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Being in Time - a Cross-Cultural Perspective

27 October 1999
Dada Maglajlic and Mark Christensen

A brief comparison of the "Western" and "Eastern" approach to time will be presented, focusing on:

  • How late is late & formal vs. informal time
  • Past, present and future oriented cultures
  • Monochronic and polychronic approach to time.

Bewitched and Bewildered: Women, Power, and Magic in the Early Modern Era

9 February 2000
Elizabeth Dunn

We will look at the overall shape of the European and Salem trials, the role of church leaders in encouraging witch hunts, and the role that gender and sexuality played in initial accusations and subsequent public rituals. Study of the trials indicates that the patriarchal nature of European culture did not appear overnight but was part of a long process in the context of the Age of Exploration and the subjugation of indigenous peoples all over the world. The Salem trials emerged by the twentieth century as the only well-known witch hunting episode in western society. We will consider why that legacy endures and how the story of Salem limits our understanding of larger forces at work.

Street Children in Vietnam

16 February 2000
Riki Scheela

According to the Vietnamese Government, one of the outcomes of the transition from a command economy to a market economy is the increase in social evils. This presentation will focus on one of these social evils, the growing problem of street children in Vietnam.

During a 10-month sabbatical, Professor Scheela worked with a Hanoi based program that provides food, clothing, shelter, education, support, advocacy and counseling; and services to reunite children with their families when possible.

Scheela will address the circumstances, needs and resources of street children in Vietnam, describe the PLAN International Street Children Project, share her experiences working with the staff and the children, present a case study of six shoe shine boys, and explore implications for the future.

Housing Reform in Shanghai & Guangzhou

22 March 2000
Thomas J. Beech

The devolution of authority by the central Chinese government, has resulted in increased local autonomy, and has facilitated policy diversity and experimentation among China's cities and provinces. To date, existing research largely focuses on two questions related to policy diversity among Chinese coastal cities, the most dynamic region of modern China. First, I will examine the political and economic roots of the differing paths to overall reform taken by two major urban administrations, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Secondly I will determine how these differing policies have influenced the response of the two cities to a common crisis, a dearth of adequate available housing. I will argue that Guangzhou, which pursued more aggressive market-based economic reforms, was more successful than Shanghai, which relied upon reform of state-controlled institutions, in the provision of residential housing.

Islam in the 21st Century: Dealing with Perceptions of Race & Gender

29 March 2000
Mary J. Hrenchir

As the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam is a force that needs to be understood, particularly in the West. In the past two decades the United States and Europe have seen large increases in Muslim populations through both immigration and conversion. Yet in the popular imagination of the West, Islam remains a non-western and alien religion that oppresses women and terrorizes the rest of the world. Islam is perceived as a religion that appeals to the racially oppressed peoples of the world and therefore antagonistic to the culturally dominant white world. Issues of race and gender need to be explored both historically and theologically if a truer understanding of Islam is to evolve.

Ixodes Ticks and Lyme Disease in Minnesota

11 April 2000
Patrick Guifoile

The most common arthropod-borne illness in this country -- Lyme disease -- was unknown in the United States prior to the mid-1970s. Lyme disease, carried by blacklegged (deer) ticks (Ixodes scapularis), is growing in the Northeast U.S. as the distribution of I. scapularis expands. Evidence will be presented that the same trends are occurring in Minnesota. Distribution of these ticks, the incidence of infection in the ticks, and strategies for avoiding the disease will be discussed.

Comparative Genomics in the Post-Genomic Era

25 October 2000
Lars S. Jermiin

Recent advances in DNA sequencing have provided us with enormous amounts of data. We can use methods such as phylogenetic and tree-dependent analysis to interpret these data, but are these the best methods? This lecture will focus on the need for interdisciplinary cooperation in the post-genomic era.