Exciting Fall Quarter Simpson Center Events

Biological Futures in a Globalized World

Emerging Issues in Biological Futures: A Panel Discussion

When: Monday, Oct 10, 2011 – 4:00 PM Where: Communications 202

Biological Futures in a Globalized World brings together scholars across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to explore the current and future impact of bio-technology on human affairs. This inaugural colloquium, moderated by Alison Wylie (Philosophy), features Matthew Sparke (Geography) on global health and South Lake Union as a hub for biotechnology; Leah Ceccarelli (Communication) on the metaphor of the frontier in debates about research priorities in the biological sciences; and Gaymon Bennett (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) on ethics and the practice of synthetic biology. Part of the 2011-12 Biological Futures Colloquium series.

Posthegemony and Affect

Friday, Oct 14, 2011 – 1:00 PM Communications 202

Beasley Murray is author of Posthegemony: Political Theory and Latin America (2010).

Indigenous Peoples and the Idea of Reconciliation

When: Thursday, Oct 20, 2011 – 4:00 PM Where: Communications 12

In this presentation, Dale Turner, author of This is not a peace pipe: Towards a Critical Indigenous Philosophy (2006), will discuss the evolving idea of Indigenous reconciliation in the context of the recently ratified United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Love Live Shame! The Good Side of Nations and Nationalism

When: Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011 – 6:30 PM Where: Kane 120

Benedict Anderson (Emeritus, International and Government Studies, Cornell University).
This talk by the author of the landmark book Imagined Communities, addresses the origins of political shame and the value that should be attached to it. What creates the visceral attachment people feel for their country? Before which spectators is the emotion aroused? What understanding of “nation” is necessary? Can political shame is progressive and emancipating?

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Friday, October 14

The Weakness of One: Devolution, Responsibilisation, and Citizenship in Neoliberal Rationality

When: Thursday, Nov 17, 2011 – 6:00 PM Where: Communications 120

In this talk, Wendy Brown, author of Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (2010) and Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire (2006) among many other books, offers a theoretical analysis tracing how neoliberalism shapes agency and how that impacts political possibilities for leftist projects.


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“Geography Report Card”: Geographic Knowledge Declining

Winnie Hu’s recent NY Times article, “Geography Report Card Finds Students Lagging” (July 20, 2011) laments the fact that fewer than in one in three American students are proficient in geography–to the point where they can’t even identify the American Southwest on a map, according to report of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The article is rich in irony, quoting Penn State’s Roger Downs, that “geography’s role in the curriculum is limited, and, at best, static.”

That is ironic given the convincing case that can be made for the importance of geographic literacy,” Mr. Downs said. “But it is doubly ironic given a world in which adults and now children have smartphones and tablets that can download maps on the fly, provide directions to places, and give your location to your friends.

The article also cites the concerns of  David P. Drsicoll, the  National Assessment Governing Board chair:

“Geography is not just about maps,” said Driscoll…who expressed concern that students were not doing better in geography. “It is a rich and varied discipline that, now more than ever, is vital to understanding the connections between our global economy, environment and diverse cultures.”

Geography Report Card Finds Students Lagging – NYTimes.com.