Announcing the Fall 2022 IAS Thursdays Schedule


Join the IAS on Thursday afternoons this fall for our eclectic, wide-ranging discussion series designed for scholars from all walks of life.

This fall, we are excited to host conversations that interrogate our past and present, and imagine better futures. To name just a few, we are honored to host such esteemed guests as cartographer Margaret Pearce, discussing the Land-Grab Universities project and how the map design can help hold universities accountable; Steven Thrasher discussing how social structures like racism, ablism, and homophobia are the drivers of epidemics; and Deva R. Woodly on the politics of care, abolition democracy, and the consequences and possibilities of pursuing alternative futures together. To kick off this semester, we will begin with an event that celebrates Jennifer Gunn, long-time director of the IAS, and welcomes Bianet Castellanos, incoming director of the IAS, as they speak about the future of interdisciplinary collaboration and the critical role of public engagement and community partnerships in the work we do.

Events are FREE and open to the public. Please note that while all events will be livestreamed online via Zoom, some will also be held in person (check each event for specific details). All events will take place at 3:30 p.m. CT. and include audience Q&A. Additional details about each event, including registration details, can be found via the links below. In addition to this primary event series, we are pleased to co-sponsor a wide range of additional events, and support those by our Research and Creative Collaboratives. Our full events schedule can be found on our events calendar.


Fall 2022 IAS Thursdays

Spotlight Series: Global Food Security and How We Feed Each Other

Thursday, September 22, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Deepak Ray: Senior Research Scientist and Fellow, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota 
Valentine Cadieux: Professor of Environmental Studies and Anthropology and Director of the Center for Justice and Law, Hamline University

Despite the fact that we are harvesting more crop calories worldwide than ever before, projections say we are likely to fall short of the UN’s food security goals by 2030. Research scientist Deepak Ray and geographer Valentine Cadieux will unpack data around why this is, and how community-driven food security efforts and small urban farms might help solve the crisis.


Interdisciplinarity Now and Tomorrow: A Conversation with Jennifer Gunn and Bianet Castellanos

RESCHEDULED: Thursday, October 13, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Jennifer Gunn: Director (outgoing), Institute for Advanced Study
Bianet Castellanos: Director (incoming), Institute for Advanced Study

Join the Institute for Advanced Study as we celebrate Jennifer Gunn, outgoing director, and welcome Bianet Castellanos, incoming director. Together, they will ask: how is interdisciplinary collaboration changing—especially as scholars engage with community partners to address some of today’s most pressing issues? They will also look ahead to the future of what it means to do interdisciplinary work, and how these collaborations—with both internal and external partners—can help us build a just university together. Reception to follow.


Nationalizing News Environment: Causes and Consequences

Thursday, October 6, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Johanna Dunaway: Professor, Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University 
C. Daniel Myers: Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Declining local news is well documented, and evidence continues to suggest a related trend: the nationalizing news environment. This conversation interrogates what we know about the causes of a nationalizing news environment and the consequences this has on political knowledge, attitudes, and behavior.


Detail from Wąąkšik huunųp homąnįra wagųsiraregi higi hįnįhawi / We have been here since the beginning of time, by Josie Lee, Bill Quackenbush, and Margaret Pearce.

Spotlight Series: Keeping Accountability on the Table: Mapping Land-Grab and Next→

Thursday, October 20, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Margaret Pearce: Cartographer

The Land-Grab Universities project presents archival evidence and historical narrative through multiple points of entry. Cartographer Margaret Pearce will share how the maps and graphs are designed to amplify the project at multiple scales, consider other ways cartographic language collaborates for truth-telling, and imagine how cartography might contribute to what can come next.


See related event: Thinking Spatially Symposium (Friday, October 21, 2022) featuring Margaret Pearce, Marlena Myles, and members of the TRUTH Project on Indigenous Mapping

Mapping the Spiritual Baptist Universe: Black Atlantic Cosmography and the Spatial Dimensions of Religious Imagination in Trinidad and Tobago

Thursday, October 27, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Brendan Jamal Thornton: Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

By diagramming the Spiritual Baptist universe and the sacred geography of Spirit that enlivens it, Brendan Jamal Thornton will discuss how churchgoers reconcile diverse religious influences (from Africa, South Asia, Europe, and beyond) and probe for cosmographical clues to their symbolically rich but often enigmatic rites and traditions. Thornton brings to light new analytic perspectives on the relationship between theology, cosmology, and ritual space in religions of the African diaspora. Reception to follow. Presented in partnership with the Religious Studies Program Roetzel Family Lecture.


Image Credit: The Battle is Joined (2017), Karyn Olivier, courtesy Monument Lab.

Spotlight Series: Public Monuments in the Human Landscape

Thursday, November 10, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Katrina Phillips: Associate Professor of History, Macalester College and Monument Lab Advisory Board
Jean M. O’Brien: Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Northrop Professor of History at the University of Minnesota
Robyne Robinson: journalist, advocate, and arts consultant

Public art and monuments are extremely visible components of our civic life, but do these symbols truly represent our history and values? This panel of scholars and public art practitioners will discuss Monument Lab’s National Monument Audit as well as regional perspectives on our substantial, but incomplete, collection of murals and monuments.


Pandemic Politics and the Viral Underclass: Understanding Sickness and Wellness

Thursday, November 17, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Steven Thrasher: Assistant Professor and Daniel H. Renberg Chair, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University

Why do the same groups of people continuously become infected by and die from viruses, even very different viruses?  Drawing on his new book, The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide, Steven W. Thrasher shows how social structures—such as racism, ableism and homophobia—are the drivers of epidemics, and offers a framework for imagining different futures. Book sales and signing to follow.


The Politics of Futurity

Thursday, December 1, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Deva R. Woodly: Associate Professor of Politics, The New School
Sun Yung Shin: Acclaimed poet, writer, & cultural worker

Social movements are necessary for the health and survival of democracy. In light of the Movement for Black Lives, Deva R. Woodly will speculate on what a 21st-century paradigm that centers the politics of care might include: how political horizons are constructed in popular discourse and political action; the structural relations of race, coloniality, and indigeneity and what it would take to change those relations; abolition democracy; the politics of gender; disability justice; and the political economy of degrowth.


An area of Leon, Wis., shows flooding Aug, 28, 2018. Courtesy NARA & DVIDS Public Domain Archive.

Storying the Floods: A Roundtable Discussion

Thursday, December 8, 2022  |  3:30 p.m. CT

Caroline Gottschalk Druschke: Professor, Department of English and Director of Headwaters Lab, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Tamara Dean: author and founder of “Stories from the Flood”
Eric Booth: Associate Scientist and Lecturer, Department of Agronomy and Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Together, scholars and community partners write about flood recovery work from a feminist perspective in the Fall 2023 issue of Open Rivers, focused on Women & Water. They challenge us to consider: how can we continue to live with floods as a recurrent condition of our changing climate? How does narrating these experiences contribute to climate justice work?




IAS Thursdays at the Institute for Advanced Study brings a wide range of ideas, conversations, and viewpoints to the heart of the University of Minnesota. Our events are free and open to the public; IAS Thursdays are designed for scholars from all walks of life.


All IAS Thursday and Spotlight Series events include CART captioning. Please contact us at [email protected] as far in advance as possible if you require additional specific accommodations.





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