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Faculty Seminars

Open Seating - Tickets are not required.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Vanderbilt faculty members will discuss their research in seminars open to graduates, families and guests. There will be an open Q&A session for the last 15 minutes of each session. 

2 – 3 p.m.

103 Wilson Hall

David Wright MELANIE LOWE: How can you expect to be taken seriously? The guitars in the Pet Shop Boys' sound-box

 Going against the usual interpretation of the Pet Shop Boys' synthetic superficiality as ironic sincerity, Melanie Lowe explores the slippery signification of the guitar throughout the 30-year career of the world's most successful pop duo. Widely acknowledged as artificial in its mode of address, the synthesizer-driven New Pop mainstream that emerged in 1980s Britain was bound up with capitalism, materialism, hedonism, male consumerism, and a new ambiguity in pop-cultural expressions of masculinity. Against this cultural backdrop, the Pet Shop Boys were celebrated critically, then as now, for an ironic detachment and even defiant shamelessness in their trite, escapist, and often self-parodic and campy disco-inflected pop. As theoretically satisfying and intact as this reading may seem, left unaccounted for is the surprising amount of guitar—a well established symbol of rock authenticity and masculinity—heard the Pet Shop Boys' music. This lecture offers a timbral analysis of select songs from all three decades of their career, including "Domino dancing" (1988), "How can you expect to be taken seriously?" (1990), "The truck-driver and his mate" (1996), "You only yell me you love me when you're drunk" (1999), "The night I fell in love" (2001), and "Gin and Jag" (2009), and shows how the Pet Shop Boys both sustain and destabilize the iconic signification of the guitar.

Melanie Lowe is Associate Professor of Musicology and Chair of the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. Author of Pleasure and Meaning in the Classical Symphony (Indiana University Press, 2007) and co-editor of the forthcoming Rethinking Difference in Musical Scholarship (Cambridge University Press, 2013), she is widely published on Haydn and other eighteenth-century subjects, Enlightenment aesthetics, topic theory, music in American media, music history pedagogy, and pop music and culture.

 126 Wilson Hall

Sharon Weiss DALE FARRAN: Universal Pre-K? What experiences really are important for young children?

   Early childhood education is on everyone’s radar today, and there are many assumptions about what experiences children need early in their lives to enable them to be successful in school.  Internationally, those countries whose children outperform us tend to begin “formal” education much later than we do in the U.S.  This talk will focus on some surprising new research that suggests we may have taken the wrong tack in pushing for academic instruction for younger and younger children.  Other kinds of experiences may be more important in the long term.

 Appointed in the fall of 1996, Dale Clark Farran is a Professor in the Departments of Teaching and Learning, and Psychology and Human Development in Peabody College at Vanderbilt University; since 2009, she is also the Senior Associate Director of the Peabody Research Institute. Dr. Farran has been involved in research and intervention for high-risk children and youth for all of her professional career. She has conducted research at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center in Chapel Hill, NC and the Kamehameha Schools Early Education Project in Hawaii. Dr. Farran is the editor of two books both dealing with risk and poverty, the author of more than 80 journal articles and book chapters and a regular presenter at national conferences. Her recent research emphasis is on evaluating the effectiveness of alternative preschool curricula for preparing children from low-income families to transition successfully to school. Currently she is directing an evaluation of the Tools of the Mind curriculum and co-directing an evaluation of the State of Tennessee’s Prekindergarten program.

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

103 Wilson Hall

Bob Galloway BOB GALLOWAY: Why is an engineer in the operating room?

   A significant portion of techniques for the treatment of disease have arisen from chance discovery or inspired, desperate improvisation. That has led to a remarkable level of successful disease treatment. However, discovery is inefficient; for example it takes between five and ten thousand compounds, $800 million and fifteen years to produce one new drug. Surgical techniques may both fail to correct or remove the disease while simultaneously damaging nearby healthy tissue. So therapeutic techniques need to be more sensitive, more specific and more efficient. That is why more engineers are being involved in translating techniques into healthcare. We are moving from discovery to design.

Bob Galloway has been at Vanderbilt since 1985 and he joined the faculty in 1987. He is Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Neurological Surgery, and Professor of Surgery. Professor Galloway has been elected a Fellow of both the American Institute for Medicine and Biology and the IEEE. He is the author of 130 peer-reviewed journal articles and holds 11 US and international patents. In 2004 he founded the first image-guided liver surgery company, Pathfinder Therapeutics Inc. In 2010 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering. Professor Galloway's research is on the improving the guidance of therapeutic procedures, in order to maximize the efficacy of therapy delivery to diseased tissue while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. His systems have been used for cancer therapy in the brain, liver, kidney and pancreas. In addition, he has developed systems for spinal surgery and the delivery of drugs for optic neuropathies.

126 Wilson Hall

Laurie Cutting LEAH LOWE:  “The Disagreeable Theatre Hat”: Fashion, Class, and Audiences in America’s Gilded Age

Throughout the late 19th century, the large hats that women wore to the theatre blocked the view of spectators sitting behind them prompting outraged newspaper editorials, debate in state legislatures, and on at least one occasion, a physical fight. This talk examines the controversies surrounding the ladies’ theatre hat in order to explore the social norms that governed different aspects of audience members’ experience at the theatre during the economically volatile Gilded Age. 

Leah Lowe is an associate professor of theatre and current chair of the theatre department Her artistic interests include acting, directing, and devised performance. Since coming to Vanderbilt in the fall of 2011, she has directed productions of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock, Carlo Gozzi’s The Green Bird and Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl. Her scholarly interests include popular American theatre of the nineteenth century, theories of comedy, and gender performance in theatre and drama. Her work has been published in Theatre TopicsTheatre Journal, and Theatre Symposium


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Future Commencement Dates

2015 - May 6, 7, 8
2016 - May 11, 12, 13
2017 - May 10, 11, 12
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