century Brazil
Lilia Moritz Schwarcz is Full Professor in Anthropology at the University of São Paulo. Her main interests are History of the Slaves; Racial Theories; History of the Brazilian Court; History of Nineteenth Century Brazil; Academic Art; and History of Anthropology in Brazil. She has published several books, such as Retrato em branco e negro (1987) [Portrait in White and Black];  A longa viagem da biblioteca dos reis (2002; co-author) [The Great Travel of the King’s Library]; O sol do Brasil (2008) [The Sun of Brazil] and among them two in English: Spectacle of Races: Scientists, Institutions and Racial Theories in Brazil at the End of the XIXth Century (Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 1999) and The Emperors Beard: D. Pedro II a Tropical King (Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 2004. In 2014, with James Green, she will publish the Brazil Reader (Duke University Press). She also edited a volume of História da vida privada no Brasil, a collection on the History of private life in Brazil (from the 16th to the 20th centuries) under the model of the French series Histoire de la Vie Privée (edited by Georges Duby and Philippe Ariès), and a collection of essays on Brazilian thinkers and intellectuals from the 19th and 20th centuries (Um enigma chamado Brasil), among others. She is chief-editor of História do Brasil Nação: 1808-2010 (Fundação Mapfre/Objetiva), a six-volume series on Brazilian history, of which she directed the third volume, on the early days of the Brazilian Republic. She won the Jabuti Prize–Brazil’s leading literary prize–in three occasions: for The Emperors Beard; O sol do Brasil and Um enigma chamado Brasil. Lilia Moritz Schwarcz was also curator of several exhibitions. She was a fellow at the Guggenheim Foundation (2006/ 2007), and at the John Carter Brown Library (2007); a visiting professor at Oxford and Leiden Universities, a Tinker Professor at Columbia University (2008) and since 2011 she is Global Professor at Princeton University. She holds a Commend of the Brazilian Order of Scientific Merit granted by the Presidency of the Republic (2010). Co-sponsors: Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature; Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center; Department of History; Department of Sociology

Abstract: The objective of this talk is to analyze some debates that took place at the end of the 19th century in Brazil, after the Republic was proclaimed in 1889. In spite of the new promises of citizenship and social inclusion, the by then fashionable racial theories caused that an important portion of the population, which had won civil freedom in 1888–when slavery was finally abolished in Brazil–suffered new forms of exclusion. The lecture will focus on the writer Lima Barreto as an example of a broader social process by which some black families who gained social respect during the Empire, suffered a new and unexpected social relegation. The discussion will seek to understand how in this country racist ideas coexisted with liberal ones in a tense though parallel way.

Wednesday, February 26, 2:30 pm, Wang Center Theater

March 5: Michael van Walt van Praag (CANCELLED)

michael van praagThe Importance of History in Peacemaking
Michael van Walt van Praag is Visiting Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is an international lawyer specializing in intrastate conflict resolution, has served as advisor and consultant to numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations in peace talks in regions ranging from Chechnya to Papua New Guinea, and is currently Executive President of Kreddha, an international, non-governmental organization for the prevention and resolution of violent intrastate conflicts which he founded in 1999. The author of two books on the current status of Tibet and two on conflict resolution, Michael van Walt van Praag has held visiting teaching and research positions at Stanford, UCLA, Indiana, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Golden Gate University School of Law. He is now engaged in work on the causes of conflicts and obstacles to their resolution, focusing in particular on the ways in which history is perceived and mobilized by the antagonistic parties. This is an area in which historians, political theorists and international lawyers can find a common ground for reflection and research, since the political use and abuse of history is so relevant to understanding and promoting the resolution of present conflicts. 

Abstract: History can be an important factor in conflicts and an obstacle in peace processes. This is especially true for intrastate conflicts, in particular identity related ones. Peace processes and therefore negotiations deal with a wide array of issues, ranging from the conclusion of cease-fires and their maintenance to the distribution of political power, territorial and administrative divisions, boundaries, and exploitation of natural resources. Michael van Walt van Praag will discuss how perceptions of history affect both the substance and process in peace negotiations and why it is important to seriously address them. Whether history is invoked explicitly or not in negotiations, the parties’ perceptions of history is a fundament on which many base their sense of entitlement, build their claims and expectations and develop their positions. He will discuss the above, drawing examples also from his own experience as a third-party mediator and as an advisor in peace processes in Asia, Africa, the South Pacific and the Caucasus.

