Summer Lecture Series
Thursday, July 15 - August 19
9:00 am - 11:00 am
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The United States is at a critical crossroad. As we emerge from a devastating pandemic and recession, our democracy is once again being tested. Six scholars will examine the multiplicity of challenges including how to restore the American Dream amid a technological and global revolution, how to peacefully integrate an increasingly diverse population, how to minimize climate damage, and above all, how to restore trust in government that works for all the people.
In this first chapter of the 21st century, concern has rightly grown about the meaning and attainability of the American dream. Much of this anxiety has been driven by expanded inequality along several socio-economic dimensions: of work, incomes, wealth, opportunity, and hope. What do the data tell us about the attainment of the American dream? How do American citizens perceive the well-being of their families, communities, and the country overall? And what can leaders—in government, in business, and in civil society—do to make the American dream more apparent and more attainable?
Matthew Slaughter, Dean, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
Matthew J. Slaughter is the Paul Danos Dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, where in addition he is the Earl C. Daum 1924 Professor of International Business. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the academic advisory board of the International Tax Policy Forum, and an academic advisor to the McKinsey Global Institute.
Moderator: Jim Wilson
Jim Wilson has taught economics for over 50 years, including numerous Osher courses that have focused on the causes and impact of income and wealth disparities in the U.S.
The nature of work has changed fundamentally over the past four decades, and the growth of AI will accelerate this change. This poses both potential challenges such as job loss, but also opportunity to address failings in the current employment landscape. Where will new jobs come from, how confident can we be that they will emerge, and what can we do to ensure that this happens? David Autor will discuss how we can collectively shape technology, policies, and institutions to augment workers, raise productivity, and address society’s most pressing problems.
David Autor, Ford Professor and Associate Head, MIT Economics; Codirector, NBER Labor Studies Program
David Autor is one of the most influential labor economists of his generation. He is the Codirector of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future and the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Labor Studies Program; his scholarship explores the labor-market impacts of technological change
and globalization on job polarization, skill demands, earning levels and inequality, and election outcomes. In 2020, Autor received the Special Recognition Award from the Heinz Family Foundation for his work “transforming our understanding of how globalization and technological change are impacting jobs and earning prospects for American workers.”
Moderator: Bruce Sacerdote
Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College. His areas of expertise include Labor Markets, Child and Youth Outcomes, and Peer Effects. He is a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Demographics may not be destiny, but steady and predictable changes to the electorate play an important role in defining the landscape of American politics. Frey draws lessons from the 2020 Census and presidential election, painting implications for the nation’s future. He explains how a major cultural fissure in today’s America and broad demographic forces will alter the nation’s social and political landscape in the not-too-distant future.
William Frey, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
William H. Frey is an internationally recognized demographer who has written widely on US demographics, American political demographics, and the U.S. Census. His most recent book is Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America (Brookings Institution Press, 2018). Dr. Frey is Senior Fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution and Research Professor with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. He has authored over 200 publications and several books including America by the Numbers: A Field Guide to the US Population (with Bill Abresch and Jonathan Yeasting); and Social Atlas of the United States (with Amy Beth Anspach and John Paul DeWitt). His research has been written about in such diverse venues as The Economist, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, The National Journal, The New Yorker, and Forbes. His commentary and observations have been featured on broadcast media including NPR’s All Things Considered, The PBS NewsHour, NBC’s Nightly News, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS’s Evening News, and C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, as well as online and print media including Axios, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
Moderator: D'vera Cohn
Senior writer and editor at Pew Research Center. She studies and writes about demographics in the United States, especially the census. Before joining Pew Research Center, she served as a consultant and freelance writer for the Brookings Institution and Population Reference Bureau.
Immigration, particularly at the U.S. Southwest border, has been front-page news for the last four years, and has drawn national attention again this year. Julia Gelatt will explore how the characteristics and pathways that immigrants have been taking to the United States have shifted in recent years, the policies and other factors that have shaped these changes, and the options before the country for harnessing immigration as a unique asset.
Julia Gelatt, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute
Julia Gelatt is a Senior Policy Analyst with the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC. Her work focuses on the legal immigration system, demographic trends, and the impact of local, state, and federal U.S. immigration policy. She worked previously at the Urban Institute on state policies toward immigrants. Dr. Gelatt earned her Ph.D. in sociology, with a specialization in demography, from Princeton University in 2013.
Moderator: Michele Waslin
Program Coordinator at the Institute for Immigration Research. In her role, Waslin tracks and analyzes immigration research and policy, writes on related topics, coordinates the work of the IIR, and builds relationships with academics and other experts.
What are the costs of inaction and what actions can receive national and global support? Bill McKibben will speak about our last best chance to rein in fossil fuels and preserve our planet.
Bill McKibben, Professor of Environmental Studies, Middlebury College
“We’re Behind at the Top of the Home Stretch, But Starting to Close.” So says Middlebury professor Bill McKibben, who has been writing about climate change since 1989. His work appears regularly in The New Yorker Magazine and elsewhere. He helped found the grassroots group 350.org, which advocates divestment from fossil fuel companies.
Moderator: Erich Osterberg
Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College. Erich studies earth’s climate system and glaciers. His specialty is collecting and analyzing ice cores from remote polar regions and mountaintops to study changes in storminess, snowfall, temperature and air pollution.
Addressing our historic ability to overcome divisions. What is different today? As we start our decade deeply divided, can we restore our belief that American democracy works, and works for everyone?
Douglas Brinkley, Professor of American History, Rice University
Douglas Brinkley, Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University, CNN Presidential Historian, CBS commentator, and contributing editor at Vanity Fair. The New York Historical Society has chosen Brinkley as their official Presidential Historian. Author of numerous books, including Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War; Voices of Valor: D-Day: June 6, 1944, written with Ronald J. Drez; The Reagan Diaries, which Brinkley edited; The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt’s Crusade for America; American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the American Space Race.
Moderator: Jack Beatty
Jack Beatty is a writer, senior editor of The Atlantic and news analyst for On Point, the national NPR news program.