CSU Channel Islands (CI) hosts more than a dozen free public lectures from September through December at libraries throughout Ventura County. We are pleased to announce that we have added Oxnard Public Library to our rotation this semester. We also will feature some Spanish and Bilingual presentations as well!

Fake News, Work and Labor, and Zoot Suiters are among the topics that will be explored by experts from numerous departments at CI, including Biology, Communication, Mathematics and Psychology to name a few.


Camarillo Library, 4101 E. Las Posas Road
Lectures are Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Sept. 11

"Marine microplastics: is plastic pollution hiding at your local beach?"

Clare Steele, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of ESRM

Abstract: Marine debris is found in all of the world’s oceans, accumulates in areas like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and washes ashore onto beaches worldwide. Plastics are a significant component of marine debris, and may break down into tiny fragments called microplastics. Other sources of microplastics are synthetic fibers and microbeads from personal-care products. These microplastics are too small to be collected during beach clean-ups but may be accumulating, unseen, and causing problems in local coastal systems.

Oct. 9

“Fake News! Read All About it!”

Brian Thoms, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Computer Sciences

Abstract: In this lecture series, Dr. Brian Thoms will present on issues surrounding fake news. While the subject has received wide-spread attention in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election and post-election, the concept has been around for centuries and refers to the deliberate publication of misinformation and or hoaxes in mainstream media. In addition to a brief history of fake news, Dr. Thoms will also present on tips and strategies for verifying whether or not the information we receive, or the media sources we receive it from are, in fact, reliable. The lecture will also explore the phenomenon of viral news and how fake news spreads across popular online social networking systems such as Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Thoms is Asst. Professor of Computer Science and Information Technology at California State University, Channel Islands and performs research in both social and health informatics, which is a field of computing that focuses on how data is organized and represented for end-users.


“Work and Labor in the 21st Century”

Elizabeth Sowers, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Sociology

Abstract: Work and labor activity underwent significant changes from the mid-1900s in most advanced capitalist countries, with highly-unionized, stable, manufacturing jobs giving way to much less unionized, temporary or precarious employment in the service sector.  The contemporary moment is one where issues of economic justice are at the forefront of the public consciousness.  Are we all entitled to a basic standard of living?  Should the minimum wage be raised?  What role might traditional unions play in protecting workers? This talk will focus on the systemic patterns of change that have affected work and union activity, with a special focus on detailing the transformations that have impacted transportation work in the US.

Dec. 11

“Living Together but Worlds Apart: Examining Ventura’s County Youth and Aging Population”

Luis A. Sánchez, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Sociology

Abstract: In addition to changes in racial and ethnic composition, one of Ventura County’s most profound shifts is related to age structure. Birth rates have dropped since 1990 while the county’s population ages 65 and older continues to grow. This lecture will provide an in-depth portrait of Ventura County’s youth and elderly population. In particular, Dr. Sánchez will share data on the changing circumstances of these two age groups and discuss how although these age groups may significantly differ from each other, their lives are intrinsically linked.

Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. Janss Road

Lectures are Wednesdays, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Sept. 20

"Literature and Climate Change: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Richard Powers' The Echo Maker, and Consumption and Development in the Anthropocene"

Kyndra Turner, Ph.D., Lecturer of English

Abstract: In this presentation, I will examine how both Mary Shelley’s 18th century British novel, Frankenstein, and Richard Power’s 20th century American novel, The Echo Maker despite their differences in time of composition and continent of origin, point to the ways in which northern places have been exploited for centuries to generate capital, but also are implicated in larger global narratives of human consumption and development. Specifically, I will demonstrate how Captain Walton’s polar exploration becomes a metaphor for the ways in which activities in the Global North are impacting the extension of the continental shelf. Similarly, I examine how Richard Powers illustrates the flight of migratory birds from Mexico to the Arctic to address issues such as the Keystone XL Pipeline and climate change. This work provides a model for what I call “readings in the Anthropocene” that intervene and question dominant ideologies of power and progress that have contributed to climate change.

Oct. 18 

“Environmental War and Peace: Environmental Conflict Management & Policy Development”

Traceylee Clarke, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Communication

Abstract:  Dr. Clarke will discuss the unique aspects of environmental conflict and current practices in the field to address controversial issues. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and collaborative policy development processes will be highlighted using local case studies from Ventura County. Dr. Clarke is an associate professor of environmental communication at CSU Channel Islands and focuses her research on the role of language in the management of natural resource conflicts and the shaping environmental policy. She is also an environmental mediator and works on policy projects with the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and the National Parks Service.


