Dr. John Laudun has been selected to be the first speaker of Theodore Talks, our new speaker/talk series. He is scheduled to speak May 23rd, 2:00-3:00 pm in the MAM Zoom room. The speaker’s information for this lecture immediately follows below.

TITLEVernacular Knowledge: Looking for Intelligence in Unexpected Places

SPEAKER BIO – Dr. John Laudun is on the specialist faculty at the U.S. Combined Arms Center’s Army Management Staff College where he focuses on social information systems. In addition to his programmatic duties, his current research looks at TED talks in relationship to contemporary culture as well as the spread of ideas across online social networks. A folklorist by training, with a PhD from Indiana University’s Folklore Institute, Dr. Laudun has documented, analyzed, and published on Cajun and Creole cultures, embedded creativity, and folk narratives about places and people. He has been a Javits Fellow, a MacArthur Scholar, and been supported in his research by the NEH, the NSF, and the Andrew Mellon Foundation. His scholarly work has appeared in a number of journals and been translated into Chinese. Dr. Laudun has been interviewed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Atlanta Constitution.

Editor’s note: The following editorial comments/notes are only those of this editor and are just intended to help offer some background as to what Dr. Laudun’s speech may be about.

Can you imagine how a quest for intelligence in unexpected places appeals to all of us? We live lives which have a changing narrative and timeline. We each have a physical, and digital, vantage point which keeps us living subject to the societal norms and values which we must learn to accept. Like a search for truth, this partial and portable variable makes our origins derived and grounded in many beliefs; and thus, this comprehensive nature of community (or, belonging to a regional organization) does indeed fall within the realm of ‘science’ proper.

By way of another example, Mensans know that there exists one common theme among members and groups within Mensa – it is something interwoven throughout our nature. Do you know what it is? Mensa “is based on an objective criterion of selection, an assessment of the applicant’s ability to think effectively. Mensa aims to be a forum of the intelligent of every persuasion, so it is simply and permanently not possible for Mensa to have any controversial collective views or policies.” (Serebriakoff 1985, Mensa: The Society for the Highly Intelligent, pg. 263) Like a story slowly becoming dissected and analyzed, we do not always see things eye-to-eye and we can have very different and opposing points of view on certain issues. More than anything else, perhaps, these few ideas are what constitute the ‘golden rule’ of Mensa.