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Spring 2013

More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics

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Steven E. Landsburg, Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester

Steven Landsburg’s writings are living proof that economics need not be “the dismal science.” Readers of The Armchair Economist and his columns in Slate magazine know that he can make economics not only fun but fascinating, as he searches for the reasons behind the odd facts we face in our daily lives. In More Sex Is Safer Sex, he brings his witty and razor-sharp analysis to the many ways that our individually rational decisions can combine into some truly weird collective results — and he proposes hilarious and serious ways to fix just about everything. From

Co-sponsored by the Charles Koch Foundation

Written in Bone

Douglas Owsley, Division Head for Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Dr. Owsley will be speaking about his interdisciplinary work as a forensic anthropologist, assisting state and federal law enforcement agencies. Cases have included Jeffrey Dahmer’s first victim, recovery and identification of Waco Branch Davidian compound members, the 9-11 Pentagon Plane crash, and exhumation and identification of war dead from the former Yugoslavia. His bioarchaeological and osteological research concerns include: ancient American skeletons like Kennewick Man and the peopling of the New World; demography and health of 17th-century colonists; Civil War military remains including the crew of the H.L. Hunley submarine; iron coffin burials; and analyses of activity patterns, health and diseases of American Indian populations from the Plains and Southwest. From

Petrovich Lecture, co-sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Studies Council of Majors, the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, the Departments of History, Ancient Studies, Anthropology and Sociology, Visual Arts, Biological Sciences, Psychology, the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture, and the Honors College

The Black History of the White House From Washington to Obama

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Clarence Lusane, Professor of Comparative and Regional Studies Program, School of International Service at American University

This presentation employs the White House as a prism to examine the historic and contemporary racial politics of the nation. From the building of the White House with slave labor to the “othering” of President Obama, Dr. Lusane explores the racial dynamics of one of the world’s most iconic buildings.

Co-sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities, the Language, Literacy and Culture Doctoral Program, the Departments of History, Africana Studies, American Studies, and Sociology and Anthropology

Mr. Chips Goes to Detroit: Participating in the Auto Industry Rescue   

Edward Montgomery, Dean, Georgetown Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University

Dr. Montgomery served as a member of President Obama’s Auto Task Force and as Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. He will use his talk to discuss the economics and political considerations involved in the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler and efforts to rebuild the communities reliant upon the auto industry.

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Public Policy and Economics

The Aesthetics of Temporal Sequence: Making Meals and Concerts Optimal Experiences

Paul Rozin, Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania 

Meals and concerts are both episodes of one to two hours, in which a sequence of events occurs.  The presentation will address what we know, and what we have to find out, about how the ordering of events effects both our experience and our memory.  Particular attention will be paid to the modern tasting (multiple course) menu, and how some practices from music could inform the arrangement of meals.

Distinguished Lecture in Psychology

The Fracking of Rachel Carson: Silent Spring in an Age of Environmental Crisis

Sandra Steingraber, Professor of Education, Stanford University

A cancer survivor, Dr. Sandra Steingraber has written extensively on the intersection of the environment and public health. She will discuss what we have learned, and failed to learn, in the 50 years since Rachel Carson’s  publication of Silent Spring , and will examine the threat to public health that fracking poses.

Korenman Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Gender and Women Studies with support from the Department of American Studies, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Dresher Center for the Humanities, Geography and Environmental Systems, Office of the Provost, Social Sciences Forum, and Women in Science and Engineering

A Life in History:  Reflections on Studying Politics and Policy in Twentieth-Century America

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John Jeffries, Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at UMBC

John Jeffries will discuss, from the perspectives both of his own life and career and of the study of political history since the 1960s, the circumstances and choices that have shaped his work as an historian of mid-twentieth-century U.S. elections and policymaking.

Low Lecture, sponsored by the Department of History

Looking Forward from the 45th Anniversary of the Catonsville Nine Actions

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In May of 1968, nine individuals shook the conscience of the nation as they burned U.S. Selective Service records with home-made napalm on the grounds of the Catonsville, Maryland Knights of Columbus hall. The fire they started erupted into an infamous trial where the nine were defended by William Kuntsler. The news spread throughout the country, influencing other similar dynamic actions in every major U.S. city. Two of the original members of the Nine will be on hand to talk about their experiences – about how they met and their stand against U.S. militarization in Latin America. We will also be joined by scholars and film makers who will help us connect this story with the larger context of Vietnam War era protests. 

Thomas and Margarita Melville (authors of Whose Heaven, Whose Earth?);
Karin Aguilar-San Juan (Macalester College, author of Staying Vietnamese and The State of Asian America);
Joby Taylor (Shriver Center Peaceworker Program, moderator); and special guests.

Co-sponsored by the Department of American Studies

Fall 2012

“What’s a Life Worth?”

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W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management,Vanderbilt School of Law

The value of statistical life (VSL) is a measure that forms the basis for assessing the benefits of government policies that reduce risks, such as regulatory efforts.  This presentation examines the empirical evidence on the heterogeneity of VSL and explores the potential implications for the valuation of regulatory policies, including the “senior discount” issue as well as differences in VSL with age, income, and immigrant status.

Mullen Lecture,sponsored by the Department of Economics

“Japanese Science and International Politics in the Interwar Period: The Nobel Candidacies of Hideki Yukawa (Physics) and Katsusaburo Yamagiwa (Physiology)

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James R. Bartholomew, Professor of History, Ohio State University

Japan was a late-comer to modern science, though it produced important contributions earlier than many think, especially in medicine.  This talk examines some of the controversial cases involving Japanese scientists and the Nobel Prize in physics and medicine and reflects on what they tell us about Japan, modern science and the Nobel Prizes themselves.

Sponsored by the Asian Studies Program; Office of the Dean, College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences; the Human Context of Science and Technology Program; and the Department of History

“Income, Inequality, Educational Outcomes”

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Sean Reardon, Professor of Education, Stanford University

Income inequality among the families of school-age children in the U.S. has grown sharply in the last 40 years.  What impact has this had on the educational success of U.S. students?  This talk will describe three recent studies that examine the trends in the relationship of income and income inequality to academic achievement and college enrollment.

Sponsored by the Department of Public Policy and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Language, Literacy, and Culture

“2012 Post-Election Forum”

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Donald F. Norris, Professor and Chair, Department of Public Policy and Director, Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research
Thomas F. Schaller,
Professor, Department of Political Science
Annie Linskey,
state politics and government reporter, The Baltimore Sun

What happened in the 2012 Presidential Election, and why? Join experienced political analysts for an informed and engaging discussion about the election – the campaigns, candidates, key issues and voter turnout.

Sponsored by the Department of Public Policy and the Maryland Institute of Policy Analysis and Research

American Challenges for World Peace in the 21st Century

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Horace G. Campbell, Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, Syracuse University

Dr. Campbell will assess current U.S. policies and political strategies to determine obstacles faced in attempting to fashion a lasting peace internationally.  Where possible, this analysis will make use of predictions and proclamations suggested by Du Bois during the first half of the 20th century to assess the proper role of the U.S. in fashioning a strategy for world peace.

W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, sponsored by the Africana Studies Department