Category: lecture

Fritjof Capra lecture: Systems view of Life


Genomics_GTL_Program_Payoffs.jpgThe Franklin College is one of the sponsors of an important Chapel lecture this week by Physicist and systems theorist Fritjof Capra on the "Scientific Understanding of Living Systems and the Systems View of Life" Nov. 13 at 3 p.m.

What is a systems view? That's why we'll attend the lecture but, the namesake of our Odum School of Ecology, Eugene Odum, along with his brother Howard T., was an early pioneer of systems ecology - a holistic view of an ecosystem as a complex system exhibiting emergent properties. Systems ecology focuses on interactions within and between biological and ecological systems, and is especially concerned with the way the functioning of ecosystems can be influenced by human interventions.

It's a fascinating perspective, capable of illuminating much about how we interact as a part of the natural world. I'm sure that Dr. Capra will tell us even more tomorrow. See you at the Chapel, Thursday at 3.

2014 Gregory Lecture brings Lincoln scholar to UGA


Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, whose 2010 book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery received the Pulitzer Prize for History, will deliver the 2014 Gregory Distinguished Lecture.

Foner's lecture, drawn from a forthcoming book on the subject, is "Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad." The lecture will take place Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. in the M. Smith Griffith Auditorium at the Georgia Museum of Art. It is open free to the public.

One of only two people to serve as president of the three major professional organizations—the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and the Society of American Historians—Foner is one of the few historians to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer prizes in the same year.

We are indebted to Amanda and Greg Gregory for their longtime support of the Franklin College and the department of history. This annual lecture, one of UGA's Signature events of the year, is not to be missed. Come to the museum and engage with one of the nation's great scholar-authors, Eric Foner.

Lauren Fensterstock lecture at the Dodd


Fensterstock.jpgThe Lamar Dood School of Art welcomes Maine-based installation artist Lauren Fensterstock to campus for a lecture on Sept. 30 at 5:30 pm:

Based in Portland, Maine, Fensterstock is an artist, writer and curator whose work was the subject of a recent major solo exhibition at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where she filled four rooms with cut paper flowers to create an immersive environment, and another at the Contemporary Austin in Austin, Texas. Her work is held in public and private collections in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

In her UGA lecture, Fensterstock plans to show examples from her work from the previous 15 years, a mixture of sculpture and installation.

"I'm going to share some of the research that I do-my work tends to come out of a lot of reading, and my interest in history," Fensterstock said. "So I'll talk about some of the historical references that inspire my work and then talk about my process and how my research and the making come together in these installations."

Fensterstock studied at the Parsons School of Design and SUNY New Paltz, and her background in metalsmithing and jewelry continue to play a role in her work.

Sculptor Ry Rocklen to lecture September 9


RyR.jpgVisiting artist and Gallery Artist-in-Resident Ry Rocklen will discuss the work he has created while in Athens as well as comment on his recent sculptural pieces in porcelain and his furniture enterprise Trophy Modern. Rocklen's exhibition of work, Local Color, made largely in tandem with students at the Lamar Dodd School of Art will open on September 12th in Gallery 307. His lecture is on Tuesday Sept. 9 at 5:30 p.m. in room S151 of the Dodd:

Rocklen began his career studying with Charles Ray at the University of California, Los Angeles, and continued at the University of Southern California where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree. Rocklen has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, most recently holding solo exhibitions at Praz-Delavallade in Paris, France, and UNTITLED in New York. His work is in the collections of the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the MoCA Library at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. 

Franklin Visiting Scholar: Jennifer Fluri


fluri exteriorThe Franklin College Office of Inclusion and Diversity Leadership brings to campus visiting feminist political geographer Jennifer Fluri from Dartmouth to give an important talk on gender, security and violence in south and southwest Asia:

Fluri, an associate professor of geography and chair of the women's and gender studies program at Dartmouth College, will discuss "The Beautiful ‘Other:' A Critical Examination of ‘Western' Representations of Afghan Corporeal Modernity."


Fluri's research focuses on the geography, politics and economics of gender, security and violence in conflict and post-conflict societies. Her lecture will look at the role of the female body, gender and the Western ideal of beauty during and after the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. Fluri examines how the female body is used to reconstruct new forms of political meaning, social value and economic opportunities in post-conflict Afghanistan.

"Gender, security and violence are tightly linked in post-conflict societies, such as those in southwest Asia," said Amy Trauger, an assistant professor of geography and Fluri's host during her visit. "International aid, popular representations of Afghan women and capitalism work together to create a post-conflict nationalism that may not empower the most vulnerable populations. Dr. Fluri will share some new insights from her research in these areas."

March 17 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 214 of the Zell B. Miller Learning Center. Free, open to the public and not to be missed.

Daniel Matt: Jewish Mysticism


D_matt.jpgThe department of religion presents a special guest lecture on Thursday Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the South P/J Plaza auditorium, "How Kabbalah Reimagines God," by Daniel Matt of the Graduate Theological Union.

Matt is a leading authority on the Zohar and Kabbalah. He is the author of the best-selling "The Essential Kabbalah" (HarperSanFrancisco, translated into seven languages); "Zohar: The Book of Enlightenment" (Paulist Press); "God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science and Spirituality"; and "Zohar: Annotated and Explained" (Jewish Lights). He is also the author of the annotated translation "The Zohar: Pritzker Edition" (Stanford University Press). He has so far completed six volumes of this immense project, which has been hailed as “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.” Formerly professor of Jewish spirituality at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Matt now resides in Berkeley.


