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Past Presentations

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Friday, September 7

The National Climate Assessment: The Science and Alaska

Dr. Donald J. Wuebbles, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois

Dr. Don Wuebbles is an expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry, with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth's climate, air quality, and the stratospheric ozone layer. The 4th National Climate Assessment (NCA4) confirmed that our planet's climate is changing rapidly. From the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean, evidence of a changing climate abounds. Rising temperature, melting glaciers, disappearing snow cover, shrinking ice, and rising sea level are all documented changes. This presentation provides an overview of the findings from NCA4, and focuses on what the assessment tells us about Alaska.

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Friday, September 14

Going Deep: Skiing, Climbing & Philosophy

Dr. Kevin Krein, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the UAS Outdoor Studies Program

Nature sports such as skiing, climbing, and surfing have had a significant influence on Western popular culture since the mid-twentieth century. Dr. Krein discusses his new book, Philosophy and Nature Sports, and explores nature sports' value as human activities, and roles they play in human relationships to natural environments.

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Thursday, September 20

Special Thursday Program: Sustainability in the Arctic

Arctic F.R.O.S.T. Research Network - NOTE LOCATION CHANGE Egan Lecture Hall

“Arctic-FROST: Arctic FRontiers of SusTainability: Resources, Societies, Environments and Development in the Changing North” is a project funded by the National Science Foundation. This Evening at Egan features short presentations by members of the Arctic-FROST Research Network. Arctic-FROST is based at the ARCTICenter housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Northern Iowa. Arctic-FROST builds international interdisciplinary collaborative network that teams together environmental and social scientists, local educators and community members from all circumpolar countries to enable and mobilize research on sustainable Arctic development, specifically aimed at improving health, human development and well-being of Arctic communities while conserving ecosystem structures, functions and resources under changing climate conditions. It is first U.S.-based circumpolar initiative of this kind and magnitude after the International Polar Year (2007-08). The purpose of the project is to contribute to conceptual, applied and educational aspects of sustainability science about the Arctic and beyond.

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Friday, September 21

Richard Dauenhauer's Life & Work — a Beautiful Act of Translation

Dr. Sergei Kan, UAS Visiting Scholar, Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies at Dartmouth College

Richard (Dick) Dauenhauer's major and best known scholarly legacy is his work (with his wife and research partner Nora Marks Dauenhauer) of translating and publishing major works of the Tlingit oral tradition as well as teaching and promoting Tlingit literacy. Less known is Dick's well-articulated notion that Tlingit oral literature was deeply spiritual world literature. In his presentation Dr. Kan argues that this idea was rooted in his life-long work as a poet and a talented translator of poetry from several European languages, his academic training in comparative literature, and his profound religious faith. All of these strands of Dick's creative work as well as his deep commitment to living with his wife's extended Tlingit family and sharing its culture were intertwined. For this reason Kan refers to his life and work as a beautiful act of translation. As a close friend and colleague of Dick as well as a Russian speaker, Kan concludes the presentation with reading several of Dauenhauer’s best translations of Russian poetry.

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Friday, September 28

Creating the Princess Sophia World Premiere Opera

Katy Giorgio, Creative Director of The Orpheus Project

Katy Giorgio will speak about the history, commissioning and composition process, as well as past and future events related to The Princess Sophia Opera and other commemoration efforts. October 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the deadliest maritime disaster on the Pacific coast of North America to date. The S.S. Princess Sophia, a Canadian Pacific Railway passenger steamship, sank in Lynn Canal near Juneau, Alaska on October 25, 1918, claiming all 350 lives. Orpheus Project (formerly Opera to Go) seized the opportunity to meld performing arts with Alaska's rich history by commissioning a brand new, full scale opera based on this maritime tragedy.

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Friday, October 5

Linking Land, Sea, and Society through Integrative Coastal Research

Dr. Allison Bidlack, Director, Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center

The Pacific coastal temperate rainforest (PCTR) ecosystem extends from Oregon to southcentral Alaska, and includes the largest remaining old-growth forests in North America, supports some of the most robust fisheries on the continent, and is home to tens of thousands of people who depend on a resource and tourism-based economy for their livelihoods. It is also a region characterized by an intricate geologic and evolutionary past, a rich cultural history, and complex linkages among ecosystem components. This expansive and varied ecosystem is also a vulnerable one: because the average winter temperature at sea level hovers around freezing, the PCTR is highly sensitive to small shifts in climate. Warming temperatures will further speed up glacial melt, precipitation will increasingly fall as rain rather than snow; and seasonal snow cover will become infrequent except at higher elevations. All of these expected (and already occurring) changes will have significant and largely unstudied implications for ecological functioning. There are implications for communities in and around the PCTR that rely heavily on natural resources for economic and subsistence livelihoods: timber production, fisheries and mariculture, hydropower production, and ecotourism opportunities will all be affected. Through interdisciplinary research on ecosystem linkages and driving causes of change in this landscape, ACRC addresses questions about the current and future ecology of the PCTR, all through the lens of natural resource management and climate change.

