All lectures are held in Jonas 110 at 4:00 p.m. on Thursdays and are free and open to the public.
Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Oscar Wilde: The Dialectical Cowboy
Dr. Tim Steckline
In 1882 Oscar Wilde made a tour of the American West bringing “aesthetic revival” to crowds in a string of Rocky Mountain mining camps, cow camps and train stops. He was not warmly greeted. The emergence of the cowboy myth around this same time reflects the reaction of American males to the sort of decadence Wilde exemplified. From Owen Wister and Teddy Roosevelt and Buffalo Bill onwards, cowboys represent a figure of ambivalence toward civilization and its costs. In the century to follow a dialectical progression of cowboy types evolves out of this conflicted response to decadence (or over-civilization), on the one hand, and to its countervailing corrective atavism (or regression from civilization) on the other. My tracing of this dialectic identifies five “cowboys” that popular culture has drawn upon for the depiction of saddle tramps, and draws illustrations from not only Wister and Wilde, but additionally John Wayne, Lonesome Dove, cowboy trail songs, Wild West Shows, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, the Village People, Kid Rock, Ennis and Jack of Brokeback Mountain, Montgomery Clift, Tom McGuane, Ween, and a passel of others. Slap leather and come jaw for awhile, pilgrims, and when we get back to the ranch there’s gonna be a cool diagram too.
(Encore Geek Speak! "Mammas Don't Let your Babies Grow Up to Be Oscar Wilde" will also be hosted at the Jacket Zone at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, January 13 at 617 Main Street. Contact the Jacket Zone at 717-5801 with questions.)
Geeks of the Future
Iconography of Desire (And Confusion)
Dr. Avi Jain
From company logos, to app
icons, to user interface buttons, tech companies grapple with the challenge of
compressing complex meaning into simple symbols. Logos and icons are often a
sign of the times, and tech companies have a colorful history of logo and icon
changes. Meanwhile, we're stuck with an anachronistic symbol for the 'save'
button. This talk will connect current trends in symbolic design with the
widespread information overload and confusion experienced in some aspects of
(Encore Geek Speak! Dr. Avi Jain will also present at the Jacket Zone at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, January 20 at 617 Main Street. Contact the Jacket Zone at 717-5801 with questions.)
Panic! At the Meat Department. Food Scares as Moral Panics
Dr. Trenton Ellis
Food is paradoxically a life-giving nutritious necessity and a potential vehicle for death. Whether by allergen, adulteration, contamination, or diet-related disease, food can kill you slowly or perhaps rather abruptly. Normally, these facts are lingering far from our minds as we satisfy our appetites. Occasionally, this normalcy is disrupted by a fleeting moment of collective fear. Collective anxiety over food is the distinguishing characteristic of a food scare. Food scares are periods of time during which a large number of people are all sensitized to potential dangers of a food item. These blips of mass culinary terror are distinguished by their sources, whether from an immediate illness or death (food poisoning) or potential for harm through exposure (e.g. health risks). The risks showcased in a food scare are not translated in a political vacuum. Various competing actors have interests in framing perceived risk of the questioned food. The ultimate goal of the actors frame work is to establish their narrative as the dominant narrative. Thus food scares are also subjective projects, or social constructs. Our shared dietary distress is a manufactured experience.
Through this gustatory Geek Speak, Dr. Trenton Ellis, Assistant Professor of Human Services and Sociology, examines food scares through the concept of moral panic. Dr. Ellis uses the case of the 2012 “Pink Slime” or “lean finely-textured beef” food scare to explore the social construction of food scares, especially how different actors assemble and work to control public perception of the food item embodying a scare. This Geek Speak coincides with Dr. Ellis’ personal mission to demonstrate our shared experiences and encourage people to use sociology to play with their food. Whether you’re a vegan, pro-GMO, beet enthusiast, or a meat-gobbling, free-ranging, bacon aficionado, this Geek Speak should satisfy your hungry mind!
In recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we will host a special geek speak on Friday, January 27:
Stunde Null: The Holocaust and Memory after 1945
Dr. Adam Blackler
National Socialism is a burden for all of us. It does not disappear and in some dark corners you can see that the notion of the Volksgemeinschaft (people's community) still has an appeal. The crimes are part of general memory, the question 'how was it possible?' will not fade with the years and any shift to 'normality' is in vain."
