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Fall Term 2013 - Jackson, WY

Saturday U Profs Tackle Taxidermy, Burying the Dead in Singapore, and Avalanches


Jackson, WY- What does the skin of a mounted animal remember? What do Chinese Singaporeans believe about burying their dead? How can you recognize the signs of serious avalanche conditions in the mountains?

Three University of Wyoming professors will tackle those questions at Saturday U: The Free One-Day College Education on Saturday, Oct. 12. Ever think about going back to school? Now is your chance to experience college-caliber lectures for free but skip the homework.

Attend one, two or all three Saturday U lectures from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 12, in the National Museum of Wildlife Art Cook Auditorium. No preparation or advance sign up required! The day wraps up with a free lunch and conversation as the UW professors weave together their three disparate themes. Click here for directions to the National Museum of Wildlife Art.


Saturday U, Oct 12, Fall Term Schedule

8:30-8:45 a.m. Free coffee & donuts

8:45-9:00 a.m. Welcome & opening remarks


9:00-10:00 a.m.

Skin Remembers: Taxidermy as Material and Living Memory

Dr. John Dorst, American Studies Program

Dr. Dorst Taxidermy, whether as hunting trophy or décor, enacts two kinds of memory. The mounted animal can of course recall specific experiences, but the very materiality of the object, the skin, can also be understood as memory, in that it "remembers" and "reactivates" the living animal. This philosophical point is not entirely academic.  For example, it can help us understand something about powerful emotional effects evoked in some of Alfred Hitchcock's films.


10:15-11:15 a.m.

Burying the Dead: When the State Says No

Dr. Ruth Toulson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Dr. Toulson Appropriately burying the dead is one of the most shared human desires. In Singapore, the state has ordered the destruction of cemeteries, which is particularly traumatic for Chinese Singaporeans, who believe their own fortune and health stem from the proper burial of parents and ancestors. Go behind the scenes of Singapore’s funeral industry and see how bereaved families struggle to make sense of a rapidly changing spiritual world and lose their certainty that the dead will rest in peace.


11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Snow Monitoring: Listening for Avalanches

Dr. Jerry Hamann, Professor of Electrical Engineering

Dr. Hamann When an avalanche sends its snow tumbling down the mountain, it makes a recognizable sound. But the sound is so deep, only a whale could hear it without technological assistance. UW Researchers, in partnership with Inter-Mountain Labs of Sheridan, have worked out how to install monitors that allow managers in avalanche-prone areas near roads and ski areas (including Jackson Hole Mountain Resort) to keep a sensitive ear to-the-ground during avalanche season and enable them to warn people to avoid dangerous spots.


12:45-1:45 p.m.

Lunch & Discussion

Hosted by the University of Wyoming, and an audience question and answer session with all three professors in the Wapiti Gallery.


Now in its fifth year, Saturday U is a collaborative program connecting University of Wyoming professors with Teton County residents, who have a desire to learn. Offered twice a year, Saturday U is sponsored by the University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming Foundation and Wyoming Humanities Council. The program is presented locally by Central Wyoming College, National Museum of Wildlife Art and Teton County Library Foundation.

Participants may earn half a college credit or half a PTSB credit for Saturday U from Central Wyoming College. To register for college credit or PTSB credit, call Susan Thulin, CWC outreach coordinator, 307-733-7425. For general information about Saturday U: The Free One-Day College Education or library programs, visit the library online,, or contact Teton County Library Adult Humanities Coordinator, Oona Doherty, 733-2164 ext. 135,

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