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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 Auditorum is an accessible venue, please contact Eve Leons ( with specific questions and requests. 

Oct. 1 Cripping Intersectionality: Neurodiversity and Disability Justice, Lydia X. Z. Brown
Oct. 22 The Secret Lives of Glaciers, Dr. M Jackson
Nov. 12 Pride or Prejudice? Black Lives Matter and the Struggle Against Confederate Monuments, Dr. Ousmane Power-Greene
Feb. 11 The Genealogy of Happiness: From Aristotle to Positive Psychology, William Edelglass
Mar. 3 Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life, Amanda Stern
Apr. 7 Cloudy with a Chance of Plastic, Aurora Robson

Faculty — download this PDF for additional content related to the presenters. 


Cripping Intersectionality: Neurodiversity and Disability Justice
Lydia X. Z. Brown 
Tuesday, October 1, 7 p.m.

Headshot of Lydia Brown, young East Asian person, with stylized blue and yellow dramatic background. They are looking in the distance and wearing a plaid shirt and black jacket. Photo by Adam Glanzman.

Lydia X. Z. Brown’s talk will focus on how disabled people's cultural work, community building, and leadership offer necessary interventions for liberation work everywhere from the streets to the ivory tower, grounded in intersectional theory and practice. 

Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. Currently, they are a Justice Catalyst Fellow at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, defending and advancing the educational civil rights of Maryland students with psychosocial, intellectual, and developmental disabilities facing disproportionate discipline, restraint and seclusion, and school pushout, as well as Founder and Co-Director of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment, which provides direct support and mutual aid to individual autistic people of color. Learn more at


The Secret Lives of Glaciers
Dr. M Jackson
Tuesday, October 22, 7 p.m.
Headshot of M Jackson with trees in the background, looking forward and wearing warm clothes

Dr. M Jackson will give a talk exploring what happens to an Icelandic community as their local glaciers disappear. Profoundly hopeful, Jackson's talk shows how ice influences people just as much as people influence ice.

Dr. M Jackson is a geographer, adventurer, TED Fellow, and National Geographic Society Explorer. M earned a doctorate from the University of Oregon in geography and glaciology, where she examined how climate change transformed people and glacier communities in Iceland. A veteran three-time U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Turkey and Iceland, M currently serves as a U.S. Fulbright Ambassador. M also serves as an Arctic Expert for the National Geographic Society over the last nine years, holds a Masters of Science degree from the University of Montana, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. She’s worked for over a decade in the Arctic chronicling climate change and communities, guiding backcountry trips and exploring glacial systems. Her 2015 memoir While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change weaves together the parallel stories of what happens when the climates of a family and a planet change. Her 2019 book, The Secret Lives of Glaciers, explores the profound impacts of glacier change on the human and physical geography of Iceland. She is currently at work on In Tangible Ice, a multi-year, multi-disciplinary project partnering with explorers, filmmakers, and scientists that examines the socio-physical dimensions of glacier retreat in near-glacier communities within all eight circumpolar nations. Learn more at


Pride or Prejudice? Black Lives Matter and the Struggle Against Confederate Monuments
Dr. Ousmane Power-Greene
Tuesday, November 12, 7 p.m.

Black and white Headshot of Dr. Ousmane Power-Green, African-American male with beard, glasses, and a warm smile.

Debates over monuments and memorials to the Confederacy often center on the uses of public space and the allocation of tax dollars, while the bigger question slips away: How should the United States – or any nation – confront acts of inhumanity perpetuated by the state? Or other questions, such as: Has the process of removing Confederate statues actually avoided addressing injustices and thus missed an opportunity to begin a process of healing?

Dr. Power-Greene completed his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Before arriving at Clark in 2007, he taught courses at the University of Connecticut-Storrs, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

A specialist in African American social and political movements, Professor Power-Greene teaches courses for undergraduates and graduate students on American history with a focus on African American internationalism and comparative social and political movements. Read Dr. Power-Green's Clark University bio


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

Headshot of William Edelglass with woods in the background

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

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

We 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. See full biography.

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

Headshot of Amanda Stern, with a blue background

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. (Photo credit: Jon Pack) Visit for more information. 

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

Aurora Robson head shot with blue and white painting in the background.

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. For more information see her TEDx talk entitled Trash + Love or visit

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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