Past Programs

Providing Safe Shelter When Home is Not a Haven From Crisis

Thursday, April 2, 2020 – 7 p.m.
Live Stream Event

Live Stream Link (to be available day of event at 6:50 p.m.)


Jason Brode, AMEND Program
Sonya Browne, Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry Counties
Colleen Kinney, YWCA Carlisle
Scott Shewell, Safe Harbour

Around the world people are being told to stay home to help flatten the curve against the spread of Covid-19. But what happens if your home is not safe to shelter-in-place? According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 123 victims lost their lives to domestic violence last year in Pennsylvania. How is COVID-19 and government recommendations to stay at home, impacting members of our community who are at risk? Representatives from Domestic Violence Services for Cumberland and Perry County, Safe Harbour, YWCA and the AMEND Program will talk about what their organizations and programs are doing to support survivors in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and what resources are available for individuals and families who are not safe (or at risk) at home.

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

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Jason Brode is the executive director of Diakon Youth Services where he directs and administrates all Diakon Youth Programs in the Central Region of Pennsylvania, including the daily operations of the Diakon Wilderness Center.  Programs at the Wilderness Center include the Diakon Center Point Day Treatment Program, The Diakon Wilderness Challenge Program, The Diakon Weekend Alternative Program.  Also responsible for the oversight and supervision of The Diakon Bridge Community Based Program (providing community based support for delinquent and dependent youth in Cumberland, Perry, and Adams counties). Brode also serves as co-facilitator and creative partner for Dickinson College’s Healthy Masculinity Initiative, and as co-facilitator of the AMEND program, Cumberland and Franklin County, Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry Counties.

Sonya Browne has worn many hats in her career. She is currently the shelter supervisor for Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland & Perry Counties. Prior to that she served as mission impact director at YWCA Carlisle, focusing on racial justice and the empowerment of women and girls.  Before that, she was assistant property manager for the Housing Authority of Cumberland County. Brown also served as president of the board of directors of two nonprofits in Carlisle, Hope Station and Carlisle Victory Circle. She is currently secretary of the board of directors of Carlisle Opportunity Homes, Inc., a program that provides subsidized housing to those in need. Recently, Browne was awarded the Jim Washington Station of Hope Award and the YWCA Carlisle’s Annual Racial Justice Award. In her career, she has always recognized the intersectionality of race and poverty and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those impacted by violence, poverty and racism.

Colleen Kinney is currently the program director of the Sexual Assault Rape Crisis of Services of Cumberland County ( SARC) which is a program under the YWCA Carlisle. The SARC Program serves as Cumberland County’s sole sexual assault/ rape crisis center. The Program provides free and confidential resources to anyone affected by sexual violence in the Cumberland county community. These include services such as counseling and operating the 24/hour hotline to prevention education in schools and responding to hospitals when a victim comes in for a forensic rape exam. Kinney has worked in mostly nonprofits for approximately 19 years including those with serious mental illness, homelessness, at risk youth, disabilities services and domestic Vvolence. She holds a master’s of social work and legal studies from Arizona State University. In her spare time is a speaker with the Resilient Voices Program with the Office of the Victim Advocate speaking to the community on domestic violence and sexual assault as a survivor.

Scott K. Shewell is the president and CEO of Safe Harbour. Safe Harbour’s mission is to provide housing and supportive services for homeless and nearly homeless individuals and families to help them achieve independent living by improving their basic life skills.

As president, Shewell is responsible for the overall direction and administration of Safe Harbour’s programs in accordance with the organization’s mission and objectives. He manages Safe Harbour finances, facilities, policies, practices, staff, and the relationships between employees and the clients that they serve.  Working with the Board of Directors, Shewell participates in a collaborative working effort to monitor progress and promote the growth of the organization.

Shewell previously served as vice president for Community Relations and Development for Safe Harbour.  In that role, he was responsible for Safe Harbour’s fundraising initiatives, including the Annual Campaign, major gifts and planned giving, grant development, and state and federal appropriations. Shewell also directed the organization’s public relations and marketing initiatives, special events, and government and community relations.

Prior to joining Safe Harbour, Shewell served as Higher Education Business Development Manager for Delta Development Group, Inc.  His previous professional positions included serving as Public Relations Director for Barry Group Inc., a strategic planning and implementation firm in York, Pennsylvania; Director of Public Relations with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association; Director of Public Affairs with the State University of New York at Potsdam (SUNY Potsdam); and Press Secretary, with the Office of the Chancellor for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).


