Recordings of Convocations

Convocation: Steve Brodner

Created 6 January 2012; Published 11 January 2012

Steve Brodner's award-winning career as a satirical illustrator and art journalist spans three decades. His iconic caricatures of pop and political culture have appeared in every major publication in the United States, not to mention his visual essays of political campaigns and the struggles of everyday working people and their families. His work is credited with helping spearhead the 1980s revival of pointed and entertaining graphic commentary in the United States. "The face that politicians present to the public is a mask," says Brodner. "Everyone knows it's a mask. The mask is what political cartoons comment on. You're never drawing the person; you're drawing the persona." Politicians have never hesitated to tar their opponents, and neither have their satirist contemporaries. And over his 30-plus-year career, Brodner has proven himself as nothing if not a masterful visual communicator. The title of his presentation was "The Art of Politics".

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  • Steve Brodner
    Created 6 January 2012; Published 11 January 2012
    Convocation: Steve Brodner

    Steve Brodner's award-winning career as a satirical illustrator and art journalist spans three decades. His iconic caricatures of pop and political culture have appeared in every major publication in the United States, not to mention his visual essays of political campaigns and the struggles of everyday working people and their families. His work is credited with helping spearhead the 1980s revival of pointed and entertaining graphic commentary in the United States. "The face that politicians present to the public is a mask," says Brodner. "Everyone knows it's a mask. The mask is what political cartoons comment on. You're never drawing the person; you're drawing the persona." Politicians have never hesitated to tar their opponents, and neither have their satirist contemporaries. And over his 30-plus-year career, Brodner has proven himself as nothing if not a masterful visual communicator. The title of his presentation was "The Art of Politics".

  • Steve Russell
    Created 4 November 2011; Published 8 November 2011
    Convocation: Steve Russell

    Steve Russell, a Cherokee Indian born and raised in Oklahoma, served for 17 years as an elected trial judge in Texas before becoming an associate professor of criminal justice at Indiana University. Russell views his career path as unusual. Oklahoma schools had little to offer, and he had given up on education in the ninth grade because, he said, “it had long since given up on me.” It was the Vietnam era, and Russell joined the Air Force, which he said improved his self-image and resulted in an education through the G.I. Bill. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin, convinced that his previous educational failures were the fault of a system that expected nothing of Indian children. He was trained to be a high school teacher, and that was his plan, but it had not occurred to him that no school system would hire someone who was so plainly convinced that the public schools were squandering the talent of minority children. Having no teaching offers, he proceeded to law school and set out to be a civil rights lawyer, even though he knew of no Indian civil rights lawyers and the law school he attended offered no course in Indian law.

    Russell’s experience and education has led to a number of articles about the judicial process. His research focuses on the necessity to redefine national sovereignty to settle disputes arising from globalization and the need for American Indians to redefine tribal sovereignty and Indian identity in response to national and international change. Russell examined the recent challenge over the status of the Cherokee freedmen in his presentation titled "Race and Citizenship Inside and Outside the Cherokee Nation."

  • Jeff Lieberman
    Created 28 October 2011; Published 3 November 2011
    Convocation: Jeff Lieberman

    Jeff Lieberman is the star of Discovery Channel’s Time Warp, where cool science is s-l-o-w-e-d down to better understand movement as an art form. Lieberman is also a physicist, roboticist, sculptor, musician and photographer. He explores the connections between the arts, sciences, education, passion, creativity, and the potential future of human consciousness, using technology to see beyond the limits of our normal human perception. He composes music in the duo gloobic, and has performed in Carnegie Hall. He shows technological sculptures around the world, to help people make an emotional and mystical connection with science and the universe.

    Having finished four degrees at MIT in physics, math, mechanical engineering, media arts and sciences, he is exploring the applications of technology to evolving and shifting human consciousness. Lieberman presents a fantastical view of the merging of art and science as he helps perceive the world in a whole new way. The title of his presentation was "Asking Why? The Nature of Curiosity."

