Schemel Forum Luncheon Seminars Begin Sept. 17

The Schemel Forum’s World Affairs Luncheon Seminars examine how history informs contemporary American and global politics.
Seven distinguished speakers will present this fall’s Schemel Forum World Affairs Luncheon Seminars at The University of Scranton.
Seven distinguished speakers will present this fall’s Schemel Forum World Affairs Luncheon Seminars at The University of Scranton.

This fall’s Schemel Forum World Affairs Luncheon Seminars at The University of Scranton promises an array of fascinating lectures examining how history informs contemporary American and global politics.

The series will present seven speakers, with all seminars taking place from noon to 1:30 p.m. and featuring a luncheon buffet. With the exception of the first seminar, all events will take place in Brennan Hall’s Rose Room.

The series begins Tuesday, Sept. 17, with Constitution Day 2019: “Let’s Act Like the Majority We Are,” presented by Lynn Yeakel, director of Drexel University College of Medicine’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership. During the talk, which is being presented in collaboration with the University’s Women’s and Gender Studies program, Yeakel will explore what women could accomplish by casting aside the differences in race, religion and other aspects of their identities that have historically taken precedence over their gender. The seminar will take place in the Kane Forum of Leahy Hall.

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, Lynne Hartnett, Ph.D., professor of Russian history at Villanova University, will present “Tsars, Commissars and President Putin: Why Russian History is the Key to Understanding Russia Today.” Her talk will look at the Russian people’s history of seeking to understand what it means to be Russian and finding unity, stability and legitimacy via a shared identity, history and culture.

On Friday, Oct. 4, Leonard Gougeon, Ph.D., distinguished professor of American literature at the University, will give the talk, “Transcendentalism, Politics and the Civil War,” an examination of New England Transcendentalism’s effect on the liberal, abolitionist policies of President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and how it forever changed American democracy.

Next, on Thursday, Oct. 17, Ignacio Sepúlveda del Río, humanities and philosophy faculty member at Loyola Andalucía University in Seville, Spain, will present “Religion in the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Common Good?” During the talk, presented in collaboration with the University’s Jesuit Center, del Río will discuss how for much of the 20th century, religion was considered a hindrance to developing democratic societies and should exist entirely in the private sphere.

On Tuesday, Oct. 29, renowned journalist and Scranton native Jill Dougherty, currently a CNN contributor and a global fellow at Washington, D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, will present “Russian Spring?” An expert on Russian politics and society, Dougherty will discuss how, via volunteerism, charitable causes and environmental protests, Russian citizens are methodically building a civil society.

 “For months, Russian citizens have taken to the streets to protest everything from a smelly dump in their neighborhood to the exclusion of opposition candidates in local elections. The Kremlin is worried and, in some cases, has used brutal force to crack down on protesters,” she said. “No one is sure where this is leading. Will it remain a big-city, middle-class phenomenon? Could it turn into a nationwide political movement? Or will it be crushed? I’ll explain why some Russians are willing to risk years in prison to make their voices heard – and how much of a threat it is to President Vladimir Putin.”

On Thursday, Nov. 7, Scranton attorney Morey Myers, of the firm Counsel, Myers, Brier and Kelly, will present, “Impeachment: Is It Still Available?” Myers will discuss how impeachment was devised by the nation’s founders as a non-criminal method to remove a president from office, and was patterned after a four centuries-old British practice.

“We will consider the impeachments of Presidents Andrew Johnson and William Clinton, and the near-impeachment of Richard Nixon,” Myers said. “Finally, we will discuss its current relevance and likelihood.”

The series will conclude Wednesday, Dec. 4, with Liz Sevcenko, director of the Rutgers Newark Humanities Action Lab, presenting “Reckoning with Contested History as an Essential Part of Sustaining Democracy.” In her lecture, Sevcenko will examine how people will understand evidence and narratives of historic sites in a “post-truth” era, using the past, present and future of the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay as a way to frame the issue.

Admission is free for University students, faculty and staff and Schemel Forum members, and $25 for non-members. 

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

To register for the seminars, contact Alicen Morrison, Schemel Forum assistant, at 570-941-6206 or And, for more information on Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers, Schemel Forum director, at 570-941-4089 or

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