OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Visiting faculty members to read at Oregon State on Oct. 10

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Authors Nick Dybek and Inara Verzemnieks will read from their work on Friday, Oct. 10, at Oregon State University in Corvallis, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library. They are both visiting faculty members in OSU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing this year.

Verzemnieks is a former reporter at The Oregonian and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. Her creative and journalistic work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Tin House, The Atlantic and Creative Nonfiction.

Her first memoir, which engages her family’s history and her own journey to reconnect with their homeland in Latvia, is forthcoming from Norton. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award and the Richard J. Margolis Award of the Blue Mountain Center.

Dybek’s novel, “When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man,” earned the 2013 Society of Midland Author Award and is described by The Economist as having “the momentum of a thrilling yarn, delivered as if by a scarred man by the consoling light of a fire.” Dybek is also the recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award and a Maytag Fellowship, and his work has been featured in Granta New Voices.

The reading is part of the 2014-2015 Literary Northwest Series, sponsored by the MFA Program in Creative Writing in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film. The series brings Pacific Northwest writers to OSU and is made possible by support from the OSU Libraries and Press, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele and Grass Roots Books and Music.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held in the rotunda at the Valley Library, 201 S.W. Waldo Place. A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow the reading.

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Auditions for OSU production of ‘Mother Courage’ to be held Oct. 1-2

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Auditions for “Mother Courage and Her Children,” the first production of Oregon State University Theatre’s 2014-15 season, will be held Oct. 1-2.

Auditions will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. each day in the Withycombe Hall Theatre, 2901 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis. Free parking is available on the north side of the building. Auditions are open to anyone interested in performing, including high school and college students, OSU staff and members of the community.

Tryouts will consist of group readings from the script. Those interested in auditioning are asked to read the play in advance. Scripts will be available for temporary checkout from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, in the theatre office, Withycombe Hall Room 141.

The cast includes 32 characters but a core of 15 actors and actresses of all ages will perform multiple roles. Some characters will sing but the performers need not be trained singers. A few members of the cast may play an instrument on stage, and those auditioning are encouraged to bring an instrument if they have one. Performers also are encouraged to prepare a short, 30-second song without accompaniment to determine vocal ability and placement, though singing is not a requirement to be cast in the show.

“Mother Courage and Her Children,” by Bertolt Brecht, was written in the late 1930s as an anti-war play; it is harsh, grim and dark, with a sardonically humorous edge. It fits in with the theme of the 2014-15 University Theatre season, “War and Remembrance.”

Rehearsals will be held in the evenings, Sunday through Thursday, in October and early November. Performances will be held Nov. 13, 14, and 16 and Nov. 21-23.

For additional information contact director George Caldwell, george.caldwell@oregonstate.edu or 503-931-4222 or Arin Dooley, arin.dooley@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-2853.

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Lack of facial expression leads to perceptions of unhappiness, new OSU research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – People with facial paralysis are perceived as being less happy simply because they can’t communicate in the universal language of facial expression, a new study from an Oregon State University psychology professor shows.

The findings highlight the important role the face plays in everyday communication and indicates people may hold a prejudice against those with facial paralysis because of their disability, said Kathleen Bogart, an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University.

“People are more wary and more likely to form a negative impression of someone with a disability,” Bogart said. “Identifying that stigma is the first step to addressing it.”

Bogart specializes in research on ableism, or prejudice about disabilities. Much of her work focuses on the psychosocial implications of facial movement disorders such as facial paralysis and Parkinson’s disease, which affect more than 200,000 Americans each year.

“Facial paralysis is highly visible,” Bogart said. “Everyone notices there’s a difference, but people have no idea why. They don’t understand the nature of the condition.”

Some basic facial expressions, including the smile, are communicated universally across cultures. But people with facial paralysis or other facial movement disorders may not be able to participate in that communication because they lack emotional expression and may seem unresponsive in social situations.

To better understand how those with facial paralysis are perceived by those without facial paralysis, Bogart conducted an experiment comparing how emotions are perceived based on different forms of communication.

