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One Day University with the Austin American-Statesman

September 23, 2017 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

morning session

9:30 AM - 10:35 AM
Three Paintings Every Art Lover Should See

Tina Rivers Ryan / Columbia University and Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo)

If you had to name the three most important paintings in Western artthe ones that most influenced the course of art, or history, or bothwhat would they be? (Mona Lisa, anybody?) While a fun exercise, when it comes to understanding art, ranking paintings in this way doesn't help us answer the more profound question of why art, and especially painting, has been so important to Western culture for hundreds of years. In other words, instead of trying to identify the three "most important" paintingsan impossible task, to be surewhat if we picked five paintings that helped us understand the different ways that painting can be used as a meaningful form of communication? These paintings would come from different time periods, genres, and nations, and would outline the different ways that painting has played an important role in Western culture.

These, therefore, are three paintings every art lover should see if they want to understand more about the history and significance of paintingand its continued relevance to our lives.

Our three paintings will be:

  • Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait, 1434 (National Gallery, London)
  • Raphael's School of Athens, 1509-10 (Vatican, Rome)
  • Rembrandt's Self-Portrait, 1658 (Frick Collection, NYC)

Tina Rivers Ryan / Columbia University and Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo)
An art historian by training, Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan is currently Assistant Curator of contemporary art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. She holds a BA from Harvard, three Master's Degrees, and a PhD from Columbia, and has taught classes on art at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Pratt Institute, and Columbia, where she was one of the top-ranked instructors of the introduction to art history, "Art Humanities: Masterpieces of Western Art." A regular critic for Artforum, her writing has also appeared in periodicals such as Art in America and Art Journal, and in catalogs published by museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Tate. As a public speaker and scholar, Dr. Ryan has delivered lectures on topics ranging from Michelangelo to Warhol in more than 50 cities internationally.

10:50 AM - 11:55 AM
The Constitution and The Declaration of Independence: A Contrary View

Kermit Roosevelt III / University of Pennsylvania

There's a story we like to tell about what makes us Americans. Centuries ago, great men enshrined noble principles of liberty and equality in the Declaration of Independence. They wrote the Constitution to carry those principles into execution. And for over two hundred years, that Constitution has served us well. It is the bedrock of our American society, it establishes our core values, it tells us who we are.

It's a nice story, but what if it's wrong? In this lecture, Professor Kermit Roosevelt will explain how the principles of the Declaration are not what we think they are, how the original Constitution fell to pieces, how the story of America is actually one of repeated crisis, struggle, and even failure—and how despite that, the Constitution remains a vehicle for the advancement and articulation of American ideals.

U Penn Law Professor Kermit Roosevelt III is the great-great-grandson of United States President Theodore Roosevelt and the cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Kermit Roosevelt III / University of Pennsylvania
Kermit Roosevelt is a professor of constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. His novels include "Allegiance and In the Shadow of the Law," and his nonfiction includes "The Myth of Judicial Activism: Making Sense of Supreme Court Decisions and Conflict of Laws." Professor Roosevelt's law review articles have been cited twice by the Supreme Court. In 2014 he was selected as the Reporter for the Third Restatement of Conflict of Laws. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, and is the great great grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as well as a 4th cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt! For more information please visit

12:10 PM - 1:15 PM
Power and the Presidency: Thomas Jefferson, FDR, and Lyndon Johnson

Michael Sparer / Columbia University

The Founding Fathers sharply disagreed on the appropriate role of the federal government. Alexander Hamilton, for example, argued that the new nation needed a large and powerful national government, fueled by a powerful President. Thomas Jefferson held the opposite view, emphasizing the importance of states rights, and warning against a new monarchy. James Madison proposed a third approach, under which the federal government would be large but weak, stymied from acting by a variety of checks and balances (and separated powers). Interestingly, the United States Constitution contains language that supports each of these three views, and American history presents an endless debate over this "original" question.

This course examines the changing role of the federal government through the words and actions of three Presidents: Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. Jefferson led a virtual second American revolution, scaling back the role of the federal government (that Hamilton had ushered in), and ushering in more than a century in which it was considered both unwise and unconstitutional for the federal government to intervene in the economy or the American system of social welfare. During the 1930s, however, Franklin Roosevelt promised and delivered a "New Deal," or a new social contract, under which federal (and Presidential) power expanded dramatically, a trend that continues today. Three decades later, Lyndon Johnson implemented yet another approach, under which the federal government delegated significant power and funding directly to community-based organizations, all as part of his effort to usher in a "Great Society."

Michael Sparer / Columbia University
Michael Sparer is a professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Professor Sparer is also the Chair of Health Policy & Management. He is a two-time winner of the Mailman School's Student Government Association Teacher of the Year Award, as well as the recipient of a 2010 Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching. He spent seven years as a litigator for the New York City Law Department.

afternoon session

2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
The Remarkable Genius of Albert Einstein: His Life and Universe

Matthew Stanley / New York University

Einstein’s name is synonymous with genius. His wild-haired, thoughtful-eyed face has become an icon of modern science. His ideas changed the way we see the universe, the meaning of truth, and the very limits of human knowledge. This course will examine how Einstein’s youthful philosophical questioning led to a revolution in science. We will discuss his creation of special and general relativity, and particularly how these epochal theories emerged from his seemingly simple questions about how we experience the world. His preference for easily-visualizable thought experiments means we will be able to engage deeply with the science with very little mathematics. Einstein also pioneered quantum mechanics, only to reject its strange consequences and eventually devote his life to overturning it through a unified field theory.

Einstein’s elevation to worldwide fame was closely tied to political and social developments such as World War I, Zionism, and the rise of the Nazis. As he became an incarnation of genius, people sought out his views on everything from world peace to the nature of God – and his opinions often had surprising links to his scientific work. The picture of Einstein we end up with is a figure somehow both revolutionary and deeply traditional, emblematic of the modern age and also profoundly uncomfortable with it.

Matthew Stanley / New York University
Matthew Stanley teaches the history and philosophy of science at NYU. He holds degrees in astronomy, religion, physics, and the history of science and is interested in the connections between science and the wider culture. He is the author of "Practical Mystic: Religion, Science, and A. S. Eddington" which examines how scientists reconcile their religious beliefs and professional lives. He has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study, the British Academy, and the Max Planck Institute. Professor Stanley was awarded a 2014-2015 Gallatin Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching.


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