“To infinity and Beyond: Paradoxes of the Infinite”

Jesse Elliott, Ph.D. Professor of Mathematics

Abstract: We will examine various paradoxes of the infinite and various mathematical attempts to resolve them, ranging from Zeno of Elea (c. 490 - c. 430 BC), Georg Cantor (1845-1918), Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), and Kurt Godel (1906-1978).

Ojai Library, 111 E. Ojai Ave

Lectures are Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Sept. 9

“There’s No Time Like Now: Cultivating Mindfulness to Enhance Overall Well-Being”

Christy Teranishi Martinez, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology

Abstract: Multitasking has become increasingly important in our fast-paced society. Smartphones, MP3 players, and navigation systems have become necessities in our day-to-day activities. However, overuse of technology and multitasking can lead to decreased attention and performance. Building on Positive Psychology research, Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez will discuss strategies for cultivating mindfulness in order to foster creativity, improve relationships, and enhance overall well-being. In this workshop, she will review the history and background of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and teach you a few meditation and relaxation techniques to help reduce stress, improve mental focus, and increase coping.

Oct. 21

“New Option at the End of Life”

Carol Mack, Ph.D., JD, RN, Associate Professor of Health Science

Abstract: We will be discussing the history of the "death with dignity" movement and the new End of Life Option law, what safeguards it provides, and what challenges it raises. I will also plan on bringing information about the latest challenges to the law.

Nov. 4

“James Joyce: Rebellion and Salvation”

Joan Peters, Ph.D. Professor of English

Abstract: James Joyce (1882-1941), a poor boy from a repressive theocracy, became one of the major creators of modern fiction? How and why did Joyce - along with Woolf, Kafka, Eliot, and others - burst open the boundaries of conventional linear writing to better express a new reality? And just what was that new reality his works expressed? Is it still ours?

Dec. 9

“The Spiritual Basis of Life- the link between body and soul”

Nitika Parmar, Ph.D. Professor of Biology

Abstract: Does the soul exist? Is it distinct from the body? Our bodies are highly complex machines but who provides the consciousness to the body?  Isn't our body more real, since we can see it and touch it? Our body is constantly changing: infancy, childhood, youth, middle age, old age, and finally death. Who witnesses this “virtual reality” from within? Even though our body changes throughout life, we always keep our sense of identity. Matter is temporary, and spirit is eternal. To understand this point is real knowledge. Understanding the difference between body and soul—between matter and spirit—is the beginning of spiritual life. The idea of a soul stands as a theory irrespective of theistic or atheistic philosophies. This talk will compare the nature of both the body and the soul and how this understanding can help us achieve a better quality of life. Topics will include features of the soul, evidence of its presence and its association with the body.

Oxnard Public Library, 251 S. A St.

Lectures are Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 19 

“Zoot Suiters”

Nicholas Centino, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Chicano Studies

Abstract: Nearing 75 years since the Zoot Suit Riots where US servicemen and civilians attacked Chicana/o and Latina/o youth in Los Angeles, a revived interest in the pachucas/os of the WWII homefront continues to enthrall and fascinate.  This talk will look at the current revival of Zoot Suit era style, music, dance, and culture across the southwest & beyond and place it context with our current political atmosphere.

*** Oct. 17  *** Spanish Presentation

“Cómo Preparar Sus Hijos Para Estudiar en la Universidad”

Ernesto Guerrero Jr., Ed.D. Director of Academic Advising at CSU Channel Islands

Abstract: En este taller hablaremos de las cosas que padres e hijos deben hace desde la secundaria o preparatoria para tener las mejores oportunidades para estudiar al nivel universitario.  Específicamente, hablaremos sobre los cursos que deben tomar, cómo llenar las solicitudes de las universidades, y cómo solicitar ayuda financiera del gobierno para pagar la colegiatura.  Invitamos a estudiantes, padres, y familiares que tienen cualquier duda o pregunta sobre este tema que vengan a este taller. 

