Faculty Shop Talks


Fall 2015 Schedule

Presenter: Dario Sanchez-Gonzalez

Title: “They Went By Locking Doors Behind Them and Throwing the Keys  Away”: Nation and Sexuality in Eduardo Blanco Amor’s A esmorga (1959)

Time and Place: September 18, 2015 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

The relation between gender identities, sexual preferences, and national allegiances is a long, storied one. Much has been written about these topics, with concepts such as the «sexual citizen» (David Bell and Jon Binnie) and «queer nation» (Lauren Berlant and Elizabeth Freeman) well established in the gender studies lingo. This presentation will address this complex intersection in the work A esmorga (On a Bender), Eduardo Blanco Amor’s 1959 novel, and its two film adaptations, Parranda (Gonzalo Suárez, 1977) and A esmorga (Ignacio Vilar, 2014). Often considered one of the best literary texts ever written in Galician (the vernacular language from Galicia, in the NW corner of the Iberian Peninsula), A esmorga tells the story of three men who spend 24 hours in an drinking binge of devastating consequences. It also speaks volumes about many sides of marginality: sexual, national, linguistic, and economic. My initial argument, to be tested in this presentation, is that the inclusion of sexual minorities remains risky business for national identities under the frame of the Spanish state, particularly for those strongly anchored in rural cultures, as is the case with Galicia.

Presenter: Elizabeth Baer

Title:  When Genocide Follows Colonialism: The Case of the Germans in Africa, 1904

Time and Place: October 2, 2015 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Between 1904-1907, the German colonizers in the country we now call Namibia committed a genocide of the Herero and Nama people. Though this genocide is little known, historians have begun to make significant links between the ideology and methods used by the Germans in 1904 and those used in the Nazi Holocaust just thirty years later. With an accompanying slide show which includes some rather shocking colonial photos, my presentation will provide the historical background of German colonialism, demonstrate how this first genocide of the twentieth century becomes the precursor for the Holocaust, and look at two texts which stand in opposition to each other: the letters of Hendrik Witbooi, leader of the Nama and an insightful rebel against the Germans from their arrival as colonizers in 1884; and a colonial novel, Peter Moor’s Journey to Southwest Africa, written by German Gustav Frenssen. This novel, published in 1906, is written as the autobiography of a German soldier who was sent to Namibia to fight the colonial wars and participate in the genocide; as such, it reveals the racist and imperial attitudes of the Germans toward Africa and Africans.

Presenter: Rebecca Fremo

Title:  Filling the Gaps: God-shaped Holes
Time and Place: October 30, 2015 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

How do we fill the gaps as people leave us, or when expectations go unfulfilled? How do we respond when those we love disappoint us? In this Shop Talk presentation, I’ll read from my manuscript, God-shaped Holes, a collection of poems. Described by readers as a manuscript about hunger—in all of its manifestations—these poems explore new ways to feed ourselves when spiritual “food” is lacking. At the same time, the manuscript engages questions of form, wondering what we desire to receive from one another when we share our stories. The poems ask readers to consider their own expectations: Will a story be enough to satisfy their desire for poetry? Where does a story end and a poem begin? What, exactly, do readers of poetry hunger for? 


Presenter: Pamela Kittelson

Title:  Global change: effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity
Time and Place: November 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Time and Place: November 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

The news about global change science has focused predominantly on climate.  Humans also are significantly changing global ecosystems via habitat fragmentation; for example estimates suggest that over 99% of native tallgrass prairie habitat in North America has been subject to habitat fragmentation. During land conversion, native habitats shrink in size and contiguous areas become islands in a sea of agriculture or human development.  In fragmented areas, populations numerically decrease and become isolated. At current rates of habitat fragmentation some models suggest that 27,000 tropical forest species/year risk extinction.  Beyond these realities, I will discuss research completed by my lab into how habitat fragmentation affect plant populations, specifically focusing on the ramifications to a population's genetic diversity, evolutionary trajectory and capacity to make a living.  While our focus has been on local or regional plant species, our results have implications for how habitat fragmentation may affect other species and populations.  I also will offer ways humans can work to minimize fragmentation and its negative effects.


Presenter: Michele Koomen

Title:  Disciplinary Literacy in the Science Classroom:  Using Adaptive Primary Literature

Time and Place: December 4, 2015 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

This study reports on an innovative version of Adaptive Primary Literature (APL) that we call Science Behind the Scenes used during a summer professional development (PD) program. Classroom teachers read and discussed papers from the primary literature, and created translations of these papers relevant to their own classroom needs. We randomly selected 31 teacher-created Science behind the Scenes products for evaluation with a rubric that was aligned with the K-12 Science Education Frameworks (2012). In addition, we interviewed groups of teachers at follow up sessions and individual teachers who used the APL in their classrooms. We used frameworks for grounded theory to sort the interview text and descriptive statistical measures for quantitative data. Our analysis reveals two key findings: 1) the teachers created respectable adaptations of primary scientific literature into APL, and 2) the teachers used the APL products in their classrooms to support the discourse of science and disciplinary literacy, and to create a bridge to the scientific enterprise. Our findings have implications for instructional design, curricular materials, professional development, and science education.


