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UW One-Day Lecture Series Scheduled in Sheridan Feb. 17

February 5, 2018
Jean Garrison, Arielle Zibrak and Scott Seville

Three separate discussions touching on American-Chinese relations, race and culture, and infectious diseases are topics during the University of Wyoming’s one-day free public lecture series in Sheridan Saturday, Feb. 17.

Saturday U -- the half day of college lectures and discussion -- will be at the Whitney Academic Center on the Sheridan College campus. The program begins with coffee and donuts at 8:30 a.m., followed by welcoming remarks at 8:50 a.m. The guest lectures begin at 9 a.m.

Participants may attend one, two or all three lectures. A free lunch and question-and-answer session will follow the program at 12:30 p.m.

“During the fall and spring terms, Saturday University visits locations throughout Wyoming discussing today’s most captivating topics,” says Saturday U Coordinator Paul Flesher, a UW religious studies professor.

In its 10th year, Saturday U is a collaborative program that connects popular UW and Wyoming community college professors with lifelong learners. Offered nine times a year -- twice each in Jackson, Gillette and Sheridan, and once in Rock Springs, Pinedale and Cody -- Saturday U is sponsored by the university, the UW Foundation and Wyoming Humanities. The program is presented locally by UW, Wyoming Humanities and Sheridan College/Northern Wyoming Community College District.

“Enjoy three intriguing lectures delivered by professors from the University of Wyoming,” Flesher says. “Complimentary lunch is provided, giving participants an opportunity to engage with the speakers during a roundtable discussion following the three lectures.”

Listed below are program topic descriptions and professors lecturing:

-- 9 a.m.: “Chinese-American Relations in the Trump Era: Cooperation, Confrontation or Crisis?” by Jean Garrison, UW Center for Global Studies director, and international studies and political science professor.

“China’s economic rise and growing activism in East Asia bring new challenges to American interests and allies in the Asia-Pacific region,” Garrison says. “Increasing instability in the region posed by the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the provocation of North Korean missile tests further complicate the relationship.”

Garrison’s talk will evaluate the current state of Sino-American relations and the tools available to the Trump administration -- and future American leaders -- to manage how it evolves.

-- 10:15 a.m.: “The American Problem: James Weldon Johnson’s ‘Art Approach’ to Politics,” by Arielle Zibrak, Department of English assistant professor at UW-Casper.

“What are the ethics of cultural appropriation? What place does cultural history hold in debates about politics?” Zibrak asks.

She will discuss the work and philosophies of Johnson, one of the key authors of the Harlem Renaissance and the NAACP. Touching on histories of literature, music and dance, Zibrak will connect Johnson’s ideas about race and culture to issues that continue to challenge U.S. citizens today.

-- 11:30 a.m.: “New infectious diseases in a changing world: Should Wyoming worry?” by Scott Seville, Department of Zoology and Physiology professor at UW-Casper.

In the last few years, several incidents have appeared in the media about new diseases with horrible symptoms, such as Ebola, SARS, West Nile virus, H1N1 influenza and chronic wasting disease. Scientists call these maladies emerging infectious diseases, Seville says.

“They are illnesses that have recently appeared or whose frequency or geographic range is rapidly increasing,” Seville says. “The reality is that infectious diseases have been emerging and re-emerging for millennia and, only recently, due to various global changes, seem to be increasing.”

He will discuss the factors that are leading to this increase and how it might affect the future of Wyoming communities.

For more information, call Flesher at (307) 766-2616 or email For more information about Saturday U, visit the website at

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