For Dickinson Students, Faculty and Staff

The Dickinson Title IX and Sexual Respect Office continues to be available via phone calls, email and video-conferencing even while the campus is physically closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. You can find contact information and resources online at: . 

We encourage you to seek help online and near you as appropriate and The Dickinson Sexual Assault Hotline remains open to assist you.  Call (717) 831-8850 to speak to a confidential advocate.

For General Public

Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Services of Cumberland County: 1-888-727-2877

Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry Counties (DVSCP)
24-Hour Emergency Hotline: 1-800-852-2102

DVSCP Main Office: (717) 258-4806

AMEND staff: call (717) 480-0489 or email


Tom Brier ’14

Attorney and Author

While Reason Slept: Recapturing the Founders’ Vision of a Rational Republic

Monday, March 2, 2020
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

How did we get to our current state of political acrimony?  Brier, the author of While Reason Slept, will walk us through the beginning of our national politics to the present day before offering a solution for recapturing our Founding Fathers’ path to a rational Republic.

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

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Thomas F. Brier Jr. is a native of Hershey, Pennsylvania, growing up as the oldest of three boys. He is a Dickinson College graduate with a degree in philosophy. Brier went on to Penn State Law, received a juris doctor in 2017 and was selected as commencement speaker by his classmates. After graduation, he served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit before joining an international law firm in Philadelphia.  At the firm, in addition to working on several multi-million-dollar lawsuits, he worked closely with the SeniorLAW Center and other pro bono legal assistance organization to help low-income families.  As a volunteer “Reader” in the Philly Reads Program, he spent time with local elementary school students.  He continues today to volunteer with the Pennsylvania Bar Association to provide free legal services to families and individuals across the Commonwealth.

Video of the Lecture

Protests Around the World

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium – 7 p.m.

Panel of Dickinson Faculty

Heather Bedi, environmental studies
Angela DeLutis-Eichenberger, Spanish & Portuguese and Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies
Nicoletta Marini-Maio Italian and film studies
Mireille Rebeiz, French & Francophone and women’s, gender & sexuality studies
Ed Webb political science and international studies

Protests are breaking around the world, and people are demanding immediate action and calling for changes in governmental, political, and environmental policies. What sparked these protests, and what is next for many of the countries involved? Panelists will address world-wide environmental activism as well as political protests in Algeria, Chile, Iraq, Italy, and Lebanon.

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

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Heather Bedi is an assistant professor of environmental studies at Dickinson College. Funded by the Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust, she completed a Ph.D. in human geography from the University of Cambridge. Bedi’s research examines how civil society and socio-environmental movements experience and adapt to natural resource and landscape modifications related to energy processes, climate change, industrialization, and agricultural transitions. Her broader research and teaching interests include environmental and social justice, political ecology, development, planning, and low carbon futures. Her current work examines the everyday of energy poverty, solar energy access, and climate change vulnerabilities in South Asia. Bedi also examines energy injustice through the lens of shale gas extraction (fracking) in the United States. She serves on the Pennsylvania Department for Environmental Protection’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board and the Cumberland County Food System Alliance leadership team.  Bedi was a Fulbright-Nehru Academic & Professional Excellence Fellow in India.

Angela DeLutis-Eichenberger earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in Spanish language and literature in 2010. Her research primarily focuses on the nineteenth century and the Southern Cone, with particular emphasis on Chile. Her work has appeared in Bulletin of Spanish Studies, Revista Hispánica Moderna, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, as a chapter in the book, Del aire al aire: Negotiating Space in Latin America, edited by Patricia Vilches, Brill Publishers, and in Decimonónica. She currently serves as an assistant professor in the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese, and Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies at Dickinson.

