Astra Speaker Series Fall 2012 / Winter 2013 | College of Arts

Astra Speaker Series Fall 2012 / Winter 2013

Maya Goldenberg

On Heros and Scoundrels: Trust and Blame in the Vaccine-Autism Fraud

Tuesday March 19, 2013, 12 noon - 1:15pm in MacKinnon 132

The focus on individual wrongdoing characterizes many of the recent breathtaking scientific misconduct cases, with the name and personas of Andrew Wakefield (gastroenterology; vaccine-autism link) Hwang Woo Suk (stem cell research) and Jan Hendrick Schon (condensed matter physics) receiving considerable professional and media attention.  Remediation efforts have been similarly focused on the individual, with debarment and loss of employment among the typical sanctions applied.  While the focus on the individual obsures systemic problems that encourage bad behaviour and offer nothing to restore damaged public confidence in scientific institutions.

This characteristic focus on the individual to understand moral and epistemic failures in scientific practice will be situated in the 'trust in science' literature in science studies (cf. Shapin, Shafer, Hardwig).  The trust literature tells an origins story of modern science that revolves around the moral heroes or "modest men" of science, the virturous scientists like Newton and Boyle whose observations of the world could be trusted.  Recent framing of scientific misconduct cases like the vaccine-autism scandal can be understood to present the flipside of the moral hero of science-the scoundrel.  This talk will explore the impliciations of the scoundrel in understanding and remedying scientific misconduct.

Maya Goldenbuerg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Bachelor of Arts and Science Program.  Her research in philosophy of medicine focuses on clinical reasoning, women's health, and the science-values relationship.


Art and the Brain
How the Neuroscientist Can Help the Art Historian

7 P.M. Tuesday February 26, 2013

Rozanski Hall, room 105, University of Guelph

Free Admission - Everyone Welcome - Free parking in P31 after 5 P.M.

Art historians have been trying for centuries to understand what goes on in the artists' mind.  They have also been trying to answer big questions, such as 'why is art a universal activity, but why it is so different at different times and in different places?'  Now, thanks to the discoveries of neuroscientists in the last thirty years art historians have a new way to engage with these problems.  The conclusions of the new 'neuroarthistorians' are always revealing and sometimes astonishing.

John Onians is Professor Emeritus in the School of World Art Studies at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England.  He was founding editor of the journal Art History, edited the first Atlas of World Art (2004) and has written several books including Classical Art and the Cultures of Greece and Rome (1999) and Neuroarthistory From Aristotle and Pliny to Baxandall and Zeki (2007).  He set up the division of Research and Academic Programs at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass. (1997-1999) and was one of the organisers of a Mellon Summer Institute in Neuroscience and the Humanities at the Standford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences (2011).  His next book will be European Art A Neuroarthistory.



predators, place, population, pollution, poems, parasites, prairies, personhood and poop

Nora Gould and friends:
Madhur Anand, Karen Houle and David Waltner-Toews

Sunday January 27, 2013, 5-7pm at the Ontario Veterinary College

Join us amongst the embryos and skeletons at the Ontario Veterinary College for an evening of poetry readings and a catered cocktail reception and workshop with the authors.

Tickets are $20 and include a copy of Nora Gould's latest book I see my love more clearly from a distance.

Email Madhur Anand to reserve your spot!

Sponsored by ASTRA, College of Arts, ALECC, SES, musagetes, OVC, Sustainability

Catherine Carstairs

Look Younger, Live Longer:
Health and Beauty Advice in the 1950s

Tuesday January 29,  2013, 12 noon - 1:15pm in MacKinnon 132

Gayelord Hauser has been all but forgotten today, but in the middle decades of the twentieth century, he was one of the best-known writers on food, beauty and health in the United States and Europe.  His book, Look Younger, Live Longer, first published in 1950, remained on the best-seller lists for almost two years and would eventually be translated into more than a dozen languages.  Hauser's popularity demonstrates that women were eager for advice on aging healthfully and happily at a time when American women could look forward to longer lifespans and greater affluence in their older years.  It also shows that despite homophobia of the middle decades of the twentieth century there was a market for beauty advice dispensed by a man who, even at the time, was recognized as gay.

Catherine Carstairs is an Associate Professor in the History Department at the University of Guelph.  She is the author of Jailed for Possession: Illegal Drug Use, Regulation and Power in Canada, 1920 - 1961 as well as numerous articles on health food, fluoridation and disability. She completed this work  while holding a Fullbright Fellowship at UC Davis.




