Past Programs

Bill Durden ’71

International University Alliance (IUA)

An Anticipatory Memoir: Aging on the Diagonal

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Advanced age – or what is commonly called “The Third Chapter” – arguably remains without operative definition, although so many citizens globally are entering that phase of life. Based upon personal reflection, a definition is proposed for debate – a definition that could lead to a “Good Life.”

The program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and is part of our The Good Life series. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

William G. Durden is President Emeritus of Dickinson College, where he served for 14 years (1999-2013). During his tenure at Dickinson he was both a professor of German and a professor of Education. He is currently president of the International University Alliance (IUA), a non-profit association of top-tier U.S. research universities committed to international education (sponsored by Shorelight), chief global engagement officer at Shorelight, a courtesy professor (research) in the School of Education, Johns Hopkins University and an operating partner of Sterling Partners, a diversified investment management platform founded Read more

Rwanda at 25

Monday, December 2, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Panelists

Margee Ensign, Dickinson College
Mathilde Mukantabana, Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda to the U.S.
Jean-Pierre Karegeye (moderator), Dickinson College
Nelly Teta Ntwali ’22, Dickinson College

In 1994 more than a million people were murdered in Rwanda over the course of about 100 days in one of the century’s most brutal and shocking instances of genocide. Since that time, Rwanda has not only recovered but has become a beacon in Africa for thoughtful and equitable development.  In the words of President Paul Kagame: “In 1994 there was no hope, only darkness. Today, light radiates from this place. How did it happen? Rwanda became a family again.” This panel discussion will address the nature of the new Rwandan “family,” how Rwanda has achieved its remarkable recovery, and what we can all learn from its truly remarkable successes.

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

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Margee Ensign is the 29th president of Dickinson College, which was chartered in 1783—the first college established in the new United States of America. Dickinson is a recognized leader in global education and Read more

Deepfake

Deepfake PosterWednesday, November 20, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Panelists:

Tim Hwang, lawyer, writer, and researcher
Amy McKiernan, Dickinson College
James Sias, Dickinson College

Deepfake, a term coined in 2017, is an artificial intelligence technique which uses generative adversarial networks to create fake videos. Deepfakes have been used in pornography (both to fake the presence of public figures in pornographic videos, typically well known actresses, and in “revenge porn”). Those examples illustrate clearly the threat posed by deepfakes to privacy and human rights. To date their use in politics has been very limited, but the threat to democratic institutions is quite real.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of mathematics & computer science, political science, the Program in Policy Studies and the Order of Scroll and Key. It was initiated by the Clarke Forum’s student project managers.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Tim Hwang is a lawyer, writer, and researcher working at the intersection of emerging technologies and society. He was formerly director of the Harvard-MIT Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, a philanthropic project working to ensure that machine learning and autonomous technologies are researched, Read more

Fallout from the American Military Withdrawal from Northern Syria

Thursday, November 14, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Panelists:

Chris Bolan, U.S. Army War College
David Commins, Dickinson College
Larry Goodson, U.S. Army War College
Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob (moderator), Dickinson College

The recent abrupt withdrawal of United States military forces from the Syrian side of the border with Turkey immediately and drastically altered the balance of power in that volatile region. The panel will explore the ramifications of the U.S. withdrawal: Turkey’s military intervention, the dismantling of the Syrian Kurds’ autonomous zone, Russia’s ascent as the main powerbroker in Syria, the decline of American influence, and the prospect of a revival of the Islamic State.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Chris Bolan is professor of Middle East security studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College where he researches, publishes, and teaches graduate level courses on U.S. national security, foreign policy, and the Middle East.  He served as a foreign policy advisor on Middle East and South Asia affairs for Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney from 1997-2003.  He is a retired U.S. Army colonel with overseas tours in Korea, Read more

