Lloyd Pflueger, Dept. of Philosophy and Religion
The Isha Upanishad is a secret poetic discourse on the nature of God, karma, and the ritual prayer and enabling enlightened passage from this life. It is fairly simple linguistically yet cryptic and open to a variety of philosophical and theological interpretations. Because it is profound, polysemic, and central to most Hindu religious traditions, and quite short, it is a perfect text not only to muse upon, but to educate Western students of Indian philosophy and religion. In this lecture I discuss the problems of translating this text and creating a textbook in which undergraduate students without the knowledge of Sanskrit language, can read the famous text in the original Sanskrit and immerse themselves in the traditional exegesis and speculation on this text.
From the 1880s to the 1940s, dozens of African American newspapers were established in the Midwest, by editors whose progressive politics encouraged activism among their readership. These newspapers provided a wealth of material about Black American music and its audience reception, allowing us to understand more fully the role that music played in African American communities in our region.
Game theory can be used to model competition and cooperation in economics, biology, military conflict, and even in games such as poker. In applications of game theory, it is generally assumed that the players will gravitate towards playing some Nash equilibrium, a choice of strategies for all players with the property that no single player can improve their payoff by changing their strategy. Which Nash equilibrium is played becomes problematic when there is more than one; more so when different players have different preferences over the set of equilibria. A more recent concept of an equilibrium in a game is that of a correlated equilibrium in which a "choreographer" coordinates the actions of the players towards a single solution. The advantage of this is that each player may do better following the directions of the choreographer than they would be able to do acting independently.
Lessac Kinesensic Training is a holistic and creative approach to developing the voice and the body for greater flexibility, power, and expressiveness. Originally known only to theatre professionals, Kinesensics has now become recognized as applicable to many endeavors in life, from vocal training and speech therapy to ESL, sports and fitness, and learning how to sing.
The proposed presentation will introduce the audience to simple and natural behaviors of the body (or body climates), which may be used to improve physical and vocal functioning. These body NRGs (“energies,” or Neural Regenerative Growth) possess cognate Vocal NRGs that employ a musical metaphor for the treatment of voice training. Kinesensic work involves a bio-neural, feeling process; students are asked to resist the habit of listening to their voices, and instead to feel the sound as a bone-conducted tonal current that can bypass the ears. By learning to sense or feel sound and motion in the body, students gather crucial information to use as organic instructions for optimal body and voice functioning.
During the proposed workshop, I will demonstrate each of the NRGs at work on a piece of text, which I will perform in each kinesensic modality. Then participants will be introduced to each of the NRGs in a series of physical and vocal explorations that illustrate the core concepts of Kinesensic training. I will perform a series of “trinities,” or the use of all seven NRGs in a single piece of text, and will close with a discussion of real-world applications of kinesensic training for non-actors.
SHAMANISTIC HEALING: SPIRITS, CULTURE, AND BODIES IN BRAZIL
Shamanic ritual performances may be both the earliest form of religion and the earliest form of medicine in human cultures. Cross-culturally, shamans are known enter into altered states of consciousness, where they interact with spirits, animals, anscestors, and other forms of supernatural power. In this state they lead communities in ceremonies that encourage the trance state in the group as a whole, increasing social bonding and creating a shared, symbolic identity. These transformations are not only spiritual, psychological, and social, but bodily as well. Even though the traditional cultures in which shamanism originated have all but disappeared today, shamanistic healing continues to exist in variety of ways around the world. One of the places where modern shamanic forms are most prominent is Brazil, where I spent five weeks in study of these practicies. In this talk I will present my understanding of how healing and culture work together in shamanic ritual, based both on the interdisciplinary body of literature that addressses this subject and on my own experiences and observations in Brazil.
“Commonness and rarity: An ecologist’s view of banality and eccentricity”.
Ecologists study the determinants of species’ distributions and abundances, so understanding why some species are common while others are rare is a fundamental, though enigmatic, undertaking. In this lecture, I will present glimpses of over 20 years of my own research, investigating both ends of the abundance spectrum – from what makes some species successful weeds (i.e., “too” common!) to what makes a species rare enough to be listed as federally endangered. Are there discoverable biological/ecological factors that explain why these species are as prolific, or as scant, as they are? Further, to what extent are species’ current abundance states being driven by human activities that modify factors determining their abundances from what they would otherwise be, if unaffected by anthropogenic influences? I will address these questions via examples of field work on several different plant species I’ve studied.
For over 150 years, from Darwin’s Origin of Species to current community ecological theory, naturalists have noticed patterns of abundance, striven to describe them quantitatively, and ascribed to these patterns not only determining mechanisms, but also implications about how Nature itself might be organized. Recognizing such patterns of abundance does beg for explanation, but so does human fascination with the atypical. I will end my presentation with an inquiry that includes what cognitive science offers regarding how Homo sapiens sees the world, from the banal to the eccentric.