Past Symposia

The Politics of Hope: Four Historians Take on the Obama Presidency

November 6, 2016 at the Rabb Auditorium in the Boston Public Library

Panelists: Ellen Fitzpatrick, Annette Gordon-Reed, David Greenberg, Heather Cox Richardson
Moderator: Meghna Chakrabarti

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Citizenship, Justice, and Racial Conciliationpast-symposia-square

November 1, 2015 at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston

Panelists: Danielle Allen, James Forman, Jr., Tommie Shelby
Moderator: Douglas Blackmon

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CREATED EQUAL: Striving toward Justice for All

November 9, 2014 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston

Panelists: Barney Frank, Margaret H. Marshall, David Dante Troutt, Katrina vanden Heuvel
Moderator: Todd Purdum

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E Pluribus Paralysis: Can We Make Our Democracy Work?

November 9, 2013 in the Heights Room, Corcoran Commons at Boston College

Session 1: Capital Ideas:
Reducing the influence of money in our democracy

Panelists: Thomas Mann, Zephyr Teachout, Alan Wolfe
Moderator: Jane Clayson

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Session II: Righting Voting Wrongs:
Making our republic more democratic

Panelists: Heather Gerken, Alexander Keyssar, Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Moderator: Jane Clayson

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Session III: Bending the Arc of History:
Toward equality and democracy

Panelists: Reniqua Allen, Kenneth Feinberg, Glenn Loury
Moderator: Jane Clayson

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Mind the Gap: Economic Inequality and Our Democracy

November 3, 2012 in the Heights Room, Corcoran Commons at Boston College

Session 1: The Causes and Effects of Increasing Economic Inequality

Thomas Frank, historian and journalist
James K. Galbraith, economist
Scott Winship, economist and sociologist
Moderator: Michael Jonas, public policy magazine editor

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Session II: The Role of Education in Inequality in America

Andrew Delbanco, literary and social critic
Heather Beth Johnson, sociologist
Barry O’Connell, English professor
Moderator: Rhonda Cobham-Sander, black studies and English professor

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Session III: What, If Anything, Should Be Done?

Glenn Loury, economist
Timothy Noah, journalist
Will Wilkinson, blogger
Moderator: Mark Santow, history professor

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Cyberspace & Civic Space: The Impact of the Internet and Our Democracy

November 19, 2011 in the Robsham Theater at Boston College

Session 1: The Political Impact of the Internet

Mike Klein, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of the Sunlight Foundation;
Evgeny Morozov, Stanford University, author of The Net Delusion, The Dark Side of Internet Freedom;
Eli Pariser, former Executive Director MoveOn.org and author of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You;
Charles SteelFisher, co-founder and President of Alipes
Moderator: Callie Crossley, host of WGBH’s The Callie Crossley Show.

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Session II: The Social Impact of the Internet

Kate Crawford, writer, composer and academic based in Sydney, Australia, and author of Adult Themes
Virginia Heffernan, New York Times Internet columnist and author of Magic and Loss: The Pleasures of the Internet (forthcoming)
Siva Vaidhyanathan, UVA cultural historian and author of The Googlization of Everything (and Why We Should Worry)
Moderator: Cullen Murphy, Editor at Large, Vanity Fair

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Session III: The Cultural Impact of the Internet

Hiawatha Bray, technology writer for the Boston Globe
Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law Professor
Chris Csikszentmihályi, Director of the Center for Future Civic Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Moderator:  Charles Kravetz, General Manager, WBUR-FM.

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Is America in Decline?

December 4, 2010 in the Heights Room in Corcoran Commons at Boston College

Panel 1: American Leadership Abroad

Peter Beinart, The Icarus Syndrome
Gregg Easterbrook, Sonic Boom: Globalization at Mach Speed; The Progress Paradox, How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse
Carol Graham, Happiness around the World: the Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires
Paul Starobin, After America, Narratives for the Next Global Age

Panel 2: The Promise of America at Home

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Beautiful Struggle
Alexis Gelber, Former National Affairs Editor and Assistant Managing Editor for Newsweek magazine, and Managing Editor of Newsweek International
Peniel Joseph, Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama
Reihan Salam, co-author (with Ross Douthat) of Grand New Party: How Conservatives Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream

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Soldiers & Citizens: Military and Civic Culture in America

