Each Friday during the Fall and Spring academic semesters, a faculty volunteer gives a 30 minute lunchtime talk on her/his scholarship and/or teaching practices. Faculty members are invited to learn a little more about their colleagues, chat with others that attend the presentations, and enjoy a wonderful buffet lunch. Talks start at 12:30 p.m. and are usually over a little past 1 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs.

Fall 2018 Schedule

Aug 31     Donald Spector (Physics)

What does it sound like when 5 x 8 = 1?

Abstract: Composers frequently apply transformations to musical phrases that treat the notes in additive fashion. In this talk, I introduce a new class of transformations that are based on mathematical structures known as modular multiplicative groups. These transformations have the feature of bridging tonal and atonal music. I will describe the relevant mathematics, and we will get to hear the kind of music that is generated.

Sep 7       Etin Anwar (Religious Studies)

Debating Islam and Feminism: Contexts and Contestations in Indonesia

Abstract: "Feminists love God and do not depend on men; they depend only on God," declares Nyai Masriyah in front of hundreds of her santris (Islamic boarding school students) at the Pesantren Kebon Jambu, in Babakan, Cirebon, West Java, Indonesia. Nyai Masriyah puts to rest the debate over the compatibility between Islam and feminism. Not only does Islamic feminism in Indonesia proliferate among Muslim women scholars and gender activists but it also becomes a site for masculine production of knowledge on women’s issues in Islamic traditions. As masculine dominance on women’s issues carries religious authority, it begs the question of what constitutes Islamic feminism given the feminist emphasis on the relationship between the epistemological formulation of knowledge and women’s experience. My talk will discuss how Islamic feminism emerged, developed, and proliferated in Indonesia. It highlights the patterns and the changes of the encounters between Islam and feminism from 1900 to the early 1990s and its effects on the definition of Islamic feminism. It systemizes Muslim women’s encounter with Islam and feminism into five eras: emancipation, association, development, integration, and proliferation eras. Each era corresponds to sites that shape the development of Islamic feminism. The talk also shows how Islamic feminism contributes to the rediscovery of Islam as ethics and women as ethical agent.

Sep 14     Craig Talmage (Entrepreneurial Studies)

Searching for Theory of Dark Social Entrepreneurship

Abstract: Across college campuses, entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship have become popular interdisciplinary fields of study. Unfortunately, programs across the U.S. often fail to recognize that entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship are not inherently good. Similar strategies to increase economic, social, and environmental well-being can be used for harm, and well-intended entrepreneurial efforts to increase well-being can result in unintended negative (dark) outcomes.

This presentation will define entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship for those unfamiliar with those terms. The presentation will showcase student and faculty research efforts to formulate a theory of dark social entrepreneurship. Results from a public opinion survey will be shared, and the audience will be engaged in a discussion to help build this theory.

Sep 21     Leslie Hebb (Physics)


Abstract: TBA

Sep 28     Leah Shafer (Media and Society), Mark Olivieri (Music),                Ben Ristow (Writing and Rhetoric)

No Ordinary Conversation: A Video Essay Collaboration

Abstract: In this tri-disciplinary presentation, the speakers discuss definitions of the video essay and their process in developing a collaborative video essay based on Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974) and David Shire's piano theme. In addition to screening their short video essay, the speakers discuss aesthetic choices, components of musical and visual improvisation, and the ways this emerging media form intersects with their teaching and the essayistic tradition.

Oct 5        Nan Crystal Arens (Geoscience)

Data set + Student = Surprising discoveries about the history of life on Earth

Abstract: In 1978, Jack Sepkoski first published on a compilation of marine fossil diversity that yielded a career's worth of discoveries including recognition of the "Big Five" mass extinctions, patterns in biodiversity through the Phanerozoic, and the three great evolutionary faunas. After his death in 1999, a number of paleobiologists refined and added to his data set, which now includes tens of thousands of fossil occurrences. Since becoming public, the data set has been extensively mined to study extinction and patterns of biodiversity through time. However, no one has looked at the other term in the biodiversity equation: origination. During the summer of 2018, Hobart student Jacob Kotcher and I began exploring the patterns of origination of marine genera over the last 540 million years using an updated version of the Sepkoski data set. Unlike extinctions, the trend in origination is not linear. We see hints of "mass origination" and discovered a surprising driver of origination over the last 540 million years. And quite by accident, we discovered that Earth has a macroevolutionary threshold between "normal" times and times when evolutionary processes appear to fall apart.

Oct 12      Susan Hess (Center for Teaching and Learning),                Hannah Dickinson (Writing and Rhetoric)

"Writing Enriched" at Work: Serendipity, Stories, and Scholarship

Abstract: This talk focuses on "WEC Serendipities": some new directions in faculty scholarship that the Writing Enriched Curriculum (WEC) Program has afforded. WEC is an approach to meaningfully integrating writing instruction throughout a major's curriculum; some of its early adopters are also finding that the WEC process produces new insights for faculty research and teaching. Also featuring Josh Newby, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Beth Belanger, Associate Professor of American Studies, this talk, bookended by WEC Team members Hannah Dickinson and Susan Hess, comprises three stories of faculty scholarship afforded by or emerging from the rich conceptual and practical work of the HWS Writing Enriched Curriculum.

Oct 19      Jo Beth Mertens (Office of the President)

Succeeding with the Students We Have: Using Data Analytics to Improve Student Success and Retention

Abstract: In April of 2017, Mertens returned to the Colleges as "Special Assistant to the President for Student Success and Retention." In that role, she has been working to pull together data and analyze them so as to better understand our students and identify factors that promote or impede student success. Friday, she will present some preliminary findings from her analysis of enrollment and admissions data for the 2012-2016 cohorts. In particular, she will be addressing some of the stories we tell ourselves about our students and what the data reveal about those narratives.

Oct 26      Marilyn Jimenez (Africana Studies, Media and Society)

"I will call her Sophia": Visualizing the White Woman in Spike Lee's Malcolm X

Abstract: TBA

Nov 2       Caroline Travalia (Spanish and Hispanic Studies), Loretta                 Hauslauer '19


Abstract: TBA

Nov 9        Charity Lofthouse (Music)


Abstract: TBA

Nov 16      Kanaté Dahouda (French and Francophone Studies)

Perspective on Francophonie, French and Language dynamics in French-Speaking Countries

Abstract: TBA

Nov 23      Thanksgiving break - No talk

Nov 30      Linda Robertson (Media and Society)

American Dream: Geneva, NY 1857

Abstract: A faculty-student collaborative, interdisciplinary documentary made by the Advanced Documentary Class last spring telling the story –through dramatic re-enactment—of an attempt to kidnap two free African American men into slavery in Geneva, NY, and how the community mobilized to rescue them.

Dec 7        Alysia Kaplan (Art and Architecture), Ashwin Manthripragada                 (German Area Studies)


Abstract: TBA


Shannon Straub,

Jennifer Biermann,


Spring 2018

Fall 2017

Spring 2017

Fall 2016

Spring 2016

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.