Women’s Studies will kick off its spring semester lecture series with a presentation by Dr. Talia Welsh entitled “Punishing Parents for Bad Health Habits” on Monday, February 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the Raccoon Mountain Room, UTC University Center.

“We have been surrounded with calls to better children’s health given the increased scrutiny on the rise in childhood obesity,” Welsh said.  “Previous concerns about parental health habits, such as smoking and breast feeding, have laid the groundwork for connecting the behavior of adults to that of child health outcomes.  I examine what kinds of ethical questions are raised in these discussions.  To what degree do we need to worry about increased surveillance of family life in the pursuit of better childhood health?”

Welsh, UC Foundation Associate Professor of Philosophy and a member of the Women’s Studies Department at UTC, has published in child psychology, phenomenology, and feminist philosophy.

Her translation of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s lectures in child psychology and pedagogy appeared with Northwestern in 2010.  She is currently working on a project on the ethics of the war against obesity.

“Solitary Confinement: A Phenomenological Critique” will be the second lecture in the Women’s Studies series, to be presented by Dr. Lisa Guenther on Friday, February 18 at noon in the Raccoon Mountain Room, UTC University Center.

“Every year, more than 25,000 inmates in the US are held in solitary confinement in supermax prisons.  Many of these inmates experience adverse psychological and physical effects such as anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, headaches, hallucinations and other perceptual distortions.  I argue that, while psychiatric accounts of the effects of supermax confinement are important, especially in a legal context, they are insufficient to account for the phenomenological and even ontological harm of solitary confinement,” Guenther said.

Guenther, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, has published widely on feminism and phenomenology.  Her latest book, The Gift of the Other: Levinas and the Politics of Reproduction came out with SUNY in 2006.

She has finished a manuscript entitled SOCIAL DEATH AND ITS AFTERLIVES: A Phenomenological Critique of Solitary Confinement.

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