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    Dylan, Douglas and Democracy to be Discussed

    Leading The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum spring courses are: Adam Pratt, Ph.D., associate professor of American history; Aiala Levy, Ph.D., assistant professor of Latin American history; Catherine Johnson, a senior student in the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program majoring in English and philosophy; and Stephen Whittaker, Ph.D., professor of English and theatre.
    January 22, 2020

    During the spring semester, University of Scranton professors, and a University student, will teach courses in their areas of expertise that examine a national treasure, a national hero and lessons to be learned from national emergencies.

    Schemel Forum evening courses will meet in six weekly sessions from 6 to 7:15 p.m. in room 305 of the Weinberg Memorial Library on campus.

    “Bob Dylan: From Rolling Stone to Nobel Laureate” will be taught by Stephen Whittaker, Ph.D., professor of English and theatre, and Catherine Johnson, a senior student in the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program majoring in English and philosophy, and the editor-in-chief of Esprit: the University’s review of arts and letters. In celebration of our living Nobel Laureate in literature, the course will explore examples of Dylan’s work throughout his career, including his Nobel address. Via sound recordings, screen footage and participants’ live voices, the class will discuss musical traditions and influences on Dylan, his place among his contemporaries and meaning in the songs. “Participants will have some say in song selection and, if they like, can perform in what we hope will be a free-wheeling environment,” said Dr. Whittaker. The course will meet on the following Wednesdays: February 5, 12, 19 and 26; and March 4 and 11.

    Aiala Levy, Ph.D., assistant professor of Latin American history, will teach “States of Emergency: Lessons from Latin American History.” Dr. Levy said, “On February 15, 2019, President Trump declared a national emergency on the US-Mexican border. While national emergencies in the U.S. have generally been restricted to increasing the president’s financial flexibility, the expansion of executive power elsewhere has often had more dire results. Under what circumstances have national executives in Latin America issued similar declarations and what have been the consequences for democracy? We’ll explore this question through the histories of five different nations: Brazil and its 1937 “New State” coup under Getúlio Vargas; Columbia and its 1946-1964 civil war, commonly known as La Violencia; the so-called dirty wars of 1970s-1980s Chile and Argentina; and the event of a fifth country chosen by students. As we examine Latin American societies and political institutions, we’ll connect the past to present-day illiberal policies and protests.” The course will meet on the following Thursdays: February 6, 13, 20 and 27; and March 5 and 12.

    “Frederick Douglass’s America” will be taught by Adam Pratt, Ph.D., associate professor of American history. The course will follow Frederick Douglass’s life from enslavement to political powerbroker in the middle of the 19th century. Each week participants will focus on an episode of Douglass’s life as a way to explore the larger cultural processes that fundamentally altered the United States. Topics include slavery, the Underground Railroad, the politics of emancipation during the Civil War, the reconstruction amendments and the coming of Jim Crow. At the heart of the course will be a focus on racism and its corruption of American ideals. The course will meet on the following Mondays: February 10, 17 and 24; and March 2, 19 and 23.

    Local residents can attend any course for $75 per person or $125 per couple; Schemel Forum members may attend any or all courses free. Space is limited and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

    To register or for more information, contact Alicen Morrison, Schemel Forum assistant, at 570-941-6206 or alicen.morrison@scranton.edu. For more information on Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers, Schemel Forum director, at 570-941-4089 or sondra.myers@scranton.edu.

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