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Faculty Lecture Series

The 2017-2018 Robert I. Strozier Faculty Lecture Series will begin Friday, September 1, 2017 in the Student Union Ogeechee Theater. The sessions will feature Armstrong faculty members who will lecture on a variety of topics. Each session will last from noon to 1 p.m.

What is the Cost to Nature to Sustain an Increasing Population?

September 1: Meimei Lin–Geography
Has agricultural intensification been reducing or increasing total farmland in the US? A panel data was used to determine the association between agricultural intensification and cultivated area. Multivariate regression analysis suggested that the total amount of land in CRP is positively correlated with land-sparing, whereas crop prices and USDA farm subsidies have negative impacts. The increasing demand in biofuel production places the future agricultural systems under risk by encouraging the conversion of marginal land to production. Therefore, government policy should promote land-sparing effect under agricultural intensification. Agricultural subsidies should be restructured to minimize unintended environmental impacts.

Change Can Kill: What Barnacles Can Teach Us About Dying Young

September 22: Paul Dunn–Biology
From an evolutionary perspective, it is counterintuitive for any organism to die young, since all individuals that die before adulthood also fail to reproduce and pass on their genes. Despite this fact, a pattern of high mortality early in life is present in almost all organisms. One promising potential explanation for this pattern is the presence of dangerous early-life transitions that produce unavoidably high mortality risk. Using barnacles as model organisms, we are beginning to test just how dangerous some early-life transitions are. This in turn may help to unravel the mystery of why so many living things die young.

Paradigm Shifts in Sexuality

October 13: Jack Simmons–Philosophy
Universities across the nation have recently adopted new policies in an effort to stem sexual assault on college campuses. The most radical approach involves setting new standards for sexual consent that establish a normative standard for meaningful sexual relationships. This move establishes third party oversight of personal sexual relationships, which represents a significant paradigm shift in the Western conception of romance for the last 800 years. The presentation suggests that the contemporary trend signifies a retreat to classical conceptions of marriage and contractual sexual relations, objectified and authorized by third party authority.

​Women in Uniform One Hundred Years Later: Rethinking World War One in Italy 

November 10: Allison Scardino Belzer–History
100 years ago World War One consumed Europe both on the battlefield and at the homefront. Confined for centuries to the shadows of the private sphere, women suddenly became essential to the war effort and stepped into the light of the national stage. By the thousands, women responded to these appeals by putting on uniforms and making visible their patriotism, cutting a new pattern for female participation in civic society. Allison Scardino Belzer will discuss Italian women’s wartime activities and how they shaped demands for citizenship.

Kodachrome Rumors: Why Outdated Technologies Thrive in the Art World

January 26: Bridget Conn–Photography
As former director of a community photographic darkroom, I watched over six years as our membership grew instead of shrank, surprising many. Based on this experience, I have begun an exploration of how technologies evolve from commercial tools into the methods with which artists make work. I will show examples of how discarded technologies can help explain the importance of process in the creation of art, why an understanding of process is essential for a thorough appreciation of art objects, and how nostalgia and the “starving artist” stereotype distract from more potent reasoning behind the use of these art-making techniques.

Journey to Mars: Test Activities at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

February 16: Cameron Coates–Engineering
NASA’s current activity is heavily invested in sending humans to Mars by the 2030’s. Initially, there will be a yearlong mission into deep space using the Space Launch System and Orion. This will be followed by an integrated human robotic mission that involves redirecting and sampling an asteroid boulder. The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, AL, conducts a wide variety and large number of tests on rockets and related components. This talk will describe the major structural and combustion tests on primary and secondary systems that are being performed at MSFC, in preparation for the Mars mission. An overview of the planned journey to Mars, the dominant challenges and efforts to overcome them will also be provided.

Digging Savannah: Monks, Freedmen, Ghosts, and Myths

March 23: Laura Seifert–Anthropology
Recent research at both the Benedictine Monastery and Freedman school on Skidaway Island and the Sorrel-Weed House on Madison Square has revealed new historical details but has also forced us to contend with the present, including the thorny issues of privilege and descendant communities’ access to their own past. The ghosts of Savannah’s past spur tourism but can challenge us with uncomfortable and sometimes brutal histories. How do we introduce these new histories to old sites without upsetting and risking the loss of excavation privileges? What happens when archaeological findings conflict with historical myths held dear?

Hoptimization of the Brewing Process: How Beer is Made

April 13: Sarah Gray & Sarah Zingales–Chemistry
Have you ever wondered how beer is made, or what gives beer that skunked flavor? Are you interested in local microbreweries, or home brewing? This talk will cover the general brewing process and the ingredients that go into making beer, as well as what leads beer to skunk, and how you can avoid it. In addition, our collaboration with a local microbrewery, Southbound Brewing Company, will be discussed.

For more information, please contact Lesley Clack at