2019 Colloquia

Lunch Colloquiums are held in 130 Luce Center (825 Houston Mill Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30329). Colloquiums are generally held every first and third Monday or Tuesday from 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Entries will note if colloquiums are held offsite. All are welcome to attend any Lunch Colloquium. However, capacity seating is 45, so an RSVP is required.

Click on the sub-navigation to the left to view past speakers and topics. The 2019 speakers and topics are listed below by month. Because we webcast most colloquiums and archive the results, many are available to view online. Click on the blue titles to view past lectures as they become available.


Tuesday, January 15
Selden Deemer, Librarian Emeritus
“Changing Courses” or  “A 72-Year-Old Undergraduate Speaks”

Two years ago, when EUEC member Selden Deemer and his wife moved to Dahlonega, Georgia, where they now live “amid cows, chickens, turkeys, forest rats (deer),” Selden began to consider studying a language other than English as a way to keep his mind fit. He was delighted to discover that the University of North Georgia has a rich foreign language program, and he decided to revisit the Arabic he had studied in college and grad school—and used during years when he worked as a librarian in Saudi Arabia. Last fall, he followed up that audit with actual enrollment in an Introduction to Islam course (in which he earned an A he’s very proud of). And he’s now hoping to do as well in two spring semester courses, Introduction to Islam II and Arabic Epigraphy and Calligraphy. When Selden shared the pleasures (and challenges) of his experience as a decidedly postgrad undergraduate with John Bugge last September, John suggested he share the same with us—in a Lunch Colloquium. And we see a program on this subject as the perfect way to kick off a new year of offerings in which the Emeritus College itself enables our members to enjoy “school forever” even as Selden is doing
in Dahlonega—and honor the wishes of John, who passed away suddenly in November. Marilynne McKay and Holly York share their retirement stories too.

Monday, January 28
Stephen Nowicki, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Psychology Emeritus
“Choice or Chance: Locus of Control”

Anything but “retired” after 50 much lauded years of teaching psychology at Emory—and comparably distinguished years of clinical practice and research in the field—Steve Nowicki is ready to report on the results of a three-year grant from the Templeton Foundation, a grant enabled by a prior Heilbrun grant from our own Emory College of Arts and Sciences that has allowed him to pursue his long-time interest in the impact of “locus of control” with extensive work in England. What is “locus of control,” you ask? “Our locus of control reflects how much we expect what happens to us is due to our own choices or to chance," Nowicki explains. “I have studied the implications of locus of control on the personal lives of children and adults for decades and concluded it is a key to personal, social, and academic successes.”  Nowicki used the Templeton grant to study all children born in 1991 in Bristol, England, and their parents over the past 27 years. What he found has profound implications for the way we live our lives and how our children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren are raised.


Tuesday, February 12
Carl C. Hug Jr., MD, PhD, Professor of Anesthesiology Emeritus, School of Medicine
“The Opioid Crisis in 2019”

Monday, February 25
Ronald Gould, Goodrich C. White Professor of Mathematics Emeritus
“How I Gained an International Reputation as a Gambler”

After Ronald Gould developed and taught a freshman seminar titled “Mathematics in Games, Sports, and Gambling” here at Emory, strange events and unusual requests followed, as he became known around the world for his “gambling prowess." In reality, Gould was just teaching these freshman students a series of problems to show that mathematics—even simple mathematics—can be useful and fun. In this session, he’ll teach you as well, and in the process hopes to demystify how mathematics is done at all levels including the far-from-simple. In this lively session, you’ll get a glimpse of the beauty all mathematicians see in their subject and work—and maybe pick up a point or two about gambling.


Tuesday, March 12
Liza Davis, Director Emerita, University Honors Program, Kennesaw State University
“The Poetry of Natasha Trethewey”

Twice selected as Poet Laureate of the United States, Natasha Trethewey won a Pulitzer Prize for her collection Native Guard in 2007. She later published Thrall, a collection in which she examines the history of men, women, and children marginalized by the rigid hierarchy of pure Spanish and mixed-race classifications in 18th-century colonial Mexico. Various taxonomies of color were captured in what are known as Casta, or "caste," paintings commissioned by wealthy colonial families. Trethewey finds layered meanings in these paintings, enthralling her readers. This presentation will pair selected poems from Thrall with slides of the art they explore.

