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Sat, Jan 09


Global Lecture Hall (Zoom)

From Cultural Decay to Cultural Convergence

This series of interconnected but self-contained lectures will identify the problems facing the U.S. at this critical time, assess the dangers, put them in historical and regional context,  and point a way forward.

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From Cultural Decay to Cultural Convergence
From Cultural Decay to Cultural Convergence

Saturdays, 1:00-2:30 Central

Jan 09, 2021, 1:00 PM CST – Jan 30, 2021, 2:15 PM CST

Global Lecture Hall (Zoom)


In a series of four self-contained but interconnected lecture/slide presentations, we'll identify the problems America faces, assess the dangers, put them in historical and regional context, and point a way forward.

• Fascism: Can it Happen Here?

• The Deadly Quicksand of Science Denial

• Who We Really Are: America's Eleven Nations

• The Great Transition: From Trump to Biden-Harris

Participants will gain a dramatically new insight into what ails us as a nation and how we will get better.

• Fascism: Can It Happen Here?

Fascism is always based on a false promise of return to lost greatness; it is always ultranationalist, and always pseudo-populist, pretending to care about people’s hopes and dreams, while actually stoking their fears and hatreds.  Is the GOP becoming a  fascist party? What’s the role of the social media trolls? And what’s that light at the tunnel’s end?

• The Deadly Quicksand of Science Denial

Does it make sense to try to build the future of a major political party on a strictly “anti-science” foundation? No? Well, that is the reality of the modern Republican Party. the American far-right wing has ridden its long history of “against-ism” to its perverse extreme, and, perhaps, its demise. Science denial has thus become the principal COVID vector in the U.S. It’s a curious mix of corporate greed, libertarian me-ism, and bad theology. What happens when absurd cultural memes die in the water?

• Who We Really Are: America’s Eleven Nations

Which of America's eleven rival nations do you hail from (Yankeedom, New Netherland, the Midlands, Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, the Deep South, New France, El Norte, the Left Coast, the Far West, or First Nation)?  Inspired by author Colin Woodard’s American Nations, this lecture will explore several key question, in particular, what was the role of “Appalachia,” the “Deep South,” and the “Far West” in Donald Trump’s 2016 win and in his quixotic attempt to overturn the 2020 election?

• The Great Transition: From Trump to Biden and Harris

Making America great again? Not a bad idea. What are the chances that Joe and Kamala can pull it off? The challenges are multiple and mountainous. The Trump damage will linger, but the momentum of progressive transformation will likely overcome the inertia of corrupt self-interest. We’ll examine six interconnected challenges and ask how the new administration will likely respond: the climate crisis, the pandemic,  race-based injustice, economic inequality, infrastructure, and the U.S. in the world.

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