Free UNLV Forum Lecture Series Spring 2011

FREE, Las Vegas, Speakers/Lectures, UNLV | | February 16, 2011 at 15:00

University Forum  – A Free Lecture Series  – Spring 2011

University Forum is a public lecture series sponsored and funded by the UNLV College of Liberal Arts. All events are free, and no reservation is necessary. Just who up at the time and place shown.
Visit the University Forum website at for more information.

Nuns, Priestesses, and Prostitutes in Babylonia
Thursday January 27, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium
Prof. Norman Yoffee, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan
The historian Herodotus tells us that Babylonian women were required to serve the goddess of love, Ishtar, once in their lifetimes by engaging in sex with a stranger within the temple. What do the original Babylonian sources say about presence or absence of temple prostitution? Prof. Yoffee reviews the evidence about certain women from ancient times to show how their exceptional role helps us to understand the status of Babylonian women more generally. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Department of Anthropology, the Anthropology Society, and Friends of World Anthropology.

The Southern Paiute: A Portrait
Wednesday February 2, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium
Logan Hebner, Author, and Michael Plyler, Director, Zion Canyon Field Institute
Our two speakers provide us with an illustrated guide to their book Southern Paiute: A Portrait. During the course of their research, writer Hebner and photographer Plyler interviewed thirty Southern Paiute elders from across their homelands in the Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, and Mojave Desert. The resulting discussion ranges across ancient myths and histories to contemporary political issues, and is presented this evening with a special focus on the regional Paiute of Las Vegas, Chemehuevi, Pahrump, and Moapa. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Department of Anthropology.

Time Banking: Strengthening Community through Reciprocity
Monday February 7, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium Prof. Edgar S. Cahn, District of Columbia School of Law
Our speaker this evening suggests that academic, government, and social service agencies partner with the populations they serve. Prof. Cahn is a leader in the movement to engage and create social justice for the disenfranchised. He founded Time Banks, an economic strategy for addressing social problems. Drawing from his book “No More Throw Away People: The Co-Production Imperative,” he suggests ways to create a non-market economy that compensates reciprocal contributions of service in times of economic scarcity. Co-sponsored by the Department of Criminal Justice and the College of Urban Affairs, UNLV, the Black Law Students Association of the Boyd School of Law, UNLV, and the Boyd School of Law, UNLV.

From Love Letters to Mobile Phones: Social Transformation in Nepal
Monday February 14, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium Prof. Laura M. Ahearn, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University
Our Valentine’s Day speaker explores the aspirational ideology of love in a Nepalese village. When Junigau women first gained the ability to write, they put the skill to use by writing love letters. More recently, an influx of mobile phones throughout Nepal has provided yet another medium for young men and women to communicate. Prof. Ahearn looks closely at these and other changes in courtship practice, and especially at the way female literacy has led to an unanticipated shift from arranged to companionate marriage. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Department of Anthropology and the Anthropology Society.

North Korea: the Politics of Succession in a Nuclear Age Prof. Chung-in Moon, Department of Political Science, Yonsei University Tuesday February 22, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium

When people say that the U.S. Constitution is not a suicide pact they mean that security is more important than individual rights. Since the 9/11 tragedy, this has been the position of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Our speaker this evening respectfully disagrees, in order to argue that our fundamental respect for liberty outweighs even the survival of the nation. The United States was founded on the principle that government must be just, fair, and moral. If the Constitution is understood to forfeit guarantees of individual liberty and ethical government, then it is indeed a suicide pact.

Diet and Human Population Density in the Paleolithic Mediterranean Prof. Mary Stiner, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona Monday March 7, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium
What is the legacy of the human ecological footprint in deep time? Our speaker explores the question by sorting out some features of Paleolithic meat diets in Mediterranean Eurasia. These involve predator-prey dynamics, transitions in energy acquisition, and the allocation of labor. By the Late Pleistocene, foragers were restructuring the living communities around them, with consequences for both diet and demographic robustness. These changes in turn altered social relations within early forager societies, and also affected the development of cooperative networks across human society. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Department of Anthropology and the Anthropology Society.

Are You an American?’ History at the Arizona Border
Prof. Katherine Benton-Cohen, Department of History, Georgetown University
Wednesday March 9, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium
Our speaker this evening explores the contentious and violent history of Arizona’s border and immigration politics. Beginning with the Bisbee Deportation of 1917, her lecture highlights the history of vigilantism at the Arizona border, as well as the surprising changes in how Arizonans have thought about race and citizenship during the twentieth century and beyond. She urges us to ask, “Who counts as an American?” and shows how history helps us to understand the answer. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Multicultural Center-Centro Multicultural, the Boyd School of Law, UNLV, and the UNLV Departments of History and Political Science.

