Academic Affairs

2018-19 Faculty Lecture Series

Join us this year as we investigate Living in Community.

All lectures are 7–8 p.m. in the Boat and Moore rooms in Maytag Student Center, free and open to the public. Sponsored by:  Academic Affairs, Faculty Development Committee

Nov. 26, 2018 – Data Builds a Tapestry: Defining and Understanding our Community Via the Census

Dr. Anya Butt

Dr. Anya Butt, professor of biology

Who is America?  In the sea of nearly 330 million people, there is immense diversity, but also commonality.   The US Census Bureau, which derives its mandate from the US Constitution, is charged with enumerating the population.  What exactly does that mean?  In this talk, Dr. Butt will delve into the upcoming decadal census, lessons learned from previous censuses and reflect on the American Tapestry, which provides a detailed description of America’s neighborhoods, as defined by our demographics.

Feb. 19 – Mr. Pynchon Goes to Iowa: Thomas Pynchon’s Search for Community

Dr. Michael Harris

Dr. Michael Harris, professor of English

In much of his work, the novelist Thomas Pynchon has avoided the Midwest as a setting and criticized the region as a cultural wasteland.  However, his aversion to the Midwest has given way to a recognition of that region in his later works.  This lecture examines Pynchon’s portrayal of the Midwest – and Iowa – as a metaphor for a now unavailable imagined community.

March 26 – Do Immigrants Lower Wages for Native Workers? Evidence from the Mariel Boatlift

Tuan Nguyen

Tuan Nguyen, assistant professor of economics

The 1980 Mariel boatlift provides a natural experiment in whether an influx of immigration directly impacts the wages of native workers, and whether a direct relationship at all can be drawn between the two.  Did an increase in Cuban immigrants cause the wages of native workers in Miami to change?  Come find out!

April 16 – Would You Be My Neighbor? Ancient Cosmopolitanism as an Aid to Community

Anna Christensen

Dr. Anna Christensen, lecturer of philosophy

Cosmopolitanism denotes the idea that all human beings, regardless of political affiliation, race, and creed, are (or can and should be) citizens of a single community.  This presentation will uncover the ancient roots of this view in Cynic and Stoic philosophy and consider how these ancient teachings can help us address current political and social concerns.