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One Day University with The Providence Journal

September 23, 2017 9:30 AM – 4:15 PM

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9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Evolution of an American Ideal

Jeffrey Engel / Southern Methodist University

The United States stands for freedom. No politician dares say otherwise, lest they seek an early retirement. But what kind of freedom, precisely, and for whom? Franklin Roosevelt offered an answer in 1941. Believing the United States had a role to play in the battle against Nazi and fascist aggression already underway in Europe, he called Americans to arms not just to preserve their security, but their way of life, and their very freedoms. Four freedoms, to be exact: freedom of speech, freedom from want, freedom of religion, and freedom from fear.

Roosevelt's words helped define American politics and foreign policy for generations, but the freedom he desired are not necessarily those espoused today. He called for freedom from want, citing the need for universal health care in particular. Needless to say, contemporary Americans continue to struggle to find a universal sense of how much is too much, and how much should government do to keep all its citizens from wanting. He called for freedom of speech, yet today we debate if that applies to corporations as well as people, and if money and speech are truly one and the same. He called for the freedom to worship as one pleases, yet as the recent campaign demonstrated, not every religion is universally embraced across the political spectrum. Finally, Roosevelt promised freedom from fear, and today Americans live as fearful of the future as ever. Contemporary Americans live in the shadow of FDR, but as we ponder the country’s future, and as we trace the evolution of our common understanding of this term from 1941 to our present day, we need ask as well: if we stand for freedom, can we even define it?

Jeffrey Engel / Southern Methodist University
Jeffrey Engel is the founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, and taught history and public policy at Texas A&M University. He has authored/edited eight books on American foreign policy, most recently, "When the World Seemed New: George H.Bush and the Surprisingly Peaceful End of the Cold War."

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Rhapsody in Blue: The Musical Masterpiece that Changed America

Orin Grossman / Fairfield University

Gershwin wrote his first hit songs at the age of 19, and was a successful songwriter from then on. He created concert works out of melodies and rhythms that come out of the popular music of his day - Broadway ballads, ragtime, Latin dance rhythms, and the Blues. Professor Grossman's lecture will demonstrate the unique way Gershwin composed, including his very first and most popular concert work, Rhapsody in Blue. And yes – Professor Grossman (who is a concert level pianist) will play excerpts from that American masterpiece.

Orin Grossman / Fairfield University
Orin Grossman is renowned internationally for his knowledge of music. He lectures and performs concerts throughout the US and Europe, he teaches Performing Arts at Fairfield University, and has served as the University's Academic Vice President. Professor Grossman has been particularly associated with the music of George Gershwin, performing concerts of his song transcriptions and classical pieces to critical praise around the world, including performances in Cairo and New York. Professor Grossman was also chosen to play for the New York City Mayor's Awards of Honor for Arts and Culture.

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
What The Founding Fathers Were Really Like (and what we can still learn from them today)

Carol Berkin / Baruch College

Most of us know that America's Founding Fathers attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia and drafted the Constitution of the United States. The delegates decided to replace the Articles of Confederation with a document that strengthened the federal government, with the most contentious issue being  legislative representation. Eventually, a compromise established the bicameral Congress to ensure both equal and proportional representation. But a lot more happened as well - much of it underreported or misunderstood. That's the focus of this insider's look at the birth of American Government as we know it today.

The fact is, the Founding Fathers were ambitious. Also grouchy, scared, and hopeful. They told jokes. They fought. They schemed. They gossiped. They improvised. Occasionally, they killed each other (sorry, Alexander Hamilton). Only by seeing the Founders as real people -not icons- can we appreciate the full story of the nation's founding with all of its drama, humor, and significance intact.

Carol Berkin / Baruch College
Carol Berkin is Presidential Professor of History at Baruch College and a member of the history faculty of the Graduate Center of CUNY. She has worked as a consultant on several PBS and History Channel documentaries, including, The "Scottsboro Boys," which was nominated for an Academy Award. She has also appeared as a commentator on screen in the PBS series by Ric Burns, "New York," the Middlemarch series "Benjamin Franklin" and "Alexander Hamilton" on PBS, and the MPH series, "The Founding Fathers." She serves on the Board of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Board of the National Council for History Education.

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
The Illusion of Attention: What We Miss When We Think We See Everything

Brian Scholl / Yale University

Our intuitions about how our minds work are fantastically poor guides to how our minds actually work. Nowhere is this more true than in the study of perception: seeing seems intuitively to be the fastest, most natural, and most effortless of mental activities -- something you do thousands of times every day while taking it for granted. Yet this ease masks a fascinating array of subtle processing beneath the surface of our conscious awareness.

This talk will illustrate several key themes from the science of how we see -- and how we sometimes fail to consciously perceive the world in front of us. We'll see demonstrations in which salient objects disappear right in front of your eyes, even as you carefully attend to them; demonstrations where solid real-world objects appear to morph and bend as you manipulate them; and demonstrations where simple geometric shapes irresistibly appear to be alive. These and other examples will illustrate how visual perception is far richer and more complicated than we might expect -- and how cognitive science can help us come to understand it.

Brian Scholl / Yale University
Brian Scholl is a professor of psychology at Yale, where he directs the Perception & Cognition Laboratory. He is a recipient of the 'Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology', and the 'Robert L. Fantz Memorial Award', both from the American Psychological Association. He is currently the only faculty member at Yale to have received both the major prize from the Graduate School, the 'Graduate Mentor Award,' and the major prize in the social sciences from Yale College, the 'Lex Hixon Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences.'


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