Krishnendu Ray

Krishnendu Ray PosterNew York University

Cultural Politics of Taste: Mobility and Food Culture

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Live Stream Link

This talk is about a minor culinary culture in North America, which goes by the moniker “Indian.” It will address its popularity and location in a hierarchy of taste. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of environmental studies and American studies, the Food Studies Program, First Year Seminar Program, and the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Krishnendu Ray is the chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU. He was a faculty member and the associate dean of Liberal Arts at The Culinary Institute of America. He is the author of The Migrant’s Table (2004), The Ethnic Restaurateur (2016), and the co-editor of Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia (2012). His most recent work is on street vending in global cities with attention to questions of law, livelihood, and liveliness of cities.

Related Links

City Food Research

Video of the Lecture

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Gene Dykes

Gene Dykes PosterRecord-Holding Master Marathoner

Just Run

Monday, November 11, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.

Dykes will explore the many ways running is made overly complicated and how both running and your life can be made so much more enjoyable by employing his “Just Run” philosophy.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Athletics and the Office of Student Leadership & Campus Engagement. This event was also the first program that is part of our new The Good Life series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Gene Dykes was born in Canton, OH in 1948. He lived there until he attended Lehigh University, graduating in 1970 with a B.A. in chemistry.  After two years in the army, serving in Vietnam and Japan, Dykes received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University in 1978.  He then embarked upon a career in computer programming until he retired in 2012.  He married in 1982, and along with his wife, raised two daughters who now reside in San Francisco and Minneapolis.  His wife is a professor of economics in the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dykes ran track in high school and Read more

Perspectives on Impeachment

Perspective on Impeachment PosterBreaking Issue

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorum, 7 p.m.

Dickinson Panelists

Susan Feldman, professor of philosophy
David O’Connell, assistant professor of political science
Kathryn Heard, instructor in political science and law & policy
Gregory Steirer, assistant professor of English and film & media studies

A panel discussion on the general topic of impeachment in the context of the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump from legal, political, ethical, and media perspectives.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Susan Feldman is professor of philosophy at Dickinson College. Her interests include the history of modern philosophy, the problem of knowledge and skepticism, philosophy of science and ethics, both “pure” and “applied” to such areas as the environment, the status of women, medicine and public policy.

Kathryn Heard is a professor in the departments of political science and law & policy studies at Dickinson College, where she specializes in constitutional jurisprudence, political theory, issues of power, belonging, and recognition in democratic societies, and feminist and queer theories.  Her work has been supported by the Mellon Discovery Foundation and the Coblentz Civil Rights Endowment Fund, and Read more

Bryant Keith Alexander

Bryant Keith Alexander PosterLoyola Marymount University

Queer Intersectionalities: The Communicative Dimensions of Race, Masculinity and Sexuality

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

This lecture will use critical autoethnography as a mode of examining the queer intersectionalities of race, masculinity and sexuality as a positionality of power. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and a Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the Division of Student Life, the departments of English, American studies, psychology, and women’s, gender & sexuality studies, the Women’s & Gender Resource Center, the Office of LGBTQ Services, the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity, and the Office of the Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Inclusivity.  It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Masculinities.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Bryant Keith Alexander, Ph.D. (Southern Illinois University Carbondale, M.S. and B.A, University of Southwestern Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana Lafayette), is professor of communication, performance, and cultural studies. He currently serves as dean, College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University. He is an active scholar, lecturer Read more

Javier Ávila

Northampton Community College

Performance: The Trouble with My Name

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Ávila’s one-man show, The Trouble with My Name, blends comedy and poetry to shed light on the American Latino experience. The show draws on the arts, education, and entertainment to deliver a powerful message about who we are as a society.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the department of Spanish & Portuguese, Latin American, Latino & Caribbean studies,  and American studies and the First Year Seminar Program.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Javier Ávila (San Juan, Puerto Rico) is the recipient of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña Poetry Award, the Pen Club Book of the Year Award, and the Olga Nolla Poetry Award. Ávila’s dual-language anthology Vapor brings together poems from his award-winning poetry books. His best-selling novel Different was made into a movie entitled Miente. Two of his other novels, The Professor in Ruins and the controversial La profesión más antigua, explore Puerto Rico’s academic underworld. Ávila’s most recent novel, the thriller Polvo, was published in 2019. Ávila has been honored with the Outstanding Latino Cultural Arts, Literary Read more

