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10 Year Anniversary of Great Conversation

Table Topics

If you enjoy talking about ideas with colleagues and friends (old and new) in an extremely inviting environment, join us for the tenth annual Great Conversations on Thursday, October 16th. Please sign up early for this special event; our previous Great Conversations dinners have sold out in advance leaving many people disappointed.

This year's engaging topics are listed below. Sign up for the conversation of your choice today!

The Righteous Mind: How Conservatives and Liberals Make Moral Judgments
Hosted by Dr. Tom Moore, Chancellor of USC Upstate
Detailed description
  

Making Sense of the “New” Anti-Semitism in Europe 
Hosted by Dr. Lizabeth Zack, Associate Professor of Sociology
Detailed description
  

Making First Impressions
Hosted by Dr. Andrew Beer, Associate Professor of Psychology    
Detailed description
  

Life in a Genetically Modified World
Hosted by Dr. Jeanne Chapman, Associate Professor of Biology
Detailed description

I’d Rather Be Dead Than Speaking at the Funeral: Public Speaking as Art
Hosted by Dr. Desiree Rowe, Assistant Professor of Communications Studies 
Detailed description  
    

Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth Century Upstate
Hosted by Dr. Carol Loar, Associate Professor of History
Detailed description
    

Trenches, Barbed Wire, and Wrist Watches: World War I and the World it Created
Hosted by Dr. Rob McCormick, Associate Professor of History
Detailed description

Does Reality TV Make You Stupid: Is the Live Ritual of Theatre Still Possible in a Digital World?
Hosted by Professor Lee Neibert, Assistant Professor of Theatre
Detailed description

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: Dispelling Common Myths About Law Enforcement
Hosted by Dr. Samantha Hauptman, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Detailed description

    Table Topic Descriptions

    The Righteous Mind: How Conservatives and Liberals Make Moral Judgments

    Dr. Moore will set aside common rules of decorum and invite guests to discuss religion and politics. He will draw from Jonathan Haidt’s bestselling book “The Righteous Mind,” that explores characteristics of human beings that make us think our positions on moral issues are “righteous.”  

    Dr. Tom Moore will be your host for the evening. He grew up in Alabama and has degrees in chemistry from Huntingdon College and the University of South Carolina. He has taught chemistry at three institutions of higher education, has participated in National Endowment for the Humanities seminars in history of science and in philosophy of science and has developed interdisciplinary programs at the undergraduate and the graduate levels. Tom became Chancellor of USC Upstate in August of 2011.

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    Making Sense of the “New” Anti-Semitism in Europe  


    A kosher butcher shop damaged in Paris. A Jewish school in Copenhagen vandalized. A Jewish film festival cancelled in London. These incidents, among others, were part of a reported rise in attacks against Jews and Jewish property across the European continent this summer. How do we make sense of the trend? Is it the return of an old prejudice, or a surge in a new form of racism? Who’s doing it and why? How does it compare with the level of attacks in recent decades? What impact is it having? Join this table for a lively discussion of these questions as we try to gain a better understanding of the so-called “new” anti-Semitism in Europe.  Your table host will be Dr. Lizabeth Zack, associate professor of sociology. Dr. Zack has published and lectured on the topic of anti-Semitism and other issues related to the Middle East. She has been awarded two Fulbright grants, one to conduct research in France and another to teach in Jordan.  

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    Making First Impressions

    Dinner parties are really the ideal setting in which to discuss the accuracy of our first impressions of others. The way we interpret social information on the fly can determine important outcomes in our life, such as whom we marry, whom we hire or whom we avoid on the street. Table participants will discuss the origins of first impressions of others’ personalities. What do we look for? What do we care about? Are we any good at this? Why or why not? Participants should be prepared to discuss personal successes and failures in evaluating people as a springboard for this discussion. 

    Your table host will be Dr. Andrew Beer, associate professor of psychology. Dr. Beer has written extensively in the area of personality and first impressions and his personality courses are very popular among Upstate students.  

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    Life in a Genetically Modified World

    Much controversy surrounds the creation and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), to the point that some countries have banned these organisms in their food crops. Join the discussion to learn exactly what GMOs are, how they are generated and what advantages and disadvantages they represent to humankind and to the environment.

    Your table host will be Dr. Jeannie Chapman, associate professor of biology and Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences & Engineering. She earned her doctorate in cellular and molecular biology and pathobiology at the Medical University of South Carolina and has taught at Upstate for nine years. Her research focus is on the molecular pathogenesis of cancer.  

