April Virtual Lunchtime Lecture


Dr. James Curley

“Knowing Who's Boss: How Social Status Impacts the Brain and Health” 

Dr. James Curley
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts 
Monday, April 24  
12–1 p.m.  

In our April Lunchtime Lecture, Dr. Curley will describe his lab's research into why animals form social hierarchies, how the brain processes social cues, and how an individual's social status affects their physical well-being.

Dr. Curley received his BA in Human Sciences at the University of Oxford (UK) in 1999. He was a member and scholar of Somerville College, Oxford. In 2003, he received a PhD in Zoology from the University of Cambridge (UK). His PhD research was conducted at the Department of Animal Behaviour, Cambridge, on the effects of imprinted genes on brain and behavioral development, particularly maternal and sexual behavior.

Dr. Curley then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge for four years researching behavioral development, particularly how early life experiences shape individual differences in behavior. He was also the Charles & Katharine Darwin Research Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge.

Following this work, he joined the Psychology Department at Columbia University, where he continued to work on the development of social and maternal behavior. From 2012–17, he was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. There, he established a research group studying social dynamics and social dominance hierarchies.

Our lab at UT focuses on the neurobiological basis of social behavior in groups, as well as the long-term plastic changes in the brain and peripheral physiology that occur as a consequence of social status. We also are interested in developing novel methods for the study of social hierarchies and networks.

At UT Austin, Dr. Curley has been given an Affordable Education Champion award by the Senate of College Councils and UT Libraries (2021), the Dr. Wendy Domjan Excellence in Teaching Award by the Department of Psychology (2021), and the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award (2022).

May Virtual Lunchtime Lecture


“Social Justice in Historical Context” 

Dr. Ashley Farmer
Associate Professor, Department of History & African and African Diaspora Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Wednesday, May 3
12–1 p.m.

In our May Lunchtime Lecture, Dr. Farmer will address three major myths of the Civil Rights Movement, compare activism then with the Black Lives Matter Movement of today, and talk about how people might better engage this history in their own lives.

Dr. Ashley Farmer is a historian of Black women's history, intellectual history, and radical politics. She is currently an associate professor in the Departments of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Her book, Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era (UNC Press, 2017), is the first comprehensive study of Black women's intellectual production and activism in the Black Power era. She is also the co-editor of New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition (NUP Press, 2018), an anthology that examines central themes within the Black intellectual tradition.

Her next book, Queen Mother Audley Moore: Mother of Black Nationalism (forthcoming from UNC Press) will be the first biography of one of the most influential yet understudied activists and thinkers of the 20th century. The book examines Audley Moore's life and activism from 1898 to 1997 and reveals how she was an important but overlooked progenitor of Black Nationalist thought and activism.

Farmer's scholarship has appeared in numerous venues including The Black Scholar and The Journal of African American History. Her research has also been featured in several popular outlets including Vibe, The Chronicle Review, and The Washington Post. She has provided commentary on national and international media outlets including The New York Times, NPR, and Al-Jazeera.

Dr. Farmer has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) have also supported her research. She has also been a leader of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) and a regular blogger for Black Perspectives.

She is also the co-editor and curator of the Black Power Series with Ibram X. Kendi, published with NYU Press.

Farmer earned her BA from Spelman College, an MA in History and a PhD in African American Studies from Harvard University.