Fall 2011 Colloquium

The following are tentative plans for the Fall 2011 Global Issues Colloquium:

Evolution Education in the Muslim World and Why it Matters in the West

Thursday, September 1, 2011, 7pm, MG2001
Jason Wiles, Assistant Professor, Biology, Syracuse University

Abstract: Evolution, the explanation of the unity and diversity of life via descent with modification from a common ancestry, is accepted by the global scientific community and considered to be of central importance to understanding the biological sciences. Yet, social controversies over the teaching of evolution are common in North America and other Western settings, especially with regard to creationism rooted in particular Judeo-Christian doctrines. Little is known in the West, however, about how Muslims have reacted to evolutionary science, and perhaps even less is known about how evolution is taught in Islamic societies. This talk will summarize findings derived from data collected in several Muslim nations via questionnaires and interviews administered to students, teachers and university scientists as well as from reviews of official curriculum documents during a four-year study of Islamic understandings of and attitudes toward evolution and the teaching thereof. The discussion will also include my own perspective as a biology professor, having been raised in a creationist Christian community in Middle America. From Arkansas to Ankara, from Kirksville to Karachi, we will talk about why evolution education is such a pressing issue.
Sponsored with the Department of Science and Mathematics


 Hungry Planet

October 14, 2011

A special Global Issues lecture will be given by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio on Thursday, November 10 at 7:30 pm in Violette Hall 1000. Menzel is a photojournalist known for his coverage of international feature stories on science and the environment, and D’Alusio is a former award-winning television news producer.


Uranium Communities and Nuclear Renaissance: Energy and Environmental Justice on the Colorado Plateau

Thursday, October 20, 2011, 7pm

Stephanie A. Malin, PhD Candidate, Environmental Sociology; Sociology of Globalization/Development, Utah State University
Abstract: Global renewal of nuclear energy – a nuclear renaissance – has been proposed as one viable solution to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts. For example, in 2010 the Obama Administration approved $50 billion in loans for new nuclear reactor construction, and China has been rapidly adding to their cadre of such facilities. I contend such assertions and actions must be examined sociologically; we must avoid framing nuclear power as a socially sustainable ‘renewable energy’ without first empirically examining emergent social impacts, especially in rural communities embedded within global systems such as uranium markets. In this presentation, I focus on the first phase of the nuclear fuel cycle – namely, uranium mining and milling – tracing the emergence of competing discourses and patterns of political mobilization in response to renewed uranium processing on the Colorado Plateau in the western US. Specifically, I examine the regulatory and social movement contexts surrounding Energy Fuels, Inc.’s acquisition of both a special use permit and radioactive materials license to build Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in Colorado’s Paradox Valley. As the first uranium mill permitted in the US since the Cold War’s end, the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill provides a natural laboratory to study energy policy formation, land use conflict, and potential spaces for conflict resolution that are globally relevant, given nuclear power’s global use and controversy, and given that China will be a buyer of the yellowcake from PR Mill. I draw from mixed data sources, including in-depth interviews, regulatory and historical-archival analyses, and a household survey instrument distributed to residents in four communities closest to the proposed mill site. As such, this presentation helps illuminate local, rural effects of energy policy in our increasingly globalized economy. Sponsored with the Department of Society and Environment.


Indigenous Survival in the 21st Century: A Look at the Embera-Chami Community

October 25, 2011

The Truman chapter of the Spanish Honorary Society (Sigma Delta Pi) and the Colombia Support Network of Kansas City together with the Global Issues Colloquium will present “Indigenous Survival in the 21st Century: A Look at the Embera-Chami Community” on Tuesday, November 1, at 7pm in the SUB Georgian Room B.


 The Revolution will be You Tubed: Global Protest, the New Media, and Music

Thursday, November 17, 7pm, MG2001
Dr. Marc Rice, Department of Music, Truman State University

Abstract: Recent political uprisings, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, have been accompanied by the use of Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube. Protests that would have been shielded from the outside world a decade ago are now witnessed by the entire Global community, thanks to the opportunities afforded by the New Media. This presentation will examine how music videos uploaded via the New Media are being used to communicate, organize, and give voice to the issues and protests now occurring in Iran, Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere.