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SSF Archives

Spring 2021

Getting in Your Pants: Confronting the Lasting Effects of Racism, Sexism, and the Historical Void in HIV Research and Treatment

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Gail Elizabeth Wyatt, Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at the Semel  Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles

This presentation will demonstrate how old myths and assumptions about behavior can derail prevention efforts to reduce the rates of HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infections and unplanned pregnancies, especially in people of color. Based on over four decades of NIH funded research, Wyatt will discuss strategies that should be adapted to create prevention programs that are culturally congruent, women-centered, and realistic, as well as reasons why changes in policies meet with such resistance.

Organized by the Department of Psychology.

‘In the Room’:  Women of Color Doulas in a State of Emergency

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Jennifer C. Nash, Jean Fox O’Barr Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies
at Duke University

“In the Room” explores the work of women of color doulas laboring in Chicago in an era where doulas are increasingly hailed—by the state and by activists—as precisely the innovation that can save black mothers’ lives. Dr. Nash explores the complicated tensions around professionalization and the medicalization of birth that underpins their practice, and considers the place of their work in the ongoing effort to eradicate black infant and maternal mortality.

Korenman Lecture organized by the Department of Gender, Women’s, + Sexuality Studies.
Co-sponsored by the Provost’s Office; the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the Departments of Africana Studies, American Studies, Media and Communications Studies, Political Science, and Social Work; the Public Humanities Minor; and the Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion, and Belonging (i3B).

 Slavery, Warfare, and Rebellion in the Caribbean

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Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Professor of American History and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University.
Marjoleine Kars, Associate Professor of History, UMBC
Sharika Crawford, Associate Professor of History, US Naval Academy

Professors Brown and Kars discuss New World slave rebellions in Jamaica and Guyana, about which they just published books. Prof. Crawford moderates the discussion.

Low Lecture organized by the Department of History.

The Motivation to Exercise in Age

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Candace S. Brown, Assistant Professor of Gerontology, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

It is known that maintaining physical function, through activity, is one key to successful aging. Brown will present a session on understanding the role that motivation plays in maintaining an active lifestyle through the lifespan.

Organized by the Erickson School of Aging Studies.  Cosponsored by the Doctoral Program in Gerontology, UMBC Athletics, and Sigma Phi Omega, UMBC/UMB Chapter.

Playbook for Climate Justice:  Our Best Hope for Solving the Climate Crisis

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Tracey Osborne, Associate Professor of Management of Complex Systems
University of California-Merced

Climate change is deeply connected to systemic forms of injustice, disproportionately affecting the world’s low-income and marginalized communities, particularly people of color. This is true whether speaking of climate change drivers such as fossil fuel development and deforestation,  climate change impacts such as sea level rise and extreme heat, or climate change mitigation strategies such as carbon offsets. Climate change is fundamentally a social justice issue, and climate justice has emerged as a discourse and social movement that treats it as such. In contrast to the minor tweaks proposed by conventional approaches, climate justice addresses the systemic drivers of climate change while demanding social and political economic transformation. In this talk, I discuss the urgency of the climate crisis, the inadequacy of current strategies, and why I believe a climate justice approach is our best hope for solving the climate crisis. I will then lay out a set of concrete strategies that make up the playbook for climate justice. The playbook for climate justice advocates for a new paradigm for climate action that addresses the underlying drivers of climate change and aims to restore a healthy, more sustainable relationship between humans and nature for an ecologically resilient and socially just world.

Organized by the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems.

Fall 2020

America’s Amoral Constitution

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Richard Albert, William Stamps Farish Professor in Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin

By design, the U.S. Constitution does not evaluate whether a lawful choice is morally right or wrong; it evaluates only whether the choice satisfies the procedures the Constitution requires for it to have been made. These fiercely democratic foundations serve as both the font of the Constitution’s popular legitimacy and more ominously also the greatest threat to the liberal democratic principles that today define the Constitution in its common perception at home and abroad.

Constitution Day Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Center for Democracy and Civic Life.

Are We Underinvesting in Education?

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David Card, Class of 1950 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley and President-Elect of the American Economics Association.

In the U.S., universities traditionally have been viewed as engines of economic growth and essential for supporting upward mobility — both for individuals and the nation. However, across many decades, a persistent counter-narrative has cast doubt on their value. Recently, concerns about rising tuition, student debt, and job insecurity have bred a dystopian view of university education.

Economist David Card argues that this view ignores a mass of positive data. While profound challenges confront American higher education, universities still bring enormous economic benefits to individual students and to the nation. Empirical evidence shows that the economic rewards for a college degree are higher than ever. In addition, there are other benefits, such as better health, a longer life, and potentially more life satisfaction. Despite these benefits, the U.S. public education system has expanded very little, especially investment in public universities.

Mullen Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Economics.

Black COVID Stories, Black Lives Matter, and Protest: A Conversation about the Ongoing Struggle for Justice and Change

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Karsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead, Associate Professor of Communication and African and African American Studies in the Department of Communication at Loyola University Maryland. Dr. Whitehead earned her Ph.D. in 2009 from UMBC, in the Language, Literacy and Culture program.

2020 has been a very difficult year, with the violent deaths of Black men and women at the hands of police and would-be vigilantes and the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the Black and Brown communities. Conversations have been reignited around the country about anti-Blackness and anti-racism, policing and justice. As we move forward, questions remain about what the long-term impact will be on our society and the ways in which we can reimagine our way forward. Dr. Karsonya Wise Whitehead will address these questions and facilitate a larger conversation about systemic racism, engagement, and the current calls for justice.

42nd W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies, the Center for Social Science Scholarship, and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

Spring 2020

Golden Years? Social Inequalities in Later Life

Deborah Carr, Professor and Chair of Sociology, Boston University

Thanks to advances in technology, medicine, Social Security, and Medicare, old age for many Americans is characterized by comfortable retirement, good health, and fulfilling relationships. But there are also millions of people over 65 who struggle with poverty, chronic illness, unsafe housing, social isolation, and mistreatment by their caretakers. Carr will discuss her new book, Golden Years?, in which she examines the complex ways that socioeconomic status, race, and gender shape nearly every aspect of older adults’ lives. By focusing on an often-invisible group of vulnerable elders, Carr will reveal that disadvantages accumulate across the life course and profoundly undermine the well-being of millions of older adults.

Sponsored by: Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health; Doctoral Program in Gerontology; Erickson School for Aging Studies.

Measuring Electoral Success:  Gender and Intersectional Dynamics in Political Campaigns

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Kelly Dittmar, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University-Camden, and Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), Eagleton Institute of Politics

The electoral gains for women in the 2018 election were notable, but that numeric progress was not felt by all women nor did it yield gender parity in American politics. Beyond the numbers, measuring success in U.S. elections means considering the ways in which gender and intersectional dynamics that have created obstacles to women candidates are disrupted.

Sponsored by: Gender, Women’s, + Sexuality Studies, History, Political Science, Women’s Center

Fall 2019

The Future of Du Bois: 41st Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture

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Nimi WaribokoWalter G. Muelder Professor of Social Ethics in the School of Theology and Chair of the Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics Department, Boston University

This lecture aims to bring Du Bois’s rich and complex concept of consciousness to the study of citizenship and epistemology in Africa.

Sponsored By: Department of Africana Studies, Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the Center for Social Science Scholarship, the Dresher Center for the Humanities; Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation; the Department of Philosophy.

The Economic Costs of Water Pollution: Mullen Lecture

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Sheila OlmsteadProfessor of Public Affairs, LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin

Americans consistently list water quality among their most significant environmental concerns. However, analysis of ambient water quality regulations in the US suggests that such regulations have unfavorable benefit-cost ratios, particularly compared to those for regulations that target air quality and drinking water quality. This lecture will review what we know from existing economic research about the benefits of ambient water pollution control, and conversely, the costs of water pollution.

Sponsored by: Department of Economics

Men’s Leadership in Gender-Based Violence Prevention

Jackson KatzFounder and Director, Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Strategies 

Focusing on a variety of sectors and settings, such as education, sports, media, politics, clergy, and human services, Katz explores ways in which male leaders can address issues of sexual assault and domestic violence by examining and challenging the belief systems that sustain them, including the role of sports culture, porn culture, and other forms of popular media.

