The Academic Minute from 04.08 – 04.12
Monday, April 8th
Janet Gibson – Grinnell College
Humor and Human Behavior
My main focus of research is on implicit memory, the influence of past experience that facilitates or biases current performance in the absence of conscious recollection. I have explored this aspect of memory in the context of a) aging, b) problem solving, and c) its perceptual/conceptual nature. Other interests include executive functioning & memory, prospective memory & time management, the use of self-assessment scales of memory as tools for decision making, and the odd-even effect in Sudoku puzzles.
Tuesday, April 9th
Leif Brottem – Grinnell College
The Geographical Life of West African Villages
I teach courses in Global Development Studies and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). My research focuses on the intersection of democratic decentralization and climate change adaptation in agrarian West Africa. I’m also interested in West African emigrant communities in Europe, North America, and, increasingly, China. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, I hold a PhD in Geography and an MS in Environment and Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a BA in Political Science from Carleton College. Prior to my graduate studies, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin (2002-2004), worked as a Program Officer at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability in Berkeley CA, and as an environmental policy assistant in the Alaska Governor’s office during the administration of Tony Knowles.
Wednesday, April 10th
Ross Haenfler – Grinnell College
I am an Associate Professor of Sociology at Grinnell College where I teach Deviance and Youth Subcultures, Sociological Theory, Men and Masculinities, and introductory sociology courses. I love teaching and try to teach classes that create possibilities for students to live more engaged and fulfilling lives.
My research focuses on how everyday people engage in social change as participants in subcultures and loosely organized social movements. Since most people do not consider themselves “activists,” I am interested in how they create changes in their own lives that reflect their values and how they believe that these individual actions add up to social change. Along with my colleagues I developed the concept of “lifestyle movement” to explain ongoing, diffuse change efforts seeking cultural (rather than policy) change, enacted largely in daily life rather than the streets. Examples include voluntary simplicity, slow food, locovores, green lifestyles, and abstinence pledgers.
Thursday, April 11th
Timothy Arner – Grinnell College
King Arthur In The Robing Room
Tim Arner specializes in medieval literature. His research and teaching interests include the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, the influence of classical texts on Middle English poetry, and the intersections between fourteenth- and fifteenth-century literature and politics.
He has published articles on Chaucer’s “The Miller’s Tale” and Troilus and Criseyde, and he has presented papers on Lucan, Chaucer, Lydgate, Spenser, and Shakespeare. Recently, Tim collaborated with a group of students to produce The Grinnell Beowulf, a translation and critical edition of the Old English poem.
Friday, April 12th
Andrea Tracy – Grinnell College
Too Much of a Good Thing
My primary research interest is ingestive behavior – specifically, the role of learning in food choice and food motivation, with a particular focus on how these influence, and are influenced by, obesity. My lab uses a rat model to study the behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying these processes using a variety of biological and behavioral techniques.