From dead poets to cotton jeans, LAS Dean’s Lecture Series always informative

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Psychology’s Gary Wells in Spring 2012

The series started with dead poets and continues Thursday, Oct. 30, with a presentation on the first operas in the new world – complete with music.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Lecture Series will present its 17th lecture Oct. 30, 8 p.m. in the MU Sun Room when Chad Gasta presents “Manipulating Culture after the Conquest: The First Operas in the New World.”

Gasta is professor of Spanish and chair of World Languages and Cultures. He’ll be joined by music students and faculty whose participation includes an opera in the native language of central Bolivia.

That’s what’s neat about the DLS. The topics are as diverse as the college’s academic departments. No matter the subject matter, the presentations are thoughtful, informative and entertaining. They’re a reflection of the breadth and depth of research and scholarly activity in LAS. The lectures are free and the snacks afterward are a student favorite.

Neal Bowers, then a Distinguished Professor in English, did the first lecture in fall 2006 on “dead poets.” The news story promoting the event said he believed that many “contemporary poets are dead but don’t know it.”

Bowers said, "They write without a breath of inspiration and clutter libraries with lifeless books that no one reads.” Then he admitted, "I was also one of the poetic dead" before he transitioned to a novelist.

Later subjects ranged from EEOB’s Jonathan Wendel on the mysteries of cotton (from genes to jeans) to BBMB’s Amy Andreotti on how our bodies fight infection to classical studies prof Peggy Mook on excavating an ancient Greek city.

Here’s a list of DLS speakers: Fall 2014:             Chad Gasta

Spring 2014:       Michael Bailey

Fall 2013:             Bill Gallus

Spring 2013:       Dianne Bystrom & Steffen Schmidt

Fall 2012:             Peter Orazem

Spring 2012:       Gary Wells

Fall 2011:             Jonathan Wendel

Spring 2011:       Debra Marquart

Fall 2010:             Alicia Carriquiry

Spring 2010:       Amy Andreotti

Fall 2009:             Olga Mesropova

Spring 2009:       Victor Lin

Fall 2008:             Peggy Mook

Spring 2008:       Lynn Clark

Fall 2007:             Eli Rosenberg

Spring 2007:       Jill Pruetz

Fall 2006:             Neal Bowers

 – Steve Jones