Monday, March 25
Helen O’Shea, RN, PhD, Professor of Nursing Emerita, and Donald O'Shea, Professor of Physics Emeritus, Georgia Institute of Technology
“How Does Your Garden Grow?”

One block from the Emory gate there is a forested garden that Helen and Don O’Shea created over the past 15 years. It has been on the Druid Hills Homes and Gardens Tour and the Atlanta Botanical Garden Tour for Connoisseurs. This presentation describes the design, development, and maintenance of the garden by these two retired professors, one of whom became a master gardener after retirement. Topics will include the choice of plants and their plantings, successes and failures over time, and practices the O'Sheas have developed over the years that should prove useful to anyone who maintains a garden or wants to start one. They promise plenty of pictures of flowers too.


Monday, April 22
Cassandra Quave, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Human Health and Curator of the Emory Herbarium
“Exploring Nature’s Bounty: Drug Discovery from Plants Used in Traditional Medicine”

Pursuant to her training as a medical ethnobotanist, Quave's research focuses on the documentation and biochemical analysis of botanical remedies and foods in applications for anti-infective and anticancer therapeutics. Her research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, industry contracts, and philanthropy. To date, she has authored more than 60 publications, edited two books, and holds three patents. She is the co-founder and CEO/CSO of PhytoTEK LLC, a drug discovery company dedicated to developing solutions from botanicals for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections and recalcitrant wounds. Quave has been the subject of feature profiles in the New York Times Magazine, BBC Focus, and Brigitte magazine, and on the National Geographic Channel. Her work has been featured on NPR, in National Geographic Magazine, and in several major news outlets including the Washington Post, The Telegraph, CBS News, and NBC News.



Tuesday, May 14 
Cynthia Willett, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy
“The Comic in the Midst of Tragedy’s Grief with Tig Notaro, Hannah Gadsby, and Others”

The function of the comic in the midst of tragedy isn’t clear. Is it simply comic relief that wounded nations, communities, or individuals seek? Is it simply Nietzschean moments of joyful forgetting and perhaps a measure of transcendence from grief? Mark Twain emphasized the latter when he wrote, “The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow.” It’s a view sometimes phrased as “comedy is tragedy plus time.” It’s assumed we need emotional distance in order to mock or transcend the tragic. But there might be another way that humor can help us deal with suffering, a way Cynthia Willett sees as apparent in our increasingly inclusive comic scene, where humorists address audiences struggling to make sense of a volatile world. She will share insights she and her sister Julie have developed in a book due out in the fall, Uproarious: How Feminist and Other Subversive Comics Speak Truth.

Tuesday, May 28
Marilynne McKay, Professor of Medicine (Dermatology) Emerita
“Taking Your Skin Outdoors: Sun, Bugs, and Poison Ivy”

Your skin is a living, protective barrier between you and the environment, but summertime brings special challenges. When it’s warm outside, we tend to wear less clothing and stay outside longer, exposing our skin to a spectrum of UV rays, insects, and allergenic plants. Marilynne McKay will share what your dermatologist would like you to know about new sunscreen recommendations, insect repellents, and poison ivy precautions so you'll have a great time outdoors this summer—minus the blistering and peeling, nasty bites, and itchy rashes that could make your skin wish you’d paid closer attention to this lecture.


Tuesday, June 11
Bradd Shore, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology Emeritus
“And the Flesh Was Made Word: Romeo and Juliet in the Kingdom of Cratylus

Attendees will enjoy a fresh look at Romeo and Juliet through an anthropologist’s eyes. Tracing the play’s links to Plato’s Cratylus, the talk considers Juliet’s famous question, “What’s in a name,” as the heart of Shakespeare’s dazzling reflection on the relations between love and language.  This unexpected perspective on the world’s most famous love story is adapted from Shore’s forthcoming book, Shakespeare and the Play of Great Ideas

Monday, June 24
Justin A. Joyce, Research Associate to Emory Provost Dwight McBride and Managing Editor of the James Baldwin Review
“Gunslinging Justice: The American Culture of Gun Violence in Westerns and the Law”

In a new book that shares its title with today’s presentation, Justin Joyce explores the cultural history of the interplay between the Western genre and American gun rights and legal paradigms. Commonly read as an indictment of the American legal system, the Western genre often imagines the procedural focus of American law as an obstacle to justice. On its face, the genre embraces justice by gun violence rather than by trial. However, Joyce argues that this opposition is progressively undone by the genre’s formulaic shootouts, which carry much of the spirit—if not the letter—of American legal regimes around gun violence. He will focus his presentation on the classic 1962 film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance to demonstrate that rather than being “anti-law,” the Western genre has long imagined new justifications for gun violence that American law seems ever eager to adopt.


