Saturday, May 12, 2018 9:30 am - 4:15 pm
Andrew Newberg / Thomas Jefferson University
Based on new evidence culled from brain-scan studies, Professor Newberg has concluded that active and positive spiritual belief changes the human brain. What's more, actual faith isn't always necessary: even atheists who meditate on positive imagery can also experience these changes.
In this course, students will learn about breakthrough discoveries in religion and your brain. Not only do prayer and spiritual practice reduce stress and anxiety, but just 12 minutes of meditation per day may slow down the aging process. Contemplating a loving God rather than a punitive God reduces anxiety, depression, and stress, and increases feelings of security, compassion, and love. Fundamentalism, in and of itself, is benign and can be personally beneficial, but the anger and prejudice generated by extreme beliefs can permanently damage your brain. Intense prayer and meditation permanently change numerous structures and functions in the brain, altering your values and the way you perceive reality. Professor Newberg will also explain the best ways to "exercise" your brain and guide you through specific routines derived from a wide variety of Eastern and Western spiritual practices that improve personal awareness and empathy.
Dr. Andrew Newberg is a neuroscientist and Professor at Thomas Jefferson University, as well as an adjunct professor at The University of Pennsylvania, who studies the relationship between brain function and various mental states. He is a pioneer in the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences, a field known as “neurotheology.” His research includes taking brain scans of people in prayer, meditation, rituals, and trance states, in an attempt to better understand the nature of religious and spiritual practices and attitudes.
Tina Rivers Ryan / Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), Formerly Columbia University
Here's a question that all art lovers today have had to ask themselves: How do you look at a painting of a woman made of geometric shapes and shadows? What about a canvas painted a single, solid color? Or covered in paint drips? Or printed with a photographic image? Do any of these really count as "art," let alone as "paintings?" And how do you know which ones are "good?"
The key to answering these questions is to understand that modern art is a conversation, a dialogue between artists about the very nature of art that has been going on for generations. In this talk, we will look closely at four paintings, culled from the movements of Cubism, Constructivism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop, in order to understand how artists in different times and places have explored these fundamental issues in their work. After learning to look at these modern works, we will consider whether this conversation is still unfolding: are we still making "modern" art, or did modernism end, giving way to something altogether different?
An art historian by training, Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan is currently Assistant Curator of contemporary art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. She holds a BA from Harvard, three Master’s Degrees, and a PhD from Columbia, and has taught classes on art at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Pratt Institute, and Columbia, where she was one of the top-ranked instructors of the introduction to art history, “Art Humanities: Masterpieces of Western Art.” A regular critic for Artforum, her writing has also appeared in periodicals such as Art in America and Art Journal, and in catalogs published by museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center. As a public speaker and scholar, Dr. Ryan has delivered lectures on topics ranging from Michelangelo to Warhol in more than 50 cities internationally.
1 hour and 15 minute / Lunch Break
Students will have a 1 hour and 15 minute lunch break.
Andrew Porwancher / University of Oklahoma
Amid the heat of a Philadelphia summer in 1787, the delegates of the Constitutional Convention gathered to save a fledgling republic whose very existence was mired in doubt. Today, the US Constitution stands as the oldest surviving national constitution anywhere in the world. But what did the framers really mean by the Establishment Clause or the Second Amendment? How much do we know about what transpired in Independence Hall? What myths were later invented and accepted as law? The surprising answers to these questions matter–not only for uncovering the truth about our history but for rethinking the laws that govern our lives today.
Andrew Porwancher is the Wick Cary Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma, where he teaches constitutional history. He previously held the Horne Fellowship at Oxford and the Garwood Fellowship at Princeton. Dr. Porwancher is also the recipient of the Longmire Prize for innovative teaching. He is now at work on two new books, “Theodore Roosevelt and the Jews” and “The Jewish Life of Alexander Hamilton.” His first book, “The Devil Himself” is currently being adapted for the stage at a theater company in Dublin.
Caroline Winterer / Stanford University
The rise and fall of ancient Rome is one of the greatest stories in the history of the world. From a group of settlements huddled along the Tiber in Italy, Rome rose to conquer much of the Mediterranean world and Europe. At the height of the Roman Empire, one in every five people in the world lived within its territory.
For Americans, Rome's unlikely ascent, spectacular ambitions, and gruesome decline have provided endless fuel for our national self-examination. Is the United States an empire? Are empires good or bad? What makes great civilizations decline and fall—and how can America avoid that fate? This talk will explore the great American question—"Are We Rome?"—and show why this ancient empire continues to fascinate our very modern nation.
Caroline Winterer is William Robertson Coe Professor of History at Stanford University. Her latest book is, “American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason.” She is a recipient of an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution for mapping the social network of Benjamin Franklin, and is also a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.