Gail Dines

Founding Member, Stop Porn Cultureporn culture poster

Sex, Identity and Intimacy in a Porn Culture

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

In this multi-media presentation, Dines explores how masculinity and femininity are shaped by a consumer-driven image-based culture and how pornography reproduces a gender system that encourages social and economic inequality and promotes a rape culture.  Note: This presentation contains explicit images.

A book sale and signing will follow.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Division of Student Development, Women’s and Gender Resource Center and the Departments of American Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Gail2011-web-portraitBiography (provided by the speaker)
Dr. Gail Dines is a professor of sociology and women’s Studies at Wheelock College in Boston, where she is also chair of the American Studies department. She has been researching and writing about the porn industry for well over twenty years. Dr. Dines is co-editor of the best-selling textbook Gender, Race and Class in Media and she has written numerous articles on pornography, media images of women and representations of race in pop culture. She is a recipient of the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America, and is a founding member of the activist group, Stop Porn Culture. Dr. Dines’ latest book is Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.

Gail Dines is a regular guest on television and radio shows including ABC News,  MSNBC, CNN, BBC, CNC, FOX, and National Public Radio. She has appeared in The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, The Guardian, Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and has worked with Hollywood studios to develop strategies for creating progressive images of women on national television. She is also a featured speaker in documentaries such as Beyond Killing Us Softly: The Strength to Resist, Mickey Mouse Monopoly, and The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality and Relationships.

 Podcast of the Lecture

Syria: What Next?

Syria Poster

** Breaking Issue **

Monday, September 2, 2013
Althouse Hall, Room 106 – 7 p.m.

A panel discussion focused on the issues arising out of the Syrian civil war, in particular the recent apparent use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime and the likelihood of a military response by the United States.  The situation highlights a number of perplexing issues regarding how the conflict affects other countries in the Middle East, the outcomes of the Arab uprisings, the substance and binding character of international law, along with a number of domestic U.S. constitutional and political issues.


Neil Diamant, professor of Asian law and society
Joseph Sestak, General Omar N. Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership
Edward Webb, assistant professor of political science and international studies
Russell Bova, (moderator), professor of political science and international studies


Neil J. Diamant is professor of Asian law and society at Dickinson College. He has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and teaches classes on Israeli politics and the history of Zionism in addition to those in his primary field of expertise.  He lived in Israel between 1978-1988, and 1997-2000, serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (1982-1985), completing his B.A. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and later teaching at Tel Aviv University.

Joseph Sestak, was born and raised in Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served 31 years in the U.S. Navy, attaining the rank of 3-star Admiral. He led a series of operational commands at sea, culminating in command of the GEORGE WASHINGTON Aircraft Carrier Battle Group during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He served as President Clinton’s Director for Defense Policy in the National Security Council; as head of “Deep Blue”, the Navy anti-terrorism unit focused on the “Global War on Terrorism”; and oversaw the Navy’s five year $350 billion warfare budget as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations.  After the Navy, Joe was elected to Congress from Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District in 2007, where he served through 2010 when he ran for the U.S. Senate. The highest-ranking former military officer ever elected to Congress, The National Journal identified him as “at the ideological center of the House,” while the House Majority Leader named Joe the “most productive” representative in his class, through his service on the Armed Services Committee, the Education and Labor Committee, and as Vice Chairman of the Small Business Committee. While in the Navy, Joe received a master’s in public administration, and a Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard University. Married to Susan, and Dad to Alex, he resides in Edgmont, Pennsylvania.

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. An assistant professor of political science and international studies, he helped establish Dickinson’s Middle East Studies program and also contributes to the Security Studies certificate. He has published articles and book chapters on authoritarianism, nationalist and religious aspects of education policies in Turkey and Tunisia, censorship in the Arab world, and Doctor Who. He is active in international debates about digital technologies in education as well as Middle East politics: you can follow him on Twitter via @edwebb.

Russell Bova is professor of political science and international studies at Dickinson College. He has published many articles on Russian politics and comparative democratization in scholarly journals such as World Politics and Journal of Democracy. He is also the author of How the World Works (Pearson 2012).

Podcast from the Panel Discussion

Pennsylvania Gun Debate

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Gun Debate Poster FinalParticipants:

State Representative Stephen Bloom (R), serving the 199th Legislative District in Cumberland County

State Senator Larry Farnese (D), serving the 1st Senatorial District in Philadelphia

The participants will discuss the merits of gun control provisions currently being considered by the Pennsylvania legislature.

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


Bloom111312PORTRAITRepresentative Stephen Bloom, of Cumberland County, was first elected to represent the citizens of the 199th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November 2010. A practicing lawyer for more than 20 years, now of counsel with the Carlisle firm of Irwin & McKnight, P.C., Bloom focused on business and transactional matters. He was also an adjunct instructor of management and business at Messiah College, where he taught economics and business law.

