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Socrates Program: 2020 Winter Seminars

Socrates Winter Seminars

Socrates Seminars begin with an opening reception on Friday evening, and conclude Monday afternoon following the final seminar session. The weekend program consists of three four-hour seminar sessions with free time and activities each morning. The seminar tuition is $2,000. Scholarships are available by application. Please see below for descriptions of seminar offerings:

Learning from Native Sons: The Pain, Rage and Hope of America’s Most Loyal Critics
“I love America more than any other country in the world,” James Baldwin famously wrote. “And, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” This course will focus on the singular promise of America and its frequently brutal history of failing to make good on that promise through the rich critical lens of black male autobiography. These stories of self-invention and survival—as well as triumph and measured despair—will serve as a roadmap for understanding how the country has evolved from chattel slavery and its legacy to the contemporary era of increasingly frequent—and frequently staggering—individual success as well as lingering group-wide stigma.

We will trace this tradition of critical engagement (and excellence) from Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, through Richard Wright and James Baldwin, and into the present moment, with Reginald Dwayne Betts, Ta-Nehisi Coates and a short selection from my own most recent work. The latter ends with the question of whether we will ever be able to transcend racism so long as we continue to uphold the categories of race that inform it.

Moderator: Thomas Chatterton Williams, is the author of a memoir, Losing My Cool and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, the London Review of Books, and many other places. He is a 2019 national fellow at New America and the recipient of a Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. His next book, Self-Portrait in Black-and-White: Unlearning Race will be published in October. He lives in Paris with his wife and two children.

Wielding Power & Influence
Power plays a pivotal role in societies and organizations, but we often fail to analyze the way it impacts how we think, relate and feel. As Saul Alinsky put it, “Power is the very essence, the dynamo of life. It is the power of the heart pumping blood and sustaining life in the body. It is the power of active citizen participation pulsing upward, providing a unified strength for a common purpose”. This Seminar offers participants the possibility to step back and develop a conceptual framework for understanding power and influence. It relies on case studies, biographical texts and contemporary readings to discuss what constitutes an ethical exercise of power, analyze power bases and influence styles and how we lead in a variety of contexts and situations.

Moderator: José M. de Areilza; Secretary General of Aspen Espana, has a double appointment as Professor in the Department of Law and in the Department of General Management and Strategy at ESADE Business School, Barcelona. Also, since 2013, he holds the Jean Monnet Chair at ESADE, awarded by the European Commission.

Thinking About Global Security
America’s place in today’s new world order is under assault from new quarters: cyber weapons, vulnerabilities to its supply chain, deep fakes, and a rising China. This seminar will explore three critical issues of domestic and international concern as nations struggle to find a new equilibrium – offensive cyber, vulnerabilities in supply chain, and innovative engagement with China. Each session will develop a framework for these issues, will pose critical questions to develop deeper understanding of them and will analyze proposed solutions.

Moderators: Dina Temple-Raston, Special Correspondent at NPR, and Harvey Rishikof, Director of Policy and Cyber Security Research at the University of Maryland and visiting Professor at Temple Law School.


Event information
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - Mon Feb 17, 2020
Aspen Meadows Campus
Aspen, CO, United States