Candace Johnson

Birth and Death in Copan, Honduras:
Do Maternal Health Intervention Strategies Create Compliance or Capabilities

Wednesday November 14, 2012, 12 noon - 1:15pm in MacKinnon 132

In this presentation, Candace will examine the complexity of maternal health in vulnerable communities by evaluating the application of "safe motherhood" policies in Copan, Honduras.  The results of a research study conducted in 2011 show that despite improved access to health services for pregnant and paturient women, many women, particularly those in indigenous communities, still do not give birth in a clinic with the assistance of a skilled attendant.  Many continue to birth at home, with the help of a family member or traditional midwife; some birth alone.  The risk that this poses to maternal health and survival is serious and unequivocal.  The patterns that emerge from the data show that there are significant barriers, both material and cultural, to increased numbers of institutional births.  They also indicate the emergence and adoption of health compliant behaviour.  Is compliance evidence of success or failure?  Do maternal health intervention strategies, initiated and facilitated by external aid agencies and local governments, develop capabilities for autonomous decision-making (in the ways required by Martha Nussbaum's framework)?  If so, then is it possible to conceive women "choosing" to risk maternal or infant death for personal or cultural reasons?  Is this equivalent to the choice that men and women make to risk death as soldiers, as Virginia Held suggests?

Candace Johnson is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph, where she teaches political philosophy, gender and politics, and public policy.  Professor Johnson has published widely in the areas of health care and social policy, the philosophical and political dimensions of rights and citizenship, Latin American politics and society, women and politics, and feminist theory.  In 2009, she was the recipient of the Jill Vickers Prize, awarded by the Canadian Political Science Association for her work on gender and politics.  Her current research project is an examination of the politics of pregnancy and childbirth in North-South comparative perspective (Canada, the United States, Cuba, Honduras).




Carolyn Finney

Black Faces, White Spaces: African Americans and the Great Outdoors

Friday October 12, 2012, 3 - 4:30pm in Hutt 234

Dr. Finney will present research from her forthcoming book from UNC Press that explores the relation of African Americans to the environment and to the environmental movement.  In particular, she investigates the role of memory and identity in influencing African American environmental participation, as well as the general disconnect between African American environmental professionals and their white counterparts regarding the perception of exclusion and racism withing an environmental context.

Carolyn Finney is a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley.  As a geographer, Dr. Finney explores how difference, identity, representation and power play a significant role in deterimining how people negotiate their daily lives in relation to the environment. What happens when the environmental debate presumes to encompass most perspectives, expectations, and needs?  Dr. Finney aims to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on the (mis- or non-) representation of "different" folks, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action.

ASTRA presents Bob McDonald

Monday October 1, 2012 at 7pm
Science Complex Atrium
Free Admission - Everyone is welcome - Free parking in P31 after 5pm

Art and science have both attempted to describe nature since our ancestors drew on cave walls. Science often deals with abstract subjects such as black holes, the inner workings of the atom, life before humans or topics that are not visible directly. The artist brings these subjects to life, providing perspective with beautiful results. 

Bob McDonald has been communicating science internationally through television, radio, print and live presentations for more than 30 years.  He is the host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, the award-winning science program with a national audience of nearly 500,000 people.  He is also a regular reporter for CBC Televisions's The National as well as Gemini winning host and writer of the children's series Head's Up.  McDonald has also hosted Greatest Canadian Invention and the seven-part series Water Under Fire.

As a print journalist, McDonald has authored three science books and contributed to numerous science textbooks, newspapers and magazines including The Globe and Mail, Owl Magazine and many others.  His latest book is Measuring the Earth With a Stick, and he has written the introductions to The Quirks & Quarks Question Book, The Guide to Space: 42 Questions (and Answers) About Life, the Universe, and Everything as well as Nasty, Brutish and Short, the Quirks Guide to Animal Sex.

Beyond his work in media, McDonald is Chairman of Geospace, an exciting new environmental centre and planetarium for the Toronto Waterfront.

McDonald has been honoured for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of science in Canada as the recipient of the Michael Smith Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Sir Sanford Fleming Medal from the Royal Canadian Institute and the McNeil Medal from The Royal Society of Canada.  McDonald was also the recipient of a 2008 Gemini Award for Best Host in a Pre-School, Children's or Youth Program Series.

He has received six honourary Doctorates, from the University of Guelph, Carleton University, Laurentian, McMaster, University of Winnipeg and University of Calgary.  In 2011, he was appointed to the Order of Canada.

McDonald is constantly in demand to speak for a variety of audiences in Canada.