|/Users/kantrowi/AppData/Local/Adobe/Contribute%206.5/en_US/Sites/Site2/events/faculty/lecture-series/google-icon-32x32.png" rel="shortcut icon"> Faculty Lecture Series | Nova Southeastern University Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

The Faculty Lecture Series draws from the knowledge and expertise of 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.

Winter 2015 Schedule

Julie Torruellas Garcia

“Identification of Gut Microbes and Their Link to Autism”

Julie Torruellas Garcia, Ph.D., associate professor

Thursday, January 22 | noon–1:00 p.m.
Alvin Sherman Library | Adolfo & Marisela Cotilla Gallery

Autism Spectrum Disorders are currently estimated to effect 1 in 68 children. There are many different genetic, environmental and biological factors that may lead to autism; however, there is no cure. Recently, a link between gut microbes and autism was discovered. Can knowing the identity of the bacteria living in our guts help us to diagnose and treat autism? This lecture will review current research on the identification of gut microbes in children with autism and the potential use of probiotics and vaccines as a treatment.

Kate  Waites

“Sarah Polley’s Documemoir Stories We Tell: The Refracted Subject”

Kate Waites, Ph.D., professor

Thursday, February 12 | noon–1:00 p.m.
Alvin Sherman Library | Room 4009

In her stunning meta-documemoir, Sarah Polley investigates her deceased mother's secret life through the lens of artifacts and interviews with others. By employing postmodern stylistics—super-8 home footage combined with faux home footage, and interspersed with photographs, dramatic “scenes,” emails, and a narrative within a narrative—the filmmaker-actor manages to weave together the complex tapestry of her own life story. At mid-life, through the making of the film, Polley arrives at an approximation of the “truth” about her muddled parentage and, more importantly, its impact on her own constructed identity.

Vicky Toscano

“How the Law Shapes Gender Identity: Antiabortion Shibboleths in the Law”

Vicky Toscano, Ph.D., assistant professor

Thursday, March 12 | noon–1:00 p.m.
Alvin Sherman Library | Adolfo & Marisela Cotilla Gallery

In recent years, many laws have been passed to create new regulations on abortion that are based on disputed factual claims about the fetus, pregnant women, and women's experience of abortion. The Court's willingness to support these claims perpetuates stereotypes based on gender and lends legal authority to a particular view of what constitutes proper gender identity. This talk will explain recent relevant court cases and why these laws should be found unconstitutional based on the concept of liberty defined in the 14th amendment due process clause.

Charles Zelden

"Making sure the RIGHT people vote: Identity and Suffrage in American History"

Charles Zelden, Ph.D., professor

Thursday, March 26 | noon–1:00 p.m.
Alvin Sherman Library | Adolfo & Marisela Cotilla Gallery

Since the founding of this nation, the underlying reality in our electoral systems is not that EVERYONE votes, but rather that every effort is made to assure that only the RIGHT people vote (with different groups at various times defining RIGHT by their own differing standards). The result has been a long history of voter exclusion based on such identity factors as race, gender, and ethnicity. This talk will explore the ongoing link between identity and suffrage—or the extent to which who you are determines whether and how you vote.


“Professional Identity Construction among New Writing Faculty”

Thursday, April 9 | 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Alvin Sherman Library | Adolfo & Marisela Cotilla Gallery

In this collaborative research project, four faculty members in the college’s Division of Humanities are investigating the experiences of new, fulltime writing faculty in order to understand the phenomenon of professional identity construction from academic training to fulltime faculty appointment. Polling a representative population of colleagues during their first three years of employment yields information about the tactics writing faculty use to construct a professional identity through teaching, research, and service.

Allison  Brimmer
Allison Brimmer, Ph.D., assistant professor

Juliette Kitchens
Juliette Kitchens, Ph.D., assistant professor

Claire Lutkewitte
Claire Lutkewitte, Ph.D., assistant professor

Molly J. Scanlon
Molly J. Scanlon, Ph.D., assistant professor


Fall 2014 Lectures

Christopher Blanar"Nice Brain, We'll Take It! Brain Worms, Body Snatchers, and Puppet Masters"

Christopher Blanar, Ph.D., assistant professor

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

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., associate professor

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 World"

Eric Mason, Ph.D., assistant professor

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

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.