Join us in 2012-2013 as we explore Happiness and Well-Being
Each year CBD events focus on a different theme to demonstrate to students and faculty how CBD and its perspectives can not only address a particular set of questions, but also enrich multiple fields of study. Throughout the year we will host lectures, workshops, and other events to examine the complex cultural understandings of what happiness is, how it is achieved and measured, and why we place such value on happiness in our daily lives.
Past themes include Neuroscience and Society (2011-2012), Stress and Resilience (2010-2011), and Art on the Brain (2009-2010). Visit our archives for more information on past events.
Spring 2013 Events:
February 28, 2013
Pursuing Happiness in the Past and in the Present, by Darrin M. McMahon, Ph.D., PUBLIC LECTURE from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall
Dr. Darrin M. McMahon is the Ben Weider Professor of History at Florida State University. Educated at Berkeley and Yale, he is the author of Enemies of the Enlightenment (Oxford, 2001) and Happiness: a History (Atlantic Monthly, 2006), which has been translated into thirteen languages, and was awarded Best Books of the Year honors for 2006 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate Magazine, and The Library Journal. Dr. McMahon’s writings have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. He is currently writing a history of the idea of genius, forthcoming with Basic Books in 2013.
ABSTRACT: Professor McMahon will sketch some of the principal ways human beings have thought about happiness in the past. Examples will draw primarily from the Western tradition, but the discussion will open out to encompass other traditions as well. McMahon will then discuss the “Revolution in Human Expectations” that occurred in the 18th century, and explain how its consequences--for better and for worse--are still with us today. The lecture concludes by looking at some aspects of the recent "science" of happiness to explain how a good number of its central insights are consistent with truths long understood by the world's major religious and wisdom traditions.
June 7-9, 2013
CBD at Div IV: "Culture, Mind, and Body"
Calling all alumni! Join Hampshire College and CBD as we celebrate 43 years of interdisciplinary explorations across the College and 10 years of The Foundation for Psychocultural Research-Hampshire College Program in Culture, Brain, and Development. The 2013 Div IV will feature lectures, workshops and events with Hampshire College alumni and faculty.
This is a weekend-long Hampshire College alumni event.
Fall 2012 Events:
November 8, 2012
Mirth: What Is It Good for? by Matthew M. Hurley, PUBLIC LECTURE
Matthew M. Hurley is a research associate at the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition at Indiana University where he works with Douglas Hofstadter. He earned his B.A. in computer science and cognitive science at Tufts University in Medford, MA, and is finishing up his Ph.D. at Indiana this year. His book, Inside Jokes: Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind (MIT Press, 2011), coauthored with Daniel Dennett and Reginald Adams, is an expansion on his undergraduate thesis that presents an evolutionarily grounded theory of humor in terms of its cognitive and emotional mechanics. His current research is focused on a naturalistic theory for the source of teleology and agency in our world.
ABSTRACT: Evolutionary theory invites us to view traits in terms of their adaptive function. Although not every trait has such a function (there are spandrels), the enjoyment of humor seems nonetheless to be one trait that does lend itself to adaptive explanation. The pleasures and pains that constitute human emotional life each appear to provide a functional benefit in motivating a certain class of behaviors. But the purpose of mirth--the emotional component of humor--is less obvious than with many other emotions. I will present a theory in which the role of mirth in our lives is one of an epistemic motivator--a kind of mind candy, which makes enjoyable a certain kind of cognitive cleanup. Humor is an evolved solution to the epistemic problem of a certain kind of conclusion that is automatically inferred during comprehension. Once such a reward system exists, it also becomes available to be co-opted towards other uses and even abuses (cf. the use and abuse of confections well beyond the biological requirement of encouraging consumption of fruits, as well as the similar concept of masturbation).
October 15, 2012
DOCUMENTARY FILM SCREENING Ritual Burdens and Standing on the Edge of a Thorn: Ethnographic films directed by Dr. Robert Lemelson.
Followed by a talk back with the director. Ritual Burdens focuses on Ni Ketut Kasih, an older Balinese woman who lives her life according to the complex rhythms of the Balinese religious calendar. This film highlights the relationship among communal spiritual obligations, ritual practices, and cyclic episodes of mental illness. Standing on the Edge of a Thorn is an intimate portrait of a family in rural Indonesia grappling with poverty, mental illness, and participation in the sex trade. For more information on these and other documentaries by Dr. Robert Lemelson, visit Elemental Productions.
October 13, 2012
"What I Did This Summer": CBD Student Presentations
Join us over Family, Alumni, and Friends Weekend for a series of presentations by students who received funding from CBD to complete research projects or internships over the summer. Students will present their work, and talk about how it fits within the context of a Hampshire education. The program will also include a student-led panel discussion on "What I Did This Summer." Here, CBD funded students share their experiences, as well as what to expect (and what they never expected they would do) as a summer intern. Questions from the audience are strongly encouraged!
We have more exciting events to come. Check in regularly for updates!
CBD Student Group Meets Each Week!
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