Environmental science, politics, gender studies, religion, and fine arts are diverse cultural and academic traditions with wildly different styles, but they share importance as locations for social transformation. With compelling messages that invite audiences to think and feel outside contemporary boundaries, experts in the Landmark College Speaker Series ask challenging questions about our responsibilities to the planet and to each other. Armed with insight and an edge of social criticism, their explanations of current change open up the potential inherent in evolution—that of a better future.
"Unraveling the Knot of Race"
Monday, September 12, 7 p.m.
Brooks M. O'Brien Auditorium, East Academic Building
One of the greatest barriers to ending racism and other forms of privilege is that we are trapped in cultural ways of thinking that turn conversations about privilege and oppression into occasions for members of dominant groups to feel guilty, defensive, and angry. As a result, the conversations we need to have either happen badly or, more often, don't happen at all. This presentation offers an alternative way of thinking about issues of privilege that can help to overcome that barrier. It is based on Allan Johnson's books, The Gender Knot (third edition, 2014) and Privilege, Power, and Difference (2nd edition, 2005).
Allan G. Johnson is a nonfiction author, novelist, sociologist, public speaker, and workshop presenter who has devoted most of his working life to understanding the human condition, especially in relation to issues of social justice rooted in gender, race, and social class. He has spoken at more than 200 universities, colleges, corporations, and other organizations in 39 states. His social justice work is based on a deeply held belief that systems of privilege and the injustice and unnecessary suffering that result are not inevitable features of human life, and that the choices each of us make matter more than we can ever know. For more about his work, visit his website and his blog.
“Only God is Good”: Islam Through the Words of Jesus
Monday, September 26, 7 p.m.
Brooks M. O’Brien Auditorium, East Academic Building
This talk introduces Islamic teachings, ritual practices, and the sharia by using a story from the Gospels in which Jesus answers the questions of a rich man who desires to become his disciple. Although there are significant differences between Islam and Christianity, this comparative approach allows us to grasp some fundamental similarities between these two Abrahamic faith traditions.
Amer Latif has been professor of religious studies at Marlboro College since 2003. His research focuses primarily on Islamic mystical texts and practices. He is also interested in the issues surrounding cultural translation and has published translations of the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th century Muslim scholar and mystic. A current resident of Putney, he grew up in Pakistan and came to the United States for college. After getting a B.A. in physics from Bard College, he received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stony Brook University.
This event is co-hosted by the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Initiative. For more information about this initiative, contact Rupa Cousins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Off Target: What Hollywood, Journalists, and Shooters Get Wrong About Guns"
Monday, October 17, 7 p.m.
Brooks M. O’Brien Auditorium, East Academic Building
This is an apolitical examination into the mythology that surrounds firearms. The term “mythology” is especially appropriate here given that much of what the average person, even the average gun owner, thinks s/he knows about guns is inaccurate. Without getting into a discussion about what we should or shouldn’t do about the issue of guns, Keene State College professor Mark Timney’s lecture and discussion will instead examine how our perceptions of firearms have been distorted by media and folklore. Such distortions—about the mechanics, ease of use, and lethality of guns— have seriously hindered public discussion about the regulation of firearms.
Mark Timney is an award-winning mass communicator and educator with more than 20 years of professional experience. He's worked as a television reporter, producer and news anchor, healthcare public relations professional, freelance magazine and Internet writer, and public relations and advertising consultant. Mark earned his M.S. in journalism and Ph.D. in mass communication from Ohio University. When he isn't at Keene State you might find him flying his hang glider, riding his motorcycle, in his kitchen cooking, or playing lead guitar in his classic rock band "Observant Ego."
“Imagining the Re-Integration of Art and Humanity”
Monday, November 14, 7 p.m.
Next Stage Arts, downtown Putney
(This talk is the Keynote Address for “Voices of Community” Conference at Next Stage Arts.)
“Imagining the Re-integration of Art and Humanity” sounds like the title for an liberal arts college course, but it is more of a call to action for all of those interested in understanding the answers to the greatest challenges of our time. This talk will examine the connection between the commodification of art as a product and the separation of art from cultural practice and purpose and the impact of that disconnection on the development of our collective humanity.
