Schemel Forum to Host Virtual Seminars This Fall

    Speakers for The University of Scranton Schemel Forum World Affairs Seminars this fall are: Harmar Brereton, M.D.; Christine Leuenberger, Ph.D.; E.J. Dionne, Jr.; Fredrik Logevall, Ph.D.; David N. Myers, Ph.D.; and Annie Cohen-Solal, Ph.D. The seminars will be held in a virtual format. Registration is required to participate.
    September 22, 2020

    The University of Scranton Schemel Forum World Affairs Seminars are going virtual this fall, yet still promise to deliver their usual thought-provoking insights on history, geopolitics and the human condition.

    The series will feature six talks throughout the fall semester, all of which will take place on Zoom rather than the typical luncheon format. With the exception of the third seminar, featuring celebrated Washington Post political columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr., each event will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Dionne’s talk on Oct. 29, will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

    Admission is $10 per seminar, and registered attendees will receive an emailed Zoom link prior to each talk.

    The series begins Thursday, Oct. 1, with former Scranton-area physician and founder of the Schemel Forum Harmar Brereton, M.D., presenting “Artistic Manifestations of Life Transitions.” During the first portion of the talk, Dr. Brereton will examine the artworks discovered in the Caves du Volp in the French Pyrenees – specifically the Lion sequence in the Cave Chauvet and the Bison sculpture room in the Cave Trois-Freres – and their potential relationship to the transformation that occurs during adolescence. Then, in the second half of the presentation, he will look at the transition of Odysseus through midlife, from “The Iliad” to his homecoming in “The Odyssey.”

    According to Dr. Brereton, “the talk will look at three early artistic representations of life transitions and hopefully make the point that the artist long before the psychologist was looking outward and inward with skill and understanding.”

    Next, on Friday, Oct. 23, Christine Leuenberger, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University, will present “The Politics of Maps: Cartographic Constructions of Israel/Palestine.” The talk will look at how various actors, institutions and governments – particularly the Israelis and the Palestinians – engage in “map wars” in order to further different and often incommensurable geopolitical visions of contested territories.

    Dionne’s presentation, “Code Red:  How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save the Country,” will take place Thursday, Oct. 29, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. During the talk, Dionne, a longtime syndicated columnist who is also a contributor to MSNBC and NPR, a professor at Georgetown University and a visiting professor at Harvard University, will discuss his latest book, which posits that real change in the United States can only come via a highly diverse coalition of political allies, from Democratic Socialists to those who once would have been called liberal Rockefeller Republicans.

    Then, on Thursday, Nov. 5, Fredrik Logevall, Ph.D., Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University, will present the extremely timely lecture, “What Democracy Requires: The 2020 Election in Historical Perspective.” During the talk, which will be held two days after Election Day, Logevall will examine how history provides important clues to the 2020 presidential election and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead depending on its outcome.

    “In times of crisis, it’s especially important for Americans to think about their democracy and what it requires,” Logevall said. “Not least, they need to recognize that the success of democracy depends on having an informed and engaged electorate, committed to reasoned communication and to good-faith bargaining between the parties.”

    On Friday, Nov. 20, David N. Myers, Ph.D., Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History at UCLA and president of the New Israel Fund, will present “Antisemitism Past, Present, and Future.” Myers’ lecture will explore the enduring history of antisemitism – referred to as the “longest hatred” in history – through its various manifestations, its staying power and the significant threats it poses today.

    The series will conclude on a to-be-determined date with “Christo's Alternative Universe: Challenging All Boundaries As a Practice of Freedom,” presented by Annie Cohen-Solal, Ph.D., cultural historian, writer and professor of American Studies at the Université de Caen. At the talk, Cohen-Solal will look at legendary artist Christo’s spectacular artistic productions and their relationship to stories of war, trauma, diaspora and catastrophe. Through these unique insights into the process of this singular artist, Cohen-Solal seeks to demonstrate that comfort and empowerment are possible even during times of crisis.

    The World Affairs 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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