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CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series 2019-19

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 “Lateness.” We will consider this theme within the fields of the arts and humanities, medicine, evolution, technology, counterterrorism intelligence, ethics, astronomy, disaster response, and post-crisis reconstruction.

2018-19 Theme: Lateness

Priority is the significance given to what is prior—to what comes first or manifests earlier. Beginnings, innovation, the precocious and avant-garde tend to attract notice, as an overture might feature a fanfare unheard in a postlude. What then is the music that comes later? Instead of priority, this year’s CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series will turn attention to manifestations of posteriority—of coming late or after. The series entitled “Lateness” will examine posteriority in the late phase of a continuum, on the one hand, or the aftermath of a historical rupture, on the other.

Latecoming within a continuum can raise the issues of belatedness, latency, limitation, or finality. In the arts, for example, lateness can manifest in the notion of “late style,” the idea that the work some artists produce toward the end of their careers reflects a conspicuous development from their earlier productions. What constitutes a “mature” creative phase in literature, music, and the visual arts? Late style may or may not coincide with late age. The concept of late age might more broadly apply to fields ranging from medicine to evolution and earth science, raising questions about the longevity and viability of biological life, on the one hand, or the geological age and habitability of Earth, on the other.  It broaches ethical issues from end-of-life care and the “right to die” controversy to the global responsibility surrounding climate change.

When a late phase presents more of a departure from than continuity with the past, it may reflect a historical rupture. Posteriority thus concerns phenomena that are “post” such a break. What do these “post-phenomena” look like?  What is the shape of an aftermath? An aftermath, for example, might take the form of anticlimax in post-apocalyptic literature or of efforts toward recovery in post-crisis reconstruction policy.  Instead of resolution, an aftermath might encompass reverberations or echoes—aftershock.  PTSD flashbacks in psychology, reproduction in postmodern aesthetics, or cultural appropriation in postcolonial politics may suggest such residual effects. Post-human discourse similarly traces the remains of humanity amidst technological advances in AI, robotics, and genetic engineering. Among these post-phenomena, the loss of a prior significance, while destabilizing, might nevertheless allow the possibility of new meaning.  Lateness might then point to what is latest, or cutting-edge. Maturity might coincide with modernity, and the music of a postlude might sound the first notes of a prelude.

Upcoming Talks

The CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series will resume in Fall 2018. Please check back soon!

Past Talks

  • Roosevelt MontásThe Idea of the Core - “CUSP/ASP Annual NSOP Lecture”
    Friday, September 1, 2017; 9:00-11:00 a.m.; Faculty Room, Low Memorial Library
  • Eric Kandel, Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures - The Surprising Partnership of Art and Science
    Tuesday, September 19, 2017; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Rennert Hall, The Kraft Center
  • Barclay MorrisonThinking About Concussion
    Tuesday, October 10, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • Paul ChristieHologram Visions - “CUSP Alumni Journeys”
    Monday, October 16, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; 3rd Floor Lecture Room, Pulitzer Hall
  • Michael TutsThe ATLAS Experiment at the LHC: Revealing the Subatomic World
    Monday, October 30, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • Bob NeerWhat I Learned Teaching Contemporary Civilization to Over 350 Columbia Undergraduates - “CUSP Core Connections”
    Wednesday, November 8, 2017; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • Barbara MonteroThe Myth of Sudden Insight
    Thursday, January 25, 2018; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • Mary PutmanInsight from the Milky Way
    Tuesday, February 13, 2018; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • Rita Pietropinto and Tom KittJust a Few Stops Away: From 116th Street to Times Square—A Journey from Columbia to Broadway - “CUSP Alumni Journeys”; Wednesday, February 22, 2018; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; 555 Lerner Hall
  • Giuseppe GerbinoMusical Insights into the Core - “CUSP Core Connections”
    Monday, February 26, 2018; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • Chandrika Tandon, Insights from Chandrika Tandon
    Tuesday, March 6, 2018; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • Sharon Lee De La Cruz, Code Slang: Culturally Relevant Learning - “Cool Jobs” Thursday, March 29, 2018; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium
  • George Van AmsonInsights from a Wall Street Insider
    Monday, April 9, 2018; 6:00-8:00 p.m.; 555 Lerner Hall

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