Past Programs

Monday, April 12, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

The Model Minority Myth, Anti-Asian Racism, Anti-Black Racism, and COVID-19

Jennifer Ho – University of Colorado Boulder

This talk will look at the ways Asians in America have been objects of racism—from the first entrance of Chinese immigrants to California in the 19th century to the current mass shootings of six Asian women in Atlanta. What both anti-Black and anti-Asian racism share are the roots in white supremacy that position Asians as the “good” model minority, a myth that serves to divide and conquer minority racial groups in the U.S.  Ho will share strategies to combat anti-racism of all kinds for people who want to be anti-racism advocates and allies.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Women’s & Gender Resource Center.

Topic overview by Bao Tran ’23

Biography

The daughter of a refugee father from China and an immigrant mother from Jamaica, whose own parents were, themselves, immigrants from Hong Kong, Jennifer Ho is the director of the Center for Humanities & the Arts at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she also holds an appointment as Read more

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Intersections of Race and Gender in Contemporary Iberian Studies 

N. Michelle Murray – Vanderbilt University

This talk will provide a brief overview of the representation of migrant women by Spanish directors in the films Flores de otro mundoPrincesas, and Amador. The talk connects these works to the writings of Lucía Asué Mbomío Rubio and Quan Zhou Wu, whose novels reflect and nuance the established frameworks for representing race and gender in contemporary Spain.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Women’s & Gender Resource Center.

Topic overview by Gabriella Farrell ’21

Biography

N. Michelle Murray is an assistant professor of Spanish at Vanderbilt University. Her research and teaching focus on contemporary Spanish literature and film. Her first book Home Away from Home: Immigrant Narratives, Domesticity, and Coloniality in Contemporary Spanish Culture (UNC Press for North Carolina Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures, 2018) studies representations of immigrant women as domestic workers in contemporary Spain. She has published articles in Research in African Literatures, Symposium, Letras Femeninas, Studies in Spanish and Latin American Read more

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

“Las Madres de Berks”- Using Public Art and Filmmaking to Fight Family Detention

Michelle Angela Ortiz, visual artist, skilled muralist, community arts educator and filmmaker

“Las Madres de Berks” documentary shares the testimonials of four mothers that were detained for two years with their children at The Berks County Residential Center, a family prison in Pennsylvania. Berks is the oldest of the three permanent family prisons for immigrant families in the country. Despite being held up as a “model” by proponents of immigrant detention, the center has amassed a record of human rights violations.

Award-winning visual artist, Michelle Angela Ortiz created the “Las Madres de Berks” documentary, as part of her “Familias Separadas” public art project which amplifies the stories of families affected by detention and deportation in the United States. Ortiz’s main community partner, the Shut Down Berks Coalition has been fighting to close down the Berks family prison for years.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and cosponsored by the Center for Civic Learning & Action, the Women’s & Gender Resource Center and the departments of Spanish & Portuguese and women’s, gender & Read more

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture

How to Use the Planet Without Using It Up

Jane Lubchenco,  Oregon State University

Environmental science provides valuable insights into timely solutions to urgent, global challenges.  It is possible to address climate change, loss of biodiversity, food provisioning, and inequities, but only with integrated, holistic approaches.  Knowledge, coupled with engagement of civil society and leaders from business, faith, youth, and governments, provides hope for the future.

The Joseph Priestley Award recipient is chosen by a different science department each year. The Department of Environmental Studies has selected this year’s recipient. The event is supported by the College’s Priestley Fund and is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of biology, chemistry, earth sciences, environmental studies, mathematics & computer science, psychology, and physics & astronomy and the Churchill Fund.  It is part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Topic overview written by Logan Cort ’22.

Biography

The Honorable Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University, is a marine ecologist with expertise in the ocean, climate change, and interactions between the environment Read more

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Caring for Our Elders: A Conversation on the Present and Future of Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Dr. Michael Daniels
Jean Foschi
Sherry Knowlton ’72
Tim Potts ’71
Dave Sarcone (moderator)

The Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has been a Cumberland County resource since 1829. It is a community-based non-profit with an open admission policy, focused on providing quality skilled nursing services to residents in a caring and dignified environment. However, deficit budgets in recent years have prompted the County Commissioners to decide to sell the Center to a private nursing home facility provider in order to avoid property tax increases. There are currently two potential buyers, and commissioners anticipate that a sale will be finalized by the summer of this year. This event will explore potential costs to our residents of a sale and discuss ways the center might be kept as a county owned resource.

