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UB Faculty Featured in Free Public Summer Lecture Series

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: May 31, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo faculty members will share their expertise on a variety of topics during the UBThisSummer Lecture Series, "The World in Which We Live: Multiple Disciplines, Multiple Perspectives," to be presented on Wednesday afternoons this summer on UB's North (Amherst) Campus.

The lectures will take place at 4 p.m., beginning June 6 and running through Aug. 15 -- with the exception of July 4 -- in 215 Natural Sciences Complex, North Campus. They will be free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Although attendance is free, those interested in attending any of the lectures are asked to register at http://ubthissummer.buffalo.edu/lectures.html.

The UBThisSummer Lecture Series is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education.

"Why Is Murder So Entertaining?" will be the topic of the first lecture in the series on June 6 by David F. Schmid, associate professor of English. Schmid will provide a history of Americans' intense interest in homicide, concentrating in particular on how the 20th-century explosion of media -- from television and film to DVDs and the Internet -- has saturated society with more representations of murder than ever before.

The remaining lectures in the series and speakers include:

* June 13: "Understanding Trauma and PTSD: A Look Inside the Psychological World," Gayle Beck, professor of psychology. Beck will review what is known about psychosocial responses to traumatic events. Specifically, she will discuss information about expected emotional responses to extreme events -- recognizing that these events can be as diverse as sexual assault, car crashes, school shootings, hurricanes and terrorist attacks -- with particular attention to normal recovery trajectories. A discussion of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will include a description of this psychiatric problem, as well as current evidence-based treatments in an attempt to de-mystify this emotional disorder.

* June 20: "Trashy Tabloids and Vegas Casinos: The Ancient World in Modern Pop Culture," Donald T. McGuire Jr., adjunct assistant professor of classics. In this lecture, McGuire will look at modern popular culture and explore some of the ways in which we have recreated the ancient world in general, and more specifically, the world of ancient Rome, in contemporary culture. He will discuss why Rome and the ancient Mediterranean elicit such a strong fascination in our imaginations.

* June 27: "The Concentration of Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites in Western New York," Nils Olsen, professor and dean, UB Law School. Focusing on the Model City area within the towns of Lewiston and Porter in northern Niagara County, Olsen will examine the current use of the land for waste disposal, focusing on the legal and political dynamics that have resulted in the concentration of hazardous-waste facilities in the area.

* July 11: "Ich bin ein Berliner: Why Europeans Once Loved an American President and What Has Changed Since Then," Andreas Daum, professor of history. With the end of the Cold War—and especially since the war in Iraq—Europeans have been redefining their relationship with the United States. In this lecture, Daum will revisit the myths surrounding President John F. Kennedy's 1963 trip to Berlin—where he received the most enthusiastic welcome of his career—in order to trace some of the fundamental reasons for the transformation in American-European relations over the course of the past century.

* July 18: "The Story is True: The Art and Meaning of Telling Stories," Bruce Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB departments of English and American Studies. This lecture, Jackson says, will be about "making and experiencing stories as something people do, as one of our basic social acts." He will discuss "how stories work, how we use them, how they change and how they change us."

* July 25: "Canada's Unsettled Political Landscape: Implications for the Canadian-American Relationship," D. Munroe Eagles, professor of political science and geography, and associate dean in UB's College of Arts and Sciences. After more than a decade of majority governments led by the Liberal Party, two successive minority governments in Canada "have heralded the onset of unstable political times that show no signs of abating." In this talk, Eagles will identify the origins of these developments in Canadian politics, discuss the precarious nature of Canada's current minority government -- if it even remains in power at the time of the lecture -- and examine some of the implications for Canadian-American relations.

* Aug. 1: "Human Rights, Human Wrongs and How to Correct Them," Claude E. Welch, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the UB Department of Political Science. Despite increasing global scrutiny, human rights abuses continue and are presented regularly on our television screens. As citizens, Welch says, we may feel helpless, "both from lack of knowledge about what has occurred and (more important) from limited awareness about what can be done." Yet, he says, individuals have made differences in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. In this lecture, Welch will answer these questions: "Who are these persons? What accomplishments have been made? What, in short, are the positive foundations on which a better future for all can be built?"

* Aug. 8: "The End of the Universe and the Future of Life," William H. Kinney, assistant professor of physics. Kinney will revisit the famous argument first made by Freeman Dyson in 1979 that life in an expanding universe has a limitless future. In light of recent developments in cosmology, "the reality for the future of evolution is more complex than Dyson envisioned," Kinney says.

* Aug. 15: "Geographic Medicine: Why We Get Sick the Way We Do," Richard V. Lee, professor of medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics and adjunct professor of anthropology and social and preventive medicine. Lee explains that human illnesses are shaped by physical geography, climate, how human beings use the land and the flora and fauna that reside on the land, and how human activity impacts the ecology and the environment. Understanding the origins and distribution of human ailments requires on-site investigation of the complex interactions of biology, culture, history and geography, he says, noting that "the doctor has to go to the sick, not the sick come to the doctor."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB's more than 27,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.