Apr
7
7:00 pm

Tuesday, Apr. 7, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

Is the United States a Democracy or an Oligarchy 

In a well-functioning democracy, the preferences and needs of ordinary citizens help shape government policy. By this measure, American democracy is failing. To assess the influences on federal government policymaking, Gilens gathered data on thousands of proposed policy changes over four decades. His analyses of these data show that economic elites and interest groups have considerable sway over policy outcomes, and ordinary citizens have little or none. He’ll discuss what this research reveals about the failures of America’s democratic institutions, as well as the kinds of reforms that might give greater voice and political influence to ordinary citizens.

Martin Gilens is professor of politics at Princeton University and author ofAffluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America.

 

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the Silver Center Box Office. Reservations are recommended: call (603) 535-ARTS. A reception with light refreshments follows each lecture.

For more information on the series, visit the Sidore Lecture Series website.

Mar
9
7:00 pm

Monday, Mar. 9, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

Convention, Culture, and Corruption: Democracy in Africa 

The past speaks to the present, in an ongoing conversation on democracy as a political system, a model, and an adaptation. Africans do not define democracy as distinct from, nor outside of, the definition of development. That linkage creates yet another problematic question: can leadership and institutions that do not deliver development be treated as democratic? The lecture will argue that the Western-liberal definition of democracy is limited in its application, and that reading Africa through Western literature is not always useful. Democracy in Africa contains dosages of militarism, authoritarianism, and prebendalism, while being constrained by the pressures of globalism.

Toyin Falola is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria, a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, and the author of The Power of African Cultures, Nationalism and African Intellectuals.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the Silver Center Box Office. Reservations are recommended: call (603) 535-ARTS. A reception with light refreshments follows each lecture.

For more information on the series, visit the Sidore Lecture Series website.

Feb
5
7:00 pm

Thursday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

Who Has a Megaphone? Who Speaks in a Whisper?: Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy 

While inequalities of income are currently in the spotlight, political inequality receives much less attention.  A basic tenet of democracy is that the preferences and needs of all citizens should receive equal consideration.  Political voice—expressed when citizens vote, get in touch with public officials, protest, join organizations that take stands in politics, make political contributions, or otherwise take part in political life—informs policy makers of citizen preferences and needs.

Policymakers do not hear from everybody, and the people and political organizations they do hear from are not representative of the American public.  Those who express political voice, especially those who make financial contributions, are, on average, better educated and more affluent, and since the Supreme Court has taken the lid of campaign contributions, those with deep pockets are poised to speak even more loudly in politics.  If political voice is unequal, then democratic equality is jeopardized.

Kay Schlozman is the J. Joseph Moakley Professor of Political Science at Boston College and author of The Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the Silver Center Box Office. Reservations are recommended: call (603) 535-ARTS. A reception with light refreshments follows each lecture.

For more information on the series, visit the Sidore Lecture Series website.

Nov ’14
17
7:00 pm

Monday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

Voting Laws are Racist

Curtailing early voting. Felony disenfranchisement. Voter ID laws. Eliminating same-day voter registration. For the political right, these are necessary steps to eliminate voter fraud and protect electoral legitimacy. For the political left, these measures are flagrant attempts to keep their core constituencies from the polls. This talk empirically adjudicates between these views while locating the state-level consideration and adoption of restrictive voter access policies in the larger electoral context of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on campaign finance.

Erin O’Brien is associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and the author of The Politics of Identity: Solidarity Building Among America’s Working Poor.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the Silver Center Box Office. Reservations are recommended: call (603) 535-ARTS. A reception with light refreshments follows each lecture.

For more information on the series, visit the Sidore Lecture Series website.

Oct ’14
21
7:00 pm

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

News and Democracy: Why Are Citizens So Misinformed?

A healthy democracy depends upon a well-informed citizenry. The rise of partisan news outlets and the emergence of journalistic techniques for attracting audience attention, such as excessive sensationalism and negativity, have contributed to the public’s misunderstanding of political issues.

America needs a better form of journalism—one that more regularly delivers news that is relevant and trustworthy. The creation of such a form is a significant challenge both to news organizations and schools of journalism.

Thomas Patterson is the Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and author of Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the Silver Center Box Office. Reservations are recommended: call (603) 535-ARTS. A reception with light refreshments follows each lecture.

For more information on the series, visit the Sidore Lecture Series website.

Sep ’14
11
7:00 pm

Thursday, Sep. 11, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

How New Hampshire Saved America

Lawrence Lessig - courtesy photo/Yanai Yechiel

Americans believe our government is broken. According to a recent Gallup Poll, fixing the government is the most important issue for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. In this talk, Professor Lessig explains the fundamental corruption that has taken hold of our government and how we, the People, have lost touch with our Framers’ values.

