ASMSA announces Science and Arts Café lecture series for 2017-18

1 year ago

The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts recently announced the lineup for its 2017-18 Science and Arts Café lecture series.

This year’s series features lectures by ASMSA faculty members on topics ranging from women’s contributions to science that are often ignored, the history of Mountain Valley Spring Water Co., the evolution of the superhero in American comic books and others.

Each lecture will include a question-and-answer session with the speaker. Lectures will be held at 7 p.m. the second Thursday of each month from October through December and February through April. The events are free and open to the public at Kollective Coffee + Tea, 110 Central Ave.

Featured lectures in this year’s series are:

• “Stolen Credit: A History of Women in 20th Century Science,” Dr. Brian Monson, Oct. 12. The history of science is replete with examples of women who made significant contributions to science but had those contributions ignored or even dismissed. This lecture by Monson, a physics instructor and chair of ASMSA’s Science Department, will introduce you to some of these scientists and their work, highlighting its importance. He will also discuss the environment that made this credit theft possible and how to change it going forward.

• “Bottling Nature’s Elixir: The Mountain Valley Spring Water Company, Environment, Health and Capitalism,” Dr. Neil Oatsvall, Nov. 9. While the mixture of capitalism and the environment has often had disastrous effects for nature, might the local bottled water company provide a different model for how companies can leverage the natural world for profit? This talk by Oatsvall, a history instructor at ASMSA, explores the history of the Mountain Valley Spring Water Co. for what it can tell us about the complicated nexus of environment, health and business and probes how we think that relationship should look.

• “Comic Books in America,” Ron Luckow, Dec. 14. This session by Luckow, a humanities instructor, will cover the origin and evolution of the superhero in American comic books. The audience will learn how comic books reflect important events in American history, such as the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and the civil rights movement. It will also cover censorship of comic books in America.

• “Cultural Panopticism in George Eliot,” Dr. Mary Leigh, Feb. 8. In the late 18th century, Jeremy Bentham published “The Panopticon Writings.” Utilizing the power of surveillance, Bentham’s work formed the foundation of Michel Foucault’s social theory critique of the power of surveillance over individuals in a specific culture. Leigh, a humanities instructor at ASMSA, will use these theories to analyze George Eliot’s “Adam Bede” — a text that grapples with a class-forbidden love affair, a tragic case of infanticide, and the resulting clash of cultural norms that seeks to punish and redeem a fallen woman.

• “Sculpting in Wax,” Dr. Jon Ruehle, March 8. Ruehle, a biology instructor at ASMSA and well-known wildlife sculptor, will discuss making sculptures using lost-wax casting to produce elaborate originals from sheets of wax. This technique captures poses quickly and intuitively, forming a hollow original that can be cast directly in bronze to retain authenticity of the original idea. The poses can be adjusted easily because there is no armature, and wax holds not only form but detail better than clay. Ruehle’s presentation will cover the entire process from initial idea to final product.

• “Gerald Brousseau Gardner and the International Wiccan Movement,” Bryan Adams, April 12. In 1939, Gerald Gardner allegedly began participating in an earth-based occult group in the New Forest of England. His influence would eventually launch an entire global movement of alternative spirituality known as Wicca. Adams will discuss how Gardner’s small group influenced a cultural explosion in the 1960s that resonates to present day.

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