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College of Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum

Core Connections Lecture Series focuses on 'Law & Orders: Law in Nature, Culture, and Society'

The Core Connections Lecture Series in 2008-09 will explore the theme of "Law & Orders: Law in Nature, Culture, and Society."

As a concept of order or set of principles, a punitive force or a system of reward, an object of fear or of veneration, law is everywhere in our contemporary experience: in our books and films, in our news stories, in our town halls and halls of justice, and even in the ways we imagine ourselves as citizens of a nation.

But is law inevitable? Was there a time before law? Is law strictly a human phenomenon, a social consequence? What kinds of law organize the natural world? What are the institutions and processes of law? Where do our ideas of law come from?

Speakers in the Core Connections series for 2008-2009 will address some of these questions as we focus on the role of law in our understanding of nature, culture, and society.

The Core Connection lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Amy Deveau, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics, at 207-602-2813, or via email at

solan_headshotSeptember 17
“Breaking the Oil Addiction: 
Legends, the Law, and Lifecycles”
David Solan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Boise State University
St. Francis Room, Ketchum Library, UC, 12-1 p.m.

Speaker Biography
Dr. David Solan is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy & Administration at Boise State University. He specializes in energy policy and politics, and he performs research for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies' Energy Policy Institute.   Prior to BSU, Dr. Solan worked at the US Environmental Agency as the senior policy advisor to the Deputy Administrator (COO).  He also served as a senior energy advisor to the head of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.  His government service also included tenure as an energy policy specialist on the chief oversight committee in the US House of Representatives and as Legislative Director for a U.S. Congressman. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Delaware, and he has a B.A. from Drew University.

Seminar Abstract
Much is said and written about breaking our “oil addiction.”  Whether it is for reasons of energy security, environmental considerations, or a combination of both, almost everyone seems to think it is a good idea.   How we go about it, though, has been hotly contested.  We certainly tried to address this issue in decades past.  Questions we must now consider include:  Just what kind of an addict is the US?  What have we learned from history? How do we address the legends and myths relating to oil and petroleum?  What has recent law done?  And, how do we turn to alternatives and compare their environmental value to oil?

Co-sponsored by Environmental Studies

Useful Links:

cohenOctober 2
"The Orders of Citizenship and Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politics"
Elizabeth Cohen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Maxwell School, Syracuse University
St. Francis Room, Ketchum Library, UC, 12-1 p.m.

Speaker Biography
Elizabeth Cohen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, received a B.A. from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. from Yale University. Her research interests focus on contemporary political theory, citizenship studies, and the politics of immigration. Her publications address children’s citizenship, immigration, asylum, migration policy, gay marriage, the civil disabilities of felons and ex-felons, and citizenship in the European Union. Currently she is completing a book entitled The Myth of Full Citizenship: a Comparative Study of Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Polities that analyzes divisions in types of formal citizenship and the ways in which both citizens and states exploit these divisions.

Seminar Abstract
Citizenship is a status assigned by states to order populations. The terms of political membership tells us that some of us are citizens while others are not. This leaves us with no language to discuss the semi-citizens to whom the state assigns some but not all of the rights of democratic citizenships. The immigrant, the refugee, and the temporary worker are all instances of persons we are not likely to call citizens. Yet each of these persons exercises a bundle of rights accorded to them by law and drawn from the larger catalog of rights associated with citizenship. In turn, the felon, the child, and the mentally unwell person are not called foreigners even as they are denied the right to vote, speak freely, or represent their own interests in court. Each of these cases reveals an inevitable ambiguity within the concept of citizenship for which we have no political language. These and other instances of semi-citizenship may appear to be isolated exceptions to otherwise uniformly applied rules of citizenship, but in fact they have all been a part of democratic politics since its inception. To bring order to discussions of citizenship, social scientists should contemplate how to categorize and compare the status of persons who hold different kinds of semi-citizenship. Dr. Cohen’s talk will lay out a framework for starting this discussion as well as the implications of semi-citizenship for theories of politics and legal rights.