Carlton Turner is the Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS, a regional non-profit arts organization based in the South. Carlton is also co-founder and co-artistic director, along with his brother Maurice Turner, of the group M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction). M.U.G.A.B.E.E. is a performing arts group that blends of jazz, hip-hop, spoken word poetry and soul music together with non-traditional storytelling. M.U.G.A.B.E.E. has released two albums, Earth Tones (2002) and World Domination (2006); written and produced two plays Steal Away (2001) and Batteries in the Killing Machine (2005). Throughout Carlton’s career he has worked as a lead convener with Voices from the Cultural Battlefront: Organizing for Cultural Equity, an ongoing 20+ year international conversation about the role of art and culture in the struggle for human rights; a panelist and facilitator with the Center for Civic Participation Arts & Democracy Project helping to present conversations in more than six cities.
will be posted soon
Shura Wallin: Walk to the Borders
September 14, 2015
Shura Wallin is co-founder of the humanitarian group the Green Valley/Sahuarita Samaritans. The Samaritans assist migrants deported from the U.S. and Shura helps to secure medical assistance and, in some cases, the assistance of the Mexican Consulate. Guided in part by the Buddhist principles of kindness and non-attachment, Wallin remains deeply focused on the core mission of the Samaritans––saving lives in the desert, one at a time. This talk was presented in association with Sandglass Theater’s Puppets in the Green Mountains festival (theme: “Walking to the Borders”) and included a pre-talk performance of La Femme Blanche.
September 29, 2015
Flatline Poetry is a group of four poets who seek to "create a new heartbeat" with every performance and workshop. Since their formation in 2013, Flatline has taken the Boston poetry community by storm. The group won the 2013 Poetry Award for Best Poetry Group and was featured at Wheelock College’s 2014 Half-Year Program. The poets of Flatline Poetry write on topics of identity, family, love, loss, and social justice. With a diverse set of skills and backgrounds, the members of Flatline present challenging poetry and innovative workshops that foster dialogues where all voices are valued. Flatline Poetry includes Landmark College alumna Lissa Piercy.
Dr. Jenn McCollum: Sexing the Zombie: The Changing Body of a Timeless Global Fixation
October 26, 2015
“Sexing the Zombie” briefly historicizes the trope of zombies in the arts (literature, fine arts, film, etc.) to show the overlooked but important role of zombies for complicating contemporary discussions about body politics and gender/sexuality issues. The zombie has a rich history that can be traced to cultural representations dating back at least to its religious beginnings in Samaria, Egypt, and Israel. In addition to religious manifestations, incidents such as dancing mania can explain why zombie currency has maintained its value through hundreds of thousands of years of human history. Reaching briefly back into the rich history of zombies in literature shows that the zombie motif is not new; it is, in fact, ancient. Its incarnation through history is interesting and the stakes are high, especially in dissecting our Westernized perception of femininity and masculinity. Dr. Jenn McCollum is an Assistant Professor of English, Landmark College.
Jennifer Allaway: Sexism and Whiteness in Gaming: Beyond the Boys’ Club
November 9, 2015
Jennifer Allaway has studied the prevalence of sexist practices in the game industry, and how that impacts game content. She considers herself an avid gamer, an advocate for social justice, and a social researcher of this industry. This presentation was based on year-long study on the prevalence of sexist practices in the game industry, and whether that affected game content. This groundbreaking study has been presented at the GDC 2014, PAX Prime 2014, and Indie Game Con 2014, with articles published in Gamasutra and Jezebel. She has recently done narrative design work for Wadjet Eye's Shardlight, launch date TBA.
Howard Frank Mosher: An Evening on The Great Northern Express
April 13, 2015, at Next Stage in Putney, Vermont
Howard Frank Mosher read from his most recent book, The Great Northern Express, and spoke of his journey as a writer. The author of ten novels and a travel memoir, Mosher was born in the Catskill Mountains in 1942 and has lived in Vermont’s fabled Northeast Kingdom since 1964. He has won many awards for his fiction, including Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, the American Civil Liberties Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Vermont Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the New England Book Award and, most recently, the 2011 New England Independent Booksellers Association's President's Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. Four of his ten novels— Northern Borders, Disappearances, A Stranger in the Kingdom, and Where the Rivers Flow North—have been made into acclaimed feature movies by Vermont independent filmmaker Jay Craven.
Tim Brookes: Disappearing Alphabets and the Future of the Written Word
March 30, 2015
Writer/carver/painter Tim Brookes offered a remarkable and thought-provoking perspective on the future of the written word by looking at thirteen forms of writing from all over the world that are in danger of extinction. He displayed a sample of each script, leading a discussion on how technology helps define the nature of communication, and showed how the story of a culture can be seen in its writing—even if that writing is (as in these examples) beautiful, bizarre, utterly unfamiliar, and disappearing. Tim Brookes is a Vermont Humanities Council Speaker and works at Champlain College as an Assistant Professor and Director of the Professional Writing Program. He holds a master of arts from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and he is the author of 13 books including the historical Guitar: An American Life (2005).
