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Design for the Theatre Production: Meeting Artistic Goals While Creating Sustainable Practices

13 October 2010
Ellen Jones

This presentation included an overview of the functions of visual design in play production. It outlined the sustainable practices adopted and the technological improvements to reduce our carbon footprint. Jones discussed some the industry wide changes that have been instituted to make theatre production more environmentally responsible. The BSU Theatre Program has found ways to more effectively use resources without compromising production values.

Texts of Terror: Theo Literary Responses to the Vikings and King Aethelred's Viking Policy

27 October 2010
Larry Swain

The purpose of this presentation is to argue that Abbo of Fleury's Life of St. Eadmund and the perservation of the Old English poem Judith in its current manuscript context represent political statements at opposite ends of the spectrum regarding regal response to invasion from Northmen. Between the two texts is the shining star of Bendictine Reform Aelfric of Eynsham whose writings implictily display an evolving and changing attitued toward the king and his Viking policy, from the extreme represented by Abbo's text of Christ-like suffering in the face of pagan invasion of a Christian land to an explicit call to arms to defeat the Vikings with God's help represented in the Old English Judith poem. Thus, though two decades separate Abbo's text from the manuscript in which Judith is preserved, we nonetheless see Alefric's change in approach in those two very decades, thus demonstrating a change in the church's approach to the Viking problem.

Inevitable Triumph: World War II Films & the Idea of Victory

17 November 2010
Tom Murphy

When World War II began, Franklin D. Roosevelt promised "absolute victory." Americans believed him, and today we assume the Allies would prevail. Why? Hollywood films reinforced ideas about American identity and destiny. The presentation focused on popular films such as Wake Island (1942), Bataan (1943), So Proudly We Hail (1943), Since You Went Away (1944), and Back to Bataan (1945). In conjunction with this lecture the movie Bataan was shown the evening before.. This movie is the story about a small detachment of soldiers and sailors left to destroy a bridge during the final defense of the Philippines. After the showing of the movie a Question/Answer session took place.

Perceptions of the Wolf at the Door: Preliminary Findings on Changing Capacities Among Local Officials in the Louisiana Coastal Zone

25 January 2011
Carla Norris-Raynbird

Prior to the hurricanes of 2005, research was conducted among local officials in coastal parishes in Louisiana examining several dimensions of capacity related to coastal zone management. A follow up study is currently underway to assess potential changes in capacity since the experiences of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav. In the first phase of this study, thirty-one person to person interviews were carried out in the summers of 2009 and 2010 with parish Presidents and local officials associated with coastal zone management. Preliminary data not unexpectedly shows change to organizational structure, personnel and 'saavy" among local officials. This presentation discusses the collision of changing attitudes and practices with stalwart resistance to change in local communities, the potential effects of hurricane 'saavy' in local decision making and perceived opportunities for 'good' and 'bad' coastal management decisions and actions.

The Creative Power of the Soul in Stanislavski's The Work of the Actor Him/Herself: Orthodox Mysticism, Mainstream Occultism,  Psychology and the System in the Russian Silver Age

8 February 2011
Patrick Carriere

The contention in this study is that both in theory and in practice Stanislavski maintained a "real" sense of the spiritual presence of the actor. This attitude allowed him to construct a paradigm for actor training that develops tools modes of communication that have been erased from the prevailing understanding of Stanislavski's work in America-- a type of communication that Stanislavsky characterizes as "the unmediated personal interaction, soul to soul." Dr. Carriere fleshes out the Russian Silver Age conception of the soul according to the influences of Orthodox Christianity, occult science and speculative psychology that inundated the culture of the intelligentsia, and then apply these ideas to Stanislavsky's An Actor Work on Himself: Parts I and II.

Alcohol and the Social Network: The Psychology of College Alcohol Use and Modern Technology

23 February 2011
Angela Fournier

Alcohol Abuse and its negative outcomes are among the greatest challenges facing colleges and universities. Many social factors can contriubute to student alcohol use, including student perceptions of a drinking culture on campus and seeing alchohol use as the norm. This presentation included a brief introduction to the psychological literature on college alcohol use and a review of research results from data collected at BSU. The impact of online social networking sites on student drinking norms and actual drinking behavior was discussed.

