E Pluribus Unum? Missouri and the Fracturing of Society

Fall 2016 NEH "Humanities in the Public Square Lecture Series"

On Thursday, November 10, the Kinder Institute wrapped up its most ambitious programming initiative to date, a series of eight lectures (and three films) that examined the theme of the fracture and polarization of American society from a variety of academic perspectives and across a wide range of subjects and time periods. The lecture series was made possible by the NEH’s nationwide “Humanities in the Public Square” grant program and was administered in partnership with our friends at the Missouri Humanities Council. Below is a list of lectures and events that we co-sponsored or hosted as part of the series, with links to more thorough recaps (in the dates), where available.

September 15-16, 2016: Price Sloan Symposium for Media, Ethics, and Law (co-sponsored with the MU Schools of Law and Journalism)

September 23, 2016: “The Demise of ‘Fact’ in Political Discourse,” with University of Pennsylvania Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication Kathleen Hall Jameison (co-sponsored with the MU Department of Communication)

October 5, 2016: “Scalia was Right in Smith,” with University of Notre Dame Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion and Public Life Vincent Phillip Muñoz

October 7, 2016: “JuntoCast Live!,” with Ken Owen (University of Illinois-Springfield), Michael Hattem (Yale University), and Roy Rogers (CUNY-Graduate Center)

October 14, 2016: “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide,” with Emory University Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor and Chair of African American Studies Carol Anderson (co-sponsored with the MU Department of Black Studies)

October 27, 2016: “The Triumph of Bernie Sanders and the Future of the U.S. Left,” with University of Pennsylvania Professor of Political Science Adolph Reed

November 8, 2016: “What is the Future of the Conservative Movement,” with University of Alabama Assistant Professor of Political Science George Hawley

November 10, 2016: “Why We Need the Humanities,” with University of Notre Dame Distinguished Research Professor Donald Drakeman

In addition to these lectures, we partnered with local cultural beacon Ragtag Cinema on an election season film series examining the history of films’ engagement with the root of political distemper in America from the Depression through the Clinton administration. Films screened as part of the series were Gabriel over the White House, Strange Victory, and Primary Colors.


This series was made possible in large part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and conducted in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed during or in response to any of the events listed above do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.