NAU’s popular Summer Seminar Series returns in person on June 2

A microphone against a dark background

NAU’s popular free Summer Seminar Series, presented by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences with generous support from the NAU President’s Office, returns in-person with an exploration of the cultural, social and geopolitical dimensions of today’s complex world. The series runs 5:30-7 p.m. Thursdays from June 2 through July 7 in Room 110 of the SBS Castro building. During the sessions, parking is complimentary in nearby lots (P61 and 47A). Access via Zoom will also be available. The series is free to the public through support from donors.  

Lectures featuring engaging and timely topics presented by SBS faculty will range from insights into unrest on the world political stage to the shocking state of public education in Puerto Rico to the use of virtual and augmented reality in health interventions to implications of the #MeToo movement to a unique view of the environment through highly detailed nature illustration. The expert presenters from the SBS faculty were selected based on their research, scholarship, leadership and advocacy. A Q & A session with the speaker will be held after each presentation. The Summer Seminar Series provides an opportunity for faculty, staff, students and community members to enhance their knowledge, awareness, understanding and appreciation for this array of timely topics. The series reflects the commitment of SBS to remain politically attuned, understand the world around us and embrace new technologies and perspectives to address complex community issues.   

Series co-coordinators Chrissina Burke, Department of Anthropology, and Janice Sweeter, School of Communication, anticipate the speakers and topics will foster valuable reflection, dialogue, understanding and action.  

“As our world changes, we must invest time in learning how we are impacted by the cultural institutions around us,” Burke said. “This summer our series explores the diverse research perspectives across the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences that we use to contribute to our greater awareness of global cultures.”   

“’Unless we learn to know ourselves, we run the danger of destroying ourselves.’ This caution from poet Ja A. Jahannes sets the stage for the crucial exchange of information, ideas and ideals with this year’s Summer Series,” Sweeter said. “We await eagerly this important conversation.” 

The Summer Seminar Series is free and open to the public, with underwriting support from the SBS Dean’s Office, the Office of the President and other contributors. Donations help sustain this valuable community outreach program. For more information, to register or to make a contribution, visit  

2022 Summer Seminar Series  

5:30-7 p.m. Thursdays from June 2 to July 7,  SBS Castro, Room 110  

June 2

The Implications of the Russo-Ukrainian War, Gretchen Gee, Paul E. Lenze, Jr., Halit Tagma, Department of Politics and International Affairs  

This talk examines the causes of the Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 and its geopolitical, economic and security implications for Europe, the Mediterranean and Middle East. It will also touch on the conflict’s impact on U.S., Russian and Chinese foreign policy.  

June 9

Debt, Disaster, and the Dismantling of Public Education in Puerto Rico, Rima Brusi, Department of Anthropology 

Since 2016, more than a third of public schools in Puerto Rico have been shuttered and the budget of the public university system has been slashed in half. During the same period, the island was battered by two hurricanes, an earthquake swarm and the COVID-19 pandemic. This presentation argues that this ongoing, extraordinary and counter-intuitive attack on public education is part of a broader set of profound systemic changes that can best be explained as the result of the powerful, synergistic combination of two forces: colonialism and finance capitalism.  

June 16

Virtual and Augmented Reality in Health Campaigns and Interventions, Zhan Xu, School of Communication   

This presentation discusses the use of virtual and augmented reality in health campaigns and interventions. It focuses on several research projects that adopt virtual and augmented reality to improve health outcomes and promote healthy behavior changes. Finally, it examines the short- and long-term effects of these technologies and the underlying mechanisms driving intention and behavior change.  

June 23  

The Pathway to Post-Conflict Justice in Afghanistan, Parwez Besmel, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice 

This presentation provides a new perspective on peace and justice in Afghanistan that is grounded on the sociopolitical realities of Afghanistan, the literature of transitional justice and the experiences of several other countries that dealt with post-conflict justice when faced with the dilemma of peace and justice. Besmel argues for a holistic approach to transitional justice, i.e. the potential for the truth and reconciliation commission combined with amnesty as a pathway to a successful transitional justice framework in Afghanistan.  

June 30 

 “It’s a Very Scary Time for Men in America”: Mobilizing Opposition to #MeToo, Lori Poloni-Staudinger, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 

Conventional wisdom holds that the #MeToo movement increased awareness of sexual harassment and drove sympathizers, particularly women, to increased participation in the 2018 midterm elections. This talk examines who the most motivated to act politically is in the context of #MeToo and the reasons why some are not motivated to participate. Using information from surveys and interviews, this presentation discusses the political actions of men who feel that the movement went “too far” in attempting to redistribute power in society, and women who might be less likely to participate if they feel sanctioned or threatened on account of backlash.   

July 7  

On the Tip of a Pencil: Biological Illustration of NearsightGraphite, Robert J. Long, School of Communication  

Join Long for a lively showcase of his highly detailed nature illustration, working under his pen name, NearsightGraphite. After an overview of some of his more memorable projects, Long’s process will be shown—starting with visual research and background methodology to sketching and ideation to graphite rendering to digital integration and full-color completion. The session will wrap up with a few recent illustration projects completed this winter.  

Top photo byBogomil Mihaylov on Unsplash

NAU Communications