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2012-13 Brooks Lecture Series Unveiled

The 2012-13 Rozanne M. Brooks Lecture Series at SUNY Cortland this year takes on the theme of “Culture and Health.”

The series, which is free and open to the public, features a reception before each presentation. Three guest speakers will present during the fall semester and the series will feature a poster session and a two-speaker lecture during the spring semester.

The events all take place on Wednesdays and begin at 4:30 p.m. in Moffett Center, Room 2125. A reception to welcome each speaker starts at 4 p.m. at the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum in Moffett Center, Room 2126, unless otherwise noted.

The following guests will speak during the fall semester:

• Stacey A. Langwick, an associate professor of anthropology at Cornell University, will discuss “The Value of Secrets: Pragmatic Healers and Proprietary Knowledge” on Sept. 19. As conversations related to the ownership of intellectual property have grown louder, a struggle has arisen concerning the value of healers’ secrets in Africa. Langwick, the author of two recent books related to African healing, will address the tensions generated by a healers’ secrets and their potential to interrupt the relationship between therapeutic knowledge, political authority and property regimes. Her talk will focus on “the emergence of a new kind of healer-intellectual and their efforts to find an institutional position from which to build common cause between medical science and African healing.”

• Timothy Baroni, a SUNY distinguished biology professor at SUNY Cortland, will present “Biodiversity of Macrofungi in Endangered Tropical Ecosystems: What We Do and Don’t Know” on Oct. 17. Two decades of field research will help demonstrate the biodiversity of mushrooms and their relatives during this talk, which will look at many samples collected throughout North and South America. The importance of fungi in the ecosystem will be discussed as well as data that provides a deeper understanding of their short life spans and the difficulties encountered when trying to study them.

• Jena Nicols Curtis, an associate professor of health at SUNY Cortland, will discuss “Assessing and Addressing Health ‘Needs’ in Other Cultures” on Nov. 7. Curtis, a young faculty member who has won more than $35,000 in grant funding and penned six publications since 2006, will explore exactly what a person needs in order to be considered healthy. She’ll consider how culture shapes the concept of well-being as well as how people view the health needs of others belonging to different cultures.

The spring semester will feature the following events:

• SUNY Cortland Students will present a poster session on “Global Culture, Global Health” from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on March 6 in Moffett Center, Room 2126. The reception begins at 3:30 p.m. for this event.

• Robert Rubinstein and Sandra Lane, two Syracuse University professors, will discuss “Anthropological Contributions to Preventing Blinding Eye Disease in Egypt” on March 20. Both Rubinstein, a professor of anthropology and international relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and Lane, a professor of public health, food studies, and nutrition as well as a research professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University, have studied and researched extensively in the areas of health, science and anthropology. They will present their research on trachoma, which is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. Together, they will share their ideas about eliminating the bacterial infection by 2020.

The 2012-13 Brooks Lecture Series is sponsored by a grant from Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC) and the Cortland College Foundation. For more information, contact the lecture series organizer and Brooks Museum director, Sharon R. Steadman, at (607) 753-2308.