  • Martin Loken
    Created 21 October 2011; Published 3 November 2011
    Convocation: Martin Loken

    Consul General Martin Loken serves as Canada’s senior representative in the Upper Midwest states of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Dakota. Canada and the U.S. enjoy a unique partnership as the closest of friends, partners and allies. Strong business links are an engine for economic growth for both countries. More than $1 million of goods and services cross the borders every minute of every day. During the past three years, two-way goods trade between Canada and the five-state region of the U.S. averaged $28.8 billion per year, supporting 343,800 U.S. jobs. Canada is by far the number one export customer for each of the five states. Canada is also the largest foreign supplier of oil, natural gas, electricity and uranium to the U.S. The consulate’s business development team provides contact and advisory services to help Canadian companies make the most of opportunities for mutually beneficial trade, investment and technology partnerships in the region, while the political and public affairs team builds relationships with decision-makers and the media, promotes Canadian culture, and supports the study of Canada.

    Loken has previously been assigned to the Canadian Embassy in Prague and at Canada’s Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization and the United Nations in Geneva. In the course of several Ottawa-based assignments at the headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, he has been responsible for a range of geographic and functional issues, including science and technology relations with Japan and global human rights. Serving in the Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch, he worked on several major trade agreements and negotiations, such as free trade talks with Colombia, Peru and the European Free Trade Association, as well as involvement with the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    Despite having a different history and culture, the United States and Canada share similar challenges. Loken contends that the United States has never had a more important ally than Canada. The title of his presentation was "Canada, Minnesota and the United States: A Vital Partnership."

  • James Schamus
    Created 14 October 2011; Published 21 October 2011
    Convocation: James Schamus

    James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm) and producer (Brokeback Mountain), and is CEO of Focus Features, the motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company whose films have included Lost in Translation, Milk, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Pianist, Coraline, and The Kids Are All Right. The author of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s “Gertrud”: The Moving Word, Schamus is also Professor of Professional Practice in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory. It is generally assumed that Hollywood movie studios and their brethren in the television industry are the epicenter of our culture’s mass production of narrative. But Schamus suggests that the greatest narrative-producing machines ever assembled in the history of the world are located not in Hollywood, but in Bethesda, Maryland; Alexandria, Virginia; and Washington, D.C. The title of his presentation was "My Wife is a Terrorist: Lessons in Storytelling from the Department of Homeland Security."

  • Pedro Noguera
    Created 7 October 2011; Published 14 October 2011
    Convocation: Pedro Noguera

    Pedro Noguera is one of America's most important voices for healthy public education. As a leading urban sociologist, he examines how schools are influenced by social and economic conditions in the urban environment. What are the challenges they face in providing safe, academically rewarding environments? What is the state of race relations, racial inequality? What is the role of diversity? What is the impact of violence, parents, and school vouchers? What factors promote student achievement? Which detract from it? What is the impact of immigration and migration?

    Noguera holds faculty appointments in the departments of Teaching and Learning and Humanities and Social Sciences at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Development, as well as in the Department of Sociology at New York University. He is also a part-time high school teacher, the author of several groundbreaking texts, and a regular guest on CNN and NPR. Recently, he helped launch A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, a group of public policy experts in various fields (housing, education, civil rights), and from across the political spectrum, working to break a decades-long cycle of reform efforts that promised much and have achieved far too little. The group works in areas that research shows must be addressed if we are to keep our promises to all of America's children.

    A dynamic speaker who translates social theory into concise, hip language with emotional impact and intellectual rigor, Noguera examines the hurdles faced in providing equal education to all – and then unveils the solutions that are already working to overcome them – in his presentation titled "Creating the Schools We Need: A Broader and Bolder Approach to School Reform."

  • Historian and professor, Gavin Wright
    Created 30 September 2011; Published 14 October 2011
    Convocation: Gavin Wright

    Gavin Wright, Stanford University professor of American economic history, is perhaps today's leading economic historian on the American South. Using the tools of economics to interpret historical developments, his research has looked at the history of slavery, the cotton economy, the California gold rush, and the origins of American technological preeminence. In recent years he has turned to the Civil Rights Revolution of the 1960s, interpreted as an economic phenomenon. Focusing on the American South, Wright asks whether the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960s produced genuine economic advances for African-Americans, and whether these gains were broadly shared among low-income groups, rather than benefiting mainly the middle class. Wright also examines whether these gains came at the expense of whites, or as part of an economic restructuring that generally enhanced the wellbeing of most southerners. The title of his presentation was "The Civil Rights Revolution as Economic History: Who Gained? Who Lost?"

