New Classes. New Cities. Discounts and More!

A Morning of History, Politics, and Art (Burlington, VT)

November 09, 2019 9:30 AM – 1:15 PM


9:30 AM - 10:35 AM
Part I - Looking Back: What Would the Founding Fathers Think of America Today?

Wendy Schiller / Brown University

Over the past decade, the United States has endured a stark economic crisis, fierce partisan political battles, and historic changes in the global political environment. The president, Congress, and the Supreme Court have taken actions that profoundly affect the scope of federal power and individual rights in our political and economic system. During this time there has been a great deal of debate as to whether these actions are in line with the U.S. Constitution and the intent of those who founded our nation.

In this class, we will address these debates with a specific focus on the writings of key founders such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and our first president, George Washington. What would these men say about the federal auto and bank bailouts, Obamacare, the Federal Reserve, illegal immigration, the size of the national debt, same-sex marriage, gun violence, and U.S. involvement in conflicts on foreign soil? We will discuss the nature of federal power in the economic and social lives of citizens at home and abroad; the role of political parties, ideology, and diversity in a democracy; and the expected versus actual power of each of the branches of government vis-a-vis each other. We will also examine the nature of the federal-state relationship, with a focus on what founders believed should be the appropriate boundaries between national and state governments, and whether the reality of 21st century American life makes those boundaries obsolete.

Wendy Schiller / Brown University
Wendy Schiller is the Chair of the Political Science Department at Brown University. She is an expert in the field of the U.S. Congress and political representation, and the recent recipient of a National Science Foundation grant to study party conflict and factionalism in the U.S. Senate. Professor Schiller has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and a six-time recipient of the Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award at Brown.

10:50 AM - 11:55 PM
Part II - Looking Forward: The Changing Face of Politics

Sam Potolicchio / Georgetown University

As is well known, America's founding political commitments were to democracy and the rule of law. Some have described them as the soul and spirit of our nation. And over the generations, citizens have given their lives to preserve those commitments. But over time it appears that their meanings have changed and settled "truths" are open to new interpretations. Could it be this is be a symptom rather than a cause of what some see as our current crisis? Does America face an erosion of public faith in long taken-for-granted aspects of our political life? 

This class will address those questions through the lens of next year's presidential primaries and general election. Currently over 20 candidates are vying for an opportunity to challenge President Trump. Professor Potolicchio will discuss leading candidates and access their strengths and weaknesses in the context of the party convention and platform, personality, organization, and fundraising.

Sam Potolicchio / Georgetown University
Sam Potolicchio was named one of "America's Best Professors" by the Princeton Review, and the Future Leader of American Higher Education by the Association of Colleges and Universities. He won the OZY Educator Award as one of the six outstanding American educators. He was also profiled in a cover story on his leadership curriculum by Newsweek Japan as the "Best Professor in America". Professor Potolicchio is President of the Preparing Global Leaders Forum and Distinguished University Professor, Department Chairman and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Political Science at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.

12:10 PM - 1:15 PM
Four Paintings Every Art Lover Should See

Anthony Grudin / University of Vermont

Paintings can do many interesting things. We're used to hearing about how beautiful they are, and increasingly the media focuses on the extraordinary prices they command when they come up for auction. But beauty and monetary value are certainly not the only ways in which paintings can be important. This lecture will take on what should be a more interesting perspective: What paintings can tell us about the times and places in which they were produced and first seen, and particularly about the status of creativity in those times and places. We will be looking closely at these four great paintings, and thinking about the ways in which they explore and critique their social contexts and the place of the artist within them.

1) Caravaggio, Basket of Fruit (1599)

2) Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877)

3) Jackson Pollock, Number 1A (1948)

4) Ana Mendieta, Tree of Life (1976)

Anthony Grudin / University of Vermont
Anthony Grudin is a professor of art history at the University of Vermont. He is the author of "Warhol's Working Class: Pop Art and Egalitarianism". His articles have appeared in Warhol: Headlines, 13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World's Fair, and Oxford Art Journal. He was also the recipient of a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and has twice been nominated for UVM's Kroepsch-Maurice teaching award.

register now


for the event

To register for this event, please

If you already have an account, please