Sponsored by: The Division of Student Affairs, The Center for Social Science Scholarship, and the Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies

How to Read the Constitution and Why: Constitution Day Lecture

Kim WehleProfessor of Law at the School of Law, University of Baltimore

In How to Read the Constitution and Why, Wehle spells out in common sense terms what is in the Constitution and what it means. She describes how the Constitution’s protections are eroding and why every American needs to heed this “red flag” moment in our democracy.

Sponsored by: Department of Political Science

Spring 2019

Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America

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Martha Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University

Prof. Jones will discuss her recent book, Birthright Citizens, which tells how African American activists radically transformed the terms of citizenship for all Americans. Before the Civil War, colonization schemes and black laws threatened to deport former slaves born in the United States. Birthright Citizens recovers the story of how African American activists remade national belonging through battles in legislatures, conventions, and courthouses. They faced formidable opposition, most notoriously from the US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott. Still, as Prof. Jones explains, no single case defined their status. Former slaves studied law, secured allies, and conducted themselves like citizens, establishing their status through local, everyday claims. All along they argued that birth guaranteed their rights. With fresh archival sources and an ambitious reframing of constitutional law-making before the Civil War, Jones shows how when the Fourteenth Amendment constitutionalized the birthright principle, the aspirations of black Americans’ aspirations were realized.

Sponsored by the Department of History

Zombies Speak Swahili: Why Language Matters for Global Citizenship

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Jamie A. Thomas, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Swarthmore College

More and more universities are encouraging study abroad and global citizenship. But how should students and faculty foster global study and intercultural communication? Drawing upon fieldwork in Mexico and Tanzania, this talk reveals why language and communication are crucial to cross-border collaboration and intercultural learning. The talk will explore identity and globalization in language learning and study abroad through the metaphor of the undead, with attention to the experiences of people of color in North America, as well as the Global South. It will argue that we need to consider language, in addition to race, gender, sexuality, and ability, as a key dimension of an intersectional approach to matters of identity and power.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; Department of Africana Studies; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; the Office of International Education Services

The Future of Aging in South Korea: Improving Lives through the Longevity Economy

Joo Hyung Han, Founder and President, 50+ Korean

South Korea is a ‘super aging’ society, confronting decades of accelerated longevity and steep declines in fertility. Dr. Han, Chairman of 50+ Korea, will challenge the audience to consider our futures by sharing entrepreneurial initiatives and business opportunities for Korean and Asian older adults. Working closely with both government and NGOs, Dr. Han’s leadership in the longevity economy has transformed the Korean experience of growing older in the last decade.

Sponsored by the Erickson School for Aging Studies; UMB/UMBC Doctoral Program in Gerontology; Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Health Administration and Policy; The Hilltop Institute; and the Asian Studies Program

Sex-Selective Abortion in India

Utpal Sandesara, University of Pennsylvania

Over the past 30 years, selective abortion of female fetuses has become a disturbingly routine form of family planning in India, with expert estimates of the total exceeding half a million. Countless legal and policy measures aim to curb what has widely come to be seen as a public “crisis,” but we know almost nothing about the experiences of families seeking the service or clinicians providing it. Drawing on 18 months of clinic-based fieldwork, anthropologist and physician-in-training Utpal Sandesara shines new light on the lived drama of sex selection. Taking listeners through a secretive black market, the sitting rooms of common households, and the dusty halls of government, Sandesara provocatively challenges longstanding approaches in public health. In the process, he illustrates the potential value of clinical research as a tool for understanding and addressing troubling social problems. 

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Health Administration and Policy

Awakening Democracy: The Catalytic Role of Higher Education

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Harry Boyte, Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy, Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Augsburg University

In a time of profound civic challenges, can higher education be a catalyst for a democratic awakening? Boyte will share evidence that it can be, including pioneering initiatives at UMBC and other institutions that are demonstrating the viability of a politics of public work that bridges divides and develops civic agency. Boyte also will discuss his new book Awakening Democracy Through Public Work: Pedagogies of Empowerment.

Sponsored by the Center for Democracy and Civic Life; Sondheim Scholars Program; Residential Life; School of Public Policy; Shriver Center; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; Department of Political Science; Sherman Scholars Program

Fall 2018

Race, Racism and the New Racial Science

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Dorothy Roberts, 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, and Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, University of Pennsylvania

The lecture will critically examine the new racial science of sequencing the human genome and linking social outcomes to genetic traits that has generated collaborations between biological and social scientists. It will propose a more just way for social and biological scientists to study race and racism.

Sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies; Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Dresher Center for the Humanities; Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy; Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation

ROI or RIP? Higher Education and the Future of America

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Cecilia Elena Rouse, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Lawrence and Shirley Katzman and Lewis and Anna Ernst Professor in Economics and Education; Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Many believe higher education is in crisis with increasing tuition and student debt, and few benefits to show for it.  In this lecture, Cecilia Rouse will discuss public perception of higher education and its benefits and costs to individuals and society.

Mullen Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Economics

Moving from Health Disparities to Health Equity: Intersectional Lenses on Social Media and Artificial Intelligence

Fay Cobb Payton, Professor of Information Systems and Technology at North Carolina State University; Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Division of Computer and Network Systems

This lecture will discuss research on health, social media and current trends in AI, and how these trends are absent of intersectional design, interpretation, and meaning, for those most impacted by health disparities.

Sponsored by the Center for Social Science Scholarship

Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech

Keith Whittington, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University

Free speech is under attack at many colleges and universities today. In his new book, Speak Freely, Keith Whittington argues that without free speech, a university cannot fulfill its most basic, fundamental, and essential purposes, including fostering freedom of thought, ideological diversity, and tolerance.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science

Spring 2018

The South and the Battle Over LGBTQ Rights

Jay Barth, Graves Peace Distinguished Professor of Politics, Hendrix College

Most of the lingering conflicts over LGBTQ rights are playing out in the South and will determine the pace of change regarding LGBTQ rights across the nation. Barth will examine the South’s latest area of defiance; the expansion of LGBQT rights. Barth will analyze LGBTQ rights in the region examining public opinion change, the role of LGBTQ issues and actors in electoral politics, conflicts in the state legislative arena, and key state rulings.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science; Department of Psychology; Department of Gender + Women’s Studies; Department of History; School of Public Policy

A Pound of Flesh

Alexes Harris, Sociology, University of Washington

Harris will discuss her book, A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor, where she presents her research about the contemporary relationships between the United States’ systems of social control and inequality and specifically, the expansion of and use of monetary sanctions as a criminal sentencing tool. Monetary sanctions are a type of criminal sentence imposed by state superior courts nationally, and include fines, fees, costs, interest, surcharges, and restitution.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science; Department of Psychology; Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy

Achieving the American Dream or Not: Immigrants’ Narratives Following the Great Recession

Claudia Strauss, Professor of Anthropology, Pitzer College

Strauss examines the life narratives of first-generation Latin American and Asian immigrants in the U.S. looking at their feelings of success and frustration and their understandings of the American Dream in the wake of the Great Recession at the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Health Administration and Policy; Department of American Studies; Department of Political Science; Department of Psychology; School of Public Policy; Social Work Program

Learning to Address Inequalities in a Global Health Context

Koki Agarwal, Director, Maternal and Child Survival Program, Vice President, Jhipiego DC Operations; Senior Associate, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Despite global efforts to develop and promote health for mothers and babies, too many continue to die in rates that reveal significant inequalities across and within nations.  Agarwal will report on the work that she directs in 27 countries through the United States Agency for International Development’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program to address inequities and increase coverage and utilization of high-quality reproductive, maternal, newborn and child heath interventions.

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy; Department of Gender & Women’s Studies; Department of Geography & Environmental Systems; Global Studies Program; Department of Psychology; School of Social Work; School of Public Policy; the Shriver Center

Against Empathy

Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, Yale University

Most people think the only problem with empathy is that we don’t have enough of it. Drawing on research in areas such as psychopathy, criminal behavior, charitable giving, cognitive neuroscience, dehumanization, and Buddhist meditation practices, Bloom argues that this is mistaken. Empathy makes us worse. We are better off, in both public policy and intimate relationships, drawing upon a combination of reason and distanced compassion.

