University of Vermont

The Honors College
Su10_FacultySeminar

Honors College Faculty Seminar 2010
Neuroscience Beyond Biology and Medicine: The Role of Neuroscience in Non-science Disciplines
August 16-18, 2010

It is with great pleasure that I announce the seventh Honors College Faculty Seminar, this year titled, Neuroscience Beyond Biology and Medicine: The Role of Neuroscience in Non-science Disciplines, to be held August 16-18, 2010. The seminar's coordinators are Bill Falls, Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology, and Donna Toufexis, Assistant Professor of Psychology. Participants will explore the brain and the techniques used to study it, discuss important texts and ideas concerning the interface of neuroscience and disciplines not traditionally associated with it, and consider strategies for teaching and research in this evolving area.

The seminar considers the assumption that all human behavior, broadly defined, is a product of the brain, such that the brain is a constructive as well as constraining factor in human behavior. Much thinking along these lines took place in the 1990s, identified as "the decade of the brain." Since then, research in neuroscience has brought unprecedented discoveries and a broadening of inquiry well beyond biology, medicine and psychology. The goal of this seminar is to encourage UVM faculty members to inquire into the place of neuroscientific approaches to the humanities, the arts, business, law and related fields.

The coordinators of the seminar intend to foster a rich and stimulating dialogue among colleagues and to promote a university-wide conversation about the broad impact of the scientific study of the brain. They hope to stimulate the development of neuroscientific inquiry in the scholarship and teaching of disciplines not traditionally associated with neuroscience and to offer neuroscientists a broader perspective on their discipline and possibilities for new domains of inquiry. The seminar will explore questions such as:

  1. How is the human brain different from the brains of other species?
  2. How is the human brain organized and how does human behavior emerge from this organization?
  3. How is the brain related to emotion and how might this relation influence cognition?
  4. How does the evolution of the human brain provide new insights into the arts, humanities, and theories of business and law?
  5. What are the neurophysiological underpinnings of creativity, culture, religion and ethics?
  6. Does neuroscience provide an opportunity to create testable hypotheses in the arts and humanities?

Presenters and panelists from the UVM community will share their views on these and other related topics.

The seminar will take place over three days. The first day will be devoted to exploring the central nervous system and its evolution; the methods used by neuroscientists to understand how the brain generates behavior; and whether all behavior can be reduced to the functioning of neurons. The first day will also involve participants exploring human neuroanatomy at first hand by studying human brain specimens. The second day will concern neuroscientific inquiry into the arts, humanities, business and law. The third day will bring together emerging themes as they relate to scholarship and teaching and will consider ways to expand neuroscientific approaches in the arts, humanities, business and law. The seminar will conclude with a dinner hosted by President Fogel.

The seminar will benefit from strong disciplinary and interdisciplinary engagement and the representation of diverse viewpoints. Therefore, faculty members from all UVM colleges and disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply for the seminar. Participants will receive a grant of $425. They should commit to participating in the events of all three days, to reading seminar materials distributed in advance, and to evaluating the success of the seminar. Participants will receive reading materials in early summer to allow for preparation. There is space in the seminar for up to 20 participants, who will be selected to insure a diverse and collegial group.

Faculty members are invited to submit a letter of interest and a short C.V (no more than four pages) addressed to Abu Rizvi, Dean of the Honors College, 50 University Heights, by April 16, 2010. They should indicate any experience, special concerns or expertise you would bring to this seminar. Application materials should be sent via email attachment to Patricia.Redmond@uvm.edu. Applicants will be notified of selection decisions by April 30, 2010. Please feel free to contact me at 6-9100 or Abu.Rizvi@uvm.edu if you have any questions.

Abu Rizvi
Dean, Honors College

Last modified March 16 2010 02:04 PM