American University of Central Asia - AUCA - Bishkek Liberal Arts Seminars (BLAS)
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Bishkek Liberal Arts Seminars (BLAS)

 

The Bishkek Liberal Arts Seminar (BLAS) series invites academics outside of Kyrgyzstan to share their research with AUCA students, typically on topics and using methodologies not currently present at AUCA. The primary aim of this series is to provide an opportunity for students to engage with different subjects and approaches potentially beneficial for their studies and their curiosity.

Information on the first seminars is available below. (Clicking the talk below will access the abstract, speaker’s bio, and Zoom session details)


September 29th

18.00 Bishkek time

Cross-Cultural Issues in Mental Health: A Philosophical Perspective


Approaching mental health on a global scale with particular reference to low- and mid-income countries raises issues concerning the disregard of the local context and values and the imposition of values characteristic of the Global North. Seeking a philosophical viewpoint to surmount these problems, I will argue for a framework in psychiatry that incorporates value pluralism, particularly in relation to the Global South context, while also emphasizing personal values such as the choice of treatment...

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October 5th

18.00 Bishkek time

A Transnational Feminist Engagement with Personalised Medicine


I will critically assess the statements that personalized medicine could bring forth a “cost-effective” healthcare planning globally in the future. I argue that a feminist approach needs to consider not only the extent in which preventive healthcare, central for the cost-effectiveness of personalized medicine, is able to incorporate both biological and social basis for diseases but also how the future plans are formed in relation to a transnational market logic....

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October 13th

18.00 Bishkek time

Cartesianism as a Social Epidemic: A Network Analysis Approach


It is a common view that ideas and viruses share key features such as stickiness, resilience, and contagiousness. A corollary of this view, popularized by such books as Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point (2002), is that epidemic models can also be used to explain “social epidemics’’ – when ideas and products become popular in an uncontrolled manner. In recent years, epidemiology in general has received great impetus from the rise of network analysis as an independent and interdisciplinary field of inquiry. Ever since its inception, the tools of network analysis have been employed to study the spread of phenomena as diverse as epidemics, wildfires, and earthquakes.
Following these developments, this paper will give a concrete example of how network analysis can improve our understanding of the way in which new ideas were circulated throughout history...

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October 20th

18.00 Bishkek time

Hearing the Voiceless from Below: Using Skeletons and Vernacular Structures to Reassess the Role of the Rural Population in State-Building and Religious Conversion in East-Central Europe


Modern state borders and language barriers in East-Central Europe have resulted in isolated national narratives of the past. Contemporary post-Medieval categories of identity, ethnicity, and nationalism have also harmed understanding of the history of the region and prevented international comparison. Similarly, a focus on available sources - typically Latin texts produced by the ecclesiastical hierarchy in cities - has resulted in seeing the period from the eyes of the elites. This paper introduces a project, soon to begin, based at Charles University in Prague, which attempts to address these limitations. ...

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October 29th

18.00 Bishkek time

Monsters, Heroes, and Dangerous Women: Reading Beowulf in the context of its manuscript


Beowulf is the longest and most sophisticated work of Old English poetry. Produced in England around 800 AD, it tells a relatively straightforward story about a hero who defeats three monsters and becomes a king, set in sixth-century Scandinavia. But its interests are dizzyingly complex, swooping backward and forwards through different lives, exploring a range of interpersonal relationships, relentlessly reflecting on the nature of storytelling, and on the function of time...

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When future speakers confirm their participation, this page will be updated.

If you have any questions, please contact the organizer Dr. James Plumtree (plumtree_j@auca.kg).

American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028