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Deans' Seminar

Complete list of past seminars (excel file)

Deans' Seminar Series 2014-15

Sessions will be held in the UCET Classroom (NS245) at noon (before or after the Academic Senate meeting) unless otherwise noted.

Drinks will be available; please feel free to bring your lunch.

2014-15 Series

September 19, 2014 Yuri Obata, Associate Professor of Communication Arts
Popular Culture and Freedom of Speech: A Comparative Analysis of Film Rating Systems in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan

October 17, 2014 Matthew Costello, Assistant Professor of Psychology
A Different Mind: How Aging Affects Visual Cognition

November 21, 2014 Joshua Wells, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Informatics
The Anthropology of Archaeological Data Management: How and Why we Compile and Keep Information about the Past

January 23, 2015 Yilei Qian, Associate Professor of Microbiology
Friend or foe? – A View from the survival strategies of “Good Bacteria”

February 27, 2015 Igor Juricevic, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Are Pictures Really Worth a Thousand Words? An Analysis of the Perception of Metaphorical Images

March 27, 2015 Rolf Schimmrick, Associate Professor of Physics
The Universe after the age of 10-35 seconds

April 24, 2015 Leon Schjoedt, Associate Professor of Management
The role of organizational cultural values in managing diversity: Learning from the French Foreign Legion

ABSTRACTS

September 19, 2014 Yuri Obata, Associate Professor of Communication Arts
Popular Culture and Freedom of Speech: A Comparative Analysis of Film Rating Systems in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan

In the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, the constitution guarantees freedom of speech. But the understanding and practice of free speech rights often reflects historical and cultural experience, norms and traditions, ethics and morality, and what we feel our rights mean in each nation. Their Supreme Courts have made decisions in the past that determine the limit of free speech rights and the meanings and purpose of free speech, reflecting the values and beliefs existing and practiced in each society.

Although these nations share similar interests in free speech, i.e., the establishment and the development of civil and democratic society, each nation’s court cases show different approaches to the practice of freedom of speech. The different approaches to free speech rights can be easily witnessed particularly in the area of offensive speech, namely obscenity and representations of violence. Yet, these types of speech are often most popular and profitable in popular culture.

In this research presentation, I will examine and analyze the film rating systems in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan in order to provide ideas regarding the way each institution filters undesirable representations in films, and explore the legal, historical and cultural environment that each nation is aware of. Three film rating systems are compared – the Motion Picture Association of America, the British Board of Film Classification, and Eiga Rinri Iinkai, as the authoritative institutions of film classification in these nations. I will compare their histories, rating methods, rating decisions and the laws behind the institutional policies in order to provide an example of the limit of free speech in popular culture in different nations.

October 17, 2014 Matthew Costello, Assistant Professor of Psychology
A Different Mind: How Aging Affects Visual Cognition

What sorts of changes to our mind and brain should we expect as we get older? In this talk, we will explore how aging affects our ability to see and think, a mental domain that psychologists call visual cognition. We will examine research evidence from brain imaging studies, cognitive experiments, and computational modeling that have helped delineate differences in how younger and older adults see the world.  Changes to visual cognition offer surprising insights into the aging mind, revealing it as fundamentally different in its functioning from the younger adult mind.

November 21, 2014 Joshua Wells, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Informatics
The Anthropology of Archaeological Data Management: How and Why we Compile and Keep Information about the Past