His mission as a lawmaker is to cut the size and scope of government, reduce the burden of taxes and unnecessary regulation, protect and defend constitutional freedoms, and by doing those things, unleash the power of individuals and businesses to create and grow jobs and economic prosperity.
Full Biography

Farnese_downloadSenator Larry Farnese was elected to the Senate in 2008 to represent Pennsylvania’s First Senatorial District. The district comprises many unique and vibrant neighborhoods from Port Richmond on the Delaware River to Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill River and also includes South Philadelphia, Center City, the Navy Yard, Philadelphia International Airport and other areas.

Senator Farnese serves as the Democratic Chair of the Communications and Technology Committee. He is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, Banking and Insurance Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. Full Biography

 Video of the Debate

Michael Mann

Professor, Penn State University

Mann Final PosterThe Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Monday, April 22, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.
A book sale and signing will follow

Mann will discuss the topic of human-caused climate change through the prism of his own experiences as a reluctant and accidental public figure in the societal debate over global warming.

This event is jointly sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, Penn State Dickinson School of Law and School of International Affairs and co-sponsored by the Departments of Earth Sciences and Environmental Studies.

Photo Courtesy of Greg RicoBiography (provided by the speaker)

Dr. Michael E. Mann is a member of the Penn State University faculty, holding joint positions in the Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences, and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).

Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth’s climate system.

Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA’s outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012. He is a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.

Dr. Mann is author of more than 150 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines in 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning science website

Video of the Lecture

Joan Steitz – “Joseph Priestley Award Lecturer”

Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University

Steiz Poster FinalLupus and Snurps: Bench to Bedside and Back Again

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

This talk will trace the origins of our understanding of how small cellular particles contribute to the critical process of splicing and relate this knowledge to today’s quest for treatment of splicing diseases, such as Lupus.

The Joseph Priestley Award recipient is chosen by a different science department each year.  This year the recipient was selected by the Department of Biology.  The event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and Student Senate and co-sponsored by and the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Psychology, Physics & Astronomy and Environmental Studies.

Joan SteitzBiography (provided by the speaker)

Joan Steitz is a Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; and Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University.

Steitz earned her B.S. in chemistry from Antioch College in 1963. Significant findings from her work emerged as early as 1967, when her Harvard PhD thesis with Jim Watson examined the test-tube assembly of a ribonucleic acid (RNA) bacteriophage (antibacterial virus) known as R17.

Steitz spent the next three years in postdoctoral studies at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, where she used early methods for determining the biochemical sequence of RNA to study how ribosomes know where to initiate protein synthesis on bacterial mRNAs. In 1970, she was appointed assistant professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale, becoming full professor in 1978. At Yale, she established a laboratory dedicated to the study of RNA structure and function. In 1979, Steitz and her colleagues described a group of cellular particles called small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), a breakthrough in understanding how RNA is spliced. Subsequently, her laboratory has defined the structures and functions of other noncoding RNPs, such as those that guide the modification of ribosomal RNAs and several produced by transforming herpesviruses.  Today, her studies of noncoding RNAs include microRNAs.

Steitz is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. Her many honors include the U.S. Steel Foundation Award in Molecular Biology (1982), the National Medal of Science (1986), the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award (2002), the FASEB Excellence in Science Award (2003), the RNA Society Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), E.B. Wilson Medal (2005), Gairdner Foundation International Award (2006), and Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2008),  [shared with Elizabeth Blackburn], Harden Jubilee Medal, British Biochemical Society (2009), The Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation 23rd Annual Medical Research Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research (2011), The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize (2012). She is the recipient of 15 honorary degrees.

Joseph Priestley Lecture
The Priestley Award is presented by Dickinson College in memory of Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen, to a distinguished scientist whose work has contributed to the welfare of humanity. The Priestley Award, first presented in 1952, recognizes outstanding achievement and contribution to our understanding of science and the world.

Video of the Lecture


Angela Stent

Professor, Georgetown University

Stent PosterU.S.-Russia: The Second Obama Term

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

The U.S-Russian relationship faces new challenges as President Barack Obama embarks on his second term. Both countries will have to reassess the relative priority of interests versus values as they seek to move forward.

This event is jointly sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, Penn State Dickinson School of Law and School of International Affairs, and the Constance and Rose Ganoe Memorial Fund for Inspirational Teaching, courtesy of Professor Russell Bova.

astentbrookingsBiography (provided by the speaker)

Angela Stent is director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University. She is also a senior fellow (non-resident) at the Brookings Institution and co-chairs its Hewett Forum on Post-Soviet Affairs. From 2004-2006 she served as National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council.  From 1999 to 2001, she served in the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State.

