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McAuley Lectures—Fall 2018

The McAuley lectures feature outstanding faculty members from the University of Hartford. The lectures take place once a month at 2 p.m. at McAuley Retirement Community, Asylum Avenue and Steele Road, West Hartford. Visitors should take the Steele Road entrance and park in visitors parking. The lectures are held in the main building, at the foot of the hill.

Riots, Rebellions, and Resistance: 50 Years after the Kerner Commission ReportBilal Sekou

Fri., Oct. 5; 2 p.m.

First of a three-part McAuley lecture series. Series cost: $20; Fellows: no charge

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report. According to the report, frustrated by the “unfulfilled expectations” created by the legislative victories of the black freedom struggle—and frustrated by a lack of political power to “move the system” to focus on problems such as unemployment, inadequate education, and police brutality—violence came to be seen as a viable strategy to “redress grievances.” This lecture will focus on how the failure to address the problems identified by the Kerner Commission contributed to the phenomenon of riots, rebellions, and resistance we have seen in recent years by movements such as Black Lives Matter, and urban rebellions in places such as Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland.

Bilal Sekou is associate professor of political science in Hillyer College at the University of Hartford. His research interests are race and politics, urban politics, campaigns, elections, and voting behavior. He is a member of the board of directors of the Connecticut Center for a New Economy and The Connecticut Mirror, chair of the Governing Board of Common Cause in Connecticut, and a member of the National Governing Board of Common Cause.

This Land is Your Land—Ronald Epp

Fri., Nov. 2; 2 p.m.

Second of a three-part McAuley lecture series. Series cost: $20; Fellows: no charge

Nearly a decade ago, public television showcased a series by photographer Ken Burns, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. This lecture will cover the challenges the new National Park Service faced from 1916–33, from the onset of the Great War through the "roaring Twenties," and the cataclysmic onset of the Great Depression. It will show how NPS directors Stephen T. Mather and Horace Albright expanded the system, while battling others within (and outside) the Interior Department who wanted to permit hunting, grazing, timber cutting, mining, and hydro-power development within the parks— conservative political initiatives that have been pursued by the new Trump administration.

Yet it is the American people who enabled the rapid success of this new model of land development for public benefit. Not only did the NPS promote its scenic and historic landscapes through innovative strategies, it also recognized the implications of accelerated tourist travel by automobile to a widening number of national parks. But would the success of the national parks movement be undermined by the economics of the Great Depression?

Ronald H. Epp, PhD is a philosopher, historian, biographer, and academic librarian. He has taught at the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Memphis, and the University of Hartford before becoming its director of Libraries (1993–2001). Epp is a founding member of the Council of Connecticut Academic Library Directors. He served as a consultant to America’s Best Idea: The National Parks, the Ken Burns PBS documentary. His Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr was published last year. Since then, Epp has delivered more than two dozen talks on conservation, most recently to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Oceans in Crisis-Stephan Bullard

Fri., Dec. 7; 2 p.m.

Last of a three-part McAuley lecture series. Series cost: $20; Fellows: no charge

As human populations grow and the environmental impacts of society increase, the oceans suffer significantly. Yet, the damage caused to the seas is often hidden below the surface. Many parts of the ocean “look fine,” but are in fact in rapid decline. This lecture will explore some of the larger impacts affecting the world’s oceans, such as overfishing and marine pollution.

Stephan Bullard, PhD, is a marine biologist and an associate professor of biology in Hillyer College. He teaches all aspects of biology, and has a particular interest in environmental studies and the science of disasters. His research concerns invasive species, particularly sea squirts, and plankton, and is currently centered on Long Island Sound. His publications include work on ascidians and bryozoans, crabs, and plankton.