PublicSquare Seminars

  • Richard Hasen – March 2020 Campaign Misinformation, the First Amendment, and the 2020 Election

    What can be done consistent with the First Amendment and without raising the risk of censorship to ensure that voters can make informed election decisions despite a flood of virally-spread false and misleading speech, audio, and images? How can the United States minimize foreign disinformation campaigns aimed at American elections and attempts to sow social discord via bot armies?

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  • Charlie Sykes – January 2020 The Future of Conservatism

    What happened to the conservative movement? And where does it go now? Charlie Sykes is the author of How the Right Lost Its Mind, which looks at the Trumpist takeover of the Republican Party. But now that that takeover is complete, what lies ahead for the conservative movement?

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  • Clare Garvie – December 2019 Facial Recognition and Civil Liberties

    This seminar explores the unique risks face recognition poses to our constitutional rights and liberties, and the efforts underway in communities across the country to regulate or ban its use. It will outline the current state of the technology and likely future deployments in the United States and abroad in the absence of regulation, using the UK as a comparative case study.

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  • Natalie Wexler – October 2019 Closing the Knowledge Gap

    This seminar examines a largely overlooked reason for our failure to narrow the substantial gap in test scores between students at the top and bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum—and to raise overall achievement—over the past 50 years. Policymakers and reformers have viewed the problem as one of skills; Cognitive science, however, indicates the problem is fundamentally a lack of academic knowledge and vocabulary. As some schools are now discovering, the solution is to immerse all students in a rich, content-focused curriculum, beginning in the early elementary grades.

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  • Jeff Greenfield – April 2019 Big Money in Politics and the Election of 2020

    More than four decades after a post-Watergate Congress tried to put serious limits on campaign spending, the flood of money into politics has become a tsunami. A series of Supreme Court decisions has eroded many if not most attempts to restrict campaign spending. The growth of PACs and Super PACS has brought funds into the process from an ever-wider range of sources, especially from people of great means. With the 2020 money race in full stride, is there any realistic chance that an effective law limiting campaign spending can get through the Congress, or withstand constitutional scrutiny?

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  • Marc Rotenberg – March 2019 Protecting Privacy in the Digital Age

    This seminar explores the concept of privacy in the modern age, the significance of recent developments in Europe and California, and the prospects for federal legislation in the United States. Among the key concepts, we will discuss the General Data Protection Regulation, the California Consumer Privacy Act, the FTC consent orders concerning Facebook and Google, the need for a US data protection agency, and emerging challenges, including universal guidelines for Artificial Intelligence and limitations on facial recognition.

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  • Richard L. Hasen – January 2019 21st-Century Voting Wars

    This seminar considers the “voting wars” that have erupted between the right and left over access to the ballot and concerns about voter fraud, voter suppression, and electoral integrity. It explores whether and how changes in voting rules, election administrator incompetence, foreign interference and occasional domestic “dirty tricks,” and an escalation of the rhetoric surrounding “stolen” elections threaten the legitimacy and acceptance of election results in 2020 and beyond.

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  • Jocelyn Frye – December 2018 Beyond #MeToo: Combatting Sexual Harassment

    The seminar provides a contextual overview of the legal, policy, and historical developments – including the persistent influence of gender and racial biases on cultural and workplace attitudes – that have shaped the existing framework of protections against sexual harassment in the workplace.

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  • Douglas Massey – October 2018 America's Immigration Policy in Crisis

    The seminar outlines the dysfunctional policy decisions that gave rise to an undocumented population that peaked at 12 million persons in 2008. It reviews what has happened to that population in subsequent years, focusing on the changing circumstances in Mexico and Central America and policy decisions taken during the Obama Administration.

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  • Becoming a Global Citizen – Sept 2018

    Preview Screening of A Towering Task: A Peace Corps Documentary followed by a conversation with director, Alana DeJoseph, who previously served as associate producer of the award-winning PBS documentaries The Greatest Good (about the U.S. Forest Service) and Green Fire (about conservationist Aldo Leopold).

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  • Nathaniel Persily – April 2018 Can Democracy Survive The Internet?

    The Internet was once seen as a democratizing force, but today social media platforms have become exploitable intermediaries of political discourse. How should governments, institutions, tech companies, communities, and individuals respond? How do we repair polarization created by the Internet?

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  • Jeff Greenfield – March 2018 What Leads to a Constitutional Crisis?

    What does it take for the most venerable, stable, and free government in the world to undergo a genuine Constitutional crisis? Are there signs that we are moving toward such an atmosphere? If so, what can be done to alter that course?

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  • Elaine Kamarck – January 2018 Who Nominates?

    Elaine Kamarck gives a history of the presidential nomination system in the United States and how it differs from the nomination system in almost every other democracy in the world.

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  • Jeffrey Rosen – December 2017 The Future of American Democracy

    James Madison and the Framers of the Constitution designed not a direct democracy but a representative republic that would filter public passions to promote thoughtful deliberation and the public good. Jeffrey Rosen asks what Madison and the framers would think of our current Congress, presidency, courts, and media, asking how we can resurrect Madisonian values of thoughtful deliberation and reasoned public discourse today.

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