Dorothea Brauer: Queering Education
March 2, 2015
This presentation argued for the need to "queer" existing notions about education in order to keep education relevant in the midst of collapsing social structures and unprecedented cynicism about traditional notions of authority and leadership. Brauer shared her own definition and vision of "queering education" and engaged the audience in pursuing provocative questions in search of possibilities. Dot Brauer is an educator and administrator. She has worked at the University of Vermont since 1992 and directed the LGBTQA Center there since 2001. Brauer holds a master's degree in Psychology and is currently working on a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Peter Murdoch: Re-inventing Thoreau: Evolving Science to Support a Sustainable Future
February 23, 2015
Peter Murdoch spoke about the role of integrated science to help us predict the impact of climate policy and change so that we may move toward global sustainability. The complexity of global climate change requires sophisticated, cross-referenced measurements and monitoring. Challenges in the science community such as building effective collaborations, integrating data across science disciplines to understand the complex ecosystem responses to climate change, and solving the shortage of long-term observational data may impact how well science can test or support climate policies if and when they are enacted. Nevertheless, we are starting to quantify what Thoreau was trying to tell us—that our intuition about our world is worth listening to and that all is inter-connected and inter-dependent. Peter Murdoch is a Research Hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey agency in Troy, New York. He has studied the environment for over thirty years, specializing in the effects of acid rain on aquatic systems. Murdoch is the author of more than 100 reports and publications on the environment.
Temple Grandin: Different Kinds of Minds
September 4, 2014
Dr. Temple Grandin discussed the diverse ways that people think. Grandin is a cultural icon for neurodiversity, best known for her work in animal science and autism advocacy. Grandin was diagnosed with autism in 1949 at the age of two, before autism was a household term. Growing up at a time when schools understood little about autism, Grandin benefited from a family who supported her education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s and doctoral degrees in animal science. In addition to working in animal science, Grandin advocates for society to cultivate the strengths of “differently-abled” minds. In 2010 Grandin was named a hero in the Time 100 for her influence in modern life, and her story was featured in the critically-acclaimed 2010 HBO film Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes. In her roles as a professor, author, and scientist specializing in the humane treatment of animals, Grandin has earned over 70 professional honors since 1984. Awards range from the 1995 Industry Advancement Award of the American Meat Institute to the 2007 Autism Society of America’s Founder’s Award. A pioneering thinker and prolific writer, Grandin holds honorary doctorates from research universities including Duke, Carnegie Mellon, and McGill. Grandin's visit was co-sponsored by McDonald's Corporation, with special thanks to Todd Bacon, U.S. vice president, quality systems.
Brad Fay: The Next Social Marketing Revolution
October 6, 2014
Author and word of mouth (WOM) marketing expert Brad Fay shared fresh ideas on the link between marketing and the social side of human behavior. WOM refers to consumer buzz about products and services, and Fay’s research suggests that 90% of consumer talk happens offline. Fay is the Chief Operating Officer of the Keller Fay Group, an award-winning word of mouth research and consulting company—he is also the son of late Professor Emeritus Robert Sargent Fay, an integral member of the Landmark College English Department for 10 years. In addition to serving as the COO of Keller Fay, Brad Fay is the co-author with Ed Keller of The Face-to-Face Book, named 2013 Best Book in Marketing by the American Marketing Association. Fay is the chairperson of the Board of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the industry’s official trade association.
Dr. Andrew Stein: The King of Beasts in the 21st Century: Conserving the African Lion in Botswana
October 27, 2014
Dr. Andrew Stein, assistant professor of natural sciences at Landmark College, discussed a research project on human-lion conflict in Botswana. He talked about efforts to save lions range-wide as well as the project he designed with a Ph.D. student in Botswana. Stein came to work with lions in Africa during a study abroad course in Kenya for Wildlife Management that put him on a path towards studying wildlife conservation. He attended UMass Amherst for his M.Sc., studying incidental capture and mortality of endangered sturgeon before spending eight years in Africa working on large carnivores living in South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, and Botswana. He finished his Ph.D. at UMass Amherst, studying the ecology and conservation of leopards on Namibian farmlands. Stein’s recent projects include coordinating graduate research for the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, where he oversaw students studying the interactions of lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, and African wild dogs. He has since organized field training courses with the Smithsonian Institution and worked with African governments to do national surveys.
