Past Speakers

Vivekanand Vimal
Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory, Brandeis University
Sept. 15

Vivekanand VimalVivekanand Pandey Vimal is a neuroscientist who explores the effects of gravitational cues on humans' ability to learn to balance. His research relies on data from experiments using the Multi-Axes Rotation and Tilt Device at the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory. He has published findings from this work in the journals Experimental Brain Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He has also been recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his work in science education, winning an award for his digital media project dedicated to "building bridges between science and human rights." For this workshop, Dr. Vimal discussed ethical dimensions of scientific practice and his recent publication titled "Learning Dynamic Balancing in the Roll Plane with and without Gravitational Cues."

Michael Jackson
Distinguished Professor of World Religions, Harvard University
Oct. 6

Michael D. JacksonMichael D. Jackson is an anthropologist and creative writer who has published over thirty books of ethnography, poetry, and memoir, embracing innovative approaches to fiction and non-fiction alike. Since 1969 he has conducted research among the Kuranko of Sierra Leone, the Warlpiri and Kuku-Yalanji of Australia, and African migrants in Europe. His theoretical contributions involve the application of pragmatist and critical approaches to ethnographic understandings of the human experience, including the development of existential anthropology. In addition to his extensive publication record, he has held teaching positions across the globe at Indiana University, the University of Sydney, the University of Copenhagen, and Harvard University. For more information about his work, visit his website. For our workshop, Professor Jackson shared and discussed with the Brandeis community an upcoming manuscript, entitled "Words and Deeds," concerning the various actions that words and silence can take.

Ashley D. Farmer
Departments of History and African-American Studies, Boston University
Nov. 3

Ashley D. FarmerAshley D. Farmer is a historian of black women's intellectual life and radical politics, particularly contributions to the Black Power movement in the twentieth century. She has published in peer-reviewed academic venues, including the Journal of African American History, but has also made her work available in popular media and blogs. Her first monograph, titled "Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era," will be released in November 2017 from University of North Carolina Press. For this workshop, Professor Farmer shared a manuscript draft titled "'All the Progress to be Made Will Be Made by Maladjusted Negroes': Mae Mallory, Black Women’s Activism, and the Making of the Black Radical Tradition,” which explores the life and activism of Mae Mallory, who organized from the 1930s to the 1980s. More information about Farmer's media appearances and forthcoming scholarship can be found on her website.

Keridwen Luis
Department of Anthropology, Brandeis University
Nov. 17

Keridwen LuisKeridwen Luis is an anthropologist who explores questions around gender, culture theory, fandom, medicine, and nonheteronormative sexualities. She has conducted anthropological research on the roles of race and gender in women’s land movements, and she has made contributions to the scholarship on queerness, body performativity, and cultural negotiation. In addition to ethnographic scholarship, she teaches courses in the anthropology of gender and queerness, social media, and the life course at Brandeis and Harvard University. Here she shared with the Brandeis community a portion of her upcoming book project, tentatively titled "Sensitive Fannish Faces: Affect, Community, Identity, Queerness," which draws on queer theory and critical race theory to consider how people performatively construct identity and community in fan environments.

Jack Cao
Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Feb. 16

Jack CaoJack Cao is a doctoral candidate in social psychology at Harvard University. His research examines how social inequalities shape and are influenced by people's implicit beliefs about group characteristics. He considers the underlying cognitive mechanisms that perpetuate bias, as well as potential avenues for changing such entrenched habits. To answer these questions, he conducts large-scale behavioral experiments in implicit social cognition using Bayesian computational modeling. His work has been funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and he is a doctoral fellow in the Inequality & Social Policy program at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy through the Harvard Kennedy School. Before graduate study at Harvard, he served as an instructor with Teach for America in New Orleans, LA. At this workshop, he presented a manuscript titled "Bayesian Judgments but Egalitarian Preferences" on the use of group averages to make judgments about specific individuals, raising concerns about the psychological dimensions of fair treatment.