Join us for the 2013-2014 lecture series and explore this year's theme, Growing Babies: Maternal Heath, Fetal Brain Development, and Birthing
CBD Thematic Lecture Series:
Each year CBD lectures and events focus on a different theme to demonstrate to students and faculty how CBD and its perspectives can address not only a particular set of questions, but also enrich multiple fields of study. Past themes include Happiness and Well-Being (2012-2013), 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.
Upcoming Events, Spring 2014:
March 27, 2014 in the Growing Babies: Maternal Heath, Fetal Brain Development, and Birthing series:
"Birth across Cultures: An Evolutionary Perspective," by Robbie Davis-Floyd, Ph.D., PUBLIC LECTURE
5:30-7:00 p.m. Main Lecture Hall, Frankin Patterson Hall
Robbie Davis-Floyd Ph.D., senior research fellow, deptartment of anthropology, University of Texas Austin and fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, is a medical anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of reproduction. An international speaker and researcher, she is the author of over 80 articles and Birth as an American Rite of Passage (1992, 2004), coauthor of From Doctor to Healer: The Transformative Journey (1998) and The Power of Ritual (forthcoming), and lead editor of 10 collections, the latest of which is Birth Models That Work (2009), which highlights optimal models of birth care around the world. Birth Models That Work Volume II: Birth on the Global Edge, coedited with Betty-Anne Daviss, will be forthcoming in 2014. Her current research project studies the paradigm shifts of holistic obstetricians in Brazil. Dr. Davis-Floyd serves as editor for the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI): 10 Steps to Optimal Maternity Care, Board Member of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO), and senior advisor to the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction. Most of her published articles are freely available on her website.
ABSTRACT: This talk takes an evolutionary perspective on the cultural treatment of human childbirth, exploring cross-cultural birth practices in all six types of human subsistence strategies (hunting-gathering, horticulture, agriculture, pastoralism, industrial society, and the technocracy), noting premodern similarities across vast cultural differences, examining the homogenizing effects of modernization, and exploring the possibilities of a postmodern mentality for improving the technocratic treatment of birth. The story of the Three Little Pigs provides an over-arching framework for the talk, with the “big bad wolf” understood as a metaphor for the dangers of nature and the cultural fears of nature that developed in concordance with the evolution of agriculture and industrialization. Although premodern birth practices varied widely across the cultural spectrum, they held strong similarities in that they consistently honored the normal physiology and psychology of birth. An anthropological view shows that appearance of cultural difference fades in relation to the cross-cultural similarities in the provision of companionship for laboring women, freedom of movement, upright positions for birth, and the use of various artifacts such as ropes, hammocks, and poles to support upright positions. The advent of industrialization and the concordant ascendance of technology and biomedicine obfuscated traditional knowledge about birth physiology, replacing it with mechanistic efforts to control the birth process. Our challenge today is to reincorporate traditional understandings of birth physiology, use new technologies appropriately, and bring a postmodern mentality that incorporates scientific evidence with traditional and professional midwifery knowledge to our cultural understanding and management of birth.
Past Events, Fall 2013:
November 19, 2013
in the Growing Babies: Maternal Heath, Fetal Brain Development, and Birthing series:
"Fetal Origins of Child Development: Emerging Evidence of Maternal and Epigenetic Effects in Utero," by Catherine Monk, Ph.D., PUBLIC LECTURE
5:30-7:00 p.m. Main Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Hall
Catherine Monk, Ph.D., is associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, and Obstetrics and Gynecology, and associate director for research at the Women’s Program, Columbia University Medical Center. Trained as a clinical psychologist, she spends the majority of her time on research, and a small percent treating women during and after pregnancy. Dr. Monk’s research centers on psychopathology, developmental psychobiology, and perinatal psychiatry. A primary focus of her work is the possible roles of pregnant women’s depression in the familial transmission of risk for psychiatric disorders. She has several ongoing research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health including an intervention study titled "Behavioral Change in the Mother/Infant Dyad: Preventing Postpartum Depression." Dr. Monk received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College and her doctorate from the City University of New York. She completed a NIMH supported postdoctoral fellowship in the Psychobiological Sciences at Columbia prior to joining the faculty.
