Fall 2011 Intersections:
October 5: “Does history repeat itself? Comparing the 'Great Depression' and the 'Great Recession'”
November 2: "Queer History and Untimeliness”
December 7: "I Feel Therefore I Am" A panel discussion on the new science and philosophy of emotions
October 5, 2011
“Does history repeat itself? Comparing the 'Great Depression' and the 'Great Recession'”
The most recent economic crisis, the so-called Great Recession, has been compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s in both severity and duration. Both crises were preceded by an astounding deterioration in income distribution. In both 1929 and 2007, the wealthiest one percent of the population claimed roughly twenty-five percent of all income generated. This indicates a significant concentration of economic—and potentially political—power in the hands of a minority during the years leading up to both crises. But is this where the similarity ends? Is there more to this co-appearance of income inequality and economic crises than a spurious correlation?
In this presentation, Dr. Rojhat B. Avsar will discuss contemporary examples of three potential channels through which income and wealth inequality could translate into economic instability: excessive financial speculation and predatory practices, erosion of social cohesion, and prevalence of socially inefficient institutions and policies.
Join us for a lively conversation on the recent economic crisis, and the prospects for creating a more prosperous and fair society.
Rojhat B. Avsar, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Economics at Columbia College Chicago. He received his PhD from the University of Utah, where he studied the rhetorical aspect of the Social Security reform debate in the U.S. Dr. Avsar’s current research focuses on the political economy of current public policies.
November 2, 2011
“Queer History and Untimeliness”
Proponents of same-sex marriage in the U.S. have described gay history through the metaphor of a child who went through a phase of adolescent revolt during the Gay Liberation Movement, who had to grow up fast during the AIDS epidemic, and whose attainment of adult maturity is visible today in the respectable desires for marriage, children, and social legitimacy.
Against this linear and, indeed, all-too-straight historical narrative, Dr. Kadji Amin will argue that an account of the pre-Stonewall period, of marginal social locations such as prisons and of geographies outside of the U.S., demonstrates the vital untimeliness of a specifically queer history.
Kadji Amin, PhD, is Assistant Professor of French and Humanities at Columbia College Chicago. His research interests include queer theory, queer historiography, literature, and affect studies. He is currently working on a book manuscript on the 20th-century French author, playwright, and activist, Jean Genet.
December 7, 2011
"I Feel Therefore I Am"
A panel discussion on the new science and philosophy of emotions
The mind is saturated with emotion. Almost every perception and thought is weighted with some feeling of attraction or repulsion, not to mention the more sophisticated passions. Sometimes these emotions help our cognitive decision-making, and sometimes they crash over our reason like uncontrollable storms. They fuel our behavior, values, art, and other aspects of culture.
How did social animals develop the basic emotional palette? What are the new sciences saying about the relation between human and animal emotions? And what role will the emotions play in our future social evolution?
Join us as the members of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Group in Mind, Science, and Culture address these and other questions for the final Intersections lecture of the Fall 2011 semester.
Stephen T. Asma, PhD, is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he holds the title of Distinguished Scholar. Dr. Asma is the author of several books and has written many articles on topics that bridge the humanities and sciences, including the philosophy of biology and the uses of religion.
Rami Gabriel, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Columbia College Chicago. His research interests include consciousness, the self, and other topics at the intersection between psychology and philosophy. He is in the process of writing a book, Why I Buy: Self, Taste, and Consumer culture.
Thomas Greif holds an MA in Theology from Santa Clara University and is a former member of the Jesuit Order and the Theology Department of Gonzaga University. He is currently interested in the elaboration of a materialist understanding of the brain/mind question as it relates to future transformations in human societies.