Sponsored by the Department of Psychology; Department of Philosophy

“The Wall” and Other Walls in Contemporary American Life

Anand Pandian, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

The idea of a southern border wall was in many ways the defining idea of Donald Trump’s victorious presidential campaign. What was so appealing about his idea to so many Americans, and how did this promise resonate with other walls and boundaries already at work in everyday American life? These questions are at the heart of a new book project that Pandian is pursuing in far-flung corners of the United States, in the company of ordinary people from diverse walks of life. This talk shares stories and insights gleaned from this anthropological examination of contemporary America.

Sponsored by the Department of Visual Arts; Department of Political Science; Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Health Administration and Policy; Department of American Studies; Dresher Center for the Humanities

Lipitz Lecture – Planned Parenthood in Maryland: A Vital Community Resource

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Carole McCann, Professor and Chair, Gender + Women’s Studies, UMBC

The talk will highlight Carole McCann’s project about Planned Parenthood (PPM), which marked its 90th anniversary in 2017. Working with local archives and PPM, McCann is reconstructing the history of the staff and community members whose efforts in the mid-twentieth century made PPM a respected public health organization and a vital affiliate in the national Planned Parenthood Federation.

Sponsored by the Department of Gender + Women’s Studies; College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Dresher Center for the Humanities

Fall 2017

“Silent Partners”: Women as Investors in Britain’s First Stock Market

Amy M. Froide, Professor, History Department, UMBC

One of the world’s first stock markets emerged in the coffeehouses of London in the 1690s. Up to one third of investors in corporations such as the East India and South Sea companies, the Bank of England, and the national debt were women.  Prof. Froide discusses how these women learned to invest, how they served as financial agents and broker for kin and others, and the types of financial agency that women exercised.  Not only did women earn dividends, they challenged corporations in court, and voted in shareholder elections. Most importantly, women functioned as ‘financial patriots’, aiding in Britain’s emerging dominance as a colonial and trading power in the eighteenth century.

Sponsored by the Department of History

Constitution and Citizenship Day: Judicial Review in the Age of Trump

Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

The lecture will discuss the role of norms and conventions-rather than judicially enforceable legal rules – in stabilizing the U.S. constitutional system. After identifying some of these norms and conventions, the lecture will describe how some aspects of the litigation over the “travel ban” show how pressure on norms and conventions can affect the way courts approach the adjudication of “ordinary” constitutional cases.

Sponsored by the Social Sciences Forum

The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding

Severine Autesserre, Professor of Political Science, Barnard College, Columbia University

Based on more than 330 interviews and a year and a half of field research, Professor Autesserre develops a case study of international intervention during the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s unsuccessful transition from war to peace and democracy (2003-2006). Grassroots rivalries over land, resources, and political power motivated widespread violence. However, a dominant peacebuilding culture shaped the intervention strategy in a way that precluded action on local conflicts, ultimately dooming the international efforts to end the deadliest conflict since World War II. In this analysis, Professor Autesserre proposes innovative ways to address civil wars in Africa and beyond.

Sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication; Department of Africana Studies; Global Studies Program; Department of Political Science

Economics Department Mullen Lecture: Human Values and the Great Enrichment

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Deirdre McCloskey, Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2000 to 2015 in Economics, History, English, and Communication

Deirdre McCloskey’s talk will focus on how workers’ economic conditions improve when they are give a chance to live in a better functioning economy. But how do we get that better functioning economy? McCloskey explains what she call the Bourgeois, the “experiment” of the 19th century, “Laissez-nous faire,” that fostered an environment where ordinary people were generally left alone, allowed to open shops or enter occupations. This, she argues, led to significantly betterment through innovation-electric lights, railways, radio, espresso machines, containerization, dropped ceilings, books and newspapers.  “Let me, une bourgeoise, start a business bettering some activity, and let me in the first act keep the profits (in the second act the irritating imitators of my success enter and spoil by profits), and in the third act I will make you (voi) better off, gigantically.” McCloskey states.

Sponsored by the Department of Economics

New Student Book Experience: Half the Sky – Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Sheryl WuDunn, co-author, First Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize

This book is a passionate call to arms against what the authors argue is our era’s most pervasive human right violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. WuDunn shares stories of resilient women in Africa and Asia, depicting a world with anger, sadness, clarity and ultimately, hope. The book makes a compelling case that, throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. These stories make the case that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential.

Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs

W.E.B. Du Bois Distinguished Lecture: The Contemporary African Immigrant Communities in the U.S.

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Toyin Falola, Professor of History, The Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Texas, Austin

A substantial number of citizens of continental Africa now live in the United States. Toyin Falola examines the differences in migratory trends between enforced and voluntary migration in different time periods.  He also explores the resulting patterns of cultural transformation, such as a new form of citizenship and transnational engagements between the United States and Africa.  Falola’s talk incorporates a range of data sources, from the U.S. census to field research, and he treats the contemporary subject as distinct from older understandings of diaspora.

Sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies

Spring 2017

Myanmar: Perspective on a Society in Transition

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Christina Fink, George Washington University

Myanmar has been undergoing profound political, economic, and social change. Throughout this process, the military leadership and political parties have both cooperated and competed in their efforts to impose their vision for the future. Meanwhile, citizens have sought to take advantage of greater freedoms and opportunities, while also re-imagining their country’s identity and place in the world.

Sponsored by the Asian Studies Program; Dresher Center for the Humanities; Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery

Who’s Watching? Political Monitoring, Collective Action Problems and Good Governance

Thomas Lancaster, Emory University

As part of an ongoing research project (Lancaster, 2014, 2015), this talk emphasizes the concept of political monitoring in the study of governing institutions.  Building on the psychological notion that people change their behavior if someone is watching them or they think someone is, the argument will be advanced that the choice of how political monitoring is institutionalized, as a necessary element in the process of overcoming collective action problems in the provision of public goods, reflects choices in state-building, institutional engineering, and public policy.  A wide range of examples will illustrate how constitutionally-based structures, operational rules, and policy design might incorporate political monitoring in order to produce specific outcomes normatively held as desirable.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science; Global Studies Program; Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars

Sex, Drugs, and Mobile Phones: Using Technology to Understand Risk Behavior

Trace Kershaw, Yale University

This talk explores understanding and preventing risk behavior by understanding how networks of friends interact and influence each other using cell phone data (e.g., text messages, social network posts, GPS coordinates). The talk presents results from the CREW (Cell Phone Research to Enhance Wellbeing) study of a 120 young urban men who allowed full real time access to their cell phone data. The study subjects fell into 12 networks of friends, allowing the researchers to better understand how these peer groups influenced each other.

Sponsored by the Department of Psychology

Bringing the São José Back into Memory

Paul Gardullo, National Museum of African American History

From No Return –Dr. Gardullo’s talk will focus on the complex ongoing vectors of collaborative international research, archaeology, and memory work in investigating the voyage of the São José. This Portuguese slave ship provides a window into bringing the massive role of the transatlantic slave trade down to a human scale to help us understand the global connections and enduring legacies of this story from Mozambique, to South Africa, Brazil, Portugal, and the United States. In so doing, it provides a new model for how museums and research institutions can operate in the 21st century.

Low Lecture, sponsored by the Department of History

Globalization, Displacement, and Migration

Aviva Chomsky, Salem State University

This presentation will examine histories of Latin American immigration, migration, and deportation in the United States.  It locates the structural and institutional roots of today’s Mexican and Central American migration to the United States in a number of historical global processes. Thus, Chomsky explains how the cross-border movement of people emerged in the context of late twentieth century globalization as well as through a much longer global history of colonialism, displacement and removal of Indigenous peoples in both North and South America. The role of social, economic and political forces driving these processes, such as nation-state building, economic development, and labor struggles, will be addressed.

