2016-2017 Events at the Rifkind Events

Understanding And Treating Fear And Anxiety

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
6:00-7:30 p.m.
The Rifkind Room in NAC 6/316

Joseph LeDoux - New York University

Eminent neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux (New York University) will speak about his new book Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety (Penguin 2015). LeDoux’s research is primarily focused on the biological underpinnings of emotion and memory, especially brain mechanisms related to fear and anxiety.

Joseph LeDoux is a neuroscientist whose research is primarily focused on the biological underpinnings of emotion and memory, especially brain mechanisms related to fear and anxiety. LeDoux is the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at New York University, and director of the Emotional Brain Institute, a collaboration between NYU and New York State with research sites at NYU and at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, New York. He is the author of many works, including The Emotional Brain (1996), The Synaptic Self (2002), and Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety (2015). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, he is the lead singer and songwriter in the band The Amygdaloids.

The Chameleon Effect

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
4:30-6:00 p.m.
The Rifkind Room in NAC 6/316

Imitation, Emotion, and Mirror Neurons

Ruth Leys - Johns Hopkins University

In recent years much speculation and controversy has surrounded the question of the relation of emotional life to mirror neurons, neurons that fire both when an animal enacts a movement and when that animal observes the same action by another animal. Clinicians have suggested that defective functioning of such neurons may help explain autism while humanistic and other scholars have drawn on scientific findings about mirror neurons to make sense of the empathic responses elicited by works of art, literature, or everyday imagery. Noted historian of science Ruth Leys examines what is at stake in efforts to explain phenomena such as empathy, imitation, and emotional contagion in terms of the automatic actions of mirror neurons in the brain, and raises the question of whether people can be considered “chameleons” or “resonance” machines.

Ruth Leys is a historian of the human sciences with a special interest in the history of the neurosciences, psychoanalysis, and psychiatry. Her books include Trauma: A Genealogy (Chicago, 2000); and From Guilt to Shame: Auschwitz and After (Princeton, 2007). Her book, The Ascent of Affect: From the 1960s to the Millennium (Chicago), will appear in the fall of 2017.

A Conversation With Susan Faludi

Thursday, November 17, 2016.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and best-selling author of Backlash, on her new book, In the Darkroom, a finalist for the 2016 Kirkus Prize

Susan Faludi’s extraordinary inquiry into the meaning of identity in the modern world and in her own haunted family saga. When the feminist writer learned that her 76-year-old father—long estranged and living in Hungary—had undergone sex reassignment surgery, that investigation would turn personal and urgent. How was this new parent who claimed to be “a complete woman now” connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known, the photographer who’d built his career on the alteration of images?

Susan Faludi is the author of the bestselling Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, and The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America.