Archaeologists in the digital age are facing tandem issues of interoperability and openness in the ways that they manage data. Regarding interoperability, the designs of archaeological information systems have important implications for the ways in which past cultures are represented, and also in how archaeological professionals interact with the data. When working with digital data, structure (e.g. booleans, lookup tables, text strings, categories of enumeration, etc.) functions in combination with vocabularies to frame our understanding of the archaeological record. Laboratories, repositories, individual research projects, disciplinary groups, and governmental offices all make demands on elements of regularized (but rarely standardized) data collection through record forms and databases. Prioritization of specific data categories in the collection process and the ontological system used to form the data necessarily create imposed and differing mental constructs of how archaeological concepts relate to one another and to the sociocultural diversity of past people. These issues create operative differences in interpretive definitions of the past, and also a spectrum of potentially unequal affordances for researchers running queries through these imposed taxonomies of practice. Regarding openness, archaeologists face increasing pressure to be more open and “transparent” in their research. This reflects new developments in “Open Government”, “Open Access” and “Open Data”. Yet, transparency is surprisingly elusive given wide ranging interests, needs, and worldviews of archaeology’s many communities of professionals and stakeholders. Digital technologies mediate working relationships within and between communities of archaeologists and stakeholders. Data structures and standards (metadata standards or ontologies) are never neutral, they stem from the priorities and interests of particular communities of practice. How may archaeologists define systems and practices that lead to more interoperable, thoroughly inclusive, and meaningful visions of archaeological knowledge transparency? The ways in which numerous archaeological projects are attempting to address these problems will be discussed.  One project in particular, the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) will be highlighted. The Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) is a completely free and open source data gazetteer for hundreds of thousands of archaeological sites. It currently covers a large portion of the eastern United States and will grow to cover the entirety of North America over the next several years. DINAA circumvents many limitations created by the structures of professional data communication systems. As an index of Linked Open Data, DINAA is a valuable tool for archaeological data aggregation with particular sensitivity to sociocultural qualities, and because of its open design and implementation, DINAA is capable of being used by any researcher, stakeholder, or member of the public with access to the Internet.

January 23, 2015 Yilei Qian, Associate Professor of Microbiology
Friend or foe? – A View from the survival strategies of “Good Bacteria”

Probiotic foods and drinks are now a multibillion dollar industry in the US. This is spurred by the preponderance of research and clinical evidence that “good bacteria” can exert health benefits to the human host, especially in a time when antibiotic resistance is on the rise and health issues associated with modern life styles and medical practices are increasingly becoming a concern. Bacteria in the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genus are most commonly used in the manufacturing of probiotics due to their GRAS status. They are typically commensals colonizing the human gastrointestinal tract, a body site receiving increasing notice for the role of the brain-gut axis in human health. With the most research focused on the immunomodulation aspect of those organisms, little emphasis is placed on the organisms’ growth and survival in the host environment, or their interaction with the host. In this presentation, I will discuss the characteristics of Bifidobacterium as probiotics, their nutrient acquisition in the host, the stress factors and their survival mechanisms, as well as their potential as opportunistic pathogens. At the end of the talk, I hope the audience can gain new perspectives on the so-called “good bacteria” and the dynamic nature of the microbe-host interaction.

February 27, 2015 Igor Juricevic, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Are Pictures Really Worth a Thousand Words? An Analysis of the Perception of Metaphorical Images

Pictures are representations that depict 3D scenes on a 2D picture surface. To accomplish this, various pictorial devices are used to represent features of the 3D scene. Some of these pictorial devices are literal; they follow rules (e.g., perspective geometry) to reproduce features that are present in the 3D scene. On the other hand, metaphorical pictorial devices intentionally break the rules and do not reproduce features in the 3D scene. Both literal and metaphorical pictorial devices are widely used in pictures. We investigate how our visual system perceives both literal and metaphorical pictorial devices when looking at a picture. Does our visual system treat metaphorical pictorial devices in the same way are literal devices, or are they a fundamentally different class operating under a different set of rules? If so, how do literal and metaphorical devices interact to produce a successful picture, that is, a picture that represents the intended 3D scene? We investigated how our visual system treats metaphorical pictorial devices using both analyses of existing popular art and psychophysical experiments. Our results indicate that metaphorical devices are analyzed fundamentally differently than literal devices. Specifically, literal devices operate additively, while metaphorical devices operate non-additively. Implications for visual perception, haptic perception, and cognition will be discussed.

March 27, 2015 Rolf Schimmrick, Associate Professor of Physics
The Universe after the age of 10-35 seconds

One of the most profound discoveries of the 20th century was the observation that the universe is expanding, leading to the idea that in the past everything must have been created in a huge explosion, the event that Fred Hoyle derisively called the big bang. While this big bang event has proven resistant to both observation and speculation, stunning experimental advances over the past 10 years have yielded evidence that the theory of cosmological inflation provides a first glimpse into what the universe might have looked like a mere instant after its birth.