  • Bryan Garsten
    Created 23 September 2011; Published 26 September 2011
    Convocation: Bryan Garsten

    Bryan Garsten is Professor of Political Science at Yale University, and serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the program in Ethics, Politics and Economics. He writes about the history of political thought and contemporary political theory, with a special interest in the themes of persuasion and judgment. He is the author of the prize-winning book Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment.

    In today’s increasingly polarized political landscape it seems that fewer and fewer citizens hold out hope of persuading one another. Even among those who have not given up on persuasion, few will admit to practicing the art of persuasion known as rhetoric. To describe political speech as ‘rhetoric’ today is to accuse it of being superficial or manipulative. Garsten uncovers the early modern origins of this suspicious attitude toward rhetoric and seeks to loosen its grip on contemporary political theory. Revealing how deeply concerns about rhetorical speech shaped both ancient and modern political thought, he argues that the artful practice of persuasion ought to be viewed as a crucial part of democratic politics. He provocatively suggests that the aspects of rhetoric that seem most dangerous—the appeals to emotion, religious values, and the concrete commitments and identities of particular communities—are also those which can draw out citizens’ capacity for good judgment. Against theorists who advocate a rationalized ideal of deliberation aimed at consensus, Garsten argues that a controversial politics of partiality and passion can produce a more engaged and more deliberative kind of democratic discourse. Garsten shared his thoughts about the role of a liberal education in his presentation titled "What Is College For?"

  • Rush Holt '70
    Created 12 September 2011; Published 19 September 2011
    Opening Convocation: Rush Holt '70

    Carleton's opening convocation is an annual all-college assembly celebrating the beginning of the academic year and recognizing academic achievement. This year's address was delivered by U.S. Representative Rush Holt, who has served Central New Jersey in Congress since 1999. Holt serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Natural Resources, where he serves as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources helping to develop a long-term strategy to decrease our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and protect our environment for future generations. He has also been the Chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, created to strengthen oversight of the intelligence community by ensuring that policymakers receive accurate assessments, civil liberties are safeguarded, and the intelligence community is protecting Americans.

    Holt earned his B.A. in Physics from Carleton College and completed his Master’s and Ph.D. at NYU. He has held positions as a teacher, Congressional Science Fellow, and arms control expert at the U.S. State Department where he monitored the nuclear programs of countries such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union. Prior to launching his congressional campaign, Holt was Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the largest research facility of Princeton University and the largest center for research in alternative energy in New Jersey. He has conducted extensive research on alternative energy and has his own patent for a solar energy device. Scientific American magazine named Holt one of the 50 national "visionaries" contributing to "a brighter technological future." Holt was also a five-time winner of the game show "Jeopardy." In February 2011, he beat Watson, IBM’s computer system in a simulated round of Jeopardy at an event to promote innovation.

  • Steve Kelly
    Created 27 May 2011; Published 9 June 2011
    Honors Convocation: Stephen Kelly

    The Honors Convocation is held each year on the last Friday of spring term to recognize faculty and students for their accomplishments and their service to the community. This year’s address will be delivered by Stephen Kelly, the Dye Family Professor of Music, who has taught at Carleton since 1974. Kelly has directed the early music ensemble and taught courses in music history, including a popular course in jazz history. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and has published editions of the music of Niccolo da Perugia and co-authored a video tape on the Medieval Monastery. He has also done research focused on the area of jazz reception and the music of Wynton Marsalis. Most recently he has presented "Joan Baez at Spring Hill: A Study of Intersecting Histories." A performer as well as a musicologist, Kelly plays saxophone and clarinet in “Occasional Jazz.” The title of his presentation was "My Carleton Education."

