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CAS Online Media Archive

Human Rights: Religious and/or Secular Foundations?

Posted: November 20th, 2013 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Patrick Neal, Professor of Political Science

Patrick Neal, Professor of Political Science

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted, the philosopher Jacques Maritain famously said “Yes, we agree about the rights, but on condition that no one asks us why.” Asking “why” has been a staple of discussion in political theory ever since. This lecture will focus upon the work of two prominent contemporary thinkers, Michael Perry and Nicholas Wolterstorff, who argue that a successful grounding of the idea of human rights must be a religious one.

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Professor Neal began teaching courses in political theory at UVM in 1988. He is the author of Liberalism and its Discontents and numerous articles on subjects including Hobbes, Rawls, theories of justice, and the relation between religion and politics. He is a past winner of the Dean’s Lecture Award for superior teaching and scholarship. He is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Honors Program for the Department of Political Science.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank.

Groove Theory: Fela Kuti, James Brown, and the Invention of Afrobeat

Posted: November 4th, 2013 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Professor Alexander Stewart, Professor of Music

Alexander Stewart, Professor of Music

Who put the “beat” in afrobeat?  An important shift occurred in West African popular music in the late 1960s as many musicians looked less to Europe and its former colonies in the Caribbean, and began to draw inspiration directly from African-American cultures in the US.  This talk explores Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s seemingly paradoxical adoption of American funk grooves in his quest to further “Africanize” his music.

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Professor Stewart has published articles on jazz, popular music, and music of Latin America.  His book, Making the Scene:  Contemporary New York City Big Band Jazz, was published in 2007 by the University of California Press.  During 2006-07 he was a Fulbright Scholar, researching Afro-Mexican music and culture in Oaxaca and Guerrero, Mexico.  A saxophonist, he has played, recorded, and toured with many leading figures in jazz and popular music.  He currently performs with the Latin Jazz group Salsa Norteña.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank.

“The Court Transformed: How It Happened; Why It Matters”

Posted: October 1st, 2013 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Garrison Nelson, Professor of Political Science

Garrison Nelson, Professor of Political Science

The U.S. Supreme Court has undergone a major transformation over the course of its 224-year history. Between 1789 and 1962, 47 percent of appointees to the Court had held major political posts in their pre-Court careers.  Over the past fifty years, presidents have predominantly filled Court vacancies with federal judges having clearly confirmed conservative track records.  This has altered the national perception of the court and led to its diminished public reputation.

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Professor Nelson has been a UVM Faculty member since 1968.  He is the editor, author, and co-author of ten books, most recently the seven-volume Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1789-2010The Austin-Boston Connection:  Five Decades of House Democratic Leadership 1937-1989 (2009); and Pathways to the Supreme Court:  From the Arena to the Monastery (forthcoming).  He is the author of many articles in both scholarly journals and the popular press,  and he is a widely quoted political commentator.  He was a 2009 recipient of the Kroepsch-Maurice Teaching Excellence Award.

The Dean’s Lecture Series was established in 1991 as a way to recognize and honor colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences who have consistently demonstrated the ability to translate their professional knowledge and skill into exciting classroom experiences for their students — faculty who meet the challenge of being both excellent teachers and highly respected professionals in their own discipline. The Award is a celebration of the unusually high quality of our faculty and has become an important and treasured event each semester.

“Thinking Outside the Light Box: New Ways to Treat and Prevent the Winter Blues”

Posted: September 6th, 2013 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Kelly Rohan, Professor of Psychology

Kelly Rohan, Professor of Psychology

Central dogma in the field of winter depression has previously viewed seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as a purely biological subtype of depression.  Professor Rohan’s research suggests that psychological models and treatments for depression are relevant to SAD.  She will explain how thoughts and behaviors play a role in triggering the winter blues and how a form of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy can effectively treat and even prevent SAD episodes.  She will also present new data from her clinical trial comparing light therapy to cognitive-behavioral therapy in adults with SAD.

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Kelly Rohan  has been a faculty member at the University of Vermont since 2005.  Her primary research interests are the psychopathology and treatment of adult mood disorders.  She is the director of the clinical psychology graduate program and a licensed psychologist in Vermont.  Her books include Coping with the Seasons:  A Cognitive Behavioral Approach to Seasonal Affective Disorder, Therapist Guide (Oxford University Press, 2008).  She is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank.

Data Analysis Without Theory Is Not Science

Posted: May 21st, 2013 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Daniel H. Krymkowski, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Sociology

Daniel H. Krymkowski, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Sociology

In his classic book, The Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills coined the phrase “abstracted empiricism” to describe research in the social sciences that failed to address important theoretical issues. Although it has been more than half a century since this book was published, far too much current research remains in this category. Professor Krymkowski critiques modern examples of “abstracted empiricism.” discusses how social scientific investigations should be conducted, and provides an illustration of such research from his current work on ethnic and racial differences in outdoor recreation.

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A mathematical sociologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Professor Krymkowski’s current research focuses on class, ethnic, gender, and racial inequality in the contemporary United States. Recently published articles feature collaborative work with Professor Beth Mintz in the Department of Sociology and Professor Robert Manning in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. These papers have appeared in Evaluation Review, International Journal of Sociology, Leisure Sciences, Race and Social Problems, Research on Social Stratification and Mobility, and The Sociological Quarterly.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank. The next lecture in this series will be presented by Dona Brown (Department of History).

