Recordings of Convocations

Beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, convocation audio files are archived separately from video files. View the audio archives.

Convocation: Lila Abu-Lughod '74

Created 4 May 2012; Published 7 May 2012

Lila Abu-Lughod '74 is a distinguished Palestinian-American anthropologist and one of the most respected scholars of Middle East Studies. Her work gives evidence to the value of critical intellectual engagement, grounded in a basic trust in our common humanity—a humanity without borders. But what happens when the village in Egypt in which she has been studying gender, media, and modernity is swept up in a national revolution?

Media coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011 focused almost exclusively on Tahrir Square in Cairo, yet the revolution was also lived in other parts of Egypt, including the countryside. Abu-Lughod offers a glimpse of what happened in one village in Upper Egypt where, as elsewhere, daily lives were deeply shaped by devastating national economic and social policies, the arbitrary power of police and security forces, and a sense of profound marginalization and disadvantage. Youth were galvanized to solve local problems in their own community, feeling themselves to be in a national space despite a history of marginalization. They also used a particular language for their activism: a strong language of social morality, not the media-friendly political language of “rights” and “democracy.”  The title of her presentation was "Taking Back the Village: Egyptian Youth in Revolution."

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Other Items

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Sherry Turkle
    Created 26 October 2012; Published 2 November 2012
    Convocation: Sherry Turkle

    Sherry Turkle is a Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research and writing focuses on the "subjective side" of people's relationships with technology, especially computers. She is an expert on mobile technology, social networking, and sociable robotics. Profiles of Turkle have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Scientific American, and Wired Magazine. She has been named "woman of the year" by Ms. Magazine and among the "forty under forty" who are changing the nation by Esquire Magazine. She is a featured media commentator on the social and psychological effects of technology for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the BBC, and NPR, including appearances on such programs as Nightline, Frontline, 20/20, and The Colbert Report. In addition to serving as the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT, Turkle is also the founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. She received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Turkle uses the metaphor of “necessary conversations” to describe where technology has brought us and to the questions we now must confront, such as: What does it mean to have a liberal arts education and how much of it can take place online? What is the difference between conversation and connection, and is technology eroding bonds of community? What is democracy without privacy? What is personhood, and can we have meaningful conversations with machines? We have a tendency to avoid these questions; we flee from conversation about them, part of a more general flight from conversation. But these conversations need to be embraced and we need a new vocabulary for embracing them. The title of her presentation is “Necessary Conversations: Technology as an Evocative Object.”

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Baoting Li and Miao Song and Dance Troupe
    Created 21 October 2012; Published 25 October 2012
    Convocation: Baoting Li and Miao Song and Dance Troupe

    The Baoting Li and Miao Autonomous County Song and Dance Troupe is the premier performance troupe in China dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the rich cultural resources of the Miao (Hmong) minority and Li minority. Performers include dancers dressed in traditional festive costumes, vocalists hailing the strong work ethic of the Miao and Li people and the natural beauty of their region, and musicians performing on the rare traditional instruments. The Li Miao Autonomous Region Baoting Song and Dance Troupe is significantly diverse in its styles and expressions, creating a unique culture of Chinese folk art and receiving high appraisals from nationwide. The troupe was also commissioned by China’s Ministry of Culture and China’s Tourism Bureau to perform in many foreign countries, such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, Finland, Korea and Hong Kong. Through these cultural missions, the troupe has successfully brought the Li & Miao culture overseas, facilitating cross-cultural communications. The convocation and the concert will demonstrate the unique charm and beauty of Li and Miao's original cultural environment.

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs
    Created 28 September 2012; Published 9 November 2012
    Convocation: Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs
    Michael Duffy is executive editor and Washington Bureau chief of TIME Magazine. He joined the magazine in 1985 and has covered the Pentagon, the Congress, the White House and national security. He currently oversees the magazine's coverage of politics, presidents and national affairs and is the coauthor of two books with TIME's Nancy Gibbs, including the recent New York Times bestseller, The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity, published in April. He has appeared on CBS Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press and is a regular contributor PBS' Washington Week.
  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Patty Webster
    Created 21 September 2012; Published 25 October 2012
    Convocation: Patty Webster

    The president of Amazon Promise, Patty Webster has devoted her life to bringing medical aid and health education to the poorest and most remote communities of Peru. Since 1993, she has brought medical and non-medical volunteers to the Peruvian Amazon Basin, bringing essential healthcare to over 55,000 people. Named a CNN Hero for her work, she oversees Amazon Promise’s strategic operations and program development, managing all trip and volunteer logistics with the one goal of bringing sustainable health to Peru. Raised in a family that emphasized volunteerism, Webster founded Amazon Promise to encourage global citizenship and to promote a healthful blend of traditional and Western medicine. Today, she is an expert on cultural preservation, and provides insight into the resourcefulness, self-reliance, and vision one must have to create a life of meaningful service.

