For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we return to the “History and Future of Big Data for Population Research” (2014).
The University of Minnesota has led the world in creating innovative population data infrastructure. As a direct consequence of these innovations, the world’s supply of accessible population data has already grown by a factor of 10. By 2018, demographic researchers will have access to over two billion records of freely accessible microdata from over 100 countries, dating from 1703 to the present. Another two to four billion records will become available through restricted-access data enclaves. Steven Ruggles, architect of the Minnesota system, takes us on a journey through the history of data processing technology since 1850, from tally-marks on Spread-Sheets in the early nineteenth century to modern computing. He outlines the Minnesota revolution in population data infrastructure and discusses the research potential of these new resources, focusing particularly on new opportunities for spatiotemporal analysis.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we look to the first human outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa, by far the largest and most extensive recorded to date anywhere, which began in forest villages across four districts in southeastern Guinea as early as December 2013.
Understandably much attention has been placed upon the lethargy of the world's response to the outbreak as well as the role a broadly painted ‘poverty’ has played in the pathogen’s spread and case fatality rate. Some work has focused on the local deforestation, dedevelopment, population mobility, periurbanization, and inadequate health system that apparently smoothed Ebola’s ecophylogentic transition. But we can situate these diverse possibilities within a broader framework that unifies Ebola’s origins and its failure of containment. The neoliberal policies that truncated regional medical infrastructure also redirected forest development, resetting multispecies agroecologies, including perhaps between frugivore bats, a documented Ebola reservoir, and partially proletarianized pickers of increasingly commoditized oil palm.
Robert G. Wallace, PhD, is a public health phylogeographer visiting the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Global Studies. His research has addressed the evolution and spread of influenza, the agroeconomics of Ebola, the social geography of HIV/AIDS in New York City, the emergence of Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus out of Ugandan prehistory, and the evolution of infection life history in response to antivirals. Wallace is co-editor of Neoliberal Ebola: Modeling Disease Emergence from Finance to Forest and Farm (Springer) and co-author of Farming Human Pathogens: Ecological Resilience and Evolutionary Process (Springer). He has consulted for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Learn more about the book, Neoliberal Ebola: Modeling Disease Emergence from Finance to Forest and Farm from the publisher, Springer.
For this week’s Thowback Thursday, we return to the keynote address of the 2015 Sawyer symposium entitled “The Once and Future River: Imagining the Mississippi in an Era of Climate Change.”
The Mississippi is a river burdened by its history. The shadows cast by the writings of Mark Twain and celebratory accounts of westward movement obscure many of the narratives and images that have not been part of the predominant American story. These stories and images are nevertheless vital to our ongoing understanding the place of the river in cultural, spiritual, and social topographies. Jim Rock, a noted Dakota scientist and educator whose family is deeply rooted in this place, and Sharon Day, an Anishinaabe elder known for her water walks, share some additional understandings of the Mississippi in time and space, and of ourselves as beings on the earth with a long history. Their presentation challenges us to consider our relationship to the river in both metaphysical and environmental terms, and urges us to act as ethical stewards of this place in the future.
This Thowback Thursday, we return to an important conversation with Monica O. Montgomery, who shares cultivation methods, engagement strategies, and cultural advocacy practices to enrich your socially responsive practice. Liberated space is right below your feet as you discover your role in championing change. Find inspiration in heritage and community histories and seek justice in museums, society, and beyond.
Monica O. Montgomery is an arts and culture innovator who uses creativity and social change as a means of bridging the gap between people and movements. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Broadcast Communication from Temple University and a Masters of Arts in Corporate Communication from LaSalle University. She is an assistant professor in the Museum Studies graduate schools of Pratt Institute and New York University, and an adjunct professor with Harvard University. As co-founder and strategic director of Museum Hue, she advocates for people of color in arts, culture, and museums, working nationally to train leaders and partner with museums to facilitate diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. In addition, Monica is the founding director of Museum of Impact, the world’s first mobile social justice museum.
Shortly before joining us at the IAS, Monica Montgomery offered a TedX Talk on the importance of being active in key moments of history, standing up for your beliefs, and the ways that getting involved in positive movements can help to change the world. You can watch that talk, called How to Be an Upstander, here.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we look to a unique collaboration between science and art.
How did an unlikely collaboration become so fruitful? David Odde, a biomedical engineer, and Black Label Movement, a collective of dance artists led by choreographer Carl Flink, team up to combine dance and science, shining new light on both. Odde studies the mechanics of cell division and migration. His group builds computer models of cellular and molecular self-assembly dynamics, and tests them using digital imaging of cells in engineered microenvironments. Black Label Movement (BLM) is a Minneapolis/St. Paul based dance theater led by choreographer Carl Flink who is dedicated to creating wildly physical, naturally virtuosic, intellectually and emotionally engaging art. BLM is recognized for its intense athleticism, daring risk taking and variety of performance modalities beyond the traditional concert dance structure. With Black Label Movement, Flink and Odde have explored the concept of bodystorming, in which human movers act as molecules that diffuse, undergo reactions, and generate/absorb forces.