To: Liberal Arts Faculty, Staff, Graduate Students, and Post Docs
From: Clarence Lang
Date: May 12, 2020
Over the next few weeks, the college will host a lecture series featuring several of our faculty members discussing different dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a full schedule of the lectures (all of which begin at 3:00 p.m. EDT on the date noted):
Tuesday, May 19 — “On the Origin of COVID-19 and Zoonotic Disease Emergence”
Sagan Friant, Anthropology
Where do “new” diseases like COVID-19 come from? How do they enter humans and cause pandemics? Will this happen again? This lecture will explore how our evolutionary biology interacts with social, cultural, and ecological processes to influence the spillover of coronaviruses and other zoonotic infections from animals to humans in the past, present, and future.
Thursday, May 21 — “Racial Group Politics and COVID-19”
Ray Block Jr., Political Science and African American Studies
How does race shape our experiences during the pandemic? Using a host of public opinion surveys, this lecture will address how economic anxieties, policy attitudes, and perceptions about the government’s response to the outbreak can differ by race.
Tuesday, May 26 — “After the End of the World”
Michael Bérubé, English
This lecture investigates the difference between visions of nuclear apocalypse and narratives of viral apocalypse or “climate fiction,” in order to ask about the degree of human agency available in each.
Thursday, May 28 — “The Language of Pandemic”
Eduardo Mendieta, Philosophy
The writer William Burroughs famously wrote that “language is a virus.” This lecture will analyze the language we are using to talk about the pandemic. This language conceals and reveals how we are dealing with its causes and effects. Euphemisms, malapropisms, direct negation, double negatives, and the absence of certain key words, reveal to us indeed how language behaves virally, and thus, how we have to inoculate ourselves to some of its virulent aspects.
Tuesday, June 2 — “The Impact of COVID-19 on Garment Workers at the Bottom of Supply Chains”
Mark Anner, Labor and Employment Relations
This lecture looks at how workers at the bottom of garment global supply chains are struggling for survival as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and what could be done to make the world of fast fashion more sustainable for workers and the environment. As background, listen to Mark Anner on NPR (6 minutes)
While the primary audience for these lectures is prospective/incoming undergraduates and their families, college faculty and staff are invited to attend any or all of the lectures as well. Advance registration is required, although you only need to register once in order to attend as many lectures as you would like; please click here to do so.
My thanks to the faculty members who agreed to participate in this series and help demonstrate the breadth and depth of the liberal arts to potential students. And a special thank you to John Marsh, professor of English, for coordinating the series.
I hope everyone can attend some or all of these lectures!