College Connection New England Public Radio (NEPR) records lectures and panel talks from colleges and universities from Western New England, particularly from the Five Colleges in Western Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Hampshire College. This forum provides an opportunity for listeners to engage with researchers, intellectuals, poets and authors active within our academic communities.
College Connection

College Connection

From New England Public Radio

New England Public Radio (NEPR) records lectures and panel talks from colleges and universities from Western New England, particularly from the Five Colleges in Western Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Hampshire College. This forum provides an opportunity for listeners to engage with researchers, intellectuals, poets and authors active within our academic communities.More from College Connection »

Most Recent Episodes

Debating Gender and Body in the Epic Mahabharata

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is professor of comparative religion and philosophy at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. In this talk, Ram-Prasad examines an excerpt from the Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic poem. In the poem, a female who has renounced the world in order to attain spiritual enlightenment challenges a king, who argues that real spiritual enlightenment is achieved only while still engaged in the normal duties of life. But, Ram-Prasad said this argument is as much about gender as spirituality, and the ancient text provides, "interesting contributions to contemporary debates about gender and feminist philosophy." Entitled, "Gender and Body-Talk: A Philosophical Debate from Classical India" Ram-Prasad's lecture was recorded on April 13 th , 2017 at Amherst College.

Noam Chomsky Weighs Our Prospects for Survival

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The world renowned linguist has lectured and written extensively on the subject, as he has on philosophy, politics, international affairs and numerous others. Chomsky was invited by the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute to speak on the existential threats posed by nuclear weaponry and climate change. His talk, "Prospects for Survival," was recorded on April 13 th , 2017 at UMass Amherst.

Teaching Popular Music In Institutions Of Higher Learning

Patrice Rushen chairs the Popular Music Program at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. Although her early training was in classical music, she is a jazz pianist and R&B singer perhaps best known for her popular music of the '70s and '80s. A four-time Grammy nominee, Rushen has also composed scores for television and film. Rushen was invited to Amherst College to talk about why USC started the Popular Music Program and how it fills an underserved artistic need in America. The Popular Music Program first enrolled students in 2009, and Rushen joined as an artist-in-residence in 2010. She became chair of the program in 2013. "We have the ear of the student who is capable of finding the balance between mastery and marketing, if we show them the proper order and how the two are not mutually exclusive," she said. "Our work in popular music education gives us the opportunity to contribute to the ideas and ideals of success." Her talk, " Teaching Popular Music

Fighting Dialect Prejudice In Courtrooms And Beyond

John Rickford is a professor of linguistics at Stanford University, where he studies the relationship between language and social structure. In this talk, he delves into vernacular English to show how differences in language can lead to distrust and disregard between communities. Rickford concludes by offering solutions to help bridge linguistic gaps across cultures. He is the author of several books on language and culture, including " African American, Creole and Other Vernacular Englishes: A Bibliographic Resource ." Rickford's talk, "Justice for Jeantel (and Trayvon): Fighting Dialect Prejudice in Courtrooms and Beyond," was recorded on February 17, 2017 at UMass Amherst. Special thanks to the Linguistics Department and UMass Amherst Information Technology. Note: This talk contains occasional use of the n-word.

The Risk of Change vs. the Cost of Doing Nothing

Majora Carter is an American urban revitalization strategist based in the South Bronx, New York. Last fall she was invited to deliver the keynote address for the dedication of Hampshire College's R. W. Kern Center . The building is considered a significant addition to the college's sustainability initiative for a carbon neutral campus. In her address, entitled "Justice or Equality, Talent-Retention or Poverty-Maintenance, the Risk of Change vs. the Cost of Doing Nothing," Carter speaks on the importance of considering how the environments we build affect those who exist within them. Her work focuses on what she calls "low status" communities; places where there is generally considered to be a low quality of life. These communities often bear the cost of the society's environmental burdens like coal mines and garbage dumps, while enjoying less environmental benefits like public parks. In 2005, Carter was awarded the MacArthur "Genius" Grant for her work in the South Bronx. This talk was

Is Exercise Medicine? An Evolutionary Medical Perspective

Daniel Lieberman, a paleoanthropologist and biology professor at Harvard University, spoke about his work studying human athletic behavior and performance as part of the Center for Research on Families' Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series. He said in developed countries there is currently an "exercise paradox": Although humans evolved to become athletes, few in these countries are adequately physically active. This, Lieberman said, was because we evolved both to be athletes, but also to avoid unnecessary activity. Lieberman discussed the implications of this paradox for the American healthcare crisis, and proposed that solutions aimed at getting more people to exercise would benefit from an evolutionary understanding of human behavior. Daniel Lieberman is the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences and chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. Among his achievements is a 2009 Ig Noble Prize in Physics for "analytically determining why pregnant women

Culture High And Low: When Jazz Entered The Concert Hall

Steve Waksman, Professor of Music and American Studies at Smith College, gave a historical view of the movement of jazz from "lowbrow" popular music, to "highbrow symphonic art". Waksman focused on the people that influenced this movement, and how it changed cultural perceptions and expectations of jazz. Waksman is the author of " Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience " and " This Ain't the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk ". Waksman was the keynote speaker at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's American Music Masters event honoring the legacy of musician and inventor Les Paul in 2008. This talk was recorded on December 13, 2016 in Seeyle Hall at Smith College.

US Neoslavery: A History Of The Prison Industrial Present

Dennis Childs, associate professor of African American literature and an affiliate faculty member of the department of ethnic studies and critical gender studies at the University of California, San Diego, spoke about the past and present incarceration of the poor and people of color as a continuation of the modern practice of slavery in the U.S. He currently serves as director of UCSD's African American studies program, and faculty advisor for Students Against Mass Incarceration, a student-organized prison abolitionist organization. Child's talk was sponsored by the Social Thought and Political Economy Program (STPEC) at UMass Amherst. Hoang Phan, director of STEPC, introduced Childs. Following his talk, Childs signed copies of his recent book, Slaves of the State: Black Incarceration from the Chain Gang to the Penitentiary (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). This talk was recorded on October 13th, 2016 in the Goodell Hall at UMass Amherst.

Concentration Camps, American Style: Japanese Americans And WWII

Franklin Odo is the John J. McCloy Visiting Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy at Amherst College. As part of the UMass Amherst History Department's Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series : "The U.S. in the Age of Mass Incarceration", Odo talked about Japanese Internment during World War II, the subsequent redress, and how Japanese Americans have been affected by discrimination. Odo was the founding director of the Smithsonian's Asian Pacific American Program, Interim Chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress, and one of the founders of the field of Asian American Studies. Odo was born in 1939 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He said that had he been born elsewhere in the U.S., "I would have been considered, at age two, a dangerous threat to national security and been forcibly removed from my home, along with my parents and siblings, into one of the assembly centers and then concentration camps." This talk was recorded on November 1, 2016 in Herter

Smith College's Presidential Colloquium Series with Ana Navarro

Republican political commentator and strategist Ana Navarro was recently invited to speak as part of Smith College's Presidential Colloquium Series. Navarro shared why she has been a lifelong Republican and spoke on the political values she feels have been challenged by the Trump administration. Navarro served in the transition team for Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 1998, was the National Hispanic Co-Chair for John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, served as National Hispanic Co-Chair for Governor Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign in 2012, and was a Fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics in 2013. This talk was recorded on January 24, 2017 in the John M. Greene Hall at Smith College .

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