Ready for some in-depth discussion about topical issues? The New College Foundation’s season of New Topics continues, showcasing regional and national speakers from a broad range of disciplines exploring topical issues. The series runs through April and will be presented via the Zoom platform and, in some cases, live. Each lecture will be presented at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, and registration is required and can be made at ncf.edu/new-topics or by calling the New College events hotline at 941-487-4888. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance to allow for processing and receipt email for Zoom link. The series is sponsored, in part, by Sarasota Magazine and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
New Topics 2022 Speakers
Thursday, February 10 via Zoom
Rescuing the Planet: The Race We Can Win to Save a Million Species
With Tony Hiss
The earth faces two environmental emergencies brought about by human actions. The reality of the climate crisis became inescapable for many people during the unprecedented wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and droughts of the summer of 2021. Though equally grave, the second crisis, the extinctions crisis—which threatens the lives of a million species of plants and animals—has remained more hidden and out of the headlines. Fortunately, there is some hopeful news: the extinctions crisis has a solution, and in 2022 the whole world will assemble to face this growing calamity.
“Half Earth” is the shorthand name for what needs to be done. The science is clear: most species can survive if at least half their original habitat is protected over the next 30 years, and so the goal is 50 x 50—protect half the earth by 2050. In May 2022, 196 countries will meet in China to take the first big step: 30 x 30, 30 percent by 2030.
Tony Hiss's beautifully illustrated talk, based on his book Rescuing the Planet: Protecting Half the Land to Heal the Earth, published to excellent reviews in 2021, presents the problem, the solution, and his own further reasons for optimism. Traveling around North America from Canada to Mexico, from the Rockies to Florida, he met with extraordinary people and groups that, years before the China meeting, were already working tirelessly and inventively to save our continent's beloved landscapes and iconic species. Hiss also shares information about the many ways anyone can join this movement.
Tony Hiss is the author of 15 books, including the award-winning The Experience of Place. He was a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine for 30 years and a visiting scholar at New York University for 25 years. He lives in New York City with his wife, the writer Lois Metzger.
Thursday, March 10
The Hollywood Sell: Entertainment Marketing in a Changing World
With Smitty Smith and Jackson George
Join Smitty Smith ’70 and Jackson George ’95 as they discuss Hollywood and the evolution of entertainment marketing in our rapidly changing world. Smith, a movie industry veteran and CEO of the creative agency InSync Plus, and George, a creative advertising executive with Disney, will take you behind the scenes to understand how Hollywood develops movies and markets their product to the consumer. With witty stories and insights, Smith and George will also explore how Hollywood is changing and the influence that rapidly advancing technologies have on the marketing and distribution of movies.
** This event will be presented in person at the Mildred Sainer Pavilion on the New College campus.
Monday, March 14
A Queer Zionism: Jessie Sampter and the Paradoxes of Jewish Nationalism
With Sarah Imhoff
The young, unmarried Jessie Sampter embraced a Judaism her parents had rejected, bought a trousseau, drolly declared herself “married to Palestine,” and moved there in 1918. Jessie Sampter’s own life and body hardly matched typical Zionist ideals: while Zionism celebrated the strong and healthy body, Sampter spoke of herself as “crippled” from polio and plagued by sickness her whole life; while Zionism applauded reproductive (women’s) bodies, Sampter never married or bore children—in fact, she wrote of homoerotic longings and had same-sex relationships we would consider queer. How did a queer, “crippled” woman become a leading voice of American Zionism, and why has history largely overlooked her?
Sarah Imhoff, author of Masculinity and the Making of American Judaism, is an associate professor in the Borns Jewish Studies Program and Religious Studies Department at Indiana University Bloomington.
** This event will be presented in person at the Mildred Sainer Pavilion on the New College campus. A livestream presentation will also be available.
Thursday, April 21 via Zoom
The Many Angles of Shark Conservation
With Jayne Gardiner and Melissa Cristina Márquez
New College professor Dr. Jayne Gardiner and alumna Melissa Cristina Márquez explore how both research and outreach are vital when determining the fate of one of our planet’s oldest predators: sharks. Gardiner and her students use advanced tagging techniques to identify local nursery areas and study how young sharks use these habitats, which are thought to be critically important for management and conservation, especially for threatened and endangered species. This work informs the selection of future marine preserves and protected areas for imperiled species.Across the world in Australia, PhD candidate Márquez also uses marine technology (such as underwater video cameras and drones) to understand shark habitat use. Once she pinpoints the most critical environments for sharks here, she figures out how the local community feels about sharks by analyzing ongoing media coverage and how their attitude can lead to conservation success or failure in the area. Is there hope for these rapidly disappearing animals? By joining forces, perhaps.
Melissa Cristina Márquez is a PhD candidate at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. She is interested in what environmental factors influence the composition and distribution of elasmobranchs using a variety of marine technology. Márquez is the author of the Scholastic series "Wild Survival” and hosts the podcast ConCiencia Azul. Márquez has served as a host on various science-themed shows on BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and OceanX. Her articles appear regularly in Forbes Science and have also been featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, People Chica, and GQ. Márquez is a Forbes "30 Under 30" honoree and was listed as one of InStyle's "BadAss Women for 2021."
Jayne Gardiner is an associate professor of biology and director of the Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center at New College. She specializes in the sensory biology and behavior of fishes. Gardiner’s research focuses primarily on multisensory integration—understanding how animals use multiple sensory cues simultaneously to perform complex behaviors such as feeding, navigation, and homing. She is also interested in how fish learn to use sensory information and how human activities and environmental disturbances affect sensory perception and behavioral performance. Her research employs both laboratory and field-based techniques to study these questions in elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays) as well as bony fishes.
About New College of Florida
Founded in Sarasota, Florida in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state’s Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities, and sciences, a master’s degree program in applied data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.