About 120 participants, none of whom had facial paralysis, watched or listened to videos of people with varying degrees of facial paralysis and were asked to rate the subject’s emotions as the person recounted happy or sad experiences. Participants were assigned to videos highlighting several communication channels, including video of just the person’s face; video of the person’s face and body; or voice-only audio with no video; as well as combinations of different types of communication.

Those with severe facial paralysis were rated as less happy than those with milder facial paralysis across all the different communication types and combinations. Those with severe facial paralysis were also rated as less sad than those with milder facial paralysis.

The findings confirmed that people with facial paralysis experience stigma, but it also confirmed that people often rely on a combination of communication channels to perceive emotions, Bogart said.

That’s important because people with facial paralysis can adapt other communication channels, such as tone of voice or gestures, to enhance their communication ability, she said. Also, people interacting with someone with facial paralysis can be more watchful of other communication cues that might indicate emotion, she said. 

“It’s not all about the face,” Bogart said. “Studies like this tell us more about the way people communicate, verbally and non-verbally.” 

Her findings were published recently in the journal “Basic and Applied Social Psychology.” Co-authors of the study are Linda Tickle-Degnen of Tufts University and Nalini Ambady of Stanford University. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Bogart is now studying ways to help people with facial paralysis use compensatory strategies to improve communication. She has developed a social skills workshop for teenagers with facial paralysis and hopes to do more work like that in the future.

 “We know these strategies work, so let’s teach people to use those skills more,” she said. “A lot of people with facial paralysis do just fine, but there are some people who would like help or support.”

Making people aware of the stigma about facial paralysis and educating them about the causes and effects is the biggest key to reducing existing misconceptions and prejudices, Bogart said.

“People need to be able to recognize facial paralysis, and understand that they may need to pay more attention to communication cues beyond facial expression,” she said.

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Kathleen Bogart, 541-737-1357, Kathleen.bogart@oregonstate.edu

Grant will support, encourage women in academic STEM careers at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to improve conditions for women in the academic science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, disciplines.

The five-year ADVANCE grant will be used to help recruit, retain and promote more women in STEM and the social and behavioral sciences at OSU; provide support for women in STEM and implement policies and programs that aid in these efforts.

“The goal of the grant is to transform the institutional climate for women in the STEM fields,” said Susan Shaw, the grant’s principal investigator. “What we want is an institution where difference is welcome and the value of different perspectives and experiences is understood.”

OSU is the first institution in the state to receive an institutional transformation grant from the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program. ADVANCE began in 2001 with the goal of increasing the representation and advancement of women in STEM and developing a more diverse science and engineering workforce. Past grant recipients include the University of Washington, Michigan State University and Cornell University.

“Through ADVANCE, the National Science Foundation invests in the future of women in STEM,” said program director Beth Mitchneck. “Supporting institutional change that furthers the advancement of women faculty is a means to making the institution more receptive to talent from all backgrounds.”

Women have historically been underrepresented in the STEM fields ­in academia. In 2012, 23 percent of Oregon State’s STEM faculty, including faculty in the social and behavioral sciences, were women. Women accounted for 20.8 percent of the full professorships in those disciplines.

OSU leaders have taken significant steps to enhance diversity on campus in recent years, and the ADVANCE grant is designed to further the university’s goals, Shaw said.

“A lot of the previous ADVANCE grants have tended to look at women as one group,” said Shaw, who is director of the School of Language, Culture and Society and a professor of women, gender and sexuality studies in the College of Liberal Arts.

“We’re looking at women across differences – race, sexual identity, social, class,” she said. “Those intersections are critically important to understanding women’s professional experiences and challenges.”

A new version of the university’s Difference, Power and Discrimination faculty development program will be crafted to focus on STEM issues. The program includes a summer seminar for STEM faculty and administrators on theories about systems of oppression and the impacts gender, race and class may have on how people participate in an institution, Shaw said.

The first steps to implementing the grant are hiring a program manager and establishing a website for the project. The first faculty seminars are expected next summer, she said.

Shaw and several co-investigators, including faculty in the sciences and social sciences, also will research how OSU’s ADVANCE program is working. They will present findings at conferences, share best practices with other institutions and develop an online journal about program activities, Shaw said.

