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Events & Exhibits: Spring 2016 Brown Bag Talks

Urbino in my Rearview Mirror: Experiential Learning in a Foreign Culture

Thursday, February 4

12 - 1 PM

Ramsey Library Special Collections 

Sonya DiPalma, Department of Mass Communication

This presentation focuses on student perceptions on the benefits of a study abroad program. Students participating in this qualitative study represent multiple universities from four countries during a four-week multimedia intensive program in Urbino, Italy.  

 

Modularity and tractability. How deep is their relation? A mild skepticism

Thursday, February 11

12 - 1 PM

Ramsey Library Special Collections 

Ioan Muntean, UNCA, Faculty Research Fellow, Department of Engineering; University of Nortre Dame, The Reilly Center for Science, Technology,  and Values

Modularity is, roughly speaking, the idea that any system can be decomposed in a series of subsystems, each of them having a limited interaction with a limited number of neighboring subsystems. Many philosophers of science believe modularity is a “natural kind” of many, if not all, scientific disciplines: biology, physics, some social sciences, and most importantly cognitive science. Is modularity a feature of the world, or a feature of our representations? In this presentation I focus on the latter, and raise some concerns about the argument for modularity based on computational tractability. For some, tractability is supporting scientific understanding and explanation. Based on an argument from numerical simulation, I conclude that such an inference is not warranted.

Working the roads of the Late Colonial Western Guatemalan Highlands

Thursday, February 18

12 - 1 PM

Ramsey Library Special Collections 

Alvis Dunn, Department of History

Our understanding of traffic on the roadways of the western highlands of late colonial Guatemala is limited.  Specifics on travel, the products being transported, the destinations, even the travelers themselves are spotty at best.  Still, we understand that the inhabitants of that region were part of local and global networks. Most certainly those networks often bore an economic orientation.  Examination of documents provides some information, setting the stage for speculation as to relationships between time, space, and commerce among the highland Maya, the mestizo population of the western highlands, and the world at large.

A Home in Shalom'ville: The History of Asheville’s Jewish Community

Thursday, March 10

12 - 1 PM

Ramsey Library Special Collections 

Sharon Fahrer, History @ Hand

Join local scholar Sharon Fahrer as she discusses her new book, A Home in Shalom’ville: The History of Asheville’s Jewish Community.

Intimate Empires Body, Race, and Gender in the Modern World

Thursday, March 17

12 - 1 PM

Ramsey Library Special Collections

Tracey Rizzo, Department of History

Join Tracey Rizzo as she discusses her latest book, Intimate Empires: Body, Race, and Gender in the Modern World (Oxford University Press, 2016) Intimate Empires synthesizes the most current scholarship on Gender, Race, and Sexuality in the Age of European Empires.

Hazel Creek: A History of the 'Back of Beyond'

Thursday, March 24

12 - 1 PM

Ramsey Library Special Collections 

Dan Pierce, Department of History

Dan Pierce will talk about his new book on the Hazel Creek section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Horace Kepahart famously dubbed the area as the "back of beyond" in his book Our Southern Highlanders. But while it is currently one of the most isolated areas of the Park, Hazel Creek has been shaped by the modern world in many ways. In the late 19th century, the area was transformed by industrial logging and copper mining. In the 1910s, the Ritter Lumber Co. brought railroads, heavy steam logging equipment, and built a huge sawmill and the town of Proctor, which at its peak had over 1000 inhabitants. When Ritter left in the late 1920s, most of the people followed and Hazel Creek once again became a "back of beyond" populated by a few hardy farmers and bear hunters and fisherman attracted by the elite hunting and fishing club that took over Ritter's property. In the 1940s TVA once again made the area boom, but once the Fontana Dam was completed all the remaining inhabitants were forced through imminent domain to give up their land and leave the region. The years since then have seen a return of nature, but the news of the area have been dominated by fifty-plus years of argument over the legendary "Road to Nowhere," an issue that has yet to be completely settled.

"Seriously Creative:" Nietzsche, Art, and Ethnography.

Thursday, April 14

12 - 1 PM

Ramsey Library Special Collections 

Oguz Erdur, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

In this talk Dr. Erdur will 1) discuss briefly the pervasive (albeit not always fully-appreciated) influence of Friedrich Nietzsche’s works on socio-cultural theory, as well as the implications of his post-metaphysical deconstruction of language for ethnography, understood as a method for transforming human experiences into textual representations; 2) ground this broader discussion in anthropological practice by using the case of his own scholarship and closely-related creative works—namely, his ethnography on archaeological knowledge production in Turkey, his latest book Stone in Love: Seduction of the Orphan Past, as well as his related exhibit of poetry and photography with the same title, (which can be visited in the UNC Asheville library till April 10th); and 3) invite further interdisciplinary conversations—especially given the UNC Asheville motto: “seriously creative”—on Nietzsche’s provocative claims such as the idea that “all of life is based on semblance, art, deception, points of view, and the necessity of perspective and error,” and that “art is more powerful than knowledge, because it desires life, whereas knowledge attains as its final goal only—annihilation.” 

"Losing the Plot"

Thursday, April 21

12 - 1 PM

Ramsey Library Special Collections 

Katherine Min, Literature and Language

Katherine Min will be reading from "Losing the Plot," a collection of personal essays  dealing with life, writing, illness, mortality, and why she lost interest in writing her novel after she was diagnosed with cancer.