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Academic Speaker Series 2019-20

The mission of the Academic Speaker Series is to promote the intellectual environment of the College and to facilitate discussion of important issues in the community.

All events are free and open to the public, and held in the Brooks M. O’Brien Auditorium/East Academic Building unless otherwise noted. Please note Landmark College provides space for invitations to outside speakers and organizations. Such openness does not constitute an endorsement of the organizations or the speakers. While the O’Brien Auditorium is an accessible venue, please contact Eve Leons ( with specific questions and requests.

Feb. 11 – William Edelglass, The Genealogy of Happiness: From Aristotle to Positive Psychology
Mar. 3 – Amanda Stern, Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life
Apr. 7 – Aurora Robson, Cloudy with a Chance of Plastic

Please note the March 3 and April 7 events have been canceled. 


William Edelglass, The Genealogy of Happiness: From Aristotle to Positive Psychology
Tuesday, February 11, 7 p.m.

What is happiness? Can it be measured? And what is the relationship between happiness and virtue, money, pleasure, relationships, mindfulness, and satisfaction?

This program will begin with an overview of different conceptions of happiness in Western philosophy, religion, and political theory. He will then turn to the numerous claims about what makes us happy based on the results of “the new science of happiness.”

The program will conclude by reflecting on the findings of positive psychology in the context of the history of the idea of happiness.

William Edelglass teaches philosophy, environmental studies, and Buddhist studies at Marlboro College. He was also recently appointed the Director of Studies at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

Amanda Stern, Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life
Tuesday, March 3, 7 p.m.

Please note this event has been canceled.

Amanda will talk about creating a life on her own terms, including becoming a professional comedian and publishing thirteen books. Despite growing up with an undiagnosed panic disorder and an unspecified learning disability, she’s managed to live a full and joyful life. She’ll discuss the writing process and how she accomplished goals she was consistently told were out of her reach.

Amanda Stern is the author of The Long Haul and eleven books for children written under pseudonyms. In 2003, she founded the legendary Happy Ending Music and Reading Series, which required creative artists to take risks onstage. The multi-disciplinary series became the gold standard for literary events; many of today’s series are (knowingly and unknowingly) based on Happy Ending’s model. It was produced at Joe’s Pub and later at Symphony Space. The series ended in 2018.

Stern’s most recent book is Little Panic, a memoir about growing up with an undiagnosed panic disorder in Etan Patz era Greenwich Village is out now from Grand Central Publishing. Amanda is a mental health advocate, speaker, and advisory board member for Bring Change to Mind. She lives in Brooklyn with her dog, Busy.

Aurora Robson, Cloudy with a Chance of Plastic
Tuesday, April 7, 7 p.m.

Please note this event has been canceled.

In this talk Aurora Robson will discuss her own art practice and ongoing dedication to intercepting the waste stream. She will help illustrate the nature and complexity of the plastic pollution problem while offering a specific model for academic inquiry that takes place at the intersection of art and science. She will also describe her own creative stewardship initiatives as well as the related work of other artists, designers, and architects—opening up the potential for artists to serve as active agents of positive change in society.

Robson is the founding artist of Project Vortex, an international collective of artists, designers and architects who also work extensively with plastic debris. She has been developing a college course called “Sculpture + Intercepting the Waste Stream” designed to foster creative stewardship initiatives through academia. Her approach is focused on shifting paradigms in art and science education while helping restrict the flow of plastic debris to our oceans.


Past Speakers

Our speakers’ talks are recorded and broadcast by Brattleboro Community Television (BCTV).

Watch videos of past speakers


Eve Leons, Speaker Series Coordinator

Watch a behind the scenes video about our speaker series

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