2019-2020 E/RS Events

All E/RS sponsored events are free and open to the public.

painting of sunset over Ohio River and dovePainting by Olivia Kathryn Hinds

Conversations Across the American Divide

A series of fault lines run across the United States, including divisions between liberals and conservatives, secular and religious world views, and urban and rural ways of life, as well as conflicts over race, nationalism, and immigration. This country has never been free of contention and disagreement, and it never should be, but the growing antagonism has made it increasingly difficult to engage in civil and reasonable discussions. It is especially important now for people to reach past their "bubbles" and "echo chambers" in order to converse with those who see things differently. Our 2018-2021 speaker series will feature thoughtful and creative individuals from the worlds of politics, the arts, media, and academia who can articulate diverse aspects of these divisions and engage in public dialogue with members of the Xavier community. Visiting speakers will present brief talks, followed by discussions on stage with Xavier faculty and students and questions from the audience.

Community Conversations

The community conversations sponsored by E/RS are opportunities for local leaders and the Xavier campus to discuss current issues of common concern in the Cincinnati area. Panel discussions will be followed by questions from the audience.




February 14, 2020




February 17, 2020:

Conversations Across the American Divide: Booker T. Washington and the Lessons of Lincoln 

Diana Schaub, Professor of Political Science, Loyola University Maryland

in conversation with

Dr. Adam Clark, Theology
Dr. Roger Fortin, History, Emeritus
Dr. Myron Jackson, Philosophy
Alecia Conway, President, Black Student Association
Kerry Goldberg, President, Political Science Club
Believing in the importance of civic friendship, Booker T. Washington worked to reshape the American character in a way that would foster racial reconciliation. By deftly deploying the nation's memory of Abraham Lincoln, Washington pursued his own redemptive moral vision and subtle statesmanship. Is Washington's message—crafted to meet the challenge of extreme racial injustice--still helpful for bridging our continuing racial dilemmas and divisions?

7:00-8:15 pm, Kennedy Auditorium, CLC 412



February 26, 2020, 4:30-5:30 pm, Kennedy Auditorium:

Maternity and Childlessness: New Conversations



March 2, 2020, 7-8 pm, Kennedy Auditorium:

Community Conversations:

Who Do You Trust? How Cincinnati Journalists Earn it and Keep it 



March 23, 2020:

Conversations Across the American Divide: Finding Common Ground in an Age of Discord

Heather McGhee, senior fellow and past president, Demos

in conversation with Xavier faculty and students

7:00-8:15 pm, Kennedy Auditorium, CLC 412

Heather McGhee



April 20, 2020:

Conversations Across the American Divide:

Patrick J. Deneen, Professor of Political Science, Notre Dame University

in conversation with Xavier faculty and students

7:00-8:15 pm, Kennedy Auditorium, CLC 412



Past events


September 17, 2018:

Conversations Across the American Divide: A Conservative Case for Immigration

Linda Chavez, Chairman, Center for Equal Opportunity

in conversation with Dr. Myron Jackson (E/RS Besl Chair), Cole Branham (President, XU College Republicans), and Daphne Wilson (Vice President, XU Political Science Club)



October 1, 2018:

Community Conversation: Hispanic immigrants and the Cincinnati economy


Alfonso Cornejo, Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA

Carlos de Jesús, Apoyo Latino

Steve Driehaus, Cincinnati Compass

Manuel Pérez, Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center

Andrea Solís Canto, Youth Educating Society, Xavier PPP and International Studies major

Visit this page for more information on immigration and Hispanics in Cincinnati.


October 9, 2018:

Conversations Across the American Divide:

Empathy is not Endorsement: Reflections on Dialogue and Difference

Dylan Marron, writer, performer, and video and podcast creator

in conversation with Dr. Ashley Hinck (Communication Department), Dr. Taj Smith (Director, Center for Diversity and Inclusion), Riley Head (PPP and Gender and Diversity Studies major), and Tabitha Thornburgh (Social Work major)



November 12, 2018:

Conversations Across the American Divide:

The Midterm Election: A View from Small-Town Ohio

Gary Abernathy, Hillsboro (OH) journalist and politician

in conversation with Dr. Bradley Nestheide (Political Science), Anne Marie Coriale (Young Americans for Liberty, Management major), and John Duque (Xavier Socialists, Theology major)



February 18-19, 2019

Conversations Across the American Divide:

The Mirror of Race: Reflections from Film, Photography and History

Derek Burrows, storyteller and filmmaker and Gregory Fried, Professor of Philosophy, Boston College, co-founders of The Mirror of Race Project

in conversation with Xavier faculty, staff, and students


Feb. 18:

Gregory Fried and Derek Burrows discuss race and early American photography together with panelists Bethany Henning (Dept. of Philosophy), Myron Jackson (E/RS Besl Chair) and Gregory Rust (University photographer). Many of the photographs they will discuss are on display January 25-February 22 at the Xavier Art Gallery, together with the photo-art installation Focus on Race by Gregory Rust. The early photos can also be seen online at the Mirror of Race website.

In this video by Eli Bedel, Burrows and Fried are interviewed in the Xavier Art Gallery about the Mirror of Race project:

Feb. 19:

Derek Burrows presents his film "Before the Trees Was Strange," exploring the history of his mixed-race family in the Bahamas, followed by a discussion including Gregory Fried, Myron Jackson (E/RS Besl Chair), and Ihsan Walker (Black Student Association).



March 4, 2019:

Community Conversation:

Educating for citizenship in Cincinnati

How can we educate young people to become responsible and positive members of our community? Join educators from public and private schools and organizations as they discuss how to nurture outstanding citizens.