Tuesday, July 9
Pablo Palomino, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Mellon Faculty Fellow, Oxford College of Emory University
“The Making of Latin American as a Cultural Region: Identity and Otherness from a Musical Perspective”

Latin America is less an objective reality than the history of the multiple projects that attempted to create a region out of the intrinsic heterogeneity of the New World. Underlying these projects, a surprisingly wide set of musical practices was crucial to creating an enduring idea of Latin American culture and identity. In particular, the aesthetic category “Latin American music” consolidated the cultural identity of this region by connecting highbrow and lowbrow traditions, folk and erudite, popular and commercial music across disparate cultural streams—national, Iberian, European, Pan-American, African, and indigenous. Based on his upcoming book, The Invention of Latin American Music (Oxford University Press), Palomino’s talk will invite us to reflect on our geocultural assumptions from a musical perspective.

Monday, July 22
Voracious Readers Anonymous, Assorted Members of EUEC
“Bookfest 2019: Recommendations for Rest of Summer Reading”

Now that we’re well along in the lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer, we thought we’d seek speakers from among our membership to suggest titles and authors they have enjoyed and think others might enjoy too, whether relaxing at the beach or in the mountains, in far-flung sites around the world, or in Adirondack chairs on our porches and patios. We’ll be recruiting people willing to offer brief presentations on favorite books (or perhaps book series) via the July 15 newsletter and online invitations before and after that. In the meantime, please consider what you might recommend by way of some light (or not so light) reading for the long hot days (and short hot nights) that still remain before the leaves (and the weather) turn.


Tuesday, September 10
Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair, African American Studies; 2018–2019 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in Constitutional Studies
“Jim Crow 2.0: Voter Suppression in the 21st Century”

Emory historian Carol Anderson, whose previous book, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, will speak about her most recent book, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, which was longlisted for the National Book Award.  Focusing on the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the book follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination as more and more states adopted laws and practices that suppress votes. And via vivid characters, the book also explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans. The paperback edition of the book, due out this month, contains a foreword by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and an afterword in which Anderson examines the repercussions of the 2018 midterm elections. If you don’t own the book already, you may want to invest in this new edition now—just sayin’.

Monday, September 23
Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing, Emory University
“The Unintended Consequences of the Internet Age”

The major technologies of the last two hundred years (railways, automobiles, and telecommunications) were all transformative in ways both good and bad. Like a potent drug, each has had great benefits but also problematic side effects. Similarly, the digital technology of our internet age, beneficial in so many ways, also has its dark side. Sheth will discuss its side effects, including the rise of digital addiction (perhaps because so many find the virtual world more appealing than the real one), the emergence of a roommate lifestyle, the shift to a sharing economy (a preference over private ownership of property), and the challenge to existing jurisdictions organized around countries, markets, and currencies. As Sheth will explain, the largest nation today isn’t China or India. It’s what he calls “the Facebook nation”—a virtual place with more than two billion inhabitants and their own (also virtual) currency. He will help us consider whether we want to “live” there or not—if we have any choice in the matter at all. 


Tuesday, October 8
Maryn McKenna, Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Human Health; TED speaker and author of Big Chicken (2017) and Superbug (2010)
"Agriculture, Antibiotics and the Future of Meat"

The development of antibiotics in the 1940s changed medicine forever—first by saving lives that had been lost to infectious diseases and then by introducing the menace of antibiotic resistance, which undermined generations of the miracle drugs. But it's little known that agriculture adopted antibiotics as soon as they debuted, adding small doses to the diets of livestock, not to cure diseases but to protect against them and cause animals to put on weight more quickly. Those uses laid the foundation for modern intensive meat production, but they also fostered the emergence of additional resistant bacteria that moved through the food chain and the environment to further threaten human health. Reversing that historic mistake took decades of research and policy maneuvering, but what really turned the tide was neither better science nor tougher regulations. It was the power of consumer coalitions forcing the meat industry to change.

