The Academic Minute for 2017.2.27-3.3

Academic Minute from 2.27 – 3.3

Monday, February 27th
Isabel Gauthier – Vanderbilt University
Sex Differences in Facial Recognition
Gauthier studies visual object recognition, with particular emphasis on the plasticity of recognition mechanisms and their neural substrate. One issue that is of particular interest to her is how the visual system organizes itself into what appears to be category-specific modules. For instance, face recognition is often given as an example of a highly specialized module that may function independently from general object recognition mechanisms but many behavioral and neuroimaging studies from the Gauthier lab have suggested that the specialization we see in behavior and the brain for faces results to a large extent from our extensive experience with faces. In recent work the cortical thickness of the fusiform face area was found to predict both face and object recognition abilities and we are exploring these relations at an even finer scale, in deep vs. superficial cortical layers that may reflect effects of expertise that occur relatively early or later in life. The Gauthier lab is also involved in measuring and testing hypotheses about individual differences in high-level visual abilities, including domain-specific experience as well as domain-general ability that may be able to predict the potential to learn across a number of visual domains. The lab is involved in collaborative activities funded by the NSF to study how variation in general visual abilities and specific visual experiences affect our visual behavior, using a combination of ultra-high-field brain imaging, structural equation modeling, item response analysis and “deep” convolutional neural network models of vision.

Tuesday, February 28th
David Yamane – Wake Forest University
Religion & Guns
David Yamane earned his B.A. (’91) in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley and his M.S. (’94) and Ph.D. (’98) in sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. After teaching at the University of Notre Dame and holding a post-doc at the University of Virginia’s Center on Religion and Democracy, he joined the sociology faculty at Wake Forest in 2005. He served as department chair from 2009-2011 and is currently an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Religion and School of Divinity.

Professor Yamane’s primary scholarly interest has been in sociologically understanding organized religion, particularly Roman Catholicism in the postwar United States. His books in this area include The Catholic Church in State Politics: Negotiating Prophetic Demands and Political Realities (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), Real Stories of Christian Initiation: Lessons for and from the RCIA (The Liturgical Press, 2006), and Becoming Catholic: Finding Rome in the American Religious Landscape (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Wednesday, March 1st
Erin Godfrey – New York University
Civic Engagement Among Youth
Erin Godfrey is assistant professor of Applied Psychology in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Development, and Education.

She uses theories and methods form social, developmental and community psychology to examine how individuals interact with, understand, and are influenced by the social, economic and political systems in which they are embedded.

Thursday, March 2nd
Corey Brettschneider – Brown University
Constitutional Resistance
Corey Brettschneider is professor of political science at Brown University, where he teaches courses in constitutional law and political theory. He is currently also a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Brettschneider was a visiting professor at Fordham Law School, a Rockefeller faculty fellow at the Princeton University Center for Human Values, a visiting associate professor at Harvard Law School, and a faculty fellow at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics. Brettschneider received a PhD in politics from Princeton University and a JD from Stanford University. He is the author of When the State Speaks, What Should it Say? How Democracies Can Protect Expression and Promote Equality (Princeton University Press, 2012) and Democratic Rights: The Substance of Self-Government (Princeton University Press, 2007). These books have been the subject of several journal symposia, including one most recently published in the Brooklyn Law Review. Brettschneider is also the author of a casebook, Constitutional Law and American Democracy: Cases and Readings (Aspen Publishers/Wolters Kluwer Law and Business, 2011). His articles include “Sovereign and State: A Democratic Theory of Sovereign Immunity,” forthcoming in Texas Law Review; “Value Democracy as the Basis for Viewpoint Neutrality,” in Northwestern Law Review (2013); “A Transformative Theory of Religious Freedom,” in Political Theory (2010); “When the State Speaks, What Should it Say? Democratic Persuasion and the Freedom of Expression,” in Perspectives on Politics (2010); and “The Politics of the Personal: A Liberal Approach,” in the American Political Science Review (2007).

Friday, March 3rd
David Caplan – Ohio Wesleyan University
Is Hip-Hop Poetry?
David Caplan is the Charles M. Weis Chair in English and the Associate Director of Creative Writing. His scholarly interests include poetics and contemporary poetry. He has published four books: Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form (Oxford University Press, 2004), Poetic Form: An Introduction (Longman, 2006), In the World He Created According to His Will (poems) (University of Georgia Press/VQR Poetry Series, 2010), and Rhyme’s Challenge: Poetry, Hip Hop, and Contemporary Rhyming Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Caplan serves as a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review and to Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing, and as an affiliated researcher (Chercheur Affilié) at the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Poétique Appliquée. Twice he has been a Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Liège. He also was the National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellow in Poetics at the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University. His other honors include the 2012 Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry, given to the best poem or group of poems that the Virginia Quarterly Review published during the year, the Welch Award for Scholarly or Artistic Achievement, and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in Criticism.


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