Happy 2013, everyone! We’re back in action with two great talks lined up for your learning pleasure. First, Allison delivers a first-hand account of feminist geeks in the nerd world. Then Josh explains why he subjects children to fart spray. Good times! Come over!
Talk 1: “Gender & Nerd Culture: A Year in Review” by Allison Wilhelm
Allison is a recent graduate of Northeastern University, where she studied political science, law, sociology, and women’s studies. She was also involved in her school’s anime club and feminist student organization, making significant contributions to both clubs. Allison has been immersed in nerd culture since 2007 when she attended Anime Boston for the first time; she has been presenting panels on the intersection of feminism and all things nerdy since April of last year and hopes to present many more in the future. Allison’s favorite superheroes are Captain America and Wonder Woman; her favorite video game is Bioshock; her favorite anime changes frequently but she is a big fan of Blue Drop and Hell Girl. She also adores musical theater, Disney movies, shiny objects, ballet, and old-fashioned swing music.
Talk 2: “Aliens Behaving Badly: Children’s Acquisition of Novel Purity-Based Morals” by Josh Rottman
Moral development has long been heralded as a rational process through which children are increasingly able to reason logically about what is right and wrong in accordance with their cognitive maturity. Josh thinks this is mostly flat-out wrong. Instead, he argues that emotion (in addition to norm learning) is responsible for the childhood acquisition of moral beliefs. In order to gather evidence for this claim, Josh subjected dozens of seven-year-olds to the horrendous smell of Liquid ASS (TM) and asked them to make moral judgments about the unfamiliar behaviors of extraterrestrials.
After failing to attain his childhood career goals of becoming a magician/marine biologist/rabbi, Josh has become a professional question-asker to children. He hails from a small town in Colorado known for a chicken (Mike) that lived for 18 months without a head, and he is now a 20th grader in Psychology at Boston University.