Lunch Colloquiums

Lunch Colloquiums are generally held twice monthly at the Luce Center and feature a wide range of faculty from all parts of the university. We switched to Zoom presentations at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue offering online access using a hybrid format when it is safe to meet in person.

Colloquiums usually take place every first and third Monday or Tuesday from 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Many of our colloquiums are recorded. Click on a title link to view the session.

2022–2023 Programs

Monday, September 19
Donald Stein, Asa Griggs Candler Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology
The Don Stein Story: “When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It” 

“As a kid from the Bronx, I was a big fan of the NY Yankees, and one of my heroes was Yogi Berra. I have appropriated one of his (in)famous sayings for the title of my talk because it represents how I made most of the choices that guided my career from my undergraduate days, through graduate school and postdoc training, and to and through my many years working at Emory. ‘Taking the fork in the road’ has led me on an exciting journey in which I have challenged established paradigms in neuroscience.” Focusing on how the inaccurately labeled “female” hormone progesterone can play an important role in the treatment of traumatic brain injury, glioblastoma, and other diseases of the CNS, Donald Stein shares some of the outcomes of his research (ad)ventures—including a brief update on the preliminary results of the study his 2022 Heilbrun grant is helping him currently pursue.

Monday, October 3
Marla Frederick, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion and Culture, Candler School of Theology
“The Courage to Build: Black Religion and the Development of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)”

Religion scholars have long framed Black religion as a paradigm that sits along a continuum between protest and accommodation. While the paradigm has been challenged as too binary and not giving space for nuance, overlap, and change over time, the fundamental idea that Black religion embodies at least in part some element of protest remains. For example, in his canonical book Black Religion and Black Radicalism, Gayraud Wilmore frames Black radicalism almost exclusively in terms of faith-inspired slave revolts and the movements for civil rights and Black power. Education, strikingly, as protest, as radical, as counter to the established order, rarely shows up.  In this presentation, Marla Frederick will reframe our understanding of the building of Black educational institutions by Black religious organizations (and White religious structures) as radical, countercultural, and central to the pursuit of justice sought by Black religious leaders. Furthermore, she will contend that the ongoing struggle for their full and equitable funding is part and parcel of the ongoing work of justice we face today. 

Monday, October 17, 10:00–11:30, Governors’ Hall, Miller-Ward Alumni House 
Timothy Albrecht, Professor Emeritus of Music
“Exploring the Magic of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier

This past June, when Candler faculty members raised a glass to toast Timothy Albrecht’s retirement, the guest of honor couldn’t attend.

He was on sabbatical in Vienna, finishing his latest book, Exploring the Magic of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, and preparing to lecture and perform at the Italian Bach Society Conference in Turin, Italy. He is home again now, and in the lovely venue of Governors’ Hall in the Miller-Ward Alumni House, he will lecture and perform for us, his Emory friends and colleagues. He will share his passion for this extraordinary collection of preludes and fugues, illustrating Bach’s pedagogical genius by playing some “Well-Tempered” selections and demonstrating and discussing the magic that has made them so much admired down through the ages since they were first composed.

Monday, October 31  
Alan Abramowitz, Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science Emeritus
“The Outlook for the 2022 Midterm Election”

In this Lunch Colloquium we will hear from a widely cited expert on national politics whose “Time for Change” model has predicted election outcomes with a remarkable degree of accuracy since the 1980s, Emory’s own Alan Abramowitz. But this year, even Abramowitz isn’t sure he and his model can predict what’s likely to occur. As he says, and indeed as everyone knows, “Midterm elections normally result in big losses for the party of the president, especially when the president is unpopular.” And Joe Biden is unpopular. However, as Abramowitz also says, “2022 is not a normal midterm election year.”  In his presentation, he “will examine some of the ways in which the unusual circumstances of the 2022 election may result in an unusual outcome.”

Monday, November 14
Helen Jin Kim, Assistant Professor of American Religious History, Candler School of Theology and Affiliate Faculty, Graduate Division of Religion and East Asian Studies Program
“The Transpacific Turn in American Religions: Religious ‘Nones,’ Evangelicalism, and the ‘Prosperity Gospel’”

The field of American religious history has sought to narrate the past in a global context. Yet, scholars in the field have tended to underutilize a Pacific lens, casting the history of religion in America primarily through an Atlantic lens. Thus, we have often missed the opportunity to highlight a key region in our global story, and by extension, a key group of people in our racial narratives, those of Asian descent. By the same token, transpacific and Asian American historians have tended to underutilize religion as a central category of analysis in their narratives. How does employing a transpacific and Asian American lens change the understanding of American religions? In addressing this question, Helen Jin Kim, already much acknowledged for expertise in this area, will examine such phenomena as the rise of the religious “nones,” the history of evangelicalism, and the development of the so-called “prosperity gospel.”

