Emory Report
September 17, 2007
Volume 60, Number 4

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September 17, 2007
Life of the Mind to spark intellectual connections

By kim urquhart

A leading primatologist explains what primates can teach us about human behavior. An internationally renowned biochemist delves into the origins of evolution. A film expert looks at how new technologies used in series like “Lord of the Rings” are reshaping cinema.

These Emory professors — Frans de Waal, David Lynn and Eddy Von Mueller — are the inaugural speakers in a new lecture series that each month will showcase one of Emory’s many gifted faculty members. Life of the Mind begins Oct. 3 with de Waal’s lecture on “Our Inner Ape.” Recently named one of TIME Magazine’s “Top 100 People Who Shape Our World,” de Waal will explore the duality of human nature through our closest animal relatives, the chimpanzee and the bonobo.

Framed in a way that non-specialists can understand, the lectures are designed to appeal to a broad audience of faculty, staff and students as well as to the wider community. “Not since the Great Teacher Lecture Series have we had a venue for an interdisciplinary series where interesting people talk at a level which is understandable to an educated, intergenerational audience,” said Santa Ono, vice provost for academic initiatives and deputy to the provost.

The university-wide lecture series was created by the Office of the Provost and the Faculty Council in response to faculty and students’ desire for more interdisciplinary communication at Emory.

According to professor Nadine Kaslow, chair of the Faculty Council, the lecture series is “a wonderful opportunity to partner with the provost’s office in an activity that will enhance the intellectual life of the Emory community and that will highlight the outstanding scholarship of our faculty.”

From law and chemistry to the arts and humanities, the lunchtime lecture series will provide a forum where the University community comes together regularly to hear about Emory scholarship. “Life of the Mind lectures will span the totality of what happens intellectually at Emory,” said Ono.

The free lectures, held at noon in the Woodruff Library as part of “Wonderful Wednesdays,” will include ample time for discussion. Organizers hope that the lectures will spark connections, such as collaborations between professors and students or among faculty from different departments. “This series is designed as a way to build intellectual community on campus,” Ono said.

The Life of the Mind series will continue into the spring semester, beginning with a lecture by law professor Martha Fineman, a leading authority on family law and feminist jurisprudence.

For more information, visit www.emory.edu/PROVOST/docs/global/lifeofthemind.pdf.

Oct. 3: Frans de Waal, “Our Inner Ape: What Primate Behavior Teaches Us About Human Nature”
Nov. 7: David Lynn, “On the Origins of Evolution”
Dec. 5: Eddy Von Mueller, "The Empty Set: Labor, Technology and the Transmogrification of 21st Century Cinema"

Lectures will be held at noon in the Jones Room of Woodruff Library but may be subject to change.