Fall 2016 Speaker Biographies
Nancy Nyquist Potter is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Louisville, where she has taught since 1995, after receiving the Ph.D. in 1994 from the University of Minnesota. She is a Core Faculty Member of the U of L Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Bioethics and Medical Humanities, an Adjunct Faculty with Women and Gender Studies, and an Associate with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Nancy Potter has published extensively in feminist ethics and political philosophy as well as the interdisciplinary field of philosophy and psychiatry, with dozens of book chapters, scores of scholarly articles and numerous reviews to her credit. Her current research is on the connections between theories of knowledge and ethics, with special attention to nosological and diagnostic issues, and on the relationship between voice, silence, and uptake, in particular for patients living with mental illness. Her newest book, The Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric Engagement, has just been published in the summer of 2016 with Oxford University Press. The Virtue of Defiance presents a “unique and original treatment” of defiance, combining theory and case studies, and it offers a “nuanced and complex look at defiance, taking seriously issues of dysfunction while also attending to social contexts in which defiant behavior may arise. Those living in adverse conditions such as oppression, systematic disadvantages, and disability may act defiantly for good reasons. This perspective places defiance squarely within the moral domain; thus, it should not be assumed that when professionals come across defiant behavior, it is a sign of mental dysfunction. Potter argues that defiance sometimes is a virtue, meaning that a disposition to be ready to be defiant when the situation calls for it is part of living a life with a realistic understanding of the aim of flourishing and its limits in our everyday world.” (OUP Website.)
Dr. Potter’s previous books include a critical analysis of borderline personality disorder, titled Mapping the Edges and the In-between: A Critical Analysis of Borderline Personality Disorder (Oxford U Press, 2009), and an examination of the ethics of trust, in How Can I be Trusted? A Virtue Theory of Trustworthiness (Rowman Littlefield 2002). She is the editor of two other major collections, Trauma, Truth, and Reconciliation: Healing Damaged Relationships (Oxford U Press, 2006) and Putting Peace into Practice: Evaluating Policy on Local and Global Levels (Rodopi Press, 2004).
Dr. Potter teaches courses ranging from Aristotle, Ethical Theory, Philosophy and Sexuality, and The Nature of Violence, to War and Peace on Stage and Screen, Race, Gender and Mental Illness, and the Philosophy of Mental Illness. She is co-Principle Investigator with Mona Gupta, M.D., Ph.D. on a CIHR grant to study types of knowing that psychiatrists draw on when making diagnoses.
Potter is a past president (2008-2012) and vice-president (2004-2008) of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry and she continues to serve on their Executive Council, as well as on local hospital ethics committees. She has served as a reviewer for many scholarly journals and publishing houses, and she has given the Distinguished Service Award for Community Service by the University of Louisville and the U of L College of Arts and Sciences. Nancy Potter also sings in the Louisville Master Chorale.
Manuel Cortés-Castañeda was born in Colombia, and grew up in the Amazon Jungle where he studied in a Catholic seminary ruled by Italian priests. Twenty years later he moved to Bogotá to study Psychology, Spanish language and literature. After graduation he worked as an actor and director. His main interest was the theater of the absurd, especially Beckett's works. In 1987 he moved to Spain to begin his doctoral work on modern poetry at the University Complutense. Dr. Cortés-Castañeda is an Associate Professor of Spanish at Eastern Kentucky University. Dr. Cortés-Castañeda writes poetry, short stories and essays on poetry and films. He has published four books: Trazos al margen (Notes in the Margin), Madrid 1990. Prohibido fijar avisos (Post No Bills), Madrid 1991. Caja de iniquidades (Den of Iniquities), Chile 1995. El espejo del otro (The Mirrored Other) Paris/Bogotá 1999. He has also been included in various anthologies: Trayecto contiguo (Parallel Paths), Madrid 1994, Los pasajeros del Arca (Travellers of the Ark), Argentina 1994, Libro de bitácora (Ship’s Log), Argentina 1996, Donde mora el amor (Where Love Abides), Argentina 1997. Dr. Cortés-Castañeda has written several articles about Hispanic literature. Some of them published in magazines such as Imagen, (Venezuela), Con-textos (Colombia), and ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews (Washington). He has written more than forty articles on poetry and short narrative, some of them about the most outstanding Hispanic poets (Borges, Arreola, Coral Bracho, Armando Romero, Alvaro Mutis, Fernado Arbelaez, etc.) His poems have been included in leading Poetry Magazines: Mississippi Review, Textos: Works and Criticism, Mascaluna, Brujula y Compaz, Dolor y Literatura, Folios etc. Currently Manuel has completed two more poetry books: Appetizers and Metáfora de la desnudez total (A Total Nude Metaphor).
