McConnell Center talks examine American political life and culture

(Aug. 14, 2018) LOUISVILLE, Ky. – All events are free and open to the public.
McConnell Center talks examine American political life and culture

The McConnell Center at the University of Louisville kicks off its fall lecture series with a Sept. 6 talk on “Is America’s Mind Still Closed?” featuring R.J. Snell, director of the Center on the University and Intellectual Life at the Witherspoon Institute.

Snell’s free, public talk is from 6-7 p.m. at Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium. It will consider the current climate of higher education and whether Allan Bloom’s 1987 book, “The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students” is relevant for today’s college campus culture. 

The talk is part of the Center’s year-long lecture series on “American Political Culture,” inspired by Alexis de Tocqueville’s study of “Democracy in America” and his observations on American society and social conditions.

“Alexis de Tocqueville knew it well: American political life has much to do with America’s political culture. This fall we will undertake a series of discussions related to today’s political culture–from debates over interpreting the Constitution to why we should read cultural writers like Russell Kirk and Frederick Douglass today. We hope revisiting these important thinkers will help us come to grips with the challenges of our own hour,” said Dr. Gary Gregg, director of the McConnell Center.

Other upcoming events in the lecture series include:

  • “Reading the Constitution in 2018: One Document, Two Visions,” a debate featuring Lee Strang, University of Toledo (Federalist Society), and Josh Douglas, University of Kentucky (American Constitution Society), Sept. 14
  • “Conservative Confusion: Why We Should Read Russell Kirk Today,” a talk featuring Bradley J. Birzer, Hillsdale College, Oct. 12
  • “Why We Should Read Frederick Douglass in 2018,” talk featuring Nicholas Buccola, Linfield College, Nov. 15

All events are free and will take place in Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium (directions) beginning at 6 p.m.

The non-partisan McConnell Center, created at UofL in 1991, prepares Kentucky’s top undergraduate students to become future leaders; offers civic education programs for teachers, students and the public; and conducts strategic leadership development for the U.S. Army.

For more than 25 years, the center has awarded more than $4 million in scholarship awards to more than 250 students. Its lectures, books, studies and conferences have garnered international attention, earning the American Council of Trustees and Alumni distinction as “an oasis of excellence in higher education.”

For more information about the events, please contact GlyptusAnn Grider Jones at or 502-852-1473.