November 7, 2009 in the Robsham Theater at Boston College

Session 1: Diversity in Uniform: Race, Gender, Class, Sexuality and Religion in the Armed Forces

Col. Charles Allen, United States Army War College
Missy Cummings, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nathaniel Frank, University of California/Santa Barbara
Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Chris Appy, University of Massachusetts/Amherst

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Session II: United We Serve: The All Volunteer Force, National Service and Democracy

Col. Charles Allen, United States Army War College
Larry Korb, Center for American Progress
Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Cullen Murphy, Vanity Fair

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Session III: Cultural Influences: The Military, Politics and Society in 21st Century America

Rick Atkinson, American Academy in Berlin
Andrew Bacevich, Boston University
Sarah Sewall, Kennedy School of Government
Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

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One Nation Under God? The Role of Religion in American Public Life

November 22nd, 2008 in the Robsham Theater at Boston College

Session 1: How Religion Shapes American Culture

Mark Lilla, Columbia University
Jon Meacham, Newsweek
Peter J. Paris, Princeton Theological Seminar
Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture
Alan Wolfe, Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College

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Session 2: Religion and Electoral Politics

Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., Hope Christian Church and Fellowship of International Churches
Amy Sullivan, Time Magazine
Steven Waldman, Beliefnet.com
Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic Magazine

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Session 3: Religion, Morality, and the Law

Stephen Carter, Yale Law School
Daniel C. Dennett, Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.
Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College
Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago
Michael J. Sandel, Harvard University

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No News is Bad News: The Role of the Media in our Democracy

November 17th, 2007 in the Robsham Theater at Boston College

Session 1: War Reporting

Mark Bowden, The Atlantic Monthly
Samantha Power, Kennedy School of Government
Anthony Shadid, Washington Post
David Greenberg, Rutgers University

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Session 2: Political Reporting

Joe Lockhart, Former White House Press Secretary
Todd Purdum, Vanity Fair
Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker
Marcy Wheeler, Citizen Journalist
Alan Brinkley, Columbia University

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Session 3: The News Business and the Business of News

Neil Brown, St. Petersburg Times
David Carr, New York Times
John Carroll, Former editor, The Los Angeles Times
Ellen Hume, Director, Center on Media and Society, UMass/Boston

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The Least Dangerous Branch?  Liberty Justice and the U.S. Supreme Court

October 21, 2006 in the Robsham Theater at Boston College

Session 1: Judging the Judges: What makes a Justice a good Justice?

David Greenberg, Rutgers University
Renée Landers, Suffolk University Law School,
Judge Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Jeff Rosen, The New Republic

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Session 2: Deciding Justice: What makes a decision a good decision?

Akhil Reed Amar, Yale Law School
Marci Hamilton, Cardozo School of Law
Mary Rose Papandrea, Boston College Law School
Linc Caplan, Yale University

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Session 3: The Supreme Court, Jurisprudence, and Presidential Powers

Jack Landman Goldsmith, Harvard Law School
Anthony Lewis, former New York Times Columnist
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate magazine
Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School

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Retracing the Struggle: The Legacy of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

On Saturday, October 29, 2005 in the Robsham Theater at Boston College

Session 1: From Civil Rights to Voting Rights: The History

Taylor Branch, writer
Alex Keyssar, Harvard University
Matthew W. Stirling, Jr., Harvard University
James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly

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Session 2: The Social and Political Impact of the Voting Rights Act

Abigail Thernstrom, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
Patricia Williams, Columbia Law School
Alan Wolfe, Boston College

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Session 3: Voting Rights and Electoral Politics Today

Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Roger Clegg, Center for Equal Opportunity
Congressman John Lewis
Mark Starr, Newsweek

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U.S. Presidents in Perspective: The Shifting Fortunes of Presidential Reputations

Saturday, November 20th, 2004 in the Robsham Theater at Boston College

Session 1: The President and the Press

Jack Beatty, The Atlantic Monthly
Kathleen Dalton, Phillips Andover Academy
Tom Wicker, Writer
Ellen Hume, UMass Boston 

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Session 2: Moral Character and the Presidency

Susan Dunn, Williams College
Ronald Walters, University of Maryland
Douglas Wilson, Lincoln Studies Center
David Gergen, Harvard University

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Session 3: The President and His Enemies

Joyce Appleby, UCLA
James MacGregor Burns, Writer
John Dean, III
David Halberstam, Writer

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