Dr. Laney Bender-Slack, Middle Childhood Education, Xavier University

Mary Delaney, Executive Director Community Matters/Education Matters

Libby Hunter, Executive Director, WordPlay Cincy

Azaria Pittman-Carter, University of Cincinnati Education student and WordPlay graduate

Terrence Tyrrell, Principal, St. Xavier High School

Lisa Votaw, Principal, Aiken High School




April 15, 2019:

Conversations Across the American Divide: Against (Calls for) Civility

Alan Jacobs, Professor of Humanities, Baylor University

An argument for ending the policing of tone and beginning the hard labor of turning Others into Neighbors.

Alan Jacobs is Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Baylor University. His books include How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds, The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis, and The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography.


Sela Brazier (Social Work and GDST major)
Ryan Kambich (PPP and Economics major, Xavier Newswire)
Dr. Kristen Renzi (English Department)
Dr. Kristine Suna-Koro (Theology Department) 


September 16, 2019:

Conversations Across the American Divide: Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Age

Alexander Heffner, host of PBS's "The Open Mind" and coauthor of A Documentary History of the United States

in conversation with Xavier faculty and students: Dr. Myron Jackson (Philosophy), Dr. Leslie Rasmussen (Communication), Zach Lippe (Math and Actuarial Science major), Kevin Thomas (English and Philosophy major; editor in chief, Xavier Newswire), and Eve Vavilis (Biology major)





October 21, 2019:

Conversations Across the American Divide: The Rural Roots of Class Politics in America

Nancy Isenberg, historian, Louisiana State University

in conversation with Dr. John Fairfield (History), Dr. Kandi Stinson (Sociology), Briana Ruzanka (PPP and Spanish major), and Isabella Serna (PPP major) 





November 11, 2019:

Community Conversations

My Truth is Your Propaganda: 

News in the age of cynicism, trolls, and hyper-partisanship


An event in coordination with Beyond Civility

Can you easily spot the fake news stories motivating your political rivals? Can you just as easily spot divisive stories attempting to motivate you? Our news and social media sources offer an array of information, opinion, demonstrable fact, and pure fiction. Join us to discuss the boundary between truth and propaganda and how to navigate it.


Dr. Eric Jenkins is an Associate Professor of Communications at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Jenkins studies the relationship between media technology, citizenship, and consumerism. He is the author of two books: Special Affects: Cinema, Animation, and the Translation of Consumer Culture and Surfing the Anthropocene: On the Big Tensions of Virtual Life. He is the winner of ten top paper awards at national and international conferences, and he has published articles in Critical Inquiry, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Critical Studies in Media Communication, and many others. He is an avid gardener, a father, and a political junky.
Dave Giles is the Deputy General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer at The E.W. Scripps Company. He provides counseling and advice to the Company’s television stations, podcasters and web sites on a variety of legal issues, including First Amendment matters, copyright, regulatory issues and journalism ethics. Dave is the Chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law and serves on the board of Cincinnati Public Radio.  Before working at Scripps, Dave Giles was an associate at BakerHostetler in Denver and Washington DC, and was a newspaper reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and USA Today
Maryanne Zeleznik is the Morning Edition Host and News Director for Cincinnati’s 91.7 WVXU. Maryanne is responsible for all local news coverage on the station which has a local news department of 11 reporters and editors. covers daily news, local news, and She has contributed contributes news stories to National Public Radio while hosting on WVXU. She has won numerous awards for her work in journalism including the Leo C. Lee Award for her significant contributions to public radio news. In addition, Maryanne has received awards from Ohio Associated Press, Kentucky Associated Press, RTDNA,  Ohio Society of Professional Journalists and the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was named the best talk show host in Cincinnati in 2017 by CityBeat readers.
Kevin Aldridge is an Opinion Editor for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Previously, Kevin served as an editor and writer for the Dayton Daily News. When examining the problems and issues of the day, Kevin chooses to look at the issues at hand and arrive at a conclusion pragmatically. In addition to writing for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Kevin also serves as a senior pastor at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Milford and as an adjunct professor at Miami University's Middletown and Hamilton regional campuses. Kevin is also a board member of Beyond Civility.
Gwen McFarlin is the Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party and also serves as a Springfield Township Trustee. She recently sponsored a bias training program called “Identifying and Mitigating Bias” which aimed to unite people across the diverse Democratic Party in Hamilton County. Her top priorities as an elected official are the revitalization of neighborhoods, increasing financial stability and economic development and redevelopment.
Amber Sprengard is the Senior Director of Government Affairs and External Relations at Health Carousel. In this role Amber works closely with Norwood-based healthcare in order to set legislative and regulatory strategy and advance policy priorities. During the span of Amber’s career she has worked as Senior Director of Corporate Development for Health Council, as vice president of municipal investment banking for RBC Capital Markets for eleven years, as the Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee, and as a government affairs consultant where she managed client relationships within Ohio for Capitol Square Consulting. In addition, Amber serves on the board of the Cincinnati Parks Foundation.
Beth Silvers is the co-host of the nationally-acclaimed podcast Pantsuit Politics. She owns and operates a business coaching practice, drawing on her experience as an attorney and human resources executive to help individuals and organizations clarify priorities and communicate effectively. Beth is a member of the board of directors for the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, Beech Acres Parenting Center, and Beyond Civility, and she serves as a deacon at Florence Christian Church. She has been recognized as one of Ohio’s Most Powerful and Influential Women by the Ohio Diversity Council, a Human Resources GameChanger by Workforce Magazine, and one of Cincinnati’s Forty Under 40 business leaders. A graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky, Beth lives in Union with her husband, two daughters, and miniature schnauzer. She loves people, politics, poetry, and watermelon.