Spring 2017 Arthur Vining Davis Foundation Mini-Seminars

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation is presenting a series of faculty-facilitated mini-seminars this term through the House Communities. These are free, informal, and short-term exploration of a variety of topics, and they are open to any Dartmouth community member.

Sunday, April 23

Truth, Community, and Commitment to Free Inquiry

Appropriately, there is more interest than ever in the ways in which a fundamental commitment to seek truth ought to help structure our goals and priorities.  This discussion will introduce some useful ideas from philosophy.  How are our relationships to one another bound up with the commitment to free inquiry?  How do deception and obfuscation threaten that community?

Mini-seminar led by Timothy Rosenkoetter, Philosophy

12:30-2:00 pm, House Center B

Sponsored by Allen House

Mamma Mia! Northern Stage

The musical sensation, Mamma Mia!, takes the music of Grammy Hall of Fame rockers, ABBA ,and weaves it into a sunny tale that has delighted over 50 million people worldwide!  At Northern Stage, the region’s award-winning professional theater company, you will meet director Carol Dunne, enjoy the sensational production, and have a talk-back with the cast immediately following the performance! Transportation: Provided (if needed). Pick-up and return to the front of the HOP. (Note: limited tickets are available. Please contact Erin.P.McMahon@Dartmouth.edu if interested).

Mini-seminar led by Peter Hackett, Theater Department

4:00 pm, Northern Stage (74 Gates Street, White River Junction, VT 05001)

Sponsored by Allen House

Monday, April 24

Humanhood: Beyond Childhood and Adulthood

Instead of seeing a human life as a series of stages, I see it as a developing whole. Are we basically human animals or human persons? Do we create ourselves by means of an ongoing autobiographical narrative?

Discussion led by James Murphy, Government Department

6:30-8:00 pm, House Center B

Sponsored by Allen House

French Politics and Fashion

Professor Cone will speak briefly on the French presidential elections, and then show a film titled “Merci, Patron” (“Thank you, Boss”), a very Michael Moore-like documentary about the CEO of the fashion and luxury brand conglomerate, LVMH. The film is in French with English subtitles

Discussion led by Annabelle Cone, French and Italian

7:00-8:30 pm, House Center A

Sponsored by North Park House

Tuesday, April 25

Deep Dialogue

Come and explore biases and how those biases influence you and others (and the first 30 people to come get a free Boloco burrito for dinner to enjoy while you participate!).  The goal of the two sessions is to help participants learn about social inequities through listening to personal experiences and testimonials of prejudice, discrimination, and oppression. We hope to create a nurturing and challenging environment where students (and faculty and staff, if they wish to participate) will comfortably share personal information. We ask that participants voluntarily share personal information with their peers in an affirming environment. These sessions are about personal sharing, listening, reflecting, and affirmation. It’s the open, honest, and respectful sharing that will make the sessions unique and powerful. It is not about discussing, debating, or teaching more on the topic. We are creating the space to help participants learn about the experiences of their peers, as well as discover their own uniqueness and be aware of biases and areas that they need to continue to explore.

Discussion led by Jennifer Sargent, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, Women and Gender Studies

5:00-6:30 pm, Fahey Ground Floor Commons

Wednesday, April 26

Why Do Bosses Say Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is More Important than GPA When Hiring?

Learn about emotional intelligence and raise your EQ in only 1 session, no studying required!

Discussion led by Janine Scheiner, Psychological and Brain Sciences

6:00-8:00 pm, Brace Commons

Sponsored by East Wheelock House

Thursday, April 27

¿Son las dictaduras exclusivamente políticas?

Esta no será una clase de historia (ni tampoco será una clase, ¡es un conversatorio!), pero sí vamos a recordar algo de nuestra historia para ubicarnos en el hoy, para encontrar/descubrir nuestras propias dictaduras.

Discussion led by Kianny Antigua, Spanish and Portuguese

5:00-6:30 pm, La Casa

Sponsored by South House

Living With Autism: The Meaning of Neurodiversity

In this mini-seminar, participants will explore the lived experience of autistic-spectrum disorders. How might autistic people see the world differently, and what can we learn from that difference? Is Autism best viewed through a disability or a diversity lens? We will screen the PBS documentary "Neurotypical," read poetry from and interviews with autism spectrum writers, and engage with community members on this topic.

Discussion led by Sara Chaney, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric

6:30-8:00 pm, House Center B

Sponsored by School House

Why Do People Believe in Weird Things?

Alien abductions?  Bigfoot?  Ghosts?  Conspiracy theories?  Alternative realities in which Nelson Mandela passed away in the 1980’s?  Casual conversations, popular media, and even psychological literature has explored some of the most unusual ideas you can imagine.  Join us for conversation and speculation on why people might believe in unusual ideas.  Learn where you might go locally to explore some interesting sites and scenes that embrace the weird and wonderful.

