Lecture Series

The 2014-15 lecture series

October 16: John Platoff, Professor of Music

Francesco Benucci, Nancy Storace, and Sarti's Fra i due litiganti in Vienna

Fra I Ilitiganti, an opera by one of Mozart's leading contemporaries, was an overwhelming success throughout Europe. However, mot cities heard a version of the opera with substantial amounts of music not by Sarti at all. My examination of over 50 manuscript scores and printed librettos reveals that a standardized Viennese version of I due litiganti supplanted the original version. New arias for the leading singers Nancy Storace and Franceso Benucci established the musical and dramatic profiles that made them beloved favorite of Viennese audiences.

October 30: Kent Dunlap, Professor of Biology

Ecology of the Brain: How Social Interactions and Predators Influence Brain Cell Production in Electric Fish

Although it was once thought that the structure of the brain became fixed in adulthood, it is now clear that brain structures are continually influenced by the environment throughout life. I examine environmental influences on brain cell production in South American electric fish, which have an unusually high degree of brain plasticity. I will present findings from lab experiments as well as field studies in Uruguay and Panama showing how social interactions and the presence of predators modify the birthrate of new brain cells in brain regions associated with communication behavior and learning.

November 20: Kevin J. McMahon, John R. Reitemeyer Professor of Political Science

The Mass is Over: Law, Politics, and the Death of the Great American Church

It's al gone now. In a little gritty city in upstate New York, what was once a great structure reaching toward the sky fell into a pile of bricks in late Spring 2013. How did it get to this point? How did a church that once strained to hold its flock end up empty and in disrepair before ultimately succumbing to the wrecking crew. Where did all the people go? More specifically, to what extent do law and politics generally and legal decision specifically matter in the closure of churches? And what does this single case say about the state of the Catholic Church in America today?

 February 19: Kifah Hanna, Assistant Professor of Language and Culture Studies

March 26: Zayde Gordon Antrim, Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of History and International Studies
Mapping the East
Maps have become so ubiquitous that we are not used to thinking critically about them; likewise, the Middle East has dominated headlines to the extent that its equation with conflict and fragmentation seems self-evident. Zayde will challenge these assumptions by analyzing maps that show the different ways people have visualized, expressed belonging in, or asserted control over Middle Eastern land over the past millennium.
April 16: Martha Risser, Associate Professor of Classics
Sacred Space at the Bridge of the Untiring Sea: The Sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia
Every two years, when athletes, musicians, poets, and painters from throughout the Greek world came to the Isthmian Games to compete with one another for prized wreaths, they sacrificed hecatombs and feasted at the isthmus between the Corinthian and the Saronic gulfs. This biennial festival served also as a cultural bridge, uniting people from the many and variety city-states of ancient Greece even when at war. The Sanctuary of Poseidon prospered with the increasing popularity of its contest, but managing crowds and administering a major feast on the narrow V-shaped plateau must have presented challenges. How were people fed and accommodated? To what extent did the spatial organizations of the sanctuary change in response to growing interest in its PanHellenic festival? How did they cope with the fiery destruction of the Archaic Temple is ca. 450 BCE?

Lectures are held during the Thursday Common Hour (12:15 – 1:30 p.m.) in the Hallden Hall Common Room.

Lunch will be provided; R.S.V.P to common-hour@trincoll.edu