Stent’s academic work focuses on the triangular political and economic relationship between the United States, Russia and Europe.  Her publications include: Russia and Germany Reborn: Unification, The Soviet Collapse and The New Europe (Princeton University Pres, 1999); From Embargo to Ostpolitik: The Political Economy of West German-Soviet Relations, 1955-1980  (Cambridge University Press, 1981); “Repairing US-Russian Relations: A Long Road Ahead”  (2009) “Restoration and Revolution in Putin’s Foreign Policy,” (2008), “An Energy Superpower? Russia and Europe” (2008) and “Reluctant Europeans: Three Centuries of Russian Ambivalence Toward the West,” (2007). She is currently writing a book about US-Russian relations since 2000.

Stent is a member of Admiral Stavridis’  EUCOM Advisory Panel and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  She is a contributing editor to Survival and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Cold War Studies, World Policy Journal and Internationale Politik. She is on the International Advisory Board of Russia Profile. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Eurasia Foundation and of Supporters of Civil Society in Russia. Dr. Stent received her B.A. from Cambridge University, her MSc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science and her M.A. and PhD. from Harvard University.

Radio Interview for WDCV, Dickinson College


Video of the Lecture


Scott Silverstone

Professor, United States Military Academy at West Point

Silverstone PosterPreventive War and American Democracy

Monday, April 15, 2013
Althouse Hall, Room 106, 7:00 p.m.

Ten years after the United States launched the first preventive war in its history – against Iraq in 2003 – American leaders are once again wrestling with the preventive war temptation, this time directed at Iran and its nuclear program. This lecture will explore and explain this profound shift in American thinking about preventive war over the past sixty years.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Mellon Foundation Project on Civilian-Military Educational Cooperation.  It is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in a Age of Uncertainty Series.

scott silverstoneBiography (provided by the speaker)
Dr. Silverstone is professor of international relations in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he has been on the faculty since 2001. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, and has also served on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and Williams College. Dr. Silverstone is a research fellow with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and is the author of Preventive War and American Democracy (Routledge Press, 2007) and Divided Union: The Politics of War in the Early American Republic (Cornell University Press, 2004), as well as journal articles and book chapters on international security and American foreign policy. He is currently writing a book on preventive war and the rise of German power in the 1930s.

Dr. Silverstone began his career as a U.S. naval officer. From 1987 to 1990 he was a naval flight officer and mission commander with a P-3 Orion squadron at Naval Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, and deployed extensively throughout the western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and East Africa conducting anti-submarine operations and maritime reconnaissance. From 1990 to 1993 he served on the staff of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations in the Pentagon, managing the Navy’s portion of the White House-directed nuclear attack survivability program and all Navy participation in the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored global crisis management exercise program and the NATO crisis exercise program. From September 1992 to April 1993 he served as the director of the Navy’s Crisis Action Center in the Pentagon for planning and support of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. Between 1993 and 2000, Dr. Silverstone was a naval reserve officer serving in the Navy Command Center in the Pentagon.

WDCV Radio Interview with Scott Silverstone

Video of the Lecture


Bill McKibben

Schumann Distinguished Scholar, Middlebury College; Recipient of The Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism

Mckibben posterFront Line of the Climate Fight

Thursday, April 11, 2013
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
A book signing will follow the lecture

McKibben will highlight the ways in which environmental groups are working around the country and the world to scientifically and politically challenge the power of the fossil fuel industry before it breaks the planet.

This event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and The Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism and co-sponsored by the Department of Environmental Studies.  It is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series and the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits.

Portrait of Bill McKibben, author and activist. photo ©Nancie BattagliaBiography (provided by the speaker)

Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him ‘the planet’s best green journalist’ and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was ‘probably the country’s most important environmentalist.’ Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, he holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges, including the Universities of Massachusetts and Maine, the State University of New York, and Whittier and Colgate Colleges. In 2011 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bill grew up in suburban Lexington, Massachusetts. He was president of the Harvard Crimson newspaper in college. Immediately after college he joined the New Yorker magazine as a staff writer, and wrote much of the “Talk of the Town” column from 1982 to early 1987. He quit the magazine when its longtime editor William Shawn was forced out of his job, and soon moved to the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in the New Yorker. It is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages. Several editions have come out in the United States, including an updated version published in 2006.

His next book, The Age of Missing Information, was published in 1992. It is an account of an experiment: McKibben collected everything that came across the 100 channels of cable tv on the Fairfax, Virginia system (at the time among the nation’s largest) for a single day. He spent a year watching the 2,400 hours of videotape, and then compared it to a day spent on the mountaintop near his home. This book has been widely used in colleges and high schools, and was reissued in a new edition in 2006.

