Samuel I. Clark Lecture

Samuel I. Clark

The Samuel I. Clark memorial lecture is a major annual event for the Institute of Government and Politics. Its topic rotates among the political science subfields covered in the department. The lecture is named in honor of Dr. Sam Clark, who joined the faculty of Western Michigan University's Department of Political Science in 1948. Specializing in political philosophy, he was known as a challenging and engaging professor and scholar.

Clark was named the founding director of the University's new honors program in 1962. In addition to overseeing the expansion of the honors program during his 24 years as its director, he coordinated lectures and planned opportunities for other kinds of growth, such as trips abroad for students and faculty. Clark was affiliated with the National Collegiate Honors Council since its inception in the 1960s and, in 1984-85, served as its president.

Also active in University affairs, he was president of the Faculty Senate from 1971 to 1973 and from 1978 to 1979. Upon his retirement in 1986, the Faculty Senate created this lecture series in his name, to be organized by the Institute of Government and Politics and the Department of Political Science.

Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Lee Honors College.

2014 Lecture

March 13, 2014, 7 p.m.

Dr. Nancy Love, Appalachian State University, speaks on“Aesthetic Reason, Political Violence, and the Public Sphere”

Unprecedented levels of political violence currently challenge the very possibility of reasonable discourse in the public spheres of many liberal democracies. Dr. Nancy Love explores whether and, if so, how this political violence reveals the limits of modern western concepts of public reason, which often exclude aesthetic experience.  Love discusses her research on how right-wing extremists today are using white power music to fund activities, recruit youth, and promote violence. Love argues that their violent politics not only emerges from visceral reactions to cultural differences, but also expresses the aesthetic values of a deeply rooted political imaginary. By comparing the music of white power activists and activist musicians dedicated to social justice, Love would reclaim the role of aesthetic politics in public discourse. Love argues for a reconstructed concept of aesthetic reason that fosters self-reflection, engages moral sensibilities, recognizes human vulnerability, and promotes a more inclusive public discourse and, with it, a less violent public sphere.

2013 lecture

Dr. James L. Gibson presents “Public Reverence for the United States Supreme Court: Is the Court Invincible?”

The public is very interested in the Supreme Court these days, especially when the Court hears cases on issues such as same-sex marriage and affirmative action. Even though the Court is viewed very positively by much of the public, many of its decisions seem to contradict public opinion. This talk focuses on key aspects of how the court can get away with running against public opinion, and what the implications are for how our democracy functions.

2012 lecture

Dr. George A. Lopez presented “Liberating Libya, Strangling Syria: Intervening for Human Rights and Protection.” Lopez is a Theodore M. Hesburgh Professor of Peace Studies at the Joan Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Notre Dame University.

Past speakers

Dr. George A. Lopez, Notre Dame University

Dr. Kenneth M. Goldstein, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Stacia L. Haynie, Louisiana State University

Dr. Roxanne Euben, Wellesley College

Dr. Scott Pegg, Indiana University

Dr. David Rhode, Duke University

Dr. Lawrence Baum, Ohio State University

Dr. Fred Dallmayr, University of Notre Dame

Dr. Gerald C. Wright, Indiana University

Dr. Peter Katzenstein, Cornell University

Dr. Charles Bullock, University of Georgia

Dr. Robert Huckfeldt, Indiana University

Dr. Guillermo O'Donnell, University of Notre Dame

Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago

Dr. Arlene Saxonhouse, University of Michigan