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CAS Online Media Archive

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.

Saving American Elections

Posted: October 16th, 2012 by Andrew Edwin Hendrickson

Jack (Anthony) Gierzynski, Professor of Political Science

Jack (Anthony) Gierzynski, Professor of Political Science

Elections in the U.S. are in an unhealthy state. But, what, exactly, is wrong with elections and why?  And what can we do to restore to health both elections and the democracy that relies on them?  Professor Gierzynski addresses these questions by discussing the diagnosis and prescriptions outlined in his 2011 book, Saving American Elections: A Diagnosis and Prescription for a Healthier Democracy.

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Jack (Anthony) Gierzynski, Professor of Political Science   has published three books: Saving American Elections (Cambria Press 2011); Money Rules (Westview Press 2000); and Legislative Party Campaign Committees in the American States (University of Kentucky, 1992).  He has written over a dozen articles and book chapters on campaign finance, political parties, and elections.  He is the Director of the James M. Jeffords Center’s Vermont Legislative Research Service. His current project is a book on the effects of the Harry Potter series on the Millennial Generation (due out early 2013, Johns Hopkins University Press).

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.

Sustainable Environment, Sustainable Democracy, Sustainable Politics

Posted: October 3rd, 2012 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Robert V. Bartlett, Gund Professor of Liberal Arts, Department of Political Science

Professor Robert V. Bartlett, Gund Professor of Liberal Arts, Department of Political Science

Professor Robert V. Bartlett, Gund Professor of Liberal Arts in the Political Science Department.

Sustainability politics has been around for three decades; environmental politics for five (under that label).  Over the same period, the political world has become considerably more democratic.  More societies and institutions have embraced various democratic processes, more people have become deeply engaged with the ideas of democracy, and there has been an explosion of scholarship and theorizing about democracy.  But are there any necessary linkages among environmentalism, sustainability, and democracy?  Professor Bartlett addresses this question, drawing on his research on ecological rationality, deliberative democracy, and environmental governance.

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Professor Bartlett is the Gund Professor of Liberal Arts in the Political Science Department.  He has twice been a Senior Fulbright Scholar (New Zealand and Ireland).  In 2007 he was the Distinguished Fulbright Chair of Environmental Policies at the Turin Polytechnic Institute and University in Italy.  He teaches courses on environmental politics and policy and is the author and co-author of many books and research articles, including Global Democracy and Sustainable Jurisprudence: Deliberative Environmental Law, MIT Press, 2009.

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.

Agamemnon in Africa, Ulysses in Ulaanbaatar: Classics Gone Global

Posted: April 3rd, 2012 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

M. D. Usher, Chair and Professor of Classics

M. D. Usher, Chair and Professor of Classics

Two Continents.  Two Epic heroes. Two classical scholars.  Classics Professor Mark Usher discusses how the work of maverick Classicists Milman Parry (1902-1934) and George Thomson (1903-1987) revolutionized the field of Classics in their day and how their scholarly discoveries and vision brought him recently to Africa and Mongolia in pursuit of the study of two landmark texts of the classical canon–Aeschylus’ Oresteia and Homer’s Odyssey. In particular Professor Usher speaks about his research on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1970 film “Notes for an African Oresteia” in Zomba, Malawi, where he was inadvertently caught up in a sub-Saharan version of the Arab Spring.  He also discusses the rich living heritage of Mongolian oral epic and its relationship to Homeric poetry, and relate a unique experience he had in Ulaanbaatar with a modern performer of that ancient tradition.

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Professor Usher is Chair of the Classics Department and teaches courses in Greek and Latin language and literature.  He also teaches for the Integrated Humanities Program and the Honors College.  In addition to scholarly books and articles in the field of Classics, he has published three acclaimed books for children and an opera libretto in Latin.

Evolution, Etiology, and What’s Wrong with ‘Born Gay’

Posted: December 6th, 2011 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

 Valerie Rohy, Professor of English

Valerie Rohy, Professor of English

We have all heard the charge that gay men and lesbians seek to “recruit children to their lifestyle”–a claim based on the old belief that homosexuality can be caused, like other bad habits, by dangerous influences. In response, queer communities increasingly cite theories of biological determinism to argue that homosexuality is physiological and innate: we are “born gay.”

But why should etiology–the science of causes–dominate the question of gay and lesbian rights? Rohy will address these questions through a rhetorical analysis of anti-gay and ostensibly pro-gay arguments, showing how both sides deploy the vocabulary of evolutionary theory: fertility and sterility, survival and extinction.

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Valerie 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.