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy; Global Studies Program; Department of History; Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication; Department of Political Science

Implicit Social Cognition

Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard University

How deep are the bounds on human thinking and feeling and how do they shape social interactions and decisions?  For the past 25 years, Dr. Banaji has studied mental processes that appear to operate without conscious awareness or conscious control.  In social contexts, the decisions that stem from such processes (i.e., automatically elicited social preferences and beliefs) can be at odds with consciously expressed preferences and beliefs and even one’s intentions and moral values.  From this basic dissociation between implicit and explicit social cognition we have explored the nature of implicit social cognition: its universality and cultural variations, its developmental origins, stability and malleability, and prediction of behavior in a variety of contexts.

Sponsored by the Department of Psychology

The Persistence of Racial Inequality: An Intergenerational Perspective

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Robert Margo, Boston University

New benchmark estimates of Black-White income ratios for 1870, 1900, and 1940 are combined with standard post-World War census data. The resulting time series reveals that the pace of racial income convergence has generally been steady but slow, quickening only during the 1940s and the modern Civil Rights era. Dr. Margo explores the interpretation of the time series with a model of intergenerational transmission of inequality in which racial differences in causal factors that determine income are very large just after the Civil War and which erode slowly across subsequent generations.

Mullen Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Economics

Confederate Hunger: Food and Famine in the Civil War South

Anne Rubin, Department of History, UMBC

Historians know that over the course of the American Civil War, the Confederacy essentially starved to death, a result of the Union blockade, the breakdown of slavery on the homefront, and not enough food being grown.  What we don’t know, however, is what that felt like for ordinary people, on the most intimate and individual scale.  Confederate Hunger explores the ways that the war affected what people ate, and how food choices became symbols of nationalism, resistance, and survival.

Lipitz Lecture, sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; Department of History; College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Desire and Addiction

Peter Railton, University of Michigan/Ann Arbor

Desire is a fundamental part of our lives, but it remains poorly understood in both philosophy and psychology.  Sometimes it is said that desire competes with reason for the control of our actions, and that addiction is something like the limiting case of this phenomenon–a drug-induced desire so strong that it is irresistible.  Yet a growing body of evidence suggests that this is an inaccurate picture of addiction–it does involve a disorder of desire, but it is a disorder of a different kind, a regulative failure internal to desire.  Understanding the nature of this failure gives us insight into why desire is not a competitor to reason, but an essential part of its effective operation.

Sponsored by the Social Sciences Forum

Fall 2016

Disaffection with the U.S. Constitution

Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair

Sanford Levinson has argued the Constitution is fundamentally undemocratic and in need of revision. Levinson’s call for a new constitutional convention has been dismissed as fanciful by many critics. However, recent public opinion data reveal support for constitutional change is higher than one may expect. The desire to change the political process has also fueled insurgent presidential candidates in both party primaries this year. Levinson considers what Americans really think about their Constitution and the American body politic.

Constitution and Citizenship Day Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Political Science

Unprofessional Politicians: Considering the Lottocratic Alternative

Alexander Guerrero, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University

There is a general sense that electoral political systems are not working well, a theme stressed by both the Sanders and Trump campaigns. There is empirical evidence that supports this. This talk offers a diagnosis of the failures of electoral politics, and, perhaps more exciting, a solution: single-issue legislatures combined with political officials chosen at random from the citizenry. This talk will present and raise trouble for this solution, focusing on one particular dimension of concern: would “we the people” be up to the job?

Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy; Department of Political Science

Not in My Neighborhood: UMBC New Student Book Experience

Antero Pietila, journalist and author

In Antero Pietila’s book, Not in My Neighborhood, Baltimore is the setting for one of the most penetrating examinations of bigotry and residential segregation ever published in the United States. Pietila will discuss Baltimore’s history, from its early suburbanization in the 1880s to the consequences of “white flight” after World War II, and into the first decade of the twenty-first century, and how it parallels the complicated histories of other American cities.

Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Education

Reassessing Racial Differences: The Perception of Racial Equality in the Obama Era

Melvin Thomas, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, and Hayward Derrick Horton, Associate Professor of Sociology, University at Albany, State University of New York

The election of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States was heralded as a sign that the U.S. had entered a post-racial era. Melvin Thomas and Hayward Derrick Horton use data from the 1986-2012 American National Election Surveys to address two questions: (1) In the Obama era, have racial differences in perceptions of racial inequality and justice converged, widened or stayed the same and; (2) Are differences in perceptions of racial inequality and justice primarily race-based, education-based, or both?

Part of The Obama Effect 2.0 Conference, sponsored by the Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; Department of American Studies

Black Woman Narrative Interrupted: Debunking Mainstream Narratives about Physical Activity and Weight

Rashawn Ray, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park

Why are black women in the U.S. more likely to be obese and less physically active than other groups, and what can be done about it? Rashawn Ray has explored this question through intensive qualitative and quantitative research, finding that black women face an assortment of structural and cultural barriers that inhibit their ability to be as physically active as other groups. He will discuss how the interactive effect of race and gender can be costly for middle class blacks in ways it is not for middle class whites and the important role that primary care providers can play in ameliorating the dearth of physical activity in the U.S.

Health and Inequality Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Department of American Studies; Department of Africana Studies; Department of Gender + Women’s Studies; Department of Psychology; Social Work Program; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; School of Public Policy

Post-Election Forum

Donald Norris, Director and Professor, School of Public Policy, UMBC, Tom Schaller, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, UMBC, and John Fritze, writer, The Baltimore Sun

An engaging discussion about the 2016 Presidential election – the campaigns, the candidates, the issues, and of course, the election outcomes.

Sponsored by the School of Public Policy; Department of Political Science; Maryland Institute for Policy, Analysis, and Research

From Black Lives Matter to the 2016 Elections: The Future of Black Politics

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Cathy J. Cohen, the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago

With the end of the Obama presidency in sight and the continuation of the Black Lives Matter Movement, many wonder what black politics will look like after President Obama leaves office. Cohen will discuss the future of black politics in light of electoral versus protest tensions, generational differences and an increasing class bifurcation in black communities.
Is a radical black politics rooted outside the electoral system possible or will the incorporation and the election of black politicians overwhelm the future of black politics?

W.E.B. DuBois Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies; Department of Political Science; Department of Gender + Women’s Studies; Department of American Studies; Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Mosaic Center for Culture and Diversity; Interfaith Center; Dresher Center for the Humanities

How Did We Get Here?: Women and the 2016 Election

Rebecca Traister, author of the New York Times bestseller, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of An Independent Nation and New York Times notable book of 2010, Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, will discuss women and the 2016 election cycle.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science; Department of History; Department of English; Social Work Program; Department of Geography and Environmental Systems; Department of Psychology; Department of Media and Communication Studies; Department of Gender + Women’s Studies; School of Public Policy

Spring 2016

Black Ethnic Identity and Immigration: Pursuit of the American Dream

Christina Greer, Associate Professor, Political Science, Fordham University

There has been significant voluntary immigration of black populations from Africa and the Caribbean over the past few decades, which has changed the racial, ethnic, and political landscape in the U.S.  An important question for social scientists is how these “new” blacks will behave politically in the U.S.  How will they distinguish themselves or align themselves with native-born black Americans?  What are their policy preferences?  Dr. Greer’s talk explores the significance of black ethnic immigrants by investigating the political attitudes and behavior of these new populations and their effects on black politics at the individual, aggregate, and elite levels.  She argues that the differing historical paths of incorporation directly affect present day negotiations with race and ethnicity for differing groups of blacks in the U.S.

Sponsored by Center for Africana Research and Department of Africana Studies; Department of Political Science; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; Department of American Studies; Mosaic Center for Culture and Diversity

The Long Shadow: Poverty, Privilege & Education in Baltimore

Karl Alexander, Research Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University

The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth and the Transition to Adulthood tells the story of the Baltimore-based Beginning School Study Youth Panel (BSSYP), a probability sample of typical urban children who came of age over the last decades of the 20th Century and into the first decade of the 21st.  It is an account of their social mobility from origins to destinations, framed in life-course perspective. Two characteristic mobility paths are documented, both grounded in family resources: 1) status attainment through school serves mainly to preserve middle class privilege across generations; 2) status attainment in the non-college workforce privileges lower SES whites over African Americans of like background, white men most immediately through access to high wage employment in the remnants of Baltimore’s old industrial economy and then, derivatively, to the lower SES white women who marry and partner with them.

