Symposium scholars consider intersection of science, art

Dr. Sarah W. Tracy, Dr. Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis and Dr. Shannon Spaulding (from left to right) will join keynote speaker Dr. Eric Kandel for a panel discussion on the intersection between science and art as part of the 2014 Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium. The panel is scheduled to convene at 2 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom at USAO on March 13.

Symposium scholars consider intersection of science, art


Three scholars will come together for a panel discussion about the intersection of science and art beginning at 2 p.m. on March 13 in the Student Center Ballroom as part of the Eighth Annual Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

In addition to the panel discussion, the symposium will feature a keynote from Nobel prize winning neuropsychiatrist and author, Dr. Eric Kandel, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium.

The symposium is free and open to the public.

Scheduled to join Kandel for the panel discussion are Dr. Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, associate professor of music and director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas, Dr. Shannon Spaulding, an assistant professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University and Dr. Sarah W. Tracy, director of the medical humanities program at the University of Oklahoma.

Margulis’s research approaches music from the perspective of cognitive science. Margulis is interested in the interaction between musical structure and audience engagement, especially in listeners without formal training.

Oxford University Press published her book on the psychology of musical repetition, On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind, in fall 2013.

Her past work has appeared in diverse journals including Music Perception, Journal of Music Theory and Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience and has been featured in media outlets ranging from New Scientist Magazine to the London Times.

Spaulding’s research is focused on constructing a philosophically and empirically plausible account of social cognition, or mental processes associated with social interaction.

She recently presented “Rationality and Desire in Fiction” at the American Philosophical Association Central Division in Chicago and is scheduled to present in Germany and London in 2014.

Tracy teaches a variety of courses for honors students and medical students including: on historical and ethical issues in American medicine and public health; the history of alcohol and drug use in the United States; the sociology of science, biography in American science and history; food in American culture; and the evolution of global food systems.

Working with the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Tracy built and continues to direct the University of Oklahoma Medical Humanities Program, which features both a minor in the medical humanities and an 8-year combined BA-MD Medical Humanities Scholars Program.

Serving as moderator for the panel discussion is Dr. Shelley Rees, associate professor of English and coordinator for the English department.

Rees earned her doctorate in English from the University of North Texas in 2002. She joined the faculty at USAO in 2007.

Rees's research interests include 19th-century British literature, popular culture and media studies, grammar and composition, gender studies, speculative fiction, skepticism and humanism.

She serves as Area Chair of General Literature for the SW/TX Popular Culture Association Conference. On campus, Rees is faculty sponsor for the USAO Secular Student Alliance, The Guild, the Gamer Club and the SF/Fantasy Club.

USAO’s Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium series is sponsored annually by the USAO Foundation and was inspired by endowment funds created by Oklahoma College for Women alumnae Gladys Anderson Emerson and Nance Foules Wier.

More information can be obtained by calling 574-1362.