Academic Life
Historian Andrew Robarts ’90 Gives Bowdoin Talk: 'Merchants, Migrants and Microbes'

Using excerpts from his book, Andrew Robarts offered a balanced understanding of the relationship between the Ottoman and Russian empires by going beyond an examination of the geopolitical and ideological tensions often highlighted in history.

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Student Life
Mapping the Careers of Bowdoin Staff, Faculty, Alumni

Meg Springer of the Career Planning office says the posters can reassure students that successful careers don’t always need to follow a direct path.

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Featured Events

Abigail Killeen, Community Lecture: "Words Made Flesh: How the Art of the Theater Serves the Liberal Arts by Embodying Thought"

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March 5, 201512:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Moulton Union, Main Lounge

What is it, exactly, that actors do with text in performance? Can their work translate to all kinds of text, even text never meant to be performed? Assistant Professor of Theater Abigail Killeen says yes, and with her talk "Words Made Flesh: How the Art of the Theater Serves the Liberal Arts by Embodying Thought" she exhibits how the actor's process embodies thought in a way that can serve all kinds of fields.

Killeen holds a BFA in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA in Acting from Brandeis University’s Professional Actor Training Program. She trained with Master Teachers in the Stella Adler Technique, Suzuki, and Extended Voice with the Roy Hart Theatre in France. Additionally she has studied Eastern European physical theatre with the Double Edge Theater, Gordana Maric from the University of Belgrade and the award-winning Frantic Theatre Company in London. 

She is also an award-winning theater teacher (Outstanding Teaching Award, Brandeis University and a Karofsky Encore Lecture Recipient at Bowdoin College) and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Theater in the Department of Theater and Dance. She teaches acting, voice and Shakespeare.

A Community Lecture Series performance. Arrive at noon with a bag lunch. Refreshments provided.

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Reception: Nancy Blum, Visiting Artist in Residence

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March 5, 20154:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Edwards Arts Center, Room 116 [Gallery]

Artist in Residence Nancy Blum will present her work during a reception hosted by the Bowdoin College Department of Visual Art. 

Nancy Blum received her MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art and has since been creating and exhibiting extensively in the worlds of printmaking, public art, and drawing.  Her work, which explores the pattern and architecture of nature, has been recognized through such fellowships as the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Peter S. Reed Foundation, and Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. She has been an artist in residence and guest lecturer at numerous institutions; her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at galleries and institutions across the US, and in collections as far as Brussels and South Korea.

This event is free and open to the public. 

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Kerry Whittaker: "International Relations? Exploring Global Population Structure, Succession, and Dispersal in a Marine Diatom Species"

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March 5, 20154:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Marine diatoms exhibit astounding levels of diversity; the extent and distribution of this diversity over space and time plays an important role in determining their contribution to ocean productivity and potential to adapt to environmental change. 

Using molecular tools, Kerry Whittaker studies the extent and distribution of diatom diversity across the globe. Diatoms are the most diverse group of algae, with an estimated 100,000 species thought to exist. Yet, the factors of the marine environment driving and supporting this high level of diversity are little understood. Exploring the ways in which diatom populations are connected across large spatial scales, and over time, provides important insight into the interactions between diatoms, their evolution, and the marine environment. 

Kerry Whittaker currently teaches marine science at Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport, Maine, and is an adjunct professor at Bowdoin this semester where she teaches Evolution. Kerry recently moved to Maine after spending a year as a Knauss Fellow in Washington D.C. working with NOAA on the ESA listing of marine species and the conservation policy behind marine populations. In 2014, she received her PhD in Oceanography from the Graduate School of Oceanography, URI, and is interested in environmental selection, phytoplankton evolution, geneflow in the ocean, and the adaptive potential of marine organisms.

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George Lopez: "Close Encounters with the Alien in Musical Evolution: Sebastian Bach to '2001: A Space Odyssey'"

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March 5, 20156:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Museum of Art, Rotunda

Join us for a night of Music at the Museum, where George Lopez, Beckwith Artist-in-Residence, presents an evening of "Futurist" music and close encounters with the "alien" in the history of musical evolution. 

