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Sir Run Run Shaw Lecture Series
Spring 2023 


Food and Social Justice - Making It, Using It, Sharing It

Paola VelezPaola Velez
Co-founder, Bakers Against Racism 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023
4:00 pm-6:00 pm
Humanities Building, HUM 1006

Le Cordon Bleu-trained and Afro-Latina pastry chef Paola Velez launched the Bakers Against Racism initiative shortly after George Floyd was killed. Now, Bakers Against Racism has organized several global bake sales and multiple micro-sales, involving thousands of bakers from Texas to Mumbai, and raised $2.5 million for various anti-racism organizations as of early 2022. 

Velez will discuss her training and personal story as an Afro-Latina chef, the founding of Bakers Against Racism and her thoughts on food justice and using food for social justice. 

Presented by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center (LACS)

The Far Right Today: The US in Comparative Perspective     

Cas MuddeMudde 
Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor
University of Georgia

Wednesday, March 22, 2023
4:00 pm
Wang Center Theatre

At least since the so-called “Insurrection” of January 6, 2021, the far-right has taken central stage in political debates in the US. Although the contemporary US far-right is a product of a distinctly American tradition, which has seen several surges throughout the country’s almost 250th year existence, it also fits a broader, even global trend. In this lecture, Cas Mudde discusses the key points of his recent book, The Far Right Today (Wiley, 2019), and puts the recent developments within US politics in a comparative perspective.

Cas Mudde is the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor of International Affairs and a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Georgia (USA) as well as a Professor II at the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) at the University of Oslo (Norway). He is a world-renowned scholar of far-right and populist politics, focusing specifically, but not exclusively, on party politics in Europe and North America. His recent books include (with Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser) Populism: A Very Short Introduction (2017), The Far Right Today (2019), and (with Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler) The Israeli Settler Movement: Assessing and Explaining Social Movement Success (2021). He is a columnist for Aftonbladet (Sweden) and The Guardian (US), a regular contributor to VoxEurope, and host of the podcast RADIKAAL, which focuses on the radical aspects of music, politics, and sports. He tweets at @casmudde.

Presented by the Department of Political Science


Adventures in Neuropharmacology

Dirk TraunerTrauner 
University of Pennsylvania    

Friday, March 24, 2023
4:00 pm
Student Union Auditorium

Neuropharmacology continues to drive new developments in chemistry and biology. Trauner will exemplify this with a new synthesis of Tetrodotoxin (TTX) that can deliver the neurotoxin in 22 steps and on a useful scale. He will also make the case that "Proximity Photopharmacology" is a particularly effective strategy to control the fate and function of proteins, with an emphasis on applications in neuroscience. 

The broad objective of Dirk Trauner’s research is to demonstrate the awesome power of chemical synthesis and to use it toward the precision control of biological pathways, especially in neuroscience. He pursued a PhD in chemistry under the direction of Prof. Johann Mulzer and subsequently became a postdoctoral fellow at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Trauner currently serves as Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor at the University of Pennsylvania with an appointment in the Perelman School of Medicine and in the Department of Chemistry. He is a member of the Leopoldina Academy of Sciences and the Austrian Academia of Sciences, a recipient of the Otto Bayer Award, the Emil Fischer Medal, an ACS Cope Scholar Award, and a Sloan Fellowship. 

Presented by the Department of Chemistry


Jane and Anna Maria Porter: 19th Century Novelists who Paved the Way for Jane Austen and the Bronte Sisters

Devoney LooserDevoney Looser '93, PhD
Regents Professor of English, Arizona State University

Monday, April 3, 2023
Humanities Building, Poetry Center, 2nd Floor
Also available on Zoom; click here to register 

Devoney Looser ‘93, Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University, is one of the most prominent scholars to graduate from Stony Brook's English doctoral program and one of the inaugural holders of the Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies. A leading public humanist, Looser is the recipient of a Public Scholar fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. 

Her new book, Sister Novelists: The Trailblazing Porter Sisters, Who Paved the Way for Austen and the Brontës (Bloomsbury US, 2022), has been widely praised in the mainstream press.

Presented by the Departments of English and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies


The Green Fuse

ackroydHeather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey Environmental Visual Artists

Thursday, April 13, 2023
3:30 pm
Simons Center Della Pietra Family Auditorium

Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey are internationally acclaimed for creating works that intersect art, activism, architecture, biology, ecology and history. Referencing memory and time, nature and culture, urban political ecologies, the climate emergency and degradation of the living planet, their time-based practice reveals an intrinsic bias towards process and event. 

Literature, words, names and verse have coursed their way through Ackroyd and Harvey’s artwork for more than three decades, from a subterranean room packed with books erupting with seeds and fungi in Paris’s Palais de Chaillot, to a large wall-mounted canvas faintly printed with 4,734 critically endangered species. 

This lecture will explore the nature and interplay of words in their work, framed through the process of photosynthesis, and with reference to collaborations with scientists and writers; to artistic use of scientific data; and to their residences at the Banff Center in Alberta, the Tate Modern in London, the Spenser Art Museum in Kansas, and The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Presented by the Department of  Art and the Humanities Institute


The Circumference of a Prison:Youth, Race, and the Failures of the American Justice System

BettsReginald Dwayne Betts
Yale University
Founder/Director of Freedom Reads

Friday, April 28, 2023
4:30 pm
Humanities Room 1006

Reginald Dwayne Betts knows the hazards of juvenile incarceration firsthand. Arrested at age 16, Betts served eight years in an adult prison, coming of age behind bars. Today, he uses his experiences to speak about the current state of the criminal justice system including sentencing juveniles as adults, solitary confinement, maximum security prisons, the collateral consequences of a criminal record, and presents promising ideas for reform. Central to this idea has become the power of literature to transform lives. 

In this talk, Betts will set up the context of the challenges and offer the intervention of the freedom library, the central project of his organization Freedom Reads, which uses literature to confront what prison does to the spirit.

A poet and lawyer, Betts is a 2021 MacArthur Fellow and Executive Director of Freedom Reads, a not-for-profit organization that is radically transforming the access to literature in prisons through the installation of Freedom Libraries in prisons across this country. For more than 20 years, he has used his poetry and essays to explore the world of prison and the effects of violence and incarceration on American society. Betts has been awarded a Radcliffe Fellowship from Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Emerson Fellow at New America, and most recently a Civil Society Fellow at Aspen. Betts holds a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Presented by the Humanities Institute and Center for Changing Systems of Power