- Linfield College

Faculty Lecture Series

Each academic year, individual faculty members have the opportunity to share their professional work and interests with colleagues and the community through the Faculty Lecture Series. This event is sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Past Faculty Lectures can be viewed in DigitalCommons@Linfield.


Carbohydrates: A Public Health Perspective

Presented by Janet Peterson, Professor of Health and Human Performance

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
7:00 p.m. in Fred Meyer Lounge, Riley Hall

Carbohydrates are an important group of carbon containing molecules necessary for human health. In the dietary world, carbohydrates are classified as macronutrients, one of three that provide biological energy. There is conflicting information about Carbohydrates in the professional literature and popular press. The plethora of confusing information available is daunting.  Using an evidence-based approach, Dr. Peterson will dive into the deep end of the carbohydrate debate from a public health perspective.


Past Lectures

Reimagining Early American History: The Casting Practices of Hamilton and OSF’s Oklahoma!

Presented by Lindsey Mantoan, Assistant Professor of Theatre

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
7:00 p.m. in Fred Meyer Lounge, Riley Hall

In the spring of 2018, I had one of the most affirming theatrical experiences of my life. Seated in the Angus Bowmer Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, watching two interracial queer couples sing their love for each other in an Oklahoma! regimagined by Bill Raush, I saw for the first time a representation of the early American frontier that affirmed the multitude of diversity that shaped early US identity. Seeing a black female Curly swagger across the stage reminded me of the spark of excitement I felt when I first encountered Hamilton, with its hip-hop aesthetic and cast of color singing about the founding of the United States. In this lecture, I compare the casting practices of the blockbuster musical Hamilton to those of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Oklahoma!, both of which seek to make visible people who have been erased by the dominant histories of early Americans, including people of color and queer people. By replacing the white bodies of the founding fathers and the white characters in the most iconic American musical with actors of color, these productions argue that the US has always been a place of racial diversity. And yet, fundamental differences separate the political project behind Hamilton and OSF Oklahoma!’s casting. The first, with black men performing white slave holders, risks sanitizing slavery and reasserts the notion that the most important stories to tell are those of dead white men. By transforming the gender and race of the characters themselves, OSF’s Oklahoma! unapologetically proclaims that queer people of color lived and loved in the US frontier and their stories deserve to be told.


The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America

Presented by Nicholas Buccola, Professor of Political Science

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
7:00 p.m. in Fred Meyer Lounge, Riley Hall

In February 1965, James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr.two leading American public intellectualsmet at Cambridge University to debate this topic: “the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro.” The result was one of the most intellectually explosive moments of the Civil Rights Era. The Fire Is upon Us is the history of that night, not just as a play-by-play of the event, but as an intellectual biography of these two writers’ evolving thoughts on race and its shameful history since America’s birth. With over half a century of hindsight, we see the radicalism and wary hope of the Civil Rights movement, the fear of black equality by white conservatives, and perhaps most importantly, how five decades later these fights are still very much alive. 


What Motivates Drug Use and Abuse? Drug Seeking Behavior, Neurotransmitters Systems and Addiction

Presented by Lee Bakner, Professor of Psychology

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
7:00 p.m. in Fred Meyer Lounge, Riley Hall

Drug use and abuse poses a significant public health problem that negatively impacts individuals and strains social systems that support those struggling with addiction. Biopsychologists have identified factors that drive substance use by individuals and discovered important drug-induced changes in neurotransmitter systems that alter learning and memory processes. Dr. Bakner will discuss some of those discoveries and recent work completed as a Visiting Scientist at OHSU in Behavioral Neuroscience exploring the impact of opiates on alcohol seeking behavior in mice. Importantly, these findings may lead to new applications for treating substance use disorders including alcoholism.


Teaching Life on Earth in Two Semesters:  A Story 4.6 Billion Years in the Making

Presented by J. Christopher Gaiser, Professor of Biology

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
7:00 p.m. in Fred Meyer Lounge, Riley Hall

For at least fifty years, introductory biology courses have taught the subject using a "Levels of Organization" structure: students learn biology from “little” (atoms and molecules) through “medium” (tissues and organisms) ending with “big” (organisms, populations, species). Linfield’s Biology department once organized its enormous, two-semester Principle of Biology course in the same way. But its professors knew that those topics were not related to one another in any meaningful biological way, and that this traditional organization, being arbitrary, often obstructed rather than facilitated learning. Many students simply ended up memorizing a gigantic set of (seemingly) unrelated facts, and failed to see the big picture: that all life on earth is the product of evolution, and that all of life can be understood when viewed through that lens. In order to address this problem, Professor Christopher Gaiser, Emeritus Professor Michael Roberts, and the other Biology Department faculty entirely rebuilt Principles of Biology as a narrative arc, running from the origins of life on Earth to Homo sapiens, using evolution as the theme that knits the story together. Join Dr. Gaiser as he describes the genesis of this change, the challenges the department met, and the rewards for students and faculty alike.