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Rethinking America (Portland, OR)

October 07, 2017 9:30 AM – 4:15 PM

schedule

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Our Broken Two Party System: Can American Politics be Fixed?

Robert Watson / Lynn University

The American congress and presidency are the most powerful political offices in the world. However, most contemporary politicians have found themselves severely constrained in their ability to pursue their chosen agendas for domestic and foreign policy change.

This lecture will explain why, focusing on the nature of government bureaucracy, the range of American challenges and commitments, and the development of the modern media. Rather than dissecting particular policies, the focus will be on how the power of Congress and the President has changed over time and what that has meant for American society. The lecture will close with reflections for how we can improve leadership in future years.

Robert Watson / Lynn University
Robert Watson is a Professor of American Studies at Lynn University. A frequent media commentator, he has been interviewed by CNN, MSNBC, "Time," "USA Today," "The New York Times," and the BBC and others, and has appeared on C-SPAN's "Book TV," "Hardball with Chris Matthews," and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." He has received multiple Professor of the Year awards at Lynn and other universities, published 40 books on topics in history and politics, and his book "America's First Crisis" won the book of the year award in history at the Independent Publishers' awards.

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
The Impossible Presidency: From Washington and Jefferson to Obama and Trump

Jeremi Suri / University of Texas

The American presidency is the most powerful political office in the world. Surprisingly, most contemporary presidents have found themselves severely constrained in their ability to pursue their chosen agendas for domestic and foreign policy change. This lecture will explain why, focusing on the nature of government bureaucracy, the range of American challenges and commitments, and the development of the modern media.

We will begin with the founding vision of the U.S. presidency and the actions of its first occupant, George Washington. Then, we’ll examine the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and the most recent office-holders. We will focus on how the power of the presidency has changed over time and what that has meant for American society. The lecture will close with reflections for how we can improve presidential leadership in future years.

Jeremi Suri / University of Texas
Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the University's Department of History and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Professor Suri is the author of six books on contemporary politics and foreign policy. His research and teaching have received numerous prizes, and in 2007 Smithsonian Magazine named him one of America's "Top Young Innovators" in the Arts and Sciences.

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
America and the World: Dominance or Decline?

Steven Lamy / University of Southern California

The entire world watched our Presidential elections and now they wait to see what direction US foreign policy will take. Will the US lead, follow or abstain from global affairs? The US has taken the lead in international relations since the end of WWII. The US has successfully built institutions and coalitions to address global challenges like climate change, global poverty and ongoing conflicts. Yet, the American public seems a bit world weary and unwilling to maintain an activist foreign policy and President Trump may choose to limit the country's role on global problem-solving and let others lead.

Still, many US citizens supported an even more limited isolationist foreign policy urging a focus on a narrow list of national interests and only limited engagement with the world. This lecture will explore the possible foreign policy strategies being considered by the new US leadership.

Steven Lamy / University of Southern California
Steven Lamy is a professor of international relations and a Vice Dean at the University of Southern California. He has been named professor of the year four times. Professor Lamy was the director of USC's Center for Excellence in Teaching and its Center for Public Education in International Affairs. He is also the co-Principal Investigator in a Luce Foundation Grant on Religion Identity and Global Governance.

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Learning From The Roman Empire: Are we Repeating Their Rise and Decline?

Caroline Winterer / Stanford University

The rise and fall of ancient Rome is one of the greatest stories in the history of the world. From a group of settlements huddled along the Tiber in Italy, Rome rose to conquer much of the Mediterranean world and Europe. At the height of the Roman Empire, one in every five people in the world lived within its territory.

For Americans, Rome's unlikely ascent, spectacular ambitions, and gruesome decline have provided endless fuel for our national self-examination. Is the United States an empire? Are empires good or bad? What makes great civilizations decline and fall—and how can America avoid that fate? This talk will explore the great American question—"Are We Rome?"—and show why this ancient empire continues to fascinate our very modern nation.

Caroline Winterer / Stanford University
Caroline Winterer is Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Humanities Center. Her latest book is, "American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason." She is a recipient of an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution for mapping the social network of Benjamin Franklin, and is also a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

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