2017-18 Annual Report for the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life

Peter Rutland
Director, Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life
29 June 2018

This was my first year as director of the Allbritton Center, greatly facilitated by the sterling work done by my predecessor Rob Rosenthal and the efficient support of AA Sara Wadlow. The year 2017-18 saw a strong and varied range of courses taught under the auspices of the Allbritton Center, and an exciting roster of visiting speakers covering a broad range of domestic and international topics. The center also managed the university lectures and collaborative research grant process for faculty, and the Davenport research grant process for students.
Apart from events for which Allbritton provide some funding, we sponsored or co-sponsored 16 guest speakers, ranging from The Guardian’s political cartoonist Martin Rowson to “never Trump” republican Tom Nichols. Attendance ranged from 6 to 80. The audience of six was for Nigerian media entrepreneur Chudeo Jideonwo – during a snow storm. He did however say the discussion was one of the best he had ever had. The 80+ audience was for a Memorial Chapel event featuring Demetrius Eudell and Crystal Feimster (Yale), discussing the Confederate monument controversy. That event aside, the best-attended events tended to be the lunchtime slots, such as those on the Catalonia crisis, Jeff Stein on the Rohingya refugees, and Ambassador Jake Walles on Syria, each of which drew over 50 people. Many of the speakers went for coffee or dinner with some students afterwards.
At the beginning of the year I planned a bi-weekly reading group for faculty on the subject of Populism. About 15 faculty expressed interest, but in the end only 10 confirmed, and then when it came to picking a time (Wed, Thurs or Friday lunchtimes) it proved impossible to find a slot that more than 4-5 people could attend. So I abandoned the effort. Lack of faculty presence on campus on Fridays and the multiplicity of department meetings on Wed and Thurs made it practically impossible to organize the group. Next year I will aim instead for a workshop probably meeting on one day, the week before teaching starts in January.
Although some of the courses were taught by people for whom it was the first time in the classroom, generally the student experience was positive, and pretty much all the courses were fully enrolled with waiting lists. We did not have any collaborative cluster course this year, nor are any proposed for next year. The Koeppel fellows Stephen Friedman and David Daley were highly valued for the real-world experience they brought to the classroom, this was also true for Harber Fellow Mark Paige, who skyped in half-a-dozen luminaries from the education policy field into his class. We were delighted to host Retired Officer Teaching Fellow Col Bob Cassidy, who quickly established a vivid presence on campus. The CSPL courses offer an alternative educational experience which is a welcome complement to the regular curriculum. Although many of these courses were added at the 11th hour, we made every effort to secure cross-listing for them, where appropriate, with relevant departments, since this boosts enrollment.  

Events for 2017-2018


Crystal Feimster (Yale) & Demetrius Eudell (Wes)
Commemorating and Protesting White Supremacy 27-Sep


Anna Di Lellio
NYU Post-Conflict Reconciliation: the Women of Kosovo 4-Oct


Antonio Gonzalez & Peter Rutland (Wes)
The political crisis in Catalonia 10-Oct


Robert Cassidy (Wes)
US Policy in Afghanistan after 16 Years 11-Oct

Michael Bolsey, filmmaker
Stuck in the Doorway 19-Oct


Thomas Nichols, US Naval War College
US Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump 25-Oct


Martin Rowson, Guardian cartoonist
Political Caricatures in the Age of Trump 7-Nov

Matias Lopez, Univ of Rio de Janeiro
Inequality and Democracy 8-Nov

Jeff Stein, Human Rights Watch
Rohingya Refugees 28-Nov

Chude Jodeonwo, entrepreneur
New Social Media in Nigeria 7-Mar


David Abramson, State Department
The Proof is in the Pudding: Putin’s Pivot to Asia 26-Mar


Alexandra Klass, Univ of Minnesota Law S.
Energy Issues in the Trump Administration 29-Mar


Antonio Machado Allison, Central Univ of Venezuela
Politics, Policy, and Social Justice in Venezuela 2-Apr


John Finn (Wes)
Hugo Black Lecture: Gun nuts and speech freaks 5-Apr

Jake Walles, ex ambassador to Tunisia
The Arab Spring: Looking Back after 7 Years 18-Apr

Film screening An insignificant man 24-Apr

Mark Paige (Wes), Harber Fellow
Judging Teachers: the Law and Teacher Evaluation Policy Reform Efforts 25-Apr

Stanislav Tkachenko, St Petersburg State Univ Russia
After the 2018 Election: Diplomacy and Coercion 26-Apr


CSPL Courses fall 2017


SPL127-01 Introduction to Financial Accounting Gosman,Martin

CSPL140-01
Thinking with Things Adams,Barbara

CSPL220-01
Participatory Design: From Helping to Solidarity Adams,Barbara
CSPL250-01
Topics in Journalism: Introduction to Data Journalism Kabacoff,Robert and Jake Kara

CSPL262-01
Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship Kingsley,Makaela Jane

CSPL264-01
Patricelli Center Fellowship Kingsley,Makaela Jane

CSPL280-01
Nonprofit Boards: Theory and Practice I Lechowicz,Catherine Crimmins

CSPL302-01
Senior Seminar for Civic Engagement Certificate Juhasz,Barbara Jean

CSPL330-01
Policy and Strategy in War and Peace Cassidy,Robert

CSPL Courses spring 2018
CSPL127-01
Introduction to Financial Accounting Gosman,Martin

CSPL230-01
State and Local Government Simmons,Caroline

CSPL235-01
Activism and Theories of Change Gabel-Brett,Leslie

CSPL245-01
Ethnography and Design Adams,Barbara

CSPL250M-01
Topics in Journalism: Storytelling and Social Change Friedman,Stephen K.
CSPL250N-01
Writing Reality: Journalism in the Age of Trump Daley,David.
CSPL262-01
Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship Kingsley,Makaela Jane

CSPL265-01
Patricelli Center Fellowship II Kingsley,Makaela Jane

CSPL281-01
Nonprofit Boards: Theory and Practice II Watson,Clifton Nathaniel

CSPL330-01
Policy and Strategy in War and Peace Cassidy,Robert

CSPL341D-01
Topics in Education, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: A Law and Policy Perspective Paige,Mark A.