Subsequent books include Hope, Human and Wild, about Curitiba, Brazil and Kerala, India, which he cites as examples of people living more lightly on the earth; The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation, which is about the Book of Job and the environment; Maybe One, about human population; Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously, about a year spent training for endurance events at an elite level; Enough, about what he sees as the existential dangers of genetic engineering; Wandering Home, about a long solo hiking trip from his current home in the mountains east of Lake Champlain in Ripton, Vermont back to his longtime neighborhood of the Adirondacks.

In March 2007 McKibben published Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. It addresses what the author sees as shortcomings of the growth economy and envisions a transition to more local-scale enterprise.

In late summer 2006, Bill helped lead a five-day walk across Vermont to demand action on global warming that some newspaper accounts called the largest demonstration to date in America about climate change. Beginning in January 2007 he founded to demand that Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions that would cut global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050. With six college students, he organized 1,400 global warming demonstrations across all 50 states of America on April 14, 2007. Step It Up 2007 has been described as the largest day of protest about climate change in the nation’s history. A guide to help people initiate environmental activism in their community coming out of the Step It Up 2007 experience entitled Fight Global Warming Now was published in October 2007 and a second day of action on climate change was held the following November 3.

March 2008 saw the publication of The Bill McKibben Reader, a collection of 44 essays written for various publications over the past 25 years.

Bill is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine.

Bill has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He has honorary degrees from Green Mountain College, Unity College, Lebanon Valley College and Sterling College.

Bill currently resides with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and his daughter, Sophie, who was born in 1993, in Ripton, Vermont. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.

Video of the Lecture



Beatriz Diaz

Professor, University of Havana

Diaz PosterU.S. Role and Image in the World: A Cuban’s Perspective

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 (rescheduled from November 27, 2012)
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

This lecture focuses on the paradoxes that characterize U.S. role and image in the world: U.S. culture, technological development, civil society, economic influence and military power will be discussed and evaluated.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Center for Global Study and Engagement and co-sponsored by the Departments of Economics and Spanish & Portuguese.

Biography (provided by the speaker)
hasta 22.3.13 068Beatriz Diaz is a full professor at the University of Havana, and at the Cuban Program of the Latin American Social Sciences Faculty (FLACSO). She was the director of the Cuba FLACSO Program (2001-2008) and at present chairs the research group on Rural Development and the Environment at FLACSO. She obtained her BA in psychology at the University of Havana, followed by graduate work at the University of Paris X and Geneva. She obtained her Ph.D. at the Soviet Academy of Educational Sciences in Moscow.

Her main research interests focus on Cuban Social Development and Sustainable Development. She has conducted research on rural, urban and coastal communities in Cuba and in Venezuela, focusing on social development and social policies that may enhance social equity and social participation. She is a current consultant to several Cuban ministries and research institutions. Dr. Diaz chairs the Canadian Studies Center at the University of Havana and is a member of the International Council of Canadian Studies.

She is currently teaching courses on Environment and Development, Social Development, and Social Research Methodology. Dr. Beatriz Diaz created in 2000 a Master Program on Co-operatives’ Management and Development and acts as its Academic Coordinator. This Master Program was recently updated taking into account economic changes taking place in Cuba, which give a greater place to co-operatives. The Master Program 4th edition began in March, 2012. Dr. Diaz has given lectures at various universities in Latin America, Canada, and the United States.

Professor Diaz has published two books and several articles in Cuba, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, the United States and Venezuela. She has taken part in and presented papers at scientific conferences and seminars held in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Guatemala, Mexico, Sweden. the Netherlands, and the United States. She has presented at numerous important conferences in Cuba in the last several years.

Dr. Diaz is fluent in English and French, and has basic proficiency in Russian, Portuguese and Italian. She has been honored with awards from the Ministry of Higher Education, the Academy of Sciences, and has received recognitions from various other Cuban Institutions.

Current research interest: social policies and social development in Latin American countries after the crisis, focusing on Cuba and Venezuela.

Video of the Lecture

Kris Perry

Executive Director, First Five Years Fund

Perry PosterSame-Sex Marriage & the Supreme Court: A Plaintiff’s Story

Monday, April 8, 2013
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

In May 2009, two California couples—Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo of Burbank—filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging California’s Proposition 8 under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Represented by distinguished attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, who famously faced-off in Bush v. Gore, the plaintiffs and their case, now known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, have forever changed America’s legal and political landscape surrounding marriage equality.

On March 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in Perry to review the judgment of the federal court of appeals that upheld the decision of the federal district court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. A decision from the Supreme Court, which is expected by June 2013, could result in marriage equality nationwide.

In this lecture, Kris Perry will discuss her personal experience as one of the plaintiffs in this landmark civil rights lawsuit. From testifying at trial and watching oral argument at the Supreme Court, to seeing her twin boys go through high school during the case, to being represented by the nation’s top lawyers, Perry will provide an intimate, first-hand account of the case that bears her name—and what she hopes the future holds for marriage equality in America.

