Lee To Host Symposium On American Moral Identity

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - by Sara Groos, Lee University
Dr. Nicholas Buccola
Dr. Nicholas Buccola

Lee University’s Department of History, Political Science, & Humanities will present a lecture for the Symposium on American Moral Identity on Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the Rose Lecture Hall located in Lee’s Education Building. 

The theme of the symposium is “Visions of American Democracy.” Throughout the symposium, participants will read and discuss speeches and texts from the American Founding, the Civil War era, and the 20th Century “with a view of continuity and change,” according to Dr. Thomas Pope, associate professor of political science at Lee.

“The theme of this symposium grew from some of the vitriol that we are currently experiencing in American politics,” said Dr. Pope. “I was curious if our conversations might benefit from a broader consideration of how we have interpreted and reinterpreted America’s moral vision throughout its history.” 

The symposium will host Dr. Nicholas Buccola as keynote speaker. He is a Frederick Douglass scholar and professor of political science at Linfield College. His lecture will discuss Douglass’ reinterpretation of American life in the aftermath of the Civil War.

“Douglass aspired to understand how the same political institutions which once protected slavery can be reimagined as promoting liberty for all,” said Dr. Pope. 

Various other perspectives of America from the founding era to the present will be discussed throughout the symposium in student panels. Students of all academic disciplines were encouraged to participate by submitting their papers for presentation ahead of time. These presentations will take place at a different time than the lecture and will not be open to the public.  

Dr. Buccola received his Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts in political science from the University of Southern California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in political science from Santa Clara University. Dr. Buccola is the founding director of the Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice at Linfield College. He has published opinion columns providing political commentary in newspapers and journals such as The Oregonian, Dallas Morning News, and Baltimore Sun. Dr. Buccola has also written a book titled, “The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass: In Pursuit of American Liberty.” 

“There is extraordinary value in interdisciplinary and intercollegiate conversations about perennial questions,” said Dr. Pope. “Students can become isolated within the interpretive frameworks of their departments or the university at large. This type of event encourages genuine discussion from diverse perspectives and allows students to connect with motivated students from across the country.” 

This is the second symposium hosted by the department and is a part of the development of a political science lecture series that it has been undertaking for five years. 

The workshop is a free, non-ticketed event, and open to the public.  For more information, contact Allyson Frank at afrank05@leeu.edu.

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