Spring 2015 SSF Events

The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House

View interview online

Thomas Schaller, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at UMBC, and author of Whistling Past Dixie and The Stronghold

Once the party of presidents, the GOP in recent elections has failed to pull together convincing national majorities. Republicans have lost four of the last six presidential races and lost the popular vote in five of the last six. New Gingrich’s “Contract with America” set in motion a vicious cycle, Schaller contends: as the GOP became more conservative, it became more Congress-centered, and as its congressional wings grew more powerful, the party grew more conservative. This dangerous loop, unless broken, may signal the future of increasing radicalization, dependency on a shrinking pool of voters, and less viability as a true national party.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science

Data and Discipline: Sampling the Science of Economic Turnaround

Peter Blair Henry, Dean of the Stern School of Business, New York University

The mathematical underpinnings of the “dismal science” can yield surprising results with the power to impact millions of lives around the globe. Using examples from his book, Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth, Peter Blair Henry discusses how scientific analysis of economic policy experiments can determine which policies, implemented under what conditions, create the most value for the greatest number of people.

Sponsored by the Department of Economics

Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth: Science vs. the Media on Psychological Gender Differences

Janet Shibley Hyde, Evjue-Bascom Professor & Helen Thompson Woolley Professor of Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies and Director at the Center for Research on Gender & Women at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

The media portrays psychological differences between women and men as large and biologically determined–men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Dr. Hyde’s research uses the statistical method of meta-analysis to investigate whether these claims are accurate. The results are surprising.

Distinguished Lecture in Psychology, sponsored by the Department of Psychology; Department of Gender + Women’s Studies

The Middle East in Flames

Daniel Byman, Senior Fellow and Director of Research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and Professor in the Security Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Department of Government at Georgetown University

The Middle East has gone from bad to worse. Four countries are in full-fledged civil wars, and the contagion might spread. Professor Byman will speak on perennial problems like the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the Iranian nuclear program as well as the range of new crises engulfing the region.

Sponsored by the Judaic Studies Program; Global Studies Program

Ecological Encounters on the Upper Missouri: The Making of Mandan Indian History

Elizabeth Fenn, Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Elizabeth Fenn’s lecture tells the story of North Dakota’s Mandan Indians, widely known for hosting Lewis and Clark during the winter of 1804-1805. The challenges the Mandans faced included epidemics of smallpox and whooping cough and invasions of Norway rats, which diminished Mandan numbers from more than 12,000 in 1500 to fewer than 300 in 1838.

Low Lecture, sponsored by the Department of History

India, Pakistan, and Nuclear Weapons: Deterrence Stability in South Asia

Devin T. Hagerty, Professor of Political Science and Director of Global Studies Program

Recent events suggest that South Asia may be trending toward yet another nuclear-tinged Indo-Pakistani crisis. Meaningful dialogue between Pakistan and India has stalled, the disputed territory of Kashmir has seen regular exchanges of fire across the Line of Control (LOC), and Indian strategic elites worry about the possibility of another Mumbai-style terrorist attack. This talk assesses the robustness of Indo-Pakistani deterrence stability and analyses the likelihood that another mass-casualty attack on Indian soil, carried out by terrorists sponsored by elements of the Pakistani state, would escalate to conventional–and perhaps nuclear–war between Pakistan and India.

Lipitz Lecture, sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Dresher Center for the Humanities