  • Annie Leonard
    Created 13 May 2011; Published 17 May 2011
    Convocation: Annie Leonard

    A proponent of sustainability and critic of excessive consumerism, Annie Leonard is most known for her animated film “The Story of Stuff” about the life-cycle of material goods. This hit 20-minute webfilm takes viewers on a provocative and eye-opening tour of the often hidden costs of our consumer driven culture. “The Story of Stuff” has generated over 10 million views in more than 200 countries and territories since its launch, making it one of the most successful environmental-themed viral films of all time. The film has also won numerous awards, and in 2008 Leonard was named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment. Leonard has spent nearly two decades investigating and organizing on environmental health and justice issues, traveling to over 40 countries to visit the factories where our stuff is made and the dumps where it ends up. As she explores how our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health, she offers a vision for change and a sense of hope that we can find a more sustainable way to meet our material needs. The title of her presentation was "The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health—And How We Can Make It Better."

  • Arn Chorn-Pond
    Created 6 May 2011; Published 11 May 2011
    Convocation: Arn Chorn-Pond

    Arn Chorn-Pond was both a victim and survivor of the Cambodian genocide who grew to become an internationally recognized human rights leader. Subject of the Emmy-nominated documentary The Flute Player and a founder of Children of War, an international youth leadership organization for building community, activism and healing for teenagers, Chorn-Pond opens eyes and hearts as he helps to heal. The title of his presentation was "Child of War, Man of Peace."

  • Josh Aronson
    Created 29 April 2011; Published 2 May 2011
    Convocation: Joshua Aronson

    Associate Professor of Applied Psychology at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, Joshua Aronson has been studying stereotypes, self-esteem, motivation, and attitudes for the past 13 years. His work seeks to understand and remediate race and gender gaps in educational achievement and standardized test performance. Often, the low performance of blacks in particular, but other minorities as well, gets casually chalked up to genetic or cultural differences that supposedly block acquisition of skills or values necessary for academic achievement. In sharp contrast, Aronson has uncovered some exciting and encouraging answers to these old questions by looking at the psychology of stigma—the way human beings respond to negative stereotypes about their racial or gender group. What he has found suggests that being targeted by well-known cultural stereotypes ("blacks are unintelligent", "girls can't do math", and so on) can be very threatening, a predicament that has been termed "Stereotype Threat."

  • Meg Lowman, a tropical rainforest canopy biologist and professor at New College of Florida,
    Created 22 April 2011; Published 29 April 2011
    Convocation: Margaret Lowman

    Climbing trees for a living is the job of Meg Lowman, who for 30 years has designed new methods for exploration of the rain forest canopy and solved mysteries in the treetops of the world’s forests, with special attention on the links between insect pests and ecosystem health. Lowman pioneered the science of canopy ecology, designing methods and protocols for research in the rain forest canopy using a variety of techniques, including rope walkways and hot air balloons. She relentlessly works to “map” the canopy for biodiversity and to champion forest conservation around the world. Her international network and passion for science have led her into leadership roles where she seeks best practices to solve environmental challenges. Lowman serves as Director of the Nature Research Center and is also Research Professor of Natural Sciences at North Carolina State University where she focuses on initiatives involving science communication to the public. The title of her presentation was "Life in the Treetops: Conservation of the World's Rain Forests."

  • Louis Menand
    Created 15 April 2011; Published 29 April 2011
    Convocation: Louis Menand

    Harvard University professor of English and American literature and language, Louis Menand is widely considered to be the foremost modern scholar of American studies. He is the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Metaphysical Club, a detailed history of American intellectual and philosophical life in the 19th and 20th centuries. His recent book The Marketplace of Ideas, has sparked a debate about the future of American education. Has American higher education become a dinosaur? Why do professors all tend to think alike? What makes it so hard for colleges to decide which subjects should be required? Why do teachers and scholars find it so difficult to transcend the limits of their disciplines? Why, in short, are problems that should be easy for universities to solve so intractable? The answer, Menand argues, is that the institutional structure and the educational philosophy of higher education have remained the same for one hundred years, while faculties and student bodies have radically changed and technology has drastically transformed the way people produce and disseminate knowledge. Sponsored by the Fred W. and Margaret C. Schuster Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Literature Fund, the title of his presentation was "Why the Case for Liberal Education is Hard to Make."

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