Symposium to Address American Discourse and Abandoned Communities
Nebraska Wesleyan University’s annual Visions and Ventures Symposium will investigate the origins of fear and anxiety that have shaped American discourse in recent years.
The annual event — scheduled for September 12-13 — brings together the university and Lincoln community to discuss a topic of universal significance with leading national experts.
This year’s symposium, “(Di)visions and Ventures: Refocusing our Lens on American Communities” will feature New York Times bestselling author Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author J.D. Vance, and The Atlantic senior editor and author Hanna Rosin. The speakers will shed light on socioeconomic trends and systemic problems that have led communities across the nation to feel abandoned.
Bryan Stevenson will kick off the symposium on Tuesday, September 12 at 7 p.m. Stevenson is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, “Just Mercy.” Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala., and a professor of law at New York University Law School. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. “Just Mercy” gives an account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a window into the lives of those he has defended, and an argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.
On Wednesday, September 13 at 10 a.m., the symposium continues with J.D. Vance, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” Vance grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Ky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. A graduate of the Ohio State University and Yale Law School, he has contributed to the National Review and has recently signed on as a CNN political contributor. “Hillbilly Elegy” is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis — that of white working-class Americans.
The symposium concludes at 7 p.m. with Hanna Rosin, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of “The End of Men.” Rosin is a founder of DoubleX, Slate’s women’s section and the recipient of a 2010 National Magazine Award. In 2016 she joined NPR’s Invisibila as co-host for the hit program’s second season. Her book, “The End of Men: And the Rise of Women,” grew out of her 2010 cover story for The Atlantic, which sparked a national conversation and led to appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, and a keynote address at the first TED national women’s conference.
All lectures will be held in O’Donnell Auditorium, located in the Rogers Center for Fine Arts at 50th Street and Huntington Ave. The lectures are free and open to the public. Limited seating is available. The public is asked to enter the west doors of Rogers Center for Fine Arts, located nearest 50th Street. Doors will open approximately 30 minutes prior to each lecture.
(Di)visions and Ventures Schedule
Tuesday, Sept. 12
- 7 p.m., Bryan Stevenson, “American Injustice: Humanity, Mercy and Making a Difference”
Wednesday, Sept. 13
- 10 a.m., J.D. Vance, “Hillbilly Elegy”
- NWU students, faculty and staff will participate in interactive actives on Wednesday afternoon. These activities include a poverty simulation, sleeping mat project, "The Last Straw" board game, an activism center, a refugee and immigrant panel, campus dialogues, and yoga. (open to NWU students, faculty and staff only).
- 7 p.m., Hanna Rosin, “The End of Men: Current Social and Political Implications”