Skip to main content

December 6, 2014

We like to think the past is behind us and we can’t bring it back, but several scholars and researchers spend their time doing just that. This interdisciplinary seminar will look at how humans are bringing things back to life in the fields of biology, archeology, and linguistics. Linguist David Mora-Marin will introduce us to “dead” languages and show how they are deciphered and in some cases relearned. Archeologist Brian Billman will present his research on the rise and fall of the Moche in Peru (200-800). He will discuss the challenges of reconstructing this society without written language from the excavations of ancient households, monumental centers, and works of art. Biologist Joel Kingsolver will critically examine the idea of “de-extinction,” or the resurrection of extinct species, explaining whether it can be done—and whether it should be done at all. An examination of humanity’s fascination with the past, this seminar will help us understand our relationship to the beings and worlds that disappear with the passage of time.

Topics & Speakers

Language Extinction and Language Endangerment: How to Reconstruct Dead Languages and Preserve Endangered Ones
David Mora-Marin, Associate Professor of Linguistics

The Moche on the North Coast of Peru: How to Reconstruct Ancient Societies before Writing
Brian Billman, Associate Professor of Anthropology

De-extinction: Can and Should We Bring Species Back from Extinction?
Joel G. Kingsolver, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Biology

Learning from the Past, or Living with the Past
A panel discussion with our speakers

Time & Cost
9:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, December 6, 2014. The tuition is $125 ($110 by August 29). Tuition for teachers is $62.50 ($55 by August 29). 10 contact hours for 1 unit of renewal credit. The optional lunch is $15.00.

For information about lodging click here.

Co-Sponsored by the General Alumni Association.

For information about GAA discounts and other scholarships available to Humanities Program participants, click here.

Register for this seminar.