 19th Annual Leadership Symposium     

March 6: Trudy W. Banta, Ed.D

trudy bantaChallenges In Higher Education
Academic and Student Affairs Collaboration on Assessment: Lessons from the Field
Trudy Banta is Professor of Higher Education and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor for Academic Planning and Evaluation at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She has received a number of national awards and has consulted on issues related to outcomes assessment across the globe. Dr. Banta has written extensively on this topic and is the founding editor of Assessment Update, a bi-monthly periodical published by Jossey-Bass since 1989. In 2003 she was recognized by the Sidney S. Suslow Award of the Association for Institutional Research for significant scholarly contributions to higher education; and in 2012 she was awarded the Award for Publication Excellence (APEX) for Editorial and Advocacy Writing as editor of Assessment Update.

Co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the School of Social Welfare, this year's symposium is also part of the Division for Student Affairs Professional Development Series.

Abstract: The growing emphasis on assessment of student learning--whether it occurs inside or outside the classroom--prompts this year's symposium theme. The joint commitment of academic affairs and student affairs to student success is a potent force and essential ingredient in identifying practices that promote student learning.  An article written in 2000 by this year's featured speaker, Dr. Trudy Banta and her colleague Dr. George Kuh, provides a framework for the discussion. Fourteen years later, institutions across the nation continue to strive to overcome the barriers to collaboration on assessment of student learning.  Strategies that have proven to be successful will be shared and solutions to inherent challenges will be examined. Dr. Banta has been a consultant on outcomes assessment for faculty and higher education administrators across the globe. Her extensive experience in this area offers us the opportunity to explore conditions and contexts that foster collaboration on assessment. Dr. Charles Taber, Dean of the Graduate School and Co-chair of the University's Committee on Academic Assessment, along with the Division of Student Affairs' Director of Planning & Staff Development, Ahmed Belazi, will respond to Dr. Banta's remarks. Their perspectives will aid our consideration of issues facing us as we engage in establishing an institutional culture of assessment.

March 6, 8:30 am–12:30 pm, Wang Center Theater

April 7: Alva Noë 

alva noeSee Me If You Can! Art and the Limits of Neuroscience
Alva Noë is a writer and a philosopher living in Berkeley and New York. He works on the nature of mind and human experience. He is the author of Action in Perception (MIT Press, 2004); Out of Our Heads (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2009); and most recently, Varieties of Presence (Harvard University Press, 2012). Noë received his PhD from Harvard in 1995 and is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Center for New Media. He previously was a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the philosopher-in-residence with The Forsythe Company, a dance company based in Germany. Noë is a 2012 recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, and is a weekly contributor to National Public Radio's science blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.

Abstract: This talk will examine the questions: What is art? Why does art matter to us? What does art teach us about ourselves? Why it is that neuroscience has proved unable to help us find answers?

Monday, April 7, 4:00 pm, Humanities Institute 1006

April 10: Itsik Pe'er

itsik pe'erSequencing the Ashkenazi Genome
Itsik Pe'er is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Columbia University. His research involves developing computational methods for analysis of human genetic variation as part of the Genetic Analysis Information Network and the Cancer Genome Atlas projects. Previously, Dr. Pe'er participated in the International HapMap project during his postdoctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He holds BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in computer science from Tel Aviv University, where he developed computational solutions to problems in genome sequencing and evolution.

Co-sponsors:  Department of Ecology and Evolution, Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology

Abstract: The Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population, currently including ~10 million individuals, has long been recognized as genetically isolated and therefore advantageous for genetic studies. Yet, only recently available high throughput genetic data and mathematical modelling allowed reconstructing the unique demographic history that led to this isolation. It appears that Ashkenazi Jews had descended from a very small group, equivalent to hundreds of individuals, as recently as the late medieval times. This makes it feasible to catalog genetic variation in this group, for better personalized medicine. In a collaborative effort across multiple New York institutions, we have constructed a catalog of complete Ashkenazi genomes. We show that this group has ancestry in both the Levant and in Europe. Moreover, this admixed ancestry allows placing a timestamp on the event of these two ancestral populations splitting. We show that this occurred much later than the initial colonization of Europe, indicating that the current Europeans are mostly not descended from the first humans in this continent.

April 10, 4:30 pm, Wang Center, Lecture Hall 2

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

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