Scranton’s Luncheon Seminars Offer Fresh Perspectives on Today’s Critical Issues

Jan 31, 2017

During the spring semester, the Schemel Forum’s Munley Law World Affairs Luncheon Seminars at The University of Scranton will offer area residents deeper insights into topics that affect Americans and connect us with the global community.

Jay Rosen, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism at New York University, opens the series on Friday, Feb. 10, with “The People Formerly Known as Audience and the Election of Donald Trump.” Dr. Rosen asserts that the people who used to be called the audience – readers, viewers, listeners – today have many more options. “They are producers as well as consumers of media,” Dr. Rosen said, “and they are connected to each other in new ways because of social media. This changes the situation for journalists and media companies.” Dr. Rosen will explore the consequences of these shifts as they have played out since the turn of the century and will provide a provocative picture of the past, present and future of civil society. The talk will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Friday, Feb. 17, Stephen Kinzer, senior fellow in international and public affairs at Brown University, will present “The Greatest Question That Has Ever Been Presented to the American People.” An award-winning foreign correspondent, Kinzer considers whether Americans should try to shape the world or concentrate on building a better society at home – the central question of our foreign policy for more than a century and the subject of his new book, “The True Flag.” When the debate first exploded, Theodore Roosevelt led the interventionist charge. Mark Twain called him “clearly insane” for turning the Stars and Stripes into “a bandit flag.”

Kinzer will explain the origins of this divisive debate and why it is still raging. “The debate over foreign intervention has just broken out again,” he said. “Whether the issue is Russia, China, Iran, Syria or Afghanistan, the new administration must answer an old question: should the U.S. project power into faraway lands? This is the latest installment of the eternal debate that shapes America’s divided approach to the world.” A book signing will follow the seminar, which will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Friday, Feb. 24, Annie Cohen-Solal, Ph.D., cultural historian, writer and professor of American studies at the Université de Caen in France, will present “New York Cultural Capital 1945-1965.” In 1947, distinguished art critic Clement Greenberg, pessimistic about the state of art and artists in the U.S., wrote: “Artists are as isolated in the United States as if they were living in Paleolithic Europe. Their isolation is inconceivable, crushing, unbroken, damning.” But by the mid-sixties, New York City would become the world’s cultural capital. Dr. Cohen-Solal describes this dramatic transformation in her book, “New York Mid-century: Post-war Capital of Culture, 1945-1965.” A book signing will follow the seminar, which will take place in the Kane Forum on the second floor of Edward Leahy Hall, at the corner of Jefferson Ave. and Linden St.

Elizabeth Hinton, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and of African and African-American studies at Harvard University, will present “The Making of Mass Incarceration in America” on Wednesday, March 8. Dr. Hinton, author of the newly published “From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime,” will trace the development of the war on crime from its origins in the war on poverty in the 1960s through the rise of mass incarceration and the war on drugs in the 1980s.

In her book, Dr. Hinton asks, “How did the ‘land of the free’ become the home of the world’s largest prison system?” Challenging the belief that America’s prison problem originated with the Reagan administration’s war on drugs, she traces the rise of mass incarceration to an ironic source: the social welfare programs of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society at the height of the civil rights era. A book signing will follow the seminar, which will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

On Wednesday, March 29, the University will welcome back David Myers, Ph.D., Sady and Ludwig Kahn professor of Jewish history at UCLA; and Hussein Ibish, Ph.D., senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, D.C. The two experts will present “Shared Paths, Divergent Courses: Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism, Part 2; The Israel-Palestine Conflict, 1949-1979.” This is their second of three presentations exploring the history of the conflict as seen through Jewish and Arab eyes. The first focused on the initial phase of the conflict, the struggle between Arabs and Jews from 1881 to 1948. The second will highlight the state-to-state tensions between Israel and her Arab neighbors, culminating in the peace accords signed between Egypt and Israel as mediated by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The seminar, which will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall, will extend to 2 p.m.

The spring series will conclude on Monday, April 3, with “Isis in America: From Retweets to Raqqi.” Presented by Lorenzo Vidino, Ph.D., director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, the lecture will describe the nature and dynamics of the current ISIS-related mobilization in the U.S. Dr. Vidino will try to explain why hundreds of young Americans have gone abroad to join the forces of the self-proclaimed Caliphate and a few have carried out terrorist attacks against their homeland. Following the seminar, which will take place in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall, Dr. Vidino will sign his book, “Isis in America: From Retweets to Raqqi.”

The World Affairs Luncheon Seminar series is sponsored by Munley Law.

All seminars include a buffet lunch and run from noon to 1:30 p.m., except the March 29 lecture, which will extend to 2 p.m. Participants can register to attend one luncheon for $20 per person or $30 per couple – or for the entire series of six luncheons for $110 per person or $160 per couple; Schemel Forum members attend free.

To register, contact Emily Brees, Schemel Forum assistant, at 570-941-6206 or For more information on Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers at 570-941-4089 or

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