Home, Land, Security: The Cultural Politics of American Back-to-the-Land Movements

Posted: April 9th, 2013 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Dona Brown, Professor of History

Dona Brown, Professor of History

For many of us today, the phrase “going back to the land” may bring to mind a vision of the 1960s: yurts and domes, communes and co-ops. But Americans have been dreaming of returning to the land for over a hundred years, and earlier back-to-the-landers were often motivated by dramatically different beliefs, hopes, and fears. What sorts of people dreamed of “returning to the land” in 1900, and why? Who left the city, and who helped other people to leave? Professor Brown discusses the cultural politics of the first back-to-the-land movement and considers the legacy it bequeathed to movements in the 1930s, 1970s, and beyond.

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Dona Brown has been on the faculty in the History Department at the University of Vermont since 1994. Her first book, Inventing New England: Regional Tourism in the Nineteenth Century (Smithsonian Press, 1995), explored the significance of the tourist trade in shaping New England’s regional identity. She has published widely on both tourism and American regionalism, and she was director of the Center for Research on Vermont from 2003 to 2006. Her new book, Back to the Land: The Enduring Dream of Self-Sufficiency in Modern America (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011), explores the long history of back-to-the-land movements in the United States.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank.

Gay Identity and the Act of Reading in The Well of Loneliness

Posted: March 12th, 2013 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Valerie Rohy, Chair and Professor, Department of English

Valerie Rohy, Chair and Professor, Department of English

This lecture examines the retroactive formation of gay identity through the act of reading in a famous lesbian novel of the 1920s, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness. Appealing to sexologial theory, Hall argues that homosexuals are naturally and immutably different–as we say now, “born this way”–yet the novel’s scene of reading opposes that claim, showing something like the queer influence of which the text itself would be accused. In doing so, it leads us to question theories of biological determinism, reframe paranoid notions of queer increase, and consider new forms of gay identity.

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Professor Rohy is the author of Impossible Women: Lesbian Figures and American Literature (Cornell, 2000) and Anachronism and Its Others: Sexuality, Race, Temporality (SUNY, 2009), and the co-editor (with Elizabeth Ammons) of American Local Color Writing, 1880-1920 (Penguin, 1998). She has published essays on sexuality, race, and American literature in such journals as GLQ, Genders, and Modern Fiction Studies. In 2006 she won UVM’s Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award.

The Dean’s Lecture Series was established in 1991 as a way to recognize and honor colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences who have consistently demonstrated the ability to translate their professional knowledge and skill into exciting classroom experiences for their students — faculty who meet the challenge of being both excellent teachers and highly respected professionals in their own discipline. The Award is a celebration of the unusually high quality of our faculty and has become an important and treasured event each semester.

From Snowflakes to Semiconductors

Posted: February 5th, 2013 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Professor Randall Headrick, Professor of Physics

Professor Randall Headrick, Professor of Physics

Crystallization is the name for processes by which atoms and molecules organize themselves into patterns ranging from simple to intricate.  In modern science and technology, the natural processes behind crystallization are harnessed to produce useful materials, and these processes are visualized at the mesoscopic scale.  As traditional materials (such as silicon) approach their ultimate limits of performance at an exponentially increasing rate, there is a great need to develop new functional materials and improved processes.  Professor Headrick will give a brief description of several classes of materials of current interest.

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Randall Headrick  has been a faculty member at the University of Vermont since 2001.  His research interests are in the areas of thin film materials and the synthesis and processing of materials relevant to information technology and consumer electronics.  He has published over 60 journal articles and has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.  He has taught courses in physics, nanoscience, and materials science.  He currently serves as the program director for UVM’s Materials Science graduate program.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank.

Demystifying Chinese Characters

Posted: December 4th, 2012 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

John Jing-hua Yin, Chair and Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures

John Jing-hua Yin, Chair and Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures

Chinese characters, unlike the writing system of any Indo-European language, are formed with no letters or combination of letters to represent the sounds of the Chinese language. Chinese characters have been a highly developed writing system for at least 3,300 years. How were the Chinese characters formed? What changes have Chinese characters undergone? How can native English speakers effectively learn and appreciate Chinese characters? Professor Yin addresses these questions, drawing on his studies and research.

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Professor Yin has been a faculty member at the University of Vermont since 1997. His research interests are in the area of teaching and learning Chinese as a foreign language, focusing on the Chinese writing and tonal system. He has published Fundamentals of Chinese Characters and Practical Rhythmic Chinese as well as a co-edited book, Chinese as a Foreign Language Teaching Practice and Reflections. He has also published over 20 book chapters and journal articles. He is currently chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank.

Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution: Will Democracy Betray Women?

Posted: November 28th, 2012 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Jan Feldman, Professor of Political Science

Jan Feldman, Professor of Political Science

Tunisia, the original site of the Arab Spring uprisings, was regarded by many as having the best chance of bringing its democratic aspirations to fruition. But as the Jasmine Revolution enters its second year, there are signs that have produced dismay in the camp that views Islam as inimical to democracy. Particularly concerned are those who fear that Tunisian women’s rights may be reversed by the legal and cultural entrenchment of Islamist law in the next round of democratic elections. The striking irony is that Tunisia and several other Muslim countries, women have had dictators, emirs, and monarchs to thank for their legal, social, and economic rights. Will women be betrayed by democracy?

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Jan Feldman  has been a member of the Political Science Department at the University of Vermont since 1982. Her research projects have taken her to Russia, Kuwait, Israel, Tunisia, and Morocco.  She has held fellowships at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government: Women and Public Policy program and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute for the Study of Gender, Religion, Law, and Culture. Profesor Feldman’s publications include numerous articles as wel as two books, Lubavitchers as Citizens: A Paradox of Liberal Democracy and Citizenship, Faith and Feminism: Jewish and Muslim Women Regain Their Rights.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank.

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