Current Minicourses

Minicourses: Fall 2019
Chase Room, Madison Public Library

Sponsored by the Friends of the Madison Public Library

Registration will begin on Monday, August 26, 2019
Please do not mail your registration early.
Only mail received after the registration date will be processed.

Supreme Court of the United States – by Dr. Bruce Peabody

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Nice Presidents Finish Last: The Evolution of Presidential Power
by Dr. Dan Cassino
Time: 10 am-12 pm
Dates: Mondays, Sep 23; Oct 7, 14, 21, 28 (no class Sep 30)

With renewed interest in the powers of the US Presidency, and their limits, it’s important to examine how the powers of the President have changed over time. Starting with Washington, we examine the development of Presidential powers by focusing on the chief executives who have done the most to shape the conception of what Presidents can, and cannot do. For each President, we try to understand how their life experiences shaped the way they approached the Presidency, and, in turn, how that set precedent for all of the Presidents that came afterwards. Of course, we will be covering the most important Presidents, like Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and the Roosevelts, but we will also be covering Presidents who get less attention, like The Adamses, Polk, A. Johnson, Garfield, Arthur, Taft and Hoover. Throughout, we will also be talking about how the public, the courts and Congress have pushed back on expansions of Presidential power by impeachment, laws and Supreme Court decisions.

Dr. Daniel Cassino is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Experimental Research for Fairleigh Dickinson University’s survey research group, PublicMind. He received both his MA and PhD from Stony Brook University and completed postdoctoral research at Princeton. He conducts research in American politics, institutions (Congress and Presidency), youth politics, and political psychology.

Alienation and Civic Culture in America and Europe:  From Kennedy Campaigning to 2020
by Dr. David Cowell

Time: 10 am-12 pm
Dates: Tuesdays, Sep 24; Oct 8, 15, 22, 29 (no class Oct 1)

An analysis of political alienation and civic culture focused upon contemporary American and European experiences since World War II.  Alienation will be presented as an idea and social value in the political culture and its impact on democratic politics and campaigning in America and Europe.  Topics include the social acceptance of alienation in speech and behavior, the expanding role of social media and access to public space and their impacts on politics and thought in modern democracies.

Dr. David Cowell, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Drew University, received his PhD from Georgetown University. He has taught a dozen minicourses on topics ranging from the Reformation, Ireland, Waging Peace, Egyptian Politics, Modern Turkey, Changing Britain to New Jersey history and politics.

Supreme Court of the United States: ‘Top Ten’ Cases You Need to Know and Understand *** THIS CLASS IS NOW CLOSED ***
by Dr. Bruce Peabody
Time: 10 am–12 pm
Dates: Wednesdays, Sep 25; Oct 2, 16, 23, 30 (no class Oct 9)

This course will use a selection of ten landmark Supreme Court cases to learn about the substance of the case, the legal, political, and social issues at hand, and the broader lessons about the Court’s power, importance, and limitations. My choices include familiar cases and some that are more obscure but no less dramatic and vital.

Sep. 25:          Introduction and the Roots of the Court’s Power: Marbury and McCulloch
Oct. 2:             Civil Rights and the Limits of the Judicial Impact: Brown and Baker
Oct. 16:           The Warren Court Revolution: Sullivan and Miranda
Oct. 23:           The Burger Court Counter-Revolution? Roe and Nixon
Oct. 30:           The Future of the Court: Buckley and McDonald

Dr. Bruce Peabody earned his BA from Wesleyan University and his PhD from the University of Texas. He has written and edited five books and published over fifty scholarly articles. He is the director of Fairleigh Dickinson’s lifelong learning program, the Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning (FILL) and Professor of Political Science, Prelaw & Legal Studies.

Music in America
by Dr. Robert Butts
Time: 1:30 pm-3:30 pm
Dates: Wednesdays, Sep 25; Oct 2, 16, 23, 30 (no class Oct 9)

  1. Music Grows in America – 1750-1860
  2. The Civil War and After – 1860-1890
  3. Time of Transition – 1890-1920
  4. American Music Becomes American Music – 1920-1945
  5. American Music Since World War II

Dr. Robert Butts has won acclaim as conductor, composer and educator. He is the director of the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey. He teaches/lectures at Montclair State University, the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University, New Jersey Council for the Humanities and the College of Saint Elizabeth. One of our most popular professors, he teaches a minicourse every semester.

Slavery and the Founding Fathers
by Dr. Nicole Yanoso
Time: 1:30 pm-3:30 pm
Dates: Thursdays, Sep 26; Oct 10, 17, 24, 31 (no class Oct 3)

This course will explore the paradoxical reality of the United States founding.  The Founding Fathers changed the world by building a lasting democracy based on the natural rights of man, and yet allowed for the continuation of human bondage.  In this course we will explore the men who made America and also the times in which they operated.  Moreover, we will delve into the motivations and forces that drove their ideologies and actions (or for some lack of action) concerning slavery.  Beyond that, we will explore whether the framers allowed the Constitution to enshrine slavery or if they purposely fell short of legitimizing slavery at the national level, refusing to validate property in man.

Nicole Anderson Yanoso is an Assistant Professor of History and the Director of Political Science and American Studies at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ. She received her BA from the College of St. Elizabeth, her MA from East Stroudsburg University, and her PhD from Drew University. Nicole is also the author of the 2016 book: The Irish and the American Presidency.


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