ABSTRACT: Consistent with a developmental focus on the etiology of mental disorders, mounting evidence indicates that prenatal exposure to maternal distress--anxiety in particular--exerts pervasive effects on infant and child physiology, behavior, and neurobehavioral trajectories. By inference, these findings implicate in utero alterations of fetal CNS development, and suggest that evidence of the maternal influence should be identifiable during the period when it occurs. The relatively few studies of fetal behavior add novel, proximal data to the accumulating cross-sectional research on maternal prenatal distress effects. Fetal studies avoid an interpretive challenge by characterizing prenatal effects independent of postnatal factors; these show some functional relevance by demonstrating continuity with infant development, and help identify which physiological effectors of maternal distress shape child outcomes such that maternal experience "gets under fetal skin." This presentation will review this fetal research while adding the contexts of assessing maternal psychosocial functioning in light of NIMH’s Research Domain Criteria (the initiative to redefine for research purposes the clinical diagnostic system) and questions of the clinical care of pregnant women.
November 11, 2013
"Undoing ‘One-Sidedness’--Sexology, Gender, History," by Kirsten Leng, Ph.D., PUBLIC LECTURE
6:00-7:30 p.m. Main Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Hall
Kirsten Leng, Ph.D., is an ACLS New Faculty Fellow with the department of history and Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Columbia University. Her research examines the emergence of sexology as a field between the years 1890 and 1933 and probes its relationships to contemporaneous movements for women’s rights and sexual reform. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled Sexual Knowledge/Sexual Politics: Contesting Truth and Power in Early Twentieth Century. From 2011 to 2013 she was a postdoctoral fellow with The Sexualities Project at Northwestern University.
ABSTRACT: What role did women play in the creation of sexology in the early twentieth century? Why have historians largely elided women’s involvement? And how might a focus on women and gender revise the history of sexology itself? Such questions are at the heart of my current research, which rethinks sexology’s history through the lens of gender between the years 1890 and 1933. In this talk, I will make the case that asserting women’s role in the history of sexology does not merely correct the historical record or “recover” women’s neglected contributions in a straightforward, celebratory way, but in fact enriches our understanding of sexology itself. Specifically, focusing on women’s contributions and the gendered dynamics of knowledge production reveals sexology to have been a dynamic, highly contested site of knowledge and politics, one wherein truth and expertise were “up for grabs” and one whose findings had both emancipating and repressive potentials for individuals and society. I therefore challenge static representations of sexology as an “always already” authoritative and masculine science, whose disciplinary powers have been relatively constant throughout the modern era. Instead, I put forward a view of sexology as a staging ground for gendered conflicts over objectivity and authority vis-à-vis sex and sexuality, and over the socio-political implications of sexual scientific knowledge.
October 19, 2013
"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 also will include a student-led panel discussion on "What I Did This Summer." Here, CBD-funded students will 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!
September 25, 2013
"Borges' Ficciones and Zeno's Paradoxes Intersect at Infinity," by William Goldbloom Bloch, Ph.D., PUBLIC LECTURE
4:00-5:30 p.m. in Franklin Patterson Hall, West Lecture Hall
Dr. William Goldbloom Bloch is professor of mathematics at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. At various times, he's been smitten by the Big Questions, Mathematics, the (conjectural) Platonic form of Elegance, Aristotleian aporia, and the limits of Logic. Prior to coming to Wheaton, he pursued these topics with maniacal abandon at Reed College, the University of California at Berkeley, and as a postdoc at the University of Texas at Austin. His book The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel (Oxford University Press, 2008) was the runner-up for the 2008 PROSE award in mathematical writing.
ABSTRACT: Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine poet, essayist, and writer of short fiction. His works are headwaters to the literary streams of magical realism and metafiction. Zeno of Elea composed a short tract of paradoxes focusing on infinity and the impossibility of motion. His paradoxes were designed to confuse those who dismissed the ideas of his master, Parmenides. Simple to state, they are imbued with an enduring irksome appeal. Because they are "obviously wrong," most generations believe them conclusively resolved, but Borges rightly worried about them. We'll discuss two of Zeno's paradoxes and a few of the ways Borges embodied those ideas in his stories. Finally, hoping to sow confusion anew, we'll update one of Zeno's paradoxes by using an idea from the mathematical analysis of infinite series.
Planning for this year is still underway. We have more exciting events to come. Check in regularly for updates!
CBD Student Group Meets Each Week!
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