Monday, November 28
Camille Vaughan, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Department of Medicine and Director, Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center for Health in Aging
“Innovation AGEnts at Emory: Uncovering the Secrets to Health in Aging”

By 2050, Atlanta will boast more than a million citizens over the age of 75, citizens for whom Emory will continue to lead the way in research and health care innovation. As a geriatrician leader at Emory, Camille Vaughan was selected to lead the Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center for Health in Aging in 2021. The center is a hub for collaborative work to discover, design, and test programs that promote the health and well-being of older adults. Vaughan will discuss the first cohort of pilot projects funded through the center, projects that span disciplines from anthropology to ophthalmology, and describe opportunities for colloquium attendees to engage in the center’s future efforts.

Monday, December 12
Alix Olson, Assistant Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Oxford College and Co-Director, Emory Studies in Sexuality Program
“Reconsidering Resilience: Response to Crisis or Responsible for Crisis?”

Calls to bolster the resilience of vulnerable individuals and communities have become ubiquitous across social, political, and economic life. In this talk, Alix Olson calls attention to the stakes of uncritically deploying resilience, particularly for those interested in a more just and emancipatory future. Moving through a variety of case studies, from self-help books to plans to "Occupy Mars," she shows how discourses of resilience are at work in shaping a specific understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Ultimately, this talk will pose the question “Is resilience-building a ‘common-sense’ response to a world of escalating crisis or a central strategy for sustaining and extending deeply threatening ways of life?”

Tuesday, January 17 
Sarah Febres-Cordero, Laney Graduate School; Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing; Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia State University
“Staying Alive in Little Five:  Confronting Stigma and Promoting Harm Reduction in a Graphic Novel Intervention”

The opioid epidemic continues to impact communities across the US. Despite the availability of naloxone and other harm reduction strategies, overdose deaths continue to rise. The stigma surrounding opioid use, naloxone distribution, and fentanyl testing persists, despite evidence that these tools work. Sarah Febres-Cordero, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Nursing, discusses how the community of service industry workers—bartenders, servers, baristas, clerks, etc.—are on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. These workers are uniquely positioned to intervene in opioid-related overdose and educate on naloxone distribution and administration and could provide benefit by testing personal drug supplies with fentanyl test strips. However, there is a dearth of research on opioid-related overdose that engages and tailors evidence-based interventions to fit their needs. By creating culturally appropriate interventions for service industry workers, there is potential to train a vast workforce as first responders to opioid-involved overdoses.

Monday, January 30
Vicki Powers, Professor of Mathematics, Emory College of Arts and Sciences
“How to Choose a Winner”

Did you ever wonder why elections often produce results nobody seems to like? Is democracy—in the sense of reflecting the will of the people—impossible? Surprisingly, mathematics can help answer questions like these about voting, elections, and representative government. In this talk, we will explore the mathematics of voting and look at some of the paradoxes and bad outcomes that can and do happen in real life. We will explore the following question: If we are choosing a winner from a set of candidates, how can we use the preferences of the individual voter to decide on the best choice for the winner?

Wednesday, February 15 
Annamaria Maples, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory School of Medicine
“Implications of Dobbs on Reproductive Health Education”

The recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade triggered laws across at least 13 states that will end access to abortion for 1 in 3 women. Annamarie Maples will examine how state laws that ban abortions will change postgraduate medical education in women’s reproductive health.

Tuesday, February 28
Randall Burkett, retired curator of African American collections, Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, and Clint Fluker, curator of African American collections at Rose Library
“Creating a World-Class African American Archive at Emory”

For 21 years, Randall K. Burkett served as a driving force in acquiring one of the most extensive archives of African American history and culture among major research universities. These include rare books, manuscripts, serials, photographs, and print ephemera for the Rose Library. Burkett focused on building relationships with authors, artists, thought leaders, and their families who were looking to place their papers in a library that would steward them and provide access to academic researchers and the public.

Tuesday, March 14
Paul Root Wolpe, Director, Emory Center for Ethics, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics, and Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics, Laney Graduate School
“Artificial Intelligence and How It Shapes Our Lives”

How does the growth of artificial intelligence affect our lives, our families and communities, our work, our futures? What are the ethical implications of new technologies based on artificial intelligence, and how are we responding to them? Paul Root Wolpe will present new insights to help understand and navigate the ethics of artificial intelligence. He also will help us recognize the challenges—some of them unforeseen—faced by those engaged in designing and managing artificial intelligence systems, including universities. He will explore with participants how artificial intelligence is helpfully complementing or in some cases competing with skilled professionals working in certain fields, not only in the sciences but also in the arts and humanities. 

