Tag Archive for lecture

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.

Solar Physicist Speaks at Sturm Memorial Lecture

Solar physicist Alan Title, director and senior fellow of the Advanced Technology Center at Lockheed Martin, spoke on "Making the Invisible Sun Visible" during the 2012 Sturm Memorial Lecture. Title described the instrumentation he has helped develop to make the invisible Sun visible and how this has revolutionized our understanding of the Sun.

“Making the Invisible Sun Visible” Topic of March 27 Sturm Lecture

Alan Title, director and senior fellow of the Advanced Technology Center at Lockheed Martin, will speak on "Making the Invisible Sun Visible" during the 2012 Sturm Memorial Lecture at 8 p.m. March 27 in Daniel Family Commons.

Almost all light from the Sun is the visible light that illuminates our days, but human eyes cannot detect the light from the million-degree Solar Corona, which is at short wavelengths.

On March 27 during the 21st annual Sturm Memorial Lecture, solar physicist Alan Title will describe the instrumentation he has helped develop to make the invisible Sun visible and how this has revolutionized our understanding of the Sun. His talk is titled “Making the Invisible Sun Visible.”

The Sturm Memorial Lecture is held in memory of Kenneth E. Sturm ’40. The annual event features a presentation from an astronomer that is outstanding in their field and able to communicate the excitement of science to a lay audience. Title’s lecture begins at 8 p.m. in Daniel Family Commons.

Title is a leader in solar physics and principal investigator of the imager on NASA’s recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory, an $850-million mission to study the Sun and its influence on the Earth. He works as the director and senior fellow of the Advanced Technology Center at Lockheed Martin, and as a professor of physics at Stanford University.

Title has received numerous awards, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the Hale Prize from the American Astronomical Society, a NASA Public Service Award and most recently the American Geophysical Union’s John Adam Fleming Medal for “original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences.” His work on the magnetic structure of the Sun has been enabled by his groundbreaking designs of instruments that have flown on several generations of space missions.

Building a National Museum Topic of CAAS Distinguished Lecture April 4

Historian and author Lonnie Bunch will deliver the Center for African American Studies' 18th Annual Distinguished Lecture on April 4.

What are the challenges of building a national museum? Lonnie G. Bunch III, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, will speak on this topic during the Center for African American Studies’ 18th Annual Distinguished Lecture. The event takes place at 8 p.m. April 4 in Beckham Hall. A reception will follow.

Bunch, a historian, author, curator and educator, is the founding director of the national museum. In this position he is working to set the museum’s mission, coordinate its fundraising and membership campaigns, develop its collections, establish cultural partnerships and oversee the design and construction of the museum’s building. Rooted in his belief that the museum exists now although the building is not in place, he is designing a high-profile program of traveling exhibitions and public events ranging from panel discussions and seminars to oral history and collecting workshops.

“I have known Lonnie Bunch for many years, but the most important reason the African American Studies Program selected him as this year’s Distinguished Lecture speaker is because of his immeasurable accomplishments as a historian, curator, and educator and his scholarly publications and contributions to the field of African American studies,” says Alex Dupuy, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, chair of the African American Studies Program. “It is impossible to overestimate the significance of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for our nation as a whole, and of Mr. Bunch’s role in its construction. His lecture on ‘The Challenge of Building a National Museum’ will give Wesleyan a unique opportunity to hear and learn directly from the Museum’s founding director and his work in its mission, design, contents, fundraising, and partnerships from the ground up.”

The museum, the 19th to open as part of the Smithsonian Institution, will be built on the national Mall where Smithsonian museums attracted morethan 24 million visitors in 2005. It will stand on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument and opposite the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

As a public historian, a scholar who brings history to the people, Bunch has spent nearly 30 years in the museum field where he is regarded as one of the nation’s leading figures in the historical and museum community.

Justice Scalia Delivers Defense of Originalism at Hugo Black Lecture

Antonin Scalia, associate justice of the U.S Supreme Court, delivered the 21st Hugo Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression March 8 in Memorial Chapel.

An originalist approach to interpreting the Constitution may not be perfect, but it’s “the only game in town,” was the message from U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia when he delivered the annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression at Wesleyan on March 8.

“Do you think that judges—that is to say, lawyers—are better at the science of what ought to be than the science of history? I don’t think so,” Scalia told a packed crowd in Memorial Chapel. “The reality is that originalism is the only game in town; the only real verifiable criteria that can prevent judges from reading the Constitution to say whatever they think it should say. Show Scalia the original meaning, and he is prevented from imposing his nasty conservative views upon the people. […]

Supreme Court Justice Scalia to Deliver Hugo Black Lecture

Justice Antonin Scalia

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia will be the featured speaker at the annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression, which will be held 8 p.m., March 8, in Memorial Chapel.

Tickets to the lecture in the chapel were scooped up almost immediately, as were tickets for the simulcast viewing at the Center for Film Studies. The lecture will also be simulcast in CFA Hall, PAC 001 and PAC 002 where tickets are not needed and seats are available.

Justice Scalia’s speech will be titled “The Originalist Approach to the First Amendment.”

In addition to the speech, Justice Scalia will be meeting with a small group of students, have lunch with faculty, attend a performance of Professor of Music Neely Bruce’s “Bill of Rights,” share dinner with President Roth, members of the faculty and invited guests, and do a book signing.

The annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression is named in honor of 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.

This lecture, which has been endowed by Leonard S. Halpert ’44 since 1991, is offered annually. Hugo Black Lecture speakers have included Lawrence Tribe, Jack Balkin, Lawrence Lessig, and Justice Harry Blackmun, among others. A commentary on Justice Scalia and the First Amendment, written by Halpert for this lecture, can be found here. (To download Halpert’s essay, open the link and save it to your desktop).

Novelist, Journalist Amos Oz on “Israel Through Its Literature” Nov. 3

Acclaimed Israeli author Amos Oz will speak in Memorial Chapel on Nov. 3. (Photo by Colin McPherson)

The internationally lauded novelist and journalist Amos Oz will speak on “Israel Through Its Literature,” at 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3 in Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the campus community.

Amos Oz, Israel’s best known writer, is the author of novels, novellas, short stories, children’s books, literary and political essay collections, and the moving memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness. Oz’s most widely acclaimed novel, My Michael (1968), was an immediate artistic and political sensation. It has been published in over 30 countries and in 1975 was made into a popular film. Among many other titles received with admiring reviews and heavy sales are The Hill of Evil Counsel (3 novellas), In the Land of Israel (essays on the Lebanon War), and novels such as To Know a Woman and The Same Sea.

One of the founders of the Peace Now movement, Oz has written extensively about Arab-Israeli relations and for more than 40 years has championed dialogue and campaigned for mutual recognition between Israel and a Palestinian state.  He is a long-time teacher and is currently a professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba.

Oz is the recipient of numerous awards for literary and humanitarian activity, including the Prix Femina (1998) and Knight of the Legion of Honor (1997) in France; the German Friedenspreis (1992), Goethe Prize (2005), and Heine Prize (2008); and the Israeli Prize for Literature (1998).

Arrangements for this appearance were made through the B’nai B’rith Lecture Bureau. The event’s sponsors are the Rosenberg Family Fund for Jewish Student Life, Wesleyan Writing Programs and the Annie Sonnenblick Fund, the Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture Fund, Jewish and Israel Studies, the Wesleyan Jewish Community and the College of Letters.