Nicoletta Marini-Maio is associate professor of Italian and film studies at Dickinson College. In 2013-2014, she received the Wolf Humanities Center Regional Fellowship on Violence at the University of Pennsylvania for her research on the cinematic and theatrical representations of the 1978 abduction and assassination of Italian statesman Aldo Moro.  She is a Member of the Modern Italian Studies Seminar at Columbia University, NY (2015—) and an elected member of the Modern Language Association (MLA) 20th-Century Italian Literature Executive Committee (2015-2019). Her research centers on the intersections between politics, historical narrative and fiction, popular culture, and gender in Italian cinema and television. She is the author ofA Very Seductive Body Politic: Silvio Berlusconi in Cinema (Mimesis: Milan, 2015). Her publications include articles on terrorism in film and theater during the 1970s, coming-of-age in Italian cinema, auteur cinema, two pedagogical volumes, and a critical translation. She is co-author and co-principal investigator of the collaborative project entitled La nazione Winx: Educare la futura consumista (Winx Nation: Grooming the Future Female Consumer), forthcoming from Rubbettino, Italy, in 2020. She is currently completing a monograph on the Aldo Moro Affair and two articles on the Decamerotici, a series of Italian films produced in the 1970s and inspired by Boccaccio’s Decameron and on the Italian television series Baby (Netflix). Marini-Maio is the founder and editor of gender/sexuality/italy (g/s/i ), an academic journal on constructions of femininity and masculinity in Italian culture. For more information about Marini-Maio, please see

Mireille Rebeiz  is assistant professor of Francophone Studies & women’s gender and sexuality studies at Dickinson College. She is also a contributing faculty member to the Middle East Studies Program. Rebeiz received her Ph.D. from Florida State University in 2012. She has a master’s degree in international law and human rights from the Université de Rouen in France and a bachelor’s degree in private law from Université Saint-Joseph in Lebanon. In her teaching and research, she examines issues related to migration and pop-culture in postcolonial France, representations of gender and sexuality in Arab women’s narratives, memory and trauma in Middle Eastern women’s writings of the war, and women and refugee’s rights in zones of armed conflicts with a focus on North Africa and the Levant. She is the author of several journal articles, and her book Gendering Civil War: Francophone Women’s Writing in Lebanon is currently under peer-review.

Ed Webb served with Britain’s Diplomatic Service 1992-2000, much of that time in Cairo, before completing a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. He is associate professor of political science and international studies, helped establish Dickinson’s Middle East Studies Program, and contributes to several other interdisciplinary programs. Author of Media in Egypt and Tunisia: From Control to Transition? (Palgrave 2014), he has also published articles and book chapters on authoritarianism, education policies in Turkey and Tunisia, censorship in the Arab world, and Doctor Who. He is currently learning Italian in preparation for taking up the directorship of Dickinson’s program in Bologna 2020-22. He is @edwebb on Twitter.


Related Links

– On the “Sardines” Italian protest movement against the far-right: and

– On the far-right ascent in Italy and Europe: and and

Rick Doblin ‘P21

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

Psychedelics: Science, Medicine and Politics

Monday, February 24, 2020
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

This lecture will discuss the politics of psychedelic research from the 1960s to today. Doblin will explore the history of MDMA, mechanisms of actions of psychedelics, and efforts to medicalize psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, depression and other indications.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of philosophy and psychology, the anthropology club, the neuroscience club, the Health Studies Program and the Program in Policy Studies.  This program was initiated by the Clarke Forum student project managers and is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speakers)

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his master’s thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife, dog, and empty rooms from three children, one of whom is in college and two have graduated.

Related Links

Rick Doblin’s Ted Talk –

Fox news 6 minute clip –

Movie called Trip of Compassion: Password: trip

Short Documentary – Ecstatic states: treating PTSD with MDMA –

Short video interview with SGT Jon Lubecky –

Scientific papers:


Video of the Lecture

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 in 1983 and based in Chicago with branch offices in Baltimore and Miami.

Durden received his undergraduate degree from Dickinson College (1971) in German and philosophy and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in German language and literature from Johns Hopkins University. Directly following graduation from Dickinson, he was a Fulbright-Hays Scholar at the University of Basle, Switzerland. He has also studied at the University of Freiburg and the University of Muenster, Germany. He was a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University and American Council of Learned Societies’ Fellow in Wolfenbuettel, Germany. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army, Military Intelligence Branch and most recently chaired the Middle States accreditation process for the United States Military Academy (West Point).

