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Democracy 101: Previous Lectures

Fall 2017 Lectures

Another star, another flag? Political storm in Puerto Rico

Presented by Dr. Carmen Rivera, Interdisciplinary Studies
November 28, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Attendees of this event are invited to bring donations of canned food, linens and household items. These items will be provided to the Hurricane Relief Center at 337 Central Avenue in Dunkirk, which is preparing for an influx of families fleeing storm-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Information and digital literacy in a democratic society

Presented by Dr. Michael Scialdone, Computer & Information Sciences
November 14, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Polling and the 2016 presidential election: what went wrong?

Presented by Dr. Richard Jankowski, Politics and International Affairs
November 7, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Why is healthcare so hard?

Presented by Dr. Ted Lee, Biology
October 24, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Ted Lee is a professor in the Biology Department and chair of the Health Professions Advising Committee. In the past few years he has visited the Netherlands, Great Britain and Honduras to learn more about their health care systems.

Should the United States provide healthcare through private or public systems?

Presented by Dr. Michael Clarkson Hendrix, Sociocultural & Justice Sciences
October 17, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Dr. Clarkson-Hendrix is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociocultural and Justice Sciences. His research targets health services, including workplace concerns and practices that affect the capacity of these services to address population health outcomes. He earned his Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University at Albany.

Calling a constitutional convention in New York: the process and the issues

Presented by Dr. Peter Galie, Professor Emeritus, Canisius College
Thursday, October 12, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Peter Galie, Professor Emeritus at Canisius College, will be discussing the process and issues surrounding the upcomming vote on whether voters should call for a convetion to update the New York State Constitution. The current constitution dates from 1894, amended in 1938. It provides voters the opportunity to call for a convention to amend the Constitution every 20 years. This is the year, and a measure is on the ballot for the Tuesday, Nov. 7 general election. Professor Galie has a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of numerous articles in the area of state constitutional law and three books.

[Un]historical memorials: historians and the memorial controversy

Presented by Dr. John Staples, History
October 10, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Dr. Staples is a member of the International Mennonite Memorial Committee for the Former Soviet Union and has participated in the design and construction of several memorials in Ukraine. His research focuses on the roles that ethno-cultural communities on the peripheral regions of Russia and the Soviet Union played in determining their own paths of development, and the strategies they cultivated to defend their cultures and communities from the state. He teaches the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

Spring 2017 Lectures

What would Alexander Hamilton do?

Presented by Dr. MaryBeth Sievens, History
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
12:30 - 1:30 pm

Dr. Sievens’ current research focuses on gender relations and marriage in the Early Republic, with special focus on the relationship/contradictions between husbands’ and wives’ legal status and their lived experience. She teaches courses specializing in Early American History, American Women's History, and Adolescent Social Studies Education Methods. Dr. Sievens received her Ph.D. from Boston University. She can be contacted at Marybeth.Sievens@fredonia.edu.

What is a journalist's responsibility to the truth?

Presented by Professor Elmer Ploetz, Communication
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
2:30 - 3:30 pm

After 28 years in the newspaper business, Elmer Ploetz joined Fredonia’s Communication Department to help start the journalism major. He has worked as a reporter and editor (with 23 years at The Buffalo News), but has also been involved in radio, web development, and video documentary. Convergence of the traditional and digital media is one of Prof. Ploetz’s goals, both in his own work and as he helps prepare students for a new era in journalism. Prof. Ploetz can be contacted at Elmer.Ploetz@fredonia.edu.

Why do we need an EPA?

Presented by Dr. David Kinkela, History
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
1:00 - 2:00 pm

Dr. Kinkela’s research focuses on the history of U.S. environmental politics in a global age. His book, DDT and the American Century: Global Health, Environmental Politics, and the Pesticide That Changed the World, examines the interconnections between U.S. environmentalism and U.S. foreign policy. Dr. Kinkela’s teaching explores many of the same themes as his research, exploring the connections and relationships between U.S. history and the world. He received his Ph.D. from New York University. Dr. Kinkela can be contacted at David.Kinkela@fredonia.edu.

