Saul O Sidore Lecture Series

Named for humanitarian and New Hampshire businessman Saul O Sidore, the Sidore Lecture Series was established in 1979 by PSU and the Sidore Memorial Foundation. The series brings a variety of speakers to campus to address critical issues and events in politics, society, and culture, topics that reflect Sidore’s interests.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. A reception follows each lecture. Lectures are presented in the Smith Recital Hall in the Silver Center for the Arts, unless otherwise noted.

Digital versions of the Spring 2021 Series are also available here.

Fall 2021 Series

Understanding and Responding to Social Disruptions

We are currently living through multiple interconnected crises. The 2021 Sidore speakers will help us understand their origins and potential responses. 

All lectures are held in person. Additionally, the November lecture’s webinar registration is posted below for those who choose to join online.

Tuesday, November 2, 7 p.m. | Smith Recital Hall

Teaching to Trauma

Niki Tulk, Ph.D.

Sixty one percent of adults in the US have suffered at least one traumatic childhood experience, 81% women report being sexually assaulted, 67.8% of children in the US are traumatized by 16 years old. And this was before COVID. Given the extent to which trauma affects every element of society, devising a practice-based set of recommendations for performing trauma-related material and also teaching students is both an urgent and productive challenge for those who wish to express, and perhaps even begin to mend, the broken spirit of the world through art and pedagogy. This talk will address how, through centralizing trauma experience as normative—the order of things rather than a “disorder”— and by understanding the way our brains and bodies work together to keep ourselves safe and heal, we can create a paradigm shift in the arts (and society) that might assist in creating spaces that cultivate acknowledgement and healing without sacrificing commitment to truth-telling.

Dr. Tulk is an Australian experimental theatre-maker, performer/improviser, writer, poet and performance studies scholar, and currently Teaching Faculty in Theatre at Plymouth State University. Her research explores a feminist, embodied and ethical poetics around the performance of trauma experience, and her book, Performing the Wound: Practicing a Feminist Theatre of Becoming will published by Routledge, U.K. in 2022. Her full length poetry book, O, won the 2021 Driftwood Full Length Poetry Prize and will be published by Driftwood Press in 2022. She is currently completing an advanced Trauma Certificate with the Trauma Research Foundation in Boston, and her pedagogy combines somatic, trauma-informed methodologies and a focus on utilizing the imagination to facilitate enhanced creativity and healing. Niki holds two separate doctorates from the University of Colorado Boulder: in Theatre and Performance Studies; and in Intermedia Art, Writing and Performance. She has a Masters of Education from the University of Georgia in Language and Literacy, and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The New School, NYC.

This lecture will be presented in person at Smith Recital Hall in the Silver Center for the Arts and via live webinar. Please register below.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public. Reservations are required for the webinar and recommended for the Hall.

Tuesday, October 12, 7 p.m. | Smith Recital Hall

American Conspiracy Theories

Joseph E. Uscinski, Ph.D.

Professor Uscinski will discuss the popularity and trends in conspiracy theories over time. Using a wealth of survey evidence, he will show that many of the popular claims about conspiracy theories are false, or unsupported. Uscinski will also discuss the causes and consequences of conspiracy theories in both our politics and our daily lives.

Dr. Joseph E. Uscinski is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami. He studies public opinion and mass media with a focus on conspiracy theories and related misinformation. His research has appeared in Journal of PoliticsPolitical Research Quarterly, and Critical Review among other scholarly outlets. His first book, The People’s News: Media, Politics, and the Demands of Capitalism (New York University Press, 2014) addresses how audience demands drive news content. His second book, American Conspiracy Theories (Oxford University Press, 2014) coauthored with Joseph Parent, examines why people believe in conspiracy theories. Dr. Uscinski received his doctorate from the University of Arizona, his master’s from the University of New Hampshire, and his bachelor’s degree from Plymouth State. We are proud to welcome him home to PSU.  

Friday, September 24, 7 p.m. | Smith Recital Hall

Before Anti-Autism: Cow Mania and the Vaccination Debates

Travis Chi Wing Lau, Ph.D.

This talk will turn to the late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth century debates over Edward Jenner’s campaigns to nationalize vaccination in Britain. Well before Andrew Wakefield’s retracted article in the Lancet claiming the MMR vaccine caused autism, opponents of Jenner’s vaccination like Benjamin Moseley and William Rowley decried vaccination as a violent, dangerous procedure that would corrupt the vaccinated, especially children, by reducing them to a bovine state. Lau makes the case that much of the current anti-autism bent of contemporary anti-vaccination discourse draws its rhetoric and affective strategies from long-standing ableist anxieties surrounding “cow mania,” a condition associated with the violation of species boundaries and with class tensions.

Travis Chi Wing Lau (he/him/his) is assistant professor of English at Kenyon College. His research and teaching focus on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature and culture, health humanities, and disability studies. Alongside his scholarship, Lau frequently writes for venues of public scholarship like Synapsis: A Journal of Health Humanities, Public Books, Lapham’s Quarterly, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His poetry has appeared in Barren Magazine, Wordgathering, Glass, South Carolina Review, Foglifter, andthe New Engagement, as well as in two chapbooks, The Bone Setter (Damaged Goods Press, 2019) and Paring (Finishing Line Press, 2020). [travisclau.com]