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Upcoming Presentations

New Location!

Please note: the final lectures of the year will be held in the Egan Lecture Hall (Room 112).

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Friday, December 15

Indigenous Language & Health

X̱'unei Lance Twitchell, UAS Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Languages & Dr. Alice Taff, UAS Affiliate Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Languages

This talk will focus on the notion that there is a causative, beneficial link between ancestral Indigenous language use and the health of the user, and Indigenous Theory -- the need for indigenous wellness in order to foster language revitalization movements. It will feature eye-witness accounts of Indigenous language use fostering health such as elders reversing mental aging during extended language documentation work, language learning fostering sobriety, and positive changes in children engaged in learning their ancestral Indigenous language. Though quantitative data in this field is scarce, Twitchell and Taff will look at studies linking Indigenous language use to suicide rate, drug abuse, physical violence, diabetes, social and emotional well-being, obesity, cognitive function, and economic opportunities.

Past Presentations

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Friday, September 22

The Clockwork of Epidemics, Health & Disease

Dr. Micaela Martinez, Assistant Professor at the Columbia University, New York, UAS Biology and Math Alumna

Dr. Martinez will discuss how biological clocks affect the ability of organisms to anticipate, and prepare for, predictable changes in their environment. She will present research to characterize cycles in disease transmission, human physiology, and immunity that affect human health and disease interventions. In addition, Dr. Martinez will discuss the seasonal clockwork of epidemics using large demographic and epidemiological datasets. She will also describe her current efforts to discover the biological rhythms in human physiology and immunology that contribute to cycles of infection, birth, and mortality; and thus help doctors to leverage evolutionary insights to improve human health.

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Friday, September 29

When the Barge Stops Running: Perceptions of Food Supply Risks in Southeast Alaska

Dr. Lora Vess, UAS Assistant Professor of Social Sciences

Food security advocates in Alaska commonly use the statistic that 95 percent of Alaska’s food supply is imported from outside the state, compared with only 45 percent in 1955. Food security includes not only affordability and reliable access, but also social and environmental threats to local and national food supplies. To understand perceptions of disruption to local food systems from barges to climate change, Professor Lora Vess interviewed food cultivators and harvesters, fishermen, and representatives of food justice and food security organizations in Southeast Alaska, and spent dozens of hours at advocacy-related meetings, farmers’ markets, food conferences, and food-centered public events. In this presentation, she shares her findings on the cultural importance and value of Alaskan grown and harvested foods and perceptions of risks and resiliency related to environmental change, economic sustainability, and trust in political and regulatory institutions.

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Friday, October 6

Intergenerational Trauma and Health: How What Happens to Us, Affects Us

Dr. Ann Bullock, Director of the Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention / Indian Health Service (IHS)

Trauma is a universal human experience, though some people and groups experience more than others. Parents can unintentionally transmit trauma to their children, thus perpetuating it across generations. This presentation will discuss how stress and trauma work, how they can affect health, and some ways people and communities can address them.

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Friday, October 13

Seafood Security in Southeast Alaska

Dr. Mike Navarro, UAS Assistant Professor of Marine Fisheries

Anthropogenic climate disruption is a threat to US food security including seafood. Alaska leads the US in seafood production and provides about half of all US commercial fishery harvests. Alaska’s leadership is needed again. Many questions remain about whether seafood harvests are sustainable through environmental disruption. Dr. Navarro will introduce the issue of food security and discuss several environmental challenges to sustaining Southeast Alaskan fishery production, introducing tools used in his lab that track these changes. He will focus on solutions that our communities have built to meet the new needs created by these challenges as well as highlight growing opportunities.

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Friday, October 20

Zombies! Monstrous Allegory in a Time of Disaster

Dr. Sol Neely, UAS Associate Professor of English

The zombie persists in popular culture as an adaptable literary figure whose dramatic forms intend meanings as varied as they are grotesque. Just in time for Halloween, Dr. Sol Neely offers a reading of culture from the perspective of the monsters it produces. This fun, multimedia presentation offers a genealogy of the zombie from its origins in colonial Haiti through its articulation by George A. Romero and the exploitation genre that it helped spawn. The presentation draws from contemporary critical theory to examine allegory, abjection, and apocalypse in a time of disaster so that we might confront our monstrous economies in an effort to give them up.

