Leila Lehnen

Architectural and Literary Representations of the Brazilian Military Dictatorship

Dr. Leila Lehnen, UNM
October 8, 2017

In April of 1964 Brazil’s military staged a coup installing an authoritarian government that used violent repression to quell any expression of political, social and cultural opposition to the regime. The dictatorship ended in 1985 and Brazil transitioned into a democratic government. Brazil remains ambivalent toward the legacy of dictatorship, however. It did not hold those who committed human rights violations accountable and this ambivalence can be observed in some of the monuments that memorialize this period and its violence. It is also revealed in several literary texts that broach the dictatorship and its heritage. But how do cultural artifacts represent this ambivalence and to what purpose? How do these artifacts help maintain alive the memory of traumatic events?

Roberta Micallef

Turkey: Identity and Belonging

Dr. Roberta Micallef, Boston University
September 29, 2017

In its 93 years as a Republic Turkey has suffered from three coup d’etats and most recently an attempted coup which are indications of social, cultural and economic distress. Micallef will talk about the ideological currents and divides that engrossed the Ottomans at the end of WW I as the Empire was disintegrating and trace them to the present. She will address key issues that have caused conflict through the history of the Republic of Turkey: the official and unofficial minorities, Armenians and Kurds, as well as the role of religion and gender, and internal and external migration in the era of globalization.

Why Mesopotamia Matters: Masterpieces of Ancient Art

Why Mesopotamia Matters: Masterpieces of Ancient Art

Dr. Diana McDonald, Ph.D.
September 10, 2017

Some of the earliest, greatest and most enduring artworks were created as early as 5,000 years ago in the “Cradle of Civilization,” Mesopotamia – the land between two rivers, now modern day Iraq. The world’s first cities, the earliest agriculture and domestication of animals, sparked monumental art of stone, gold, and other materials, all created in the harsh desert landscape. While most of us cannot travel to the war-torn Middle East, we can take a virtual tour of the most stunning works, many sadly now destroyed.

Marina Oborotova

Small Neighbors of a Big Country: What Can We Learn from the Experience of Finland and Estonia?

Dr. Marina Oborotova, CFIS-AIA
August 27, 2017

In her talk Dr. Oborotova will present comparative analysis of the historical evolution of Finland and Estonia. How can we explain Finland’s success in maintaining its independence? What was the legacy of Soviet rule for Estonia? And what does the experience of Finland and Estonia tell other small and not so small neighbors of Russia?

Suíomhanna Naofa:  Ancient Sacred Sites in Ireland

Suíomhanna Naofa: Ancient Sacred Sites in Ireland

Dr. Catherine Carter
August 13, 2017

The history of a place and the history of religion in that place are inextricably entwined. This is true around the world but especially so in a place like Ireland, where holy sites dot the landscape. These sites, some prehistoric and some medieval, attest to the religious culture that was dominant in Ireland for thousands of years. Catherine Carter will take us on a virtual tour of sacred places in Ireland, from ancient pagan sites to magnificent Christian cathedrals.

US - Russian Relations: Is the Past Always the Prologue?

US – Russian Relations: Is the Past Always the Prologue?

Ambassador C. Paul Robinson
July 28, 2017

After 1991, following the break-up of the USSR, the Russian Federation began to slip into the rear-view mirror of American foreign policy. But the Russians have crept back, — and are now front and center, nuclear-armed and assertive, pressing on Europe, the Middle East and Asia. If we want to avoid a return to a Cold War or, God forbid, a hot one, we will have to negotiate and our new President will have to strike some difficult deals. Getting to “Da” with the Russians has never been easy. What can past experience tell us? In his talk, Ambassador Robinson will not concentrate on the technical details of negotiations past. Instead, he will focus on the human side of the deal-making process. He will show how unique and completely unexpected events nearly derailed his negotiations and how —over time— mutual suspicions were overcome.

Autonomous Vehicle Revolution: The Impact of Driverless Cars on Our Cities and Our Way of Life

Autonomous Vehicle Revolution: The Impact of Driverless Cars on Our Cities and Our Way of Life

Dale Dekker, AICP, Principal, Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
July 9, 2017

“In the words of Yogi Berra, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” This insight certainly applies to the radical and revolutionary impact autonomous vehicles (a.k.a. driverless cars) will have on the way we live, work and play. What sort of impact can we expect in Albuquerque? What will our city look like and how can we begin to adapt to this “disruptive” technology?