Co-sponsored by Citizenship/Sociology

October 15
"Music, Science, Neuroscience and the Mysteries of Order"
Pozzi Escot and Robert Cogan, Woodrow Wilson Fellows, Composers & Faculty Members, The New England Conservatory

St. Francis Room, Ketchum Library, UC,  12-1 p.m.
This lecture is part of a series of lectures and a performance.

Speaker Biographies
Robert Cogan has successfully followed a triple career as composer, music theorist, and teacher. For over thirty years, he has served as Chair of Graduate Theoretical Studies and Professor of Composition at the New England Conservatory. His book New Images of Musical Sound—one of four acclaimed volumes he has authored or co-authored—won the Society for Music Theory’s Distinguished Publication Award. More recently, he has published Music Seen, Music Heard, and The Sounds of Song and has written articles for various scholarly music journals. His compositions have been featured in performances by the Cleveland Orchestra, the North and West German Radios, and the RIAS Orchestra of Berlin, as well as at festivals including Avignon and Tanglewood.

Pozzi Escot is Professor of Composition and Music Theory at the New England Conservatory and holds a professorship at Wheaton College. She is Editor in Chief of the internationally acclaimed journal Sonus, President of the International Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies, and Director of Tufts University’s Tallories International Composers’ Conference in France. She is widely regarded as a pioneer in the study of the relationship between music and mathematics and has published articles exploring this area of inquiry. In 1975, Ms. Escot was chosen as one of the five most remarkable women composers of the 20th century, and during the same year, the New York Philharmonic premiered her Fifth Symphony to critical acclaim. With Mr. Cogan, Ms. Escot co-wrote “Sonic Design: The Nature of Sound and Music” and “Sonic Design: Practice and Problems”. She has recently completed two books, “The Poetics of Simple Mathematics in Music” and “Oh How Wondrous—Hildegard von Bingen, Ten Essays.”

Cosponsored by the CAS Dean’s Office

haywardNovember 10
“Cultural Criminology: An Invitation”
Keith Hayward, Ph.D., Director of Studies for Criminology & Senior Lecturer, University of Kent, UK
St. Francis Room, Ketchum Library, UC, 12-1 p.m.

Speaker Biography
Keith Hayward, Ph.D is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology and Director of Studies for criminology at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, UK. He has published widely in the areas of criminological theory (in particular the relationship between consumer culture and crime), cultural criminology, youth crime, popular culture, social theory, and terrorism and fanaticism. He is the author of City Limits: Crime, Consumer Culture and the Urban Experience (Routledge, 2004) the co-author of Cultural Criminology: An Invitation (Sage, 2008) and the co-editor of Cultural Criminology Unleashed (Routledge, 2004), Framing Crime: Cultural Criminology and the Image (Routledge, 2009), Criminology (Oxford University Press, Second Edition 2009) and Fifty Key Criminological Thinkers (Routledge, 2009). Dr. Hayward is also the founder of the International Cultural Criminology Conference series and runs the website:

Seminar Abstract
The fluidity of contemporary culture not only carries along the meaning of crime and criminality; it circles back to amplify, distort, and define the experience of crime and criminality itself. Using the lens of cultural criminology, and drawing on examples including everything from high street window displays to the latest developments in interactive video gaming, this paper explores how crime is frequently employed in contemporary commercial marketing strategies as a cool promotional icon, fashion aesthetic, or symbolic style. Whilst introducing the uninitiated to the field of cultural criminology, this paper will also assert that mediated criminal events cannot be confined to easy categories of violent victimization, or romantic fantasy–and they certainly cannot be contained within regimes of rational choice and situational crime prevention. Instead, moments of everyday transgression must be explored for their contested meanings, and for the cultural politics they embody. Such an exploration suggests that everyday transgression (and its representation) today carries with(in) it a dangerous double potential: for insidious control on the one hand, and anarchic liberation on the other.