Born in Jamaica, Dr. Ezra Engling, professor of Spanish and former chair of the foreign languages and humanities department, knows six languages, has lived in four continents and is published on three. As a senior Fulbright research fellow in Morocco, he analyzed representations of Moorish characters in Spanish Golden Age literature. Other academic interests include medieval literature, cultural and gender studies, learning technologies, translation, Caribbean dialectology and reggae. Engling’s musical gifts are significant. After winning regional and national awards as a tenor soloist in Jamaica, he continued high level amateur performances in the U.S., singing at Princeton and Texas A&M. Joining Eastern’s faculty in 2006, he also joined the Lexington Singers, participating in the 2007 Brazil tour.
Engling’s tenure as department chair of foreign languages and humanities saw increased enrollment and staffing; restoration of Arabic study; a new major in comparative humanities; introduction of online, hybrid and service-learning offerings; and a significant upgrade of the media lab. His dedication to a new Spanish translation program, ongoing work for a Japanese consortium with Kentucky universities, and extensive involvement with Black History Month and the Latino Student Association enrich multiculturalism on the Eastern campus.
Classes, labs and monthly tertulias [chats] create a warm, supportive Spanish-speaking campus community. Nominations for the Teaching Excellence Award gratefully acknowledge a “master teacher” with “a talent for creating questions that demand close reading and analysis,” while his international experience gives in-depth, integrated views of foreign affairs. True, he gives abundant homework, students note, but Engling’s generous enthusiasm compensates. To create a mental picture of the great epochs of Spanish history, he invites students to movie viewing days at his home with elaborate, delicious meals, Spanish snacks and Spanish-speaking guests to practice conversation skills. Dr. Ezra Engling’s goals are “a reach,” one student wrote, but this master teacher also builds the “scaffolding” to reach those goals with a clear understanding of a great, diverse culture.
Dr. Kevin Rahimzadeh has taught in the Department of English and Theatre at EKU since 1997. He holds a BSFS in International Relations from Georgetown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Renaissance and Medieval Literature from the University of North Carolina. Nearly all of Dr. Rahimzadeh’s interests involve the word “early”: he teaches Early World Literature, Early British Literature, Early Drama, and various other courses in earlier periods, such as Shakespeare and John Milton. When an especially professorial mood strikes, he likes to tell to students that he seldom pays attention to anything written after 1674, which is much the lie but fun to insist upon. After many years of great if intermittent effort, he has yet to compose a single decent poem. “Someday,” he tells himself. “Someday…..”
Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning news anchor and reporter who covers America’s untold stories and highlights today’s critical issues. For 25 years, Maria Hinojosa has helped to tell America's untold stories and brought to light unsung heroes in America and abroad. As the anchor and executive producer of NPR’s only Latino news and culture show, LatinoUSA, and anchor and executive producer for the PBS series America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa, she has informed millions about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad. In 2016, Hinojosa became the host of In The Thick, Futuro’s new political podcast, and Humanizing America, the company’s digital video series.
In April 2010, Hinojosa took a groundbreaking step by creating the Futuro Media Group, an independent nonprofit organization producing multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience. Futuro Media is committed to telling stories often overlooked by mainstream media.
In over 25 years as a journalist, Hinojosa has worked for CNN, PBS CBS, WNBC, and WGBH. Her previous projects include PBS’ Need to Know series and the WGBH/La Plaza talk show Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One. Hinojosa was the first Latina to anchor a FRONTLINE report, aired in October 2011. Lost in Detention explored abuse at immigrant detention facilities, garnering attention from Capitol Hill to both the mainstream and Spanish-language media.
Hinojosa has reported hundreds of important stories—from the restrictive immigration policies in Fremont, Nebraska, to the effects of the oil boom in North Dakota, to stories of the poor in Alabama. As a reporter for NPR, Hinojosa was among the first to report on youth violence in urban communities on a national scale. During her eight years as CNN’s urban affairs correspondent, Hinojosa often took viewers into communities rarely shown on television. Now at Futuro Media, Hinojosa continues to bring attention to communities and issues usually ignored.
Hinojosa has received numerous awards for her work including: four Emmys; the 2012 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism; Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged; the Studs Terkel Community Media Award; the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club for best documentary for her groundbreaking “Child Brides: Stolen Lives.” In addition to her broadcast work, Hinojosa has been a weekly syndicated columnist for King Features/Hearst and is the author of two books: Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son, a motherhood memoir; and Crews: Gang Members Talk with Maria Hinojosa, an in-depth collection of interviews with gang members in New York City.
