Tag Archive for lecture

Rabban ’71 to Deliver Constitution Day Lecture Sept. 17

David Rabban '71

David Rabban ’71

David Rabban ’71 will speak on “Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and the American University” during Wesleyan’s annual Constitution Day Lecture.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Smith Reading Room inside Olin Memorial Library. The lecture, hosted by the Friends of the Wesleyan Library is free of charge and open to the public.

This talk will cover the judicial treatment of free speech and academic freedom at American universities from the 1950s to the present. It will explore the First Amendment rights of professors, students and universities as institutions, and the tensions that arise when these rights conflict.

Center for the Humanities Explores “Mobilities” in Fall Lecture Series

Meritocracy and Mobility, Intertwined Histories of the South Indian Dance Revival, and What Do Mobile Phones Mobilize are just three of the topics to be discussed during the Center for the Humanities' fall lecture series.

Meritocracy and Mobility, Intertwined Histories of the South Indian Dance Revival, and What Do Mobile Phones Mobilize? are three of the topics to be discussed during the Center for the Humanities’ fall lecture series.

Over the past decade, a new approach to the study of mobilities has emerged involving research on the combined movement of peoples, animals, objects, ideas and information. This can be viewed through the lens of complex networks, relational dynamics, and the redistribution or reification of power generated by movement.

This fall, Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities will offer 10 lectures on the theme of “Mobilities” as part of its lecture series. Five of the speakers are from Wesleyan.

All talks begin at 6 p.m., are open to the public, and are held at Daniel Family Commons. The dates, topics and speakers are:

Sept. 8
Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’ Birds
Cary Wolfe, professor of English, Rice University

Sept. 15
Beyond Synthesis: The Return of Micro History in Global Contexts and the “Relationing” of History
Angelika Eppel, professor of history, Bielefeld University, Germany

Sept. 22
The Roma Question in France and the Return of Race
Éric Fassin, professor of sociology, École Normale Supérieure, Paris

Slotkin Delivers Inaugural American Studies Lecture

Richard Slotkin, the Olin Professor of American Studies and English, emeritus, delivered a lecture on "Thinking Mythologically: Black Hawk Down, Platoon and the War of Choice in Iraq" April 24 in Powell Family Cinema. This was the inaugural lecture in the Richard Slotkin American Studies Lecture Series.

Richard Slotkin, the Olin Professor of American Studies and English, emeritus, delivered a lecture on “Thinking Mythologically: Black Hawk Down, Platoon and the War of Choice in Iraq” April 24 in Powell Family Cinema. This was the inaugural lecture in the Richard Slotkin American Studies Lecture Series.

Justice Aharon Barak to Lead Annual Hugo Black Lecture on Oct. 8

Aharon Barak

Aharon Barak

Aharon Barak, former president of the Israeli Supreme Court Interdisciplinary Center, in Herzliya, Israel will deliver the 23rd annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 in Memorial Chapel. His talk is titled, “Human Dignity and Free Speech.”

Barak served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Israel from 1978 to 1995 and as president of the Court from 1995 to 2006. Earlier, he was Attorney General of the State of Israel and Dean of the Law Faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1978, Barak traveled to the United States as the legal advisor to the Israeli delegation in negotiating the Camp David Accords.

Much of Barak’s judicial work and writing has focused on the concept of a constitutional revolution brought about through the adoption by the Israeli Knesset of Basic Laws guaranteeing human rights.

The recipient of many international prizes and of 17 honorary degrees, Justice Barak was chosen in 1987 as a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Among his books are The Judge in a Democracy (2006) and Proportionality: Constitutional Rights and Their Limitations (2012).

The lecture, endowed by Leonard S. Halpert, Esq., ’44, is named in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. The series is designed to bring to the Wesleyan campus distinguished public figures and scholars with experience and expertise in matters related to the First Amendment and freedom of expression. Former Hugo Black Lecture speakers have included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Geoffery Stone, Lawrence Tribe, Jack Balkin, Lawrence Lessig and others.

Experts Discuss Césaire at Americas Forum

“The Centenary of Aimé Césaire 1913-2008: Poet, Pragmatist, a Voice for the Voiceless” was the theme of the 2013 Americas Forum held April 5-6 in Russell House. The Americas Forum offered an intellectual consideration of Césaire’s contributions to our understanding of the Americas, Marxism, imperialism, independence, race and the role of art.

“The Centenary of Aimé Césaire 1913-2008: Poet, Pragmatist, a Voice for the Voiceless” was the theme of the 2013 Americas Forum held April 5-6 in Russell House. The Americas Forum offered an intellectual consideration of Césaire’s contributions to our understanding of the Americas, Marxism, imperialism, independence, race and the role of art.

Constitutional Law Expert Geoffrey Stone Delivers Annual Hugo Black Lecture April 18

Geoffrey Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, delivered the 22nd annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression on April 18.

Geoffrey Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, delivered the 22nd annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression on April 18. (Photo by Bill Tyner ’13)

Geoffrey Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, delivered the 22nd annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression on April 18.

The topic of this year’s event was “Justice Alito’s First Amendment.”

Stone explored the current state of constitutional jurisprudence, with a particular eye on the approach of the most “conservative” of the current justices. How they undertake the challenge of interpreting the often vague and open-ended guarantees of the Constitution? What explains their decisions in the most controversial cases, involving such issues as the constitutionality of campaign finance regulation, affirmative action, and gun control? He then turned  to Justice Samuel Alito’s approach to interpreting the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment to illustrate more general observations about the conservative justices and to illuminate Justice Alito’s own “vision” of the First Amendment.

