Speakers

2018-2019 Season

SEPTEMBER 12, 2018

Notes from the Field: A Career in Reporting

Dave Davies, Senior Reporter, Contributor & Fill in Host for Fresh Air, WHYY FM

Dave Davies has covered local politics and government in Philadelphia for more than 30 years. He loves the speed, reach and versatility of the internet but believes journalists should still check their facts, give folks in the hot seat their say, and think before they hit “Send”. We’ll hear from Davies about his time spent as a political reporter in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania covering local and national topics as well as his time on “Fresh Air.”

Follow Davies on Twitter @davedavieswhyy, listen to his Off Mic contributions at WHYY or catch his blog on Newsworks.org.

OCTOBER 17, 2018

Finding Faith and Making the Self in America

Rebecca Davis, Associate Professor of History, University of Delaware

Davis shares what she has learned about how Americans have talked about the discovery of a “true” self in the decades since World War II. By looking closely at stories of religious conversion—including that of Muhammad Ali, who famously said “I’m free to be who I want”— Davis examines how Americans have debated the possibility for self-transformation and the limitations of essential identities.

Rebecca Davis is a historian of twentieth-century American religion, sexuality, and culture. In 2017 she became a producer and story editor for “Sexing History”, a podcast. You can also follow Davis on Twitter @historydavis .

NOVEMBER 14, 2018

Peace with North Korea?

John Feffer, Director of Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute for Policy Studies (DC)

After an escalation of tensions in 2017, North Korea and the United States began to inch closer to a detente in 2018. What will it take for peace to break out between Washington and Pyongyang? Will North Korea follow China down the path of economic reform? What are the prospects for inter-Korean reunification? Feffer provides a perspective based on more than a decade of work in Washington, DC, and several trips to North Korea. At Feffer’s website, http://www.johnfeffer.com, access his books, articles, blogs and interviews.

DECEMBER 12, 2018

A Professor and His Students Reflect on the Israel/Palestine Conflict

Sa’ed Atshan, Assistant Professor, Peace and Conflict Studies, Swarthmore College

Atshan and his students Rachel Pomerantz ’20 and Benjamin Stern ’20 will share their reflections on the Swarthmore College Israel/Palestine Study Trip, embedded study for students in his Israeli-Palestinian Conflict course. Atshan is a Palestinian faculty member trying to create spaces for dialogue and all perspectives. His students will share their experiences as Jewish-American participants in the program.

A 2006 graduate of Swarthmore College, Atshan brings accolades from Harvard and Brown for his teaching on social movements in the Middle East. His commitment to the practical pursuit of peace and justice includes work with too many groups to list here.

JANUARY 16, 2019

The Frontier Where Science Meets Society

Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The conditions under which science can thrive are not sturdy when the justification, and even the validity, of science is called into question. Is there a problem, and if so, is it the scientists’ problem or the public’s? Rush Holt, whose career has spanned science and policy, as teacher, researcher, laboratory administrator, Member of Congress, and now CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, will discuss what scientists owe society and vice versa.

Holt taught in the Physics, Public Policy and Religion departments at Swarthmore College from 1980 to 1988 while also working as a Congressional Science Fellow for U.S. Representative Bob Edgar of Pennsylvania.

FEBRUARY 20, 2019

Public Policy Lessons for Academia from the U.S. Department of State

Elizabeth Nichols, Assistant Professor, Biology, Swarthmore College

Nichols, whose career spans countries, languages, and disciplines, will discuss what she has learned from her time at the multilateral science-policy interface at the U.S.  Department of State, where she currently serves as Policy Adviser to the Global Environment Facility via a Science and Technology Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Understanding how three complex ecosystems—academia, policy and management—successfully interact can succeed in bringing about change.

Nichols teaches Conservation Biology and Parasite Ecology and serves as Adjunct Professor at the University of Sao Paulo.

MARCH 20, 2019

Behavioral Economics: Making Us Better People, Professionals, and Policymakers

Syon Bhanot, Assistant Professor of Economics, Swarthmore College

Bhanot is an economist who studies behavioral science and its application to public policy. After a brief primer on behavioral science, Bhanot will dive into ways he and fellow researchers are collaborating with policymakers. In Philadelphia, they are improving services and addressing needs of residents. At the national and international levels, he is working with USAID, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Bhanot’s areas of research include pro-social behavior, environmental conservation, development and personal finance decisions. Read more about him at his website:www.syonbhanot.com

APRIL 17, 2019

America Needs an Enemy

Dominic Tierney, Associate Professor of Political Science, Swarthmore College

America needs an enemy. From the Revolution onward, Americans have required a powerful adversary to spur political unity and progressive change. When America defeats its opponent, however, U.S. society often fractures, and enmity is turned inward toward fellow citizens and the political establishment. We can have peace abroad. Or we can have peace at home. We can’t have both.

Tierney also serves as a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, and in his spare time, has authored four books.

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