Thomas Page McBee

Award-winning author

Am I a Real Man? Questioning Masculinity with a Beginner’s Mind

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Author of Man Alive and Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man  as well as the first trans man to box in Madison Square Garden, McBee shares what masculinity means, and what it definitely does not mean. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and a Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Resource Center and the departments of English and philosophy. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Masculinities.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Thomas Page McBee is an author, journalist, television writer, and “questioner of masculinity” (The New York Times). His Lambda award-winning memoir, Man Alive, was named a best book of 2014 by NPR Books, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, and Publisher’s Weekly. His “refreshing [and] radical” (The Guardian) second book, Amateur, a reported memoir about learning how to box in order to understand masculinity’s tie to violence, was shortlisted for Read more

Carlos Andrés Gómez

Colombian American Poet and Actor

Reimagining Modern Manhood

Thursday, October 3, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Through storytelling, audience engagement, and poetry, Gómez shares his journey of growing up as a sensitive boy forced to navigate toxic machismo and restrictive gender stereotypes.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and a Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the Division of Student Life, the department of English, the Women’s & Gender Resource Center, and the Wellness Center. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Masculinities.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Carlos Andrés Gómez is a Colombian American poet and the author of the memoir Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood, released by Penguin Random House. A star of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, TV One’s Verses and Flow, and Spike Lee’s #1 movie Inside Man with Denzel Washington, Carlos has performed at more than 500 colleges and universities in 45 U.S. states and headlined shows in 25 countries across five continents. Named 2016 Best Diversity Artist by Campus Activities Magazine and Artist of the Year at the 2009 Promoting Outstanding Writers Awards, you may know Read more

Brexit: Where it Stands, What it Means

Brexit PosterBreaking Issue

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Panelists

Mark Duckenfield, U.S. Army War College
Oya Dursun-Özkanca, Elizabethtown College
Ed Webb, Dickinson College

It has been over three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, yet a negotiated agreement to enable an orderly exit is still not in place. Many describe this situation as the worst political crisis faced by the UK in several decades. The final deadline is fast approaching. Our panelists will address several questions concerning the present moment and what to expect moving forward.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Mark DuckenfieldMark Duckenfield is chair of the Department of National Security and Strategy at the Army War College. He has written numerous academic articles on the European Union, British politics and international political economy. He is the author of the book Business and the Euro; and has also served as editor/general editor of the volumes The History of Financial Disasters; and Battles over Free Trade: Anglo-American Experiences with International Trade, 1776-2006. He has held teaching appointments at the Air War College (2009-2015), the London School Read more

Kathryn Abrams

University of California, Berkeley Law

Storytelling, Emotion Culture, and Performative Citizenship in the Undocumented Immigrants Movement

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

How have a group of immigrants who lack formal legal status, and have been targeted by anti-immigrant enforcement in their state, developed the sense of authorization necessary to become outspoken and effective activists? This lecture, which draws on four years of observation and interviews with undocumented activists in Phoenix, Arizona, will explore three practices that have helped to form this new social movement.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Resource Center, the departments of philosophy and political science, the Program in Policy Studies and the Churchill Fund.  It is part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Kathryn Abrams is Herma Hill Kay Distinguished Professor of Law at UC-Berkeley School of Law, where she teaches Constitutional Law, Feminist Legal Theory, and Law and Social Movements. Her early scholarship on constitutional and statutory civil rights – including the Voting Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – led to a Read more