Sponsored by the Honors College; Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program

Psychology and Policy in Contexts of Scarcity

Eldar Shafir, William Steward Tod Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, Princeton University

The psychology that emerges when people do not have enough (money, time, etc.) will be considered, along with some of the behaviors — commendable as well as problematic — that emerge as a result. Some implications for policy and for the conduct of everyday life will be considered.

Sponsored by the Department of Psychology

Natural and Unnatural Disasters

Brett L. Walker, Edwin O. Reischauer Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies, Department of History, and Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University

3/11, Asbestos, and the Unmaking of Japan’s Modern World

In this lecture, Brett Walker will investigate asbestos in the construction and, more importantly, destruction of Japan’s built environment, with a focus on the impact of the 3/11 disaster and the later clean up.  Dr. Walker’s research is part of a larger Guggenheim-funded project concerned with the unmaking of the modern built world, and what it means for the future of human health.

Sponsored by the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems; Department of History

‘Everybody is So Hysterical and Panic Stricken…’: Grasping Black Power in the 20th Century

Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams is an associate professor and the first black person ever tenured in the History Department at Case Western Reserve University. She is the founder and director of the Social Justice Institute at CWRU, and the founder and director of CWRU’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Studies. In April 2009, she was awarded CWRU’s inaugural Inclusion and Diversity Achievement Award. James Baldwin wrote: “I have never known a Negro all my life who was not obsessed with black power.”  And Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) stated: “Everybody is so hysterical and panic stricken because of the adjective that precedes the word power — “black.” So, what of this complicated term, “black power”? In her talk, based on her book Concrete Demands, Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams will examine some of the roots, routes, and expressions that have comprised the vigorous search for Black Power in the 20th century — both before and after the familiar popularization of the term in 1966 — and discuss why it’s still relevant today.

Sponsored by the Social Sciences Forum

Fall 2015

Surnames and Social Mobility: Why So Much Persistence of Status Across Generations?

Gregory Clark, Professor of Economics, University of California – Davis   

How much of our fate is tied to the status of our parents and grandparents? Using a novel technique–tracking family names over generations to measure social mobility across countries and periods—renowned economic historian Gregory Clark argues that social mobility rates are lower than conventionally estimated, do not vary across societies, and are resistant to social policies.

Sponsored by the Department of Economics

Constitution & Citizenship Day Lecture: Counter-Stories: Protecting Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in Wartime

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Mark Graber, Jacob A. France Professor of Constitutionalism, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Mark Graber examines the problems of how and why the U.S. has often enacted restrictive policies during wartime, and how military conflicts and tensions influence civil liberties and civil rights in the United States. Graber argues that the same factors explain why some rights are restricted, why some rights are expanded, and why some rights are protected during particular wars. These factors also continue to influence contemporary responses to military conflict.

Constitution and Citizenship Day Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Political Science

We Are Subjects of History: Indigenous Communities’

Guadalupe Moshan Álvarez, Bárbara Suárez Galeano, Principal Attorney, Fray Bartolomé Human Rights Center, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico; Bárbara Suárez Galeano, Interpreter, Autonomous University of Social Movements, Centro Autónomo de Albany Park, Chicago 

Mexico is at a critical moment: the forced disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa rural teachers and college students set off a tidal wave of indignation and massive protests. In the context of a war on drugs that has left more than 25,000 disappeared, Guadalupe Moshan Álvarez will speak on the human rights situation in Chiapas, Mexico, FrayBa’s work, and the role of international solidarity.

Sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication; Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; Global Studies Program; Department of Political Science 

Mental Health Inequalities in the US From a Sociological Perspective

Michael Hughes, Professor of Sociology, Virginia Tech; Marta Elliott, Professor of Sociology, University of Nevada – Reno; Dawne Mouzon, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University – New Brunswick

Three sociologists will give short lectures about mental health inequalities in the US, with an emphasis on race and socioeconomic status. Michael Hughes will deliver a lecture entitled, “Racial Identity and the Mental Health Paradox,” Marta Elliott will deliver a lecture entitled, “The Onset of Mental Illness Among Men: A Stress Process Perspective,” and Dawne Mouzon will deliver a lecture entitled, “The Black-White Paradox of Disorders: Weighing the Empirical Evidence.”

Sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Educating For Insurgency: Youth Organizing and the Baltimore Algebra Project

Jay Gillen, Teacher, Baltimore City Public Schools

Jay Gillen and young people of The Baltimore Algebra Project will lead a discussion on ways students and adults in schools of poverty can see themselves as actors on the national stage, building towards insurgency from the “crawl space” of their classrooms.

Sponsored by the Honors College; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program 

The Science of Happiness: When and Why Subjective Well-Being Matters

Erik Angner, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Economics, and Public Policy, George Mason University

The so-called science of happiness — the systematic empirical study of happiness, understood as a subjectively experienced mental state — is both politically controversial and philosophically interesting. Erik Angner will discuss under what conditions such a measure of happiness can serve as a proxy for well-being.

Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy; Department of Economics; Friends of the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery

Spring 2015

The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House

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Thomas Schaller, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at UMBC, and author of Whistling Past Dixie and The Stronghold

Once the party of presidents, the GOP in recent elections has failed to pull together convincing national majorities. Republicans have lost four of the last six presidential races and lost the popular vote in five of the last six. New Gingrich’s “Contract with America” set in motion a vicious cycle, Schaller contends: as the GOP became more conservative, it became more Congress-centered, and as its congressional wings grew more powerful, the party grew more conservative. This dangerous loop, unless broken, may signal the future of increasing radicalization, dependency on a shrinking pool of voters, and less viability as a true national party.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science

Data and Discipline: Sampling the Science of Economic Turnaround

Peter Blair Henry, Dean of the Stern School of Business, New York University

The mathematical underpinnings of the “dismal science” can yield surprising results with the power to impact millions of lives around the globe. Using examples from his book, Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth, Peter Blair Henry discusses how scientific analysis of economic policy experiments can determine which policies, implemented under what conditions, create the most value for the greatest number of people.

Sponsored by the Department of Economics

Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth: Science vs. the Media on Psychological Gender Differences

Janet Shibley Hyde, Evjue-Bascom Professor & Helen Thompson Woolley Professor of Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies and Director at the Center for Research on Gender & Women at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

The media portrays psychological differences between women and men as large and biologically determined–men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Dr. Hyde’s research uses the statistical method of meta-analysis to investigate whether these claims are accurate. The results are surprising.

Distinguished Lecture in Psychology, sponsored by the Department of Psychology; Department of Gender + Women’s Studies

The Middle East in Flames

Daniel Byman, Senior Fellow and Director of Research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and Professor in the Security Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Department of Government at Georgetown University

The Middle East has gone from bad to worse. Four countries are in full-fledged civil wars, and the contagion might spread. Professor Byman will speak on perennial problems like the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the Iranian nuclear program as well as the range of new crises engulfing the region.

Sponsored by the Judaic Studies Program; Global Studies Program

Ecological Encounters on the Upper Missouri: The Making of Mandan Indian History

Elizabeth Fenn, Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Elizabeth Fenn’s lecture tells the story of North Dakota’s Mandan Indians, widely known for hosting Lewis and Clark during the winter of 1804-1805. The challenges the Mandans faced included epidemics of smallpox and whooping cough and invasions of Norway rats, which diminished Mandan numbers from more than 12,000 in 1500 to fewer than 300 in 1838.

Low Lecture, sponsored by the Department of History

India, Pakistan, and Nuclear Weapons: Deterrence Stability in South Asia

Devin T. Hagerty, Professor of Political Science and Director of Global Studies Program

Recent events suggest that South Asia may be trending toward yet another nuclear-tinged Indo-Pakistani crisis. Meaningful dialogue between Pakistan and India has stalled, the disputed territory of Kashmir has seen regular exchanges of fire across the Line of Control (LOC), and Indian strategic elites worry about the possibility of another Mumbai-style terrorist attack. This talk assesses the robustness of Indo-Pakistani deterrence stability and analyses the likelihood that another mass-casualty attack on Indian soil, carried out by terrorists sponsored by elements of the Pakistani state, would escalate to conventional–and perhaps nuclear–war between Pakistan and India.

