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

On November 6, 2016 at the Boston Public Library four historians discussed Obama's legacy. Perhaps no president came into office with greater challenges or higher expectations than Barack Obama. Where will future presidential historians rank our first African-American president? For what will he be best remembered?
Panelists: Ellen Fitzpatrick, political historian at the University of New Hampshire; Annette Gordon-Reed, historian and law professor at Harvard University; David Greenberg, journalist and historian at Rutgers University; Heather Cox Richards, Professor of American History at Boston College; Moderated by Meghna Chakrabarti host of WBUR's Radio Boston.
categories: symposium, video

Citizenship, Justice, and Racial Conciliation

On November 1, 2015 an outstanding group of scholars gathered to discuss citizenship, justice, and racial conciliation.  Three experts, including Danielle Allen, James Forman, Jr., and Tommie Shelby offered their insights about moving toward national conciliation, moderated by Douglas Blackmon. This free public forum was held at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, MA.
categories: symposium, video

Created Equal: Striving toward Justice for All

A special forum, temporarily replacing our annual fall symposium, held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. The forum marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 40th anniversary of the legal proceedings that led to court-ordered busing to desegregate Boston Public Schools. Created Equal: Striving toward Justice for All was a moderated discussion between former Congressman Barney Frank, former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Margaret Marshall, Rutgers Law Professor David Dante Troutt, and editor and publisher of The Nation magazine Katrina vanden Heuvel. The panel was deftly moderated by Todd Purdum, national editor of Vanity Fair.
categories: symposium, video

E Pluribus Paralysis: Can We Make Our Democracy Work?

The 10th annual Mass Humanities Symposium held on November 9, 2013 at Boston College focused on constructive ideas for making American democracy work at a time when “the corrupting influence of money, the manipulation of elections and the enduring legacy of social, racial and gender divisions have eroded confidence in America’s political system.”

Session 1:  Capital Ideas:  Reducing the influence of money in our democracy Panelists: Thomas Mann, Zephyr Teachout, Alan Wolfe, Jane Clayson (moderator)
Session II:  Righting Voting Wrongs:  Making our republic more democratic Panelists: Heather Gerken, Alexander Keyssar, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Jane Clayson (moderator)
Session III:  Bending the Arc of History:  Toward equality and democracy Panelists: Reniqua Allen, Kenneth Feinberg, Glenn Loury, Jane Clayson (moderator)

categories: symposium, video

Mind the Gap: Economic Inequality and Our Democracy

Mass Humanities' annual symposium held on November 3, 2012 in the Heights Room, Corcoran Commons at Boston College explores economic, political, social, and public policy aspects of economic inequality in the U.S.

Session 1: The Causes and Effects of Increasing Economic Inequality
Thomas Frank, James K. Galbraith, Scott Winship, Michael Jonas (moderator)
Session II: The Role of Education in Inequality in America
Andrew Delbanco, Heather Beth Johnson, Barry O'Connell, Rhonda Cobham-Sander (moderator) Session III: What, If Anything, Should Be Done?
Glenn Loury, Timothy Noah, Will Wilkinson, Mark Santow (moderator)

categories: symposium, video

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

Mass Humanities' annual symposium held on November 19, 2011 in Robsham Theater at Boston College explores the political, social, and cultural impacts of the Internet on democracy.

Session 1: The Political Impact of the Internet
Mike Klein, Evgeny Morozov, Eli Pariser, Charles SteelFisher, Callie Crossley (moderator)
Session II: The Social Impact of the Internet
Kate Crawford, Virginia Heffernan, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Cullen Murphy (moderator)
Session III: The Cultural Impact of the Internet
Hiawatha Bray, Jonathan Zittrain, Chris Csikszentmihályi, Charles Kravetz (moderator)

categories: audio, symposium, video

Soldiers & Citizens: Military and Civic Culture in America

Mass Humanities Fall symposium focusing on military and civic culture held on November 7, 2009 at Boston College. Listen, watch or read the three sessions.

Session 1: Diversity in Uniform: Race, Gender, Class, Sexuality and Religion in the Armed Forces
Col. Charles Allen, Missy Cummings, Nathaniel Frank, Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, Chris Appy (moderator)
Session II: United We Serve: The All Volunteer Force, National Service and Democracy
Col. Charles Allen, Larry Korb, Paul Rieckhoff, Cullen Murphy (moderator)
Session III: Cultural Influences: The Military, Politics and Society in 21st Century America
Rick Atkinson, Andrew Bacevich, Sarah Sewall, Rachel Maddow (moderator)

categories: audio, symposium, video

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

Mass Humanities' annual symposium held on November 22nd, 2008 in the Robsham Theater at Boston College. Seven big-time editors and reporters, one celebrated blogger, and a former presidential press secretary met on the stage of Robsham Theater to consider the latest puzzles, annoyances, and threats facing the mainstream media.

Session 1: How Religion Shapes American Culture
Mark Lilla, Jon Meacham, Peter J. Paris, Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, Alan Wolfe
Session 2: Religion and Electoral Politics
Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., Amy Sullivan, Steven Waldman, Hanna Rosin
Session 3: Religion, Morality, and the Law
Stephen Carter, Daniel C. Dennett, Susannah Heschel, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Michael J. Sandel

categories: audio, symposium, video

Is America in Decline?

Mass Humanities' annual symposium held on December 4, 2010 in the Heights Room in Corcoran Commons at Boston College. What made/makes America exceptional? Is America in decline? What does that mean exactly? Relative to what/whom? What are the major causes of decline? Which of these are within our power to correct? Is decline inevitable? How have other empires dealt with decline? What are our unique strengths? Can America rise again? How?

Session 1: American Leadership Abroad
Peter Beinart, Gregg Easterbrook, Carol Graham, Paul Starobin
Session 2: The Promise of America at Home
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alexis Gelber, Peniel Joseph, Reihan Salam

categories: audio, symposium, video