Prentiss M. Brown Honors Spring Common Reading
This spring our Brown Honors Common Reading was "On Human Nature" by E. O. Wilson - 1988. Wilson was here on campus on April 21, 2005 for a lecture in Goodrich Chapel.
About the book itself he says: "To address human behavior systematically is to make a potential topic of every corridor in the labyrinth of the human mind, and hence to consider not just the social sciences but the humanities, including philosophy and the process of scientific discovery itself. Consequently, 'On Human Nature' is not a work of science; it is a work about science, and about how far natural sciences can penetrate into human behavior before they will be transformed into something new." "On Human Nature" covers aggression, sex, altruism and religion as well as heredity, development and emergent behavior brilliantly.
Dr. Wilson graciously gave an afternoon of his time to open discussion with a packed room of honors students in the Wendell Will room. This exchange between our students and an eminent guest still stands out as one of the best in recent years. We applaud professor Wilson's openness and candor and his ability to engage students in direct and deeply informative conversation. This event stands as a model of what an honors exchange of ideas should look like.
Prentiss M. Brown Honors Fall Common Reading 2005
Our Brown Honors Common Reading this fall was "The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time" by John Kelly. Kelly was here on Campus, Thursday, September 22 for a lecture in Goodrich Chapel at 7:00pm.
So begins, in almost fairy-tale fashion, a contemporary account of the worst natural disaster in European History - what we call the Black Death, and what the generation who lived through it called la moria grandissima: "the great mortality."
The Great Mortality is John Kelly's compelling narrative account of the medieval plague, from its beginnings on the desolate, windswept steppes of Central Asia to its journey through the teeming cities of Europe.
The Great Mortality also looks at new theories about the cause of the plague and takes into account why some scientists and historians believe that the Black Death was an outbreak not of bubonic plague, but of another infectious illness - perhaps anthrax or a disease like Ebola.
John Kelly, who holds a graduate degree in European history, is the author and coauthor of ten books on science, medicine, and human behavior, including Three on the Edge, which Publishers Weekly called the work of "an expert storyteller." He lives in New York city.
CSPAN did broadcast Mr. Kelly's talk.
Prentiss M. Brown Honors Fall Common Listening 2006
The honors common experience for the fall of 2006 featured two recordings and visits by two of the most innovative and in demand drummers and composers on the jazz scene. Gerald Cleaver's Adjust (Fresh Sounds-New Talent) and Matt Wilson's Going Once, Going Twice (Palmetto Records). Led by Prentiss M. Brown Distinguished Honors Professor, Dr. Andrew Bishop, the two recordings were examined, exhibiting the wide array of technical and expressive qualities available in today's jazz idiom. Both Cleaver and Wilson reside in New York City, have ties to the upper Midwest, and visited Albion's campus for a lecture demonstration. These two artists were on the Albion College campus to perform on Monday, September 11th and on Wednesday, October 11th in Norris 101.
Gerald Cleaver is a versatile drummer and composer originally from Detroit, Michigan and now based in Brooklyn, New York. His recording Adjust (Fresh Sound New Talent)—featuring Andrew Bishop, Mat Maneri, Craig Taborn, Ben Monder, and Reid Anderson—received a "debut record of the year" nomination from the Jazz Journalists' Association. He has performed with Muhal Richard Abrams, David Berkman, Tim Berne, Kenny Burrell, Marilyn Crispell, Marty Ehrlich, Ellery Eskelin, Tommy Flanagan, Charles Gayle, Mark Helias, Hank Jones, John Lindberg, Kevin Mahogany, Roscoe Mitchell, Andrea Parkins, Jacky Terrasson, Henry Threadgill, Mark Turner, Mathew Shipp, Rodney Whitaker, Reggie Workman, and many others.
Prentiss M. Brown Honors Spring 2007 Common Reading
The Brown Honors Common Reading for Spring 2007 was "The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker. Pinker was here on Campus, Thursday, April 26 for a lecture in Goodrich Chapel at 7:00pm.
"The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature"
7:00 pm, Thursday, April 26, 2007
The Elkin Isaac Research Symposium Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address was presented by noted scholar and author Steven Pinker.
In choosing him as one of the world's 100 Most Influential People, in 2004, TIME magazine postulated that "every half-century . . . an eminent Harvard psychologist crystallizes an intellectual era. . . . [Steven Pinker] seems poised to keep its tradition alive."
Pinker is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. His earlier bestsellers include the Pulitzer finalist How the Mind Works; his classic, The Language Instinct; and the book popularizing his own research, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. Pinker's next book, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, is already enjoying brisk sales on Amazon.com, five months before its release in September. Pinker has written countless academic articles and frequently contributes to a variety of mainstream publications including the New York Times, Nature, Atlantic Monthly, Slate, and TIME.
Appointed Harvard University's Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology in 2003, Pinker previously served on the faculties of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. He is also a fellow of several scholarly societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Pinker has received numerous awards, including the Troland Research Prize from the National Academy of Sciences and five prizes from the American Psychological Association. In addition to this recognition for his research, he has won a number of teaching prizes, is included in the Esquire Register of Outstanding Men and Women, and was named among the Newsweek 100 Americans for the 21st Century.
A native of Montreal, Pinker is a graduate of McGill University and holds a doctorate in psychology from Harvard.