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The College of HSH Presents...

This video lecture series from the College of Human Sciences and Humanities (HSH) highlights research by our faculty that is directly responsive to pressing social issues. HSH professors across disciplinary and departmental lines produce high-quality, high-impact research that investigates the human condition, seeking ways to understand, articulate, and improve the world in which we live. We welcome others into this conversation. We encourage viewers of the live broadcasts to engage in the Q&A sessions following each lecture.

For more information about the work of the faculty featured in this series or to request information about applying to one of our nearly 30 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, contact us at

Faculty Lecture Series

Welcome message from the Interim Dean

Cooperating in the Crescent City: Lessons Learned from New Orleans' Interracial, Intergenerational Cooperative Movement

Monday, January 25, 2021

Based on her book, Cooperatives in New Orleans: Collective Action and Urban Development (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2020), Dr. Gessler's talk, "Cooperating in the Crescent City: Lessons Learned from New Orleans's Interracial, Intergenerational Cooperative Movement," traces how New Orleans' community cooperatives contribute to a history of grassroots social justice mobilization in the South. For over 140 years, marginalized residents have blended neighborhood communal traditions and street-level subsistence tactics with African, Caribbean, and European cooperative principles to democratize the city's crumbling infrastructure, monopolistic food distribution systems, and spotty welfare programs.

Speaker: Dr. Anne Gessler, Clinical Assistant Professor of Humanities

Moderator: Dr. Jeff Lash, Associate Professor of Geography

Definitions of Diversity and Their Impact on Creating Culturally Responsive Learning Environments

Monday, February 8, 2021
6 p.m. (virtual)

Asserting that faculty, staff, and administrators have responsibilities, as change agents, to impart knowledge and skills that help students become effective leaders in diverse communities, Drs. Rios' and Lucas' presentation "Definitions of Diversity and Their Impact on Creating Culturally Responsive Learning Environments" will detail results from Fall 2020 focus group interviews with UHCL faculty, staff, and administrators. As part of a larger initiative focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the College of HSH, their study aimed to understand how higher education leaders define diversity and evaluate their work as contributing to a culturally responsive learning environment. The presentation will engage the Zoom audience in a discussion about next steps for ensuring UHCL is prepared to, as stated in the mission, honor "diverse populations" and "foster global perspectives, and promote justice."

Speakers: Dr. Desdamona Rios, Associate Professor of Social Psychology, and Dr. Amy Lucas, Associate Professor of Sociology

Moderator: Dr. Christina Cedillo, Assistant Professor of Writing

What Employers Want: Writing in UHCL's Top 4 Majors

Monday, March 8, 2021
6 p.m. (virtual)

In "What Employers Want," Dr. Lorie Jacobs will present preliminary data from an FRSF-funded study of employers' expectations of writing in the workplace, especially as it pertains to new hires and career advancement. The research team interviewed professionals in UHCL's top four majors: Psychology, Education, Accounting, and Healthcare Administration. Initial findings suggest employers prefer graduates with strong communication skills over technical skills and that written communication is essential for career advancement. This new interview data has significant implications for UHCL's curriculum, emphasizing the need to integrate meaningful, professional writing opportunities throughout major coursework. This presentation will present findings and explore curricular solutions.

Speaker: Dr. Lorie Jacobs, Assistant Professor of Writing

Moderator: Dr. Angela Kelling, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Why It Is OK to Trust Science

Monday, March 29, 2021
6 p.m. (virtual)

Why trust science? Fifty years ago the question would have seemed frivolous. Of course you trust science. It is the only truly trustworthy human enterprise. Now science has been politicized, and where you stand on scientific issues is a test of political loyalties. From creationists on the right, to social constructivists on the left, to anti-vaxxers on both sides, vocal and articulate critics assail the methods and claims of science. Perhaps worst of all, when big-money interests see their profits threatened by science, they lavishly endow ideologues and "think tanks" to obfuscate and distort. In "Why it is OK to Trust Science," Dr. Keith Parsons defend science with three claims: 1) There is a physical world with intrinsic, determinate properties that exists independently of human concepts, descriptions, or thoughts; 2) Scientific methods and practices (e.g. experiment, measurement, observation) provide access to objective evidence for scientific beliefs; 3) Such evidence is frequently sufficient to account for scientific beliefs. The most crucial claim is the second, and Dr. Parsons will present illustrations from science to defend it by arguing that there are facts about justification. That is, some evidence really does warrant some beliefs despite the wishes of ideologues, politicians, and ax-grinders.

Speaker: Dr. Keith Parsons, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities

Moderator: Dr. Michael McMullen, Professor of Sociology

Telling Better Stories: Archeology, Object Biography, and the Public

Monday, April 12, 2021
6 p.m. (virtual)

In Yann Martel's novel, Life of Pi, when Pi Patel's extraordinary account is questioned, he asks, "Which is the better story?" The job of the museum is to engage the public by telling stories through their collections. Similarly, academic researchers in archaeology must decide how engagingly to tell our histories. Do we tell good stories that engage and educate the public, including our students, or do we focus only on dry reports of the facts, leaving the more exciting narratives to television producers? In "Telling Better Stories," Dr. Sarah Costello argues that it is not only good practice, but also an ethical imperative, for academic archaeologists and art historians to endeavor to engage the public, and to use museums as partners in that effort. Object biography is a useful tool in this effort. The object biography approach looks at the long life of the object, rather than a single moment in its past. Scholars can contribute to an object biography through multiple points of entry, from archaeological context to stylistic analysis and technological study. Through object biography, we can tell more engaging stories about ancient objects. We can also tell more honest stories, which relay the importance of archaeological findspot, thus discouraging the market in looted antiquities.

Speaker: Dr. Sarah Costello, Associate Professor of Art History

Moderator: Dr. Maria Curtis, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Studies


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