Past Programs

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Poster for Free Speech on Campus

Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium – 7 p.m.

Free Speech on Campus

Sigal Ben-Porath, Professor at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania

Free speech, a staple of modern democracy, has become the focal point for political and cultural forces impacting universities. Higher education is charged with the mandate to expand the boundaries of knowledge; to disseminate knowledge through teaching and other modes; and to serve the public by training citizens and leaders. To do so it must ensure that a broad range of views and approaches are discussed openly. But should all speech be protected in the name of free inquiry? Should the universities allow bigotry or exclusionary speech that targets specific groups? Should it make room for misinformation? Recent speech controversies around the globe expose the difficulty in carving a response in this polarized time. This struggle over the boundaries of speech is based in disagreement over core democratic principles. A democratic framework of inclusive freedom will be presented and defended. It reflects the values of protecting free thought, inquiry and expression, and maintaining a commitment to the dignity of all campus members.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and is Read more

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Murder of Madam Bessie Jones poster

Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

The Murder of Madam Bessie Jones in Carlisle

J. M. West, Author, Madam Bessie Jones
Pat LaMarche (moderator), Charles Bruce Foundation
Ron Turo, Cumberland County
Carmen James, Cumberland County Historical Society

This October marks the 50th anniversary of the murder of Bessie Jones, who ran a brothel in Carlisle in the mid-20th century. The murder remains unsolved, but Jones’s story is remarkable—she was a black entrepreneur whose clients were exclusively white men. West will provide an overview of Jones’s life and the made-for-television legal case associated with her death. The panel will discuss the complex racial, gender, and sexuality issues that the case brings to light.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Topic overview written by Shayna Herzfeld ’25

Biographies (provided by the speakers)

Photo of JM WestJ. M. West, author of the award-winning, Madam Bessie Jones: Her Life and Times,  a tapestry of history: a local brothel owner’s struggles and sacrifices to survive. West also penned the fact based Carlisle Crime Cases series (CCCs) featuring homicide detectives Christopher Snow and Erin McCoy, is Read more

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Keynote for DickinsonPoster for Public Engagement, Organizing and the Role of Faith-Based Institutions‘s Multifaith Week

Public Engagement, Organizing, and the Role of Faith-Based Institutions

Michael Pappas ’83, Executive Director of SanFrancisco Interfaith Council

What is the role of religious and spiritual based communities in advocacy work? In a society which is encountering Christian nationalism, religious extremism, and growing resentment of religion in the public sphere, much of higher education has sought to move away from engagement with religion. Today’s religious and spiritual communities though continue to represent some of the core realms of advocacy work and organizing. Many in higher education attribute religion as being a topic to be avoided, but without the role of religious organizations and the compelling narratives that drive faith-based communities into activism, many in society would be left without a way to engage on larger issues of social concern. This lecture with Dickinson alum Michael Pappas seeks to elevate a conversation around how and why religious and spiritual communities continue to matter in society, their historic as well as present work in communities, and the ways in which individuals can themselves consider careers that coalesce around religion, government, social justice, and public policy. The talk Read more

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Poster for Journalism in Conflict programAnita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m

Livestream Link

Journalism in Conflict: Reporting from Ukraine and Beyond

Anthony Borden, Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Borden will discuss the work of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR), whose mission is to “empower local voices to drive change in countries in conflict, crisis, and transition.” He will discuss the role of IWPR and local journalists in the fight against hate speech and propaganda, and consider the importance of reliable information and public debate in global conflict zones, like Ukraine.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Military Science.  It is part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Topic overview written by Natalia Fedorczak ’24

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Anthony Borden headshotAnthony Borden is the founder of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR). He was editor of the highly regarded IWPR magazine War Report from 1991-98 and was commended for the “Best Online Journalism Service” in the 1999 NetMedia journalism awards, for IWPR’s reporting on the Kosovo crisis. He has worked with the UK’s Department for International Development assessing media programs in post-communist countries. Read more

Friday, October 7, 2022

Kaufman Hall, Room 178
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Let’s Talk Climate Series – Facilitated Discussion

Warming in the Arctic: Why Do We Need to Care?