The 12 volume "Zohar Pritzker Edition, Translation and Commentary by Daniel C. Matt" published by Stanford University Press is the first translation ever made from a critical Aramaic text of the "Zohar," which has been established by Matt based on a wide range of original manuscripts. The work will eventually span 12  volumes. The extensive commentary, appearing at the bottom of each page, clarifies the kabbalistic symbolism and terminology, and cites sources and parallels from biblical, rabbinic and kabbalistic texts.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Re-scheduled events


snow and the chapelBecause of the snow and related impediments to travel, a series of scheduled campus events for today have been postponed.

These include this morning's Mason Public Leadership lecture, featuring former U.S. secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, The Willson Center's Global Georgia Initiative public lecture by composer Tania León and the Visiting Artist/Scholar lecture by Luke Syson in the school of art.

Our thanks and safe travels to these distinguished guests. We look forward to their visits to campus in the future.

Image: Snow just beginning to fall outside the author's window, January 29, 2014.

Luis Piedra: Perspectives on contemporary dance in Costa Rica


danza Abierta group with barUGA already has many unique relationships in Costa Rica and on Thursday, January 16, yet another one is set to take hold.

Luis Piedra, a professional dancer and choreographer of the Danza Universitaria in Costa Rica, will present a lecture-demonstration at the department of dance at 11 a.m. In his lecture-demonstration "Perspectives on creative process and contemporary dance in Costa Rica", Piedra will talk about his life in dance as a performer, choreographer, director and teacher. Mr. Piedra will talk about contemporary dance in Costa Rica and offer insight into his creative process in developing his new work for UGA dance students, who will perform a section of Piedra's new work.

Piedra began his artistic training at the University of Costa Rica and later studied at George Washington University in the United States and at the Goethe Institute in Germany. Recently, Piedra completed a master's degree in choreography at the National University of Costa Rica and was one of the first graduates of that program. Piedra has been a professional dancer and choreographer of the Danza Universitaria, and for four years was the artistic director of the company. The Danza Universitaria is the most famous, inventive and progressive professional contemporary dance company in Costa Rica and has done several European tours. During his 25 years with the company, Piedra won wide acclaim as a dancer and choreographer. In 2009, the company was engaged in a collaboration with the Spanish Cultural Center to do a collaborative work with Spanish choreographer, Fernando Hurtado. This piece was performed in the National Theatre in Costa Rica and toured throughout Spain. Piedra now directs the training and artistic program of the Open Dance Company, where he has nurtured award-winning Costa Rican dancers and choreographers. Open Dance (Danza Abierta) is the training program for dancers in the College at the University of Costa Rica. The company has won national awards and Piedra has won several national choreography awards.

Piedra's visit to campus and lecture are sponsored by the department of dance and the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts.

Image: (caution: author's translation) Shall We Dance? by the ensemble Danza Abierta, choreograhy by Luis Piedra. photo by Eyleen Vargas.

Speak Out for Species


On an episode of Unscripted that aired earlier this summer, we had a guest (neuroscientist and philospher Barry Smith) who talked about how our ideas about animals' perception and ability to feel pain have evolved over time. This lecture tonight by Melanie Joy based on her award-winning book "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism," will likely take that discussion quite a bit further:

Joy explores the invisible belief system that shapes the perception of the meat humans eat, so that humans love some animals and eat others without knowing why. Joy is a psychologist, professor, author and speaker who teaches psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Sponsored by Speak Out for Species.

Joy's book examines why people feel affection and compassion for certain animals but are callous to the suffering of others, and how humans can make more informed choices as citizens and consumers.

The event at 7 p.m. in room 148 of the MLC is sponsored by the campus group Speak Out for Species. It sounds like an interesting and critical take on a part of our lives we, at least in the west, seldom consider.

Hasan Elahi: surveillance, data and new media


eye_a pastiche of imagesThe Lamar Dodd School of Art welcomes interdisciplinary American artist Hasan Elahi, whose experiences on a government watch list have introduced a new element to his art, and our society:

"When Hasan Elahi’s name was added (by mistake) to the US government’s watch list, he fought the assault on his privacy by turning his life inside-out for all the world to see."  In 2011 he gave a well received TED talk which can be seen here, and he is a very vibrant and exciting lecturer. 

Elahi is an associate professor at the University of Maryland who has exhibited widely - at the Venice Biennale, the Centre Pompidou, and the Hermitage – and was subjected to six months of questioning about his extensive international travels. Figuring once in the system, never out, he decided to turn the tables and cooperate – with a vengeance. Starting with constant phone calls and emails to the FBI to notify them of his whereabouts, what started as a practicality grew into an open-ended art project. He began posting photos of his minute-by-minute life, up to around a hundred a day, on – hotel rooms, train stations, airports, meals, beds, receipts, even toilets – generating tens of thousands of images in the last several years. Just for good measure, he also wears a GPS device that tracks his movements on his site’s live Google map. And as if to prove his point that “the best way to protect privacy is to give it away,” Elahi – while still being watched by the authorities, according to server records – hasn’t been bothered since.

He says: "By putting everything about me out there, I am simultaneously telling everything and nothing about my life." – from Ted Talks Global.

The lecture is at 5:30 pm on Tuesday Oct. 1 at 5:30 pm in Room S151 of the School of Art. A workshop, a "Code Dance", where Elahi will use his unique teaching techniques to teach the basic concepts of programming through ballroom dancing will take place Thursday October 3 at 2 pm in the main entrance hall outside Gallery 101 in the School of Art. 

Image: Eye, from an installation by Hasan Elahi, courtesy of the artist.