Sunday, March 03, 2019 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
Jeffrey Engel / Southern Methodist University
The Cold War's end was supposed to bring about a new era of East-West cooperation, integrating Russia for perhaps the first time as an equal player in European and Atlantic affairs. Democracy was emerging, along with free markets. The end of old history appeared in sight, replaced by the new. We were poised to share "one common European home," the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev pledged. And we shall all have peace. "Eastern Europe is free," George H.W. Bush proclaimed as 1991 came to an end. "This is a victory for democracy and freedom. Every American can take pride in this victory."
Well, the promised post-Cold War peace did not endure. The West's triumph brought the average citizen in the former Soviet Union a shorter life-span, a lower standard of living, and a long list of new grudges. As Boris Yeltsin gave way to Vladimir Putin by the 20th century’s end, the stage was set for what some are now terming a new Cold War, replete with hacking, election influence, annexations, and new East-West tensions. Moscow once more appears Washington's adversary, though that is a view seldom voiced in the White House. How did we get from the Cold wars end to its apparent renewal? This lecture tells that tale.
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.”
Catherine Sanderson / Amherst College
Happiness has been in the news quite a bit lately. The UN released a “Happiness Report” rating nearly 200 countries, which found that the world’s happiest people live in Northern Europe (Denmark, Norway, Finland, and the Netherlands). The US ranked 11th. The report’s conclusion affirmatively states that happiness has predictable causes and is correlated specifically to various measures that governments can regulate and encourage. And there’s more. A new AARP study looks at how Americans feel – and what factors contribute to their sense of contentment. It concludes that nearly 50% of us are “somewhat happy” and another 19% are “very happy.”
What role do money, IQ, marriage, friends, children, weather, and religion play in making us feel happier? Is happiness stable over time? How can happiness be increased? In Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness, Professor Sanderson will describe cutting-edge research from the field of positive psychology on the factors that do (and do not) predict happiness, and provide practical (and relatively easy!) ways to increase your own psychological well-being.
For more positive psychology courses and lectures by Catherine Sanderson, check out ‘Why Some People are Resilient, and Other Are Not’, ‘Merely Bystanders: The Psychology of Courage and Inaction’ & more on demand now!
Catherine Sanderson is the James E. Ostendarp Professor of Psychology at Amherst College, and is often cited as the school’s most popular professor. Her research has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. She has published over 25 journal articles in addition to three college textbooks. In 2012, she was named one of the country’s top 300 professors by the Princeton Review.
Robert Watson / Lynn University
It is an understatement to say that Americans are frustrated with our two-party system and the dysfunction that seems to define our politics in recent years. Polls reveal that the public has an unfavorable view of the two major parties, many Americans consider themselves to be "independents," and the Congress is wildly unpopular. At the same time, the parties and Congress seem to be unable to come together to effectively address either the structural challenges of the political system or the issues facing the nation, and studies reveal that the gap between Democratic and Republican voters is growing. Despite all this, the major parties seem to be here to stay, as third or minor parties still struggle to field electable candidates for most any office. What is going on? Are these new trends in American politics? And how did it get so bad?
This lecture analyzes the development of the political parties and the nation's historical experiences with political dysfunction, then offers thoughts on the causes and consequences of the partisan gridlock and dysfunction, and closes with ideas for reform.
Robert Watson is the Distinguished Professor of American History 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, and published 40 books on topics in history and politics. His book “America’s First Crisis” won the book of the year award in history at the Independent Publishers’ awards and his book “The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn” won the Commodore Barry Book Award.