Fritz Stern’s indictment on the consequences of Nazism remains as true now as it did when he first delivered it at the opening of the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz in Berlin. The Holocaust is one of the defining tragedies of the twentieth century. Between the years 1939-1945, Nazi Germany orchestrated the murder of nearly twelve million men, women, and children living in Europe and the western expanse of the Soviet Union. Both the crime and its memory have indelibly shaped the lives of those it affected and forever transformed the cultural and political make-up of the European continent. This presentation will discuss how victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and national populations on both sides of the former “Iron Curtain” remember the crimes committed by the Third Reich. I will also show how the Nazis' quest for racial purification and territorial expansion continue to affect our world today overseas and in the United States.
FEBRUARY: Black History Month
Prejudice, Privilege, & Perseverance Through the Lens of Disney's Zootopia
Since the very beginning, marginalized groups having being fighting for the right to live, work, and exist in a society free from oppression and prejudice. Every generation has had trailblazers who pave the way for the next generation to have more access than previously acquired. While we have come a long way as a society, current events have proven we still have quite a ways to go. Using Disney’s Zootopia, this presentation will discuss the parallels between the film and current events in regards to prejudice and privilege in our society and the astounding similarities as portrayed throughout the film. We will also explore the overarching theme of perseverance displayed by “Officer Hops” and how that parallels with today’s bold and pioneering leaders.
Mathematical Music: Bob Dylan's Extra-Lyrical Artistry
Dr. Justin Tremel
Ever since Bob Dylan’s appearance on the New York folk scene in the early 1960’s, critics have been at odds in their assessments of the performer.
The marked split in viewing Dylan critically that Meehan brought forward was not soon resolved, continuing some five decades on, with Dylan having picked up an Oscar, a Pulitzer, a few doctoral degrees, and most notably the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Having been crowned a Nobel Laureate the question of Dylan’s “worth” has been put to rest. Or—given the intense controversy surrounding the award— has it?
When pressed, in a 1966 interview, for a description of the kind of music he wrote, Dylan responded cryptically, “mathematical music.” This lecture delineates the difficult musical equation of Dylan’s artistry, how he has transformed himself from “the voice of a generation” to “the voice of every generation. This lecture will examine how Dylan studies are characterized not so much by the controversy as to whether or not Dylan merits academic study, but rather as to what form, theory, and methodology one should employ in grappling with Dylan’s artistry.
Bonus Pre-Speak! "Who is the Reluctant Celebrity" will also be hosted at the Jacket Zone at 1:30 p.m. at 617 Main Street and again at 4:00 p.m. in Jonas 110 on the BHSU Spearfish campus. Contact the Jacket Zone at 717-5801.
Who is The Reluctant Celebrity? - Crazy Horse, Korczak Ziolkowski, Chief Henry Standing Bear, or a University and Medical Training Center
Dr. Jeffrey Wehrung
Korczak Ziolkowski was already a well-known artist from Boston when, in 1939, he received a letter from Chief Henry Standing Bear stating, “A number of my fellow chiefs and I are interested in finding some sculptor who can carve a head of an Indian Chief who was killed many years ago. We do not believe Borglum [the artist for Mount Rushmore] is the only living man that can do that kind of work.” Little did either man know that this request would lead to construction of the world’s largest sculpture, as well as a museum, cultural center, university, and medical training center.
Unfortunately, the media's focus on the Ziolkowski family over the years has distracted attention from the social mission to one day create a university and medical center dedicated to training native people. In this discussion I would like to pull apart why Korczak's celebrity occurred, how his celebrity status helped the Memorial, how his celebrity hurt the Memorial, and what the foundation should do now that Ruth Ziolkowski (the most recent celebrity for the the project) has passed away.