Ben Edwards, Dickinson College

The Arctic is a critical area to understand as a first glimpse of changes that will be coming as global warming starts having a larger impact on driving climate change. If melting of the Greenland ice sheet causes too much freshening of North Atlantic waters, many bad things could follow ecologically and climatologically. The geopolitical realm of the Arctic is also moving to the global stage, in part as a result of Russia’s international ambitions and their impacts on current and future (Sweden and Finland) NATO members. We will pick out a few critical natural components of the Arctic in this session (sea ice, permafrost, glaciers), and discuss how they will have increasingly direct impacts on geopolitics in the near future.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Center for Sustainability Education.  It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, The Arctic.

Visit Let’s Talk Climate for a full list of events in this series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Ben Edwards is Read more

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Poster for Political Prisoners eventAnita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Political Prisoners and Free Speech in Cuba

Jorge Olivera Castillo, City of Asylum     

Nancy Alfaya Hernandez, Activist & Artist

Castillo will discuss censorship in Cuba and share his experiences working both in government media and against it. He began to write literature as a political prisoner in Cuba’s Guantanamo Prison in 2003. He will speak about his experience in prison and solitary confinement. After the Ladies in White protest movement organized for release of Black Spring prisoners, he was released in 2004. He and his wife, Nancy Alfaya Hernandez, continued to work as activists for freedom and democracy in Cuba while facing repression from the political police. Castillo will give information about activists and artists working to bring freedom to Cubans and the risks they face. He will share about his new writings, including a book based on his experiences as a veteran of the Angolan Civil War at 19 years old. In addition, Castillo will read political poems in Spanish with English subtitles.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of Spanish & Portuguese studies; and Latin American, Latinx & Caribbean studies.

Read more

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


Sliding Earth: Arctic Indigenous Cryo-Worlds, Environmental Risks and Human-Non-Human Collaborations

Olga Ulturgasheva                              Sayan Ulturgashev

University of Manchester                        Choreographer 

Accounts of dramatic environmental change offered by Arctic Indigenous communities and international climate scientists have recently pointed to a profound sense of unpredictability generated by the rapidly disappearing cryosphere. There are reports of the unprecedented extinction of ice-dependent worlds and of increasing likelihood for thousands of towns and villages to be threatened by rising sea levels and loss of the sea ice. All of the above will only intensify in the course of the next couple of decades, with methane released by rapidly thawing permafrost. The continuous and rapacious extraction of subsurface resources makes it increasingly clear that an ice-free Arctic is no longer located in the distant future but is lurking just around the corner. This lecture will examine the ways Arctic/Siberian Indigenous communities respond to unpredictable climate events and the knowledge, strategies, and human-non-human collaborations they draw from to face environmental calamities.

Following the lecture, students participating in Dickinson’s Ballet Certificate Program will perform an excerpt of Eveny Melody by Sayan Ulturgashev, Indigenous ballet dancer and choreographer.

The event is sponsored by the Read more

Thursday, September 22, 2022 – Morgan Lecture

Poster for Roosevelt Montas's EventAnita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


Morgan Lecture

Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation

Roosevelt Montás, Columbia University

What is the value of a liberal education? Traditionally characterized by a rigorous engagement with the classics of Western thought and literature, this approach to education is all but extinct in American universities, replaced by flexible distribution requirements and ever-narrower academic specialization. Many academics attack the very idea of a Western canon as chauvinistic, while the public increasingly doubts the value of the humanities. In this Clarke Forum lecture based on his book Rescuing Socrates, American academic Roosevelt Montás tells the story of how a liberal education transformed his life and offers an intimate account of the relevance of the Great Books today, especially to members of historically marginalized communities.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Morgan Lecture Fund and co-sponsored by the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies, and the Latin American, Latinx & Caribbean Studies Program.