Directly prior to his 14-year tenure at Dickinson College, Durden was simultaneously president of a division of the Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc. (today Laureate Education, Inc.) and vice president of academic affairs for the Caliber Learning Network—a joint venture of MCI and Sylvan. Prior to Sylvan, Durden was a member of the German department at the Johns Hopkins University and founding executive director of the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) for 16 years. During his Hopkins’ engagement at CTY, he was also a senior education consultant to the U.S. Department of State for 11 years and chaired the Advisory Committee on Exceptional Children and Youth.  He served as a “private tutor” to then Prime Minister Tony Blair on the topic of talent development and global competitiveness.

Durden served as chair of the advisory board of the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (the Faculty Fulbright program) and as a member of the board of trustees of the Institute of International Education (IIE) as well as chair of the German Chancellors Fellowship U.S. Selection Committee (Humboldt Foundation). He was a trustee of St. Paul’s School (MD) and Indian Mountain School (CT). He currently serves as a trustee of Walden University and Squashwise Baltimore, a non-profit organization to help Baltimore City youth achieve their academic goals through squash and associated academic tutoring. He is also chair of the board of trustees of Columbia College Hollywood/Flashpoint College, Chicago, a joint non-profit, higher education institution focused on the liberal arts, the arts, film and media. He was appointed to the honorary council of LEAD WITH LANGUAGES campaign commencing March 1, 2017. This campaign was undertaken at the bipartisan request of the U.S. Congress. He was also appointed in 2019 as Ambassador to Maryland (USA) for the University of Freiburg, Germany.

Durden has published and spoken widely on topics ranging from German literature to gifted and talented education, international education policy, higher education, first-generation college students, international education, the distinctiveness of U.S. higher education and the liberal arts. His most recent publication appeared in the London Times (and was reprinted in PIE) and is entitled, ”Can an American Liberal Arts Approach Improve the British Higher Education System” and he is currently writing about what he is calling “precision education.”

Reference Materials

Living on the Diagonal and Other Selected Writings, by William G. Durden
Leading Minds, by Howard Gardner
The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity, by Lynda Gratton & Andrew Scott
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, by Ed Yong
Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don’t Have To, by David A. Sinclair with Matthew D LaPlante
The Third chapter: Passion, Risk and Adventure in the 25 Years AFTER 50, by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.

Video of the Lecture

Rwanda at 25

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


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 the first college to receive the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization twice. Under Ensign’s leadership, Dickinson has expanded its ties with the U.S. Army War College to include graduate courses, and has established a Bridge Program for women whose education has been interrupted by conflict. Ensign is also a long-time vocal advocate for the need for deep international learning. For seven years, she was the president of the American University of Nigeria where she also led the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API), a peace initiative composed of religious and community leaders which successfully promoted peace and countered Boko Haram through education, humanitarian assistance for 300,000 refugees and youth empowerment.

Ensign is a well-respected scholar on development, on Africa, and—growing out of her experience in Rwanda—on genocide. She is a well-respected scholar on development, Africa, and genocide, and is the author of seven books, including  Rwanda: History and Hope and co-editor of Confronting Genocide: Dehumanization, Denial and Strategies for Prevention. She co-edited a recent Peace Review special issue on Religion in War and Peace in Africa and most recently co-authored the forthcoming book Transactional Radio Instruction:  Improving Educational Outcomes for Children in Conflict Zones. She has presented at the World Economic Forum, been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and CNN, written for The Washington Post, and has testified before Congress on global education, international affairs and foreign assistance.

Professor Mathilde Mukantabana serves as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Rwanda to the United States of America, as well as non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Her ambassadorial responsibilities include advancing Rwandan policies and priorities abroad, championing Rwanda’s culture, history and economy, and leading/engaging Rwanda’s residential and professional communities throughout the U.S. In service to this role, she regularly works with elected and appointed leaders at the highest levels of governments, parliaments, secretariats, multilateral bodies, and global funding organizations.

Prior to her diplomatic career, Ambassador Mukantabana served in higher education as a tenured professor of History and as a lecturer in Social Work. Concurrent to her academic work in the United States and in Rwanda, she co-founded Friends of Rwanda Association (F.O.R.A), a nonprofit American relief organization launched in the wake of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda. She also serves on the Sonoma State University board of Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Prior to academia, she worked as a social worker for the California State Department of Health. Her expertise includes philanthropy, nonprofit organizational development, community building, community organizing, advocacy, cross-cultural/cross-sector education, volunteer management, and mentorship/team leadership.