Useful links:

enquistJanuary 27
"In the age of Darwin, are there general laws in biology and should we even care?"
Brian J. Enquist, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Arizona
St. Francis Room, Ketchum Library, UC,
12-1 p.m.

Research Seminar
Brian J. Enquist, Ph.D., 
Associate Professor, University of Arizona
Marine Science Center, Room 221, UC Campus
4-5 p.m.

Brian J. Enquist is an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona as well as external professor at The Santa Fe Institute. He is a broadly trained ecologist and evolutionary biologist whose work ranges from tropical ecology and plant physiology, to understanding large-scale patterns of biological diversity, to the development of theoretical models in biology. His work has been widely covered in various media outlets including PBS NOVA, NPR, and the New York Times.  He was voted by Popular Science Magazine as one of the Top-10 Brilliant Young Scientists. He has received the Mercer Award by the Ecological Society of America, a Fulbright fellowship, a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, and an honorary Ph.D. from Colorado College. He has served as a research fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.  He received his B.A. in Biology from Colorado College and M.S. and Ph.D. in biology from the University of New Mexico.

"In the age of Darwin ..." Lecture
Two hundred years have past since the birth of Charles Darwin. The age of Darwin has solidified the notion that biological systems are arguably the most complex systems that we know of.  Further, biology has increasingly come underlie the foundations of many pressing societal problems ranging from how the biosphere regulates the atmosphere, the influence of global change on ecosystem services, to the emergence and dynamics of disease. However, has biology really embraced the viewpoint that laws are the foundation of science?  The dominant viewpoint in biology and perhaps our culture seems to be that, unlike the physical sciences, biology demands a fundamentally different approach to science.  Drawing recent insights from non-linear dynamics and the study of complex systems, the talk will highlight the nature, and origin of biological complexity. The talk will highlight how a focus on law and order can reveal deeper insights into biological systems, ourselves, and the role of biology in a rapidly changing world.   It is argued that biology likely has much more to teach us about the nature of  law in general.

Research Seminar

Seeing the forest from the leaves: A general quantitative theory for scaling from cells to ecosystems

One of the central goals of biology has been to highlight the rules governing the evolution and maintenance of biological diversity.  Variation in body size is one of the most pervasive features of biological diversity.  From microbes to whales to Sequoias body mass of biological diversity varies over 21 orders of magnitude.  Nearly all characteristics of organisms, including cellular metabolism, whole-organism resource requirements, life-history attributes, population density, and species diversity, vary with body size as described by the allometric equation: Y = YoMb, where Y is the variable of interest, Yo a normalization constant, M body mass, and b a scaling exponent.  A longstanding puzzle has been why b usually a multiple of 1/4, rather than of 1/3 as expected from geometric scaling.  This talk will provide an overview of a general model based on the architecture and hydrodynamics of fractal-like vascular networks.  The model predicts numerous empirically observed scaling relationships of both mammalian cardiovascular networks, respiratory tree, and plant vascular systems.  Shaped by physical and biological constraints natural selection has apparently led to the evolution of diverse fractal-like vascular networks that optimize the allometric scaling of resource use and the scaling of transportation distances or times.  Across diverse taxa, this has resulted in allometric scaling-laws characterized by 'quarter-power' exponents.   Further, a general allometric framework offers the ability to mechanistically link how biological networks influence biological structure, function, and diversity across scales.   Several botanical examples - ranging from the structure and function of leaves to the scaling of whole-plant growth rate across diverse ecological communities are shown to be mechanistically linked to the constraints of vascular networks. Together these results suggest that a common body of allometric theory can provide a basis for understanding the central role of body size in nearly all aspects of biological structure, function, and diversity.

The Marine Science Center and the Department of Biological Sciences are also co-sponsoring this event.

Useful links:

February 26
Susanna Lee, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Georgetown University
St. Francis Room, Ketchum Library, UC Campus, 12-1 p.m.

Useful links:

CoREACTIONS Student Panel