Saturday, February 24, 2018 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
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.
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 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.
Louis Masur / Rutgers University
Abraham Lincoln is considered our greatest President and one of the most controversial. People have debated various aspects of his personality and politics. Was he depressed? Why did he tell so many stories? Was he truly opposed to slavery? Did he free the slaves? Did the Union prevail because of his leadership or despite him? This class aims to uncover the man and not the myth. In 1922, the historian W.E.B. DuBois proclaimed that Lincoln was “big enough to be inconsistent.” To be sure, there were tensions in Lincoln’s character and ideology: he could be happy and melancholy, could promote democracy and suspend civil liberties, could oppose slavery yet have doubts about the place of blacks in American society.
Some of what DuBois saw as inconsistency had more to do with political reality, especially in regard to the issue of the abolition of slavery. Lincoln had to contend with various pressures knowing that any misstep could very well lead to the destruction of the Union. Here is where his temperament becomes so important. As we shall see, Lincoln’s storytelling had a purpose, as did his gradual approach to decision making. But once he made up his mind, he seldom looked back. In the end, it is not that he was inconsistent, but that he was thoughtful and deliberate and was not afraid to change his mind and grow in the process.
Louis Masur is a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. He received outstanding teaching awards from Rutgers, Trinity College, and the City College of New York, and won the Clive Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard University. He is the author of many books including “Lincoln’s Last Speech,” which was inspired by a talk he presented at One Day University. His essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and Slate. He is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and serves on the Historians’ Council of the Gettysburg Foundation.