Ambassador Mukantabana has extensive experience in designing and leading international conferences, and speaking on issues that include genocide/ethnic conflict, conflict resolution, gender equity, education, health, workforce development, and economic and financial inclusion. She has been honored to present to diverse audiences at Ivy League Schools, global fora, multilateral convenings, congressional and parliamentary hearings, think tanks, international service clubs, and international film and arts festivals. She is also a published writer on topics ranging from historical biographies to genocide to racial equality.

A recipient of numerous awards for her work in peace, justice and reconciliation, Ambassador Mukantabana holds a master’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in history.

Jean-Pierre Karegeye is currently visiting scholar in philosophy at Dickinson College. In addition to a Ph.D. in Francophone literature (University of California at Berkeley), Karegeye earned two master’s degrees in social ethics and in French, three bachelor’s degrees in African linguistics, philosophy, and theology. His work on genocide, religious violence, and child soldiering focuses on testimony and explores both fictional and non-fictional narratives. Some of his current projects explore how genocide and religious radicalization in Africa imply a reconstruction and a relocation of social sciences and humanities.  He has (co-) authored six books and journals and more than 50 articles including Children in Armed Conflicts (2012), “Ruanda : de la literatura post-genocidio o el dialogo entre testimonio y compromiso” (2012) , “Génocide au Rwanda et la critique africaine contemporaine” (2016).

Nelly Teta Ntwali ’22 is an international business & management and a political science double major at Dickinson College. She is involved in trendsetters, MOB, Black Student Union (BSU), is a liaison for the Women of Color summit and a resident advisor. Teta is from Rwanda, born in the post-genocide generation.



Video of the Lecture


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


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, developed, and deployed in the public interest. Previously, he served as Google’s global public policy lead on artificial intelligence, leading outreach to government and civil society on issues surrounding the social impact of the technology. Dubbed “The Busiest Man on the Internet” by Forbes Magazine, his current research focuses on the geopolitical aspects of computational power and machine learning hardware.


Amy McKiernan received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University in 2017, where she focused on ethics and feminist philosophy. Prior to that, McKiernan earned her M.A. in philosophy and social policy from American University in 2011 and her B.A. from The University of Scranton in 2007. Her research interests include the ethics of blame, the ethics of punishment, and the intersections of pain and oppression. McKiernan frequently teaches courses on practical ethics and serves as the director of the Ethics Across Campus & the Curriculum program. This initiative is part of the broader civic learning and community engagement initiative supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Jim Sias is an assistant professor in Dickinson’s Department of Philosophy. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013, specializing in ethics and moral psychology. He regularly teaches courses in these areas. Sias’s research focuses primarily on the foundations of morality and moral cognition, with special interests at the intersection of ethics and psychiatry. In 2016, he published a book on the nature of evil and he is currently working on issues related to rationality, wellbeing, and schizophrenia.

Related Links

Video of the Discussion




Fallout from the American Military Withdrawal from Northern Syria

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


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, Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia.  He holds a Ph.D. in international relations and master of arts degree in Arab studies from Georgetown University.  He is also a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute – a non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to “bringing the insights of scholarship to bear on the foreign policy and national security challenges facing the United States.” His most recent article is “10 Hard Realities of America’s Next Syria Policy” published by DefenseOne on October 18, 2019.

David Commins is professor of history and the Benjacomminsmin Rush Distinguished Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences at Dickinson College.  He obtained his undergraduate degree in history from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Middle East history from the University of Michigan.  He has written on Syrian history, modern Islamic thought, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf.

Larry P. Goodson is professor of Middle East studies at the U.S. Army War College, where he is the only person to hold the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Chair of National Security twice (2014-2017, 2004-2007).  In AY19 he was on sabbatical from the War College as a visiting fellow in the Changing Character of War Center, Pembroke College, Oxford University.  Since joining the U.S. government in 2002, Goodson has been continually called upon to serve as a regional advisor on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East by senior U.S. military and political leaders.

Among his other academic appointments, Goodson taught at the American University in Cairo (1994-2000) and conducted his dissertation field work in Peshawar, Pakistan (1986-1987).  Dr. Goodson completed all his academic work at the University of North Carolina.  He is the author of the New York Times bestselling Afghanistan’s Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban (2001) as well as numerous chapters and articles.  Currently, he is writing “First Great War of the 21st Century: From Syria to the South China Sea,” which argues that a war between China, Russia, and the United States is underway and that Syria is one of the most significant theaters in the early stages of that war.

Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob is a visiting international scholar in international studies at Dickinson College. His teaching and research interest is located at the intersections between communications (broadly defined) and violent extremism, war and peace in contemporary society. Before coming to Dickinson, Jacob was chair of the Communications and Multimedia Program and dean of arts and science at the American University of Nigeria.  Jacob currently co-leads the development of an ethical and methodological guide on preventing/countering violent extremism (P/CVE) research for the RESOLVE Network – a policy, practice and research hub on P/CVE, housed within the United States Institute of Peace. Twitter: @Jakes247

Video of the Discussion

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


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 college, but for most of his life was an occasional jogger.  At age 50, he tore his hamstring and was unable to run at all for six years.  Once he healed, he began running for enjoyment again. At age 58 he ran the New York City Marathon, his first 26.2.  Next month he will complete his 120th marathon by running the New York City Marathon for the second time.  He has also completed many ultra marathons.  In the last two years he set 14 national age group records and won 15 national championships at distances from 3K to 100 miles.  Last December he ran the world’s fastest marathon for age 70, 2:54:23, and this spring he broke the Boston Marathon age group course record by almost 20 minutes.

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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 her research has appeared in The Journal of Law, Culture, and Humanities, edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press, and The Christian Science Monitor.  She is currently working on a book manuscript that examines how legal and political actors use discourses of reason to delimit the boundaries of religious freedom.

David O’Connell is an assistant professor of political science at Dickinson College. His major research interests include the presidency and the role of religion in American politics.  O’Connell is the author of God Wills It: Presidents and the Political Use of Religion (Routledge, 2014), and his research and writing has appeared in, or is forthcoming in, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Politics and Religion, Political Science Quarterly, Social Media + Society, and White House Studies.  A frequent media commentator on American politics, O’Connell has been interviewed by C-SPAN, Fox News, ABC 27, CBS 21, FOX 43, WGAL 8 and WITF, and he has been quoted by national print outlets ranging from CNN to The Christian Science Monitor to the Associated Press. O’Connell received his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, and holds a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors. O’Connell is the 2018 recipient of Dickinson’s Constance & Rose Ganoe Memorial Award for Inspirational Teaching.

Gregory Steirer is an assistant professor of English and film & media Studies at Dickinson College, where he specializes in media industries, digital culture, and intellectual property law. His research in these areas has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Connected Viewing Initiative of the Carsey-Wolf Center and has been published in a variety of journals and edited collections including Convergence, Television & New Media, Media, Culture and Society, and Connected Viewing: Selling, Streaming, & Sharing Media in the Digital Era.

Video of the Discussion




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 and performer with publications in leading journals—along with major contributions in such volumes as the Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies (SAGE), Handbook of Performance Studies (SAGE), Handbook of Qualitative Research (SAGE, Third Edition/Fifth Edition), Handbook of Communication and Instruction (SAGE), Handbook of Critical Intercultural Communication (Wiley-Blackwell), and the Handbook of Autoethnography (Left Coast). He is the co-editor of Performance Theories in Education:  Power, Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity (2005, Erlbaum), author of Performing Black Masculinity: Race, Culture, and Queer Identity (2006, Alta Mira), and The Performative Sustainability of Race: Reflections on Black Culture and the Politics of Identity (2012, Lang) with a range of forthcoming publications. In his academic and administrative career, Alexander has promoted issues of race, culture and gender diversity; supported issues of equality and social justice; been committed to student and faculty engaged decision-making, as well as critical and democratic pedagogy; supporting interdisciplinary initiatives across departments and colleges.

Video of the Lecture


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 Arts and Publications Award given by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. In 2015, he was named Pennsylvanias’s Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He is the first Latino to receive this honor. He was also named Hispanic Leader of the Year by the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. For the last two and a half years, Ávila has toured the country with his highly acclaimed one-man show, The Trouble with My Name, a performance that blends poetry and satire to explore the American Latino experience.


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 the UK’s Baillie-Gifford nonfiction book prize, the Wellcome Book Prize, and a Lambda Literary Award, and was named a best book of 2018 by many publications. In the course of reporting the book, Thomas became the first transgender man to ever box in Madison Square Garden.