Topical background written by Georgia Schaefer-Brown ’25

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Roosevelt Montás PhotoRoosevelt Montás grew up in the Dominican Republic until, at twelve years old, Read more

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Poster for Katrina Briddell's eventStern Great Room, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Can You Still Have Fun? In Search of “The Good Life” in a Broken World

Katrina Jurgill Briddell ’01, Head of Social Impact & Community Investment at The Hershey Company

How do we live life with intention and with wonder and delight–while witnessing the injustice, darkness, division, and pain in the world?  What does it mean to balance responsibility to our family, community, and world while prioritizing joy, fun, growth, and our own experience of life? Katrina Jurgill Briddell ’01 will be the first to tell you she does not have all the answers, but she will share how her life was shaped by sitting with these questions and engaging with them along the way.  In this session, she explores lessons from her personal and professional journey—from her time studying Spanish and Religion at Dickinson to her work today in social impact and sustainability—and how an evolving vision of “the Good Life” has served as a guide on her path through life.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies. This program is part of the Good Life Series  and Read more

Thursday, September 15, 2022 – Winfield C. Cook Constitution Day Conversation

Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Video of the Presentation is Available on House Divided’s YouTube Channel

Constitution Day Conversation

The Past and Future of the Political Supreme Court

Rachel Shelden                             John E. Jones III

Penn State University                       Dickinson

To commemorate Constitution Day in 2022, Dickinson College will feature President John E. Jones III, a retired federal judge, in a wide-ranging constitutional conversation with noted political historian Rachel Shelden. Jones and Shelden will help put several of the current bitter controversies over democratic elections, abortion, and judicial partisanship into revealing historical context.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the House Divided Project. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.


Rachel Shelton PhotoRachel Shelden is an associate professor at Penn State University and the director of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center. Her work centers on the long U.S. Civil War era with a focus on politics, culture, slavery, constitutionalism, and law. Her first book, Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War, examines how the social lives of federal politicians in Washington created a political fraternity that left
Read more

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Poster for Apryl Williams EventAnita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


The New Culture Wars: Social Media Use & Racial Discourse

Apryl Williams,  Assistant Professor of Communication and Digital Studies at the University of Michigan

Racial trouble and civil unrest reached a new peak after the 2016 presidential election. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor ushered in a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement during the spring and summer of 2020. At the same time, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on widespread anti-Asian sentiment in the US. People have deeply emotional views on both sides of the issue yet, having an exchange of ideas has become increasingly difficult, especially online. This lecture will explore why it can be emotionally triggering to talk about race and how imbalanced the burden of emotional labor can be when constrained by social conventions of civility. Williams will cover research highlighting gendered roles in heated racial discussions and explore how we might step into anti-racism framing, discourse, and living.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity; the Women’s & Gender Resource Center; and the departments Read more

Saturday, April 30, 2022

5:30 – 7 p.m.
Ejecta Projects, 136 W. High Street


A public reception to celebrate the current exhibit at the Ejecta Gallery, with some of the artists in attendance. Brief remarks by Rebecca Fox,’22 and exhibit curators Shannon Egan and Anthony Cervino.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues. Read more

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Poster for Erec Smith EventAnita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


Antiracism and Its Discontents: The Pros and Cons of Antiracist Activism in America

Erec Smith,  Associate Professor of Rhetoric at York College of Pennsylvania

In this talk, Smith will reflect on two major concerns regarding the state of education as it pertains to classical liberalism and the well-being of students of color in educational spaces. Smith considers these concerns relatively new and attributable to the influence of anti-racist activism and pedagogy. Although antiracism, as a general concept, is hard to refute, its implementation has manifested in divisive and regressive ways antithetical to classical liberal values like free speech, individual sovereignty, and even equality. Whether called Critical Race Theory, Critical Social Justice, or Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, the problem with antiracism stems from a difference of methodology that has produced calls for the banning of particular anti-racist practices and books, the demonization of concepts once considered virtuous, and the essentializing of race within various institutions. Smith will argue that there is, indeed, a problem with antiracist activism and pedagogy, but that we need more generative ways of addressing the issue that maintains the integrity of American education, fosters the well-being of students, and actually improves Read more

