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New College Foundation's New Topics Series Season Announced

The six-part lecture series, via Zoom, will touch on issues from politics to economics to cybersecurity.

By Kay Kipling September 8, 2020

Dr. Anita L. Allen is the first speaker in the New Topics Series, on Oct. 1.

Now marking its 60th anniversary, New College has many alumni who have gone on to exceptional careers and lives. A few of them will speak on a broad range of issues beginning in October, in the New College Foundation’s 2020-21 season of its New Topics lecture series.

Each of the six lectures this season will be presented via the Zoom platform, rather than in person, due to the pandemic. The event is sponsored in part by Sarasota Magazine, and is free for New College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Otherwise, tickets are $10; all proceeds go to fund student scholarships.

The series begins Thursday, Oct. 1, with Dr. Anita L. Allen, professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the first African-American women in history to receive a doctorate in philosophy. Her talk, “Privacy and Accountability: Not a Contradiction,” will explore how ideals of freedom and moral responsibility for personal conduct can be squared.

Susan Burns, editor-in-chief of Sarasota Magazine and also a New College alum, moderates the next event, a panel discussion entitled “Understanding the 2020 Presidential Election: What’s Going to Happen? What Does It Mean?” with political science professor and author Eric Schickler and award-winning journalist Alexis Simendinger, who has covered the White House, Congress, national affairs and presidential politics since 1986. That discussion takes place Oct. 15.

Journalist Alexis Simendinger will discuss the coming presidential election.

“Challenge and Response: Facing Hard Choices in a Time of Economic Crisis” features the senior research scholar at Princeton University’s Center for Economic Policy Studies William Dudley, on the choices we need to make to secure our economic future in the wake of the pandemic and severe recession. Dudley will define the best-case and worst-case scenarios, Nov. 12.

R. Derek Black is the subject of the book Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist.

R. Derek Black (read our feature story on him here) will join Allison Gornik and James Birmingham on a panel moderated by Dr. Bill Woodson titled “Inclusion at Any Cost? When New College was ‘Home’ to a White Nationalist,” Jan. 27. Black, who was raised in a leading family of the American white nationalist movement, attended New College, where the racist ideas he espoused were condemned. Over time, he came to engage with anti-racist ideas and is currently a doctoral student in history at the University of Chicago. Classmate Gornik, who recently received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology, took part in many conversations with Black that changed his course. Birmingham was one of the louder and more active voices challenging Black; Woodson is dean of outreach and engagement and chief diversity and inclusion officer at New College.

Attorney and former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

Cuban-American attorney, consultant and human rights advocate Lincoln Diaz-Balart is next up with “Reflections on a Congressional Career: Lessons for Today’s Politics” on Feb. 18. Diaz-Balart represented South Florida in the Florida Legislature from 1986 to 1992 and in Congress from 1993 to 2011, authoring and passing significant pieces of legislation. He also founded the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute and El Instituto La Rosa Blanca, which stands in solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Cuba. He will discuss what makes true dialogue possible in a democracy.

And finally, on March 18, “Cybersecurity and Civil Liberties” will offer Jennifer Granick, the ACLU’s surveillance and cybersecurity counsel, who’s well known for her work with intellectual property law, free speech, privacy law, surveillance and other things related to computer security. She will explore current debate and legislative proposals and offer tips on how people can protect themselves.

To register for the New Topics series, go to ncf.edu/new-topics or call the New College events hotline, (941) 487-4888. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance of the event.

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