Revising for Royals: Performing Shakespeare at Court Tuesday March 29, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium Prof. Richard Dutton, Department of English, The Ohio State University
Contemporary sources tell us that Shakespeare’s plays were not simply carried from the theatres to the court. Yet the process of correcting, rehearsing, and perfecting popular drama for a royal audience has gone unexamined. Our speaker this evening argues that the multiple versions of certain plays (notably “Merry Wives,” “Henry V,” “Hamlet,” and “King Lear”) that have come down to us may best be explained by Shakespeare’s revising the drama for different audiences, all of whom he was able to reach.

How Should Judges Interpret the Law?
Thursday, March 31, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium
Dean Francis J. Mootz III, Boyd School of Law, UNLV
When the President nominates a Supreme Court Justice, the Senate Hearings inevitably center on the question of whether the nominee will apply the law rather than legislate from the bench. The question of how judges can and should interpret case-law precedent, statutes, and the Constitution is a critical question in our democracy. Our speaker this evening will begin by providing a historical overview of legal interpretation. We can best understand our current situation, he suggests, by beginning with the broad historical backdrop against which our contemporary questions about the role of the judiciary have emerged.

“End of Story”: A Novel Reading
Thursday April 7, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium
Prof. John M. Bowers, Department of English, University of Nevada Las Vegas
“End of Story” is a sequel to E. M. Forster’s landmark gay novel “Maurice,” and more. The narrative begins on the eve of WWI and ends in New York during the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Set in Princeton and Cambridge, Italy and Santa Fe and Brooklyn, the saga encompasses the sexual revolution of the 1970s followed by AIDS, and includes a colorful cast of Cuban and Hispanic characters. These happy-ending stories of intimacy and devotion tested over time become gay history almost as a metaphor for the civilization that the novelist means to encapsulate. Richard Wiley calls it “the first important gay novel of the new century.” Miles Clark says, “This refreshingly forthright novel will delight the literatus, the love-struck, and the lewd — often at the same time.” And R. D. T. Byrd comments, “Hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-providing in equal measure, John Bowers’ ‘End of Story’ is a ‘Tales of the City’ for the new millennium.”

Babies and Borders: Gender, Immigration, and Nation-Building
Tuesday April 12, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium Prof. Eithne Luibhéid, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Arizona
Illegal status is commonly understood in terms of undesirable character. Our speaker this evening argues instead that the difference between so-called legal and illegal status is actually created through political processes that require close critical scrutiny. Focusing on recent controversies over undocumented women who give birth to U.S. citizens, she explores the ways gender, sexual, racial, and class hierarchies shape the ways nation-states draw distinctions between legal and illegal status. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Departments of History, Political Science, Sociology, and Women’s Studies, and by the United Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

Representation and Perspective in Science
Thursday April 14, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium Prof. Bas C. van Fraassen, Department of Philosophy, San Francisco State University
Science represents the empirical phenomena of nature via models. Criteria for scientific success demand accuracy and truth, first of all, but that is not the whole story — representation is always selective and may require some distortion, even in those aspects selected for demonstration. In addition, the adequacy of a representation has a pragmatic aspect relative to its purpose. And finally, observation and measurement are perspectival, and the appearances to be accounted for are precisely these perspectival measurement outcomes. Beginning with the explanatory status of representation, our speaker this evening offers a new focus for current debates about scientific realism. Co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, UNLV.

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Future of Human Rights
Thursday April 28, 2011 — 7:30 p.m. — Barrick Museum Auditorium Prof. Blanche Wiesen Cook, Departments of History and Women’s Studies, Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Eleanor Roosevelt played a key role in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), but a second document she worked on, the Covenant on Economic and Social Rights, was never ratified. Tonight Eleanor Roosevelt’s leading biographer will discuss the history of these documents as well as the human rights work that remains to be done. Prof. Cook portrays Roosevelt as most important woman in American political history, an activist of great independence of spirit, and a teacher, writer, and crusader for social justice and human rights worldwide. Co-sponsored by the UNLV Departments of History and Women’s Studies, the Boyd School of Law, UNLV, the Women’s Research Institute of Nevada, and Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society.

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