Mark Lawrence and Joe McGranaghan host Bucknell professors Dr. Alexander ‘Tristan’ Riley, Professor of Sociology, and Dr. Chris Ellis, Associate Professor of Political Science, on the upcoming series of speeches and discussions asking the question—are colleges still places for free speech, or has ‘safe space’ censorship taken over? We talked about a groundbreaking series of talks aimed as asking if all ideas are welcome… Below is the full schedule of speeches and discussions talked about on OTM.
Later, on open phones, we talked about the Climate Strike, Climate Summit, and the pushback against Greta Thunberg.
The Bucknell Program for American Leadership and Citizenship presents: Campus Politics and the Liberal Arts 2019-20 speaker series
BPALC Events 2019-20 Campus Politics and Civil Liberties
Are colleges still places where people can speak their minds and debate ideas? Or have they become havens for censorship and “political correctness” run amok? Are they supposed to be places of safety, where students can develop in a nurturing and supportive environment? Or places of exploration and risk, where students are taught the value of being uncomfortable? Should there be limits to free expression and due process rights on campus that do not exist off campus? What is the relationship between political activism and scientific research? Is there such a thing as a “non-political” social science?
This series will explore these and other questions as part of a broader program designed to better understand the changing climate at Bucknell and on campuses nationwide. We will host an ongoing series of speakers from a diverse set of political and cultural backgrounds whose research and teaching interests, personal experiences, or professional qualifications lead them to care deeply about the importance of engaging in intellectual, civil dialogue on important political questions.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019: Sam Abrams, Professor of Politics at Hamilton and resident fellow, AEI. Abrams writes on political diversity among faculty and administrators. This anodyne New York Times op-ed made him the subject of vandalism and death threats at Hamilton.
Thursday, October 3, 2019: Lee Jussim, Professor of Psychology, Rutgers University. Jussim has been very active in publicizing and writing about the politicization of social psychology and related disciplines, and the implications of this politicization for academic and scientific integrity. He is a founding member of Heterodox Academy, a group dedicated to viewpoint diversity in American universities, and the co-editor of The Politics of Social Psychology. Here is an article in Quillette discussing his efforts to reveal the political biases of psychological research on stereotyping.
Thursday, November 14, 2019: Heather Mac Donald, J.D., Stanford University, Manhattan Institute. Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race relations. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and The New Criterion. Mac Donald’s newest book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture (2018), argues that toxic ideas first spread by higher education have undermined humanistic values, fueled intolerance, and widened divisions in our larger culture.
Thursday, December 5, 2019: Jason Manning, Associate Professor of Sociology, West Virginia. He is the co-author of The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars. This book is one of the most thorough efforts to describe and explain the moral debates taking place in modern universities and, increasingly, elsewhere in American society. Here is a blog run by the book’s authors dedicated to the book and discussion of related issues.
Thursday, March 19, 2020: Laura Kipnis, Professor of Communications, Northwestern University. She is the author of Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus. The book is an expansion of a long Chronicle of Higher Education essay (“Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe”) documenting the authoritarian nature of a colleague’s Title IX investigation. Kipnis’ essay earned her a Title IX investigation of her own.
Monday, April 6, 2020: Peter Boghossian, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Portland State University. Boghossian was one of the primary figures in the “Grievance Studies affair,” in which he and colleagues James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose published a number of hoax papers in academic journals as part of their criticism of the politicization and lack of scholarly standards in a set of fields including women’s and gender studies. As a result, Portland State University initiated a research misconduct investigation of him in 2018.
Questioning American Identities
In recent years a number of commentators have described American society as slipping into a “cold civil war.” Much of the division relates to identity–what is essential about it, what is fluid, and how it relates to being American, if at all. Trying to shed light on this phenomenon and what it means to be American in the presidential election year of 2020, prominent public thinkers and scholars will examine key issues that raise questions about American identities today for civil debate on campus.
Thurs., Oct. 24–Prof. Allen Guelzo (Princeton University): American National Identity: Lincoln at Gettysburg. Prof. Guelzo is one of America’s most distinguished Civil War historians, and expert on Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the Gettysburg campaign (in which the Bucknell community had firsthand involvement), and their significance in shaping a common American national identity as a constitutional republic. Prof. Guelzo is an unprecedented three-time winner of the Lincoln Prize, for his books Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, and Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. He will explore a foundational argument for American national identity emerging from the Civil War.
Thurs., Feb. 6–Prof. Michael Anton (Hillsdale College), American Citizenship and the 2016 Election. Michael Anton is former Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Communications on the National Security Council, and current Lecturer and Research Fellow in Politics of the Kirby Center of Hillsdale College, in Washington, DC. He is author of the book After the Flight 93 Election): American Citizenship and the 2016 Election, and his 2016 essay “The Flight 93 Election” helped galvanize skeptical conservative and centrist support for then-candidate Trump’s presidential bid. He will examine the contested meaning of citizenship in relation to current debates over American identity involving class and ideology related to the last presidential election and continuing today.
Tues., Feb. 18–Rod Dreher (author of The Benedict Option) and Dr. Andrew Sullivan (editor of Same-Sex Marriage Pro & Con: A Reader), American Religious and Sexual Identities: Coexistence or Cold Civil War? Dreher, Senior Editor for The American Conservative, is a popular blogger and advocate for religious freedoms for traditional faith communities in 21st-century America. Sullivan, likewise a well-known blogger, is an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Both identify as religious believers, and share a history of sometimes sharp public intellectual disagreements, in which they nonetheless have developed a mutual respect in trying to understand each other’s position. Together at Bucknell they will debate current national division over secular sexual identities vs. religious freedoms, and whether that will preclude or permit a common American culture, or any consensus on pluralism as a marker of American identity today.
Wed., Jan. 22–Prof. Jennifer Silva (Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs), Class, Politics, and American Identity in Flyover America. Silva is an ethnographer who conducted extensive research among working-class black, Latino, and white men and women in rural Pennsylvania in the years leading up to the 2016 Presidential election. Her new book (We’re Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America) provides an intimate, often poignant portrayal of the transformations rippling through rural America and their consequences.
Tues. March 24–Prof. Victor Davis Hanson (Hoover Institution, Cal State Fresno, Hillsdale College), America’s Identity in the World: The Korean War, 70 years On. An eminent classicist and military historian who received the National Humanities Medal in 2007, he is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in classics and military history at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and Visiting Professor at Hillsdale College. His scholarship has tracked the cultural significance of war from ancient times to the present, in works including Why the West Has Won: Carnage and Culture from Salamis to Vietnam, and The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won. His talk will explore how America’s global role in the Cold War both expressed and helped to define modern American identity, focusing on the legacy of the Korean War on its 70th anniversary, a struggle in which Bucknellians also participated. Prof. Hanson’s visit to Bucknell will also include a public Conversation on The Case for Trump, his most recent book, in dialogue with BPALC-related faculty.