Santa Paula Library, 119 North 8th Street

Lectures are Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Sept. 12 

Luis A. Sánchez, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Sociology

“We are the World: Exploring Trends in Global Poverty and Health”

Abstract: The world’s current population is nearly 7.5 billion and projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050 (United Nations, 2017). In addition to population growth, what do we currently know about other trends such as global poverty and health? The world has changed drastically in the last fifty years but recent survey data suggest people are misinformed about the current global landscape. In this lecture, Dr. Sánchez will challenge preconceived notions about the world’s population and provide a fact-based perspective to help provide a better understanding of our ever-changing and more interconnected world.

*** Oct. 10 *** Spanish Presentation 

“Cómo Preparar Sus Hijos Para Estudiar en la Universidad”

Ernesto Guerrero Jr., Ed.D. Director of Academic Advising at CSU Channel Islands

Abstract: En este taller hablaremos de las cosas que padres e hijos deben hace desde la secundaria o preparatoria para tener las mejores oportunidades para estudiar al nivel universitario.  Específicamente, hablaremos sobre los cursos que deben tomar, cómo llenar las solicitudes de las universidades, y cómo solicitar ayuda financiera del gobierno para pagar la colegiatura.  Invitamos a estudiantes, padres, y familiares que tienen cualquier duda o pregunta sobre este tema que vengan a este taller. 

*** Nov. 7 *** Bilingual Presentation

“Ramona, Popular Culture, and Southern California Literature”

Georgina Guzmán, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of English

Abstract: Did you know that Helen Hunt Jackson's famous novel Ramona (1884) was set in Ventura County? In this bilingual presentation, Professor Georgina Guzmán (CSU Channel Islands, English Dept.) discusses Ramona's history and how it shaped ideas and perceptions about Southern California, the land, and its diverse peoples from the late 1800s up until today, for Ramona continues to be a prominent figure in popular culture- even becoming the subject of a recent Mexican telenovela.


Featured Lecture Series (Videos):

Stem Cells – Boon or Bane?
Dr. Nitika Parmar
Associate Professor of Biology

Ordinary Men – How Normal People Can Do Terrible Things
Dr. Kevin Volkan
Professor of Psychology

Past Lectures:


“The Prehistory of the Channel Islands and Coastal California: A 10,000 Year Retrospective” by Colleen Delaney, Ph.D. Professor of Anthropology


“Herbs and Spices: Do They Impact Human Health?” by Nitika Parmar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

“Oil spills and microbes: How does nature remediate massive petroleum discharges?” by Patricia Tavormina, Ph.D., Biology Lecturer

“Influenza A Viruses in Artificial Community Water Ponds” by Zin Htway, Ph.D., Biology Lecturer

“Methane as a Resource: Sustainable Use of an Otherwise Powerful Greenhouse Gas” by Patricia Tavormina, Ph.D., Biology Lecturer

“Window to the Abyss” by Geoff Dilly, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

“Bees, Food and You, Ruben” by Alarcón, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

“Exobiology and Space Science: The Possible Existence of Extraterrestrial Life and Man's Current Ability to Find It”, by Dr. Erich Fleming, Assistant Professor of Biology

“Humpback Whales: Gentle Giants of the North Pacific”, by Dr. Rachel Cartwright, Lecturer in Biology

“Stem Cells – Boon or Bane?”  by Dr. Nitika Parmar, Associate Professor of Biology

“OMG! Here Come the GMOs: Do We Embrace or Challenge Advances in Biotechnology?” by Panda Kroll, ESQ, Lecturer in Business

“Natural Habitats Around CSU Channel Islands Before and After the 2013 Springs Fire”, by Dr. Steven Norris, Lecturer in Biology

Business & Economics

“Business Success in China – Understanding Business Culture”, by Dr. Priscilla Laing, Associate Professor of Finance

“China: the Socialist Market Economy”, by Priscilla Liang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Finance

“The Era of the Celebrity CEO is Over”, by Dr. Andrew Morris, Professor of Business & Economics

“The Great GMO Labe Debate - Science, Politics, and the Court of Public Opinions”, by Panda Kroll, ESQ, Lecturer in Business


“Climate Change and the Mercury Cycle” by Simone Aloisio, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry

“Through the Looking Glass: a Chemist's Perspective on Lewis Carroll”, by Phil Hampton, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry

Chicano Studies

“Beyond the Latino Sports Hero: The Role of Sports in Creating Communities, Networks and Identities,” by Dr. Jose Alamillo, Associate Professor of Chicano Studies


“Are We Crazy About Our Kids? The Cost/Benefit Equation”, by Dr. Kaia Tollefson, Associate Professor of Education, and Dr. Joan Karp.

