Armstrong Faculty Lecture Series Kickoff is September 24


(August 28, 2010) The 2010-2011 Armstrong Atlantic State University Robert I. Strozier Faculty Lecture Series kicks off at 12:10 p.m., Friday, September 24 in University Hall 156 on the AASU campus, 11935 Abercorn Street.

Janet D. Stone, Armstrong professor emerita of history, will present “Celebrating 75 Years of Armstrong’s History.” She is the author of a historical book to be published in September, “From the Mansion to the University: A History of Armstrong Atlantic State University 1935-2010.” From a city junior college to a state university, from an elegant mansion to a green and growing campus, Armstrong Atlantic State University has traveled an interesting road through the history of higher education in Savannah and in Georgia. Armstrong has never had ivy-covered walls that separated it from the surrounding community or from changing times. Its history has had its high points and its low points, with memories that make us smile, make us thoughtful and make us proud. Armstrong has moved through them all with institutional resilience and dedicated purpose.

The faculty lecture series will continue throughout the academic year. All lectures begin at 12:10 p.m. in University Hall 156 and are free and open to the public. The schedule is:

October 15
Douglas E. Masini, head of respiratory therapy, presents “Games Your Children Are Dying to Play.” This lecture considers the dangerous games of huffing and hypoxic “choking.” In almost every case examined, adults are unaware that children are engaged in such games, while peers and siblings often know about the games. Children play these games at school, during athletic activities and at youth group meetings. Regional issues and demographics also are explored. An analysis of fatalities, however, reveals only adolescent risk-taking behavior. While it is important for adults to be able to discuss these games, Masini’s research also suggests that we must learn to listen to children, as they tell us what we need to know about the prevalence of these dangerous games in our communities.

October 29
Thomas F. Howard, associate professor of geography in the Department of History, will host “The German Socialstaat Revisited: A System in Turmoil.” Most advanced economies have welfare programs that are now facing economic challenges posed by population growth that has slowed almost to zero. Social security and pension systems in these countries have been based on a demographic that no longer exists—large numbers of working-age people support a relatively small number of retirees. These countries can make up for demographic decline through immigration, but this, in turn, creates problems of cultural assimilation with which countries are historically ill-prepared to cope.

November 12
Ray R. Hashemi, professor of computer science, will present “Deriving Policies From Data.” The popular paradigm in policymaking is that policymakers make a policy and then collect data to show the effectiveness of the policy. Conveniently, however, the collected data about a policy almost always supports the policy, rarely suggests modifications to the policy and almost never rejects the policy unless the policymaker loses his seat. As an alternative paradigm, policies may be automatically derived from the collected data. This lecture explores research that tested this new paradigm by deriving policies for vessel traffic in a treacherous inland waterway. Using Coast Guard data collected for a period of five years about vessel accidents on the lower Mississippi River, a new Extended Formal Concept Analysis approach was introduced and used that delivered three sets of policy decision scenarios, representing a series of increasingly dangerous situations for vessel traffic.

January 28, 2011
Hassan Aziz, associate professor of medical technology, will present “Infections That Changed the World.” Throughout history infections have claimed the lives of millions, yet the impacts of such devastation are often overlooked. This lecture addresses the historical and scientific aspects of selected infections and how they have shaped our history and influenced today’s world. In particular, the research incorporates historical and scientific knowledge to determine the impact of selected infections on civilization and the evolution of science and the humanities. It describes the cause of each infection and its pathogenesis, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment; and applies experiences learned from past outbreaks to better prepare us for future occurrences.

February 18
Dorothee Mertz-Weigel, assistant professor of French, will present “Parlez-vous Français? Thanks to Technology, I Do!” Mertz-Weigel addresses the topic how college students can take any foreign language as part of the core curriculum and become somewhat fluent in that language. It may seem the odds are against them. This lecture explores the many different ways technology and other means of communication can be used to transform any college student into a speaker of French, Spanish or any other foreign language.

March 4
Monica Rausch, assistant professor of English, will present “More Than Wigs: Women and Nation-building in Ama Ata Aidoo’s Short Stories.” Ghana writer Ama Ata Aidoo’s No Sweetness Here is a collection of stories that explores the specific complexities of an African nation struggling to recover after the violence of colonialism. Aidoo portrays the difficult dilemmas her characters face when grappling for a new identity after gaining independence. Three stories in particular —“For Whom Things Did Not Change,” “Everything Counts” and “In the Cutting of a Drink”—speak to the struggle of women in nationalist movements. In nationalist rhetoric, women are often marked as keepers of tradition and, as a result, women’s participation in nationalist movements is often marginalized. This lecture examines how Aidoo uses stories to involve her readers in the dilemmas her female characters face. She comes to no easy conclusions, no simple binaries, as she shows how “modernizing” while forming a nation is a complex, multifaceted, turbulent process with far-reaching repercussions on the self as well as the country.

April 1
José de Arimatéia da Cruz, associate professor of political science, will present “The Chinese in Latin America: The Commodity Lottery Winners and Losers.” Robert Devlin, a regional adviser at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, has argued that China is increasingly perceived as an economic juggernaut in Latin America. For raw material exporters, the expanding competitive edge of China is temporarily masked by China’s demand for their products. For most countries in Latin America, China represents the potential for increased foreign direct investment and for greater strategic cooperation. This lecture examines the implications for Latin American nations of the rise and expansion of China into the Western Hemisphere. Who are the commodity winners? Who are the commodity losers?

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