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University Public Relations - Institutional Communications
Chad Baldwin
Room 137, Bureau of Mines Building, Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-2929
Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

UW Professors to Discuss Research Work at Jackson Saturday U Program


October 2, 2013 — John Dorst, Jerry Hamann and Ruth ToulsonThe science of taxidermy, what Chinese Singaporeans believe about burying their dead, and recognizing mountain avalanche signs are among topics Saturday, Oct. 12, in Jackson for the fall term of Saturday U -- the University of Wyoming's free one-day college education program.

A half-day of college classes and discussion begins with refreshments at 8:30 a.m., followed by a welcoming address at 8:45 a.m. at the National Museum of Wildlife Art Cook Auditorium.

In its fourth year, Saturday U is a collaborative program that connects popular UW professors with lifelong learners. Offered six times a year -- twice each in Jackson, Gillette and Sheridan -- Saturday U is sponsored by the university, the UW Foundation and Wyoming Humanities Council; and presented by Central Wyoming College (CWC), the National Museum of Wildlife Art and Teton County Library Foundation.

Participants may attend one, two or all three lectures in Jackson, plus the final luncheon and roundtable at 12:45 p.m. in the Wapiti Gallery. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, or to register for college credit or Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) credit, call Susan Thulin, CWC outreach coordinator, at (307) 733-7425.

Listed are program topic descriptions and UW representatives lecturing:

9 a.m. -- “Skin Remembers: Taxidermy as Material and Living Memory,” John Dorst, American Studies Program professor. Taxidermy, whether as hunting trophy or decor, enacts two kinds of memory. The mounted animal can, of course, recall specific experiences, but the materiality of the object, the skin, also can be understood as memory in that it “remembers” and “reactivates” the living animal, Dost says. “This philosophical point is not entirely academic,” he adds. “For example, it can help us understand something about powerful emotional effects evoked in some of Alfred Hitchcock’s films.”

10:15 a.m. -- “Burying the Dead: When the State Says No,” Ruth Toulson, Department of Anthropology assistant professor. Appropriately, burying the dead is one of the most shared human desires. But 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. Toulson takes a behind-the-scenes look at Singapore’s funeral industry, and how bereaved families struggle to make sense of a rapidly changing spiritual world and are losing their certainty that the dead will rest in peace.

11:30 a.m. -- “Snow Monitoring: Listening for Avalanches,” Jerry Hamann, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering professor. When an avalanche sends 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 installed 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, helping to warn people to avoid dangerous spots.

For more information about Saturday U, visit the website at http://www.uwyo.edu/SaturdayU/ or contact Teton County Library Adult Humanities Coordinator Oona Doherty at (307) 733-2164, ext. 135; or email odoherty@tclib.org.

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