Cauleen Smith: Craft, Research, and Improvisation
November 10, 2014
Interdisciplinary filmmaker Cauleen Smith spoke about her projects commissioned for galleries and public spaces, loosely inspired by Sun Ra and the psychogeography of several American cities. Sun Ra (1914-1993) was a jazz composer, musician, and pioneer of afrofuturism, the artistic movement exploring African experience through fantasy and science fiction. Psychogeography refers to the effect of place on human emotions and mindsets. Cauleen Smith’s films, objects, and installations have been featured in group exhibitions at the Studio Museum of Harlem, Houston Contemporary Art Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, Sand Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Yerba Buena Center for Art. Smith’s solo shows have been featured at venues including The Kitchen in New York, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Schlaulager Laurenz Foundation in Basel, Switzerland, and Threewalls in Chicago. She is the recipient of grants and awards including the Rockefeller Media Arts Award, Chicago 3Arts Grant, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Smith earned an MFA from UCLA. She currently lives in Chicago while teaching with the Vermont College of Fine Art MFA program.
Dan Miller: When Religion is Politics: “Political Religion” and the Changing Structure of the Social
February 10, 2014
Daniel Miller explored the significance of the emergence of “political religion” -- that is, social groups of global significance who define their political identities in explicitly religious terms -- for Western social and political thought. Mr. Miller is a religion and philosophy professor at Landmark College. This talk was co-sponsored by Windham World Affairs Council.
Sanjukta Ghosh: Of Burqas and Bikinis: Afghani Women and the War on Terror
March 3, 2014
Focusing on how media constructions of Afghani women were used to mobilize war, Sanjukta Ghosh argued that the rhetoric of the media and their cultural icons were reminiscent of that used by Victorian feminists. Sanjukta Ghosh teaches media and women’s studies at Castleton State College in Vermont. This presentation was co-sponsored by Windham World Affairs Council and the Vermont Humanities Council.
Virginia Prescott: Listening Beneath the Noise
March 31, 2014
Evolutionary biologists attribute the success of our species in part to ritualized storytelling, which reinforced unity and safety among early humans. Virginia Prescott used examples from a career in broadcasting to talk about how active listening can change personal and communal dynamics. Ms. Prescott is host of Word of Mouth, NHPR’s daily conversation about emerging trends, new ideas and stories from viral and pop culture. This talk was co-sponsored by Next Stage Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing Putney’s cultural and economic village center.
Thomas Moore: Your Mission in Life: Care of Body, Soul, Spirit and World
April 14, 2014
Thomas Moore, author of "Care of the Soul," talked about the distinction between being spiritual and being soulful, encouraging us to cultivate both, living from the depths of the heart, pursuing our own destinies with our gifts and limitations. Thomas Moore has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, and a psychotherapist practicing archetypal therapy with a spiritual dimension. His books appear in over twenty-five languages. For fifteen years he has taught psychiatrists and worked closely with medical schools, hospices, and hospitals. He also speaks often at Jung societies. He has a Ph.D. in Religion from Syracuse University, an honorary doctorate from Lesley University and the Einstein Humanitarian Award from Yeshiva University.
Janice Perry: Not Just Another Pretty Face: a Retrospective
September 16, 2013
Performance artist and activist Janice Perry took us through her vibrant collection of social criticism and political satire—from Marilyn Monroe through a few Gulf Wars, High Fashion, Erotica, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mapplethorpe’s naked men and Arts Censorship. Janice began touring in 1981 with her groundbreaking solo performances. Her work has been adapted for television, radio and print in the USA and Europe NPR, PBS, BBC 2, Channel 4, BBC Radio 3, WDR.
Mansour Farhang: The Struggle for Democracy in the Arab World: Cultural Impediments to Pluralism
October 7, 2013
The contentious political developments following the promise of “Arab Spring” have compelled the peoples of the region to face the fact that obstacles to pluralist democracy cannot be reduced to the fall of autocratic rulers. There is a growing recognition among both native and international observers that traditional cultures in nations without democratic experience can put complex obstacles on the road to the creation of an inclusive and tolerant political order.
Bill McKibben: Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist
October 22, 2013
Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him "the planet's best green journalist" and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was "probably the country's most important environmentalist." Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, he holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges, including the Universities of Massachusetts and Maine, the State University of New York, and Whittier and Colgate Colleges. In 2011 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dave Cole: Craft and Craftsmanship in Contemporary Art
November 11, 2013
Dave Cole's artwork is characterized by an interest in politics, patriotism, nostalgia, and masculinity. He lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. Through mixing conceptual craft and assemblage, Cole's work attempts to embed subversive meaning and political message into his material and process. Cole reconstitutes found and ready-made objects such as discharged bullets and casings and eviscerated flag fragments, as well as fabricated materials such as cast lead and knitted metal fiber. His subject matter often draws from symbols of nostalgia, childhood, and more recently, poetry and landscape.
