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Events & Exhibits: Spring 2015 Brown Bag Talks

Autonoumous Moral Agents

Thursday, January 22


Ramsey Library Special Collections

Ioan Muntean, Humanities

Join Ioan Muntean as he discusses his research on the possibility of creating an autonomous moral agent (AMA). For many, the AMA itself may look like an oxymoron. Ethical decision-making is deemed as a “human-only” faculty by many philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive-scientists. Is therefore any reason to discuss AMA? The possibility of AMA, Dr. Muntean argues, is better couched in terms of building a model. What are the main hypotheses of building an AMA? The majority of existing literature on AMA is action-centric and principle-based. Dr. Muntean will expose briefly these two hypotheses and then propose another model: an agent-centric and case-based AMA. This model is closer to what philosophers call the “virtue ethics” theory of morality, and to a developmental model in which moral competence is built in time. He will also argue for the importance of “soft computing” in building this latter version of AMA.

This is a collaborative work with University of Notre Dame, where Dr. Muntean is a visiting scholar. HIs co-author from Notre Dame is Don Howard.

What's Knotty in Higher Education

Thursday, February 5


Ramsey Library Special Collections

Joseph Urgo, Provost

"What's Knotty in Higher Education"

Join Provost Joseph Urgo in a discussion on issues facing the academy at large. Topics may include student access vs student motivation, intellectual elitism in a democracy, the invasiveness of popular culture, the age-old tendency to make war on the young, and general confusion about various forms of financial aid and the "cost" of a college education. 


Fruta Bomba

Thursday, March 5


Ramsey Library Special Collections

Holly Iglesias, Master of Liberal Arts Program

Fruta Bomba is a chapbook of poems, the middle section of a full-length collection tentatively entitled  The Sturdy Child of Terror. The title is drawn from Winston Churchill's final speech to the House of Commons in 1955 in which he describes the tensions of the Cold War as "a stage in this story where safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation."  The poems in Fruta Bomba draw on my experiences as a young adult in the 1970s among the Cuban exile community in Miami, which by the end of that decade was identified by the FBI as the terrorist capital of the United States. Miami—lush, seductive, drop-dead gorgeous.

The Girls of Usually

Thursday, March 19


Ramsey Library Special Collections

Lori Horvitz, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Lori Horvitz, Professor of Literature and Language and Program Director of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, will read from and discuss her recently published collection of memoir-essays, The Girls of Usually (Truman State University Press). Horvitz grew up ashamed of her Jewish roots, confused about her sexuality, and idolizing the "shiksa in her living room," a blonde all-American girl whose photo came in a double frame and was displayed next to a family photo from a bar mitzvah. Unable to join the "happy blonde families," she becomes a "hippie chick" who travels the world in search of … something. The Girls of Usually chronicles each trip, each romance, each experiment in reinventing herself that draws her closer to discovering the secret door through which she can escape from deep-rooted patterns and accept her own cultural, ethnic, and sexual identity.

Asheville YWCA

Thursday, April 2


Ramsey Library Special Collections

Sarah Judson, History

Join Sarah Judson as she discusses her current research, an examination of how women attempted to transform the Asheville YWCA into an interracial organization. The project addresses the dynamic and practice of racism in women's activism in the 1960s and 1970s.

US Climate Resilience Toolkit - Rescheduled from February 19

Thursday, April 9


Ramsey Library Special Collections

Jim Fox, Director, National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC), UNC Asheville

Join Jim Fox as he discusses NEMAC's recently launched US Climate Resilience Toolkit.

The Climate Resilience Toolkit (CRT) was developed in response to the President’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order to help the nation prepare for the impacts of climate change.  The CRT is part of a two-pronged initiative: 1) Published in March 2014, the Climate Data Initiative (CDI) gathers and curates an online directory of climate-related data and metadata — online at — aimed at serving entrepreneurial application developers (like Google, ESRI, Microsoft, etc.). 2) Published in November 2014, the CRT provides tools, information, and expertise — online at — to help people manage climate-related risks & opportunities.

UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) partnered with NOAA to develop the CRT and the associated GIS interface called the Climate Explorer.  The site development was strategically guided by a desire to provide working examples of Americans using tools and data to build resilience to climate impacts.  This strategic vision was fulfilled through illustrating a process to build resilience, “taking action” case studies showing how groups across this nation are building resilience, and links to tools that people can use for different issues.


Critical Theory in Management and Organizations

Thursday, April 16


Ramsey Library Special Collections

Susan Clark Muntean, Management

Join Susan Clark Muntean as she discusses her research on Critical Management Studies.

An emerging body of scholars, mostly based in Europe, have been applying political theory generally and critical theory specifically, to the study of management and organizations in society.  Dr. Muntean will discuss new directions in this field, called Critical Management Studies, and argue its global importance and relevance given current and recent events.