Rhett Talks

Rhett Talks is BU’s version of the popular TEDx talks. Listen to some of our University’s best faculty give brief, innovative, and engaging presentations outside of the classroom!

Rhett Talks explores the great intellectual breadth that is found across our University’s many schools and colleges. It also allows faculty members of all levels to experience student life in a new way.

Three 15 minute presentations will occur at each event. You will have a brief opportunity to ask questions on each presentation. And yes, refreshments are included. Watch 2013′s slate of Rhett Talks to get ready for this year.

The Faculty-in-Residence program sponsors Rhett Talks, with assistance from the Dean of Students Office and Residence Life.

What They’re Saying About Rhett Talks
Upcoming Talks
Previous Talks

What They’re Saying About Rhett Talks


BU Today, September 8, 2014


BU Today, September 9, 2013
Daily Free Press, September 10, 2013
Daily Free Press , September 17, 2013
BU Quad, September 25, 2013
BU Quad, October 2, 2013


Upcoming Talks

Further reading about each topic is available from the Boston University Libraries.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at Warren Towers (4th floor Cinema Room, 700 Commonwealth Avenue), 7pm

Presenter Title Description
Roy Grundmann
Associate Professor, Film Studies
College of Communication
Labour in a Single Shot “Labour in a Single Shot” showcases the work of research in Cinema and Media Studies. The presentation will explore a three-year video workshop organized by the Goethe-Institute and the filmmaker Harun Farocki (who recently passed away). Farocki visited 14 different cities in the world (including Boston) and taught a group of lay persons how to make a very short (1 minute) film about any topic of labor. The presentation will discuss the dynamics of this captivating project.
Jennifer Knust
Associate Professor, New Testament and Christian Origins
School of Theology/College of Arts & Sciences
Is There a Bible at All? A description is as follows: “The Bible” is a highly fluid collection of books, not a stable text that stands apart from human history. Codex Sinaiticus, one of the most ancient surviving Bible manuscripts, makes the point: Rediscovered in the 19th century, this 4th century manuscript serves as an important basis both for modern editions of the Greek New Testament and for the English language Bibles used in classes here at BU. Its Old Testament, however, which is in Greek, is important chiefly to scholars; since the Reformation, Protestants have read their Old Testament in Hebrew and by tradition Catholics have preferred the Latin Vulgate. In fact, Sinaiticus’s collection of books, its book order, and the very material from which it is made are strikingly different from what is found in modern Bibles, irrespective of who is reading them. But how can this be? Doesn’t everyone know what “the Bible” is? And doesn’t the Bible stay the same? This Rhett Talk begins with the premise that there is no Bible, not really; instead there are distinctive Bibles that change, sometimes radically, along with the human communities that produce them. The communal character of Bibles, however, does not mean that there can be no god, no faith, and no religion. On the contrary, a recognition that people make Bibles challenges us to ask who is making them and why, opening up new possibilities for understanding across cultures, peoples, places, and times.
Jonathon Bethard
Assistant Professor, Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Archaeology
School of Medicine/College of Arts & Sciences
Gone but Not Forgotten: Forensic Anthropology and the Identification of Missing People Forensic anthropologists routinely examine skeletonized human remains and assist in generating positive identifications of missing persons. In some instances, positive identifications can take many years or even decades. In this talk, these topics will be discussed and highlighted with a case study of an individual missing for over half a century


Monday, September 22, 2014 at Kilachand Hall (1st floor Commons, 91 Bay State Road), 7pm

Presenter Title Description
Carrie Preston
Associate Professor, English
College of Arts & Sciences
What Learning to Kneel Before My Japanese Teacher Taught Me About Teaching A professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies finds herself kneeling painfully in seiza and bowing to her teacher for the purpose of learning to perform the Japanese theatrical form called noh, which continues to operate according to sexist traditions. The more important lessons challenged her assumptions about what it means to be a good teacher and student. Teaching, learning, and living in our multicultural, global world should hurt sometimes – should actually bring us to our knees.
Christopher Ricks
Professor, Humanities
College of Arts & Sciences
The Great War and T.S. Eliot How the Great War impinged on the life and the art of T.S. Eliot, who was in his twenties.
Kenneth Freeman
Dean and Professor
School of Management
Don’t Let Your Career Cause Regrets in Your Personal Life The Dean of the School of Management will share some ways to think about the challenge of managing one’s work life and personal life, and offer some guiding principles to keep in mind over the long haul of a career.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at Metcalf Hall (2nd floor of the George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Avenue), 7pm

Presenter Title Description
Ann McKee
School of Medicine
Current Concepts in CTE Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes and military personnel with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. However, recent reports have been published of neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. Dr. McKee will describe the neuropathological changes associated with CTE. In addition, she will describe the clinical changes associated with CTE and discuss current research happening at the CTE Center at the Boston University School if Medicine.
John McCarthy
Clinical Assistant Professor
Director, The Institute for Athletic Coach Education
Boston University School of Education
Changing the Game: Redesigning Football to Minimize Concussions Prof. McCarthy will discuss the current status and research on Coach Training, particular the program of “Heads Up Football.” He will discuss the curriculum and how rules, roles, equipment, field of play, and other structures are changing in football at all levels due to the recent research on concussions
Chris Nowinski
Co-Director for BU’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (BU CSTE)
Football Greatness: a Blessing or a Curse? Chris Nowinski, a former Harvard football player and co-founder of the CTE Center at BU School of Medicine, will explore how research on the long-term effects of brain trauma invites serious questions about a career in football and the age at which children begin playing. A career in the NFL puts athletes at a higher risk for later life neurological diseases than the average person. If that is the prize for success, do you sign your child up? If so, do you hope for a short football career?

Previous Talks

Monday, September 8, 2014

Yes, Watching Baseball Can Be Science!
Andy Andres
Senior Lecturer, Natural Sciences & Mathematics
College of General Studies

Letters to Your Soul
Will Waters
Associate Professor, German & Comparative Literature
College of Arts & Sciences

Billions and Billions of Planets: The Ubiquity of Extrasolar Planets and the Red Dwarfs that (Mostly) Host Them
Andrew West
Assistant Professor, Astronomy
College of Arts & Sciences