McBee has written columns for the Rumpus, Pacific Standard, Condé Nast’s Them, and Teen Vogue. A former senior editor at Quartz, his essays and reportage have appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, Glamour, Out, The Cut, and more.

McBee speaks globally about post-Recession masculinity, gender at work, the current gender culture war, and how trans media narratives shape all of our bodies. He has taught courses at the City University of New York’s graduate school of journalism and works with West Virginia University’s graduate school of journalism on grassroots reporting projects that challenge national narratives about Appalachia.  He also works in television, and has written for both Tales of the City (2019, Netflix) and The L Word (2019, Showtime). He lives in Brooklyn with his wife.

Video of the Presentation


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 him from his viral poems, “Where are you really from?” and “What Latino Looks Like,” which have garnered millions of views online. A two-time International Poetry Slam Champion (TIPS ’06, BNIPS ’10), Carlos is the winner of the 2018 Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize, 2018 Sequestrum Editor’s Award in Poetry, 2015 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Carlos is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He is a proud Latino and father.


Brexit: Where it Stands, What it Means

Brexit PosterBreaking Issue

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


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 of Economics (2004-2009) and University College London (2000-2004) and research appointments at the Max Planck Institute (Cologne, Germany), Birkbeck College (London) and Harvard University’s Center for European Studies (Cambridge, MA). He earned a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Dursun OzkanaOya Dursun-Özkanca (University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D.) is College Professor of International Studies (Endowed Chair), professor of political science, and director of international studies minor at Elizabethtown College, PA. Her research interests include Turkish foreign policy, transatlantic security, European Union, South East Europe, and peace operations. She is the editor of two books – The European Union as an Actor in Security Sector Reform (Routledge, 2014) and External Interventions in Civil Wars (co-edited with Stefan Wolff, Routledge, 2014) as well as a number of scholarly articles in leading peer-reviewed journals, such as Foreign Policy Analysis, Civil Wars, European Security, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, French Politics, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, and Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, among others, and chapters in various edited volumes. She wrote op-eds for Prishtina Insight, Juristi, Enduring America, Atlantic Community, and Hürriyet Daily News, on transatlantic relations, Turkish foreign policy, and Balkan politics. Her Hürriyet Daily News op-ed was cited in NATO’s online bibliography. She served as a Visiting Fellow of Research on South Eastern Europe (LSEE) at London School of Economics (LSE) in 2013. She received grants and fellowships from, among others, Georgetown University, the London School of Economics, the European Commission (multiple grants), the University of Texas at Austin (multiple fellowships), Deutscher Academischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), the European Union Studies Association, and the Elizabethtown College (multiple grants). She serves on the editorial boards of Ethnopolitics, International Review of Turkish Studies, and Public Communication Review. Dursun-Özkanca has extensive teaching experience internationally, as she taught at various universities in the US, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, and Kosovo. She is the inaugural recipient of the Kreider Prize for Teaching Excellence at Elizabethtown College (2015), a recipient of the Richard Crocker Outstanding Service to Students Award (2018), and the Torch of Global Enlightenment Award (2017). Her book titled, Turkey–West Relations: The Politics of Intra-alliance Opposition, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in January 2020.

Ed WebbEd Webb, served with Britain’s Diplomatic Service 1992-2000 before completing a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. Webb is associate professor of political science and international Studies, and also contributes to Middle East studies, security studies, Africana studies, and film & media studies at Dickinson. Author of Media in Egypt and Tunisia: From Control to Transition? (Palgrave 2014), he has published articles and book chapters on authoritarianism, education policies in Turkey and Tunisia, censorship in the Arab world, and Doctor Who. You can find him on Twitter at @edwebb.

 Video of the Discussion


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 career-long interest in social movements that aim to secure greater equality under law. Her work on feminist legal theory analyzed the use of experiential narratives, and the character of women’s agency under circumstances of constraint. More recently she has become interested in the role of emotion in adjudication, rights claiming, and social movement mobilization. These interests have fueled her current project, a book on the mobilization of undocumented immigrants in Arizona, tentatively titled Open Hand, Closed Fist: Undocumented Immigrants Organize in the Valley of the Sun.

Video of the Lecture