Previous Lectures

Spring 2021
Pain: Categories, Definitions, and Questions (The Good, the Bad, and the Misleading)

Dr. Mark Milanick | Medical Pharmacology and Physiology, Women’s Studies

Discuss and discover how definitions, assumptions, and even the questions we ask in science and medicine, artificially constrain the solutions we can consider.  These constraints reveal both the strengths and limitations of science. Using recent case studies on pain and the opioid crisis to explore these ideas, we will consider analogies and stories from everyday life to illustrate how definitions limit possible answers, the questions asked can mislead, and that categories in science involve some subjective judgment.

Love Them and Hate Them: Why Siblings are Important in our Lives

Dr. Nicole Campione-Barr & Dr. Sarah Killoren | Psychological Sciences & Human Development and Family Science

The sibling relationship is the longest close relationship most of us (more than 80% of us in North America!) will have over our life course.  It is also unique in that it is the only peer-like relationship that we don’t choose for ourselves, which often leads the relationship to be the quintessential ‘love-hate relationship’.  Drs. Campione-Barr and Killoren argue that this balance of positivity and negativity can actually be a good thing–particularly in adolescence when so much of our social world is changing. It  is finding the ways we balance positive and negative relationship features that make siblings (and parenting siblings!) both challenging and beneficial from early childhood through late adulthood.

Clash of Cultures on the Medical Frontier

Dr. William Folk | Biochemistry and Faculty Affiliate in Public Health

In just over one year, the novel coronavirus has infected over 100 million and caused over 2 million deaths. The United States, considered to be the most technologically advanced, leads all other countries in these dire statistics; and prospects are slim that the pandemic will soon end so that we can return to “normalcy”. In this lecture, Dr. Folk will draw upon experiences and lessons learned from work in South Africa during the depths of the AIDS pandemic ( that speak to the reasons why COVID19 has been so destructive.

Women in the Odyssey

Dr. Cathy Callaway | Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Museum of Art & Archaeology

Hear the story of the Odyssey from the point of view of the female characters in the ancient Greek epic. The goddess Athena, faithful and resourceful Penelope, impressionable Nausicaa and her mother, Queen Arete, sorceresses Calypso and Circe, even monsters like Scylla and Charybdis – these characters are surprisingly current and full of surprises. And no prior knowledge of the Odyssey is needed to enjoy and benefit from this talk!

The Death of the Cypriot Maronites

Dr. J.D. Bowers | Honors College and Faculty Affiliate in Black Studies

What happens when a minority peoples are marginalized by the events of history and the pressures of the majority? The Maronites of Cyprus, a people numbering about 8,000 in total, have been forced to contend with the modern effects of war, borders, and cultural oppression since 1963, and it is, quite literally, driving them towards cultural and community extinction. In this talk, based on over ten years of research in residence among the Maronites, Bowers will share how the Maronites have been fighting back, what current economic, political, social, and even cultural trends and pressures are still overwhelming them, and how they, as a people, are preparing for a future that might not include them.

Money in Politics

Dr. Jeffrey Milyo | Economics

Political spending in the 2020 soared to over $14 billion, smashing the previous record.   What does all that money buy? And what hope is there for campaign finance reform to rein in big money and restore the integrity of American democracy?  Professor Milyo exposes the dirty secrets about money in politics based on decades of scientific research and summarized in his recent book, Campaign Finance and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press).

Honors Unlimited is sponsored by the MU Honors College and the William B. Bondeson Fund.

Support this Series and the Honors College by giving today: William B. Bondeson Honors College Endowed Fund