  • A placard image for media work Opening Convocation: Mark Dayton
    Created 10 September 2012; Published 25 October 2012
    Opening Convocation: Mark Dayton

    Carleton’s Opening Convocation is an annual all-college assembly celebrating the beginning of the academic year and recognizing academic achievement.  This year’s address will be given by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

    Mark Dayton is Minnesota's 40th Governor. He was born in Minneapolis and raised in a house in Long Lake, where his father still lives today. He has two grown sons, Eric and Andrew, and lives in St. Paul with his three German Shepherds, Mesabi, Itasca, and Wanamingo.

    Mark attended Long Lake Elementary School and Blake School in Hopkins. He loved hockey, and it was his childhood dream to be the starting goalie on the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team! He didn’t make it, but he was named an All-State goalie his senior year in high school. He graduated, cum laude, from Yale University, where he also played Division I hockey.

    After college, Mark taught 9th grade general science for two years in a New York City public school. He still tells how it was the toughest job he ever had! It was here where he realized the terrible injustice that his students had so little, while he had been given so much; and he decided that he would devote his life to improving social equality and economic opportunity for all Americans.

    For most of the past 34 years, Mark has served Minnesotans, as Commissioner of the Minnesota Departments of Economic Development and of Energy and Economic Development, as State Auditor, and as United States Senator. He has worked throughout our state to help businesses locate or expand and create jobs, to improve local government services, to better fund our public schools, to support our servicemen and women, to help Minnesotans get the health care they need, and in many other ways to make a better Minnesota. Currently, Mark serves on the Executive Committee of the National Governor's Association.

  • Jackson Bryce, Marjorie Crabb Garbisch Professor of Classical Languages and the Liberal Arts
    Created 25 May 2012; Published 29 May 2012
    Honors Convocation: Jackson Bryce

    The Honors Convocation is held each year on the last Friday of spring term to recognize faculty and students for their accomplishments and their service to the community. This year’s address will be delivered by Jackson Bryce, the Marjorie Crabb Garbisch Professor of Classical Languages and the Liberal Arts, and Senior Lecturer in Bassoon and Chamber Music.

    Bryce received his A.B. from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., and his A.M. and Ph.D. in Classics from Harvard University. He studied with Kenneth Pasmanick, principal bassoonist of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. He was a founding member of the Washington Camerata, a chamber orchestra devoted to the performance of new music, a member of the National Capital Woodwind Quintet, in residence at American University, and performed in Washington and on tour in the mid-Atlantic states.

    As a recitalist, soloist, and chamber and orchestral player, he has performed in Washington, Boston, the Twin Cities, and southern Minnesota. As a professor of Classics, his particular interests are in Roman literature and history, especially of the Christian era. His research specialty is the Roman rhetorician Lactantius, who wrote works about Christianity in a splendid classical style based on Cicero, and a fascinating poem about the Phoenix myth which combines classical with Christian references. He has assembled a complete bibliography of Lactantius, conceived and designed as a web resource, the first such on the web in the field of classics.

  • Lila Abu Lughod, Carleton Class of 1974
    Created 4 May 2012; Published 7 May 2012
    Convocation: Lila Abu-Lughod '74

    Lila Abu-Lughod '74 is a distinguished Palestinian-American anthropologist and one of the most respected scholars of Middle East Studies. Her work gives evidence to the value of critical intellectual engagement, grounded in a basic trust in our common humanity—a humanity without borders. But what happens when the village in Egypt in which she has been studying gender, media, and modernity is swept up in a national revolution?

    Media coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011 focused almost exclusively on Tahrir Square in Cairo, yet the revolution was also lived in other parts of Egypt, including the countryside. Abu-Lughod offers a glimpse of what happened in one village in Upper Egypt where, as elsewhere, daily lives were deeply shaped by devastating national economic and social policies, the arbitrary power of police and security forces, and a sense of profound marginalization and disadvantage. Youth were galvanized to solve local problems in their own community, feeling themselves to be in a national space despite a history of marginalization. They also used a particular language for their activism: a strong language of social morality, not the media-friendly political language of “rights” and “democracy.”  The title of her presentation was "Taking Back the Village: Egyptian Youth in Revolution."

  • Rinku Sen
    Created 27 April 2012; Published 4 May 2012
    Convocation: Rinku Sen

    Rinku Sen is an Indian-American author and community organizer who has been a leading figure in the movement for social, racial and gender equality for the last twenty years. She currently serves as president and executive director of the Applied Research Center, a public policy institute advancing racial justice through research, advocacy and journalism. Built on rigorous research and creative use of new technology, the goal of the ARC is to popularize the need for racial justice and prepare people to fight for it.