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Poster for Emily Newberry's EventAnita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


Healing and Wholeness in Coming Out

Emily Newberry ’66- Writer, Performance Poet and Speaker

Coming out as a person whose gender identity does not conform to society’s expectations can be traumatic. In this presentation, Emily Newberry explores how she was affected by trauma growing up, and how she found a path to healing and becoming whole. Her path has included being an activist for trans rights, fighting to end trans discrimination, and leading conversations about how to be a part of positive change.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Office of LGBTQ Services and the Women’s & Gender Resource Center.

Topic overview written by Marina Stylianou ’24

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Headshot of Emily NewberryEmily Newberry was born a transgender girl in the midst of World War II and grew up in conservative upstate New York fearful of even acknowledging this truth to herself. She experienced intersectional forms of discrimination and emotional and physical abuse as a child and youth and survived a suicide attempt.

She reacted to this by becoming a fighter for justice, beginning by attending the March on Washington in 1963, and then Read more

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

On Failure - event posterVirtual Presentation in Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


On Failure: A Contemporary Reflection on the Heart of Creativity

Ana Merino, University of Iowa

Enjoy a literary reflection on the different ways the notion of failure has been a creative space. Merino will examine the life of Miguel de Cervantes and his universal character, Don Quixote, then move to the twentieth century, the tragedy of exile in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and the fragility of poets confronting pain and fear in challenging times.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Failure.

Topic overview written by Logan Cort ’22

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Ana Merino headshotAna Merino is an award-winning writer and a professor of Spanish creative writing and cultural studies at the University of Iowa, where she founded the Spanish MFA. She has written extensive criticism on comics and graphic novels. She has authored two academic books: El cómic hispánico and Diez ensayos para pensar el cómic and a monograph on Chris Ware. Merino has curated five comic book exhibitions and edited several volumes on the topic. She was a member of the ICAF Read more

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Poster for the Business of Food WasteStern Center, Great Room
Noon – 1 p.m.

The Business of Food Waste:  Climate Mitigation through Organics Recycling


Peter Ettinger, Chief Strategy Officer, Bioenergy Devco
Matt Steiman, Energy Projects Manager, Dickinson College Farm
Marcus Key (moderator), Professor of Earth Sciences, Dickinson College

Despite all efforts to minimize waste in food production, some amount of food waste is inevitable.  When that happens, the best solution for the planet is to recycle these residues through composting and organics recycling systems.  New laws in neighboring states require large commercial generators of food waste to recycle their materials – this creates an exciting business opportunity.   Bioenergy Devco (BDC) is a developer of large commercial anaerobic digester and compost systems with extensive experience in Europe, focused on food waste.  Their most recent US project at the Baltimore Food Hub in Jessup MD will process 110,000 tons of food waste per year into renewable natural gas and a nutrient-rich soil amendment while employing at least 30 people.  BDC recently acquired $100 million in working capital to continue accelerating waste to energy projects in the US.  This discussion will delve into the environmental and business aspects of food waste digestion for climate change Read more

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Poster for Respiratory Health DisparitiesAllison Great Hall, 7 p.m.