Presented in conjunction with Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas, a groundbreaking exhibition that explores the impact of the 'Space Race,' science fiction, and the explosive growth of Cold War-era technological innovation on avant-garde artists of the Americas. 

PLEASE NOTE: SEATING FOR THIS PERFORMANCE IS AT CAPACITY. Limited standing room will be available on a first-come, first-served basis the night of the concert.

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Kimberly Juanita Brown: "Afterimages of History: The Poetics of Photography in the Contemporary"

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March 24, 20154:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Beam Classroom

Dr. Kimberly Juanita Brown considers the fraught terrain of word and image in the twentieth-century construction of black identity. Marking painful historical moments that both frame and extend the parameters of racialized existence, Brown seeks to reconcile the import and utility of African American art practices heavily dependent on the visual. Using works from Audre Lorde, Michael S. Harper, and Lucille Clifton alongside photographs by Roy DeCarava and Carrie Mae Weems, she will explore the layered contingency of imagery within the arena of black subjectivity.

Brown is currently lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. Her research and teaching gather at the intersection of critical race theory and visual culture studies. Her book (forthcoming from Duke University Press), The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary examines contemporary representations of slavery that emphasize the repetition of black women’s corporeal practices in the aftermath of the event of slavery.  A second project, Their Dead Among Us: Photography, Melancholy, and The Politics of the Visual, will explore the photographic dispossession of the body of the other and patterns of exclusion engendered by these ocular practices. 

Sponsored by the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund, Departments of Art History and Africana Studies, and Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Film Screening: 'The Auschwitz Gateway Film' with Filmmaker David Conover

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March 25, 20157:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Filmmaker David Conover will screen his recently-produced eight-minute film created for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum in Oświęcim, Poland.

The Auschwitz Gateway Film is a compelling and heartbreaking introduction to the horrors of the Holocaust at the largest concentration camp of the Nazi era, and will be shown to museum visitors before they walk through the infamous Arbeit Macht Frie ("work makes you free") gateway to enter the camp.

The screening will be followed by a conversation with Conover and Professor of English and Cinema Studies, Aviva Briefel.

Free and open to the public. No tickets required.

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Sarah Schaack: "Understanding Mutational Dynamics Over Short and Long Time Scales"

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March 26, 20154:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020

Despite the importance of understanding the mechanisms and consequences of mutation, few parameters related to the rate, spectrum, and effects of spontaneous mutation have been estimated. In this talk, Sarah Schaack discusses the dynamics of mutation at small and large scales, within and between lineages, over short and long time periods of time (e.g., empirically-derived estimates of base substitution rates to reports of frequent horizontal transfer among eukaryotes).   

She presents a few short vignettes to highlight the utility of using a variety of study systems and approaches to tackling questions related to understanding the accrual, maintenance, and loss of genotypic and phenotypic mutational variance genome-wide. She also highlights her recent work on the dynamics of mobile DNA (transposable elements and endogenous viruses) which constitute a very significant portion, and in many cases the majority, of the genome in most plants and animals.

Schaack is assistant professor of Biology at Reed College in Portland, Oregon

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Gabriel Perez-Barreiro: "Latitude 0'08791": Latin American Artists and Science Fiction

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March 26, 20154:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Gabriel Perez-Barreiro delivers a keynote lecture exploring the ways in which various artists from Latin America used science and space travel as metaphors for expressing present day realities and imagined futures.

Perez-Barreiro is Director of the Coleccin Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York. From 2002 to 2008 he was Curator of Latin American Art at the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin. In 2007, he was chief curator of the Sixth Mercosur Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil. From 2000 to 2002 he was Director of Visual Arts at The Americas Society, New York. Prior to that he was Exhibitions and Programs Coordinator at the Casa de America, Madrid. From 1993 to 1998 he was the founding curator of the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art. He holds a PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex.

Join us for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art Spring Open House immediately following the lecture at 5:30pm.

RSVPs are requested but not required. You many RSVP here: or contact Christine Piontek at

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas.