“How Clothes Make the Man: Textile Art in Ancient Central Asia”

Posted: November 1st, 2011 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Professor Willam Mierse, Department of Art and Art History

William Mierse, Professor of Art and Art History

The lack of surviving textiles is one of the major gaps in our understanding of ancient art. We know that they were important. But the archaeological record has preserved few examples until quite recently. Over the last twenty years excavations in the Taklimakan Desert in China’s Xinjiang Province have begun to reveal rich finds of textiles. These objects are forcing us to change our understanding of the nature of the artistic exchanges between the ancient Mediterranean and Chinese regions and are providing us with a glimpse of the sophisticated artistic production that occurred in Central Asia where influences from the West and the East came together along with indigenous cultural forces to produce these textile works. In this talk, Mierse explores one particularly intriguing textile find from Yingpan.

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Professor Mierse has been at UVM since 1988 and serves in the Departments of Art and Art History and Classics. He was Chair of the Department of Art and Art History from 1994 to 2000. He also directed the program in Latin American Studies and co-founded and directed the Near Eastern Studies program. He is author of Temples and Towns in Roman Iberia: The Social and Architectural Dynamics of Sanctuary Designs from the Third Century B.C. to the Third Century A.D. and Ocho Ensayos Intrepretivos sobre el Arte Romano; and co-author of Sardis from Prehistoric to Roman Times. His newest book, Temples and Sanctuaries from the Early Iron Age Levant, Recovery after Collapse, is due to appear in 2012.

“The Dadaab Suite and Other Poems”

Posted: October 4th, 2011 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Professor of English, Major Jackson

English Professor Major Jackson’s Full Professor Lecture, “The Dadaab Suite and Other Poems,” Tuesday, October 4, at 5:00 p.m. Dadaab, Kenya is the home of the oldest and largest refugee camp administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The camp was built for 90,000 refugees in 1991 as a consequence of the civil war in Somalia. Currently, the camp is now host to 380,000 people, and since the beginning of the summer, the current famine in Somalia has swelled those ranks even higher. As one reporter wrote, “this is one of the most desperate places on Earth.” As part of a cultural diplomacy trip sponsored by the United Nations, the United States Department of State, and the University of Iowa International Writers Program, Poet and Professor Major Jackson visited Dadaab to conduct creative writing workshops, meet with aspiring writers within the camps, and witness the current crisis in the northeastern region of Kenya. Professor Jackson will present a multi-media presentation of his experience and read new poems that address war, the limits of witnessing as well as the resilient spirit of the Somalian people.

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Jackson is the author of three books of poetry: Holding Company, Hoops, and Leaving Saturn, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He work has appeared in American Poetry Review, The New Yorker, Poetry, and twice in the anthology Best American Poetry (2004, 2011). He is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. He is the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review. He is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont.

“Mapping the Everyday: Geographies of Power and Marginality in Urban Contexts”

Posted: March 15th, 2011 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Professor Meghan Cope

Tracing the contours of power in cities, Professor Cope discusses ways that socially marginalized groups are subject to – and act upon – spatial constraints and restrictions in everyday life. Focusing on women, youth, and people of color, she draws on the idea of the mutual constitutions of society and space to illuminate intersections of identity, knowledge, and the production of place. She suggests that new methodologies of research and representation help reveal processes of exclusion, immobility, and constraint to further our understanding of the complementary roles of social practices and the built environment in (re)producing power relations.

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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.

“Americanitis: American Movies and Soviet Cinema”

Posted: February 8th, 2011 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Professor Denise Youngblood

If Americans ever think about Soviet cinema, they either imagine dreary propaganda films or remember world-class avant-garde directors like Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovsky. Some Soviet movies were indeed dismal propaganda, and more than a few were cinematic masterpieces (usually the ones in trouble with the censorship). There was, however, another world of Soviet movies—the pictures that ordinary movie-goers actually liked. More often than not, these popular films were infected with the disease of “Americanitis” (amerikanshchina); that is, they were strongly influenced by Hollywood style. This talk traces the ebb and flow of the cinematic Americanism that was evident in Soviet cinema even during its darkest hours, providing a unique lens through which to view Soviet society and culture over the course of more than 70 years.

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The Dean’s Lecture Series celebrates College of Arts and Sciences faculty who are acclaimed scholars or artists and who translate that knowledge into stimulating teaching.

“Central Banking before the Federal Reserve”

Posted: January 18th, 2011 by Arts & Sciences Computing Services Office

Professor of Economics, Jane Knodell

One reason the U.S. was late to create a central bank was that earlier renditions of central banks, the First and Second Banks of the United States (1791-1811 and 1816-1836, respectively), drew political fire as large, financially powerful corporations. Although both institutions performed well, it proved impossible for either to convince both a congressional majority and the President that they should continue to exist after their charters expired.  Why has the Federal Reserve Bank, also a center of concentrated financial power, succeeded in surviving where its predecessors failed?  An institutional comparison reveals that the Federal Reserve enjoys certain organizational advantages that the earlier central banks lacked.

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The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to recognize faculty newly promoted to full professor rank.

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