New Classes. New Cities. Discounts and More!

One Day University with The Oregonian

March 10, 2018 9:30 AM – 1:15 PM

schedule

9:30 AM - 10:35 AM
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.

10:50 AM - 11:55 AM
The Paradox of Choice: When More is Less

Barry Schwartz / Swarthmore College

It seems only logical that the more choice people have, the better off they are. People who don't care can ignore most options. And people who do care will be able to find just what they want. But however true this is logically, /psycho/logically it is false. Too much choice can paralyze people, lead them to make bad decisions and make them dissatisfied with even good decisions. This is especially true for people who are out to get the "best." Our task is to find ways to limit options so that people derive the benefits of choice without suffering the psychological costs.

Barry Schwartz / Swarthmore College
Barry Schwartz is the Dorwin Cartwright professor of social theory and social action at Swarthmore College. He has written several books on human behavior topics such as learning, memory, and choice making.

12:10 PM - 1:15 PM
Four Books that Changed the World

Seth Lerer / University of California at San Diego

Literature has always shaped societies, built cultures, and helped readers grow. This course explores four great novels that have helped to change our modern world – the world of personal feeling, social experience, family belonging, and moral imagination. Charles Dickens's Great Expectations stands as the defining novel of the individual in society, struggling to become a person and a writer in the heart of a new empire. George Orwell's 1984 remains the classic of dystopia – a satire on a totalitarian past, but also a lesson for a democratic future. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man makes us all aware of how race and region bear on our culture, while Viet Nguyen's brilliant new book, The Sympathizer, reveals just how much our world has changed, now, in response to different communities in contact and in conflict.

All of these books are stories not just of politics and people, but of writers. All of these books show the power of the literary imagination to make and remake our world. They dramatize how our modern ideas of the hero have adapted to new pressures. They make us laugh, cry, ponder, and pause. They teach that the art of reading is essential to negotiating unfamiliar landscapes in our cities and our classrooms. These books have changed, and will continue to change, the ways we think and feel. Whatever happens, books will survive. These are four of them that will live on, both to instruct and to delight us in the future.

Seth Lerer / University of California at San Diego
Seth Lerer is Distinguished Professor of Literature and former Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of California at San Diego. He has published widely on literature and language, most recently on Children's Literature, Jewish culture, and the life of the theater. He has been awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Truman Capote Prize in Criticism. His memoir, "Prospero's Son: Life, Love, Books, and Theater," appeared in 2013, and his latest book, "Tradition: A Feeling for the Literary Past," appeared in 2016.

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