•Jan. 29: Dr. Rickie Legleitner: "Disruptive Depictions of Disability in South Park" will examine the representation of disability in popular media through the lens of disability studies. After a brief overview of the field, Dr. Legleitner will look in-depth at South Park’s deconstruction of disability as taboo and consider if the series’ sometimes tactless techniques effectively disrupt tropes of pity, fear, and rejection often seen in popular portrayals of disability.
Geeks of the Future
•Feb. 5: Dr. Adam Gaffey: "The Rhetoric of Equality: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Arguments on Civil Rights." The civil rights movement was a significant effort for more inclusive equality. Yet, as the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X illustrate, the meaning of equality was neither self-evident nor consistent in public debate. This talk will consider how equality was defined, refined, and debated in the words of these civil rights leaders. Taking a closer look at the historical context and persuasive strategies of two keystone moments of this debate—King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” oration and Malcolm’s 1964 “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech—will help illustrate the rhetorical tension around “equality” and the sometimes contrasting strategies employed to motivate a change in public attitude.
•Feb. 12: Professor Desy Schoenewies: "Hands Up Don't Shoot: Boiling Points of Tension in Ferguson, Missouri." The shooting of Michael Brown, a black youth in suburban Missouri by a white police officer gripped the entire nation for months in the fall of 2014. This event opened a series of necessary dialogues about excessive use of force, free speech, and race. In this Geek Speak, Desy Schoenewies, a native of North County in St. Louis, will examine the conditions that surround the shooting and offer an in-depth look at Ferguson and surrounding communities in St. Louis.
•Feb. 19: Dr. Nicholas Wallerstein: “The Sound (and a Bit of Sense) of Poetry from Ancient Times to the Present.” Come hear the beautiful sounds of poetry written in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Old English, Middle English, Medieval French, and Modern English. Modern English translations will accompany the foreign selections. Selections will include Isaiah, Homer, Virgil, Horace, Catullus, the Qur’an, Beowulf, Chaucer, Francois Villon, W. B. Yeats, and Dylan Thomas.
•Feb. 26: Dr. Tom Arnold: "Butchers, Buffoons, and 'Basterds': Nazis in Popular Culture" will explore Nazis as all-purpose villains in popular culture. Whether supporting Hydra against Captain America, tossing Indiana Jones into a snake pit, or coolly menacing prisoners, they represent the epitome of evil to many people. Video games such as “Return to Castle Wolfenstein” pit the player against horrible mutants, the result of experiments by deranged Nazi scientists. And yet, Nazis can also be figures of fun. Recent films have featured humorous Nazi zombies (“Dead Snow”), Nazis on the moon (“Iron Sky”) and even singing Nazis (“The Producers”). On “Seinfeld” the “Soup Nazi” berates customers that annoy him. The Urban Dictionary tells us about “Grammar Nazis”.
Most real Nazis bear little resemblance to these villains, monsters and buffoons. Many of the leaders’ appearances (Heinrich Himmler’s creepy glasses, Hitler’s mustache, Goering’s obesity) lent themselves to easy caricature. The people who carried out their orders, however, were ordinary and not likely to grace the cover of a comic book or movie poster. They were, unnervingly, just like us.
It can be argued that turning Nazis into fictional characters, evil or humorous, helps us overlook this fact. We can tell ourselves that only monsters do these things; we certainly never would. By creating fictional Nazis, do we overlook the evil real Nazis did? Will people think that the harm done by Nazis could never happen again, that is strictly the province of jackbooted lunatics? For this Geek Speak we will grapple with these and other questions. We will look for answers in comic books and movies, and also on the Internet. Please come ready to share your views and have a lively discussion. Not to be a time Nazi, but please be punctual, Ja?
•March 5: Dr. Chris Hahn and Professor Kelly Kirk: On Black Politic Music of the 1970s
•March 19: Dr. William Cockrell: On Gender and Gaming
•March 26: Dr. David Cremean: "Breaking Bad and the Inexhaustibility of Extreme Methaphor"
•April 9: Dr. Dan May: "<Insert Relevant Song Title Here>: The Rise and Fall of American Alternative Rock"
•April 16: Dr. Aris Karagiorgakis: "The Truth is in Here: Why 12 Million Americans Believe Lizard People Run the Country (and other “crazy” conspiracies)"
•April 23: John Ginther: On Game of Thrones
•April 30: Dr. Dave Berberick: On the History of Heavy Metal
•May 5 and May 7: The Defense (Capstone defense for UHON seniors)
Geeks of the Past
•"Cannibalism, Necrophilia, and Death and Dying: Taboos in Popular Culture," hosted by Dr. Nicole Royer.
•“Welcome to the Zombie-Ridden Landscape of the Real: The Walking Dead and the 21st Century Passion for the Real," hosted by PhD Candidate Tyrone White.
•"The Fall Defense: Revealing Tournament Theory's Motivational Techniques within Hollywood Movies; On Finding Hope" hosted by Julie Gueswel and Jordan Louks.
•"The Geek Chic" hosted by Dr. Robb Campbell
"Lincoln and Gettysburg: From Rhetorical Artistry to National Totem," hosted by Dr. Adam Gaffey.
•"For pairs of lips to kiss maybe / Involves no trigonometry : Mathematics and Poetry," hosted by Dr. Dan May.
•"Practical Magic: The Myths and Rituals of Halloween," hosted by Dr. Courtney Huse Wika.
•"The Dark Mouse: The Evils of Disney," hosted by Dr. Tim Steckline.
•"Why Democracy Needs Good Novels: The Future of Fiction," hosted by Dr. Amy Fuqua.
•"WE ARE #RAVENSNATION: Violence in the NFL," an open panel discussion. Hosted by Drs. Marker, Anagnopoulos, Gaffey, and Wallerstein.
•"All That is Good is Nasty: The Funkification of the Nation," Hosted by Dr. Chris Hahn.
•"Happy? The Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment:" Hosted by Dr. Jami Stone.
•"The Super History of America's Superheroes," hosted by Professor Kelly Kirk.
•The Defense: "The Surveillance Industrial Complex: America's Privacy Crisis;" "Distinguishing the Meditative Benefits of Drawing Within and Without Borders on Acute Stress" (The traditional defense for graduating University Honors Students) Nicole Faas and Kaitlin Schneider, respectively.
•"This is Gonna Suck: The Vampire in History and Literature," hosted by Dr. Courtney Huse Wika.
•"A Look at Beauty: Bias, Brokenness, and the Pursuit of Truth," hosted by Professor Gina Gibson.
•"Children Beware! Stephen King and Evil in Its Many Forms," hosted by Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg.
•"My Bloody Valentine: The Psychology of Serial Killers," hosted by Dr. Emilia Flint.
•"Just a Shadow You're Seeing That He's Chasing: Bob Dylan, Mystic," hosted by Dr. David Cremean.
•"What Does the Fox Say: The Animal in Art and Society," hosted by Dr. Ann Porter.
•"We Wish you a Merry and Terrifying Christmas: Myths, Histories, and Legends of the Holiday"
•"56 Houses Left: Urban Decay and Abandonment," hosted by Professor Desy Schoenewies.
•"Killing the President: JFK and the Conspiracies," hosted by Dr. Sasha Pursley.
•"The Good Death: Death and Dying in the Civil War," hosted by Professor Kelly Kirk.
•"Your Guide to the Apocalypse: The History of Zombies," hosted by Dr. Courtney Huse Wika.