Sunday, October 27, 2019 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
Catherine Sanderson / Amherst College
Happiness has been in the news quite a bit lately. The UN released a "Happiness Report" rating nearly 200 countries, which found that the world’s happiest people live in Northern Europe (Denmark, Norway, Finland, and the Netherlands). The US ranked 11th. The report's conclusion affirmatively states that happiness has predictable causes and is correlated specifically to various measures that governments can regulate and encourage. And there's more. A new AARP study looks at how Americans feel – and what factors contribute to their sense of contentment. It concludes that nearly 50% of us are "somewhat happy" and another 19% are "very happy."
What role do money, IQ, marriage, friends, children, weather, and religion play in making us feel happier? Is happiness stable over time? How can happiness be increased? Professor Sanderson will describe cutting-edge research from the field of positive psychology on the factors that do (and do not) predict happiness, and provide practical (and relatively easy!) ways to increase your own psychological well-being.
Catherine Sanderson is the James E. Ostendarp Professor of Psychology at Amherst College, and is often cited as the school’s most popular professor. Her research has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. She has published over 25 journal articles in addition to three college textbooks. In 2012, she was named one of the country’s top 300 professors by the Princeton Review.
Aniruddh Patel / Tufts University
Charles Darwin regarded music as an evolutionary mystery. It is universal and ancient in human culture but serves no obvious biological function. Recent decades have witnessed a rise of empirical research on the biological foundations of music, leading to findings which help illuminate music’s evolutionary origins and its significance in human life.
In this lecture Prof. Aniruddh Patel of Tufts University and author of Music, Language, and the Brain will discuss a wide variety of research studies bearing on the evolution and biological power of music. These will include studies of how music is processed by other species, and studies of how active engagement with music enhances brain function, including both neurologically normal individuals and those with brain disorders.
Aniruddh Patel is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Tufts University, where he conducts basic research on the cognitive neuroscience of music. Before joining Tufts University he was a Senior Fellow at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, a private research institute led by the late Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman. Professor Patel has served as president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition and has published numerous research articles and a scholarly book, “Music, Language and the Brain”, which won an ASCAP Deems Taylor award. In 2009 he received the Music Has Power Award from the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function in New York City, and in 2018 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to write a book on the evolution of music cognition.
Louis Masur / Rutgers University
Alexander Hamilton was a considered a relatively unimportant Founding Father of America…until Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the now world-famous musical Hamilton. Early next year Hamilton will be coming to Toronto, and that's why Professor Louis Masur created this brand-new class. Similar to the show, in this course we will learn how Hamilton and Jefferson's rivalry shaped America and influenced the rest of the world – and how Hamilton was able to become a man of international importance and fame a mere 215 years after his death.
Often forced to take a back seat to other Founding Fathers, his vision of America as an economic powerhouse with a dynamic and aggressive government as its engine has found many followers. An orphan born in the West Indies, he was like a son to George Washington and perhaps should have been like a brother to Thomas Jefferson. But Jefferson fought bitterly against the Federalists and his election as president ushered in the "revolution of 1800." Ironically, it would be Hamilton who helped assure Jefferson's triumph over Aaron Burr. Jefferson articulated a different vision from Hamilton's, promoting an agrarian democracy built upon geographic expansion—an "empire of liberty," he called it. In 1793, he would resign as Secretary of State to protest Hamilton's policies.
Louis Masur is a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. He received outstanding teaching awards from Rutgers, Trinity College, and the City College of New York, and won the Clive Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard University. He is the author of many books including “Lincoln’s Last Speech,” which was inspired by a talk he presented at One Day University. His essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and Slate. He is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and serves on the Historians’ Council of the Gettysburg Foundation.