Monday, March 27
Peter Roberts, Professor of Organization and Management, Goizueta Business School, and Erin Ingleheart, Director of the Start:ME Accelerator, Goizueta Business School
“Microbusinesses Creating Social Vitality in Atlanta’s Underserved Communities”

Peter Roberts and Erin Ingleheart will discuss the pronounced microbusiness gaps seen in marginalized neighborhoods across the US and Goizueta Business School's role in advancing microbusinesses through its Start MicroEnterprise Accelerator Program (Start:ME) program. Founded in 2013, Start:ME strengthens underserved communities in metro Atlanta by empowering entrepreneurs within them to start and grow resilient microbusinesses. The program operates three-month, place-based programs providing business training, mentorship, and grant investment capital. To date, the program has served 351 microbusinesses around Atlanta, 62% of them led by individuals from low to moderate–income households, 71% led by women, and 81% led by people of color. To support Start:ME’s success, Goizueta Business School partners with trusted nonprofit community partners, coalitions of business associations, civic officials, housing providers, neighborhood associations, nonprofits, and schools.

Monday, May 15
Rosemary Magee, Director Emerita, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library
“Quantum Entanglement and Other Strange Stories”

In Rosemary Magee’s short story collection, Family Impromptu, she explores the tangle of emotions that accompany close relationships as they shape-shift over time and place. She often draws upon terms from science and other disciplines. But rather than describing objective phenomena, these metaphors provide an avenue into the nature of relationships and the condition of intimacy, the raw material of fiction. Magee has been writing short fiction for about 20 years. The collection came together during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, May 30
Lauren Klein, Winship Distinguished Research Professor and Associate Professor of English and Quantitative Theory and Methods
“The Line Chart and the Slave Ship: Rethinking the Origins of Data Visualization”

Lauren Klein will describe how data visualization tools such as pie charts, timelines, and other graphic representations of information can often reflect deep and unsettling bias. What we see in “simple” data visualizations can easily be laden “with implicit assumptions—and, at times, explicit arguments about how knowledge is produced and who is authorized to produce it.” Klein will provide a fascinating update on Data by Design, a major new work in the field, in which she is drawing on historical examples, for example, from the British colonial era to illuminate the influence of data visualizations. Some of the examples in the book will reveal the deep cultural and social bias of the times, sometimes at the expense of human dignity. Klein will explain how her project seeks to “create counter visualizations that can imbue more humanity into the data and show the broader scope of who can and did create knowledge”—lessons for our own time. 

Monday, June 12 
Michelle Lampl, Professor and Director of Emory Center for the Study of Human Health; Codirector of the Emory-Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute
“The Emerging Science Behind Our Children’s Growth Spurts”

For more than a century, accepted wisdom was that children grew like the charts on pediatricians’ walls: slowly and consistently, a little bit day by day. These graphs became an iconic model for the biology of how healthy children should grow. However, this is no longer considered a correct representation of growth biology or the experience of children, who grow erratically and in tandem with other health and biological episodes. Science has lagged behind generations of wise observers. The grandmotherly adage that “children wake up taller after a fever” was not recognized for what it truly represented. We will take a look at data providing insight into this emerging science.

Thursday, June 29 
Eugene Emory, Professor, Department of Psychology
“Emory's Memory: Reflections of an Unlikely Alliance”

This talk will discuss Eugene Emory's journey from an abandoned Black boy in foster care without any knowledge of his ancestry to a professor who discovered his familial links to John T. Emory, the Methodist bishop for whom Emory University is named. 

Monday, July 10
Voracious Readers Not-So-Anonymous: Emeritus College Volunteers
“BookFest 2023: Recommendations for Reading

Read any good books lately? Of course you have. And might you be willing to recommend one (or more) of those good books to those of us wondering what to read next? We are looking for volunteers to describe books they have enjoyed and they think others might enjoy too. If you’ve got one to discuss, we’ll be happy to allot you five minutes of our BookFest time. If you’ve got two or three, we can schedule you for ten minutes. And of course, you can choose a book or books of any kind at all. If you would like to volunteer, please email Ron Gould at If you can name the book or books you’ll be recommending, please do so. But if you’d like to volunteer without specifying titles, that's fine too. All we really need to know is if you’re requesting five or ten minutes of time and we’ll schedule accordingly. First come, first scheduled until we run out of time.

Tuesday, July 25
Annie Shanley, Assistant Registrar and Provenance Researcher, Michael C. Carlos Museum
“From Mummies to Swimming Pools: Ethics and Museum Collections in the 21st Century”

Museums are finally taking responsibility for the ethical (and sometimes unethical) choices they made in the past. How does the Carlos Museum reconcile historical collecting practices with 21st-century ethical standards, and what does this changing museum culture mean for new acquisitions?  Provenance researcher Annie Shanley will explain how the Carlos and Emory are navigating the shifting ethical culture of American museums.