Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution: Will Democracy Betray Women?

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?

Continue reading

Saving American Elections

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 […]

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

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 […]

“The Dadaab Suite and Other Poems”

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 […]

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

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 […]

“Central Banking before the Federal Reserve”

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 […]

“Running from Anxiety: How Exercise Changes the Emotional Brain”

It is well known that exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, promotes a stable and healthy body weight, and strengthens the immune system. There is now growing evidence that exercise also improves emotional health. Studies of humans and other animals have shown that voluntary exercise reduces many of the signs and symptoms of anxiety and promotes stress […]

“The Social Organization of Technology: Vermont Perspectives on American Innovation”

The United States came to lead the world economy by the early 20th century. As symbolized by Henry Ford’s automobile production, it was the world’s most mechanized country. Among the factors accounting for the ascendance of this once-backward colony, the rapid diffusion of technological knowledge was particularly important. Supported by effective government policies and civil organization, networks of highly mobile machinists spread knowledge widely and generated broad ranges of new techniques, forming a distinctive American technology in the process. Professor Thomson will discuss how several prominent Vermonters played pivotal roles in this development.

Continue reading

“From James Marsh to Computers in Backpacks: UVM and Romanticism in the 21st Century”

Building on his recent book, The Net Effect: Romanticism, Capitalism, and the Internet- a study of the role of culture in the social construction of internet technology-Tom Streeter looks at the persistence of romanticism in the twenty-first century. Communities as diverse as computer programmers, CEOs, and college students at times demonstrate a fondness for self […]

Michael Zvolensky, “Anxiety, Smoking and Smoking Cessation”

Professor, Department of Psychology Tobacco use and dependence rates are disproportionately high among those with anxiety and its disorders. Professor Zvolensky provided an overview of the scientific literature on anxiety, smoking, and smoking cessation. He also discussed current promising treatment and prevention approaches for smokers with anxiety risk factors and disorders. The College of Arts […]