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    I’d Rather Be Dead Than Speaking at the Funeral: Public Speaking as Art

    Do you you break into a cold sweat at the mere thought of speaking in front of people? Worried that your knees won’t stop shaking in the front of the room? Join this table for rowdy discussion of the roots of our fears of public speaking, some tips to construct and prepare for speeches, and maybe, if you’re willing, some off the wall ways to get rid of those jitters! 

    Your public speaking coach will be Dr. Desiree Rowe, assistant professor of communication studies. Dr. Rowe has published extensively about performance, gender and how we communicate resistance. She is touring a solo performance show nationally in 2015. Through external funding, she is also doing field work in Germany this summer studying gender-based performances of social activism. 

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    Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth Century Upstate

    Are you a fan of mystery novels? Are your bookshelves full of history books or historical fiction? Do you find yourself asking, “Why would (or how could) someone do that?” Or, “How did they investigate crime back then?” Or, “What did ordinary people think about crime and criminals?” If so, this table is for you! Join us to discuss how nineteenth-century residents of the Upstate dealt with crime — the legal and extra-legal measures they employed, their attitudes towards criminals, law enforcement, the legal system and role of the community in preserving law and order.

    Your host for the evening will be Dr. Carol Loar, associate professor of history. Dr. Loar has published extensively on the history of crime, including articles on investigating crime in Tudor-Stuart England and on the kinds of evidence and uses that English coroners’ jurors made of different kinds of evidence when rendering their verdicts. She has also published an essay on a notorious 1879 lynching in Spartanburg and is currently working on a book about extra-legal violence in the late nineteenth-century upcountry. 

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    Trenches, Barbed Wire and Wrist Watches: World War I and the World it Created

    One hundred years ago, few could have imagined that a conflict in the Balkans would lead to a world war that, in many ways, crafted the modern world in which we live. In politics, language, art, medicine, psychology and many other disciplines, the war brought about changes and innovations unimaginable a few years earlier. Come join Dr. Rob McCormick in examining World War I and its effect on the twentieth century.

    Dr. Rob McCormick, associate professor of history, teaches courses and conducts research on the topics of war, genocide and nation building. He has published on topics ranging from reform in Macedonia during the 1910's to evolution controversies in South Carolina to Croatian genocide. His book "Croatia under Ante Pavelić: America, the Ustaše, and Croatian Genocide was published by I.B. Tauris in 2014. Dr. McCormick is a popular speaker before community and civic groups, primarily because he has a particular talent for explaining complex world events in a lively and understandable way.

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    Does Reality TV Make You Stupid: Is the Live Ritual of Theatre Still Possible in a Digital World?

    From Aristotle to contemporary forms what values have changed for the consumer of entertainment (tv, film, theatre)? What does the prevalence of reality TV say about what we look for in entertainment? How does our need to stay connected to social media and the like affect our ability to consume works that may be more intellectual and challenging i.e. escapist pieces vs. something that confronts topical issues? 

    Your acting coach for the evening will be Professor Lee Neibert, assistant professor of theatre (acting and directing). Lee has over 20 years of experience as an actor and director. He most recently played Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" at Spartanburg Little Theatre. He directed USC Upstate’s production of “All About Ives” for the International Youth Arts Festival in Kingston upon Thames, UK and "A Midsummer Night’s Dream"by William Shakespeare on the USC-Upstate campus. 

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    Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: Dispelling Common Myths About Law Enforcement

    With the recent shooting in Ferguson and the choke hold in Staten Island, the police are in the spotlight again. Are they using excessive force, or simply protecting public order as they are charged to do? Police officers have recently come under great scrutiny causing both the media and the public to turn on them and see them as enemies. So, are police the problem or is it something about police work that we just don’t understand? Why do police do what they do and how do they make decisions? Join us for a lively discussion about a variety of law enforcement issues, what you should know about police work, and why police officers do what they do.

    Your host for the evening will be Dr. Samantha Hauptman, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice. Dr. Hauptman is the author of “The Criminalization of Immigration: The Post 9/11 Moral Panic” and teaches a variety of courses in both criminal justice and sociology. Her research spans a wide range of subjects including immigration, criminal/social deviance, international policing and social control. Prior to teaching, she worked in administration at the SC Department of Corrections and will bring her research and field experience to shed some light on these important and controversial issues.

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      Event Information

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      864-503-5492

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