College of Arts and Sciences to begin new ‘Scholars on the Road’ lecture series

Five zombies at a bus stop.

UB faculty to travel the country to discuss everything from zombies to climate change

Release Date: October 25, 2013 This content is archived.


Download High-Res Image:

David Castillo.

David Castillo

“They are us. Zombies look and act what we fear we are. ”
David Castillo, chair, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences will connect with alumni through a mutual love of zombies, theater and new technology in their new “Scholars on the Road” lecture series.

UB’s largest and most diverse school, the College of Arts and Sciences will host five faculty lectures for UB alumni across the United States. The lectures – in Buffalo; New York City; Boston, Mass.; and Washington, D.C. – allow graduates to take part in discussions with UB professors on the research the faculty are passionate about.

“Our faculty and alumni are one of the university’s greatest resources,” says Thomas McArthur, director of constituent and alumni relations in the college. “Graduates have shared with us that they are interested in hearing from UB faculty. With a wide range of disciplines in the college, the lecture series will bring relevant and stimulating topics to our alumni.”

The series kicks off on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Buffalo with David Castillo, PhD, professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. In the spirit of Halloween, Castillo will present “Why Zombies, Why Now?” to a sold-out crowd of UB graduates and discuss why our culture has become obsessed with zombies via TV shows, movies and popular culture.

“They are us,” says Castillo. “Zombies look and act what we fear we are. They are masses of aimless consumers possessed by a destructive hunger that we can’t understand. They are garbage, the products of our contamination and nature’s ways of reestablishing balance. And they allow us this new landscape where we can reinvent ourselves, take control over our lives and actually own our own choices, as hard as owning our choices can be.”

Castillo has done extensive research and lectured internationally on the origins of horror and the fantastic. A few of the major films he will discuss include the original “Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” this year's blockbuster movie “World War Z” and the popular television show “The Walking Dead.”

Upcoming discussions in the “Scholars on the Road” lecture series include:

February 2014, Washington, D.C.: Journey to the Arctic with Jason Briner

Jason Briner, PhD, an associate professor of geology who has done extensive research in the arctic, will lecture on global climate change. He will also discuss and share photos from his many trips to the arctic.

Feb. 19, Buffalo: Smart Technology with Sarbajit Banerjee

Sarbajit Banerjee, PhD, an associate professor of chemistry, will present the work he has done to create “smart windows,” which, depending on the climate, allow heat or cold into a home to save energy. Banerjee has also done work with several companies, including IBM and Jaguar.

April 3, Boston, Mass.: Revisiting Civil War Poetry with Cristanne Miller

Cristanne Miller, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Edward H. Butler Professor of Literature in the Department of English, will discuss how poetry functioned to help people – Northern and Southern, civilian and military, black and white, women and men – process the terrible slaughter, personal and national grieving, and deep ideological rifts of the Civil War. She will show several visual images taken during the war, and read and talk about poems by famous and anonymous poets during the course of the war.

March 2014, New York City, NY: Performance by Stephen Henderson

Stephen McKinley Henderson, professor and former chair of the Department of Theater and Dance, welcomes alumni to view him in the Broadway performance of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Afterwards, guests are invited to a reception and discussion with Henderson.

For questions or more information, contact Gina Cali-Misterkiewicz in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 716-645-0850 or

Media Contact Information

Marcene Robinson is a former staff writer in University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, email or visit our list of current university media contacts.