Learn from U of A’s Best at the SBS “Immortality” Downtown Lecture Series

October 19, 2015

An excited crowd files into the 2014 SBS Lecture Series on "Food."

An excited crowd files into the 2014 SBS Lecture Series on “Food.”

by Mariana Colín

Now that I’m comfortably on the “graduated” side of the college fence, it’s a lot easier for me to appreciate school and everything it did to enrich my view of the world. But once school is officially done and you find yourself getting used to a post-graduate routine it’s easy to forget how good it feels to be up-to-date on the world’s intellectual goings-on.

Fortunately, living in a college town means there are always opportunities to flex that brain muscle. For the next several weeks the University of Arizona is bringing the fruits of its research Downtown, with a lecture series presented by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The SBS Downtown Lecture Series, which started in 2013, has created a new space where Tucsonans can learn about the University’s most recent breakthroughs in philosophical, anthropological, and historical research.

After all, sharing that research, according to Director of Outreach and Special Projects at the SBS Lecture Series Lydia Breunig, Ph.D.,  is what universities are supposed to be all about. The goal of the series, she says, is to extend the reach of the U of A, doing its part to foster a vibrant Downtown culture. “We could have it on campus but that doesn’t do much to boost the economy or create a vibrant Downtown,” she says. “We’re helping to foster Downtown as a place to live, work, play, and also to learn. That’s been the goal of the series.”

For the next few weeks, the college of Social and Behavioral Sciences will have a temporary classroom Downtown.

For the next few weeks, the college of Social and Behavioral Sciences will have a temporary classroom Downtown.

Each Lecture Series has a theme around which all of its lectures revolve, and a lot of thought goes into picking the theme of the year. “We consider lots of different topics,” says Lydia. “What’s talked about in the news, popular media, what people are really interested in… we consider what our faculty’s strengths are, across disciplines, across the entire college.”

After previously exploring the intellectual ins and outs out of “Food” and “Happiness,” the Lecture Series is getting heavy with this year’s theme: “Immortality.” Each of this year’s lectures will discuss a different facet of perhaps the most ancient philosophical question: What happens when we die?

From the cultural importance of vampires to an exploration of some of the earliest philosophical theories surrounding death, U of A professors will take the stage in the historic Fox Tucson Theatre and invite you to think about how our beliefs about death shape the way we view our lives. The event is perfect for all of you who (like me), spent their college days wishing you could just listen to the professor talk about something interesting without having to worry about being called on to explain the reading you “forgot” to do.

Tickets are available for free at the historic Fox Theater's box office every Wednesday starting at 4.

Tickets are available for free at the historic Fox Theater’s box office every Wednesday starting at 4.

Despite the somewhat intimidating subject matter, Lydia is confident the event will be as popular this year as it has been in the past. “It’s incredibly fun,” she says. She believes the popularity of the event owes itself largely to the community it’s in. “Even though we’re talking about something heavy, being in Downtown and the Fox has a lot to do with that.”

The house has been pretty full in the past, but Lydia doesn’t want that to deter people from coming to the free event. If you want to avoid lines and make sure you get in, tickets are available for pickup at the Fox Theatre box office beginning at 4:00 on the day of the event, which this year is every Wednesday from October 14th through November 11th.  For more information, click here.

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