Hinojosa was born in Mexico City and raised in Chicago. She received her BA from Barnard College. She is currently the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University in Chicago and a Global Post ‘Voces’ columnist. She lives with her husband, artist German Perez, and their son and daughter in Harlem.
Missy Jenkins Smith of Paducah, Kentucky, is the author of the compelling memoir, I Choose to Be Happy: A School Shooting Survivor’s Story of Triumph over Tragedy, and a noted speaker about recovery, healing, forgiveness, and above all thriving in life in spite of whatever challenges might be put in one’s way. Missy’s story has been shared with hundreds of groups across the country and has led to her being featured in many national publications, including recently the March 2016 issue of Glamour magazine, along with other survivors, in a story titled, “We Have to Stop the Violence.” About Missy’s book, native Kentuckian and ABC News journalist Diane Sawyer declared, “Missy breaks your heart, puts it back together again, and makes you a believer – in forgiveness, faith, and how the strength of one girl can change the world.”
Missy Jenkins Smith was one of eight students in a prayer group randomly shot by 14-year-old Michael Carneal on Dec. 1, 1997, in the lobby of Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky. Three girls were killed. Missy, a 15-year-old sophomore at the time, was paralyzed from the chest down. But Missy didn't see her disability as an end. Just hours after the tragedy, she forgave Carneal and took back her life.
Over the subsequent 15 years, harboring no malice but instead focusing on her physical and mental rehabilitation, Missy would go on to graduate from Heath, earn a bachelor's degree in social work from Murray State University, become a counselor for troubled youth at a day treatment center, get married and give birth to two healthy sons. Missy, now in her 30’s, has received numerous honors over the years for sharing her story of her determination and courage, and for her work on behalf of anti-violence, including being named “Kentuckian of the Year” and one of Ladies' Home Journal's “Most Fascinating Women.” She has appeared on TV shows such as “Oprah,” “Good Morning America,” “Dateline,” and “Anderson Cooper 360,” and appeared on stage as Al Gore’s guest at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. In addition, she was honored by former U.S. Attorney Janet Reno as “a leader in encouraging youth involvement in crime prevention.”
In her book, Missy shares the intimate details of her fascinating life since the shooting, along with her opinions on the power of forgiveness and the devastating effects of bullying, and many other related topics. Sarah Brady, whose husband, Jim, was wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, wrote in the foreword to Missy’s book: “This courageous young woman has chosen to share her story in remarkable detail through this poignant book? Missy will take you on her incredible journey of sorrow, pain, joy, and triumph…. Some may read this and simply realize that her plight can put a bad day in perspective. Others may be able to relate to the more complex lessons she offers, such as the importance of forgiving the one who hurt you the most. But one thing is certain: there’s a lesson in here for everyone, young and old.”
Gwynne Dyer is an acclaimed Canadian independent journalist, historian and author based in London, England. His most recent book, published in 2015, is titled, Don’t Panic: ISIS, Terrorism, and Today’s Middle East. A prolific writer and analyst of global politics, Dyer’s other recent books include Crawling from the Wreckage (2011), and Canada in the Great Power Game: 1914-2014 (2015). Dyer’s many other monographs include Ignorant Armies: Sliding into War in Iraq (2003), Future: Tense (2005), The Mess They Made: The Middle East After Iraq, (2007), all of which were number one or number two on the Globe & Mail’s non-fiction best-seller list in his native Canada. Dyer’s 2008 book, Climate Wars, was based on a CBC “Ideas” radio documentary series of the same name (http://gwynnedyer.com/radio/ ), dealing with the frightening geopolitical implications of large-scale climate change. Dyer’s first major publication, War, from 1985, was republished in 2005, having become a classic in the field of the history of armed conflict.
Praise for Gwynne Dyer’s erudition, his style and his analysis is widespread: Dyer writes with a “trenchant tone and clear-eyed, nonpartisan approach” (Toronto Star); Dyer is “piercing and provocative” (Vancouver Sun); “It is his clear-eyed realism, coupled with an apparently encyclopedic knowledge of international affairs, that makes [Dyer’s] commentary so bracing. . . His analysis is pointed and refreshing” (Quill & Quire); and “Compelling reading... for the context it provides in an historically amnesiac time” (Literary Review of Canada).
