University Lecture Series

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University Lecture Series

University Lecture Series

Designed to create a campus-wide conversation, the University Lecture Series gives first-year students an opportunity to interact with leading members of our faculty—scholars, scientists, and civic leaders who are nationally and internationally renowned. All students, faculty, alumni, staff and community guests are invited, but the events will be aimed at entering first-year students. The University Lecture Series is generously brought to The University of Texas at Austin by the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Excellence Fund for Undergraduate Studies.

Fall 2016 Lectures

Monday, Sept. 19, 2016
7-8:15 p.m.
Bass Concert Hall

Election 2016
Speakers: Mark K. Updegrove – Director of the LBJ Presidential Library, Bethany Albertson, PHD – Dept. of Government, and Michael Stoff, PHD – Dept. of History

Mark Updegrove will be lecturing on character in the presidency. Since October 2009, Mark K. Updegrove has served as the fourth director of the LBJ Presidential Library. During his tenure at the Library, he hosted the Civil Rights Summit in 2014, which featured Barack and Michelle Obama, George W. and Laura Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, and the Vietnam War Summit in 2016, which included John Kerry and Henry Kissinger. He also oversaw the renovation of the Library’s core exhibit on President Johnson and his administration. He has conducted exclusive interviews with five U.S. presidents. Updegrove has written multiple articles and books and is a contributor to ABC News on matters relating to the presidency, and a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning. Earlier in his career, Updegrove served as manager of Time in Los Angeles; president of Time Canada, Time’s separate Canadian edition and operation; and publisher of Newsweek in New York.

Bethany Albertson will be discussing “Anxious Politics: Democratic Citizenship in a Threatening World”. Emotions matter in politics – enthusiastic supporters return politicians to office, angry citizens march in the streets, a fearful public demands protection from the government. Bethany’s research explores the emotional life of politics, with particular emphasis on how political anxieties affect public life. When the world is scary, when politics is passionate, when the citizenry is anxious, does this politics resemble politics under more serene conditions? If politicians use threatening appeals to persuade citizens, how does the public respond? She argues that political anxiety triggers engagement in politics in ways that are potentially both promising and damaging for democracy. Using four substantive policy areas (public health, immigration, terrorism, and climate change), her research demonstrates that anxiety affects how we consume political news, who we trust, and what politics we support. Anxiety about politics triggers coping strategies in the political world, and these strategies are often shaped by partisan agendas.

Michael B. Stoff will be discussing “Presidential Leadership: What Is It and How Can We Elect It?” Electing a president is as difficult as it is crucial, given the power and authority vested in the office. For first-time candidates, our vote is, in effect, a bet. We wager on the leadership of a person untested in what is arguably the most important and demanding job in the world, a job for which no office can prepare the man or woman who wins it. How, then, can we hedge our bets and elect capable leaders? What does the office demand of a president and what should we look for when we elect one? It behooves us to consider these questions and answer them well, for the election of 2016, already historic by virtue of a woman heading a major party ticket, may turn out to be one of the most critical in modern history.

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016
7-8:15 p.m.
Bass Concert Hall

Research That Changes the World
Speakers: George Georgiou, PHD – Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Noël Busch-Armendariz, PHD – School of Social Work, and Charles O. Anderson, MFA – Dept. of Theatre and Dance

George Georgiou will be lecturing on the discovery and development of protein drugs. This presentation will highlight the power and potential of protein (i.e. large molecule, injectable) drugs for improving human health and research in our lab on the discovery and clinical development of new protein therapeutics.

Noël Busch-Armendariz will be discussing “How Research Connects iPhones, Ice Cream, and Elicit Sex and Influences Positives Changes for Victims of Modern Day Slavery: One Researcher’s Journey Toward the Development of Science and Social Justice”. The Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault has been researching modern day slavery for 12 years, ever since the first case was identified in Central Texas. Yet, most Americans are not unaware of the number of people exploited for forced labor or sex trafficking and just how close it is to their everyday lives. This talk will cover the basics of human trafficking including the research undertaken to benchmark the scope of the problem, the industries most at risk, and what students can do to get involved in eliminating it.

Charles O. Anderson will be lecturing on “Black Art Matters: Dance for Social Justice”. As an artist, an activist-educator and a scholar, Charles has based his performance career and teaching philosophy around developing an approach to choreography and performance called kinetic storytelling. It is based on the premise that the body carries history and is inscribed and at times burdened with meaning. Issues of civil and racial inequality, gender identity and rights, war and aggression have a long and vivid history in dance. Historically, choreographers have tackled controversial issues through dance in many ways guided by the underlying belief in the art form’s unique ability to stimulate debate, draw people together, and ultimately initiate changes in outlook and perspective. Even when it is not the intention- Dance is political…Performance is political…Process is political. Charles is committed to subverting, confronting, and challenging deeply entrenched, two-dimensional public perceptions of ‘othered’ bodies and performance modalities not beholden to Eurocentric aesthetic values on stage. He tries to ‘hold space’ for difficult dialogues around race, sexuality, identity. His goal is to create work that offers testimony to the human condition. Testimony is the declaration of truth integral to the African-American oral and literary tradition, going back to slave narrative and folk practices. Testimonies can give praise and they can boast; they can also attest to suffering and injustice. To testify is to tell the truth; it is a form of story-telling based on the personal truth of the teller(s). It is used to allow the storyteller to connect with those who hear the testimony, as well as to a higher plane of being.

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