Truly Revolution? The Haitian Revolution and its Legacy
Dr. Jason Daniels
The Haitian Revolution transformed one of the most productive European colonies of its day, into an independent state run by formerly enslaved peoples and their descendants. It produced the world's first examples of wholesale emancipation in a major slaveowning society, of colonial representation in a metropolitan assembly, and of full racial equality in a European colony. It occurred when the Atlantic slave trade was at its peak, and when slavery was an accepted institution from Canada to Chile. The slave revolt that between 1791 and 1793 laid waste the immensely wealthy colony and was the largest and sole fully successful one there has ever been. Of all American struggles for colonial independence, the Haitian Revolution involved the greatest degree of mass mobilization, and brought the greatest degree of social and economic change. In an age of tumultuous events and world war, it seized international attention with images of apocalyptic destruction and of a new world in the making. The events of that occurred at the turn of the eighteenth century on Hispaniola continue to impact the Haitian people and their island's place within the world.
MARCH: Women’s History Month
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman;” Seminal Voices in Feminist Theory
Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg, Dr. Trenton Ellis, and Dr. Courtney Huse Wika
Kick off Women’s History Month with a lively panel discussion of the most influential/dangerous/pioneering/radical/revolutionary contemporary feminist* theorists, such as Simone de Beauvoir, whose oft quoted argument serves as the title of this talk.
Noun: the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men Synonym the women’s movement, the feminist movement, women’s liberation, female emancipation, women’s rights; Informal: women’s lib
Advocating for the Protection of Native Women Through Theatrical, Spoken Word and Slam Poetry Performances
Dr. Nikki Dragone
Today, in the United States, one out three Native women will be raped during her lifetime, 60% of Native women will be assaulted in their lifetimes. . . 67% of violent crimes committed against Native women are committed by non-Natives” (Sliver of a Full Moon). Twenty-three percent of violent crimes against Native women by Native men can be linked to inter-generational trauma resulting from the effects of oppression, including the boarding school system. Because of legal loopholes in federal law, like the Major Crimes Act (1885) and Oliphant v. Suquamish (1978), there were no legal protections for Native women who were victimized physically and/or sexually until the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was renewed in 2013. VAWA offers some protections, but some violent crimes are still omitted. Perhaps worse yet, VAWA only offers protection for Native women living on reservation lands within the continental United States. Alaska Native women and Hawaiian women have been omitted from the protections afforded by VAWA. This Geek Speak seeks to explore the way in which Native women (and men) in the United States are using/used slam poetry, theatrical productions and spoken word videos to advocate for greater legal protections for Native women under VAWA. Specifically, this Geek Speak will address the production of Cherokee playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sliver of a Full Moon, the spoken word video of Ryan Redcorn’s poem “To the Indigenous Women,” and the performance of Whisper Kish’s slam poem “Violence Against Native Women is not Traditional”, to open up a discussion about the ways in which Indigenous performances represent Native agency and anti-violence activism in the struggle for the protection of Native women and girls throughout the United States.
Do-si-dos and Dihedrals: Mathematics and, wait, what...Dance?!?
Dr. Dan May
This talk will be interactive! We will get out of our chairs and MOVE. (But you are welcome to opt out!) You don’t have to be good at dancing – your host for this talk certainly isn’t. Our goal will be to have fun and learn some mathematics. It may seem surprising, but there are actually many types of dance which have deep mathematical properties. We will discuss a few of these, and learn about what mathematicians mean when they use the words “symmetry” and “group”.
Bad Bureaucrats? The Future of Whistleblowing in a Post-Snowden World
PhD student Cody Drolc
The world fundamentally changed following Edward Snowden’s expose of government surveillance in 2013. Since then, critics, scholars, and citizens have weighed in on Snowden’s revelations and the new relationship the American people have with their government. Many debate the legitimacy of government surveillance and ask how future whistleblowers will be protected, but they are missing the real issue. Will high-profile whistleblowers cease to exist? Has the United States government patched the leak? These are questions that have serious implications for the future of transparency and democratic accountability. Cody Drolc
APRIL: National Poetry Month
From Blake to the Beatles and Beyond: The Legacy of Romanticism
Dr. Martin Fashbaugh
European Romantic Poetry from 1885-1850—1) the historical forces that helped shape the movement; 2) the poetry’s common themes and aesthetic characteristics; 3) and, most importantly, its legacy—particularly how traces of Romantic-era ideas can be uncovered in 20th and 21st-century pop culture.
