Smile Politely

Listen Up: April 9–15

WHAT: Looking Back at the Arab Spring: Why it Happened, Why it Matters Today, and What’s Coming Next,” a panel discussion featuring: Professor and Chair Scott Althaus, Professor Timur Kuran, Professor Milan Svolik, Professor Jose Cheibub, and Professor Hadi Esfahani

WHEN: Monday, April 9 @ 3 p.m.

WHERE: 119 Materials Science and Engineering Building, 1304 West Green Street, Urbana

The topic of this talk should be fairly self-explanatory, and it sounds pretty relevant.


WHAT: Rare and Little Known Plants of Illinois,” John Schwegmann, Retired IDNR State Botanist

WHEN: Tuesday, April 10 @ 3 p.m.

WHERE: Forbes Natural History Building, Rm 1005, 1816 S. Oak St, Champaign

From the event announcement: “This program is an overview of rare plants encountered and photographed by John Schwegman during a 28 year career in nature conservation in Illinois. All portions of the state are covered and many restricted habitats and plants are depicted. Some of the 120 plants discussed have apparently become extirpated from the state since he photographed them here. Some plants were monitored and aspects of their conservation biology will be discussed.”


WHAT: Because I Am a Citizen: Religion and the Common Good in Today’s America,” Martin E. Marty, religion scholar

WHEN: Thursday, April 12 @ 8 p.m.

WHERE: Knight Auditorium of Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana

A Lutheran scholar, Martin Marty has written a whole pile of books in his life. including Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America. If you think that religion has any relationship to the common good in America, then you may enjoy this talk.


WHAT:Debts and Deficits: Combating Recession in the U.S., Latin America, and Eurozone,” Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

WHEN: Friday, April 13 @ 12 noon

WHERE: University YMCA, Latzer Hall, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign

From the event announcement: “Mark Weisbrot offers a look at how each of the major regional world economies is fairing through the current economic recession as well as the approaches implemented to stop it. Who has the best plan and will it be enough?”


WHAT: Urban Sustainability in the Age of Climate Justice,” Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

WHEN: Friday, April 13 @ 5 p.m.

WHERE: 2nd Floor, Levis Center, 919 West Illinois Street, Urbana

From the event announcement: “Thoughtful people look to cities for evidence that progress is being made in the fight to avert climate change. The “sustainable cities” movement is thriving all across the world, and mayors compete for the title of “greenest city in America.” In this lecture, drawing on his own research in the metro Phoenix area, Andrew Ross shows that the key solutions are more social than technical in nature. Marketing a green lifestyle to affluent residents will create showpiece sustainable enclaves, but will not alter the patterns of “eco-apartheid” that afflicts most large U.S. cities. He will look at some of Phoenix’s biggest challenges–water management, urban growth, immigration policy, pollution, energy supply, and downtown revitalization–in light of his arguments for policies that promote environmental justice.”



You live near a major university and a community college. There are smart people that come here every week to talk to the general public about interesting topics. Perhaps you were not aware of this fact, or were overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities for possible enlightenment. If that’s the case, Smile Politely understands and is here to help. Here are several events going on in town this week. Check out one or more of them if you have time. Get your learn on, as they say, and join the cognoscenti. It’s free, you know. Plus, sometimes there’s free food, too!

If you have a community event, speaker, or film event that you’d like to see featured on Listen Up!, send the event information to joelgillespie [at] smilepolitely [dot] com by Friday the week prior to the event. Listen Up! runs on Mondays when classes are in session.

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