The co-investigators are Rebecca Warner, senior vice provost for academic affairs; Michelle Bothwell, associate professor of bioengineering in the College of Engineering; Sarina Saturn, assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts; and Tuba Ozkan-Haller, professor of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences and professor of civil and construction engineering.

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Susan Shaw, 541-737-3082, sshaw@oregonstate.edu

OSU sociologist: Policy will determine economic impact of legal marijuana

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The economic impact of legalizing marijuana in Oregon is difficult to estimate because the potential market will depend in large part on what kind of policies would be adopted if a proposed ballot measure passes in November, according to an Oregon State University sociologist who studies the issue.

“Marijuana is already a serious economic force in Oregon,” said Seth Crawford, an expert on the policies and market structure of marijuana in Oregon. “When you consider the proposed excise tax and additional revenue from income taxes, it could become a sizeable income stream for the state.”

Oregon voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana production and use. Policymakers are trying to determine the economic impact of legalizing marijuana and Crawford’s research was recently cited in an economic report commissioned by backers of the ballot initiative, as well as by the state legislative revenue office.

If marijuana is legalized in Oregon, the state could net anywhere from $35 million to $105 million in new tax revenue per year, Crawford estimated in research published earlier this year in the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations.

Any additional expenses generated from legalizing marijuana would be small in comparison to money generated from the taxes, Crawford believes. Police and court expenses would be lower if marijuana use was legalized, he pointed out.

“From a purely economic standpoint, it’s a net win for the state’s budget,” he said. “There are still going to be enforcement issues, but the costs are likely to be lower than what is spent on enforcement now.”

The economic effect of legalizing marijuana will be determined in part by how much of the existing black market moves into the new legal market and by how much marijuana producers will be allowed to grow, Crawford said. Under the proposed ballot measure, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission would determine how marijuana would be legally sold and distributed.

“We won’t know what’s going to happen until those policies are settled, though the conversations have already begun in earnest,” said Crawford, an instructor in the School of Public Policy in the College of Liberal Arts.

Crawford also serves on the state’s Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana, which advises the director of the Oregon Department of Human Services on administrative aspects of the state’s medical marijuana program. He has provided expert testimony on marijuana-related policies in Oregon.

Crawford specializes in analyzing social networks and began studying the underlying structure of marijuana production and user networks as a doctoral student several years ago because there was no available data on Oregon producers or users.

In his study of Oregon’s informal marijuana economy, Crawford surveyed Oregon residents 18 and older to collect information about marijuana use and sales patterns. He found that the average marijuana user pays about $177 per ounce of the drug and uses about 6.75 ounces per year.

Marijuana producers generally sell small amounts, earning less than $10,000 per year; they generally are educated and employed in other legitimate occupations, Crawford found. His research also indicated that many marijuana producers in the current black market live in economically depressed regions of the state, particularly in southern Oregon, and use marijuana sales to augment low incomes.

“It’s these small producers who have the most to lose in the policy development process,” Crawford said. “If they’re unable to participate in the legal market, marijuana legalization could result in increased economic inequality, particularly in traditional areas of production like southern Oregon.”

Setting a high tax rate or imposing hefty capital requirements could serve as barriers for current small-scale marijuana producers to enter the legal market, Crawford said. In Washington state, the requirements to obtain a permit were so stringent that many were shut out of the market, he said.

Also, Washington’s taxes and early supply woes put marijuana between $420 and $840 per ounce, while in Colorado, marijuana is slightly more than $260 per ounce after taxes. At rates that high, there is a strong chance users won’t actually enter the legal market; they’ll continue making small-scale purchases from friends or acquaintances or grow their own, Crawford said.

“We don’t know if people will go to retail stores,” he said. “If the ballot initiative passes, the market will be shaped by policies adopted by the OLCC.”

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Seth Crawford, 541-760-5419, seth.crawford@oregonstate.edu

Racial makeup of private prisons shows disparities, new OSU study finds

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A disproportionate number of Hispanics are housed in private prisons across the United States, a pattern that could leave such prisons vulnerable to legal challenges, new research from Oregon State University shows.

The percentage of adult Hispanic inmates in private prisons was two points higher than those in public facilities, while the percentage of white inmates in private prisons was eight points lower than in public facilities, said Brett Burkhardt, an assistant professor of sociology in the School of Public Policy at OSU’s College of Liberal Arts.

