Fall 2010 guide

Toumany Kouyaté and Bountalo: An Evening of Traditional Music from Senegal
Toumany Kouyaté, master kora player, and his band Bountalo

Tues., Sept. 14, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Doc Rando Recital Hall (Beam Music Center)

This evening the Forum presents authentic traditional music from Senegal, featuring kora virtuoso Toumany Kouyaté and his band Bountalo. Toumany Kouyaté comes from a long line of artists and musicians and his instrument of choice, the kora, is the classic harp-lute used by musicians in West Africa.

The music itself derives from the griot tradition, where cultural history is kept alive through music and dance passed down the generations. In addition to Kouyaté, Bountalo features two percussionists and a keyboard player. Please join us for a lively concert!

Roads Less Traveled: Chinese Students and Transnational Migration
Vanessa Fong, department of anthropology, Harvard University

Wed., Sept. 15, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

Why do students from the People’s Republic of China continue to pursue foreign language training and higher education in developed countries, despite the high personal and financial cost of studying abroad? What are their experiences while away from home and how do these experiences compare to their expectations prior to leaving? This lecture addresses these questions with data from surveys conducted in 1999 among more than 2,000 secondary school students, from follow-up surveys almost a decade afterwards and from reliable participant observation. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Department of Anthropology.

Violence, Transience, Peace
Malena Mörling, department of English, University of North Carolina, Wilmington and the School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, N.M.

Thurs., Sept. 16, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

Malena Mörling is the prize-winning author of “Ocean Avenue,” published to wide acclaim by New Issues Press and “Astoria,” from the Pitt Poetry Series of the University of Pittsburgh Press. Born in Sweden, she writes in both English and Swedish, and her translations of the Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer have earned high critical praise. One of the most striking and resonant emerging voices in contemporary poetry, Malena Mörling reads from new work written around the issues of violence, transience and peace. Co-sponsored by the Black Mountain Institute and UNLV MFA in Creative Writing International Program.

Pox Populi: The Epidemic That Changed American Law, A Constitution Day Lecture
Michael Willrich, department of Hhstory, Brandeis University

Mon., Sept. 20, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

Should the government compel people to be vaccinated against deadly diseases even though the vaccines themselves carry health risks? As epidemic smallpox raged across the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, ordinary Americans put this question before their legislatures, their courts and the public at large. They turned the “vaccination question” into the foremost civil liberties debate of the day.

Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the issue in the 1905 case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Our speaker this evening will discuss the history of that landmark decision and consider its implications for the politics of health care in our own time. Co-sponsored by Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the William S. Boyd School of Law.

Children, Teenagers, and Grandmothers in Evolutionary Perspective
Barry Bogin, Center for Global Health and Human Development, Loughborough University

Wed., Sept. 29, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

The distinct stages of life we call childhood, adolescence and grandmotherhood are unique to humans. They allow people to reproduce quickly and to keep alive more of their offspring than any other species of mammal. Human evolution operated first to shorten the infancy stage of life by weaning infants early compared to primates. This created the human childhood stage of life. Evolution then prolonged the growth period by adding an adolescent stage. Finally, a vigorous period of life beyond menopause became part of human biology. Each of these new life stages improves human reproduction but each also comes with risks, especially in our modern world. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Department of Anthropology, Anthropology Society and Lambda Alpha.

The Amargosa Opera House: A Celebration of Art in the Desert
Timothy Jones, department of music, UNLV and Rich Regnell, manager, Amargosa Opera House

Thurs., Oct. 7, 2010 – 7:30 p.m. – Barrick Museum Auditorium

In 1965, after a career as a professional ballet dancer and artist and illustrator, as a model for Vogue magazine and solo performer, Marta Becket discovered an abandoned theater in the small town of Death Valley Junction. Two years later she made it over as the world-famous Amargosa Opera House. Since then, it has become her artistic home, she says, bringing her the most rewarding work of her life. Our speakers tonight will regale us with the history of the opera house from its beginnings in 1923 as Corkhill Hall, owned by the Pacific Borax Company, until the present day as the highly personal venue where Marta Becket continues to perform.
Benjamin Franklin and the Birth of Medical Electricity

Stanley Finger, department of psychology, Washington University

Mon., Oct. 11, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

Better known as an author, experimenter and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin was deeply involved with medicine throughout his long life. One of the questions that interested him was whether electricity might have medical utility. He tried using electrical shocks to restore movement after strokes, deafness following smallpox and also to cure the symptoms of hysteria and depression. Our speaker this evening is an expert on the science of neurology and the author of “Doctor Franklin’s Medicine” (University of Pennsylvania Press). His discussion of medical electricity in the eighteenth century makes for a fascinating story, one not found in Franklin’s biographies.

The Scientific Case for Global Warming: Problems and Prospects
John Farley, department of physics and astronomy, UNLV

Thurs., Oct. 14, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

Let there be no mistake, according to our speaker this evening: If we continue a business-as-usual policy, the resultant global warming will be devastating. Solving the global warming crisis is the grand challenge facing humanity in the 21st century. While the atmospheric greenhouse effect occurs naturally and has warmed the Earth for billions of years, human activities have enhanced the greenhouse effect. The recent uproar about “Climategate” amounts to very little. Solutions are available from energy sources beyond fossil fuels, and while they are not cheap or easy, the cost is certainly affordable and the alternative unthinkable.

Judicial Selection in Nevada: The Consequences of Change
Chris W. Bonneau, department of political science, University of Pittsburgh

Wed., Oct. 20, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

Nevada voters will soon face a critical choice about whether they will change the way judges are selected. While much money has been spent on both sides of this debate, advocating either for or against reform, few commentators have empirically examined the likely consequences of reform for Nevadans as a result of their upcoming Nov. 2, 2010 ballot choice. Our speaker tonight consults historical data on judicial elections from across the states that elect judges in order to assess the pros, the cons and the likely consequences of this reform. Co-sponsored by the William S. Boyd School of Law.

The Other Sex Work: The Stigma of Sexuality Research in American Culture
Janice M. Irvine, department of sociology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Wed., Nov. 03, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

The science of sex has a long history of controversy in the United States. At the same time, broad public interest has created an ongoing demand for research into human sexuality. This paradox — the simultaneous importance and stigmatization of a research topic — has proved problematic for researchers. During the last century research has produced valuable and much-needed scientific data in areas central to public health and social policy, and yet researchers have also had a difficult time establishing their scientific legitimacy. Our speaker this evening examines the history of sex research, the production of scientific knowledge and the lives of sex researchers. Co-sponsored by the UNLV’s women’s studies, sociology and history departments and the Women’s Research Institute of Nevada.

Portraiture and the Fear of Death
Cynthia Freeland, department of philosophy and Honors College fellow, University of Houston

Thurs., Nov. 4, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

Human cultures create and value portraiture in part because it preserves the memory of the deceased. Our speaker explains how portraits sustain emotional links to the beloved or respected person and how even photographs may sometimes be treated as religious icons in order to provide continued contact with the dead. She argues against focusing on the causal aspects of photography to explain the phenomenon, in favor of looking at broader cultural practices of commemoration. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Department of Philosophy.

Africa’s Failed States and the Next Generation of Terrorists
Tiffiany O. Howard, department of political science, UNLV

Wed., Nov. 10, 2010 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

Until recently, international terrorism plagued North Africa and the Horn but not sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, that has begun to change. Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are now lending support to organizations such as al-Qaeda. Our speaker this evening brings international expertise to bear on her discussion of how the conditions of state failure have fostered support for internationally sponsored terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa.