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New! Special Events Series!

Cornell Collects! - Spring 2021

Cornell Library is among the top ten research libraries in North America and that the Johnson Art Museum’s distinguished collections are heavily used in teaching and research and typically engage more than 80,000 visitors.  But the university is also home to a range of fascinating collections beyond books and art.  CAPE is proud to launch a new series that explores these collections—from brains to zoological specimens. The Cornell University Insect Collection was the first of the miniseries (see link to that recorded lecture, below), a world-class research and training collection that includes over 7 million insect specimens representing about 200,000 species, or roughly 20% of the World’s described insect fauna.  Director and Curator Corrie Moreau will talk about the importance of natural history collections and the research that is being supported by Cornell’s holdings.

Looking Ahead!
In June, we will explore the Costume collection with curator Denise Green.  Future lectures will feature the Wilder Brian Collection, Photography, and much, much more.


Fall Lectures Series - TBA

Lectures are typically held from 10:30am - 11:30am* at the Boyce Thompson Institute Auditorium, 1st floor (come anytime after 10 am for refreshments). However, until further notice, lectures will be online. (unless otherwise noted). ** Parking is available as well as a conveniently located bus stop. Parking permits are printed in the CAPE newsletter and by contacting the CAPE office.


Recorded Lectures for 2021

How Natural History Museums Are Revolutionizing Science* The first in our Cornell Collects miniseries is the Cornell University Insect Collection, a world-class research and training collection that includes over 7 million insect specimens representing about 200,000 species, or roughly 20% of the World’s described insect fauna.  Director and Curator Corrie Moreau will talk about the importance of natural history collections and the research that is being supported by Cornell’s holdings. Corrie S. Moreau, Ph.D., is the Martha N. and John C. Moser Professor of Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity and Director & Curator of the Cornell University Insect Collection in the Departments of Entomology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.

2020 Census: Challenges and Controversy * Warren Brown, Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER) Program on Applied Demographics in the College of Human Ecology ** The U.S. Constitution mandates that an enumeration of all persons be carried out every ten years and used as the basis for apportioning Representatives among the states. The 2020 Census of Population and Housing has been one of the most controversial and problem ridden in the long history of federal censuses dating back to the first one in 1790. I will present details on how the Census Bureau carries out its mission of “Counting Everyone Once, Only Once, and in the Right Place.” Once the enumeration has been completed the Census Bureau produces a series of data products used by government agencies, private businesses and organizations, and individuals. I will review ongoing controversies on balancing the need for detailed accurate data against individual privacy concerns in the Information Age.

Words Matter: Labeling Disputes - Sally McConnell-Ginet, Professor Emerita, Linguistics ** As I argue in my recent book, Words Matter: Meaning and Power, linguistic choices often have substantive effects, sometimes unintended.  Slogans like “that’s just semantics” or “it’s only words” are profoundly misleading. This talk will focus on labels like America(n) and patriot(ic) that have occurred frequently in recent pronouncements both from political leaders in public contexts and also in discourse of a wide range of ordinary people in a variety of settings. The lecture can be found here.

Climate change and Finding our Greater Purpose - Michael Hoffmann, Professor Emeritus, Entomology *This lecture uses the foods we love and need to tell the climate change story. The flavors of teas, the nutritional quality of wheat and rice, the price of vanilla, and the yields of many crops are undergoing change—some subtle, some ominous. Addressing this challenge requires innovative research to develop more resilient crops, better practices and tools that help the agricultural and the food sectors adapt to the new normal and mitigate their impact.The lecture can be found here.

Buffalo and Elsewhere: Author Talks from "Buffalo at the Crossroads" Just published by Cornell University Press, this new book brings together twelve authors who highlight the outsized importance of Buffalo, New York, within the story of American urbanism. Professors Christensen, Woods, Cieslak, Quinan,and Zimmerman will speak about their contributions to the book, while Professor Minner will serve as a respondent. 

Taking a Hard Look: Is Cornell a Land-Grab University?-Charles Geisler, Emeritus, Development Sociology; Kurt Jordan, AIISP Director, Department of Anthropology; Jon Parmenter, Department of History -- All of the U.S. states have Land-Grant Colleges or Universities, many subsidized by generous real property transfers under the Morrill Act of 1862. Insofar as these lands were previously homelands to Native Americans and were often taken though violence and fraud, do these ‘grants’ constitute ‘grabs’? Cornell’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) recently formed the Cornell University and Indigenous Dispossession Project to examine the University’s entanglement with Indigenous lands in New York State and elsewhere across the continent due to federal awards and policies. [For More information on the AIISP Indigenous Dispossession Project go here.]

Misgivings: A Look at Controversial Food Issue, Joe Regenstein, Food Science -- As our food supply gets more varied and safer, consumers seem to have become more worried about many issues related to the food supply. Some of these issues are, of course, real concerns. Food safety must always be front and center. Nutrition and health are always of concern. But other issues when addressed often raise the cost of food yet may be working at cross-purposes with what consumers really want: safe food that is sustainable, with good animal welfare where relevant and good working conditions for those providing the food, all at a reasonable cost.

Lies, Fakes, and Deep Fakes: Advances and Abuses of AI in the Age of Trump - Sidney Tarrow, Government --  By providing activists the means to reach sympathetic slices of the public, the emergence of social media has blurred the lines between journalism and activism, at the expense of purportedly objective and truthful reporting.  Does the coming of the Trump movement and the advent of “deep fakes” pose a risk to the decline of political discourse in America?  

Viral Contagion and Behavioral Contagion --Robert H. Frank, JGSMBehavioral contagion refers to how ideas and behaviors often spread from person to person in ways that resemble the spread of infectious disease. I'll describe some of the similarities and differences beetween the two processes and discuss what contagion theory tells us aboute the policy choices we face under the COVID-19 and climate crises.

For more information on these lectures and more see: The Legacy of Cornell Faculty and Staff.

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