“This is a systemic issue,” Burkhardt said. “Prison administrators should be aware of racial disparities in inmate placement to ensure that inmates’ rights are being upheld and to avoid future lawsuits.”

Private prisons are those operated by private for-profit or non-profit companies that have contracts with government agencies. In some cases, the private company operates an existing prison, while in others the company builds and operates the facility. About 8 percent of those sentenced to state or federal prison are being held in private facilities, according to a 2011 study.

But there are some concerns that those in private prisons have fewer opportunities for jobs and rehabilitation and are more likely to get in trouble while incarcerated, which could raise questions about whether private prisons provide inmates equal protection under U.S. civil rights laws.

Research has shown that private prisons have higher rates of inmate misconduct; fewer work assignments for prisoners; more inmate grievances; and more escapes than public facilities, Burkhardt said. 

“The data can’t demonstrate that there is a violation of inmates’ rights,” Burkhardt said. “But prison officials should be aware of the pattern because it could trigger lawsuits.”

Burkhardt’s study is the latest in a growing body of research on racial disparities in the criminal justice system. African-Americans and Hispanics are incarcerated at much higher rates than whites in the U.S. and previous research has found widespread racial disparities throughout the criminal justice system.

The disparity in prison placement is not linked to higher overall incarceration rates of Hispanics. It appears to stem from the process in which inmates are assigned to a correctional facility, Burkhardt said. How those decisions are made is unclear; they typically are handled by prison administrators. The research indicates there is a racial pattern to inmate assignment at correctional facilities, which also could raise legal concerns for corrections officials, he said.

Burkhardt’s findings were outlined in an article titled “Where Have All the (White and Hispanic) Inmates Gone? Comparing the Racial Composition of Private and Public Adult Correctional Facilities.” The article was recently published in the journal “Race and Justice.” The research was supported by OSU.

Burkhardt analyzed national correctional facility data for all state and federal correctional institutions from 2005, about 1,500 in all. Federal immigration detention facilities were excluded. He found that Hispanics were overrepresented and whites were underrepresented in private prison populations.

African-Americans also were overrepresented in private prisons, but the difference was not considered statistically significant, Burkhardt said. When populations of African-American and Hispanic inmates were combined, they were four percentage points higher in private facilities than in public ones, which was significant, Burkhardt said.

The racial disparity is present in both federal and state facilities and it does not appear to be connected to the security level, size or age of the facility, he said. More research is needed to determine why Hispanics are over-represented in the private prison population, he said. For example, private firms may prefer healthier inmates, which tend to be young, non-white inmates; or the assignments may be tied to prisoners’ gang affiliations.

“It’s not entirely obvious why this is happening,” Burkhardt said. “It’s a little bit of a mystery.”

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Brett Burkhardt, 541-737-2310 or Brett.burkhardt@oregonstate.edu

Ninth season of Bard in the Quad at OSU to feature ‘Julius Caesar’

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s ninth season of the popular Bard in the Quad program will feature “Julius Caesar,” a tragedy about conspiracy, betrayal and ambition. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7-10 and Aug. 14-17 in the Memorial Union Quad on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

Bard in the Quad brings innovative Shakespeare productions to Corvallis in a casual, fun summer atmosphere. Performances are held outdoors and no seating is provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring low lawn chairs and/or blankets, warm clothing and even a picnic dinner if desired. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. and no one will be seated prior to that time.

“Julius Caesar” depicts the plot to assassinate the charismatic Roman emperor in a modern interpretation of a classic drama filled with political intrigue and revenge. Amidst fear that Caesar intends to transform the Roman Republic into an empire, a group of influential senators and military leaders conspire to assassinate Caesar. The bloody political drama unfolds as each Roman struggles with issues of pride, loyalty and revenge.

Director George Caldwell’s production is influenced by the multiple fascist regimes and corrupt political systems of the 20th and 21st centuries and is set in a contemporary world where the military, government and corporations collide.

