Bulletin News

‘R/Evolution’ Series Continues during March


During March several speakers — an English literature specialist, a prison reform advocate and a documentary filmographer — will each take the podium at SUNY Cortland to address the concept of “r/evolution” in a series of lectures from their unique viewpoints.

Additionally, the month will offer the screening of the futuristic film “The Singularity is Near: A True Story about the Future” and the opportunity to attend a student-organized conference on diversity, as SUNY Cortland’s yearlong “R/Evolution” series continues in spring 2015 questioning the notion that evolution represents positive change with a number of book and staged readings, film screenings and discussions. Presented by the College’s Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee (CICC), the events are free and open to the public.

The CICC members assert that, despite “r/evolution” in the ways that humans operate in the world, certain issues seem to reassert themselves as timeless problems.

David Franke, a SUNY Cortland professor of English, will discuss “Evolution and Writing” at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, in the Old Main Colloquium Room.

Using as a lens his professional writing course Evolution of Writing, Franke will present a survey of writing from musty Sumerian cuneiform to glittery Twitter. He will divulge ways that he imports and adapts evolutionary concepts from biology into the study of “technologies of the word.”

Franke will share how some of the persistent myths about biological evolution cause trouble when used to study historical development in writing. He will end his talk by discussing the optimistic theory that writing inherently enhances consciousness and contrast that with the more recent theory that computers degrade it.

For more information on Franke’s talk, contact Andrea Harbin, associate professor of English, at 607-753-2073.

Glenn E. Martin, who spent six years in New York state prisons before becoming a national leader and advocate for criminal justice system reform, will speak at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, in Sperry Center, Room 105. A reception will follow in the Sperry Center lobby.

Glenn E. Martin
Glenn E. Martin

Martin, whose personal journey has helped shape his unique and groundbreaking approach to criminal justice reform, will discuss the growth of mass incarceration in America in a talk titled “From Convict to Conviction: A Grassroots Vision for Criminal Justice Reform in America.”

Named an America’s Leaders of Change National Urban Fellow, Martin regularly contributes his expertise to national news outlets on topics such as policing, de-carceration, alternatives to incarceration and reentry issues. Martin most recently founded JustLeadershipUSA, a national non-profit organization dedicated to cutting the prison population in half by 2030 while reducing crime.

Martin’s lecture also represents the eighth annual Charles N. Poskanzer Lecture, sponsored by the College’s Health Department and the Sociology/Anthropology departments. For more information on the Poskanzer Lecture, contact Barbara Barton, assistant professor of health, at 607-753-2976, or Al Sofalvi, assistant professor of health, at 607-753-2980.

The College will screen a film presenting the ideas of celebrated futurist Ray Kurzweil at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, in Sperry Center, Room 205. “The Singularity is Near: A True Story about the Future” asserts that the onset of the 21st century will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged. According to Kurzweil, potential exists for the human species to break the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieve inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress and longevity.

Based on Kurzweil’s New York Times list bestseller, the film intertwines a fast-paced A-line documentary with a B-line narrative story. The A-line documentary features Kurzweil interacting with a panoply of thinkers on the impact of exponentially expanding technologies on the nature of human life in the next half century. The intertwined B-line is a Pinocchio story of Ramona, played by Pauley Perrette, a superhero avatar created by Kurzweil. For more information, visit www.singularity.com or contact Anita Kuiken, senior assistant librarian, Memorial Library, at 607-753-4983.

Regan Brashear
Regan Brashear

“Show Me Your Brave” is the theme of the sixth annual Student Conference on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice on Saturday, March 28. The conference, which begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Corey Union Function Room, is meant to inspire students to truly think about the meaning of bravery. The event features as the keynote speaker Lyndon Huling, SUNY Cortland’s former assistant director of multicultural life and diversity. For more information, contact Melissa Da Costa, Casey Tower residence hall director, at 607-753-5475.

The award-winning documentary directed and produced by Regan Brashear explores the social impact of human augmentation. Haunting and humorous, poignant and political, “Fixed” rethinks “disability” and “normalcy” by exploring technologies that promise to change human bodies and minds forever. A screening of ”Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement” will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, in Sperry Center, Room 205.

Regan Brashear's film ”Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement” will be shown on Tuesday, March 31.

The show will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Brashear. For more information, contact Jeremy Zhe-Heimerman, coordinator of assistive technology and test administration at Memorial Library, at 607-753-2358.

Campus and community members are invited to read several books on their own to prepare them for classroom and group discussions. The “common read” literature includes “Inherit the Wind,” by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, a dramatic rendering of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial; a collection of 27 essays geared for a general audience, The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013, edited by Siddhartha Mukherjee; and David Sloan Wilson’s book Evolution for Everyone, a collection of essays that shows how evolution provides a framework for investigation in many disciplines. The Evolution for Everyone author, Wilson, will visit the campus at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, to talk about his scholarship in Old Main Brown Auditorium.

For more information on the “R/Evolution” series, the “common reads,” contact committee co-chair Scott Moranda, associate professor of history, at 607-753-2052.

The series will continue in April.