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Reducing Political Polarization

Jacob Hess and Phil Neisser Phil Neisser and Jacob Hess, political opposites and co-authors of You're Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You're Still Wrong): Conversations between a Die-Hard Liberal and a Devoted Conservative will host two Iowa caucus-related events Nov. 19 and 20.

Their workshop, "How to Reduce Political Polarization without Compromise," will teach strategies for engaging in more civil and productive political conversations. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Neisser and Hess will also give a free public lecture, titled "Using Dialogue as Civic Engagement, On and Off Campus," at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101. The workshop and lecture cosponsors are the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, President Raynard S. Kington, and the Ombuds Office.

For two years, Neisser, a leftist; and Hess, a conservative; have been engaging in difficult and in-depth conversations about controversial political issues, including sexuality, race, big government, and big business. Working to reduce polarization by both pressing each other and listening to each other, the two compiled highlights of their conversations into their book, You're Not as Crazy as I Thought. The book was featured on the popular public radio show This American Life.

Neisser is a professor of political theory at the State University of New York at Potsdam, where he also serves as the associate dean of Arts and Sciences. A gifted teacher, he received the SUNY Potsdam Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000. Neisser is also the author of United We Fall: Ending America’s Love Affair with the Political Center, as well as several acclaimed essays in various political science books.

Hess, a psychologist, is research director at Utah Youth Village, a nonprofit for abused children in the Rocky Mountain region. In 2009, he completed his Ph.D. dissertation research on long-term depression treatments. He has written 13 peer-reviewed articles and two books. A teacher of mindfulness-based stress reduction, Hess co-founded All of Life, a nonprofit that educates people about scientific discoveries in brain science and how these findings can be used to help overcome mental and emotional challenges.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can make accommodation requests to Conference Operations and Events.

Scholars' Convo: Cosmic Secrets

Asif SiddiqiFordham University Professor of History Asif Siddiqi will discuss the history of the Soviet space program during the free, public Scholars' Convocation at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Much of Siddiqi's interests are focused on the history of science and technology, postcolonial science, and its intersections with popular culture. He is a recent winner of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, has held an endowed visiting chair at the Smithsonian Institution, and is a leading expert in the history of modern science and technology.

A prolific writer and speaker on Soviet history, Siddiqi serves on the National Research Council Committee on the Future of Human Spaceflight, and is a contributing editor of the journal Technology and Culture. He has written several books, including The Rockets' Red Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857–1957," Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge, and The Soviet Space Race with Apollo. His upcoming book from Oxford University Press is titled Soviet Science and the Gulag.

Siddiqi also has been quoted by numerous national media outlets about topics ranging from accidents in space to engineering disasters to the Russian Space Program. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in economics from Texas A&M University, as well as an M.B.A from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Ph.D. in history from Carnegie Mellon University.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Story Time Study Break

With a backdrop of children’s book illustrations from African artists (courtesy of Grinnell Prize winner Golden Baobab), come listen to children’s stories from around the world at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, in Burling Gallery.

We will share a story or two, then have books available to read together in small groups.

Bring your friends from everywhere. We especially welcome Big Brothers and Big Sisters to bring their Littles, and International Students to bring their host siblings. 

Milk, cider, and cookies for all. 

Hosted by Friends of Faulconer Gallery.

 

 

Long String Instrument Installation

Celebrated artist and musician Ellen Fullman is in residence at Grinnell College Nov. 4 -14, building, rehearsing, holding workshops and performing her Long String Instrument installation.

For nearly 30 years, Fullman has been exploring the acoustics of large resonant spaces with her Long String Instrument. The installation, at least 53 feet long, is comprised of approximately 100 precisely tuned wires strung across a room. Its strings are tuned very low so that when played, the Long String Instrument sounds similar to an organ.

Fullman's performance, which is free and open to the public, will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, in Main Hall Quad Dining Hall. Although admission is free, tickets are required. They will be available beginning Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the Box Office in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Fullman has received numerous awards, commissions and residencies including:

  • A 2015 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award,
  • Two Center for Cultural Innovation Grants (2008 and 2013),
  • A Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission/National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Japan (2007), and
  • A DAAD Artists-in-Berlin residency (2000)

Throughout her career, Fullman has recorded extensively with the Long String Instrument and has collaborated with numerous artists. The Wire selected two of her releases, "Ort" and "Fluctuations," among the top 50 recordings of 2004 and 2008.

Sponsoring the installation and related events are Artists@Grinnell, the Center for the Humanities, Department of Music, and Public Events Series.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

Preview “Happy Birthday Marsha!” with Writers/Directors

Happy Birthday, Marsha “Happy Birthday, Marsha!” is a forthcoming film about legendary transgender artist and activist, Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson and her life in the hours before the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City.

