Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center

Levitt Center
315-859-4451 or 315-859-4894

The Levitt Center is located in Kirner-Johnson 251.

Levitt Center Speaker Series 2011-12

Inequality and Equity Program Lectures

Ronald Ferguson

October 10, 7:30 p.m.

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Ronald Ferguson, Senior Lecturer in Education and Public policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Kennedy School, will give a lecture  on October 10th at 7:30pm in the Fillius Events Barn titled "Educational Excellence with Equity: A Social Movement for the 21st Century."  Ferguson is also an economist and Senior Research Associate at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. His research and writing for the past decade has focused on racial achievement gaps, appearing in a variety of publications. His most recent book is Toward the Excellence with Equity: An emerging vision for closing the achievement gap, was published by Harvard Education Press. He is the creator of the Tripod Project for School Improvement and also the faculty co-chair and director of the Achievement gap Initiative at Harvard University.  Ferguson has taught at Harvard University since 1983, focusing on education and economic development.

Jacob Hacker

November 14, 4:15 p.m.

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Jacob Hacker, the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University and Director at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, will present a lecture titled “Winner Take All Politics” on November 14 at 4:15 in the Chapel.  Hacker’s research and writing focuses on the areas of healthcare, social welfare and economic opportunity; particularly how the institutions of social protection work, practically and economically.  He is the author of Winner-Take-All Politics and The Great Risk Shift.


Peter Demerath

April 5, 7:30 p.m., Science Center Auditorium (G027)

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Peter Demerath, associate professor in the Department of Organizational
Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota, will present a lecture titled "Neoliberalism's Hidden Curriculum Agenda for Personal Advancement: Equity Implications" on April 5th in the Science auditorium.  Demerath's  major research interest is the role of class culture in the perpetuation of social inequality through education. He is the author of Producing Success: The Culture of Personal Advancement in an American High School. Partial funding of this lecture comes from the Arthur Coleman Tuggle Lecture Fund, which is administered through the Levitt Center.

Levitt Speaker Series

Security Program

Attica! 1971-2011--Reflection, Re-Assessment, and the Prison Today

September 16, 2011, 6:30 p.m.

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Today the American jail and prison population is 2.3 million--constituting our fourth largest city.   The New York State, Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 remains the most important action ever taken by American prison inmates in protesting the conditions of their imprisonment.  On September 16, at 6:30 pm in the Chapel, this symposium will bring together prison historians Theresa Lynch and Scott Christianson, Attica inmate-survivor Melvin Marshall, and the current Commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections, Brian Fischer, to reconsider and reflect up the legacy of Attica, and on the state of the prison system today.

Brian Fischer, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, leads the nation’s fourth-largest state correctional system and is responsible for the community supervision parolees.  Mr. Fischer was appointed Superintendent of the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in 2000 where he implemented a comprehensive transitional pre-release program for inmates with serious mental health needs. Recently Commissioner Fischer has received recognition by a number of organizations: The New York State Bar Association Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Corrections, 2011, The Public Service Award from the Community College Fellowship, City University of New York, 2009, Warden of the Year Award from the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents for his work at Sing Sing in 2006. In addition, he has been an adjunct professor at both Pace University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Commissioner Fischer sits on the Standards Committee of the American Correctional Association, a national accreditation body that sets performance standards for US prisons and jails. He is on the Executive Board of the Association of State Correctional Administrators and a member of the Criminal Justice Advisory Board of St. Thomas Aquinas College.

Scott Christianson is an investigative reporter, writer, filmmaker and human rights advocate with deep experience involving Attica.  After covering the 1971 Attica prison uprising as a young newspaper reporter, he left daily journalism to devote himself to full-time study, writing and activism involving prisons. While completing his doctoral dissertation on the history of American imprisonment, he headed a state watchdog investigation into another disturbance at Attica in 1976, which became the subject of national news coverage. Dr. Christianson later spent twelve years in various criminal justice policymaking positions in New York state government under Gov. Mario Cuomo. He also championed the cause of compensation for victims (both inmates and staff) of the 1971 Attica bloodbath. The author of hundreds of articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Nation and other journals, his numerous non-fiction books include With Liberty for Some: 500 Years of Imprisonment in America; Notorious Prisons; Condemned; Innocent; and others. Some of his scholarly writing has been cited by the United States Supreme Court. He has also directed, written or served as a consultant on documentary films for HBO, PBS, the History Channel, ARTE (France), and WDR (Germany).

Theresa C. Lynch, PhD, is an historian who specializes in the history of the 20th century United States.  With degrees from Colby College and Harvard University, and a doctorate in history from the University of New Hampshire, she is currently at work on a book entitled Attica:  A Media Event.  Dr. Lynch also teaches at the University of New Hampshire Manchester, UNH's urban college that serves a mix of traditional-age and older commuter students. She teaches courses on prisons, crime and punishment, war reporting, the New Deal, Nixon and Watergate, and other themes in U.S. social, political, and media history.  

Valerie J. Bunce

September 27, 7:30 p.m.

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Valerie Bunce, the Aaron Binenkorb Professor of International Studies and Professor of Government at Cornell University, presents a lecture titled "When U.S. Democracy Assistance Works" on September 27th at 7:30 pm in the Filius Events Barn. Ms. Bunce's primary and secondary fields are comparative politics and international relations respectively. Her research and teaching address comparative democratization, international democracy promotion (primarily by the U.S.); and inter-ethnic cooperation and conflict, with a geographical focus primarily in east-central Europe, the Balkans and the Soviet successor states. However, her comparative interests extend to Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is the author of Subversive Institutions: The Design and the Collapse of Socialism and the State (Cambridge University Press, 1999), and her articles have appeared, among others, in the American Political Science Review, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Politics and Society and International Organization. Currently she is co-authoring a book with Sharon Wolchik (George Washington University), tentatively entitled: American Democracy Promotion and Electoral Change in Postcommunist Europe and Eurasia. Her awards and grants include, among many others, President, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (2001-2002), Vice President, American Political Science Association, 2000-2001, Merrill Presidential Scholar Teaching Award: 2003, Recognition by the AAASS and the Slavic Review of having published two of the four most cited articles in the Slavic Review (Newsnet, December, 2004).


