Bowdoin Middle Eastern Ensemble, April 29

The Bowdoin Middle Eastern Ensemble, directed by Eric LaPerna and Amos Libby, presents classical and contemporary music from the Arabic and Ottoman Turkish traditions. The ensemble performs on traditional Middle Eastern musical instruments like the oud (Middle Eastern lute) and qanun (72-stringed Middle Eastern zither) as well vocals and Western instruments along with Middle Eastern percussion.

The Fighters: Reporting from the Front Lines of Our Forever Wars, with C.J. Chivers

C.J. Chivers is a correspondent for The New York Times and a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine. His magazine story “The Fighter” won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. In 2009 he was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for coverage from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Chivers served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps in the Persian Gulf War and on peacekeeping duty during the Los Angeles riots. Mr. Chivers is the acclaimed author of The Fighters and The Gun.

Sophia A. Nelson: “An Outlook on Washington”

Sophia Nelson is a former congressional committee investigative counsel, high-powered corporate lobbyist, and Republican insider. She has served as a White House reporter for JET Magazine and a columnist for Essence, The Washington Post, and The Daily Beast. She is the author of Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama, The Woman Code: 20 Powerful Keys to Unlock Your Life and her latest book, E Pluribus One: Rediscovering America’s Lost Political Code. Nelson’s talk was moderated by Assistant Professor of Government Chryl Laird.

Stories from the Earth with Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences Rachel Beane


Fiery-volcanic eruptions, earth-shattering quakes, and continents on the move have forged the planet we call home. Take a journey from mid-coast Maine to Russia and New Zealand with geoscientist Rachel Beane. She shares captivating photos from the field, and from the microscope, as we explore the processes that have shaped our planet for millions of years. In so doing, we also will learn how the tiniest of minerals record some of Earth’s biggest stories.

Rachel Beane is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences in the Department of Earth and Oceanographic Science and associate dean for academic affairs. With support from the National Science Foundation and Bowdoin College, she has conducted research on volcanic rocks in New Zealand and the western US, subduction zone metamorphic rocks in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Greece, and igneous and metamorphic rocks in Maine.

Beane’s foci in her role as associate dean are faculty development and mentoring and faculty diversity initiatives. She leads national professional development workshops for science educators through the National Association of Geoscience Teachers and On the Cutting Edge, an NSF-funded project focusing on geoscience faculty development. She is the recipient of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Neil Miner Award for “exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences,” and at Bowdoin, the Sydney B. Karofsky teaching prize for her “ability to impart knowledge, inspire enthusiasm, and stimulate intellectual curiosity.” She is also a fellow of the Geological Society of America.

Oren Cass & The Future of Labor: “How Consumerist Consensus Led America Astray and How to Recover”

Oren Cass is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where his work on strengthening the labor market addresses issues ranging from the social safety net and environmental regulation to trade and immigration to education and organized labor. He also writes extensively on the nature and implications of climate change and on the process of formulating and evaluating public policy. Cass has written for publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, National Affairs, and National Review, and he regularly speaks at universities and testifies before Congress.

His 2018 book, The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America, has been called “the essential policy book for our time” and “an unflinching indictment of the mistakes that Washington has made for a generation and continues to make today.” Before joining MI, he held roles as the domestic policy director for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, and as a management consultant in Bain & Company’s Boston and New Delhi offices.

He earned a B.A. in political economy from Williams College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Cass’s lecture was sponsored by the Bowdoin College Republicans and The Lindsey Fund for Guest Lecturers.

Disability Studies from Theory to Practice: Finding Bioethics in the Frankenstein Ballet

How can the insights of disability studies and its theories be put into practice? In this presentation, Rosemarie Garland Thomson outlines critical disability studies and disability theory and offers an example of how this academic work can be translated into the applied field of bioethics and health humanities, an area that considers policy and ethics of medical practice and decision-making. Her example is the recent ballet version of Mary Shelley’s 1818 classic novel, Frankenstein, the frequently adapted tale of scientific hubris and its potential for human tragedy. The presentation shows how the ballet dramatizes a parent’s refusal to recognize and accept a child who differs from other family members and the agonizing family relations that come from parental rejection.

Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America

Prof. David J. Silverman, for the 2019 Alfred E. Golz Memorial Lecture, traces the profoundly transformative and irredeemably destructive history of the Indian firearms trade across North America, from eastern tribes’ earliest contacts with European traders through the Plains Wars of the nineteenth century. Guns quickly became an essential tool for Indian hunters, but, more, importantly, they allowed well-armed tribes to plunder, conquer, and enslave their neighbors. Arms races erupted across North America, intensifying intertribal rivalries and solidifying the importance of firearms in Indian politics and culture. Even as American tribes grew dependent on guns manufactured in Europe and the United States, their dependence never prevented them from rising up against Euro-American power. The Seminoles, Blackfeet, Lakotas, and others remained formidably armed right up to the time of their subjugation. Far from being a Trojan horse for colonialism, firearms empowered American Indians to pursue their interests and defend their political and economic autonomy over two centuries.

David J. Silverman is Professor of History at George Washington University, whose current work is a Wampanoag-centered history of Plymouth Colony and the Thanksgiving holiday. His previous books include Ninigret, Sachem of the Niantics and Narragansetts: Diplomacy, War, and the Balance of Power in Seventeenth-Century New England and Indian Country (2017) with co-author Julie A. Fisher, Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America (2010), and Faith and Boundaries: Colonists, Christianity, and Community among the Wampanoag Indians of Martha’s Vineyard, 1600-1871 (2007).

From Color to Caraway to Cooking: Stories and Lessons From Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry can sometimes have a less-than-flattering reputation on a college campus. When teaching, Senior Lecturer Michael Danahy always strives to expose his students to the chemistry they must learn (molecular structure, reactions). However, by putting the chemistry in context, he animates it and makes it more pertinent to his students’ lives. Danahy in this lecture talks about the fascinating stories of organic chemistry and how this subject has connections beyond strict chemistry. The Karofsky Faculty Encore Lecture features A Bowdoin faculty member chosen By members of the student body and honors that faculty member as A teacher and role model.