Dyer has worked as a freelance journalist, columnist, broadcaster and lecturer on international affairs for more than 30 years, but he was originally trained as an historian. Born in Newfoundland, he received degrees from Canadian, American and British universities, finishing with a Ph.D. in Military and Middle Eastern History from the University of London. He served in three navies and held academic appointments at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Oxford University before launching his twice-weekly column on international affairs, which is published by over 175 papers in some 45 countries. Many of his opinion pieces can be found through the London Free Press Webpage: http://www.lfpress.com/author/gwynne-dyer.
His first television series, the 7-part documentary, War, was aired in 45 countries in the mid-1980’s. One episode, “The Profession of Arms,” was nominated for an Academy Award. Other documentary works include the 1994 series, The Human Race, and Protection Force, a three-part series on peacekeepers in Bosnia, both of which won Gemini awards. His award-winning radio documentaries include “The Gorbachev Revolution,” a seven-part series based on Dyer’s experiences in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in 1987-90, and Millenium, a six-hour series on emerging global culture.
In the United States, Gwynne Dyer’s column appears regularly in the Cincinnati Post, Columbus Dispatch, Dayton Daily News, Hartford Courant, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Raleigh News & Observer, Sacramento Bee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salt Lake Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, Toledo Blade, and about twenty other papers. In Canada and the rest of the world, Dyer’s column appears regularly in scores of publications, including the Telegram in St. John’s, the Halifax Daily News, La Presse in Montreal, NOW in Toronto, the Hamilton Spectator, and the Winnipeg Free Press, and the Japan Times, the Korea Times, the Straits Times (Singapore), the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), the Bangkok Post, the New Zealand Herald, The Telegraph (Calcutta), the Jordan Times, Egypt Today, the Jerusalem Post, the Turkish Daily News, the Moscow Times, Zeitpunkt (Switzerland), Internazionale (Rome), Daily Vision (Uganda), The Star (Nairobi), The Citizen (Johannesburg), the Cape Times the Jamaica Daily Gleaner, and the Buenos Aires Herald.
- http://www.lfpress.com/author/gwynne-dyer https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=Gwynne+Dyer&search-alias=books&field-author=Gwynne+Dyer&sort=relevancerank
Sponsored by the College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences, the Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Social Work, the Department of English & Theatre, the Department of Languages, Cultures & Humanities, and the Honors Program
Joy Harjo, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is an internationally known poet, writer, performer, and saxophone player of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Her many writing awards include the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry; a Guggenheim Fellowship; the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Rasmuson United States Artist Fellowship, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. On behalf of the judges of the Wallace Stevens Award, Academy of American Poets Chancellor Alicia Ostriker said: “Throughout her extraordinary career as poet, storyteller, musician, memoirist, playwright and activist, Joy Harjo has worked to expand our American language, culture, and soul. A Creek Indian and student of First Nation history, Harjo is rooted simultaneously in the natural world, in earth—especially the landscape of the American Southwest—and in the spirit world. Aided by these redemptive forces of nature and spirit, incorporating native traditions of prayer and myth into a powerfully contemporary idiom, her visionary justice-seeking art transforms personal and collective bitterness to beauty, fragmentation to wholeness, and trauma to healing.”
Harjo’s eight books of poetry include such well-known titles as How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems and She Had Some Horses. Her newest collection, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (W.W. Norton, 2015), shortlisted for the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize and added to ALA’s 2016 Notable Books List, is hailed by Yusef Komunyakaa as “a marvelous instrument that veins through a dark lode of American history.” Her memoir Crazy Brave (W.W. Norton, 2012) won several awards including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. It was called “The best kind of memoir, an unself-conscious mix of autobiography, spiritual rumination, cultural evaluation, history and political analysis told in simple but authoritative and deeply poetic prose” by Ms Magazine. Harjo is currently working on her next memoir, and she has a commission from the Public Theater of NY to write We Were There When Jazz Was Invented—a musical play that will restore southeastern natives to the American story of blues and jazz.
Soul Talk, Song Language (2011, Wesleyan) is a collection of Harjo’s essays and interviews. She co-edited an anthology of contemporary Native women’s writing: Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Native Women’s Writing of North America, one of the London Observer’s Best Books of 1997. She wrote the award-winning children’s book The Good Luck Cat (Harcourt), and in 2009 she published a young adult, coming-of-age-book, For A Girl Becoming, which won a Moonbeam Award and a Silver Medal from the Independent Publishers Awards.
A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, The Arrow Dynamics. She has five CDs of music and poetry including her most recent award-winning album of traditional flute, Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. She also performs her one-woman show, “Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light,” which premiered at the Wells Fargo Theater in Los Angeles in 2009 with other performances at the Public Theater in NYC and LaJolla Playhouse as part of the Native Voices at the Autry.
