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All Previous Events

by admin Mar 06, 2015

Caring Across Species: Cripping Animal Ethics

When: Mar 24, 2017 at 3:30 PM
Where: Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park, PA 16802

Through painting, printmaking, writing and other forms of political and artistic engagement, Taylor's work intervenes with dominant historical narratives of disability and animal oppression. This talk examines points of intersection between disability studies, animal ethics, and environmental studies, asking how art and creative research can open up new avenues of solidarity across species and ability.  Caring Across Species: Cripping Animal Ethics - Read More…

Brown Bag Series - Empathy is a choice: The limits of empathy are more apparent than real

When: Mar 16, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Where: 133 Sparks Building, University Park, PA 16802

Empathy, or the ability to feel what others feel, is often seen as a powerful moral force. But what are its limits? Many studies find that empathy is less sensitive to large-scale suffering (e.g., natural disasters, genocides) and the suffering of racial and political out-groups. These empathy deficits have led some scholars to argue against empathy, concluding that it is an unreliable basis for moral action. In this talk, he suggest that limits on empathy are more apparent than real: what appear to be built-in “glitches" in empathy may instead be due to motivated choices we make to avoid empathy’s costs. He will present a motivational framework for understanding empathy, and will discuss evidence that seemingly fixed limits on empathy can shift depending on what we want, and choose, to feel. If empathy limits are flexible choices rather than fixed constraints, this challenges strong normative arguments against the usefulness of empathy in everyday life. He will conclude by discussing implications for ethical debates about empathy and future directions in research on empathy as a choice. Brown Bag Series - Empathy is a choice: The limits of empathy are more apparent than real - Read More…

Job Talk - How much energy do we 'need'? Assessing the climate development conflict

When: Mar 13, 2017 at 1:00 PM
Where: 12 Katz Building, University Park, PA 16802

There is both confusion and concern regarding the relationship between poverty eradication and climate change. What impact will rising living standards have on greenhouse gas emissions? Will climate mitigation set back efforts to eradicate poverty? Academic research so far offers limited insights to these questions, partly because of how we frame the problem. There is a growing interest in relating human development directly to climate change, rather than through GDP. One key facet of this inquiry is, how much energy is ‘needed’ to eradicate poverty? In this presentation, I will contrast past and new research approaches, and offer new insights on the energy resource requirements to address multidimensional poverty. I will focus on three themes: first, I will propose the constituents of ‘decent living standards’ – the material requirements for human well-being – drawing from basic needs and capabilities approaches and global ‘preferences’. Second, I will discuss new findings on the potential synergies between eradicating ‘hidden’ hunger and mitigating climate change in India. Third, I will discuss the importance of the interaction between social and energy policies in assessing the equity and poverty impacts of national and international climate policy. This research informs not only future development policy priorities, but also provides a human rights perspective to assess fairness in global mitigation efforts. Job Talk - How much energy do we 'need'? Assessing the climate development conflict - Read More…

Job Talk - The economic impacts of large-scale water infrastructure improvements in urban Zarqa, Jordan

When: Mar 02, 2017 at 1:00 PM
Where: 12 Katz Building, University Park, PA 16802

Jordan is a highly water scarce country facing acute sectoral tradeoffs in water use. Consumers in Zarqa, the country’s second most populous urban area, typically receive water from the municipal piped network for fewer than 48 hours each week, and engage in a variety of costly coping strategies to mitigate the effects of water scarcity. Against this backdrop, the Millennium Challenge Corporation entered into a $275 million compact with the government of Jordan, to improve the technical performance of piped water infrastructure, and increase the collection, treatment and reuse of wastewater, with the ultimate goal of increasing water efficiency and reducing poverty. This paper presents early evidence on the effects of the Compact, based on data collected towards the end of the implementation period. We find evidence of several changes in areas subjected to the different infrastructure improvements, including reporting of improved water pressure, increased connection to the sewer network and reduced sewage backups, and substitution of the source of irrigation water in the Jordan Valley. We also find evidence of spillovers within Zarqa, compared to neighboring areas in Amman that are supplied by a separate utility. A key category of anticipated impacts – reduced spending on expensive alternatives to utility water – however does not appear to materialize, possibly due to low confidence in the safety of this network water. Though these results only correspond to short-term effects of this infrastructure improvement, they add to a scant body of rigorous evidence on the benefits of capital-intensive water infrastructure. Job Talk - The economic impacts of large-scale water infrastructure improvements in urban Zarqa, Jordan - Read More…