Lipitz Lecture, sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Dresher Center for the Humanities

Fall 2014

The U.S. Constitution and the Battle Over Racial Equality Today

Rogers M. Smith, H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean for the Social Sciences and Chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism

The author of seven books on citizenship and equality in the United States, including one that was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History, Dr. Smith will address why America’s political leaders avoid discussing racial policies, even as many forms of racial inequality persist and deepen. Smith argues that the United States is profoundly divided between two rival conceptions of civic equality–but that common ground may be found in the bold views of the Constitution’s purposes advanced by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Constitution and Citizenship Day Lecture, sponsored with the Department of Political Science; Department of Africana Studies; Department of American Studies; Department of Philosophy; School of Public Policy; Office of Student Life

The Unforeseen Anticompetitive and Racially Discriminatory Effects of Baseball’s North American Draft

Stephen F. Ross, Lewis H. Vovakis Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Professor of Law, and Director, Penn State Institute for Sports Law, Policy, and Research, Penn State University Dickinson School of Law

When Major League Baseball instituted its amateur draft in 1966, elite players honed their sills in widely available competitions organized by high schools and the American Legion.  Today, virtually all North American youth selected in the draft or offered major college scholarships must join private, elite, and expensive traveling teams to display their talent.  In contrast, MLB teams spend millions to train poor Latin American kids in academies, because these young men are not subject to the draft.  Professor Ross will propose modifications to create economic incentives for MLB teams to invest in domestic academies for youth unable to afford private teams.

Sponsored by the Department of Economics

Economic Freedom and the Wealth and Health of Nations

Robert A. Lawson, Jerome M. Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom, The O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, Southern Methodist University

Dr. Lawson and his colleagues produce the annual Economic Freedom of the World Index.  Dr. Lawson will discuss the Index and how economic freedom impacts the wealth and health of countries worldwide.

Sponsored by the Department of Economics

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Challenge to Scientific Racism

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Evelynn M. Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Director of the Program for the Study of Race & Gender in Science & Medicine at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University

A renowned researcher and author on the history of disease, on the analysis of race, gender and science, and on African-American women and the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, Dr. Hammonds will discuss the ever evolving intersection of scientific, medical, anthropological, and socio-political concepts of race in the United States from the early nineteenth century to present day.

W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies; Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Post-Election Forum

Join experienced political analysts and journalists for an engaging discussion of the 2014 Maryland Gubernatorial election – the campaigns, the candidates, the issues and, of course, the election outcomes.

Sponsored by the Maryland Institute for Policy, Analysis, and Research (MIPAR); Department of Public Policy

Will the Workplace of the Future Have Any Workers?

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David Autor, Professor of Economics, MIT

In this, Dr. David Autor talk offers a conceptual and empirical overview of the evolving relationship between computer capability and human skill demands. He begins by sketching historical thinking about machine displacement of human labor—which is primarily a series of grim and ultimately incorrect predictions about collapsing employment and excess leisure. Autor next considers the impact of computerization on industrialized country labor market over the last three decades, which is seen in the phenomenon of labor market “polarization” — meaning the simultaneous growth of high-education, high-wage and low-education, low-wages jobs. He will finally reflect on how recent advances in artificial intelligence and robotics may shape the trajectory of employment growth, occupational change and skill demands in coming decades.

A key observation of the talk is that journalists and expert commentators overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities that increase productivity, raise earnings, and augment demand for skilled labor. The challenges to substituting machines for workers in tasks requiring flexibility, judgment, and common sense remain immense, primarily because humans apply tacit skills and knowledge that have proved extraordinarily difficult to codify. Contemporary computer science seeks to overcome this challenge by building machines that learn from human examples, thus inferring the rules that we tacitly apply but do not explicitly understand.

Mullen Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Economics

Spring 2014

“Changing Demography, Eroding Democracy: Challenges to Latinos in the 21st Century”

Rogelio Sáenz, Dean of the College of Public Policy and Peter Flawn Professor of Demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Policy Fellow at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire

Professor Sáenz will provide an overview of the growth of the Latino population in the 21st century and the backlash that has occurred in efforts to minimize the political representation of Latinos. He will also discuss the opportunities and challenges that are ahead for Latinos.

Sponsored by the Latino/Hispanic Faculty Association; Department of Sociology and Anthropology 

“The Golden Age of Higher Education is Over”

Ronald Ehrenberg, Irving M. Ives Professor and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Director, Cornell Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI), Cornell University

Professor Ehrenberg will explain why the financial models under which both private and public higher education institutions are operating are breaking down and the actions they will have to take in the future to remain financially solvent and deliver high quality education to their students.

Mullen Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Economics 

“Curious Behavior: A Celebration of Undergraduate Research at UMBC”

Robert R. Provine, Research Professor and Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UMBC

Professor Provine will review his 39-year career at UMBC and discuss how undergraduate research can change the way we look at human behavior and solve ancient problems

Distinguished Lecture in Psychology, sponsored by the Department of Psychology 

“Dreaming of Dixie: How the South was Created in American Popular Culture”

Karen Cox, Professor of History, University of North Carolina – Charlotte

From the late nineteenth century through World War II, popular culture represented the American South by such southern icons as the mammy, the belle, the chivalrous planter, and white-columned mansions. In Dreaming of Dixie (2011), Professor Cox shows that the chief purveyors of nostalgia for the Old South played to consumers’ anxiety about modernity by marketing the South as a region still dedicated to America’s pastoral traditions. Professor Cox will also examine more recent representations of the South on television from The Andy Griffith Show to reality TV.

Low Lecture, sponsored by the Department of History

“Black Gods and Red Devils: Race, Religion, and the Reimaging of Africana Subjectivity”

John L. Jackson, Jr., Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Africana Studies and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

Professor Jackson will discuss the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, a group of African Americans that emigrated from the United States to Israel in the 1960s. His talk will explain how this group understands their links to the ancient Hebrews and how they have spent the last 45 years in Israel creating a transnational spiritual community, with members in Africa, Europe and the Americas, that attempts to radically re-imagine what “race” and “religion” mean in the 21st century.

Sponsored by the Africana Studies Research Colloquium, Department of Africana Studies

Fall 2013

Sowing Struggle: Social Movements and the Future of Corn in Tlaxcala, Mexico

Luz Rivera Martinez, co-founder and lead organizer of Consejo Nacional Urbano Campesino  (CNUC), an organization that advocates for and accompanies peasant workers, a bus drivers’ cooperative and the National Assembly of Braceros in their struggles against government corruption, police repression and neoliberalism.

Luz will speak about her 20 years of experience in women’s, peasant, and labor movements. As CNUC’s lead organizer, Luz has worked tirelessly to demand government accountability, defend family farms, resist the use of GMO seeds, and build inspiring, community-based autonomous projects.

Sponsored by the Department of History; Department of Geography and Environmental Systems; Department of Political Science; Department of American Studies; Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication; Gender and Women’s Studies Program, Global Studies Program; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; Graduate Student Association; Women’s Center; Shriver Center; Honors College

Constitutional Principles and The Double Bind of Affirmative Action

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Carla Pratt, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law

Professor Pratt will discuss the role of constitutional principles in legal arguments for and against race conscious admissions policies in higher education and the ways in which such arguments reflect insufficient allusions to and underspecified notions of governmental and societal interests. She will also discuss the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Fisher vs. University of Texas, a case challenging the consideration of race in college admissions, and the potential implications of the decision for debates about equal protection and diversity.

Constitution Day Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Political Science; Department of Africana Studies; School of Public Policy; Office of Student Life

The Pivot to Asia in Obama’s Second Term

Victor Cha, senior adviser and the Korea Chair to the Center for Strategic and International Affairs, Professor and Director of Asian studies, holding the D.S. Song-KF Chair in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University

Dr. Cha will discuss the origins of the pivot in President Obama’s first term, the implications of China’s rise, and regional relations including Japan and Korea. He will also discuss the prospects of the pivot in President Obama’s second term.

Sponsored by the Asian Studies Program; Global Studies Program

HOT: Living Through the Next 50 Years on Earth

Mark Hertsgaard, Fellow of the New America Foundation, the environment correspondent for The Nation, and a co-founder of the group, Climate Parents.

