Saturday, November 16, 2019 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
Alison Gash / University of Oregon
Few at the Founding could have ever imagined the Supreme Court becoming one of the most powerful policymaking institutions in the United States. Yet today, the Court has the power to sidestep public opinion, upend federal legislation, constrain state governance and even bring down the President. Professor Alison Gash will take us back to the Court's humble beginnings, charting how the Court amassed its power under Justice Marshall's leadership. Professor Gash will introduce us to the Court's struggles under pre-and post-Reconstruction racial apartheid, its skirmishes with legislative and executive power during the New Deal era, and its foray into areas of privacy, intimacy and expression.
As we walk through the Court's history, meandering through landmark decisions, Professor Gash will use her research on law and social policy to highlight the importance of understanding the Court not only as a legal actor but also as a significant source of policy innovation and paralysis. Through this lens, Professor Gash will demonstrate why the Court's makeup–its personalities and its relationships–can make or break American public policy.
Alison Gash is a political science professor and a member of the Provost’s Teaching Academy at the University of Oregon, where she has received several fellowships and grants for her teaching. She was recently awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Award. Professor Gash has also taught at Berkeley, where she received the Commendation for Excellence in Teaching two years in a row. She is the author of “Below the Radar: How Silence Can Save Civil Rights.” Her work has appeared in Newsweek, Slate, Politico, and Washington Monthly.
Edward O'Donnell / Holy Cross College
In the relatively short history of the United States, there have been many turning points and landmark movements that irrevocably altered the direction of the nation and signaled the dramatic start of a new historical reality. Some took the form of groundbreaking political and philosophical concepts; some were dramatic military victories and defeats. Still others were nationwide social and religious movements or technological and scientific innovations.
What all of these turning points had in common, is that they forever changed the character of America. Sometimes the changes brought about by these events were obvious; sometimes they were more subtle. Sometimes the effects of these turning points were immediate; other times, their aftershocks reverberated for decades. Certainly, no turning point was more influential and reflective of a changing America than the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919 – often referred to as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. Sometimes the effects of these turning points were immediate; other times, their aftershocks reverberated for decades.
The first and most crucial turning point for the newly independent United States was the presidency of George Washington. His leadership unified the country and set the model for democratic executive leadership in the modern world. The Civil War posed the most profound threat to Washington’s vision, and it is the second great turning point in American history. The Union victory in the Civil War gave way to decades of uncertainty and corruption. The Progressive reforms in American domestic and foreign policy during the early twentieth century transformed the United States into a modern world power — our third turning point. The Great Depression, the Second World War, and the early Cold War — the great mid-twentieth century crises — were a fourth turning point, as profound as the Civil War in many ways. The lecture will close with reflections on 9/11/01 and the subsequent “War on Terror” as a fifth turning point in American history that conditions our current economy, society, and troublesome presidential election. Each of these historical turning points has important lessons to teach us about our future as a nation, and the precarious continuity of the American Dream.
Edward O’Donnell is a professor of History at College of the Holy Cross. He is the author of several books, including Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age. He frequently contributes op-eds to publications like Newsweek and The Huffington Post. He has been featured on PBS, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and C-SPAN. O’Donnell also has curated several major museum exhibits on American history and appeared in several historical documentaries. He currently hosts a history podcast, “In the Past Lane.”
Marc Lapadula / Yale University
While most works of cinema are produced for mass-entertainment and escapism, a peculiar minority have had a profound influence on our culture. Whether intentionally or not, some movies have brought social issues to light, changed laws, forwarded ideologies both good and bad, and altered the course of American history through their resounding impact on society. Renowned Yale Film Professor Marc Lapadula will discuss three films that, for better or worse, made their mark.
Marc Lapadula is a Senior Lecturer in the Film Studies Program at Yale University. He is a playwright, screenwriter and an award-winning film producer. In addition to Yale, Marc has taught at Columbia University’s Graduate Film School, created the screenwriting programs at both The University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins where he won Outstanding Teaching awards and has lectured on film, playwriting and conducted highly-acclaimed screenwriting seminars all across the country at notable venues like The National Press Club, The Smithsonian Institution, The Commonwealth Club and The New York Historical Society.