Job Talk - Global Grains: Feed, Food, and the World Economy

When: Mar 01, 2017 at 1:00 PM
Where: 12 Katz Building, University Park, PA 16802

Philosophy and Diversity: Implications and Questions for Education

When: Feb 28, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Where: 301 D Huck Life Sciences Building, University Park, PA 16802

Job Talk - Side Affects: Transnormativity, Eurocentricity, and the Necropolitics of Gender Transition

When: Feb 28, 2017 at 9:30 AM
Where: 216 Willard Building, University Park, PA 16802

Are the medical protocols of gender transition grounded in Eurocentric conceptions of gender? This talk delves into the archive of Western medical sexology, examining the absence, misrecognition, and active erasure of queer and non-white subjects. Positioning this archive in relation to the modern/colonial gender system (Lugones 2007, 2010), Malatino explores how transnationally hegemonic models of gender transition are grounded in deeply partial, highly normative understandings of embodiment that produce several kinds of structural violence: the de-authorization of intersex and trans subjects as experts on their own experience, the necropolitical gatekeeping methods that stratify health care access and intensify the vulnerability of non-transnormative subjects, and the inadequate monitoring and systematic under-research of the health impacts that effect folks imbricated in networks of medicalized transition. How might we understand transition beyond Eurocentric medical logics? How might this re-cognition ameliorate certain forms of structural violence? Job Talk - Side Affects: Transnormativity, Eurocentricity, and the Necropolitics of Gender Transition - Read More…

Colloquium: Morality in Language

When: Feb 24, 2017 at 1:15 PM
Where: 127 Moore Building, University Park, PA 16802

When things go wrong, people ask, “Who made it happen?” “Who was responsible?” and often, “Who will pay?” That is, moral judgment engages causal cognition. How much of this process is influenced by higher-level factors such as people’s moral values and political ideology, and how much is influenced by stimulus-bound factors, such as the language used to describe the event? This talk will cover research combining individual differences measures with vignette-based and psycholinguistics tasks. Collectively, the research demonstrates: (1) moral values aimed at protecting group cohesiveness predict a shift in attributions of blame to victims; (2) altering the focus of language can reduce victim blame; and (3) values and ideology influence extraction of causal relationships from the most basic event descriptions. That participants’ behavior across these tasks systematically maps onto beliefs about the nature of right and wrong indicates that studying language can bring precision to our understanding of the unruly domain of morality, and also that our understanding of language is incomplete without consideration of moral psychology. Colloquium: Morality in Language - Read More…

How do we learn peace?

When: Feb 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Where: 129 Waring, University Park, PA 16802

Since 2009, the Outward Bound Peacebuilding has worked with partners around the world to design programs that integrate the Outward Bound educational model of learning by doing and reflecting, with peacebuilding skills and practice. Executive Director Ana Patel will present on the work and approach of Outward Bound Peacebuilding in an interactive session that explores this innovative approach to supporting and creating communities of peacebuilding leaders. How do we learn peace? - Read More…

Making Good: Can We Realize Our Moral Aspirations?

When: Feb 23, 2017 at 3:30 PM
Where: Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park, PA 16802

Is moral improvement possible? If so, how? Recently, philosophers have suggested that virtue is a skill that can be acquired much as skills in other areas, like chess and music, are acquired. Philosophical proponents of this “skill analogy,” unfortunately, have paid limited attention to the science of human performance, science which may illuminate pathways and impediments to moral development. Here, I canvass some of the science, and assess some prospects for moral improvement. Making Good: Can We Realize Our Moral Aspirations? - Read More…