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Friday, October 27

Unceremonialy Killing, Saving and Dreaming

Nic Galanin, UAS Artist in Residence

Nicholas Galanin’s work offers perspective rooted in connection to land and an intentionally broad engagement with contemporary culture. For over a decade, Galanin has been embedding incisive observation into his work, investigating and expanding intersections of culture and concept in form, image and sound. Galanin's works embody critical thought. They are vessels of knowledge, culture and technology - inherently political, generous, unflinching, and poetic. Galanin has apprenticed with master carvers and jewelers. He earned his BFA at London Guildhall University in Jewelry Design, and his MFA in Indigenous Visual Arts at Massey University in New Zealand. He is the first Artist in Residence at UAS. Nicholas Galanin lives and works in Sitka, Alaska.

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Friday, November 3

Ten Points of Hope for Addressing Sustainability & Climate Change

Kate Troll, Alaskan author, adventurer, and conservation activist is an engaging speaker. She brings her depth, wit, and storytelling to her speaking, just as in her book: The Great Unconformity: Reflections on Hope in an Imperiled World. “We can’t afford to wallow in the issue of having a climate denier in the White House. We must push on harder. We all need reasons to be hopeful. That’s why my messages are so important and so appreciated. I ground the issues of climate in the hard facts of this most pressing of challenges; then I deliver hope on the wings of humanity and creativity.” – Kate Troll

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Friday, November 10

Power & Privilege — History & Healing: A Story about Douglas

Dr. Dan Monteith, UAS Associate Professor of Anthropology

In the 1950s Gastineau Elementary School was constructed over Native burials and grave sites. This presentation looks at the history of institutional racism and cultural trauma in Douglas and how we might be able to use history to bring about a community dialogue and healing. Following the 2nd Annual UAS Power & Privilege Symposium earlier in the week about the ways social hierarchies and identities manifest themselves in our communities, focusing on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, religion, body size, ability, mental illness, class, and how they intersect.

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Friday, November 17

Supporting Community Languages: Growing up multilingual in Alaska

Dr. Andrea Dewees and Erika Cruz

This presentation and workshop centers on the experiences of children growing up with multiple languages in Alaska. Dr. Dewees will provide a brief overview of the benefits of developing strategies and learning opportunities for children who hear more than one language at home and Erika Cruz will share her experience as a young adult who grew up speaking Tagalog and Kapampangan here in Juneau. Together they will address common challenges with concrete strategies for developing fluency. The presentation ends with a community workshop where community members who are multilingual can network with other speakers and collectively come up with ways to support language learning in Juneau. Andrea Dewees came to UAS in 2012 after completing a doctorate in Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. She started learning Spanish as a second language in middle school with multiple immersion opportunities in her hometown of Anchorage and in Guatemala. She has been a community interpreter since the mid-1990s and interprets regularly for the Language Interpreter Center (part of the Alaska Institute for Justice) and the CARA ProBrono Project. Her academic interests include language acquisition, language access, and Central American cultural studies. She is also the parent of a bilingual fourth-grader.

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Friday, December 1

Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, & Recent Advances in Astrophysics

Marc Finkelstein, Expert on Space and Aerospace

Advances in astrophysics, particle physics and technology have given us a unique perspective on what the universe is made of, and of the limits nature imposes on us. This talk will attempt to provide an understanding of underlying concepts in relativity, quantum mechanics, the nature of matter and how it may relate to us. These studies have led to things and ideas we take for granted daily. They have led to the development of devices from cell phones to lasers to advanced medical imaging. It's hard to imagine that so many things that affect our lives can be inferred from observations of events so many trillions of miles away or that occur on a scale of a fraction of a billionth of a meter. The reality may surprise you!

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Friday, December 8

The Origins & Persistence of the American Campus

Dr. Richard Simpson, UAS Assistant Professor of Humanities

The term “campus” invokes the practice of harmonizing architecture and urban planning in order to create a specific setting in which to teach. While the practice of designing spaces to create social change has a long history, the American campus historically differentiates itself by its affiliation with a number of landscapes in the nineteen century that specifically aimed to eliminate class divisions and socio-economic inequality. An examination of the way in which these early modern landscapes sought to unify individual happiness with industrial productivity offers insight into the politics of educational space as well as the emergence of today’s “corporate campus,” which has become the signature feature of the global information technology landscape of the twenty-first century.