Photo: Gabriel Perez Barreiro

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Film Screening: 'Secundaria' with Filmmaker Mary Jane Doherty

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March 30, 20157:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Druckenmiller Hall, Cleaveland 151

Boston University film professor Mary Jane Doherty traveledto Cuba multiple times over a period of years to complete what the Boston Globecalled a “lucid, watchful portrait of young ballet dancers desperately tryingto plié their way out of poverty and into the Ballet Nacional."

Doherty’sdocumentary Secundaria follows one high school class on itsjourney through Cuba’s world famous National Ballet School.  The teenagedancers love to dance…but many of them must dance as the only way to improve the lives of their impoverished families. 

As we follow Doherty’s primary subjects—middle-classGabriela, poor Mayara, poorer Moises— Secundaria reveals itself through cinematicstorytelling (and without a script, staging, or interviews) as being less aboutcompeting in dance and more about battling into adulthood.

Post-screening discussion with the filmmaker.

Free and open to the public - no tickets required.

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Craig Steven Wilder, Russwurm Lecture: 'Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities'

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March 31, 20156:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Moulton Union, Main Lounge

Craig Steven Wilder, professor of history at MIT and a leading historian of race in America, will deliver the annual John Brown Russwurm Lecture in the Main Lounge of Moulton Union. A reception in the Russwurm House Library will precede the lecture at 5:00pm. Both events are free and open to the public. 

Professor Wilder will examine the contrasting figures of "the matriculating Indian" and "the uneducable Negro" to explore the limits on access to higher education in the second half of the 18th century. Looking closely at the experiences of two friends, the Reverend Samson Occom - a member of the Mohegan nation who became a Presbyterian minister, and poet Phillis Wheatley - the first African-American woman to be published, Professor Wilder will demonstrate how illusory were even the modest hopes of education held by Native and enslaved Americans. Though hailed by well-wishers as possessors of exceptional talents, Occum and Wheatley could find no institutional structures that would support them in intellectual, literary, or religious pursuits. 

This lecture stems from Wilder's important and widely reviewed new study, Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities, where he argues that many of America's revered colleges and universities were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color.

Professor Wilder is a senior fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative, where he has served as a guest lecturer, commencement speaker, academic advisor, and visiting professor. For more than a decade, this innovative program has given hundreds of men and women the opportunity to acquire a college education during their incarcerations in the New York State prison system. 

He has advised and appeared in numerous historical documentaries, including the celebrated Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon film, The Central Park Five; Kelly Anderson's highly praised exploration of gentrification, My Brooklyn; the History Channel's F.D.R.: A Presidency Revealed; and Ric Burn's award-winning PBS series, New York: A Documentary History

Named after the first African-American graduate of Bowdoin College (class of 1826), the John Brown Russwurm lecture series explores "the legacy and status of Black Americans". Notable speakers include Robert Levine, Lani Guinier, Carl Stokes, Vernon Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Hooks, and Julian Bond, among others.

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McKeen Center Community Read and Book Talk: "Ebony and Ivy"

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April 1, 20157:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

In his work Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities, Craig Steven Wilder argues that many of America's revered colleges and universities were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color. 

Professor Tess Chakkalakal (Africana Studies and English) will moderate a discussion with Wilder, presenter of the annual John Brown Russwurm Lecture, before an audience in Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center. 

Questions emailed from those live-streaming the conversation will be fielded during the chat. 

Please email questions here. 

Note: This talk will also be live streamed on Bowdoin's Live Webcasts page.

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Stacy Vandeveer: "Climate Politics Are Everywhere! Hope and Change in Transnational, National, and Local Spaces"

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April 6, 20157:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Moulton Union, Lancaster Lounge

The world of climate politics is increasingly no longer confined to the activities of national governments and international negotiations. Critical to this transformation of the politics of climate change has been the emergence of new forms of transnational governance that cut across traditional state-based jurisdictions and operate across public and private divides. 

