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One Day University with The Charlotte Observer

May 13, 2017 9:30 AM – 4:15 PM

schedule

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Hamilton vs. Jefferson: The Rivalry that Shaped America

Louis Masur / Rutgers University

Hamilton is experiencing a well-deserved revival. Often forced to take a back seat to other Founding Fathers, his vision of America as an economic powerhouse with a dynamic and aggressive government as its engine has found many followers. Hamilton helped get the Constitution ratified, helped found the Federalist Party, and served as the first Secretary of the Treasury. An orphan born in the West Indies, he was like a son to George Washington and perhaps should have been like a brother to Thomas Jefferson.

But Jefferson fought bitterly against the Federalists and his election as president ushered in the "revolution of 1800." Ironically, it would be Hamilton who helped assure Jefferson's triumph over Aaron Burr. Jefferson articulated a different vision from Hamilton's, promoting an agrarian democracy built upon geographic expansion—an "empire of liberty," he called it. In 1793, he would resign as Secretary of State to protest Hamilton's policies. In retirement, Jefferson would reflect on the differences between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans and express fear for the future of the new nation.

Louis Masur / Rutgers University
Louis Masur is a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. He received outstanding teaching awards from Rutgers, Trinity College, and the City College of New York, and won the Clive Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard University. He is the author of many books including "Lincoln's Last Speech," which was inspired by a talk he presented at One Day University. His essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, and Chicago Tribune. He is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and serves on the Historians' Council of the Gettysburg Foundation.

Books by Professor Masur



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11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
What Would the Founding Fathers Think of America Today?

Wendy Schiller / Brown University

Over the past eight years, 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 a the Chair of the Brown 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.

12:15 PM - 1:30 PM
Lunch Break

1 hour and 15 minute / Lunch Break

Students will have a 1 hour and 15 minute lunch break.

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM
Ethical Dilemmas and Modern Medicine: Questions Nobody Wants to Ask

Jacob Appel / Brown University

The same medical technologies that have brought us miracle drugs and unprecedented longevity are also forcing us to confront increasingly difficult ethical dilemmas: Should taxpayers spend several million dollars to prolong one patient's life for one month? Can genes be patented? How ought judges respond when doctors and family members disagree on the very definition of death? May a seventeen-year-old boy refuse to give a life-saving bone marrow transplant to his fifteen-year-old cousin? Thirty years ago, debates in medical ethics focused on the same questions that had once puzzled Hippocrates and Galen many centuries earlier: When does life begin? When may confidentiality be broken? Must a physician help a stranger in need?

Today, most challenges in bioethics arise from two relatively novel sets of issues: 1.) conflicts over scarce healthcare resources and 2.) the desire of philosophical and religious minorities to be opt out of established medical norms. How society ultimately resolves these questions is not simply an abstract matter for debate by philosophers and ethicists. Rather, the outcome of these controversies is likely to affect each and every one of us when we or our loved ones become ill. This lecture will examine some paradigmatic recent cases in the field of bioethics and will offer students a framework for analyzing future cases on their own.

Jacob Appel / Brown University
Jacob Appel is an American author, bioethicist, physician, lawyer and social critic. He is best known for his short stories, his work as a playwright, and his writing in the fields of reproductive ethics, organ donation, neuroethics and euthanasia. Appel's novel, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012. He has taught medical ethics at New York University, Columbia University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Brown University's Alpert Medical School.

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
What We Know About the Universe (and What We Don't Know)

David Helfand / Columbia University

Astronomy is unlike other sciences in that there are no experiments we can perform or expeditions we can mount to manipulate the objects of our study. We are reduced to passively observing the light the Universe sends us, some of which has traveled billions of years before falling on our telescopes. Because the light takes so long to get to us, we are always seeing the past. Far from being a disadvantage, however, this allows us to read history directly by looking out to objects at different distances. 

We can watch stars being born, living out their lives, and then dying in spectacular explosions that produce the elements from which we are made. We can watch how galaxies form and grow by gobbling up their neighbors. And we can map the nearest million galaxies and trace them back to the tiny fluctuations in the early Universe from which they emerged. Replete with colliding galaxies and a fly-through of the Universe set to the Blue Danube waltz, this lecture provides one-stop shopping for a comprehensive tour of all of space and time -- or at least of the whole 4% we actually understand.

David Helfand / Columbia University
David Helfand is a Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University where he served as chair of the Department and co-Director of the Astrophysics Laboratory for 15 years. He is President Emeritus of the American Astronomical Society and of Quest University Canada. He has received the Columbia Presidential Teaching Award and the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. He is also the author of the new book, "A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age."

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