Marina Oborotova

Great Cities of the World: Barcelona

Dr. Marina Oborotova, CFIS/AIA
June 11, 2017

Recently Barcelona became one of the top tourist destinations in the world. What is the secret of Barcelona’s attraction? To find out, join Marina Oborotova on a virtual trip through time and space in the fascinating capital of Catalonia.

Central Asia’s Diverging National Paths After Communism

Central Asia’s Diverging National Paths After Communism

Dr. Russell Zanca, Northern Illinois University
June 2, 2017

At the end of 1991, the USSR, whose national anthem proclaimed it to be an “indestructible Union of free republics,” self-destructed. In Central Asia five former republics of that Union — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — suddenly became free. The results of this lightning — and largely unwanted — independence have been varied but almost universally messy. DINO (Democratic In Name Only) regimes are the norm and some, like Turkmenistan, have become genuinely nightmarish. How and why did this happen? What have been the results and what are the prospects for this important region?

The Unbearable Heaviness of Antiquity: Museum Architecture in Modern Greece

The Unbearable Heaviness of Antiquity: Museum Architecture in Modern Greece

Dr. Eleni Bastéa, UNM
May 14, 2017

In this illustrated lecture, we will visit some of the country’s best museums, ranging from large and famous, like the Acropolis Museum, to lesser known ones, like the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki and the Palace of the Grand Master on the island of Rhodes. Together, we will visit the buildings that house these museums and consider how the exhibit designs bring the past to life.

Russia: 100 Years Later

Russia: 100 Years Later

Dr. Richard Robbins, UNM & Dr. Marina Oborotova, CFIS/AIA
May 5, 2017

The Russian Revolution, begun one hundred years ago, cast a long shadow across the twentieth century. Although the attempt to “build communism” ended in failure, the impacts of this “Great Experiment” are felt today and will continue to influence events in the years to come. Why did the Revolution occur? What is the Revolution’s legacy for the world? Can Russia ever emerge from under the rubble of the Soviet regime? And what of the future? Will Vladimir Putin make Russia great again? These are some of the questions that Richard Robbins and Marina Oborotova will ask and attempt to answer in their joint presentation.

Howard French

Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power

Howard French, Columbia University
April 28, 2017

Howard French will examine the relationship of China’s historical identity, one of dynastic glory, to its current actions in ways ideological, philosophical, and even legal in order to help us learn to anticipate just what kind of global power China stands to become–and to interact wisely with a future peer.

Swaziland: Africa in a Nutshell?

Swaziland: Africa in a Nutshell?

Ann Harris Davidson, CFIS-AIA
April 9, 2017

Swaziland is seldom referenced in international news but it encapsulates much of both the positive and negative views of Africa; in some ways, it is “Africa in a nutshell”, but small can be stunning, as Swaziland’s unique and compelling characteristics demonstrate. Ann Harris Davidson will present some of the history, geography, culture and politics of Swaziland.

Was Iraq a Bad Idea?

Was Iraq a Bad Idea?

Dr. Sara Pursley, New York University
March 31, 2017

This talk will explore ways in which “Iraq” has functioned as an idea, from the state’s formation after World War I to the Islamic State’s attempt to dismantle the Iraq-Syria border starting in 2014. Was Iraq a flawed and hopeless idea from the beginning? Or has it, on the contrary, been a remarkably resilient idea? And what do these questions have to do with the challenges facing Iraqis today?

Adam Garfinkle

Americans and the World: “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Why Americans Can’t See ‘Others’ at All: Case in Point, the Middle East

Dr. Adam Garfinkle, American Interest Magazine
March 19, 2017

From the earliest days, we Americans have had a special way of looking at the world derived from Anglo-Protestant religious traditions and the ideas of the Enlightenment. When Americans’ world view is projected onto other societies, especially non-Western ones, the result is almost always serious misunderstanding and confusion. Policies flowing from these misconceptions rarely succeed except by accident or extreme exertion. By examining U.S. policy toward the Middle East, especially in the period since the end of the Cold War, Adam Garfinkle will illustrate the tragic consequences of America’s problems of perception.