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CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS is an annual presidential program showcasing distinguished scholars at the forefront of their fields and at the vanguard of shaping how we understand the vital issues, questions and challenges facing our 21st century world.

Celebrating UB’s longstanding history of intellectual leadership and innovation, this program is a vital forum for timely, insightful dialogue about key issues shaping the world around us.

The CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS program spotlights prominent scholars who are leading the conversation about major societal questions and challenges with broad-ranging, cross-disciplinary relevance and impact.  From global health concerns and contemporary cultural debates to technological trends and socioeconomic challenges, these are the topics that cut across disciplinary boundaries and geographic borders to shape daily life for us all.

Held annually in conjunction with the start of the academic year, each program features a keynote address, free and open to the public, as well as multiple opportunities for students, faculty, staff and others to interact with these distinguished visitors.

2016 Program: Featured Events

The 2016 CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS program features Dr. Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University and Director of the Scholars Strategy Network, a national organization that encourages public engagement by university-based scholars.     

Skocpol’s work covers a broad spectrum of topics including both comparative politics and American politics and her books and articles have been widely cited in political science literature and have won numerous awards. Skocpol’s research over the last two decades has primarily focused on health care reform, public policy, and civic engagement amidst the shifting inequalities in American democracy.  Books she has recently authored or co-authored are Health Care Reform and American Politics, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, and Obama and America's Political Future. Skocpol also speaks regularly to community groups and writes for blogs and public-interest magazines. 

During her keynote address and panel discussion, Dr. Skocpol will discuss the 2016 presidential election and further examine the rise of Mr. Donald Trump as the Republican party candidate, as well as the future of both the Republican party and American politics more broadly going forward.

Thursday, November 17, 2016 | 3:30 p.m.

Slee Hall, North Campus

Friday, November 18, 2016 | 12:15 p.m.

Black Box Theater, Center for the Arts, North Campus

Friday, November 18, 2016 | 9:00AM & 10:15AM

280 Park Hall, North Campus