CSU Channel Islands (CI) hosts more than a dozen free public lectures from February through May at libraries throughout Ventura County, as well as the Channel Islands Boating Center.

The Planet; Poetry; ISIS; Neighbors, and Neighborhoods are among the topics that will be explored by experts from numerous departments at CI, including Biology, Health Science, English, Computer Science, Political Science, ESRM, Sociology, and Spanish to name a few.


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

February 27

"Is Eugenics History? Mass Sterilization of People with Disabilities" by Kristen Linton, MSW, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Health Science

Abstract: California’s eugenics laws starting in 1909 resulted in the mass sterilization and a sexualization of 20,000 people; 70% of which were labeled as mentally ill or disabled. While California apologized for the eugenics laws in 2003, castrations, tubal ligations, and forced birth control continue to be used to prevent fertility among people with disabilities. However, California progressively passed the California Healthy Youth Act in 2015, which mandates schools to offer adapted comprehensive sexual education for students with disabilities acknowledging the sexuality of people with disabilities. This law may indicate a shift in attitudes towards sexuality of people with disabilities. Could this snowball with the repealing of an old California law prohibiting marriage among people with disabilities and reflect that eugenics truly is history in the state of California?

March 27

"Fantasy Femmes Fatales: Women of Mythology and Poetics of Power" by Colleen Harris-Keith, M.L.S., M.F.A., ED.D., Assistant Librarian

Abstract: Turning men to stone. Giving men power in battle. Luring sailors to their deaths. Female power has long been a subject of the stories we tell. There are a number of mythical female figures that have survived through time and continue to be relevant today, in books, movies, plays, and music. This lecture explores poetic treatments of fantasy femmes fatales—mythological female figures with great (and often terrifying) power. We will explore different interpretations of characters including characters like Circe, sirens, Medusa, Helen of Troy, Aphrodite, and Athena, comparing and contrasting traditional treatments of these characters by male poets with more contemporary interpretations by women poets. We will ask, and attempt to answer, questions like, why have these particular femmes fatales survived so many centuries in the popular imagination? What does female power look like? What makes it monstrous or beautiful? How do our poets influence our perception of powerful female figures?

April 24

"ISIS and Ideology" by Reha Kadakal, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology

Abstract: Despite frequent media coverage in the US, there is little understanding of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) that had spread across Iraq, Syria and beyond. What is the Islamic State? Where did it come from? What does its ideology represent? In this lecture, Reha Kadakal will discuss the ideological roots of ISIS and its terror, the reasons behind its success, and the conditions of its total defeat for the prospects of peace and stability in the region and globally.

Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. Janss Road

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

February 1

"Poets of Dissent/Poetas del Desacato" by Maythe Ruffino, CI Faculty Member in Spanish, with other poets

Abstract: This presentation will have 3 different poets from academia and the community to denounce and combat racism, sexism, discrimination, the war, the killing and persecution of innocent children and people. Now more than ever art has a commitment not to be a political manifesto but to touch the deepest fibers of humanity to stand in solidarity, to help transform, to protest in the unique and unquestionable ways art can do it. These poetry series are a call for resistance and survival of humanity.

March 22 

"It's the thought that counts:" On the pragmatics of gift-giving by Daniel Usera, Ph.D., CI Faculty Member in Communication

Abstract: Is giving a gift card "less thoughtful" than giving someone merchandise? What if it was cash instead? Can it ever be "polite" to refuse a gift? And if so, how do we decide? One of humanity's most cherished cultural and interpersonal rituals is the practice of gift-giving. Drawing from social scientific research, we will explore some communicative complexities of both giving and receiving gifts. By the end of this talk, you will develop a refined appreciation for the gifts that you receive and the ones that you give. 

April 26

"Logistics and Labor: Recent Developments at West Coast Ports" by Elizabeth Sowers, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology

Abstract: California is well known for its coastline, and the luxurious “beach life” forms the basis of popular depictions of California as well as functioning as a tourist incentive.  But residents of Southern California know that this image of glossy beach communities is only part of the story.  Those familiar with the area might associate another image with the thought of California’s coastline: the bright lights, massive ships, and complex machinery of local ports. This talk will discuss the logistics industry, its rise to prominence in the last few decades, its role in both global and local economic processes, and recent developments in the labor environment at West Coast ports. Come to this talk to learn more about logistics work in Southern California, including recent strikes and labor uprisings among logistics workers. 

Ojai Library, 111 E. Ojai Ave

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

February 11

"TADA! Validating the Magic of Theatre and Dance" by Heather Castillo, MFA, Assistant Professor of Performing Arts

Abstract: After 45 years, a bit of magic has come to the state of California. On September 26, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 916, the TADA! Act into law. Written by Senator Ben Allen of Santa Monica, the Theatre and Dance Act will provide all students in California access to dance and theatre as part of their public education experience. This lecture will discuss the benefits of inclusive arts education and its new required prominence in K-12 education. Information will be provided on the implementation of the Theatre and Dance credential and what it means to our community.

March 11

"Thinking Like a Mountain Lion: Learning to Live With Wild Neighbors" by Dan Maher, Ph.D., CI Faculty Member in ESRM and Communication

Abstract: Recent human-wildlife conflicts in the Santa Monica Mountains highlight definite changes in the way 'fringe dwellers' relate to shared space. Such changes stand in stark contrast to historic regional approaches to wildlife management, and highlight how previous limitations in practice that once impeded conservation success are slowly being overcome by transformative new approaches to human-wildlife conflict management. This talk provides a brief summary of the conflicts mentioned, their historical context, and findings from an ongoing study of related issues.