    Sen is the author of The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization and Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing. Named by Ms. Magazine as one of 21 feminists to watch in the 21st century, and by Utne Reader as one of 50 visionaries who are changing our world, Sen’s work promotes a positive shift from conversation to action by offering tactics and strategies for working toward justice. The title of her presentation was “Building Bridges in a Divided World.”

  • David Welna, Class of 1980
    Created 20 April 2012; Published 26 April 2012
    Convocation: David Welna '80

    David Welna '80 has been the congressional correspondent for National Public Radio since the final days of the Clinton administration. He has covered a wide range of historic events and national issues, including the 2000 presidential election and the post-election vote count battle in Florida, the September 11, 2001 attacks, the wars that followed, and the economic downturn and recession. Prior to his current assignment, Welna spent 15 years reporting for NPR from overseas. The recipient of several prestigious awards, Welna has also reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times, and The Times of London. In addition, his photography has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, Paris Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. The title of his presentation was "From Carleton to Covering Congress… An Odyssey on Deadline."

  • Kwame Anthony Appiah
    Created 13 April 2012; Published 26 April 2012
    Convocation: Kwame Anthony Appiah

    Kwame Anthony Appiah is one of America's leading public intellectuals. Called a post-modern Socrates, Appiah asks profound questions about identity and ethics in a world where the sands of race, ethnicity, religion and nationalism continue to realign and reform before our eyes. His seminal book Cosmopolitanism is a moral manifesto for a world where identity has become a weapon and where difference has become a cause of pain and suffering. In intellectually stimulating language, Appiah challenges to look beyond the boundaries—real and imagined— that divide us, and to see our common humanity.

    Appiah is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. He is also the President of the PEN American Center, the internationally acclaimed literary and human rights association. He was born in London, to a Ghanaian father and a white mother; raised in Ghana; and educated in England, at Cambridge University, where he received a Ph.D. in philosophy. As a scholar of African and African-American studies, he established himself as an intellectual with a broad reach. His classic book In My Father's House and his collaborations with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.—including The Dictionary of Global Culture and Africana—are major works of African struggles for self-determination. In 2007, Cosmopolitanism won the Arthur Ross Book Award, the most significant prize given to a book on international affairs. In 2009, he was featured in the documentary "Examined Life" and was named one of Foreign Policy's "Top 100 Global Thinkers." Apiah has spent the last decade thinking about what it takes to turn moral understanding into moral behavior, recognizing that one of the keys to real moral revolution is mobilizing the social power of honor and shame. The title of his presentation was "The Honor Code: Making Moral Revolutions."

  • Barbara Fredrickson '86
    Created 6 April 2012; Published 10 April 2012
    Convocation: Barbara Fredrickson '86

    Most scientists who study emotions focus on negative states: depression, anxiety, and fear. Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson '86 has spent more than twenty years investigating the relatively uncharted terrain of positive emotions, which she says can make us healthier and happier if we take time to cultivate them. Fredrickson’s findings are the subject of her book, Positivity. Though its title might make it sound like a self-help bestseller, the book doesn’t belong in the pop-psychology section, and Fredrickson is no Pollyanna telling us to put on a smile before leaving the house each morning. Negative emotions, she says, are necessary for us to flourish, and positive emotions are by nature subtle and fleeting; the secret is not to deny their transience but to find ways to increase their quantity. Rather than trying to eliminate negativity, she recommends we balance negative feelings with positive ones. Below a certain ratio of positive to negative, Fredrickson says, people get pulled into downward spirals, their behavior becomes rigid and predictable, and they begin to feel burdened and lifeless.

    Fredrickson is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the director of the university's Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab. A leading scholar within social psychology, affective science, and positive psychology, she and has received more than 10 consecutive years of research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, and her research and teaching have been recognized with numerous honors. Her scientific contributions have influenced scholars and practitioners worldwide, in disciplines ranging from education to business and beyond. The title of her presentation was "What Good Is It to Feel Good?"

  • Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson
    Created 30 March 2012; Published 10 April 2012
    Convocation: Jennifer Thompson

    In 1984, Jennifer Thompson was a 22-year-old college student with a 4.0 GPA and lofty goals for her future. Her path was dramatically altered however, when a man broke into her apartment, put a knife to her throat, and raped her. In that moment, her determination took an entirely different direction, as she focused all attention on memorizing the man's features. Searching for scars, tattoos, and any unique features that could help her identify him, she was certain that she could put him in prison for life. After a composite sketch, line-up identification, and trial, Jennifer Thompson's testimony and memory led to a life sentence for Ronald Cotton. Years later, Thompson was asked to provide a DNA sample for further analysis of the case. She agreed to the request, positive that her identification of Cotton would be held up by science. In an instant, her life changed yet again, when it was revealed that Ronald Cotton was not her rapist, and after spending 11 years in prison as an innocent man, he was released.