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Friday, October 12

Melting the Ice: A History of Latter-Day Saints in Alaska

Dr. Fred E. Woods, Professor at Brigham Young University

This presentation will highlight the vibrant history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day in Alaska from 1900 to the present. It will be laced with scores of images and demonstrate that the Saints (aka Mormons) have not only been active in growing the Church in Alaska, but also in enriching and contributing to communities throughout the state.

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Friday, October 19

Cowboy Professional: A Cultural Study of Big-Mountain Tourism in the Last Frontier

Forest Wagner, UAS Assistant Professor of Outdoor Studies

Is Alaska home, or merely an iconic travel destination? A peripheral frontier, or a lived in, centered place? In this short talk, Forest Wagner presents his research about Alaska and its unique Big-Mountain Tourism. In addition to reflecting on his twelve years of experience leading the Outdoor Studies program, Forest interviewed and surveyed Alaskan big-mountain guides and their clients in two geographically exceptional landscapes: the Central Alaska Range and the Coast Mountains. These efforts revealed that the sometimes contradictory motivations of outdoor professionals and their unique clientele are layered in notions of authenticity, and that experiences in wild places in small groups often create a near ideal democracy. The story of Alaska's big-mountain tourism is more than one of an industry growing up. This is the story of Alaska and its evolving and often contested notions of identity.

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Friday, October 26

A Biologist’s Adventures in Taiwan and Southeast Asia: Flounder, Fish Markets, Evolution, and Culture

Dr. Carolyn Bergstrom, UAS Associate Professor of Marine Biology

The diversity of form and function of organisms living in the wild is at the root of the immense biodiversity we see on the planet. Even within a single species, body shape can differ in ways that affect how animals live, and how natural selection acts on them. Marine flatfishes have a remarkable and novel body shape that makes them ideal specimens with which to study the biodiversity of form and function. Dr. Bergstrom will present research on a special species of flatfish found in coastal waters of Southeast Alaska, how it relates to a special species found in Southeast Asia, and some cultural inspiration she discovered while finding out.

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Friday, November 2

Tribal Governance

Richard Peterson, President of Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Tribes of Alaska

President Richard Peterson will give a presentation on Tribes and Tribal Governance and the primary issues surrounding Tribes and Tribal leadership in Southeast Alaska today. This presentation kicks off Alaska Native & Native American Heritage Month, in conjunction with the Alaska Native Languages & Studies Program, Native & Rural Student Center, and student club Wooch.een.

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Friday, November 9

Áak’w & T’aakú Aaní: The natural history of resilience

Richard Carstensen, Naturalist

Discovery Southeast senior naturalist Richard Carstensen will share insights from the past decade's collaboration with groups such as Goldbelt Heritage Foundation and Sealaska Heritage Institute, blending natural with cultural history. How, for example, does a study of glacial history illuminate the stories of clan migrations? How were village sites chosen in an archipelago of changing sea levels and radical climate change? And what does "resilience" mean ecologically? Why do we live here, and how can we pass along a viable future for tomorrow's Southeast Alaskans?

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Friday, November 16

Respecting Our Ancestors

Bob Sam, Tlingit Storyteller, UAS Visiting Scholar

Bob Sam’s current research involves working with the Native American Boarding School Coalition (NABS) in supporting Tribal Nations seeking the repatriation of their children buried at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and other parts of the country. His recent travel to cemeteries in Carlisle discovered 13 Alaska children, four from Ketchikan, that need to be brought home. Next month, Mr. Sam will be traveling to cemeteries in Colorado. There are over 250 Alaskan children that were taken to boarding schools between 1878-1917, died, and were not brought back home to be buried. The Native American Boarding School Coalition (NABS) was created to develop and implement a national strategy that increases public awareness and cultivates healing of the profound trauma experienced by individuals, families, communities, American Indian and Alaska Native Nations resulting from the U.S. adoption and implementation of the Boarding School Policy of 1869. While other tribes around the country have filed petitions to address the many issues surrounding the Boarding School Policy, Bob Sam sees a need for Alaskans to become more involved in leading the efforts for Alaska.

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Friday, November 30

CHANGE/CANCELLATION NOTICE — Molly of Denali: Alaska Native participation in development of a new PBS Kids show

Princess Daazhraii Johnson, Creative Producer

** Please note: this presentation will be changed or cancelled due to travel difficulties caused by the November 30 earthquake in Anchorage. ** Molly of Denali is a new PBS Kids animated series set to premier summer of 2019. Princess Daazhraii Johnson will speak to the genesis of the project and how the creators at WGBH engaged the Alaska Native community at the start of development and how this varies from the Hollywood model that has dominated engagement of Native American/Alaska Native peoples. She will also speak to the damage that film/media has done in perpetuating stereotypes and how crucial narrative sovereignty is for Indigenous peoples worldwide.

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Friday, December 7

The Light and Dark Sides of the Universe

Marc Finkelstein

The earth interacts with its nearby star--the sun. It receives warmth and light and a massive stream of energetic particles called the solar wind. The interaction of earth with the solar wind produces a condition called space weather. This has significant consequences in our technological society ranging from power blackouts to satellite failures to our beautiful Alaskan auroras. Moving far out into the galaxy and universe, things exist in forms we are only beginning to understand. Dark matter and dark energy dominate the unseen part of the universe and represent more than 90% of what's out there. There is controversy over what these things are and it's worth exploring.