Naming Places and Displacing Names: The Counter-Imperialism of Thomas Hardy's Wessex and Charlotte Brontë's Villette

15 March 2011
Susan Cook

In 1830, the Royal Geographical Society was founded with the stated purpose of advancing geographic science in Britain and abroad. Throughout the nineteenth century, this geographic "advancement" became nearly synonymous with colonial exploration and the establishment of Britain as an imperial nation. The RGS reflected a wide-spread cultural interest in discovering, knowing, mapping, and incorporating space--an interest that is illustrated but also problematized by Victorian novelists writing throughout the century. This lecture focused on Thomas Hardy's Wessex and Charlotte Brontë's Villette, and reads the way both of these fictionally named but identifiable English or continental locales are mapped at cross purposes to the mission of the RGS and the colonial enterprise. Hardy and Brontë map by renaming--an imperial gesture, but in each of their cases a subversive one. Instead of reflecting geographic advancement, these authors critique the imperial nation form the inside out.

Platonic Solid: Plato's Gorgias 464b-465c as a Cube

30 March 2011
Brian Donovan

Both commercial and political advertising commonly aim to persuade us to purchases, votes, or contributions by presenting them as steps towards the good life--which they never tire of telling us we deserve, though on what basis remains obscure and unexamined.  Such blandishments seem to bear out Plato’s famous critique of rhetoric at Gorgias 464b-465c, where Socrates identifies it as one of four branches of flattery.  These are four mere knacks that unintelligently imitate true arts, aiming at the pleasant rather than the good life.  Per Socrates’ complex analogy, rhetoric apes jurisprudence as cookery apes medicine; likewise sophistry apes legislation and the practice of bodily adornment apes physical training or gymnastic.  Visually mapping the eight terms of this analogy onto the vertices of a cube presents fresh objects for analysis:  the cube’s three dimensional axes, six faces, and twelve edges.  Analysis of some of these can lead us to question rather more of the crucial distinctions underlying Plato’s critique than Bruce McComiskey did in “disassembling” it in his 1992 article and 2002 book. (Particularly noteworthy is the edge representing the relation between cookery and medicine, as the most immediate analogue to that between what rhetoric is and what it ought to be.)  This in turn calls into question the underlying distinction between the pitilessly examined life and that which is sweetened by social tact, regarding which is better.

Managing Apocalypse: A Cultural History of the Mormon Cricket

12 April 2011
Christina Robertson

Anabrus simplex, a long-horned grasshopper, is one of several species that swarm under certain conditions. Known as the Mormon cricket since swarms invaded Utah farmers’ fields in 1848, Anabrus simplex has lived in western North America for eons. Robertson examined how apocalyptic rhetoric and notions of dominion—in the Bible, folklore, newspapers, and government documents—have shaped human reactions toward locusts like the Mormon cricket. Cricket "management" means pesticide use, resulting in widespread destruction of crickets, their habitat, and many non-target species. Far-reaching consequences may include the poisoning of humans through toxic bioaccumulation. Despite annihilation efforts, Anabrus simplex thrives. Finally, Robertson asked whether Judeo-Christian notions of cultural/natural harmony are historically and ecologically myopic. Could ongoing pesticide use be the harbinger of real apocalypse?

Djembe Beats: Using a Circular Spatial Notation to Document the Traditional Rhythms of Guinea

14 September 2011
Janice Haworth

African drum beats have typically proven difficult to record using traditional notation. Haworth spent one year in Guinea researching, teaching and learning to play the native djembe drum, with the goal of finding a way to preserve the rhythms and exchange them with other cultures. She sought to record the djembe beats using a special circular notation system called “Sik-lik” she invented with her brother, James. SikLik notation is based on a polygonal shape that fits the structure of a particular rhythm pattern, with colored dots of various sizes and shapes representing hits, accented notes and flams and drags of the rhythm patterns through a timing-encoded spacing. This focuses on the spatial relationship of various notes, rather than the duration of sound noted in traditional written music.

Jobs For All: The Benefits to Minnesota (And Beyond)

4 November 2011
Michael Murray

Dr. Murray presented on the increasing economic concern that has risen over the past three years. While the media reports only certain economic figures, the true severity of the economic crisis is far more extreme than the average American knows. Dr. Murray described the various unemployment figures that go unreported by the media and how they depict the growing problems in the job sector. He proposes a "New Deal" type government program that would not only solve the unemployment issues but also help to rebuild some of the infrastructure of America.