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

Biographies

Dr. Michael Daniels, MD, MBA, is a general practitioner based in Mount Holly Springs. He is a residency trained, board certified family physician with additional certification in geriatrics. For 35 years Read more

Monday, March 29, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Strongman Propaganda and Personality Cults from Mussolini to the Present

Ruth Ben-Ghiat – New York University

This talk examines the “authoritarian playbook” strongman rulers used to get to office and stay there: corruption, propaganda, violence, and the myth of national greatness. The talk will focus on how propaganda and personality cults tie everything together – and how to push back against authoritarian disinformation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and cosponsored by the department of Italian & Italian studies and history.

Topic overview by Gabriella Farrell ’21.

Biography

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a historian, educator, and commentator on fascism, authoritarian leaders, and propaganda — and the threats these present to democracies around the world. Professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, she is author or editor of seven books and many essays and op-eds in media outlets including CNN, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post. Her newest book is Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present (Norton,2020), which examines the authoritarian playbook (corruption, violence, propaganda, and virility) that such leaders have used for a century.

  Read more

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields

Julia Spicher Kasdorf, poet

Steven Rubin, documentary photographer

Poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf and award-winning documentary photographer Steven Rubin have explored the small towns, farms, and forests of Appalachian Pennsylvania to gather the stories of these places and the working people who inhabit them. They will present their work and describe the process of the project that has become Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields.

The program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of English, art & art history, environmental studies and the film & media studies program.

Topic overview written by Scout Meredith Best ’21

Biographies

Julia Spicher Kasdorf is the author of four books of poetry: Sleeping Preacher; Eve’s Striptease; Poetry in America; and Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields. She has also published a collection of her own essays, The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life, and the biographical study, Fixing Tradition: Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American. With Joshua R. Brown she edited new editions of Yoder’s Read more

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

What is Translation? Theory, Practice, Value

Lawrence Venuti, Temple University

Although the history of translation theory and practice has been distinguished by a range of concepts and strategies, two approaches, one instrumental, the other hermeneutic (or interpretive), have recurred so frequently they are considered the dominated models. This talk will explore the continuing pertinence of these models for both theory and practice by examining the work of various theorists and commentators from antiquity to the present.

The program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of classical studies, English, French & Francophone studies, Italian & Italian studies, Spanish & Portuguese, German, and Middle East studies.

Topic overview written by Logan Cort ’22

Biography

Lawrence Venuti, professor emeritus of English at Temple University, is a translation theorist and historian as well as a translator from Italian, French, and Catalan. He is, most recently, the author of Contra Instrumentalism: A Translation Polemic (2019), the editor of The Translation Studies Reader, 4th ed. (2021), and the translator of I.U. Tarchetti’s Fantastic Tales (2020).

  Read more

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

The Representation of Women in the U.S. Congress

Kira Sanbonmatsu –  Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at the Eagleton Institute of Politics of Rutgers University

Sanbonmatsu will share data from the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) about the current status of women in elective office and discuss women’s candidacies in the 2018 and 2020 elections. She will also share findings from her coauthored book, A Seat at the Table: Congresswomen’s Perspectives on Why Their Presence Matters, about how women in Congress perceive their representational roles. The book draws on interviews with women serving in the 114th Congress.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Resource Center.

Topic overview written by Bao Tran ’23

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Kira Sanbonmatsu is professor of political science at Rutgers University and senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. Her research interests include gender, race/ethnicity, parties, public opinion, and state politics. Her most recent book, coauthored with Kelly Dittmar and Susan J. Carroll, is A Seat at the Table: Read more

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

From McDonald’s to Google

Kelsey Hightower, Google

As a self taught engineer, Hightower honed his tech skills at the peak of the open source movement, which led to the democratization of software, and created pathways into tech for a new generation of aspiring computer professionals. In this session Hightower will explore his journey into tech and how he became one of the most respected people in cloud computing. Attendees will walk away from this session inspired by their own uniqueness and understand how to leverage technology to help shape the world they want to live in.

The program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and cosponsored by the departments of mathematics and computer science, and biology, the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity, the Inclusivity in STEM Planning Committee, and the Churchill Fund. This program is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Topic overview by Rebecca Fox ’22

Biography

Kelsey Hightower is a principal engineer at Google working on Google’s Cloud Platform. He has helped develop and refine many Google Cloud Products including Google’s Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Functions, Read more

Monday, March 1, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Analyzing The 2020 Elections in Pennsylvania: A Panel Discussion

Jean Foschi – Cumberland County Board of Commissioners
Valerie Gaydos ’89 – 44th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Matt Haverstick – Kleinbard LLC
Sarah Niebler (moderator) – Dickinson College

In October 2019 the Pennsylvania legislature passed Act 77 which allows for no-excuse mail-in voting. There was wide bipartisan support for this legislation which Governor Wolf signed into law on October 31. Some months later, however, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and President Trump began to repeatedly denigrate mail-in voting, claiming that it would lead to rampant fraud. In October 2020 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted a request by the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania to extend the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots as long as they were postmarked by election day. That decision was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. In this program panelists will discuss the debate concerning mail-in voting and the many court challenges to the official results.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science.