The cast features OSU students Elise Barberis as Portia/Octavia; Michael Orkney as Caesar; Emily Kathleen Peters as Calpurnia; Alex Small as Lepidus; Mike Stephens as Cinna; Sam Thompson as Trebonius; Joseph Workman as Cassius; and Renée Zipp as Metellus.

Other roles are played by community members from Corvallis, Albany and Salem. They are Erin Cunningham as Brutus; Craig Richard Currier as Lucius; Angie De Morgan as Cicero; Jonathan Thompson as Casca; Kate Thompson as Mark Antonia; Elli Smith as Soothsayer; and Alexandra Toner as Decius Brutus.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $5 for OSU students. Purchase tickets at bardinthequad.org or call the OSU Theatre box office, 541-737-2784. Contact box office manager Arin Dooley at 541-737-2784 for questions regarding tickets, seating, group ticket discounts and other accommodations.

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Study: Young women with sexy social media photos seen as less competent

BEND, Ore. – Girls and young women who post sexy or revealing photos on social media sites such as Facebook are viewed by their female peers as less physically and socially attractive and less competent to perform tasks, a new study from Oregon State University indicates.

“This is a clear indictment of sexy social media photos,” said researcher Elizabeth Daniels, an assistant professor of psychology who studies the effect of media on girls’ body image. Daniels’ findings are based on an experiment she conducted using a fictitious Facebook profile.

“There is so much pressure on teen girls and young women to portray themselves as sexy, but sharing those sexy photos online may have more negative consequences than positive,” Daniels said.

Girls and young women are in a “no-win” situation when it comes to their Facebook photos, Daniels said. Those who post sexy photos may risk negative reactions from their peers, but those who post more wholesome photos may lose out on social rewards, including attention from boys and men, she said.

“Social media is where the youth are,” she said. “We need to understand what they’re doing online and how that affects their self-concept and their self-esteem.”

Daniels’ research was published today in the journal “Psychology of Popular Media Culture.” The article, titled “The price of sexy: Viewers’ perceptions of a sexualized versus non-sexualized Facebook profile photo,” was co-authored by Eileen L. Zurbriggen of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Daniels conducted the research while on the faculty at OSU-Cascades and received two Circle of Excellence grants from OSU-Cascades to support the study. She is now an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

For the study, Daniels created two mock Facebook profiles for the fictitious 20-year-old Amanda Johnson. In both versions, Amanda liked musicians such as Lady Gaga, books such as “Twilight,” and movies like “The Notebook,” that would be appropriate for a person her age.

The only difference between the two was the profile photo. The photos were actual high school senior portrait and prom photos of a real young woman who allowed the photos to be used for the experiment.

In the sexy photo, “Amanda” is wearing a low-cut red dress with a slit up one leg to mid-thigh and a visible garter belt. In the non-sexy photo, she’s wearing jeans, a short-sleeved shirt and a scarf draped around her neck, covering her chest. 

Study participants were 58 teen girls, ages 13-18, and 60 young adult women no longer in high school, ages 17-25. They were randomly assigned one of the profiles and asked questions based on that profile.

The participants were asked to assess Amanda’s physical attractiveness (I think she is pretty), social attractiveness (I think she could be a friend of mine), and task competence (I have confidence in her ability to get a job done) on a scale from 1-7, with one being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree.

In all three areas, the non-sexy profile scored higher, indicating that those who viewed that photo thought Amanda was prettier, more likely to make a good friend and more likely to complete a task. The largest difference was in the area of task competence, suggesting a young woman’s capabilities are really dinged by the sexy photo, Daniels said.

The research underscores the importance of helping children and young people understand the long-term consequences of their online posts, Daniels said. Parents, educators and other influential adults should have regular conversations about the implications of online behavior with teens and young adults, Daniels suggested.

“We really need to help youth understand this is a very public forum,” she said.

The research also highlights the need for more discussion about gender roles and attitudes, particularly regarding girls and young women, she said.

“Why is it we focus so heavily on girls’ appearances?” she said. “What does this tell us about gender? Those conversations should be part of everyday life.”

Daniels’ advice for girls and young women is to select social media photos that showcase their identity rather than her appearance, such as one from a trip or one that highlights participation in a sport or hobby.