The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues sponsored and planned this event in partnership with the Student Senate Public Affairs Committee.  It is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in a Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)
Kris-Perry-(saved4web)Kris Perry and Sandy Stier have been together for 13 years and are the parents of four boys. Perry is executive director of the First Five Years Fund, a national organization dedicated to improving American education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children. She holds a BA from University of California, Santa Cruz and an M.S.W. from San Francisco State University. Stier is the director of information systems for the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. She is originally from Iowa, a graduate from the University of Iowa, with an MPA from Golden Gate University.

Relevant Links
How AFER Fights for Marriage Equality  and “8” Los Angeles

Interview for WDCV Radio


Video of the Lecture


Peter Lev

Professor, Towson University

Peter Lev PosterThe Politics of an Entertainment Company

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Twentieth Century-Fox has always been involved in local, national, and international politics.  This lecture will describe Fox’s political activism in the 1940s and then fast-forward to the present.

The event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by Judaic Studies, The Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life, Film Studies, Middle East Studies, and the Departments of Political Science, American Studies, English, French & Italian and History.

LEV_Peter-hi resolBiography (provided by the speaker)
Peter Lev is professor of electronic media and film at Towson University. His research and teaching focuses on American film history, European film history, and film adaptations of literature.   He is the author of five books on film history and the co-editor of a book on film adaptation:  selected titles include Twentieth Century-Fox, the Zanuck-Skouras Years 1935-1965 (March 2013); The Literature/Film Reader (co-edited with Jim Welsh, 2007); Transforming the Screen:  The Fifties (History of the American Cinema series, 2003);and American Films of the 1970s:  Conflicting Visions (2000).  The Twentieth Century-Fox book was supported by an Academy Scholars Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2009.  Other recent honors are the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Literature/Film Association, 2009, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Service to Towson University, 2010-2011.  Dr. Lev is Secretary of the Literature/Film Association and an Editorial Board member of Literature/Film Quarterly.

 Related Links

Video of the Lecture





John R. Lott Jr.

Lott posterAuthor and Fox News Contributor

More Guns, Less Crime

Monday, April 1, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

The talk will argue that crime rates fall when law-abiding citizens are given the chance to defend themselves.

The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues has sponsored and planned this event in partnership with the Student Senate Public Affairs Committee.  Please note that college policy prohibits the possession of firearms on college premises.

Biography (provided by the speaker)
John R. Lott Jr. is an economist who has held research and/or teaching positions at the UniversiLott picturety of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford, UCLA, Wharton, and Rice and was the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. He has published over 100 articles in academic journals. He also is the author of seven books of which his newest is At the Brink: Will Obama push us over the edge? His past books have included three editions of More Guns, Less Crime and Freedomnomics. Lott is a contributor and a weekly columnist for them. Opinion pieces by Lott have appeared in such places as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, USA Today, and The Chicago Tribune. He has appeared on such television programs as the ABC and NBC National Evening News broadcasts, Fox News, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and the Today Show. He received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984.

Relevant Link

Video of the Lecture



David Orr

Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, Oberlin College

Final Orr PosterDesigning Resilience in a Black Swan World

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

Black Swan events are those with low or unknown probability, but high, long-lived and often global impacts. Orr will discuss how we should design communities, regions, and nations to improve resilience and prosperity in the context of such events, with a focus on the Oberlin Project and the National Sustainable Communities Coalition.

The event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Office of the President, and co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability Education and the Department of Environmental Studies.  It is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in a Age of Uncertainty Series and the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits.

IMG_9032Biography (provided by the speaker)

David Orr the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and senior adviser to the president at Oberlin College. He is the author of seven books, including Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (Oxford, 2009) and co-editor of three others. He has authored nearly 200 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications. In the past twenty-five years he has served as a board member or adviser to eight foundations and on the boards of many organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Currently he a trustee of the Bioneers, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, and the WorldWatch Institute. He has been awarded seven honorary degrees and a dozen other awards including a Lyndhurst Prize, a National Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, and recently a “Visionary Leadership Award” from Second Nature. He has lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He headed the effort to design, fund, and build the Adam Joseph Lewis Center, which was named by an AIA panel in 2010 as “the most important green building of the past thirty years,” and as “one of thirty milestone buildings of the twentieth century” by the U.S. Department of Energy. He is the executive director of the Oberlin project, an editor of the journal Solutions, and is a high level adviser to four grandchildren ages 2-12.

Video of the Lecture



Fallou Ngom

Associate Professor, Boston University

Ngom Poster FinalAfrica’s Sources of Knowledge in Ajami Scripts

Thursday, March 21, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

This talk will address the myth of illiteracy in Islamized areas of Africa. It uncovers important sources of African knowledge written in the modified classical Arabic script known as Ajami.