Dr. Liz Fayer and Dr. Joanna Jones
Metapatterns are patterns that are so widely observed that we see them in nature, culture, design, and innovation! In this GEEK SPEAK we will look through the lens of the past at how Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota, saw these patterns many years ago to the present and how these patterns are used in exciting new innovations! The audience will then get involved in a Google Jockey to find more Metapatterns in Nature, Culture, Design, and Innovation focusing on Spheres and Cycles, Tubes and Arrows, and Sheets and Layers! Once you begin to see the patterns, you will never look at everything around you in the same way!
(Bonus Pre-Speak! This lecture will also be hosted at the Jacket Zone at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20 at 617 Main Street. Contact the Jacket Zone at 717-5801 with questions.)
Madness in Popular Culture: The “Insanity” of Women
Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg
Throughout history women have been diagnosed, treated, committed to institutions (or burned at the stake) for symptoms of what their society identified as insanity. From the wild bacchanalia of the Maenads in Ancient Greece, to the delicate insanity of Ophelia, to the mad heroines of classic Victorian literature, to contemporary images found in television series like Penny Dreadful and movies like Kill Bill, women suffering from mental instability has been a favorite topic of popular culture. Why? Is there really a tie between gender and insanity, a “female malady,” or is there something else going on?
The social construct of women as “deviant” has a long history. It can be seen in the world’s major religions and spiritual traditions, which often view women as “uncontrollable.” In the last two centuries in particular, we have seen a very strong connection between the concept of femininity and the cultural construction of madness. In this course we will focus on the historical and cultural factors and behaviors that have been associated with madness in women as it is reflected in popular culture. By examining the representations of insanity in popular culture, we can examine changing ideas about gender, social class and family structures, and the effect these factors have on what we consider to be “sane.”
December 1: The University Honors Student Capstone Defenses
From the September 1 Geek Speak: ;Click here for the full playlist from "All We Are Saying: A Geek Speak Listening Party about Activism in Music," Hosted by Dr. Dan May and Dr. Trenton Ellis.
Geeks of the Past
•"BHSU Edge: Creating the Professional Student Development Program," Karin Humar, International University Scholar
•" Supersymmetry, Superstrings and the quest for the Theory Of Everything," Dr. Nag
• "Are We All Related? Race and the Embrace of The Other,"
Professor Jace DeCory and Dr. Tim Steckline
• "Lawyers, Home Runs, and Money: The Long and Ongoing Corruption of Professional Baseball, America’s Past-its-Time," Dr. David Cremean
•"999 Mona Lisas in the Age of Digital Reproduction: A Tribute to the Life and Work of Walter Benjamin," Dr. Tim Steckline
• "I'm Like, Who Needs This Grammar Stuff?" Dr. Andrey Reznikov
• "LGBTQ+: Fleshing Out the Acronym," Dr. William Cockrell, Dr. Lesleigh Owen, Terri Bruce, and Dr. Emilia Flint
• "Recycling Perceptions," Hailima Yates
• "Dangerous Minds: Banned Books and their Authors,"
a panel discussion with Scott Ahola,Emily Eggebraaten, Amber Wilde, and Shana Monnens
• "Uranium Mining in the Black Hills: An Explosion of Interest," Dr. Lilias Jones Jarding
• "All We Are Saying: Social Activism in Music," Dr. Trenton Ellis and Dr. Dan May
• "In vitro Nanoparticle Cytotoxicity on Buffalo Rat Liver Cells," Alicia Benz, International University Scholar
• "The Islamic Moorish Influence on the Architecture in the South of Spain," Ashley Ruegg, International University Scholar
• "The Social Life of Meat," Dr. Trenton Ellis
• "A Tour of Voting Systems: How do we choose a winner?" Dr. Dan Swenson
• "God Show Me the Way: Religion and Hip Hop," Dr. Day May
• "Not Just a Cheesy Monster Movie: the Multiple Meanings of Godzilla," Dr. Tom Arnold
• "Draw Something! A Drawing Workshop," Professor Desy Schoenewies
• Biblically Speaking: Sin and the Role of Women in the Christian New Testament," Dr. Amy Fuqua
• "Preaching to the Nerves Instead of the Judgment:' The Victorian Sensation Novel," Dr. Martin Fashbaugh
• "The Narcissistic Doctor? Leadership, Ethics, and Dr. Who," Dr. Jeffrey Wehrung
• "I Was Real Once,” sighed Mr. Holmes: #BelieveinSherlock #FightJohnWatsonsWar," Dr. Nikki Dragone
• "Public Speaking: Raising Hell," Dr. Adam Gaffey
• "#BlurredLines: American Raunch Culture," an open discussion with Drs. Courtney Huse Wika, Trenton Ellis, Rickie Legleitner, and Laura Colmenero-Chilberg
• "Stuffies, Sex and the Contemporary Counter-Reformation," Professor Ann Porter
• "So Much More Than 'Just a Game:' A Complete Summer Program Curriculum for School-Aged Children Aligned to Education Standards," University Scholar Megan Hohn.