Respiratory Health Disparities: Asthma as a Case Study

Juan Carlos Celedón P’19, P’22, Niels K. Jerne Professor of Pediatrics; Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Human Genetics; and Division Chief of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh

Respiratory health disparities are significant differences in respiratory health that are closely linked to racial ancestry, social, economic, and/or environmental differences. In the United States, racial/ethnic minorities bear a disproportionate burden of respiratory diseases such as asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, occupational lung diseases, COVID-19, and tuberculosis. Disparities in respiratory health are largely explained by unequal exposure to environmental risk factors such as tobacco use, air pollution, occupational hazards, and infectious agents. Such environmental injustice is ultimately due to structural and social determinants of health that must be addressed to achieve health equity. This lecture will first provide an overview of known and potential risk factors for asthma, focusing on psychosocial stressors such as exposure to violence and violence-related distress and their impact on biology through epigenetics and regulation of gene expression. This will be followed by a review of the need for a multipronged approach to eliminate respiratory health disparities and achieve health equity.

This program Read more

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 – (Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture)

Poster to advertise Priestley Lecture with Luis von AhnAnita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 5 p.m.


Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture

How Duolingo Uses AI to Assess, Engage and Teach Better

Luis von Ahn, Co-Founder and CEO of Duolingo

Duolingo is the most popular way to learn languages in the world. With over half a billion exercises completed every day, we have the largest dataset of people learning languages ever amassed. In this talk, I will describe all the different ways in which we use AI to improve how well we teach and how to keep our learners engaged.

The Joseph Priestley Award recipient is chosen by a different science department each year. The Department of Mathematics & Computer Science have selected this year’s recipient. The event is supported by the College’s Priestley Fund and is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of biology, chemistry, earth sciences, environmental studies, mathematics & computer science, psychology, and physics & astronomy and the Churchill Fund.  It is part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Topic overview written by Logan Cort ’22

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Headshot of Luis von AhnLuis von Ahn is an entrepreneur and former computer science professor at Read more

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium – 7 p.m.

Poster for Critical Race Theory eventWho’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory?
A Panel Discussion Exploring CRT’s Centrality in the Current Culture Wars


Scott Hancock, Gettysburg College
Katie Oliviero, Dickinson College
Kevin Wagner, Carlisle Area School District

In 2021 nine states passed anti-CRT legislation. In most cases, these new laws severely restrict what public schools can teach regarding systemic racism. Our panelists will provide context for understanding what CRT is, what the motivations are behind anti-CRT legislation, and what teaching about race and racism is like in area schools.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center for Spiritualty & Social Justice and the departments of educational studies, sociology, American studies, and Africana studies.

Biographies (provided by the speakers)

Scott Hancock HeadshotScott Hancock is an associate professor of history and Africana Studies at Gettysburg College. After spending 14 years working with teenagers in crisis, he switched careers and received a Ph.D. in early American history in 1999. This combination of careers fueled his desire to understand and tell the stories of people whom society and history typically discounts as troublesome or unimportant. He’s focused mainly on African American experiences from the mid-1600s Read more

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

War Peace Justice Event Poster**Due to a temporary change in COVID-19 protocols at Dickinson College, this event will be livestreamed only. Questions can be posed using the Live Chat feature on YouTube livestream. Please join the event using this link:


Part of the J. Sherwood McGinnis Jr. War, Peace, and Justice Symposium

Transforming Conflict: Rethinking War, Peace, and Justice

Danielle Conway, Penn State Dickinson Law

James Dubik (moderator), Institute for the Study of War

Margee Ensign, American University of Nigeria (former president of Dickinson College)

Andrew Wolff, Dickinson College

This panel discussion will address three essential questions: What is the nature and purpose of war? What is peace? And what is justice? This program is the prelude event to the J. Sherwood McGinnis Jr. War, Peace, and Justice Symposium scheduled for Fall 2022. The symposium will explore the complex interrelationships between war, peace, and justice. Of central concern is the question, “What outcomes do you, the American people, expect from the expenditure of national blood and treasure during conflict?”

The J. Sherwood McGinnis Jr. War, Peace, and Justice Symposium is being developed in partnership with the Association of the U.S. Army, the Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce, the Cumberland County Read more