April 8

"Virginia Woolf and James Joyce" by Joan Peters, Ph.D., Professor of English

Abstract: In the early years of the Twentieth Century, just as Picasso, Modigliani and others were transforming European art in order to represent a new sensibility, so too were Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) and James Joyce (1882-1941) creating what we now think of as modern fiction. Both were innovators in bursting open the boundaries of conventional linear writing to better express a new reality, one which encompassed unprecedented individual freedom and a social volatility erupting into revolution and war. Together, Woolf and Joyce created the blueprint for fiction as we now know it: that can do or say anything, from any point of view.

May 13 

"Growing Awareness: pathways to healthy happy food security and increased community cohesiveness via the creation of community gardens" by Dan Maher, Ph.D., CI Faculty Member in ESRM and Communication; Patricia Browne, RN and President of Camarillo Community Gardens

Abstract: Local experts in the art of designing, developing and sustaining community gardens present ideas on crop choice and rotation, natural pest control, garden administration, and other small scale horticultural tips based on related demonstration projects ongoing at CSUCI.

Simi Valley Library, 2969 Tapo Canyon Road

Lectures are Sundays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

February 19 

“Chemotherapy: Background for basic understanding” by Zin Htway, Ph.D.,CI Faculty Member in Biology

Abstract: A presentation of chemotherapy:  Past, present, and future.  There will be special emphasis on Companion Diagnostics, Complementary Diagnostics, and Targeted therapy.  Lecture will include a detailed discussion of non-small cell lung cancer:  Incidence rate and mortality. ​

***April 9*** Bilingual Presentation 

"Poets of Dissent/Poetas del Desacato" by Maythe Ruffino, CI Faculty Member in Spanish, with other poets

Abstract: This presentation will have 3 different poets from academia and the community to denounce and combat racism, sexism, discrimination, the war, the killing and persecution of innocent children and people. Now more than ever art has a commitment not to be a political manifesto but to touch the deepest fibers of humanity to stand in solidarity, to help transform, to protest in the unique and unquestionable ways art can do it. These poetry series are a call for resistance and survival of humanity. 

Esta presentación tendrá como anfitriona y poeta a Maythé Ruffino, profesora de California State University, Channel Islands y Northridge,  y otros poetas de la academia y la comunidad; para denunciar y combatir el racismo, el sexismo, la discriminación, la guerra, el asesinato y la persecución de niños inocentes y de pueblos. Ahora más que nunca, el arte tiene un compromiso, no de ser un manifiesto político, sino de tocar las fibras más profundas de la humanidad para levantarse en solidaridad y ayudar a transformar, para protestar en las únicas e incuestionables maneras en las que sólo el arte puede hacerlo. Estas series de lecturas de poesía son un llamado a la resistencia y a la sobrevivencia de la humanidad.

Blanchard Community Library, 119 North 8th Street, Santa Paula Lectures are Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

***February 21 *** Bilingual Presentation

"Laundry in 18th and 19th century Mexico" by Marie Francois, Ph.D., Professor of History

Abstract: Las lavanderas de la ciudad de México en la epoca colonial y después de la independencia funcionaban como contratistas independientes y desempeñaban para múltiples clientes un trabajo especializado e intensivo que producía camisas blancas y sábanas limpias, así como una imagen personal cuidada y respetable.  Su labor también generaba un ingreso para mantenerse y sostener su hogar.

 Laundresses in Mexico City in the late colonial period and after Independence worked as independent contractors, performing skilled labor-intensive work for multiple clients that produced white shirts and clean sheets, as well as polished images and respectability.  Their labor also produced an income toward sustaining themselves and their households. 

March 21 

"Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Examining Changes in Racial/Ethnic Diversity across Ventura County Neighborhoods" by Luis A. Sánchez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology

Abstract: Similar to patterns at the national level, Ventura County’s racial and ethnic diversity has substantially increased over the past few decades. However, this trend has taken place unevenly across neighborhoods. Although most neighborhoods in Ventura County have become more racially and ethnically diverse, a substantial amount exhibit similar levels or have actually decreased in diversity. This talk provides an overview of these changes and discusses the implications of geographic differences in neighborhood diversity.

***April 11*** Bilingual Presentation 

"Algorithms - the rules of modern living" /“Los algoritmos - las reglas de la vida moderna” by Michael Soltys, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science

Abstract: Algorithms - the rules of modern living Algorithms are the ideas behind computer programs; they are the concepts that animate computers. Modern life is controlled by algorithms to a great extent: from online purchasing, to Google searching, and even dating, algorithms control many aspects of modern living.

“Los algoritmos - las reglas de la vida moderna” Los algoritmos son las ideas qué controlan los programas de software; Son los conceptos que animan las computadoras. En gran medida, la vida moderna es controlada por algoritmos: desde la compra en línea, a la búsqueda de Google, e incluso la vida romántica, los algoritmos regulan nuestros hábitos y decisiones.

Channel Islands Boating Center, 3880 Bluefin Circle,Oxnard Lectures are Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

April 13 

"With whom do we share the planet?  Examples from the fish world" by Steven Norris, Ph.D., CI Faculty Member in Biology  

Abstract: This talk addresses world biodiversity and our incomplete knowledge of it.  As an ichthyologist who worked with fish biodiversity, I use examples from my research on African and Mexican fishes to illuminate the issue. 

May  4

"Adapting to stress: surviving hydrothermal vents, intertidal zones, and changing oceans" by Geoff Dilly, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

Abstract: The field of ecophysiology studies the relationship between dynamic environments and the organisms that live within. This talk will explore my research on thermotolerance of polychaete worms at hydrothermal vents, survival and ecological change in the rocky intertidal ecology of the Channel Islands, and the future of marine life on a changing planet. 

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