Biographies

Jean Foschi is vice chairman and is the newest member Read more

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 12 – 1:30 p.m.
Livestream Link

Wesley Lecture

Black Queer Christian Lives Matter: Race, Religion, and Sexuality – an Intersectional Conversation

Rev. Dr. Jay Williams – Senior Pastor at Union Church in Boston

The Annual Wesley Lecture will feature the Rev. Dr. Jay Williams, Senior Pastor at Union Church in Boston. The Rev. Jay (as he is known) is a queer cisgender man and partner to Robert. Williams is known as a charismatic leader and will discuss the deep roots of liberation theology and the Christian church’s difficult and important history of racism and anti-LGBTQIA+ actions. A keynote will be followed by a Q & A session to discuss these important intersections.

This lecture is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice and co-sponsored by the Office of LGBTQ Services, the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity, and the Department of Religion.

Topic overview written by Rebecca Fox ’22

Biography

Rev. Dr. Jay Williams returned to Union Church in Boston as lead pastor on July 1, 2018, having guided this congregation September 2012 – June 2017. An ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, Jay Read more

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

The First Amendment and Epidemics

Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law

Under what circumstances can an epidemic justify the government restricting religious worship services?  What about restrictions on other First-Amendment-protected activities, such as protests or political party gatherings?  Volokh will discuss how the Free Exercise Clause, the Free Speech Clause, and the Assembly Clause bear on these questions. This discussion-led presentation will be moderated by Harry Pohlman, professor of political science.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center for Spirituality & Social Justice and the departments of political science and sociology.

Topic overview written by Scout Meredith Best ’21

Biography

Eugene Volokh has taught First Amendment law for 25 years at UCLA School of Law; he is the author of the textbooks The First Amendment and Related Statutes (7th ed. 2020) and Academic Legal Writing (5th ed. 2016), as well as over 80 legal journal articles. He is also the founder and coauthor of The Volokh Conspiracy, a Weblog (independent 2002-2014, hosted at the Washington Post 2014-2017, hosted at Reason from 2017).

H. L. Pohlman is the A. Lee Fritschler Professor Read more

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

@10queues and 10 Questions in Virology

Paul Duprex – Center for Vaccine Research, University of Pittsburgh

In early January 2020, a group of people in Wuhan, China who were suffering from pneumonia, were found to be infected with a novel coronavirus – what soon after would be termed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. By the end of 2020, the United States had approved two novel vaccines for use against this virus. Additional vaccines likely will be approved soon. The astonishing speed in developing effective vaccines was noted as the 2020 Breakthrough of the Year by Science magazine. During this conversation-led presentation with David Kushner, associate professor of biology, information about the vaccines, how they work, why it is important to be vaccinated, and whether or not we need to be concerned about new viral variants are among the topics that will be discussed.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of mathematics & computer science, biology, the Program in Policy Studies, and the Health Studies Program. This program is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age Read more

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Air Pollution in Pennsylvania: Community Panel

Thomas Au –  Clean Air Board of Central PA
Germaine Gooden-Patterson – Women for a Healthy Environment
Naida Elena Montes – Temple University
Krishnan Ramamurthy – Pennsylvania DEP
Heather Bedi (moderator) – Dickinson College

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, air pollution levels in some parts of Pennsylvania are among the nation’s highest. The United Health Association ranks Pennsylvania’s air quality as 48th out of US states. In addition to other health implications, new research links increased levels of air pollution to higher COVID-19 death rates. To orient these concerns, this panel will include a review of key air pollution sources across Pennsylvania. Community members will reflect on localized air pollution considerations and potential opportunities for engagement.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the department of environmental studies and the Center for Civic Learning & Action.

Topic overview written by Bao Tran ’23

Biographies

Thomas Y. Au has practiced environmental law in the public interest for over 30 years.  He is currently president of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania, a citizens group of working Read more

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Program is Part of Love Your Body Week

Fatphobia as Misogynoir: Gender, Race and Weight Stigma

Sabrina Strings -University of California, Irvine

Strings will explore the rise and spread of fatphobia in the Western world and its relationship to race science. She will also consider how this dubious legacy has impacted the science behind the “obesity epidemic.”

