Faculty Lecture Series
The Faculty Lecture Series draws from the knowledge and expertise of more than 140 full-time faculty members within the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences. The series explores the faculty’s diverse areas of interest in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. In addition to mentoring students in independent research projects, guiding travel-study experiences, and participating in the development of their fields through publications and involvement in their disciplines’ global communities—faculty members support the college mission by sharing their experiences with students through these insightful campus lectures that convey their passion for education and research.
Each presentation, listed below, explores a different topic related to the college’s 2013–2014 academic theme of “Good and Evil.” These events are free and open to the public.
Fall 2013 Semester Schedule
“Laguna Manatí: Can ‘Good’ Arise from ‘Bad’ Environmental Changes?”
Eileen Smith-Cavros, M.F.A., Ph.D., associate professor
Thursday, September 19 | 5:00–6:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
This event will include a screening and discussion of a short documentary film based on research conducted in rural Veracruz, Mexico, by Eileen Smith-Cavros, the late Edward O. Keith, their colleagues, and NSU undergraduate students. The film—in Spanish with English subtitles—explores the complexities of environmental changes, such as local extinction of manatees. Co-directed by Smith-Cavros and sociology major Guadalupe Almanza, the documentary is narrated by Jessica Garcia-Brown, J.D., LL.M., associate professor at the college, and dedicated to Keith, a college faculty member who passed away in September 2012.
“Good and Evil in the Arab Spring”
Timothy Dixon, J.D., associate professor and coordinator of history/politics
Thursday, October 17 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
This lecture will challenge the belief that the Arab Spring uprisings and associated changes represent good against the evil of the overthrown regimes. There are elements of evil among the forces for change and their allies, and elements of good and evil among the countries offering support for the regime changes. There are arguably some small sparks of good among the regime forces that we may overlook. Thus, this talk argues we should not view the events of the Arab Spring as entirely black or white.
“The Good, the Bad, and the Vampire”
Barbara Brodman, Ph.D., professor
Thursday, October 31 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
From the evil monsters of ancient European lore to the sparkling (and good) vampires of Twilight, the image of the vampire has changed to suit the times. The vampire as the “other” has served as a harbinger of social change, both as a symbol of the dominant ills of an era and as a call for action. This lecture will trace the evolution of vampire symbolism from the 19th Century to modern times, positioning the vampire as an image of social change.
“Personal Genomics: Good, Evil, or Both?”
Emily Schmitt, Ph.D., associate director and associate professor
Thursday, November 14 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
With the increasing availability of personal genomic testing, there have been warnings that the results may lead to discrimination by insurance companies, employers, or the community. In addition, some individuals fear potential identity theft and loss of personal autonomy, despite the benefits of discovering potential genetic risks and possibilities of more-focused treatments. This lecture will examine whether personal genomics is good, evil, or both.
“Artificial Reefs: Good for Fishing, Bad for Fish”
Paul Arena, Ph.D., assistant professor
Thursday, December 5 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
The first historical record of an artificial reef is from Japan in 1650. Some 200 years later, off South Carolina, our country’s first artificial reef was deployed. The primary reason for adding materials to our coastal waters was the same then as it is today: to catch more fish. As this talk will explain, while fishing may be good at an artificial-reef site, unless these structures are protected, they are bad for fisheries and enhance overexploitation of our local fish populations.
Winter 2014 Semester Schedule
“Beyond Good and Evil: American Foreign Policy Since 1980”
G. Nelson Bass III, J.D., Ph.D., assistant professor
Thursday, January 16 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
Traditionally, states frame their interactions with other nations in terms of “good” and “evil.” The United States has been no exception. However, beginning in the 1980s, U.S. foreign policy shifted from a strategy of “containment” to one of “democracy promotion,” which inevitably made these distinctions much more difficult to discern. How can American foreign policy under democracy promotion be best explained? What theoretical tools help us best analyze American foreign policy in the post-Cold War world? Most importantly, what type of democracy are we promoting?
“A Limited Defense of the Limited God Theodicy”
Darren Hibbs, Ph.D., associate professor
Thursday, February 13 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
The philosophical problem of evil amounts to the claim that the presence of evil or suffering in the world either (a) logically entails that an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect God does not exist or (b) shows that the existence of such a being is unlikely. A theodicy is an attempt to respond to the problem of evil by explaining why God would permit evil. This talk will discuss some features of a theodicy that avoids problem (a) by appealing to the notion of limited God.
“Biofuels: The Benefits and Disadvantages of an Energy Source”
Reza Razeghifard, Ph.D., associate professor and coordinator of physical science
Thursday, March 13 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
This lecture will present the good and evil of biofuels as energy sources. The U.S. ethanol and biodiesel production levels are expected to meet 17% of demand for transport fuel by 2021. Currently, the major source for the mass production of biofuels is crops, such as vegetable oil, sugarcane, and corn. Can we afford using farm land and converting food crops to energy crops? Are there any other viable resources that can be used to produce liquid biofuels?
“Sympathy for the Devil? Rape, Murder, and Evolutionary Psychology”
Glenn Scheyd, Jr., Ph.D., associate professor and assistant director of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Thursday, March 20 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
The field of evolutionary psychology has engendered no small amount of controversy by investigating the adaptations underlying some of humans’ most objectionable behaviors: racial discrimination, psychopathic deception, infanticide, murder, warfare, and rape. This talk will provide an overview of the field, with a focus on the evolutionary research on rape and murder and the reception it has received in academic circles.
“Witch-Hunts in American History!”
Charles Zelden, Ph.D., professor
Thursday, April 10 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery
Throughout American history, specific individuals and/or groups have been branded by those in power as evil—judged to be so great of a threat to the public good that extreme, even violent, acts of suppression by the government or private citizens are justified. Ironically, over time, the judgment of history often reverses the picture, branding those in power as evil and the oppressed individuals/groups as good people wrongfully victimized. This talk will explore the dynamics underlying witch-hunts, probing the origins, content, and effects of specific historical witch-hunts, as well as the evolving verdict of history about these events.