Carleton Connects Lecture Program

Carleton Connects logoAlumni, do you miss the intellectual life of Carleton, delving into new ideas with your classmates and favorite professors? Rediscover it through Carleton Connects, a monthly series of online presentations featuring both familiar and rising new faculty (and other special guests). 

Each Carleton Connects program is one hour, with 30-40 minutes of presentation by faculty followed by a period of questions and answers.  Because these events are by phone and/or online, you can participate wherever you happen to be! On the first call with Prof. Roy Grow, alumni from seven foreign countries dialed in to participate.


Carleton Connects: Professor Kent Freeze, Political Science

  • Thursday, January 14th, 12:00 pm

"Migration and Attitude Change in Contemporary China"

Since the beginning of China's economic reforms, hundreds of millions of migrant laborers have left the countryside in search for greater economic opportunities in the cities.  In this discussion, I explore how the migration experience has shaped individual political attitudes in contemporary China, as well as some of the implications for social and political stability in the future.

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Kent Freeze earned his PhD at Duke University. His dissertation, developed from field research experience in rural China, explored the intersection between the politics of inequality and behavior: Why do citizens have the preferences they do over government redistribution and how do governments respond to those preferences? He is also active in other research projects involving measuring the nature of citizen-elite democratic linkages, and the calculation of empirical measures of vertical and horizontal redistribution using the detailed income survey data of the Luxembourg Income Study. Professor Freeze has taught at Wesleyan University, Wake Forest and Duke University. He supervised DukeEngage in Beijing, an undergraduate service abroad program that placed undergrads at a school for the children of migrant workers on the outskirts of Beijing. Professor Freeze is fluent in Mandarin. He teaches seminars on inequality, political economy of China and Chinese politics, as well as methods of political research.

Carleton Connects: Professor Thabiti Willis, History

  • Wednesday, April 6th, 12:00 pm

"Challenging Representations of Early Twentieth-Century Black Pearl Divers Using Testimony of Enslaved East Africans & Their Descendents"

“Endeavoring to challenge to dominance of the Atlantic world in the study of the African Diaspora, at Carleton I have initiated a number of research projects, created a new course (“Africans in the Arab World’), and developed a study abroad program related to the history of African peoples in the Middle East. One project focuses on the use of images of black pearl divers at Dubai heritage sites as part of a broader narrative about the patronage of Dubai sheikhs. Another project, which will serve as the basis for my Carleton Connection presentation, draws on manumission records that incorporate  the testimony of enslaved East Africans and their descendents in the Gulf region. I challenge the representation of early twentieth-century divers as forming a new upwardly mobile class. 

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Thabiti Willis received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2008. He spent two years conducting research on the masquerades of the Yoruba people in Nigeria, serving as a Fulbright scholar in 2006. He has participated in international faculty seminars in Cape Town, South Africa. His courses cover the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-independence periods and include such topics as the slave trade, gender and ethnicity, nationalism, expressive culture and performance, and religion as well as the African Diaspora in the Arab world.

Professor Willis invites students to approach African history as a journey in collective self-discovery. He and his students explore names, places, events, and practices that may initially seem foreign and tend to carry a stigma of backwardness. As a step toward overturning the sense of Africa as a foreign or backward place, he introduces the historical origins and politics of this perspective. He incorporates secondary literature that identifies it as a consequence of the biases, misconceptions, and exploitations of the continent, whether by westerners, easterners, or segments in African societies for their own parochial interests. Drawing inspiration from humanistic values in many African societies, e.g. "ubuntu" (which means "I am because we are") in South Africa, he cultivates a learning environment in which students may come to see themselves as co-participants in reconstructing the African past. He bridges interactive teaching and international sharing using global web-dialogues with foreign institutions and students to help to cultivate a respectful appreciation of differences and perspectives across cultures.

Currently, he is exploring the ways in which masquerades shaped and were transformed by changes in Yoruba social, economic, and political history in the pre-colonial period. One of his future projects focuses on how British Victorian values influenced how nineteenth-century Yoruba missionaries viewed the relationship between art and religion. Future projects include a study of the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and music.

Carleton Connects: Julia Strand, Pyschology

  • Thursday, April 21st, 12:00 pm

“Why you’re a better listener than your smartphone: Context and visual cues in spoken word recognition"

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Julia Strand (B.A., Tufts University; PhD., Washington University in St. Louis) teaches courses including Introduction to Psychology, the Psychology of Spoken Words, and Sensation & Perception. Her research focuses on how humans are able to turn sensory information about speech into meaningful representations. Topics of research include how cognitive abilities influence language perception, what traits of words promote easy recognition, how word recognition abilities change with age, and how visual information (seeing the talker) influences language processing.

Carleton Connects: Shaohua Guo, Asian Languages & Literatures

  • Friday, May 13th, 12:00 pm

“The Internet with “Chinese Characteristics”: Looking through the Cultural Lens”

This project seeks to expand the current understanding of the particular function performed by the Internet in China, which straddles a global capitalist economy and socialist legacies. Through the application of methodologies from the fields of media and cultural studies, this project examines the cultural dimension of Internet use in everyday life. It addresses how culture has been re-appropriated and redefined in China’s digital era, and how technical features and sociopolitical conditions accordingly impinge on the function of culture.

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Beijing Normal University, (Beijing, Peoples Republic of China), B.A., M.A.;
The University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D;
cultural studies of new media, Chinese literature, film and culture.