Building Democracy: Reflecting on the Elections and Moving Forward
Speaker: Dr. Peter Rose (Smith College)
Coordinated with Dr. Andrew Rowan (English)
November 17, 2016
This conversation gave the community an opportunity to come together after a divisive presidential election. Prof. Andrew Rowan (English) introduced Dr. Peter Rose, Sophia Smith Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Anthropology and Senior Fellow of the Kahn Liberal Arts Insitute at Smith College. Rose focused on the “politics of rage” that shaped the Presidential campaign this fall. He highlighted similarities between the current context in the U.S. and the socioeconomic, political, and culture division in interwar Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. He also reminded audience members that divisive rhetoric has a long history in the United States and targeted groups have included African-Americans, Japanese, Irish, among others. Through these and other examples, Dr. Rose asked attendees to consider the constructed nature of racial and other stereotypes, and how to resist them. He concluded by remaining hopeful that Americans share a common “hub” that can serve as a foundation of unity. Finally, Dr. Rose pointed to BCC as a resource for countering divisions, including the diverse experiences of our community as well as programs such as the Salzburg Global Seminar.