The program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Resource Center. It is also part of Dickinson’s Love Your Body Week.

Topic overview by Bao Tran ’23

Biography
Sabrina Strings, Ph.D. is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. She has been featured in dozens of venues, including BBC News, NPR, Huffington Post, Medium, Mashable, Los Angeles Times, Bitch Media, and goop. Her writing has appeared in diverse venues including, The New York Times, Scientific American, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Her book, Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia (2019), has been named an NYU Press Bestseller. It was awarded the 2020 Read more

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Morgan Lecture

Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones, and the Fight to Preserve Our Democracy — One Video at a Time

Allissa Richardson, University of Southern California

Richardson will share how Black smartphone witnesses of the last five years launched the largest social justice movement in American history. In her new book, Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest Journalism, she explains why we cannot ignore the mobile testimonies of the afflicted — and what is at stake when we do.

The program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Morgan Lecture Fund and cosponsored by the Center for Civic Learning & Action; the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity; the Women’s & Gender Resource Center; and the departments of English; math and computer science; women’s, gender & sexuality studies; Middle East studies, American studies, history and sociology.  This program was initiated by the Clarke Forum’s student project managers.

Topic overview by Rebecca Fox ’22

Biography

Dr. Allissa V. Richardson is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School. She researches how African Americans use Read more

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Combating American Racism In The Era of Trump: Towards a Pedagogy of Justice

Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW, National Expert on Race Relations & Executive Director of Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

This conversation will explore ways that students, teachers and social change agents can work towards dismantling American Racism.  Additionally, dialogue will also consist of how white racism, white violence and whiteness are threatening the fabric of the democracy. In the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, Lassiter will aim to highlight how all humanity can work towards themes of justice. This discussion-led presentation will be moderated by Amer Ahmed, interim executive director for the Office of Equity & Inclusivity and chief diversity officer.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Churchill Fund . It is part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in a an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Topic overview written by Logan Cort ’22

Biography

Chad Dion Lassiter is a national expert in the field of American race relations. Lassiter has worked on race, peace, and poverty-related issues in The United States of America, Africa, Canada, Haiti, Read more

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Virtual program on YouTube live, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

Film Screening of What Happens to a Dream Deferred? and Q&A with Filmmaker Esery Mondesir

This short documentary film is part of Mondesir’s “Haitian Trilogy” exploring the lives of Haitian and Haitian-descended communities in Cuba and Mexico. The film showing will be followed by a question and answer session with the filmmaker.

Synopsis of Documentary:
It’s New Year’s Eve in Tijuana, Mexico. Wood and Colonel are busy making Soup Joumou to celebrate Haitian Independence Day with their friends at the “Trap House.” As their cooking progresses, memories of the perilous journey that brought them to the US/Mexico border two years ago resurface. From Haiti to Brazil and through nine other South and Central-American countries, here they are, sandwiched between their dream of a musical career in the US and an American president who calls Haiti a “shithole” and believes all Haitians have AIDS.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of Spanish & Portuguese and Latin American, Latinx & Caribbean studies.

Topic overview written by Carolina Celedon ’22

Biography
Esery Mondesir is a Toronto-based artist-filmmaker who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haïti. He Read more

Monday, November 9, 2020

Virtual program on YouTube live, 12 p.m. EST

Livestream Link

Community, Connections and Commentary:
Perspectives on the US Elections from Bremen, Málaga, Moscow and Toulouse

Panelists:

Françoise Coste, representing Toulouse, France
Manuel Arias Maldonado, representing Málaga, Spain
Konstantin Sonin, representing Moscow, Russia
Neil van Siclen, representing Bremen, Germany
Sarah Niebler (moderator), Dickinson College

Given the interdependence of the world today, hearing global voices, views and perspectives is more important than ever. Join us and partners from our communities abroad for a discussion on the 2020 U.S. elections. Dickinson College collaborators representing Bremen, Germany; Toulouse, France;  Málaga, Spain;  and Moscow, Russia will give an in-depth analysis of the election results, bringing their insight and highlighting the impact of the elections both near and far.

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

Topic overview written by Gabriella Farrell ’21

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Françoise Coste is a professor of American studies at the University of Toulouse – Jean Jaurès. She devotes her research to contemporary American politics, with a special focus on the history of women’s rights and on the contemporary conservative movement. Her biography of Ronald Reagan (Reagan Read more