Lecture Series

 Spring 2017

Lectures take place during Common Hour, 12:15p.m. - 1:15p.m. in Dangremond Family Commons. A light lunch will be provided.

Somalis in the Twin Cities and Columbus: Immigrant Incorporation in New Destinations

Stefanie Chambers, Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of Political Science 

February 23

During the 1990s, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota and Columbus, Ohio experienced an influx of Somali refugees. These refugees found low-skill jobs in warehouses and food processing plants and struggled as social “outsiders,” often facing discrimination based on their religious traditions, dress, and misconceptions that they are terrorists. This FRC lecture will address the refugee experience in Midwestern cities where new immigrant communities are growing.  Chambers’ research examines how culture and history influence the incorporation of Somali immigrants in the U.S., and discusses policy changes that can advance rather than impede new immigrant incorporation.

Welcoming New Americans? Local Governments and Immigrant Incorporation

Abigail Fisher Williamson, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy & Law

March 23

In 2016, Donald Trump won the presidency in part through promises to build a border wall and crack down on unauthorized immigration. On the local level, however, a national survey and in-depth examination of four cities demonstrate that municipal officials are far more likely to welcome than exclude immigrants. Municipal officials face distinct legal and economic incentives to welcome immigrants that the general public does not consistently share. Officials that wish to promote incorporation walk a fine line between setting a tone that welcomes immigrants and minimizing the potential for backlash from established residents.

Yuyachkani’s Human Rights Theater: Modes of Theorizing beyond Academia

Anne Lambright, Dean of Academic Affairs and Charles A. Dana Research Professor of Language and Culture Studies

April 20

For over forty-five years, Peruvian theater collective Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, has been creating and performing popular theater in Peru, making it by far the longest continually-running and most important popular theater collective in Latin America. The group's name, which in Quechua means "I am thinking, I am remembering," highlights its commitment both to Peru's indigenous cultures and to preserving and performing a collective national memory. Internationally renowned for their unique blend of arts and activism, Yuyachkani is widely recognized for its unrivaled contributions to the terrain of theater and human rights. This talk explores the intersection of art, theory, and activism by asking how Yuyachkani’s work, as process, product, and experience, might be considered serious theoretical explorations and interventions in the development of human rights theory in Peru, Latin America, and beyond.

Fall 2016

Letters of the Unlettered: Class, Literacy, & Communication in the Civil War

Christopher Hager, Associate Professor of English

September 15

The U.S. Civil War compelled millions of little-educated Americans to become writers—often quite prolific ones. The departure of men from home put a premium on literacy among poor farmers and tradespeople. In the numerous letters they exchanged, soldiers and their families took an old, well-wrought, and largely élite medium and adapted it to working-class life in wartime. How they did so illuminates ordinary Americans' experiences of the Civil War as well as our own experiences of new communications technologies.


Using Organic Triarylcations as Tunable Catalysts for "Green" Chemical Reactions

Cheyenne S. Brindle, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

October 27 

Catalysts facilitate chemical reactions by lowering the energy barrier of a process. In addition, catalysts are not consumed in a reaction, so they can be used in very small quantities. Many catalysts contain toxic and expensive metals, which has created a new push for "greener" alternatives. Triarylcations are a potential solution to this problem, as they contain no metal atoms, but activate reactions in a similar fashion. In addition, this reactivity is tunable, allowing for the same catalyst structure to be applied to many different types of chemical reactions.