• "Perspectives on Hunger," Dr. Trenton Ellis and Dr. John Alsup.
• "Speaking on Behalf of the Natural World’s Rights," Dr. Nikki Dragone.
• "Studying Society through the Apocalyptic Novel: The Road, The Year of the Flood, The Stand, and On the Beach," Dr. Laura Colmenero Chilberg.
• "The Origins of Language," Dr. Andrey Reznikov.
• "Outgrowing Optimism," Dr. Tim Steckline.
• "Robin Hood Redux: How through Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), CEOs Rob From the Poor and Pay the Rich," Dr. Byron Hollowed.
• "Now That It's Too Late?: Climate Change and the Anthropocene," hosted by Instructor Matthew Bauman.
•"Ethnobotany and Indigenous Lakota Plants," hosted by Professors Jace DeCory, Justin Ramsey, Tara Ramsey, and John Dixon.
• "I'll Take You to the Dark Side: Our Fascination with Death and Disasters," hosted by Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto.
• "The Man on the Motorcycle: The Revolutionary Thought of Che Guevara," hosted by Dr. Tim Martinez.
• "Always Contested:The Confederate Flag in the Public Imagination," hosted by Dr. Adam Gaffey.
• "All that is Good is Nastier than Ever: Punk vs. Disco: The Defunkification of the Nation," hosted by professors Kelly Kirk and Chris Hahn.
• "Just Do It: Sports Participation & Onset of Sexual Behaviors in Adolescents," hosted by Kristin N. Prescott (Defense).
•"Cracking the 'Hermeneutically' Sealed Box of Structuralism: A Poststructuralist Reading of Nicos Poulantzas," hosted by Cody A. Drolc (Defense).
• "Mathematical Instruction: Sometimes Change is Good," hosted by Myranda K. Mattke (Defense).
• "In the Name of the People: Castro's Revolution in Theory, Practice, and Results," hosted by Kim R. Kaufmann (Defense).
• "Harry Truman and the Atomic Bomb: A Complex History and Analysis," hosted by Lucas C. Fralick (Defense).
• "Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game," John Ginther.
• "The Truth is in Here: Why 12 Million Americans Believe Lizard People Run the Country (and Other “Crazy Conspiracies)," Dr. Aris Karagiorgakis.
• "Love Me I'm Rich: The Rise and Fall of American Alternative Rock," Dr. Dan May.
• "Breaking Bad and Inexhaustible Extreme Met(h)aphor," Dr. David Crimean.
• "You Want to Send a Message, Use a Telegram. Theatre, Politics, and the Art of Confrontation," Dr. Pam Wegner.
em>• "The Videogame Monologues: An Examination of Gender in a Male Dominated World," Instructor Will Cockerel.
• "All That Is Good Is STILL Nasty: The Continuing Funkification of the Nation Part I: Funk and Urban Culture in the 1970s," Dr. Chris Hahn and Professor Kirk.
• "Butchers, Buffoons, and 'Basterds': Nazis in Popular Culture," Dr. Tom Arnold.
• "The Sound (and a Bit of Sense) of Poetry from Ancient Times to the Present," Dr. Nicholas Wallerstein.
• "Hands Up Don't Shoot: Boiling Points of Tension in Ferguson, Missouri," hosted by Professor Desy Schoenewies.
• "The Rhetoric of Equality: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Arguments on Civil Rights," hosted by Dr. Adam Gaffey.
• "Disruptive Depictions of Disability in South Park," hosted by Dr. Rickie Ann Legleitner.
• "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," hosted by 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.