The event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by Middle East Studies and the Departments of Africana Studies, History, and French and Italian.

DSC_0036Biography (provided by the speaker)
Dr. Fallou Ngom is an associate professor of anthropology and director of the African Language Program at the African Studies Center at Boston University. His research interests include the interactions between African languages and non-African languages, the Africanization of Islam in the Sahel, and Ajami literatures, records of West African languages written in Arabic script.

Relevant Links

Video of the Lecture

Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Extraction – Panel Discussion

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Natural Extraction Panel PosterPanelists:

Peter Bechtel ’81 – Andorinha Azul Ambiental
Tim Kelsey, Penn State University
Veronica Coptis, Center for Coalfield Justice
Erika Staaf, PennEnvironment
Moderated by Julie Vastine, ALLARM

Natural resource extraction has been at the heart of economic growth and, for that reason, remains a source of considerable political and economic controversy.   Both Pennsylvania and Mozambique are currently experiencing a boom in natural gas exploration while they yet confront the economic, social, and environmental consequences of previous forms of resource extraction.  The panel will discuss and compare the two locations, identify commonalities, and see what lessons have been learned.

This event is part of the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits and is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center for Global Study and Engagement, Center for Sustainability Education, Career Center, Department of Religion, Office of Institutional and Diversity Initiatives, Department of International Business and Management, Health Studies, Department of Environmental Studies, Community Studies Center, Department of Africana Studies and ALLARM.


Peter Bechtel, an ’81 Dickinson graduate, worked with the World Wildlife Fund in Mozambique on environmental resource management and wildlife conservation strategies that integrate livelihoods of local peoples. He is now consulting on how Mozambique can develop its natural gas reserves in responsible and sustainable ways.

Tim Kelsey conducts research on issues such as economic and community implicationTim_Kelseys of Marcellus Shale, public finance and taxation, and land use change.  He teaches courses on community-based research methodologies, economic development tools, and community development.  He has extensive experience across Pennsylvania presenting informal workshops for local government officials, the business community, and others on these issues.  He has been at Penn State since 1991.

Veronica Coptis is a lifelong resident of coalfields in Greene County. Veronica has spent many years organizing against coal extraction. She is a community organizer for the Center of Coalfield Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the environment and communities from the impacts of fossil fuel extraction.  For the past two years, Veronica Coptis was a community organizer with Mountain Watershed Association, Home of the Youghiogheny Riverkeeper, a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to protecting, preserving and restoring the Youghiogheny River Watershed and surrounding areas.  At Mountain Watershed Association she implemented the Marcellus Citizen Stewardship Project, which works to educate, engage, and empower communities to protect themselves from shale gas impacts through monitoring and organizing.

Erika StaafErika Staaf is the clean water advocate for PennEnvironment, and works to promote policies that protect and preserve Pennsylvania’s waterways. Most recently, her work has involved defending Pennsylvania’s environment and public health from the threat of gas drilling activities and other extractive industries, and involves a combination of research, citizen organizing and training, media work, coalition-building and direct advocacy.

Julie Vastine ’03 is the director of the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) at Dickinson College.  She is responsible for leadership of the ALLARM program and providing technical assistance to watershed communities.  Julie has worked in the environmental field for twelve years, including time in Washington, D.C. with the international and human rights organization, EarthRights International. A native of the Chesapeake Bay, Julie enjoys working with community organizations to build their capacity to monitor streams and to monitor, protect, and restore water quality in Pennsylvania.



Guns USA : A Teach-In

* Breaking Issue *

Guns USA PosterThursday, February 28, 2013
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

The purpose of this teach-in, which is sponsored by Penn State University Dickinson School of Law, U.S. Army War College and the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues on behalf of Dickinson College, is to elevate and broaden the ongoing national discussion about gun safety and gun violence in the United States for the benefit of the faculty, students, and members of the local Carlisle community.  It will focus in particular upon the three following questions: 1) What is the difference, if any, between military weapons and civilian weapons? 2) What are the current limits on the right to bear arms? 3) What are the costs/benefits associated with guns?


Thomas Place, professor, Penn State University Dickinson School of Law
Col. David Dworak, professor, U.S. Army War College
Harry Pohlman, professor, Dickinson College (filling in for Stephanie Gilmore, professor, Dickinson College)
William Nelligan ’14 (moderator), student, Dickinson College

The event is co-sponsored by the Student Senate Public Affairs Committee.


Thomas Place is a professor of law at Penn State University Dickinson School of Law where he teaches courses on criminal procedure, constitutional law, post-conviction remedies, and prisoners rights..  He joined Penn State Law after co-founding the first legal services program in Appalachia. He is the author of the Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act — Practice and Procedure.