Discussion led by John Pfister, Psychological and Brain Sciences

7:00-8:30 pm, House Center A

Sponsored by South House

Monday, May 1

Can Social Media Be a Better Place? Why Now? How?

All the time we spend online: reading, writing, texting, checking, liking, playing. All the feelings we feel: happy, good, excited, curious, connected; also confused, upset, angry, alone or annoyed. How to deal with it all and maximize the positives? We’ll explore this question by focusing on emotional intelligence in online interactions.

Discussion led by Yana Grushina

6:00-7:30 pm, House Center B

Sponsored by Allen House

Tuesday, May 2

Things You Should Know That Aren’t Taught in College

The mini-seminar "Things you should know that aren't taught at college" is a fast paced, lighthearted look at practical topics that are not typically addressed at Dartmouth. Three topics will be covered per session, 20 minutes each, and the demonstrations will be goofy and memorable. The topics are eclectic and the only connection between them is that they are practical, useful skills, with 'everything you need to know' provided at lightning fast pace. Despite the lighthearted attitude you will learn something, maybe alot. The first session will cover how an internal combustion engine works complete with a full engine tear down (and rebuild?), how to wire the electrical circuits of a house (all of them, with nary an electrocution), and how to do your taxes/buy house/invest your money - all in 1 hour!

Discussion led by Chris Polashenski, Engineering

7:00-8:30 pm, Brace Commons

Sponsored by East Wheelock House

Wednesday, May 3

Genius and (Emotional) Intelligence

This talk and discussion will explore the longstanding (and insidious) myth that being smart means being dumb about feelings and emotions.  To know thyself in the Socratic sense entails being in touch not just with your thoughts, but with the passions and emotions that shape them.  Smart Dartmouth students, and those hoping for successful and balanced lives, take note!

Discussion led by Darrin McMahon, History

4:00-5:30 pm, Fahey-McClane Lounge

Sponsored by West House

Can Social Media Be a Better Place? Why Now? How?

All the time we spend online: reading, writing, texting, checking, liking, playing. All the feelings we feel: happy, good, excited, curious, connected; also confused, upset, angry, alone or annoyed. How to deal with it all and maximize the positives? We’ll explore this question by focusing on emotional intelligence in online interactions.

Discussion led by Yana Grushina

6:00-7:30 pm, House Center B

Sponsored by Allen House

Truthiness

This mini-seminar asks what it is to be a reasonable person, and contrasts two metaphors for reason. One is that being reasonable is like walking a tightrope, and trying not to fall into unhelpful absolutism on one side, and unhelpful arbitrariness on the other. The other metaphor casts reason as a stick with which to beat people into submission. As you might have guessed, I'm not a fan of the stick metaphor, but it plays an important role in contemporary life, and needs to be examined. Examples include scientistic (not scientific) overreach, alternative facts, and the amazing prevalence of bullshit

Discussion led by John Kulvicki, Philosophy Department

6:00-7:30 pm, House Center B

Sponsored by School House

Thursday, May 4

Relax and Eat Your Way to Health and Happiness

In this mini-seminar, we will explore recent scientific research relating to human health and happiness. The first session will cover the wide-reaching effects of stress on the body, and some simple ways we can combat stress to alleviate these effects. The second session will focus on the various ways that our gut microbiome affects our mental and physical health, and we will sample some foods that can help foster a healthy gut community. Both sessions will involve presentation, discussion, and experiential learning.

Discussion led by Sarah Bartos Smith, Environmental Studies, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric

4:30-6:00 pm, House Center A

Sponsored by South House

Learning with Your Brain in Mind

The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe, with tremendous capacity for learning and memory.  Yet, even the brain has its limits, as well as preferred means of processing information. This mini-seminar will consider ways to maximize learning, understanding and recollection, that are consistent with the natural abilities (and limitations) of the human brain. You might very well come to find out that your study habits have not been in your brain’s best interest!

Discussion led by David Bucci, Cognitive Science, Psychological and Brain Sciences

6:00-7:00 pm, Fahey-McClane Lounge

Sponsored by West House

Monday, May 8

French Politics and Fashion

After the second round of the French elections, Professor Cone will discuss briefly the final results, comparing them to the elections in the United States, and discussing the general electoral shift to the right. The main focus of this seminar, however, will be the fashion industry, and the role fashion plays in our daily lives. After showing a scene or two from “Merci Patron”, Professor Cone will speak briefly about the fashion conglomerate LVMH, her own love/hate relationship with fashion in general, and the fashion industry in particular, before turning the discussion over to participants.

