Summer@Brown Speaker Series
Co-Curricular Events and Activities
Each summer, Brown faculty are invited to talk about important issues unfolding on the world stage today. You are invited to join these provocative and engaging discussions that promote critical thinking and debate from multiple perspectives.
Past speakers have included:
Jon Land is the bestselling author over 25 novels. He graduated from Brown University in 1979 Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude and continues his association with Brown as an alumni advisor. Jon often bases his novels and scripts on extensive travel and research as well as a twenty-five year career in martial arts. He is an associate member of the US Special Forces and frequently volunteers in schools to help young people learn to enjoy the process of writing. His books include Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, and The Seven Sins.
Professor Swartz received discovered her love of structural design in the biological world as an undergraduate major in Biology and Anthropology/Sociology at Oberlin College. She went on to receive her doctorate from the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at The University of Chicago for work on the biomechanics of arm swinging in gibbons. She came to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Engineering at Brown in 1990.
Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is known the world over for having played a seminal role in the founding and development of African literature. He is most well known for the groundbreaking 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, a novel still considered to be required reading the world over.
Thomas Coburn began his college career (at Princeton) as a math/physics major and concluded it in 1965 with a major in religious studies. The latter emphasized the study of Judaism and Christianity, but his post-graduate horizons were broadened by a year of teaching in the Arab world. He is currently President Emeritus of Naropa University and a Visiting Scholar at Brown University.
Karl Jacoby received his A.B. in 1987 from Brown University, and his Ph.D. in American history in 1997 from Yale University. After a year as a visiting assistant professor at Oberlin College, he returned to Brown as an assistant professor of history in 1999. He was promoted to an associate professor with tenure in 2003.
As a senior at Brown University in 2001, Chon was shocked to hear fellow classmate Derek Ellerman talking about present-day human trafficking (forcing someone to perform a service against their will). At Ellerman's urging, she searched online and found a newspaper clipping about six Korean women who had been rented for sex just down the street from her home in Providence, Rhode Island. "It hit hard when I read they were about my age and from my native country," Chon says. When she found few resources for victims, she and Ellerman created a business plan--which won second place and a $12,500 prize in Brown's annual entrepreneurship contest--for a Web site that would offer fast, hands-on help. By 2003, they had established an office in Washington, DC. "We wanted to build a community-based response where social change was coming from the ground up instead of strictly top down," Chon says. When a victim calls in, Chon and volunteers leap into action, tracking down police, lawyers, and the victim's family.
Roland will be speaking about the graphic novel format and its rise in popularity. Roland Laird is a critically acclaimed author with a passion for his culture and his community. In October 2008, at the height of the U.S. financial crisis, Roland left his position as a VP of Technology at a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Global Fortune 100 company to grow his near 20-year-old side business Posro Media into the country's leading convergent entertainment company specializing in African American culture. A graduate of Brown University, Roland co-founded the NY Chapter of Brown University's Inman Page Black Alumni Council and its affiliate the Ethel Tremaine Robinson Foundation. Roland co-authored with his wife Taneshia Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans, a critically acclaimed work with an impressive scope: the entire history of Black America, told in an accessible 216 page graphic-novel form. Originally published in 1997, it was recently updated and now extends from the arrival of the first Africans in 1619 right through to Senator Barack Obama's groundbreaking presidential campaign.
Daniel Jordan Smith joined the Department of Anthropology at Brown University in July 2001. He received an AB in Sociology from Harvard University (1983), an MPH from Johns Hopkins University (1989) and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Emory University (1999). Since arriving at Brown he has completed several research projects with grants awarded by Wenner-Gren, NSF and NIH, with a major focus in the HIV epidemic in Nigeria. In 2004 he was named the Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences. Since 2006 he has been Associate Director of the Population Studies and Training Center. His first book, A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria, was published by Princeton University Press in 2007. Smith is the recipient of the 2007-9 William C. McGloughlin Award for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences. In July 2007 he was promoted to Associate Professor of Anthropology with tenure.