Monday, October 21
Ren Davis, Retired Administrator and Consultant, Emory Healthcare. Author of Caring for Atlanta: A History of Emory Crawford Long Hospital (2003)
“When Emory Doctors Went to War: Honoring the Centennial of the Emory Medical Unit's Service in the First World War”

Following the United States’ entry into the Great War in April 1917, the US Army Surgeon General and the American Red Cross called on the country’s medical schools and major hospitals to organize units to provide care to soldiers deploying for combat in France.  Emory University School of Medicine Dean William Elkin asked medical faculty member and military veteran Edward Campbell Davis, the presenter’s grandfather, to recruit physicians and nurses and organize the Emory Medical Unit. After training at Camp Gordon, the Emory Unit arrived in France in July 1918 and established Base Hospital 43 in the city of Blois.  The hospital would care for more than 9,000 patients, earning praise from AEF commander General John J. Pershing before returning home in March 1919.  This presentation also will highlight selected medical and surgical advances that arose from that war and provide a brief overview of the second Emory Unit that served in North Africa and France during World War II.


Monday, November 4
Robert Schapiro, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
“From Justice Kennedy to Justice Kavanaugh: The United States Supreme Court in a Time of Transition”

For most of his 30 years on the United States Supreme Court, and especially after the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2006, Justice Anthony Kennedy stood at the center of a divided court. Though he generally sided with his more conservative colleagues on a range of important issues from the death penalty to abortion, to affirmative action, Kennedy moderated the conservative trajectory of the court. His replacement by Justice Brett Kavanaugh opens a new chapter in the court’s history. The 2018–2019 court term gave some indication of its new direction, with Kavanaugh offering some surprising and unsurprising votes. The Supreme Court term beginning in October 2019 promises to be more revealing and more controversial, as the justices grapple with topics including immigration, LGBT rights, and gun control—and they may well return once again to the issue of abortion and the Affordable Care Act. In today’s colloquium, Robert Schapiro will review some of the key decisions from last year, preview some of the significant cases of the coming term, and discuss the larger themes of the court’s evolving jurisprudence.

Monday, November 18
Frans de Waal, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Psychology Emeritus; Director Emeritus, Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Utrecht
Mama’s Last Hug: Animal and Human Emotions

The title of Frans de Waal’s most recent book pays homage to Mama, the alpha female of a famous chimpanzee colony in the Netherlands who died at the age of 59. Her last hug with Professor Jan van Hooff went viral on the internet. De Waal will discuss their encounter and then review evidence for animal emotions, starting with the incredible variety of primate facial expressions. Charles Darwin concluded long ago that if apes use expressions similar to ours under similar circumstances, the underlying emotions are probably similar too. And it has indeed become increasingly clear that all of “our” emotions can be found in other species. The whole idea that there is just a handful of basic or primary emotions shared across species (fear, anger, joy) and that all other emotions (jealousy, guilt, love, hope) are uniquely human doesn’t make sense. Although we may have emotions that go deeper or are more varied than in other species, none belongs to us alone. De Waal will discuss empathy and disgust as examples of emotions as evident in animals as in ourselves.


Tuesday, December 10
RUBY LAL, Professor of South Asian Studies, Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies
Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan

As feminist historian Ruby Lal was growing up in northern India, her mother told her stories of many exemplary women from the earliest days of the Mughal Empire, women she wrote of in her first big scholarly book, Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World. In her second such book, she wrote of Indian women of the 19th century. But in her third, winner of the 2019 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Biography (and also named a finalist in history for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), Lal returned to the earlier time to focus on the especially remarkable story of Nur Jahan, the young widow who became the 20th and favorite wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1611. Nur proved an astute politician as well as a loving spouse, governing alongside her husband and in his stead as his health failed and his attentions wandered from matters of state—the only woman ever recognized as Empress in her male-dominated world. How wonderful that Lal’s story-telling skills—skills we will enjoy today—are doing Nur justice after all these years.