Andrew Fiala

March 1, 4:00 p.m.

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Andrew Fiala Presents a lecture titled "The Just War Myth: From Bush to Obama" on March 1, 4:00 pm in the Dwight Lounge, Bristol Center. Andrew Fiala is Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Fresno and is also the Director of the Ethics Center at California State University Fresno. At Fresno State, Fiala teaches courses in ethics and applied ethics, including courses on professional ethics and on ethics and criminal justice. He has also taught seminars on the ethics of war and peace.


John Dehn

April 26, 4:15 p.m.

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John Dehn, Senior Fellow at the West Point Center for the Rule of Law, U.S. Military Academy, will give a lecture on April 26th at 4:15pm in the Dwight Lounge. Dehn's primary teaching and research interests focus on National Security Law, International Law, Professional Responsibility, Administrative Law, Federal Courts, Criminal Law and Procedure, International Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law. Dehn has previously been a professor at the United States Military Academy and served as a visiting lecturer at Hamilton College during the fall of 2010. Among other publications, he is the author of Institutional Advocacy, Constitutional Obligations and Professional Responsibilities: Arguments for Government Lawyering Without Glasses, Targeted Killing: The Case of Anwar Al-Aulaqi, The commander-in-Cheif and the Necessities of War: A Conceptual Framework, forthcoming in 2011, and The Moral Dimension of Security Outsourcing in The Foundations of Organizational Evil, forthcoming in 2011 with Hamilton Government Professor Dr. Frank Anechiarico.

Sustainability Program Lectures

Panel: Hydrofracking

September 23, 2 p.m.

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Bruce Selleck, Harold Orville Whitnall Professor of Geology at Colgate University, and Stuart Gruskin, former Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, will provide an informative overview of the science and policy of gas drilling in the Utica and Marcellus shales in Central New York on September 23 at 2:00 p.m. in the Chapel.   Eugene Domack, the Joel W. Johnson Family Professor of Geosciences at Hamilton College,  will moderate the discussion.

Panel: Creating Sustainable Urban Communities in Syracuse and Utica

October 27th, 7p.m.

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Panelists include: Cassandra Harris-Lockwood, President, For the Good Utica; George Hobor, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colgate University; Paula H. Horrigan, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University, and and co-founder of Rust 2 Green;  Brian Thomas, Acting Commissioner of Urban and Economic Development in Utica; and Andy Maxwell, Director of Planning and Sustainability for the City of Syracuse. The panel discussion addresses how Syracuse and Utica, two old industrial cities, are drawing on local social networks and people and their environmental assets, both built and natural, to redevelop in a way that is supportive of ecological values and/or a strong local sense of place and community.  Discussion topics will include some or all of the following: urban gardens, historic and neighborhood restoration, green buildings, brownfields redevelopment, open space, farmers' markets, local enterprises, work with poor and displaced persons, and cultivation of the arts. This event will take place on October 27th at 7p.m. in the Science Center Auditorium.

Edward Glaeser

April 11, 7:30 p.m., Chapel

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Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. He is Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and Director of the Rappaport Institute of Greater Boston. He teaches urban and social economics and microeconomic theory. In particular, his work has focused on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission.

Michael Egan

April 18, 4:00 p.m. KJ Auditorium

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Michael Egan is an Associate Professor of History at McMaster University. His research and teaching concentrate on the histories of science, technology, environment, and the future. He is the author or Barry Commoner and the Science of Survival: The Remaking of American Environmentalism (MIT Press, 2007), and co-editor of Natural Protest: Essays on the History of American Environmentalism (Routledge, 2008). He is currently at work on two book projects. The first explores the history of environmental sustainability; the second treats the global history of knowing and regulating mercury pollution since World War II. Michael Egan is also the editor of a new MIT Press books series titled History for a Sustainalbe Future, dedicated to publishing short, scholarly books on the histories of contemporary environmental issues. In addition to his scholarly work, he is an avid cyclist and bike advocate; when not teaching, researching, or riding, he is at work on a collection of essays on the sport, culture, and politics of the bicycle tentatively titled Velo: On Two Wheels.

Levitt Center General Lectures

Christina D. Romer

November 7, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

A PDF-Version of Christina Romer's lecture, with her notes, is available here.

Christina Romer, Class of 1957 Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics at the University of California Berkeley and former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration (2009-2010), will give a lecture titled "What Do We Know about the Effects of Fiscal Policy?  Separating Evidence from Ideology" on November 7th at 7:30pm in the Chapel.  Romer joined the Berkeley faculty in 1988 and was promoted to full professor in 1993. She is the co-director of the Program in Monetary Economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and is the member of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee. Romer is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of California, Berkeley. She has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial foundation Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan research Fellowship. She has served as vice president and a member of the executive committee of the American Economic Association. Romer was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Public Service by College of William and Mary in 2010. Prior to her appointment at Berkeley, she was an assistant professor of economics and Public affairs at Princeton University from 1958-1988. Romer’s research interests include the effects of fiscal policy; identification of monetary shocks; the determinants of American macroeconomic policy; changes in short-run fluctuations over the 20th century and the cause of the Great Depression.