Sunday, January 26, 2020 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Andrew Porwancher / University of Oklahoma
Amid the heat of a Philadelphia summer in 1787, the delegates of the Constitutional Convention gathered to save a fledgling republic whose very existence was mired in doubt. Americans had waged a bloody war against their mother country a decade earlier to win their independence. Now, as the delegates debated the contours of a new frame of government, they were all too aware that if they failed, the people might once again take up arms. At this pivotal moment in history, the delegates drafted a Constitution that endures today as the oldest surviving national charter still in effect anywhere in the world.
But what did the framers really mean? Did they intend the Establishment Clause to merely ban a national religion or completely separate church and state? Was the Second Amendment designed to protect the rights of individuals or just militias? Were the framers unanimously in favor of allowing only men to vote, or were there some who felt differently? How much do we actually know about what transpired in Independence Hall? What myths were later invented and accepted as law? The surprising answers to these questions matter, not only for uncovering the truth about our history but for rethinking the laws that govern our lives today.
Andrew Porwancher is the Wick Cary Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma, where he teaches constitutional history. He previously held the Horne Fellowship at Oxford and the Garwood Fellowship at Princeton. Dr. Porwancher is also the recipient of the Longmire Prize for innovative teaching. He is now at work on two new books, “Theodore Roosevelt and the Jews” and “The Jewish Life of Alexander Hamilton.” His first book, “The Devil Himself” is currently being adapted for the stage at a theater company in Dublin.
Jessica Payne / University of Notre Dame
You are your brain, according to modern neuroscience, but how exactly do your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and sense of self derive from this three-pound organ locked inside the black box of your skull? Scientists have been seeking answers to those questions for decades, and finding surprising answers in the brains of people with psychiatric and neurological disorders.
Join us on a journey deep into the brain, the mind, and the self, as Professor Jessica Payne reveals the startling and exciting recent findings of cutting-edge neuroscience. How does your brain accomplish spontaneous creativity? How much self-control or “free will” do we really have? And what does the future hold, once brains begin to integrate with “neural prosthetics”? Get to know your dynamic unconscious mind, a bigger part of “who you are” than you could ever guess.
Jessica Payne is the Nancy O’Neill Collegiate Chair and Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, where she directs the Sleep, Stress, and Memory Lab. Her course, The Sleeping Brain, routinely sports a waitlist because of its immense popularity among Notre Dame students. In 2012, Professor Payne received the Frank O’Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award. She is also a two-time recipient of the Distinction in Teaching Award, and won the Award for Teaching Excellence at Harvard University’s Derek Bok Center.
Orin Grossman / Fairfield University
We all love some form of music, but we will love it even more when we learn how to listen more closely. The way a piece or a song moves us is ultimately what makes music lovers come back for more. However, the ease with which we can hear any type of music today and the endless outlets for different kinds of music creates the problem of over-saturation. We have become passive listeners, tuning most sounds out and are often unable to participate in a more active style of listening. At the heart of appreciating great music is the concept of active listening—becoming more attuned to the communication from the composer and performer to the listener.
This class will explain and demonstrate the concept of active listening and provide techniques to get more pleasure from great music reflecting a wide variety of styles. We will focus on melody and the different ways melodies can create meaning in music; we will listen to excerpts of music from the classical, jazz, and popular traditions in order to "stretch our ears" and get more pleasure from the musical experience.
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.