    In Picking Cotton, their New York Times best-selling and Soros Justice Media Fellowship award-winning book, which is being made into a movie, Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton reveal their unlikely story of friendship and forgiveness. Devastated by her mistake, Thompson became an activist, speaking out about her mistake, and working to protect the wrongfully convicted. Now a member of the Actual Innocence Commission, the advisory committee for Active Voices, the Constitution Project, and Mothers for Justice, she shares her powerful story of truth, justice, and redemption. The title of her presentation was "Picking Cotton."

  • Emily Hunter
    Created 24 February 2012; Published 20 February 2012
    Convocation: Emily Hunter

    Emily Hunter is an environmental advocacy journalist who reports from the frontlines of environmental issues and activist movements. Hunter’s 2011 book, The Next Eco-Warriors: 22 Young Women and Men Who Are Saving the Planet, is an insider’s look at the new wave of environmental activism, focusing on the stories of today's youth eco-activists. She makes absolutely clear that youth are out there in force, trying every creative tactic they can think of to safeguard the planet on which they will live out their lives.

    Hunter is no stranger to the activist world. She was literally born into the environmental movement, as her parents Robert and Bobbi Hunter were the co-founders of Greenpeace. She has sailed around the world on activist ships with Sea Shepherd helping to save animals and fighting against climate change with 350.org. Today, her change making is with eco-journalism, informing and offering critical debate on the battle to save the planet. Hunter has hosted and co-produced three TV-documentaries, ranging from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Toronto G20 protests; she was one of the characters on the hit Animal Planet show Whale Wars; and she has done eco-reporting from protest frontlines at climate summits. Hunter reflects on the history and evolution of the environmental movement as a backdrop for examining where it is today and the emergence of a new generation of change-makers. The title of her presentation was "Revolutionizing the Revolution."

  • "High priest of the pasture," Joel Salatin
    Created 17 February 2012; Published 20 February 2012
    Convocation: Joel Salatin

    Joel Salatin is a self-described "environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer," or as the New York Times calls him, "the high priest of the pasture." Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm, arguably the nation's most famous farm since it was profiled in Michael Pollan's bestseller, The Omnivore's Dilemma and two subsequent documentaries, Food, Inc., and Fresh. Differing from today's industrial commodity-based machine-driven farms, Polyface is a local, pasture-based, relationally oriented farm. Salatin's innovative farming system—where the animals live according to their "ness," the earth is used for symbiosis, and happiness and health is key—has gained attention from around the country. Recognition for his ecological and local-based farming advocacy includes an honorary doctorate, the Heinz Award, and many leadership awards. Salatin has also authored seven books on alternative farming and sustainability issues.

    While most Americans seem to think our techno-glitzy, disconnected, celebrity-worshipping culture will be the first to sail off into a Star Trek future unencumbered by ecological umbilicals, Salatin bets that the future will instead incorporate more tried-and-true realities from the past. Ours is the first culture with no chores for children, cheap energy, heavy mechanization, computers, supermarkets, TV dinners and unpronounceable food. Although he doesn't believe that we will return to horses and buggies, washboards, and hoop skirts, Salatin believes we will go back in order to go forward, using technology to re-establish historical normalcy. That normalcy will include edible landscapes, domestic larders, pastured livestock, solar driven carbon cycling for fertility, and a visceral relationship with life’s fundamentals: food, energy, water, air, soil, fabric, shelter. We may as well get started enthusiastically than be dragged reluctantly into this more normal existence. The title of Salatin's presentation was "Folks, This Ain't Normal."

  • Michelle Alexander
    Created 10 February 2012; Published 20 February 2012
    Convocation: Michelle Alexander

    Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar who currently holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Kirwan Institute, Professor Alexander was an Associate Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, where she directed the Civil Rights Clinic.

    Alexander challenges the conventional wisdom that, with the election of Barack Obama as president, our nation has “triumphed over race.” Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but today an astounding percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a permanent, second-class status, much like their grandparents before them who lived under an explicit system of racial control. Alexander argues that the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African American men, primarily through the War on Drugs, has created a new racial under caste—a group of people defined largely by race that is subject to legalized discrimination, scorn, and social exclusion. The old forms of discrimination—discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public benefits; denial of the right to vote; and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal once you’re labeled a felon. She challenges the civil rights community, and all of us, to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America. The title of her presentation was “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”

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