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 2014–2015 academic theme of "Identity." These events are free and open to the public.

Fall 2014 Semester Schedule

Christopher Blanar"Nice Brain, We'll Take It! Brain Worms, Body Snatchers, and Puppet Masters"
Christopher Blanar, Ph.D., assistant professor
Thursday, September 18 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery

We like to think we're in control of our own actions. The idea of losing that control is terrifying, and has been the premise of many horror stories. Yet the truth is even stranger than fiction, and in this talk Blanar presents some of the parasites, parasitoids, and pathogens that shape our bodies and manipulate our behavior.

Yvette Fuentes"The Dispersed Nation: The Representation of the Jewish People and Their History in Contemporary Cuban Fiction"
Yvette Fuentes, Ph.D., associate professor
Thursday, October 2 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery

There has been great interest in documenting the Jewish presence in Cuba and within the Cuban-exile community. A number of recent historical texts and documentaries have examined the history of this group's arrival on the island, as well as the departure of the majority into (a second or third) exile. Very little research, however, has been done on the representation of Jews in contemporary Cuban fiction. This lecture will examine several recently published novels by authors on and off the island, focusing on how these works suggest a transnational Jewish and Cuban identity.

Matthew Collins"Who Are You? The Role of Memory in Identity"
W. Matthew Collins, Ph.D., assistant professor
Thursday, October 23 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery

Identity is who we are—our personalities, our abilities, our thoughts, and our memories. But without memory, do you cease to exist? By examining what we know about memory and cases of amnesia, this talk will explore the importance of memory to our own identity.

Eric Mason"Me, You, and My Avatar: Composing Real Identities in Virtual Worlds"
Eric Mason, Ph.D., assistant professor
Thursday, November 6 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery

From social media to online dating sites to video games, we now have the ability to "curate" our online identities, much like a curator would select only certain paintings in a museum's collection to be viewed publicly. But what kinds of identities are created in these online spaces, and to what ends? What kind of roles and relationships are we pushed towards within the constraints of today's digital media? Are we, as Sherry Turkle suggests, increasingly narcissistic recluses who are merely "alone together"? This presentation will explore the role of digital spaces in the processes of identity formation and curation.

Michael Voltaire"Voila! The Discovery of Hispaniola: Colonization and Cultural Identity of Two Nations"
Michael Voltaire, Ph.D., BCBA-D, assistant professor
Thursday, November 20 | Noon–1:00 p.m. | Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery

This lecture will explore the concept of personal and cultural identity and highlight the discovery of Hispaniola, its subsequent colonization, and the events that have shaped its transformation. Two republics with a common heritage have shared the island of Hispaniola for more than five centuries. In spite of the many conflicts that have arisen through the years between the two nations, the cultural identities that have emerged on both sides of the island today undeniably point to a common ancestry.