“Don’t focus so heavily on appearance,” Daniels said. “Focus on who you are as a person and what you do in the world.”

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Elizabeth Daniels, 831-345-8447 or daniels.psychology@gmail.com

Oregon State University hires new director for School of Arts and Communication

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Lee Ann Garrison, an administrator at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has been named the director of the School of Arts and Communication in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University.

Garrison has been executive director of the Design Research Institute at the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin. An art and design professor, Garrison also is the interim associate dean for curricular design and innovation in the Lubar School of Business and interim associate dean of academic and student affairs at the Zilber School of Public Health.

Garrison comes to Corvallis with a strong background in curriculum development and creating collaborative teaching and research opportunities at UW-Milwaukee. She will continue to use those skills as director of the School of Arts and Communication.

At Oregon State, Garrison will work to elevate the arts on campus and throughout the community, and also to create opportunities for students and faculty to work with others in the arts and beyond. 

“As an artist, Lee Ann is a bridge-builder who’s been especially adept at working across many disciplines in a university setting,” said Lawrence Rodgers, executive dean of the Division of Arts and Science. “She has a history as an especially accomplished administrator known for her ability to build coalitions and collaborate in a large institution.” 

Garrison will begin her new position Aug. 11.

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Celene Carillo, 541-737-2137 or Celene.carillo@oregonstate.edu

New ‘Philosophy of Phish’ course at OSU aims to engage students in curriculum

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In an effort to make a challenging curriculum more accessible and engaging for students, a professor at Oregon State University will teach a philosophy course on the band Phish this summer.

Stephanie Jenkins, an assistant professor of philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts at OSU, plans to explore the relationship between philosophy, music and social change with her students in a course she has dubbed “Philosophy School of Phish.”

“I have to find what students are passionate about in order to speak to them about philosophy,” Jenkins said. “Phish, or any pop culture topic, elicits interest and engages them. It’s really about teaching effectively in ways that students will remember and use for the rest of their lives.”

The course begins June 23 and runs for eight weeks. It is a distance education course offered online through Oregon State University Ecampus and enrollment is not limited to Oregon State students. Phish fans from all over the country could participate in the course. For information, visit http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/.

The course, a special section of PHL 360: Philosophy and the Arts, was designed as a philosophy of music class. Other musicians could easily be substituted as case studies, but Jenkins chose Phish because she’s a fan and is familiar with the group’s large and loyal following.

“One of the benefits of doing a rigorous philosophical study of a band is that it gives students tools to articulate why they like the concerts and how the band’s music has philosophical and spiritual components,” Jenkins said.

The practice of philosophy involves exploring questions about ethics, politics, beauty and more. Students learn to clarify and articulate their own beliefs, analyze ideas and acquire critical thinking skills.

Along with required readings from philosophers such as Kant, Tolstoy and Nietzsche, students in Jenkins’ class will be required to attend Phish concerts during the band’s summer tour or watch them via webcasts online. The experiential component is critical to engaging students with the curriculum, Jenkins said.

“I can lecture forever, but they’ll never remember it,” she said. “When you give students an experience, you give them a basis for relating to the content. It’s like field work.”

Phish is known for improvising and blending elements of a variety of musical genres. Fans follow the group from concert to concert and each show can vary widely as the musicians improvise. The band, which was founded in the 1980s, is releasing a new album later this month and will launch a new tour July 1 in Massachusetts. Other stops include New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and more. 

Jenkins will follow the tour. She’ll attend concerts, teach, conduct research on the practice of public philosophy and hold philosophy events at concert venues along the way. Students from outside Oregon who are taking the course online would have a chance to meet their professor in person during the tour.

The public events also are an opportunity for Jenkins to discuss Phish and the philosophy of music with fans or anyone else who might to join in the discussion.

“It’s a way for people to engage in academic conversations and maybe inspire people to actually read philosophy,” she said. “Today, we think of philosophy as something really abstract that scholars do. But Socrates and others did philosophy in the city, in the public square.”

To find out more about the public events, visit Jenkins’ website, http://philosophyschoolofphish.com/ or follow her on Twitter: @scjenkins.

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Stephanie Jenkins, 541-737-6517, Stephanie.jenkins@oregonstate.edu