Dr. Fritz Engstrom: At the Movies with Dr. Engstrom: Living with Someone with a Mental Disorder
Watching movies is a great way to spend the time – and to learn!! We will view scenes from popular films (About A Boy, The Last Picture Show, Lone Star, A Beautiful Mind, and others) to think about what it is like to live with someone with a mental disorder, such as depression. Brief, well-chosen scenes are captivating and fun, and provoke spirited discussion. Fritz Engstrom, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer of The Brattleboro Retreat, and has been using film clips to teach principles of psychiatry for over 25 years.
Dr. Peter Eden: Life in the Post-Genome Era
What is a genome and how does it make us human? How do we differ from other mammals and all life forms when it comes to our genetic basis? How does genetic inheritance and epigenetics play a role in our physical and mental make-up (i.e. genotypes and phenotypes)? How can we use technology to identify and understand human genomics in a way that informs and protects all humans, in terms of health, behavior and our right to privacy? Dr. Peter Eden is president of Landmark College.
Dr. Kenneth Miller: Time to Abandon Darwin? Evolution in a Molecular Age
More than a century and a half after the publication of On the Origin of Species, evolution remains a contentious and divisive issue in the United States. In an age of molecular biology, when whole genomes can be sequenced and analyzed, many continue to ask if Darwin's ideas are valid. As we will see, genomic biology is not only consistent with evolution, but provides a rich new dimension in which the diversity of life can be studied and understood.
Ned Olmsted: Maps and a Sense of Wonder in the Digital Age
As our culture moves away from more traditional map reading (and map making) skills, and we grow increasingly dependent upon digital-based networks of navigation – in contrast to finding our way by information obtained through close observation and actual, studied experience – we may be losing our capacity for profound wonderment when encountering real landscapes, new or familiar, and are in danger of reducing discovery to merely expedient and arbitrary virtual procedures. If this phenomenon indeed is true, should we be concerned? Ned Olmsted is a professor of English at Landmark College.
Dr. Woden Teachout: Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism
The story of the American flag is the story of a nation in search of itself; this talk explores that colorful history as a lens to examine the political uses of patriotism. Author of the newly published Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism, Dr. Woden Teachout examines how the flag has been captured and claimed by a wide range of our fellow citizens to promote their versions of the American dream, and we will use these stories as a means to explore the changing notions of what it means to be a patriot.
Sandglass Theater: Black Birds of Bialystok
Puppets in the Green Mountains brings world-class puppetry to Southern Vermont, often presenting shows in very non-traditional settings. Black Birds of Bialystok is a collaboration between two puppet theaters: Bialystok Puppet Theater in Poland, and Sandglass Theater in the USA. It is a piece about Poland’s difficult relationship to its Jews, in the period from 1906 to 1968. In a larger sense, it is a piece about everyone’s relationship to history, about how events that happened before we were born are still part of our personal story. This panel will cover the creation and development of this piece.
Robert Meeropol: Red to Green: Political Panic from McCarthyism to Eco-Terrorism
Robert Meeropol (born Robert Rosenberg in 1947) is the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. When Robert was six years old, his parents were executed for conspiracy to commit espionage. With his brother, he sued the FBI and CIA under the Freedom of Information Act, winning the release of 300,000 previously secret documents pertaining to his parents' case. Robert published his memoir, An Execution in the Family: One Son’s Journey in 2003, and along with his brother Michael, co-authored We Are Your Sons: The Legacy of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (1975). In his talk comparing the “Red Scare” of the 1950s and the “Green Scare” of today, Robert examined the fear of communism in the 20th century, the contemporary treatment of environmental and animal activism as so-called eco-terrorism, and the U.S. government's persistent persecution of individuals deemed a political threat.
Ellen McCulloch-Lovell: A Conversation with Ellen McCulloch-Lovell
Currently the President of Marlboro College, Ellen McCulloch-Lovell spent seven years in the Clinton administration from 1994 to 2001, serving as executive director of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, deputy chief of staff to the first lady, and deputy assistant to the president and advisor to the first lady on the Millennium Project. In her role on the Millennium Project, she spearheaded national campaigns in historic preservation and in educational, cultural and environmental programs.