Spring 2016 Schedule

Presenter: Mimi Gerstbauer

Title:  Apologizing for Torture and More: Possibilities for Contrition in International Relations 

Time and Place: February 26, 2016 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

In fall 2014, a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee revealed greater details on the use of torture by the United States in the war on terror. When and how does the US admit its wrongdoing, apologize, make amends, and more?   This talk utilizes literature on forgiveness and reconciliation, the transitional justice literature, and past cases of inter-state reconciliation to examine contrite behavior of states in international relations.   What factors influence contrite behavior by the U.S. in its foreign policy? Would this contrition have value for building a more just and secure international order?

Presenter: Kristian Braekkan

Title:  Looking for Revolution in all the Wrong Places: The Story of a Political Awakening in the Welfare State

Time and Place: March 4, 2016 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

A political awakening took place in Norway in the 1970s that continues to shape the country today. Arguably, no other political movement has impacted the country more than AKP (ml), the Workers¹ Communist Party (Marxist-Leninists). Thousands of Norwegians have been involved with theparty, either as members or as sympathizers, in a quest for armed revolution in the welfare state. One may argue that the main intellectual question in Norway since 1973 has been ³for or against AKP (ml)². Pragmatists, who appeal to ³realistic expectations² and conduct research within the constraints of ³what works², consider it a failed revolution. However, if one places the emphasis on social context and the processes and networks of human activity over time with a particular focus on material production through labor one may argue that AKP (ml) redefined the welfare state. This presentation argues that the political awakening laid the foundation for Norway¹s cultural and intellectual lifefor the remainder of the 20th century - not because of the size of the movement, but because the uncompromising ideas that were brought forward managed to penetrate the national cultural and political thinking. Having witnessed other social democratic states move further to the right over thelast four decades, this presentation concludes that there are lessons to be learned from political movements like these and that if we truly want social change we have to act against the status quo and reject pragmatic solutions that seek to maintain the interests of the powerful.


Presenter: Ruth Lin

Title:  Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” Freedom in Limitation

Time and Place: March 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Is the idea of freedom in limitation an oxymoron? Or, is it a tool to broaden one’s imagination and creativity? Possibly one of the most iconic keyboard pieces in musical history, Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” is an analysis of the idea of “a variation,” an exploration of the freedom of variations within strict musical confines, and an illustration of employing the idea of limitation to one’s creative advantage.

Presenter: Mary McHugh

Title:  “The Wolf of Gubbio in Context: From Assisi to Pampulha, Brazil”

Time and Place: April 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

The story of the Wolf of Gubbio, from the 14th century Fioretti di San Francesco, does not appear in the frescoes of the Upper Church at Assisi. Nor does it appear in St. Bonaventure’s Legenda Maior, the official account of the life of St. Francis and the literary source for the artistic program of the Upper Church. However, themes from this story (conflict resolution, charity, divine providence, forgiveness, and God's care for his creatures) occur throughout the fresco cycle. The frescoes at Assisi tell, indirectly, the story known from the later but more direct formulation, the iconic Wolf of Gubbio account.The Wolf is prominently featured on the blue and white tile façade of a modern church dedicated to St. Francis, Igreja da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Reactions to this church at the time of its construction, designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer and decorated with azulejos conceived by the painter Candido Portinari, reveal deep discomforts, and not just on aesthetic grounds. Occurring in different geographical and socio-historical contexts, both churches yet contain timeless and universal messages. Clearly informed by lessons learned from the life of St. Francis at Assisi and the decoration of the Basilica at Assisi, the Igrejinha (as it is affectionately called by Brazilians now) is yet distinctively and uniquely Brazilian in its conception and design. Its tiled façade featuring the Wolf of Gubbio at its center is immediate and direct in its message, not just to believers, but also to a simultaneously secular and yet deeply spiritual society.

Presenter: Rosemarie Mwaipopo

Title:  Sidelines and Frontlines: Women and Inclusive Politics in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in Tanzania
Time and Place: April 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Women’s engagement in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in African countries has largely been regarded as an result of poverty-related factors, given the social and economic conditions in many of these countries. This understanding has also informed policy development for the sector. Seldom is women’s agency interrogated and how they manouvre with purpose to make a living from the industry. Using the experience of women miners of Tanzania, this study interrogates the decisions, motivations and actions that women take to engage and give meaning to their lives from an industry, otherwise confounded with complexities and challenging options especially to women, and the relevance of existing policy options in the process.