For twenty years, Mark Hertsgaard has written about global warming for outlets including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, NPR, the BBC and The Nation. Drawing on reporting from around the world, HOT is a call to action that injects hope and solutions into a debate characterized by doom and gloom and offers a blueprint for how all of us can navigate an unavoidable new era.

First Year Book Experience Lecture, sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Education; Dresher Center for the Humanities; Division of Student Affairs; through the support of PNC Bank

Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters

Kate Brown, Associate Professor of History, UMBC

Kate Brown will speak on the great plutonium disasters of the United States and the Soviet Union, drawing on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the extraordinary stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia-the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias–communities of nuclear families living in highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities. Plutopia was successful because in its zoned-off isolation it appeared to deliver the promises of the American dream and Soviet communism; in reality, it concealed disasters that remain highly unstable and threatening today.

Sponsored by the Department of History; Friends of the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery

W.E.B. Du Bois Fifty Years after the March on Washington

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David Levering Lewis, Professor of History at New York University

The author of eight books and editor of two more, Lewis’s field is comparative history with special focus on twentieth-century United States social history and civil rights. He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, for part one and part two of his biography of W.E.B. Du Bois (in 1994 and 2001, respectively).

W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies; Department of History; Department of American Studies; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; Honors College; Dresher Center for the Humanities; Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery; Mosaic Center of the Office of Student Life

Spring 2013

More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics

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Steven E. Landsburg, Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester

Steven Landsburg’s writings are living proof that economics need not be “the dismal science.” Readers of The Armchair Economist and his columns in Slate magazine know that he can make economics not only fun but fascinating, as he searches for the reasons behind the odd facts we face in our daily lives. In More Sex Is Safer Sex, he brings his witty and razor-sharp analysis to the many ways that our individually rational decisions can combine into some truly weird collective results — and he proposes hilarious and serious ways to fix just about everything. From

Sponsored by the Charles Koch Foundation

Written in Bone

Douglas Owsley, Division Head for Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Dr. Owsley will be speaking about his interdisciplinary work as a forensic anthropologist, assisting state and federal law enforcement agencies. Cases have included Jeffrey Dahmer’s first victim, recovery and identification of Waco Branch Davidian compound members, the 9-11 Pentagon Plane crash, and exhumation and identification of war dead from the former Yugoslavia. His bioarchaeological and osteological research concerns include: ancient American skeletons like Kennewick Man and the peopling of the New World; demography and health of 17th-century colonists; Civil War military remains including the crew of the H.L. Hunley submarine; iron coffin burials; and analyses of activity patterns, health and diseases of American Indian populations from the Plains and Southwest. From

Petrovich Lecture, sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Studies Council of Majors; Interdisciplinary Studies Program; Department of History; Department of Ancient Studies; Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Department of Visual Arts; Department of Biological Sciences;Department of Psychology; Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture; Honors College

The Black History of the White House From Washington to Obama

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Clarence Lusane, Professor of Comparative and Regional Studies Program, School of International Service at American University

This presentation employs the White House as a prism to examine the historic and contemporary racial politics of the nation. From the building of the White House with slave labor to the “othering” of President Obama, Dr. Lusane explores the racial dynamics of one of the world’s most iconic buildings.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; Language, Literacy and Culture Program; Department of History; Department of Africana Studies; Department of American Studies; Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Mr. Chips Goes to Detroit: Participating in the Auto Industry Rescue   

Edward Montgomery, Dean, Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University

Dr. Montgomery served as a member of President Obama’s Auto Task Force and as Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. He will use his talk to discuss the economics and political considerations involved in the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler and efforts to rebuild the communities reliant upon the auto industry.

Sponsored by the Department of Public Policy; Department of Economics

The Aesthetics of Temporal Sequence: Making Meals and Concerts Optimal Experiences

Paul Rozin, Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania 

Meals and concerts are both episodes of one to two hours, in which a sequence of events occurs.  The presentation will address what we know, and what we have to find out, about how the ordering of events effects both our experience and our memory.  Particular attention will be paid to the modern tasting (multiple course) menu, and how some practices from music could inform the arrangement of meals.

Distinguished Lecture in Psychology, sponsored by the Department of Psychology

The Fracking of Rachel Carson: Silent Spring in an Age of Environmental Crisis

Sandra Steingraber, Professor of Education, Stanford University

A cancer survivor, Dr. Sandra Steingraber has written extensively on the intersection of the environment and public health. She will discuss what we have learned, and failed to learn, in the 50 years since Rachel Carson’s  publication of Silent Spring , and will examine the threat to public health that fracking poses.

Korenman Lecture, sponsored by the Gender and Women Studies Program; Department of American Studies; Office of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Dresher Center for the Humanities; Department of Geography and Environmental Systems; Women in Science and Engineering

A Life in History:  Reflections on Studying Politics and Policy in Twentieth-Century America

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John Jeffries, Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at UMBC

John Jeffries will discuss, from the perspectives both of his own life and career and of the study of political history since the 1960s, the circumstances and choices that have shaped his work as an historian of mid-twentieth-century U.S. elections and policymaking.

Low Lecture, sponsored by the Department of History

Looking Forward from the 45th Anniversary of the Catonsville Nine Actions

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In May of 1968, nine individuals shook the conscience of the nation as they burned U.S. Selective Service records with home-made napalm on the grounds of the Catonsville, Maryland Knights of Columbus hall. The fire they started erupted into an infamous trial where the nine were defended by William Kuntsler. The news spread throughout the country, influencing other similar dynamic actions in every major U.S. city. Two of the original members of the Nine will be on hand to talk about their experiences – about how they met and their stand against U.S. militarization in Latin America. We will also be joined by scholars and film makers who will help us connect this story with the larger context of Vietnam War era protests. 

Thomas and Margarita Melville (authors of Whose Heaven, Whose Earth?);
Karin Aguilar-San Juan (Macalester College, author of Staying Vietnamese and The State of Asian America);
Joby Taylor (Shriver Center Peaceworker Program, moderator); and special guests.

Sponsored by the Department of American Studies

Fall 2012

What’s a Life Worth?

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W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management,Vanderbilt School of Law

The value of statistical life (VSL) is a measure that forms the basis for assessing the benefits of government policies that reduce risks, such as regulatory efforts.  This presentation examines the empirical evidence on the heterogeneity of VSL and explores the potential implications for the valuation of regulatory policies, including the “senior discount” issue as well as differences in VSL with age, income, and immigrant status.

Mullen Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Economics

Japanese Science and International Politics in the Interwar Period: The Nobel Candidacies of Hideki Yukawa (Physics) and Katsusaburo Yamagiwa (Physiology)

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James R. Bartholomew, Professor of History, Ohio State University

Japan was a late-comer to modern science, though it produced important contributions earlier than many think, especially in medicine.  This talk examines some of the controversial cases involving Japanese scientists and the Nobel Prize in physics and medicine and reflects on what they tell us about Japan, modern science and the Nobel Prizes themselves.

Sponsored by the Asian Studies Program; Office of the Dean of the College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences; Human Context of Science and Technology Program; Department of History

Income, Inequality, Educational Outcomes

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Sean Reardon, Professor of Education, Stanford University

Income inequality among the families of school-age children in the U.S. has grown sharply in the last 40 years.  What impact has this had on the educational success of U.S. students?  This talk will describe three recent studies that examine the trends in the relationship of income and income inequality to academic achievement and college enrollment.

Sponsored by the Department of Public Policy; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program

2012 Post-Election Forum

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Donald F. Norris, Professor and Chair, Department of Public Policy and Director, Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research
Thomas F. Schaller,
Professor, Department of Political Science
Annie Linskey,
state politics and government reporter, The Baltimore Sun

What happened in the 2012 Presidential Election, and why? Join experienced political analysts for an informed and engaging discussion about the election – the campaigns, candidates, key issues and voter turnout.