“Education System in Finland: From Equity to Excellence”, by Dr. Tiina Itkonen, Associate Professor of Education

“Gender Differences in the Social Behaviors of Girls and Boys with Autism”, Michelle Dean, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Special Education

“Lessons from Finland”, by Dr. Tiina Itkonen, Associate Professor of Education


“Reconnecting Art, Nature and Community in Japan” by Brad Monsma, Ph.D. Professor of English

“Grief, Healing and Short Fiction” by Kristen Fitzpatrick, Lecturer in English

“Stories from Ventura Writers” by Sean Carswell Professor of English; Kristin Fitzpatrick and Kim Vose, Lecturers in English; and Sofia Samatar, Assistant Professor of English.

“Stories Behind the Stories: English Faculty Reading and Discussion”, by Professors of English: Brad Monsma, Bob Mayberry, Mary Adler, Sean Carswell and Sofia Samatar

Environmental Science

“Plastic Pollution: How Microplastics are Impacting Beaches in Southern California” by Management Clare Steele, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Resource

“Dr. Anderson’s Oil Spill Blog: oil.piratelab.org”, by Sean Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental Science & Resource Management

“A New Era of Research on Santa Rosa Island”, by Cause Hanna, Ph.D., Santa Rosa Island Research Station

“Manager Climate Change in the 21st Century”, by Dr. Simone Aloisio, Professor of Chemistry

“The Interaction Between Urban Centers and Protected Areas”, by Dr. Don Rodriguez, Professor of Environmental Science & Resource Management


“Emerging Identities in Evolving End-of-the Century Empires”, by P. Scott Corbett, Ph.D., Lecturer of History

“Laundering Labor and Images in 19th Century Mexico City”, by Marie Francois, Ph.D., Professor of History

“The Neglected Pacific Theater of the First World War”, by Rainer Buschmann, Ph.D., Professor of History

Information Literacy

“The Intersection of Big Data and Privacy” by Dr. Janet Pinkley and Dr. Monica Pereira

“Information Literacy and the Public Sphere”, by Dr. Monica Pereira and Dr. Janet Pinkley, Assistant Librarians


“Paradoxes and Shocking outcomes in math. Do you still believe in Math?” by Jorge Garcia Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics

“Water Management: State of the Art” By Ron Rieger, Mathematics Lecturer


“Good, Bad, or Otherwise:  Reliable Healthcare Internet Resources”, by Colleen Nevins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Nursing

Performing Arts

“New Directions in Music Technology” by Ted Lucas, DMA Performing Arts Lecturer

“Australian Actors and Hollywood Stars”, by Dr. Luda Popenhagen, Professor of Performing Arts

Political Science

“Politics to the Extreme” by Sean Kelly, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science

“The U.S. Immigration Debate: Fact versus Fiction” by Mary McThomas Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science

“Resisting the Pressures of the Present: Channel Islands National Park as a Case Study in Public Policymaking”, by Dr. Scott Frisch, Professor of Political Science, and Dr. Dan Wakelee, Assistant Provost and Associate Professor of Political Science


“Ordinary Men – How Normal People Can Do Terrible Things”, by Dr. Kevin Volkan, Professor of Psychology

“Some Psychological Benefits of a Secure Relationship with God”, by Dr. Harley Baker, Professor of Psychology

“Eastern and Western Perspectives of Health and Well-Being”, by Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez, Associate Professor of Psychology

“Culture-Bound Syndromes”, by Dr. Kevin Volkan, Professor of Psychology


“The Syrian Refugee Crisis in Regional and Global Context” by Reha Kadakal, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology

“Globalization, Niche Ports and the Local Economy: A Look at Port Hueneme and the Southern California Logistics Industry”, by Dr. Elizabeth Sowers, Assistant Professor of Sociology

“Social Barriers to Taking Paid Family Leave in California: Lessons for Proposed Federal Paid Family Leave Legislation”, by Dr. Lindsey Trimble O'Connor, Assistant Professor of Sociology


“Hidden Gems of Latin America”, by Stephen Clark, Ph.D., Professor of Spanish

“Latin America's Most Interesting Leaders”, by Dr. Stephen Clark, Professor of Spanish