In this presentation, Stacy Vandeveer will examine the world of climate change governance and the implications for the field of global environmental politics. He is currently professor of political science and chair of the department of political science at the University of New Hampshire. His teaching and research interests include international environmental policymaking and its domestic impacts, comparative environmental politics, connections between environmental and security issues, the roles of expertise in policy making and the global politics of consumption and environmental and humanitarian degradation. 

In addition to authoring and co-authoring over seventy articles, book chapters, working papers and reports, he co-edited six books: Comparative Environmental Politics (MIT Press 2012); The Global Environment: Institutions, Law and Policy (CQ Press 2010); Changing Climates in North American Politics (MIT Press 2009); Transatlantic Environment and Energy Politics (Ashgate 2009); EU Enlargement and the Environment (Routledge 2005); and Saving the Seas (1997). He co-edits the journal Global Environmental Politics (MIT Press).

This event is free and open to the public.

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Namiko Kunimoto: "Artist Nakamura Hiroshi and the Politics of Embodiment"

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April 7, 20154:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Visual Arts Center, Beam Classroom

After Japan surrendered in 1945, ending World War II, Allied forces led by the United States occupied the nation, bringing drastic changes. Japan was disarmed, its empire dissolved, its form of government changed to a democracy, and its economy and education system reorganized and rebuilt. By the 1950s, a former enemy became a Western ally, and parts of American culture became part of the Japanese landscape. This was not, however, an era of unadulterated “influence” from the West, nor a simple abandonment of domestic politics for a new devotion to transnationalism. This was a time that was ambivalent and uncertain, challenging and rousing. To be an avant-garde artist in this context meant that one aimed for lofty ideals: to restructure one’s own sense of place in the world, through art and for art. 

Artist Nakamura Hiroshi's work in this period was influenced by the American military occupation of the Japanese town of Sagawa, and the conflicts between the townspeople and soldiers. His paintings came to represent the genre of Reportage Painting, in which young artists expressed Socialist concerns through their art in a style combining Social Realism and Surrealism. 

Dr. Namiko Kunimoto, assistant professor of art history at Ohio State University, is a specialist in modern and contemporary Japanese art, with research interests in gender, urbanization, photography, performance art, transnationalism, and nation formation. She will examine how Nakamura Hiroshi used representation to interrogate the inter-relationship of artistic status, politics, and selfhood. 

Sponsored by The Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund and the Departments of Art History and Asian Studies.

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Zaheer Ali: "From Malcolm Little to El Hajj Malik Shabazz: A Journey of Faith"

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April 7, 20155:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Searles Science Building, Room 315

Most discussions of Malcolm X's life tend to emphasize his politics and downplay the role of religion in his life. Or, if they do address his religion, these examinations often see Islam as something that Malcolm truly embraces only after leaving the Nation of Islam and making his hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. This talk examines the ways that religion in general, and Islam in particular, figured very early in Malcolm's life, and provided a passport for his growing internationalist politics.

Zaheer Ali is a PhD candidate in history at Columbia University. Under the direction of the late Manning Marable, he served as one of the project managers and a senior researcher of the Malcolm X Project (MXP), a multi-year research initiative on the life and legacy of Malcolm X.

Free and open to the public.

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Brian Mello: "The End of the Liberalized Autocracy in the Middle East and North Africa"

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April 13, 20157:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Moulton Union, Main Lounge

Prior to the events of the Arab Spring, it was believed that controlled liberalization and the emergence of hybrid authoritarian regimes—what scholar Daniel Brumberg termed liberalized autocracies—contributed to authoritarian stability in the Middle East and North Africa.  

In this talk, Brian Mello challenges these assumptions by identifying a set of causal mechanisms that emerged within liberalized autocracies that help to explain why the wave of protest in the Arab Spring began in and contributed to regime change primarily in such hybrid regimes. He concludes by examining what this wave of contentious politics might mean for the future of liberalized autocracy and democracy in the region.

Brian Mello is Associate Professor of Political Science at Muhlenberg College. He is author of Evaluating Social Movement Impacts: Comparative Lessons from the Labor Movement in Turkey(2013, Bloomsbury Academic). 

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