Calendar of Events

September 18, Dr. Alice Dreger: “Who Should Count as a Woman on the Playing Field? Questions of Intersex and Trans in Sports” 7 p.m., Sperry Center Room 105 

Dr. Dreger’s talk will discuss how many sports have historically been divided by gender (man/woman), although we’ve generally pretended the division is by sex (male/female). The more that we learn about gender and sex, the more we know the drawing sex and gender divisions is not so easy. So what should happen in sports? This talk will explore this question, taking into account biology, the nature of sport (including the value of fairness), and social justice concerns. Dr. Dreger, who has consulted on this question with the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, will parse out the issues and offer a few possible solutions.

September 23, Dr. James Strick '81: "Darwin and the Origin of Life: Public vs. Private Science” 4:30 p.m., Sperry Center Room 205 

Many people assume that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is inseparably linked to life first arising by natural chemical means. But what did Darwin really say about this? Interestingly, he said very little in public about the origin of life, and what he does say is remarkable for its apparent ambivalence. Discussing the subject in private letters with supporters, Darwin took varying positions over time. This talk will attempt to interpret Darwin’s writing on the origin of life in the context of the larger public debate over his theory of evolution, as well as Victorian debates over spontaneous generation of life, medicine, science, and the germ theory of disease. It will also draw connections to modern origin of life research supported by NASA as part of the quest to understand the potential of the universe to harbor life beyond Earth.

September 24, Margaret Leng Tan: Sorceress of the New Piano. 4:30 p.m, Sperry Center Room 104

Strumming the strings of the piano like a harp and performing Beethoven and the Beatles on a toy piano are among the surprising scenes in Evans Chan's documentary, which celebrates the trans-cultural career of Singapore-born, New York-based pianist Margaret Leng Tan. (

October 2 "Making Sense of Ferguson In and Out of the Classroom: How we can Help" Sandwich Seminar by Dr. Sarah Hobson 12 p.m, Jacobus Lounge, Brockway Hall

October 15, Temple Grandin (Film): 7 p.m., Sperry Center Room 105

Starring Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, Catherine O'Hara and David Strathairn, Temple Grandin paints a picture of a young woman's perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism at a time when it was still quite unknown. The film chronicles Temple's early diagnosis; her turbulent growth and development during her school years; the enduring support she received from her mother (Ormond), aunt (O'Hara) and her science teacher (Strathairn); and her emergence as a woman with an innate sensitivity and understanding of animal behavior. (

November 7, Dr. Anthony J. Nocella II: “Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline and the Rise of Hip Hop Activism and Transformative Justice” 11:30 a.m., Jacobus Lounge, Brockway Hall 

Anthony J. Nocella II will speak about the growing attacks on youth by private and governmental agencies. This presentation examines how the school and criminal industrial complexes construct and depend upon the school to prison pipeline. The pipeline—with its many tactics, strategies, and players—is a manifestation of modern day colonialism overseen by wealthy white Christians who are raging an undeclared war against those with histories, languages, faiths, and cultures that do not meet the status quo determined by the cultural elite. Colonialism is a style of warfare that does not use guns and tankers; rather, it attacks and destroys cultures by targeting and controlling a culture’s youth, who represent the possibility for a new world order. Nocella will discuss his work for youth justice, food justice, Hip Hop activism, and his book, From Education to Incarceration: Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline (2014).

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Common Read 2013-2014

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