Zaneta Thayer

Dartmouth College

The Biology of Inequality

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

This talk will describe the hormonal and molecular mechanisms through which environments can become embodied, with a particular focus on how social inequalities can create health inequalities.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of philosophy, American studies, sociology and anthropology and the Health Studies Program.  The program was initiated by the Clarke Forum’s student project managers.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Zaneta Thayer is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College. She is interested in understanding how stress exposures, particularly in early life, shape patterns of human biology and health, as well as the evolutionary basis for that sensitivity. Much of her research has explored the health impacts of exposures such as poverty, discrimination, acculturative stress, and historical trauma in both New Zealand and among Native American communities in the United States.

Podcast from Lecture

Video of the Lecture

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Kwame Anthony Appiah – “Morgan Lecturer”

New York University

Morgan Lecture

Identity at Home and in the Wider World

Thursday, September 19, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Appiah will first explore the idea of identity philosophically, then focus on the psychology of identity and the challenges of managing identities in a humane way. He will examine how one particular identity—social class—works in our own society today, and end by discussing the role of identities across the world, defending the continuing relevance of a cosmopolitanism that is very much under attack. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Morgan Lecture Fund and co-sponsored by the Robert Lecture Fund in the Department of Classical Studies, and the Churchill Fund. It is  also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Exciting and erudite, Kwame Anthony Appiah challenges us to look beyond the boundaries—real and imagined—that divide us, and to celebrate our common humanity. Named one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 public intellectuals, one of the Carnegie Corporation’s “Great Immigrants,” and awarded a National Humanities Medal by The White House, Appiah currently

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Jo Handelsman – “Joseph Priestley Award Recipient”

Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture

Microbial Communities—The Original Internet of Everything

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Microbial communities run the world. Although they are too small to see with the naked eye, microorganisms determine the health of humans, our food supply, and the environment. They accomplish their amazing feats working in concert in communities, but there is little knowledge about what makes these communities robust and stable. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

The Joseph Priestley Award recipient is chosen by a different science department each year. The Department of Biology has 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.

Biography (provided by speaker)

Jo Handelsman is the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Vilas Research Professor, and Howard Hughes Medical Read more

Robyn Spencer

Lehman College, CUNY

Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party

Thursday, September 12, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

In the long 1960s, African Americans sought to redefine black manhood and womanhood in the face of feminist social movements, radical political change and anti-colonial global upheavals. The Black Panther Party’s gender politics provides an evocative case study to analyze the potential and limitations of challenging sexism and misogyny in the Black Power movement. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and a Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Resource Center, the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity, and the departments of American studies and women’s, gender & sexuality studies. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Masculinities.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Robyn C. Spencer is a historian that focuses on Black social protest after World War II, urban and working-class radicalism, and gender. She teaches survey and seminar courses on Black history at Lehman College, City University of New York and graduate level courses at the CUNY Read more

Mark Blashford

Lanky Yankee Puppet Co.

Jack & Jill

Thursday, April 18, 2019
The Cubiculo, 7 p.m.

A one-man puppet show performed by actor, puppeteer and musician Mark Blashford, featuring hand-carved, folk-toy-inspired puppets and live music. The story addresses water conservation and water rights presented in the style of an Appalachian Jack Tale. Appropriate for children. After the show, Blashford will host a Q&A including a discussion of using children’s art to address serious environmental problems.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center of Sustainability Education,  Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring (ALLARM), and the department of theatre & dance. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Sustainability.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Mark Blashford is a Chicago-based actor, puppeteer, and musician. He specializes in traditional puppet performance, including: marionette, shadow, rod, and hand puppetry. As a trained puppet builder, Blashford has studied in Germany, Iceland, the Czech Republic, and the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts Program. Blashford is a recipient of The American-Scandinavian Fellowship Award and The Jim and Jane Henson Scholarship Award. In 2018 he was an artist in residence at the University of Central Arkansas for a multidisciplinary Read more