Starting in the fall of 2016, Joy Harjo will assume the Chair of Excellence in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Previously, she was Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jeremy England is Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Career Development Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, having joined the MIT Physics Department in September 2011. Born in Boston, Jeremy grew up in a small college town near the New Hampshire seacoast. After earning a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Harvard in 2003, he began his graduate studies at the University of Oxford, and subsequently completed his doctorate in physics at Stanford in 2009. Before coming to MIT, he spent two years as a lecturer and research fellow at Princeton University. Dr. England was a Rhodes Scholar and a Goldwater Scholar, and has received many other awards and recognitions for his work. His work on “dissipative adaptation” and the possibility of self-organizing life in the early universe has made waves in the fields of Biophysics and Cosmology, as well as being featured in more popular outlets including NPR, Nautilus, Quanta, Harper’s, and Forbes Magazine. The implications of Dr. England’s theory are so magnificent, that Pulitzer-Prize winning historian of science Edward J. Larson has said that if his ideas can be proven experimentally, “he could be the next Darwin.”
Professor England's research is directed towards understanding the patterns of organization in space and time that form the basis of life at the molecular level. Which arrangements of macromolecules in the cytosol are consistent with cell survival? How do a protein's form and function arise from its linear architecture? What are the physical conditions necessary for the emergence of self-replicating molecular forms capable of evolution? What these and other questions of interest all have in common is that they point to theoretical physics as a means to make better sense of fundamentally biological phenomena. The overall objective is to chart a course of inquiry that traces the boundary between inanimate and living matter.
As head of his own lab at MIT, Jeremy England coordinates the England research group, which aims to span the range from the basically theoretical to the medically practical: theoretical through the construction of analytical models and computer simulations from the concepts of statistical mechanics, and practical through the development of new computational tools for biologists, as well as through the establishment of close collaborations with experimenters in biomedical fields. For example, England has recently developed a new phenomenological theory of conformational fluctuations in polypeptide chains that successfully predicts the allosteric motions of many globular proteins (Structure, 2011). Future work will not only focus on elaborating this theory's basis in the statistical mechanics of polymers, but also on its use in identifying druggable allosteric sites on proteins, as well as on its application to the in vivo characterization of mutant proteins known to undergo the deleterious misfolding and aggregation events that underlie human neurodegenerative disease.
Sponsored by the School of Justice Studies, the Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Social Work, the African/African American Studies Program, and the Honors Program
Christian Parenti has a Ph.D. in Sociology (co-supervised in Geography) from the London School of Economics and is a professor in the Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University, specializing in Environmental History, Political Economy, Political Ecology and the Politics of War. His 2011 book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, explored how climate change is already causing violence as it interacts with the legacies of economic neoliberalism and cold-war militarism. The book involved several years of travel and research in conflict zones of the Global South. When it appeared, critics called Tropic of Chaos “a must-read,” “a harrowing tour-de-force,” “a sweeping discourse on the collision set in motion between the natural and the social world,” and a “wake-up call for humanity, particularly the richest nations.” The San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote that “Parenti offers an unusual and compelling analysis of violence through the lens of the environment” and another reviewer noted that “Tropic of Chaos not only asks the right questions. An argument could be made that it deals with the only questions currently worth asking.”
Dr. Parenti’s previous books include The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq (2005), a work of analytic and ethnographic reportage on the first years of US military occupation in Iraq; The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror (2002), a history of routine, everyday surveillance that traces the development of political technologies, like fingerprinting and photographic identification, from their origins in the antebellum South to the present; and Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (2000/2008). Considered a social science classic, Lockdown explores the history of the US prison and policing buildup since the 1960s and argues that the buildup is rooted in both global-scale economy shifts and national discursive projects of racialized class control and political theater.
Christian Parenti completed a series of post-doctoral research fellowships at the City University of New York Graduate Center where he worked closely with the geographers Neil Smith and David Harvey; and has held fellowships from the Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. His current research focuses on the environmental history of state involvement in American economic development, from the earliest days of the republic onward.
As a journalist, Christian Parenti has reported extensively from Afghanistan, Iraq, and various parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His articles have appeared in Fortune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Middle East Report, London Review of Books, Mother Jones, and The Nation (where he is a contributing editor). He has also helped make several documentaries and has won numerous journalistic awards, including the 2009 Lange-Tailor Prize and “Best Magazine Writing 2008” from the Society for Professional Journalists. He also received a 2009 Emmy nomination for the documentary Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi.