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Upcoming Presentations

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Friday, November 8

"The Sea of Grass," Book Lecture

Walter Echo-Hawk, Attorney and Author

"The Sea of Grass" is a Native American version of "Roots" which tells the story of ten generations of the author's Pawnee family in the Great Plains of North America. The book hopes to inspire Native America to reclaim its history, find its voice and tell its own stories; and encourage all readers to research their families’ histories and tell the powerful stories of their ancestors. Sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute, the PITAAS Grant and the Native Lecture Series.

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Friday, November 15

Making Science Matter: Communicating the Science of Blue Carbon

Dr. Heidi Pearson, UAS Associate Professor of Marine Biology

Dr. Pearson will present on her experience as a Fulbright Scholar to Norway. The goal of her project was to connect Arctic regions through blue carbon science, communication, and policy. Blue carbon refers to the natural mechanisms through which the marine environment can store carbon. There is increasing global recognition of blue carbon as a potential strategy for climate change mitigation. In a travelogue style, she will discuss her work with UN Environment/GRID-Arendal in Norway, Iceland, and the United Arab Emirates.

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Friday, November 22

Ethnomathematics: Mathematics of People

Swapna Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Portland State University

Ethnomathematics rejects the common perception of mathematics as independent of culture. Building on advances in anthropological ideologies away from white cultural and intellectual supremacy, ethnomathematics acknowledges that mathematics is pervasive in everyone’s life and community, in terms of construction, trade, craftsmanship, and so on, practices that are historically, socially, and culturally embedded. Such activities rarely if ever involve the solution of quadratic equations, or computations such as 3/7 + 5/9, disembodied exercises that are so prominent in school mathematics, which thereby often alienates students. The needs of society for a cadre of people skilled in academic mathematics and its applications does not justify the collateral damage done by school mathematics in terms of unnecessarily cutting off educational and financial opportunities, and damage to intellectual and cultural identities. It does not have to be like that. Sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute, the PITAAS Grant and the Native Lecture Series.

Past Presentations

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Friday, September 6

Finding Community to Advance STEM Education

Dr. Carrie Diaz Eaton

Dr. Carrie Diaz Eaton is the Director of the QUBES Consortium, a community of math and biology educators who share resources and methods for preparing students to tackle real, complex, biological problems. In this talk, she will discuss our community successes, our current challenges, the shifting landscape, and ask what our community will do moving forward. Mathematical models, big data, and data science are becoming ubiquitous in addressing the complex problems facing the public from economics and policy to climate and medicine. This is an amazing time where we have the opportunity to shape the conversation about what data science education for the life sciences will look like, not just in content, but in who we are teaching. Perhaps our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity is in shaping not just the math or the biology, but who our “community” will be.

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Friday, September 13

(Still) Healing Through Storytelling

Vera Starbard, Perseverance Theatre Playwright-in-Residence

For thousands of years, healing from trauma and grief in Southeast Alaska was communal, and involved artistic process. While many of these practices were outlawed or discouraged for decades, pursuing them again can offer answers to both personal and societal trauma recovery.

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Friday, September 20

The Gothic Executive: Images of Presidential Violence in American Popular Culture, From Andrew Jackson to Donald Trump

Dr. David Noon, UAS Professor of History

From its very inception, the American presidency has served as a cultural as well as a constitutional institution. Cultural images of presidents have arguably been as vital to the nation’s political history as the policies and unscripted contingencies that have shaped their various tenures in office. This talk considers how themes of violence have shaped and reflected both our celebrations and our fears of what has become the most powerful office in American politics.

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Friday, September 27

What is food? Eating and Mutual Aid

Dr. Alexis Shotwell, Associate Professor of Sociology, Carleton University, Ottawa

Will changing how we act save the world? Will eating plant-based foods save us from climate catastrophes? Can we transform large-scale pollution and ecological devastation through our personal lifestyle choices? How much does it matter how we travel, shop, or consume things? In this talk, Dr. Shotwell will share some approaches to answering these questions. She will explain what she thinks is a useful distinction between ethical decisions based on substances (what something is) and ethical decisions based on placing ourselves in relationships. She will outline the idea of political care as a form of “mutual aid,” which can help us be in good relationships with our devastated, hurting, good, world.

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Friday, October 4

Alaska Beyond Oil

Kate Troll, Columnist and Author

A majority of Alaskans support renewable energy and want the state to address climate change, yet there is no vision or plan to do so. Could this be because oil has been so ingrained in Alaska’s politics and psyche that it’s hard to think about Alaska beyond oil? But that is what we must do as part of the world’s effort to stay below the two degree Celsius threshold set by 196 countries signing the Paris Climate Accord. The world is moving beyond oil. By looking back at where Alaska’s economy has come since the pipeline boom started; noting new industries and growth within Alaska’s core industries, Kate Troll makes the case that Alaskans need not fear this shift in global energy policy. She also examines the ongoing clean energy economy and discusses how Alaska can benefit by joining in.

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Friday, October 11

Cultural Appropriation and Traditional Arts in a Contemporary World

Jacob Adams, Attorney and Cultural Heritage Researcher

Clans’ at.óowu (our property) includes crests, names, stories, and songs, often incorporated into arts and crafts traditions. Historically, the use of at.óow without permission was deemed a capital offense and traditional law allowed clans to punish people who used at.óow without following correct protocol. With the coming of Western laws, clans were left without a mechanism to protect cultural ownership of their at.óow. Cultural heritage researcher Jacob Adams will summarize his experiences and new knowledge, put it into the context of his research framework, and articulate possible intellectual property solutions to the threats faced by Alaskan Native cultural heritage. Sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute, the PITAAS Grant and the Native Lecture Series.

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Friday, October 18

Sumatra to Southeast Alaska: What the Journey of a Migratory Seabird Can Teach Us

Dr. Sanjay Pyare, UAS Associate Professor of Environmental Science

Dr. Pyare will talk about his 5-month U.S.Fulbright research experience to Indonesia this past November thru April, the timing of which coincided with the remarkable migration of a ‘local’ seabird, the Aleutian tern, from its spring breeding grounds in Yakutat and other parts of Alaska to the coastal waters of Indonesia (and back again). He will present how the Aleutian tern represents not just a story about the plight of the ocean environment and seabirds, but rather is a global messenger revealing some very fundamental and positive lessons about human society and outlook, regardless of the place we call home.

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Friday, October 25

The French Avengers

Dr. Robin Walz, UAS Professor of History

Long before D.C. or Marvel comics, the French went crazy for avengers from the criminal wild side in serialized stories about the Count of Monte Cristo, Rocambole, and Chéri-Bibi. In this entertaining presentation, UAS Professor Robin Walz recounts some their outrageous exploits from his current book project, Shady Detectives, Elegant Criminals and Dark Avengers: Popular French Heroes, 1815-1950. (artwork credit: Heather Marie 2011)

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Friday, November 1

Indigenous Cosmopolitanism: Being Cherokee in the Raven Bioregion

Dr. Sol Neely, UAS Associate Professor of English

During Fall 2019, Dr. Sol Neely, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, traveled the Trail of Tears with his father and daughter, meditating on historical violence, transgenerational perseverance, memory, and repair. In his presentation, which inaugurates National Native American Heritage Month at UAS, Dr. Neely will draw from this experience in a blend of memoir, critical theory, story, and Indigenous philosophy to talk about what it means to be Cherokee in the Raven Bioregion.