Discussion led by Annabelle Cone, French and Italian

7:00-8:30 pm, House Center A

Sponsored by North Park House

Tuesday, May 9

Things You Should Know That Aren’t Taught in College

The mini-seminar "Things you should know that aren't taught at college" is a fast paced, lighthearted look at practical topics that are not typically addressed at Dartmouth. Three topics will be covered per session, 20 minutes each, and the demonstrations will be goofy and memorable. The topics are eclectic and the only connection between them is that they are practical, useful skills, with 'everything you need to know' provided at lightning fast pace. Despite the lighthearted attitude you will learn something, maybe alot. The second session will cover plumbing, what every tool in a mechanic shop is used for, and basic food prep, including how to filet a fish, cut up a chicken, and make bread. Action packed!

Discussion led by Chris Polashenski, Engineering

7:00-8:30 pm, Brace Commons

Sponsored by East Wheelock House

Wednesday, May 10

Truthiness

This mini-seminar asks what it is to be a reasonable person, and contrasts two metaphors for reason. One is that being reasonable is like walking a tightrope, and trying not to fall into unhelpful absolutism on one side, and unhelpful arbitrariness on the other. The other metaphor casts reason as a stick with which to beat people into submission. As you might have guessed, I'm not a fan of the stick metaphor, but it plays an important role in contemporary life, and needs to be examined. Examples include scientistic (not scientific) overreach, alternative facts, and the amazing prevalence of bullshit

Discussion led by John Kulvicki, Philosophy Department

6:00-7:30 pm, House Center B

Sponsored by School House

Given China’s rise, How Long Will America Continue to be the World’s Only Superpower?

Ever since the Soviet Union collapsed 25 years ago, the United has occupied a singular position at the top of the global hierarchy of power.  In light of China’s rise, how long will America continue to be the world’s only superpower?

Discussion led by Stephen Brooks, Government Department

7:30-9:00 pm, House Center A

Sponsored by North Park House

Sunday, May 14

“Smart” Disruptive Technologies or Infectious Pathogens: A Workshop to Explore Reasons for Concern

Are we becoming dependent on our technological appendages, and if so, how, to what extent, and why?  Take a step back and explore the underbelly of the disruptive technology marketplace, and help uncover the shadow cast by devices that may impact your health and sense of well-being in unexpected ways.

Discussion by Andrea Kremer, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, Mathematics

6:30-9:00 pm, House Center A

Sponsored by North Park House

Wednesday, May 17

What Would the World Look Like if the United States No Longer Occupied a Global Leadership Role?

Since the end of World War II, international politics has been profoundly shaped by America’s strategic choice to pursue a global leadership role.  The election of Donald Trump has called that leadership into question as never before.  What the world would look like if America no longer occupied a global leadership role?

Discussion led by Stephen Brooks, Government Department

7:30-9:00 pm, House Center A

Sponsored by North Park House

Thursday, May 18

Relax and Eat Your Way to Health and Happiness

In this mini-seminar, we will explore recent scientific research relating to human health and happiness. The first session will cover the wide-reaching effects of stress on the body, and some simple ways we can combat stress to alleviate these effects. The second session will focus on the various ways that our gut microbiome affects our mental and physical health, and we will sample some foods that can help foster a healthy gut community. Both sessions will involve presentation, discussion, and experiential learning.

Discussion led by Sarah Bartos Smith, Environmental Studies, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric

4:30-6:00 pm, House Center A

Sponsored by South House

Exercising Your Stressed Brain

Stress can have both positive and negative effects on your brain. These effects can also differ depending on whether you are male or female. This mini-seminar will focus on how stress effects brain function and behavior, and what you can do about it. Particular attention will be paid to how physical exercise changes the brain itself, and can alleviate the negative impacts of stress on cognition and behavior.

Discussion led by David Bucci, Cognitive Science, Psychological and Brain Sciences

6:00-7:00 pm, Fahey-McClane Lounge

Sponsored by West House

Tuesday, May 23

Things You Should Know That Aren’t Taught in College

The mini-seminar "Things you should know that aren't taught at college" is a fast paced, lighthearted look at practical topics that are not typically addressed at Dartmouth. Three topics will be covered per session, 20 minutes each, and the demonstrations will be goofy and memorable. The topics are eclectic and the only connection between them is that they are practical, useful skills, with 'everything you need to know' provided at lightning fast pace. Despite the lighthearted attitude you will learn something, maybe alot. What will we do during the third session? Well, that's a secret. Maybe we don't even know yet! 

Discussion led by Chris Polashenski, Engineering

7:00-8:30 pm, Brace Commons

Sponsored by East Wheelock House