Global change and our regulatory agencies

Presented by Dr. Jon Titus, Biology
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
2:00 - 3:00 pm

Dr. Jon Titus is a field ecologist and most of his current research takes place outside in the natural areas of western New York. He investigates the effects invasive, non-native plant species have on our native plant communities and on mutualisms between plants and fungi. Dr. Titus teaches Environmental Biology and Introduction to Ecology and Evolution. He received his Ph.D. from Department of Botany at the University of Washington. Dr. Titus can be contacted at Jonathan.Titus@fredonia.edu.

Do we really need a “great wall”?

Presented by Dr. Ellen Litwicki, History
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Ellen Litwicki is a professor of history and has taught at Fredonia since 1992. She previously taught at the University of Utah, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Szeged in Hungary in 2016. She teaches courses on American cultural history, research methods, public history, and digital humanities. Her publications include America’s Public Holidays 1865-1920 (2000) and articles on American holidays and gift giving. Her current research project is a cultural history of gift giving in the United States. Dr. Litwicki can be contacted at Ellen.Litwicki@fredonia.edu.

Is Dylann Roof a terrorist?

Presented by Dr. Jesse Norris, Sociocultural and Justice Sciences
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
2:00 - 3:00 pm

Dr. Norris is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Sociocultural and Justice Sciences, where he teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Criminology, and the Sociology of Terrorism. His current research primarily focuses on the empirical analysis of entrapment allegations in terrorism prosecutions. He earned a Ph.D. and J.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Norris can be contacted at Jesse.Norris@fredonia.edu.

How do senators’ communication strategies encourage bipartisanship?

Presented by Dr. Angela McGowan, Communication
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
1:00 - 2:00 pm

Dr. McGowan is a member of the Department of Communication faculty where she studies political communication from a rhetorical perspective. She is active in politics with experience as a legislative assistant, campaign manager, and volunteer. Her research program investigates how Washington lawmakers can, in good faith, set aside partisan views in order to accommodate policy objectives. Her most recent publication examines the rhetorical strategies Senators in the 113th Senate used to encourage bipartisanship during the 2013 government shutdown. Dr. McGowan can be contacted at Angela.McGowan@fredonia.edu.

What is the real purpose of “bathroom bills”?

Presented by Dr. Jeffry Iovannone, Women's and Gender Studies
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
3:30 - 4:30 pm

Dr. Jeff Iovannone is a lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies and the Coordinator of the Women's and Gender Studies Program. His teaching and research focuses on feminist and LGBTQ studies and connections between cultural production, history, scholarship, and activism. He received his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University at Buffalo. Dr. Iovannone can be contacted at Jeffry.Iovannone@fredonia.edu.

Do public schools matter?

Presented by Dr. Robert Dahlgren, Curriculum and Instruction
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
2:00 - 3:00 pm

Dr. Dahlgren teaches courses in social studies teaching methods, classroom management strategies, multicultural education, educational philosophy and history. A veteran K-12 public school social studies educator, his teaching and research agenda focuses on strategies for teaching controversial public policy issues and the history of academic freedom. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida at Gainesville. Dr. Dahlgren can be contacted at Robert.Dahlgren@fredonia.edu.

Is Putin a war criminal?

Presented by Dr. John Staples, History
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
2:00 - 3:00 pm

Dr. Staples’ research focuses on the roles that ethno-cultural communities on the peripheral regions of Russia and the Soviet Union played in determining their own paths of development, and the strategies they cultivated to defend their cultures and communities from the state. Of particular interest to Dr. Staples is the history of Russian and Soviet Mennonites. He teaches the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, and received his Ph.D., from the University of Toronto. Dr. Staples can be contacted at John.Staples@fredonia.edu.

Is there a limit to presidential power?

Presented by Dr. Jonathan Chausovsky, Politics and International Affairs
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
3:30 - 4:30 pm

Dr. Chausovsky teaches courses in Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, and Courts and Social Policy, and Law and Society at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He specializes in constitutional law and political economy, with a research focus on American political development. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Chausovsky also writes a Democracy 101 blog. He can be contacted at Jonathan.Chausovsky@fredonia.edu.

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