Colonel David Dworak is on the faculty of the U.S. Army War College in the Department of Military Strategy, Planning, and Operations where he teaches classes on strategy development, joint operations planning, and logistics.  He has been in the Army for 29 years and is intimately familiar with all types of arms and munitions.  Additionally, Colonel Dworak is a certified firearms instructor.

Harry Pohlman is the executive director of the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, a professor of political science and holds the A. Lee Fritschler Chair in Public Policy at Dickinson College.  Pohlman’s teaching interests include American constitutional law, other law-related courses, and political and legal philosophy.

William Nelligan ’14 (moderator) is vice president of Student Senate and chair of the Senate’s Public Affairs Committee. He is a double-major in political science and history, focusing on legal history and the American Civil Rights Movement.  Nelligan is also the first recipient of Dickinson’s Public Service Fellowship.



Peter Bechtel ’81 and Ruth Mkhwanazi-Bechtel

Peter Bechtel ’81, director, Andorinha Azul Ambiental, a company specializing in sustainable development
Ruth Mkhwanazi-Bechtel, program director, Vanderbilt University’s Friends in Global Health in Mozambique

Bechtel Final PosterSustainable Development in Mozambique

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

For many years, Mozambique has been near the bottom of the UN Human Development Index, but recent discoveries of gas, coal, and mineral deposits have created opportunities for rapid economic development.  While the government places some importance on sustainability, there are ongoing problems related to transparency, top-down decision-making, urbanization and climate change.

The event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center for Global Study and Engagement, Center for Sustainability Education, Career Center, Department of Religion, Office of Institutional and Diversity Initiatives, Department of International Business and Management, Health Studies, Department of Environmental Studies, Community Studies Center and the Departments of Africana Studies, International Studies, Earth Sciences and Economics.

This event is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series and the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits.


Peter Bechtel ’81, a graduate of Dickinson College, traveled to Africa with the US Peace Corps. He met his wife, bought a farm, and eventually acquired Mozambican nationality. He has worked in the development field for more than 30 years in Southern Africa, in rural development, nature conservation, and climate change.  He has seen the  devastating effects of climate change on coastal communities in East Africa and is concerned about developing resistance and resilience mechanisms not only for ecosystems but for livelihoods as well.

Peter Bechtel is an award winning ecotourism operator and has achieved the following:

1. Founder of three large national Parks/ Reserves.  The Quirimbas National Park, the Lake Niassa/Nyasa/Malawi Reserve, and the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago Marine Reserve.  He organized the declaration of protected area status, wrote the management plans, and organized ranger teams and protection for both natural biota as well as traditional human livelihoods in all three of these areas.

2.  Founder of the CARE/WWF Alliance, a formal worldwide alliance between two developmental giants to work at the resource health/human well-being nexus.

3.  Launched a process that led to the establishment of the national BIOFUND to finance Mozambique’s Conservation areas.

4.  Won “World’s Best Destination” from the BBC in 2006 for our eco- lodge Quilalea Marine Sanctuary, together with two partners.

5.  Developed climate buffering strategies for marine and terrestrial areas, as well as community livelihoods.

PrincesaRuth Mkhwanazi-Bechtel is the program director of the Community Care and Support Program, a program of Vanderbilt University’s Friends in Global Health in Mozambique. As program director, Ruth oversees development and implementation of community outreach efforts to overcome sociological barriers and increase community members’ access to health services for HIV & AIDS prevention and care. She has more than 20 years experience working in Mozambique and Swaziland on health care and health education, community development, community management of natural resources, food and livelihoods security, and women’s entrepreneurship. She received a master’s of science degree in Managing Rural Care form the University of London, Imperial College in 2005.

Video from the Lecture


 Radio Interview for WDCV Radio, Dickinson College




Jay Michaelson

Award-Winning Author

Michaelson Poster

God vs. Gay? Common Ground in the Culture Wars

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
A book sale and signing will follow

Are there ways to have better conversations about homosexuality and religion?  Michaelson, an award-winning LGBT religious activist, will move this conversation forward by discussing relevant biblical texts and “best practices.”

This event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by The Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life and the Office of LGBTQ Services.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

michaelson118largerJay Michaelson is the author of four books and two hundred articles on the intersections of religion, spirituality, sexuality, and law. His most recent book, God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (Beacon), was an bestseller and Lambda Literary Award finalist. Jay is a contributing editor to the Forward newspaper and associate editor of Religion Dispatches magazine, and his work has appeared in The Daily Beast, Salon, Newsweek, Tikkun, The Huffington Post, and other publications. Jay is also a longtime LGBT activist who has worked closely with HRC, GLAAD, and other organizations, and is the founder of Nehirim, a national LGBT Jewish community. Jay’s advocacy on behalf of sexual minorities in religious communities has been featured on CNN, NPR, and in The New York Times.