New Hampshire has a critical role in restoring the Republic that the Framers promised. Professor Lessig examines how recent efforts—including the ongoing “New Hampshire Rebellion”—are mobilizing citizens to band together and form a movement capable of effecting fundamental and lasting change.

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and author of Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress – and a Plan to Stop It. 

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the Silver Center Box Office. Reservations are recommended: call (603) 535-ARTS. A reception with light refreshments follows each lecture.

For more information on the series, visit the Sidore Lecture Series website.

Apr ’14
2
7:00 pm

Wednesday, Apr. 2, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

 Thomas F. Lee, author and retired educator and biologist

We are living in an exciting era of modern biotechnology that allows us unprecedented control over life forms. Lee will discuss the rich opportunities and ethical perils this presents.

Thomas Lee retired in 2002 after 35 years as a professor in the Biology Department at Saint Anselm College. His areas of interest include microbiology, marine algal development, and genetic engineering. Lee has published and spoke widely on his research on plant tissue culture, cellular polarity, and airborne microorganisms. Several of his books have received noteworthy attention, and he has been a frequent contributor to the Encyclopedia Americana, authoring articles on genetic engineering and molecular biology.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the Silver Center Box Office. Reservations are recommended: call (603) 535-ARTS. A reception with light refreshments follows each lecture.

For more information on the series, visit the Sidore Lecture Series website.

Mar ’14
27
7:00 pm

Thursday, Mar. 27, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It

Chuck Collins,senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC

The gap between rich and poor is the widest it has been in a century, and our national conversation about how to address this challenge is polarized. Collins will discuss the impact of inequality and the path toward an economy that works for everyone.

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good, and is well known for his efforts to bridge the national debate on wealth inequality and taxes. He is cofounder of Wealth for the Common Good and the Patriotic Millionaires, two efforts to organize members of the 1 percent to advocate for fair tax policy.

Collins is co-author with Bill Gates Sr. of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes, and co-author of The Moral Measure of the Economy, about Christian ethics and economic life. His most recent book is 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are required and may be picked up at the Silver Center Box Office. Reservations are recommended: call (603) 535-ARTS. A reception with light refreshments follows each lecture.

For more information on the series, visit the Sidore Lecture Series website.

Nov ’13
5
7:00 pm

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

2013-14 Sidore Lecture Series: Whatever Happened to Ethics?

Mark Howard and David Ruoff, Howard and Ruoff, PLLC, former prosecutors providing criminal defense, personal injury, and civil litigation legal services

Attorneys Howard and Ruoff discuss the constitutional principle behind the right to counsel, even when you know the defendant is guilty, and the role of attorneys as teachers in geopolitics.
 
Mark Howard’s career in law spans more than 25 years, during which time he has worked for private law practices and served publicly, first as assistant attorney general, and later as chief of appeals for the District of New Hampshire. Over the years he has prosecuted hundreds of violent crimes, drug offenses, and white-collar crimes.
 
 
David Ruoff launched his career as staff attorney for the New Hampshire Public Defender, and subsequently joined the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted numerous high-profile cases. Following a six-and-a-half-year stint with the state attorney general’s office, where he prosecuted homicides, environmental, and public integrity crimes, he entered into private law practice. Ruoff’s practice is focused primarily on state and federal criminal defense, as well as civil litigation.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. A reception follows each lecture. For reservations or to arrange special accommodations, call (603) 535-ARTS.

Oct ’13
9
7:00 pm

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m.
Smith Recital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts

2013-14 Sidore Lecture Series: Whatever Happened to Ethics?

Medea Benjamin, political activist

In her talk, Benjamin discusses how and why the Obama administration came to rely on drone warfare, the dangers of engaging in secret wars behind the backs of the American people, and what we as citizens can do about it.

Medea Benjamin is a cofounder of both CODEPINK, a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement, and Global Exchange, an international human rights organization. Described as “one of America’s most committed–and most effective–fighters for human rights” by New York Newsday, and called “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement” by the Los Angeles Times, Benjamin has distinguished herself as an eloquent and energetic figure in the progressive movement. In 2005, she was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide. In 2010 she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The author/editor of eight books, Benjamin’s latest book is Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. She is currently campaigning to get lethal drones out of the hands of the CIA.

All Sidore lectures are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. A reception follows each lecture. For reservations or to arrange special accommodations, call (603) 535-ARTS.