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Preview/Review (Feb. 10 to 24)

A preview and review of some U events and lectures occurring through Feb. 24

Compiled by Adam Overland

February 8, 2011

No Review this week. Instead, a reminder that faculty and staff are invited to contribute to the Preview/Review column. The column is published about every two weeks, and highlights events and lectures recently past and soon-to-come on the UMTC campus. Review submissions should be no more than 500 words, previews 200 or fewer. Both are subject to review by the Brief editor.

Winner-take-all Politics: How Washington is Making the Rich Richer. Feb. 10, noon–1:15 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Center. Free. Over the past few decades, the U.S. has seen growing inequality between incomes of the middle class and the rich. In their lively and provocative book, Winner-Take-All Politics, renowned political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson demonstrate convincingly that the usual suspects—foreign trade and financial globalization, technological changes in the workplace, increased education at the top—are largely innocent of the charges against them. Instead, they indict an unlikely suspect and take us on an entertaining tour of the mountain of evidence against the culprit. The guilty party is American politics. Professor Jacob Hacker from Yale will discuss his book and take questions from the audience, in a discussion moderated by the U's Larry Jacobs.

Valentine's Day Wizarding World of Wildlife
. Feb. 13, 2–5 p.m., The Raptor Center. When I think of love, en_031204_kestrelbirds.jpgValentine's Day at the Raptor Center? Insert pun about "lovebirds" here. I think, "birds of prey." And sometimes I think about wizards, too. Evidently, the U's Raptor Center is betting I'm not alone. The day before Valentine's Day, the center is holding a program for "adult wizards." You need to register in advance, with your name and your sweetheart's name, if you want to come spend the afternoon learning how to make love potion. They'll even have unique Valentine's Day gift kits, with the proceeds benefiting the care and rehabilitation of injured owls at The Raptor Center. If that's not love, I don't know what is. For reservations, call 612-624-2756 or email the Raptor Center.

Minnesota Population Center (MPC) Seminar Series. Mondays, 12:15–1:15 p.m., 50 Willey Hall. Free. Population research is about more than counting, and the Minnesota Population Center is on the cutting edge, with research that crosses the boundaries of time and space, ranging from Pre-Colombian Mexico to contemporary inner-city Minneapolis. In this series of Monday lectures, you can learn more about the work of MPC. Some upcoming seminars include "Unpacking Racial Residential Preferences in a Multi-Ethnic City: What do Whites, African Americans and Latinos Say for Themselves?", Feb. 14; presentations by MPC Interdisciplinary Research Fellows Polina Levchenko (Family Social Science) and Xi Zhu (Sociology), Feb. 21; "Making Sense of Family Boundary Ambiguity in U.S. Cohabiting Stepfamilies," Feb. 28, and more.

Frontiers in the Environment: "Oil: Can’t America Just Get Over It?" Feb. 16, noon–1 p.m., IonE seminar room R380, VoTech Bldg., St. Paul campus or via UMConnect. The answer to this question would seem to be fairly obvious: No. At least not anytime soon; but change is coming. Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, says it's time we try something different. Despite the most advanced exploration technologies the world has ever known, we are using four times more oil than we’re finding on an annual basis. If deep sea drilling three miles below the Gulf of Mexico surface and mining tar sands from northern Alberta are the way to get at the last, best oil on Earth, it might be time to try something new. Noble will talk about the realistic prospects and policies for reducing reliance on oil, and whether Americans have the political will to move in the direction everyone knows we need to go.

br_081210_FoodSeason.jpg"World Food Prices Aren’t Too High, They’re Too Low: How Cheap Food is Destabilizing the Global Economy," a talk by Nick Cullather. Feb. 18, noon–1:30 p.m., 125 Nolte. Free. The revolution in Tunis began as a food riot. In recent weeks, markets in Algiers and Cairo have erupted, and malnutrition has reached 17 percent in Agadez, the largest city in the Sahel. Reports from the UN and the World Bank put the blame on overpopulation and climate, but there may be another problem. Since the 1950s, chronic underinvestment in agriculture has been considered a normal feature of a healthy, growing economy. A successful farm policy is one that delivers cheap food to urban consumers, whatever the cost at the producing end.

Nick Cullather, a professor of history at Indiana University, will review the history of this conceptual trap, and how it is ruining the prospects for recovery. Cullather's research focuses on U.S. foreign relations specializing in the history of intelligence, development, and nation-building.  His most recent book, The Hungry World (2010), explores the use of food as a tool of psychological warfare and regime change during the Cold War.

Distortion: 43rd Annual College of Design Fashion Show. Feb. 19, 5–7:30 p.m., Courtyard, Rapson Hall. Tickets range from $10 to $50. "Distortion" presents the work of 18 senior apparel design students in a runway event that incorporates a wide variety of styles and inspirations ranging from men’s weFashion show Distortion 300ar to women’s wear, work wear to sportswear, and high fashion to the stylishly affordable, with many surprising influences. The diversity and magnitude of the apparel design senior class promises an evening that is unexpectedly alluring, so forget what you know about fashion and prepare for your idea of the runway to be enjoyably distorted. A standing exhibition of work by the sophomore class and pre-runway show from the junior class will also be part of the event.

Bell Museum Social "Proximity," featuring dance artist Olive Bieringa. Feb. 24, 6 p.m., Bell Museum. Free with admission. Social boundaries, personal space, and animal behavior are the subject of an upcoming Bell Museum social themed "Proximity," which features the work of dance and video artist Olive Bieringa. Bieringa, whose award-winning BodyCartography Project investigates the physical resonance of space in urban, wild, and domestic landscapes, is known for combining dance with performance installation. Using volunteer participants and specimens from the museum's scientific collections, Bieringa will create an installation designed to investigate the boundaries of personal space and social behavior.

The evening also will feature an unforgettable walking tour of the museum's dioramas with Bell Museum wildlife expert Jennifer Menken who will explain what it takes to get a date in the wild. Social-goers also will get the skinny on mammal behavior from a U researcher, followed by the chance to create their own animal-themed mask to wear throughout the evening.

Shared Cultural Spaces, a conference on Islam and the Humanities. Feb. 24–26, various locations including the Carlson School of Management, Wilson Library, and Rarig Center. Islamic developments in architecture, the arts, sciences, and theater will be the topics of a federally-funded conference presented by the U's Religious Studies program. The event will take a fresh look at humanities and sciences in Islamic civilization and reveal the connections between the Islamic and western worlds.

One purpose of the conference is to highlight the interactions of civilizations throughout history. One of the event's organizers, professor Nabil Matar, says that everything about the Islamic world in the news today focuses on politics and conflict and the "danger" of Muslim societies. The conference will show how Islamic cultural imagination continues to enrich contemporary life.

Find more Twin Cities events using the U's events calendar.

University events and lectures preview/review is a periodic column (about every two weeks) highlighting events and lectures recently past and soon-to-come on the UMTC campus. Faculty and staff are invited to contribute. Review submissions should be no more than 500 words, previews 200 or fewer. Both are subject to review by the Brief editor