In 2009, Jay was included on the Forward 50 list of influential American Jews, and in 2010 he won the New York Society of Professional Journalists’ award for opinion writing. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and will soon receive his Ph.D in Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he holds an M.A. in religion. Jay has held teaching positions at Boston University Law School, City College of New York, and Yale University.

Relevant Links
Jay Michaelson – God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (Book Trailer)
Jay Michaelson – If you’re Queer and Jewish, Mazal Tov!

Michael Shellenberger

Shellenberger PosterPresident, The Breakthrough Institute

Love Your Monsters: Why Technology Will Save the World

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 *
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Environmental expert Michael Shellenberger will describe why technology is the key to dealing with the world’s toughest environmental problems from climate change to rainforest destruction and species extinction.

The event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability Education and the Department of Environmental Studies.  It is also part of The Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series and the faculty seminar series titled, Living in a World of Limits.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus are leading global thinkers on energy, climate, security, human development, and politics. Their 2007 book Break Through was called “prescient” by Time and “the most important thing to happen to environmentalism since Silent Spring” by Wired. Their 2004 essay, “The Death of Environmentalism,” was featured on the front page of the Sunday New York Times, sparked a national debate, and inspired a generation of young environmentalists. They also Shellenberger Photoco-authored the 2011 book titled “Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene.”

Over the years, the two have been profiled in The New York Times, Wired, the National Review, The New Republic, and on NPR. In 2007, they received the Green Book Award and Time magazine’s 2008 “Heroes of the Environment” award.

In 2011, Nordhaus and Shellenberger started the Breakthrough Journal, which The New Republic called “among the most complete answers” to the question of how to modernize liberal thought, and the National Review called “The most promising effort at self-criticism by our liberal cousins in a long time.”

Shellenberger and Nordhaus are leaders of a paradigm shift in climate and energy policy. They proposed “making clean energy cheap” in The Harvard Law and Policy Review, explained why the Kyoto climate treaty failed in Democracy Journal, and predicted the bursting of the green bubble in The New Republic and Los Angeles Times. The two predicted the failure of cap and trade in the American Prospect, criticized “green jobs” in The New Republic, and pointed a way forward for climate policy in the Wall Street Journal.

Michael Shellenberger is a graduate of Earlham College and holds a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He lives in the Bay Area and travels widely.


Gianfranco Pasquino

Professor of Political Science, University of Bologna

U.S. Role & Image in the Eurocrisis

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Pasquino will explore the nature and extent of the Eurocrisis and, from a European perspective, address the issue whether the U.S. has any useful role to play in resolving it.

This event is sponsored by The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Center for Global Study and Engagement.

Biography (provided by the speaker)
Gianfranco Pasquino (1942) graduated in Political Science from the University of Torino, supervisor Norberto Bobbio, and specialized in Comparative Politics at the University of Florence under the guidance of Giovanni Sartori. After teaching at the University of Bologna and Florence, in 1975 he became full professor of Political Science at the University of Bologna. He has also been teaching for more than thirty years at the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University and for several at the Dickinson College Program in Bologna. In 1974-75 he was Lauro de Bosis Lecturer in the History of Italian Civilization at Harvard. In 1978-79 he was Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. He has been visiting Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies, Washington D.C. and at the University of California, Los Angeles. In the Fall Term of 1999 he was Fellow of the Juan March Institute in Madrid. In the Spring of 2001 he was Fellow of Christchurch College at Oxford and in 2007 of St Antony’s, Oxford. In the Spring of 2010 he was Fellow of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University. He is life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge.

Among the founders of the Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, he was its managing editor for seven years and co-editor for three years. Editor of the bimonthly journal Il Mulino (1980-1983), he is on the editorial board of several academic journals notably: Journal of Modern Italian Studies, European Political Science, Parliamentary Affairs, Quaderni di Scienza Politica, Revista Argentina de Ciencia Politica
He has written widely on Italian politics and on Comparative Politics, most recently Sistemi politici comparati (2007, 3rd ed.,translated into Spanish and Portuguese) and Le istituzioni di Arlecchino (2010, 6th ed., He has co-edited the Dizionario di Politica (3rd ed. ,2004) and Masters of Political Science (2009) and edited Strumenti della democrazia (2007). His most recent books are Le parole della politica (2010), La rivoluzione promessa. Lettura della Costituzione italiana (2011) and Politica è (2012).

From 1983 to 1992 and from 1994 to 1996 he served as Senator of the Italian Republic.
He has received three degrees honoris causa from the University of Buenos Aires, the University of La Plata and, most recently, July 2011, the Catholic University of Cordoba. In 2005 he was elected to the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. From 2010 to 2013 he will be President of the Società Italiana di Scienza Politica (SISP).