Stone was admitted to the New York Bar in 1972 and has been a member of the University of Chicago’s law faculty since 1973. He served as a law clerk to Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and to Justice William J. Brennan Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Professor Stone teaches and writes primarily in the area of constitutional law. His most recent books are Speaking Out! Reflections on Law, Liberty and Justice (2010); Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark (2007) and War and Liberty: An American Dilemma (2007). He’s currently working on a new book, Sexing the Constitution, which will explore the historical evolution in western culture of the intersection of sex, religion and law.

Among his many public activities, Professor Stone is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society, a member of the National Advisory Council of the American Civil Liberties Union, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society, a member of the American Law Institute and a member of the Straight for Equality Project.

The lecture, endowed by Leonard S. Halpert, Esq., ’44, is named in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. The series is designed to bring to the Wesleyan campus distinguished public figures and scholars with experience and expertise in matters related to the First Amendment and freedom of expression. Former Hugo Black Lecture speakers have included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Lawrence Tribe, Jack Balkin, Lawrence Lessig, Justice Harry Blackmun and others.

A commentary on “Professor Stone’s First Amendment Views and Its Jurisprudence,” written by Halpert for this lecture, is online here. (To download Halpert’s essay, open the link and save it to your desktop.)

Experts Discuss Gun Violence, Policy, Laws, Politics at Wesleyan

Wesleyan hosted “Guns and Gun Violence: Crisis, Policy and Politics” on Feb. 6. Pictured in the front row is panelist Saul Cornell of Duke University; event moderator Leah Wright of Wesleyan; and panelist Kristin Goss of Duke University.

Gun laws in the United States need to be changed to protect thousands of lives, but meaningful change is not a sure thing, even in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, three experts told a packed house at Wesleyan on Feb. 6.

The seminar, “Guns and Gun Violence: Crisis, Policy and Politics” featured three specialists in the legal, social and political aspects of firearms regulation, and drew a capacity crowd at the Center for the Arts Hall.

“The United States is not more violent, but more lethally violent (than other developed nations who have stricter gun laws),” said Matthew Miller of Harvard University’s School of Public Health. “ We have more serious, lethal violence.”

Miller is a physician with training in health policy and the effects of gun laws on rates of suicide and homicide.

He was joined by Saul Cornell of Fordham University, a specialist in the Second Amendment, who pointed out that the current constitutional debate is muddied by actual history.

The notion of self-defense was complicated in the 18th century and may not be relevant today, he said, noting also that the Second Amendment may have been rooted in a colonial requirement for male adults to own weapons, not simply a right.

Energy Experts Discuss Economy of Oil at Shasha Seminar

Wesleyan hosted the 10th Annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns on April 19-20. The Shasha Seminar is an educational forum for Wesleyan alumni, parents, faculty and friends that provides an opportunity to explore issues of global concern in a small seminar environment.

Endowed by James J. Shasha ’50 P’82, the seminar supports lifelong learning and encourages participants to expand their knowledge and perspectives on significant issues. The 2012 theme was The Political Economy of Oil. Photos of the two-day event are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake and Bill Tyner ’13)

Daniel Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, delivered the keynote address titled, "Protecting Our Environment in Turbulent Times" April 19 in Memorial Chapel. Commissioner Esty spoke about the need to continue moving forward with an energy and environmental agenda for the 21st century, despite a backlash that has developed on these issues.

Dean Malouta P’12, retired geologist with Shell Oil Company, and David Work ’68, P’93, retired regional president of BP Amoco Corporation spoke on "Peak Oil and Beyond" during the Shasha Seminar. Phillip Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, moderated the talk. The panelists explored geology and extraction techniques and questioned, "Are we on the verge of transition to a post-oil world?"

Rev. Billy Warns of the Coming “Shop-Ocalypse” in April 23 Lecture

Anti-consumerism activist Reverend Billy stages revival-style “services” in public squares, theaters, art museums and parking lots, seeking to make people and institutions mindful of the consequences of their spending.

On Monday, April 23, Wesleyan will receive a visit from Reverend Billy (Bill Talen), the anti-consumerism activist and performance artist, who has tried to “exorcise” so many Starbucks cash registers, he’s been banned from the coffee shop chain. He will speak at 7 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Talen is best known as the subject of the 2007 documentary, What Would Jesus Buy?, produced by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlok and directed by Sundance Film Festival Award-winner Rob VanAlkemade.

In his performance art, Talen takes on the persona of an evangelical preacher to protest the excesses of corporate commercialism.  He and his choir, “The Church of Stop Shopping,” preach a broad message of economic justice, environmental advocacy, and anti-militarism. He stages revival-style “services” in public squares, theaters, art museums and parking lots, seeking to make people and institutions mindful of the consequences of their spending. Talen also implores audiences to confront abusive labor practices, exploitative resource extraction, the demise of small businesses and the ecological costs of excessive consumerism. He chants things like “change-aluia” and warns of the coming “shop-ocalypse” to try to get his audience to imagine a world free from consumerism.

“Products, logos, and labels have become our gods; the beings for which we will give up everything we have. Shopping malls are our temples and churches,” says Mary-Jane Rubenstein, associate professor of religion, describing Talen’s message. “In the style of a revivalist preacher, he calls his audiences to turn away from their self-destructive investment in false gods and turn back toward ‘reality,’ which is to say to make things rather than buy them; to support small businesses rather than transnational corporations; and to stop the endless, unconscious consumption that’s destroying the earth, our bodies, and our civil life together.”

Rubenstein is teaching Talen’s work in her Introduction to the Study of Religion course, as part of a unit on capitalism and some of its counter-movements as late-modern religious expressions.

The event is sponsored by the Baldwin University Lectures, the Center for the Arts, the Ethics and Society Project, the Office of Institutional Partnerships, the Religion Department, Sociology Department (Hoy Endowment) and Government Department.