Oakland University
Thursday, September 15, 2011

OU and the Older Persons' Commission (OPC) present Fall 2011 lecture series

Oakland University and the Older Persons' Commission will present a series of lectures each semester on a wide range of topics; lectures are taught by Oakland faculty and include areas of interest ranging from the latest research findings to the arts and popular culture.   The Fall 2011 le
cture series include:

Cold-Blooded Kindness—Insights into Pathological Altruism

Thursday, October 6, 2011

3 until 5 p.m.
Barbara Oakley, Ph.D.
OU Associate Professor of Engineering

Many humans feel empathy and altruism for others—this has been the subject of significant research in the past decade. But not everyone is empathetic or altruistic, and not every situation is one that empathetic caring can heal. In fact our own feelings of empathy and caring can be turned against us—used as tools to further another’s self-serving tendencies, or drawing us inextricably into another’s pain. This can result in depression, codependency, and burnout. On a societal level, however, the effects can be far worse. As Robert Waite, the Brown Professor of History at Williams College and a perceptive analyst of the Nazi movement, wrote “The effectiveness of [Hitler’s] propaganda lay finally in this—he made it seem that his party’s nihilism was idealism, its brutality strength, its vicious ‘ideology’ altruism.”

This discussion uses engineering concepts of root cause analysis and optimization, as well as insights from neuroscience, to examine the dark side of empathy and altruism—a side we ignore at our peril if we truly want to help others.

September 11

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
2 until 4 p.m.
J.P. (Pat) Piskulich, Ph.D.
OU Associate Professor of Political Science

Time passes quickly. It is now ten years since 9/11, suggesting an opportunity to consider the events of that day and their downstream effects. Although not well known, a 2002 project of that name, September 11, is an anthology of short films from across the globe: 11 international directors each got 11 minutes to tell the story of that day from their vantage point. In this session we will use a selection of these films toward discussing various meanings of what happened, then and now.

J.P. (Pat) Piskulich, Ph.D., regularly teaches an OU summer course called Politics Through Film and is at work on a book tentatively titled Classics of Political Film: The Grand Debates in Motion Pictures.

Created by Karen Coronado (kacorona@oakland.edu) on Thursday, September 15, 2011
Modified by Karen Coronado (kacorona@oakland.edu) on Thursday, September 15, 2011
Article Start Date: Thursday, September 15, 2011