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CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series 2016-17


The CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series follows an intellectual theme that is the foundation of our year-long inquiry. This year's talks explore the theme of “Navigation.”

Navigation in its most straightforward sense describes the process of guidance from place to place. One thinks of navigation in terms of nautical and aeronautical activities, or of zoological migration. Human exploration has involved the development of technical tools— from maps to sextants to compasses to Global Positioning Systems— that guide travelers from place to place and facilitate our understanding of our planet.  Insects, birds, mammals and other animals utilize various environmental cues to navigate between key biotic and abiotic resources, at both fine and coarse spatial and temporal scales.  Psychologists link these two through the study of mechanisms underlying the innate capacities for navigation that we humans share with other species, and the study of how these affect our brains, our memory, and our sense of self.

Geographical journeys are also intellectual, emotional, and spiritual ones. While literature, rich in descriptions of inner discovery tied to the external, draws the connection between navigation and the development of profound aspirations, philosophers consider navigation in terms of understanding alternative ways of structuring reality.  Computer scientists grapple with the technological tools, data challenges, and ethics of navigating and accessing online information.  Historians, sociologists, economists, and political scientists study how navigation has affected and affects the development and functioning of human societies and systems. 

This year’s CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series will consider navigation from the perspective of the natural and environmental sciences, engineering, literature, philosophy, art, history, politics, and journalism.

 Upcoming Talks

  • Robert O’Meally'This Music Demanded Action': The Challenge of the Core
    Monday, August 29, 2016; 12:00-2:00 p.m.; 3rd Floor Lecture Hall, Journalism School
  • George Michelsen Foy, Finding North: How Navigation Makes us Human
    Thursday, September 22, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Rennert Hall, The Kraft Center
  • Gareth Williams, Navigating Life: the Odyssey
    Wednesday, October 5, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; 3rd Floor Lecture Hall, Journalism School
  • Matt Vella
    Monday, October 10, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; 3rd Floor Lecture Hall, Journalism School
  • David Helfand, Navigating the Misinformation Age
    Thursday, October 20, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Rennert Hall, The Kraft Center
  • Kaitlyn Parkins, “Cool Jobs” Nocturnal Navigators: Understanding Migration Patterns of New York City's Birds and Bats
    Tuesday, November 1, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; 401 Lerner Hall
  • Jeff Kluger and Alan SternCosmic Navigation
    Monday, November 14, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; 3rd Floor Lecture Hall, Journalism School
  • Greg MilnerTime To Go
    Tuesday, January 31, 2017; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium

  • Steve Bellovin
    Tuesday, February 14, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • Lincoln PaineA Map and a Sense of Time: A Guide to Navigating the Global Past
    Tuesday, March 21, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium

  • Kathy Nagel, Olfactory Navigation in Fruit Flies
    Tuesday, April 4, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium

  • Beau ShawNavigation, Education, and Democracy in Plato's Republic
    Tuesday, April 11, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium

2015-16: Metamorphosis 

Past Talks

  • Jim ValentiniBeginner's Mind
    Tuesday, April 19, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; 3rd Floor Journalism
  • Nim Tottenham, Constructing the Human Brain
    Thursday, April 14, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Rennert Hall
  • John McWhorterWords on the Move
    Thursday, April 7, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • J. Turner VossellerMetamorphosis in Medicine: How’d We Get From Here to There
    Wednesday, March 23, 2016; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium

  • Ben Fried, "Alumni Journeys" CIO of Google
    Tuesday, March 22, 2016; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • Caroline Leland, “Cool Jobs” The Tree Ring Time Machine: Understanding Past Climate Through Dendrochronology
    Tuesday, March 1, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; 401 Alfred Lerner Hall
  • Elazar BarkanWhen Peace and Justice Collide
    Thursday, February 25, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium

  • Teodolinda BaroliniShape-changing in Dante's Divine Comedy, Sexual and Otherwise
    Wednesday, February 17, 2016; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium

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