Sponsored by the Department of Public Policy; Maryland Institute for Policy, Analysis, and Research (MIPAR)

American Challenges for World Peace in the 21st Century

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Horace G. Campbell, Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, Syracuse University

Dr. Campbell will assess current U.S. policies and political strategies to determine obstacles faced in attempting to fashion a lasting peace internationally.  Where possible, this analysis will make use of predictions and proclamations suggested by Du Bois during the first half of the 20th century to assess the proper role of the U.S. in fashioning a strategy for world peace.

W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies

Spring 2012

The Costs of Justice: Understanding How New Leaders Choose to Respond to Previous Rights Abuses

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Brian Grodsky, Assistant Professor of Political Science, UMBC

Dr. Grodsky discusses factors that impact on whether and how new elites pursue transitional justice policies (legal and symbolic acts designed to address past abuses) after a period of repression. The theoretical discussion is applied to two cases of post-conflict states, Serbia and Poland.

Dilemmas of Longevity: Society, the Fourth Age & You

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Leslie Morgan, Professor of Sociology, Co-Director of Ph.D. Program in Gerontology, and the 2011-2012 Lipitz Professor of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, UMBC

Dr. Morgan discusses the complex influences of longer lives on society and on all of us as aging individuals. Pervasive ageism continues to drive anxiety and avoidance of aging—especially the fourth age, characterized by frailty and dependence. Beyond fiscal challenges posed by Social Security and other entitlements, society remains challenged to find meaningful, positive social roles for the growing cadre of older adults.

Lipitz lecture, sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Forecasting the 2012 Election

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Nate Silver, Blogger for The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver’s Political Calculus

Nate Silver talks about forecasts for the 2012 presidential election, the prospects for Barack Obama’s re-election and his new book about making accurate predictions.

Sponsored by the Social Sciences Forum

Totaram Sanadhya’s  Mere Fiji Dwip me Ikkis Varsh  (My 21 years in Fiji) and the Second Abolition

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Mrinalini Sinha, Associate Professor, Department of History and Women’s Studies, Pennsylvania State University

The system of indentured labor from India, which the British devised in the aftermath of the abolition of slavery to replace the demand for labor world wide, has often been referred to as a “new system of slavery.” When, how, and why did this once lucrative system eventually come to an end? What was the significance of this second abolition? The contributions of the abolitionist, Totaram Sanadhya, an ex-indetured laborer and author of one of the earliest first-hand accounts of indenture, provides a useful way of getting at the history of the second abolition and of its unexpected global ramifications.

Sponsored by the Asian Studies Program; Gender and Women’s Studies Program; Department of History; Department of English; Department of Political Science

Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War

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Peter H. Wood, Professor Emeritus of History, Duke University

In 1866, the great American artist Winslow Homer created an unusual picture linking Georgia’s infamous Andersonville POW camp to the black struggle for freedom, but the painting of an enslaved woman vanished for a full century.  Dr. Wood, the first scholar to explore it closely, suggests that Homer’s image provides a striking new way for Americans to view the Civil War, and ourselves, in the twenty-first century.

Low lecture, sponsored by the Department of History; Dresher Center for the Humanities

Combining Technical Skills with Public Service: Confessions of a Political Economist

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Scott Farrow, Professor of Economics, Affiliate Professor of Public Policy, UMBC

Before joining the UMBC faculty in 2005, Dr. Farrow served as Chief Economist at the U.S.Government Accountability Office and also in the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Professor Farrow will address the usefulness and challenges in combining disciplinary skills with public service.  His talk, primarily based on four periods of Federal government service, will also address the importance of soft skills along with the ethical and real-life dilemmas posed in government service.

Phi Kappa Phi lecture

Critical Psychology Confronts Racialized Crises: Activist Research on the School to Prison Pipeline, and the Prison to College Pipeline

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Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of Social Psychology, Women’s Studies and Urban Education, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Dr. Fine will discuss social psychology’s long and often buried history of critical psychological engagements with movements for social justice. She will then review two participatory action research projects, one with New York City youth and one with women in prison, that focus on the school to prison, and prison to college, pipelines as racialized dynamics during times of growing inequality gaps.

Distinguished Lecture in Psychology, sponsored by the Department of Psychology

Community Recovery After Disaster: Almost Seven Years After Katrina

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Virgil H. Storr, Research Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University, Senior Research Fellow and Director of Graduate Student Programs at the Mercatus Center

The talk will focus on the role of commercial, social and political entrepreneurship in bringing about community recovery after a disaster using examples from post-Katrina New Orleans.

Sponsored by the Charles Koch Foundation

Fall 2011

The Constitution and Civil Rights: The Search for Equality in a Multi-Racial America

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Jane Junn, Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California

Constitution Day Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Political Science; Department of Public Policy; Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Honors College

Better Living Through Economics

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John Siegfried, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Vanderbilt University

Mullen Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Economics

U.S. Trade Policy In The Asia-Pacific: The Path Forward

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Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, Deputy US Trade Representative

Sponsored by the Asian Studies Program; Department of Economics

Genetics and Personalized Medicine: El Dorado or Iron Pyrite? Will Personalized Medicine Live Up to the Hype?

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Lawrence Brody, Chief and Senior Investigator, Genome Technology Branch,
National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health

Sponsored by the Health Administration and Public Policy Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Bioethics Student Association; College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

China Goes Global

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David Shambaugh, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs; Director, China Policy Program, The Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Lecture, sponsored by the Eta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; Asian Studies Program; Department of Political Science; Honors College

Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference

Warren St. John, New Student Book Experience Author

Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Education; Office of Institutional Advancement; Dresher Center for the Humanities; Division of Student Affairs

Teaching Peace and Nonviolent Social Change

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Colman McCarthy, Director of the Center for Teaching Peace

Sponsored by the Shriver Center Peaceworker Program

Spring 2011

Reading and Discussion of Not In My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City

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Antero Pietila, Author and Former Reporter for The Baltimore Sun

Sponsored by the Department of English; Department of American Studies; The Retriever Weekly

Baltimore School Desegregation and the Challenges of Understanding Race

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Howell Baum, Professor, School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, University of Maryland, College Park

Sponsored by the Social Sciences Forum

The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System

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Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

Mullen Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Economics

Negotiating Contaminated Identities: Gender, Water, and Development in Altered Waterscapes

Farhana Sultana, Professor of Geography, Syracuse University; Chair and Organizer of the ‘The Right to Water’ conference

Korenman Lecture, sponsored by the Gender and Women’s Studies Program

Being Face-to-Face But Not Seeing Eye-to-Eye: Divergent Goals and Experiences During Interracial Interactions

J. Nicole Shelton, Professor of Psychology, Princeton University

Distinguished Lecture in Psychology, sponsored by the Department of Psychology

Sing Out! Pete Seeger and American Reform

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Allan M. Winkler, Distinguished Professor of History, Miami University in Ohio

Low Lecture, sponsored by the Department of History

Fall 2010

Urban Poverty and Children’s Life Chances

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Jens Ludwig, McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy in the School of Social Service Administration and the Harris School, University of Chicago and Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab

Sponsored by the Department of Public Policy

Post-Election Forum

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Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report,
Julie Bykowicz, political reporter for The Baltimore Sun, UMBC professors
Thomas Schaller,
Political Science, and
Donald Norris
, Chair of the Department of Public Policy and Director of MIPAR

Sponsored by the Department of Public Policy; Department of Political Science; Maryland Institute for Policy, Analysis, and Research (MIPAR)

Practical Idealists: Bringing the World to Baltimore
Baltimore social change leaders who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

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Vu Dang, Chief Service Officer – Baltimore City
Jody Olson,Visiting Professor – University of Maryland School of Social Work and Former Deputy Director of the Peace Corps
Ed Orser, Professor of American Studies, UMBC
Sally Scott, Senior Program Officer – Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG)
Ashley Milburn, Director of The Culture Works Project

Sponsored by the Shriver Peaceworker Fellows Program

Politics and Policy in the 21st Century: Does Race Still Matter?

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Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

W.E.B DuBois Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies; Dresher Center for the Humanities

Higher Education? Some Pertinent and Impertinent Questions about the Value Students and Families Receive for their College Investment

Andrew Hacker, Contributor to the New York Review of Books and Department of Political Science, Queens College (CUNY) and
Claudia Dreifus,
New York Times columnist and School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Sponsored by the Office of the President; Dresher Center for the Humanities