Current Events & Programs

Wednesday, February 27th
Rudder Tower 601, University Center, Texas A&M University
Presenter: Dr. Mary Ann O'Farrell, Associate Professor, Texas A&M Department of English - College of Liberal Arts
Presentation: "The Afterlife of Jane Austen"

Despite her death in 1817, Jane Austen continues to make appearances in recent and contemporary popular culture. As a women writer long loved (and also long hated) for her contributions to our understanding of marriage, manners, style, and even the erotic, she appears frequently on commodities (t-shirts and coffee mugs, tote bags and bumper stickers), in sequels and fan fiction, and in film, television, and online adaptations. She has even been known to crop up in media discussions of world and national politics. Using specific examples of Austen's presence in our culture as an image or a reference, "The Afterlife of Jane Austen" invites us to examine some of these ghostly manifestations of Austen as a way to think about how and why we choose to reimagine her as we do, what we are thinking about when we invoke her image. Considering this author's cultural afterlife means thinking not only about Jane Austen but about us. 

Monday, April 15th
Rudder Tower 601, University Center, Texas A&M University
Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Marshall, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M Department of Physics & Astronomy
Program Topic: Astonomical Instrumentation & Near-Field Cosmology

Recent years have seen several key scientific developments that have greatly advanced our understanding of stellar nucleosynthetic processes, the physics that describes the formation of the chemical elements in the Universe.  From the recent direct observation of a binary neutron star merger event enabled by the detection of gravitational waves that alerted astronomers to the event, to the discovery of dozens of satellite galaxies in orbit around our Milky Way galaxy, many of which contain chemically peculiar assemblies of stars, these discoveries have shed new light on the formation sites of the heaviest elements such as gold, silver, platinum, and uranium.  For decades humans have sought to understand the formation mechanisms of every element on the Periodic Table; today for the first time this is a realizable goal.  In this talk I will describe these recent advances and look to the future of this field.

Wednesday, May 29th 
Andras Classrooms, Thomas G. Hildebrand DVM '56 Equine Complex
Hosted By: Dr. Carol Fierke, Provost & Exec. Vice President, Texas A&M University
Presenters: Dr. Peter Witt, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism Sciences
Presentation: "Edith's War - The Life & Times of a WWII Red Cross Worker & A Lifelong Champion of Social Justice"

Besides Rosie the Riveter, many women played an important role in winning World War II.  One woman, Edith May Witt, served her country for three years by joining the Red Cross as a staff assistant (or “club woman”), first in Oran, Algeria, and then in Italy. Edith was also a talented writer and left behind a rich archive that illuminates the wartime experiences of civilian women. In her words:

“We worked long hard hours with sometimes a day off a week. I was always tired, high on excitement, adventure, joy and sorrow, amid thousands of people, mostly men. I got to know more about my country and about Americans than I had ever known before and I loved them dearly.”

After her death, Peter Witt, Edith’s nephew, painstakingly sifted through papers and letters to provide a nuanced and annotated portrait of the war through one woman’s extraordinarily perceptive eyes. Importantly, he found that Edith’s devotion to service did not begin or end with the war. From marching to Selma with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965 to building community organizations in San Francisco in the 1970s to push for decent and affordable housing, Edith Witt remained a tireless advocate for social justice. Edith’s story is a welcome contribution to the social history of World War II and an inspiring tale of one woman’s life of advocacy and service that encourages readers to embrace thoughtful action in their own lives. Join us for a recounting of the powerful role played by women in WW II and the interesting life of Edith Witt.