Join us for a discussion and preview screening of clips of the film with the writers and directors, Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Sponsors include Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Department of History, the Center for the Humanities, and the Stonewall Resource Center.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Writers@Grinnell: Richard Russo

Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Richard Russo, the upcoming author in Writers@Grinnell, will be on campus for two events on Thursday, November 12:

  • Reading at 8 p.m. in Rosenfield Center, Room 101Richard Russo
  • Roundtable at 4:15 p.m. in Rosenfield Center, Room 209

Russo received the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 2002 for his novel "Empire Falls," which was later made into an HBO mini-series starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. Russo co-authored the script for the miniseries and was nominated for the 2005 Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries.

Russo also co-authored the screen adaption of his acclaimed novel, "Nobody's Fool," starring Paul Newman, with Academy Award-winning screenplay writer Robert Benton. Russo has written several other acclaimed books and screenplays, including "Mohawk," "Straight Man" and his memoir, "Elsewhere."

Russo has received many honors and fellowships throughout his career, including the 1990 Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts and 2002 Ambassador Book Award for Fiction. A gifted teacher, Russo is retired from Colby College and the Warren Wilson Master of Fine Arts Program for Writers. He lives with his wife in coastal Maine.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Caucus 2016: Fifty Years after Selma

The Rosenfield Program is bringing experts from across the political spectrum and from different professions to speak at a series of free public events leading up to the 2016 Iowa caucuses.

"Iowa is a politically impactful state and the Iowa caucuses are an important part of America's political landscape," said Sarah Purcell, professor of history and director of the Rosenfield Program. "Whether you participate in the caucuses as a voter or an observer, it's important to go beyond the headlines and engage in the issues. We want to give people the tools they need to participate in politics in an educated and civil manner."

Judith Brown-DianisLawyer and activist Judith Browne-Dianis will present the first event, a lecture about voting rights, at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2, in ARH Auditorium, Room 302.

Her talk, "Fifty Years after Selma: Voting Rights Under Attack," will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act by describing its role in the Iowa caucuses and the presidential selection process.

Co-director of the Advancement Project and former managing attorney of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., Dianis has extensive background in civil rights litigation and advocacy in the areas of voting, education, housing and employment.

The Advancement Project is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization focused on dismantling structural racism by changing public policies.

The president's office is co-sponsoring the lecture.

Caucus 2016

The Rosenfield Program is holding four additional caucus-related events during the fall semester:

How to Reduce Political Polarization without Compromise
4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101
A workshop with Phil Neisser and Jacob Hess, co-authors of You're Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You're Still Wrong): Conversations between a Die-Hard Liberal and a Devoted Conservative.
Neisser, professor of political theory at State University of New York at Potsdam and a leftist; and Hess, research director at Utah Youth Village, a nonprofit for abused children, and a conservative; will conduct a workshop about how liberals and conservatives can have more civil and productive conversations.
Co-sponsors: Peace and Conflict Studies Program and Ombuds
Using Dialogue as Civic Engagement, On and Off Campus,
4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20
Rosenfield Center, Room 101
A lecture by political opposites and co-authors Neisser and Hess.
Co-sponsors: Peace and Conflict Studies Program and Ombuds
What Are the Iowa Caucuses?
6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1
ARH Auditorium, Room 302
An introduction to the history and politics of the Iowa caucuses presented by Purcell and Barbara Trish, professor and chair of political science.
Journalists Talk About the Iowa Caucuses
5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7
Rosenfield Center, Room 101
A panel discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winner David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Jen Jacobs, Des Moines Register chief political reporter; and Kathie Obradovich, Des Moines Register political columnist.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. Accommodation requests may be made to event sponsors or Conference Operations and Events.

Tannhäuser, Live in HD

This fall Grinnell is streaming four of the Metropolitan Opera's productions live and in high-definition as the Met celebrates its 10th anniversary of Live-in-HD movie theater transmissions.

The opera talk for Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser starts at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 31, in the Harris Center Cinema, with the opera beginning at 11 a.m.

Otto Schenk directs the Met's first production of this early Wagner masterpiece in more than a decade. Experienced Wagnerian tenor Johan Botha takes on the complex title role alongside soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek as the heroine Elisabeth. The production takes place in and around Wartburg Castle, in Thuringia in central Germany in the 13th century. James Levine conducts. Kelly Maynard, assistant professor and department chair of European Studies, will present the opera talk.

The next opera of the season is Alban Berg's Lulu on Saturday, Nov. 21, with an opera talk by Eugene Gaub, associate professor of music theory and music history

Refreshments will be available for purchase in the lobby of the cinema before each opera.

Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore, and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children and Met Opera members.

The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff, and students, and these tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the College are required to purchase tickets.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.