The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum Announces Fall Courses

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Schemel Forum Announces Fall Courses

The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum will offer three separate evening courses during the fall months: one that will examine the legacy of President Dwight Eisenhower; one that will look at the current threats to global democracy; and one that will study Europe’s fabled Paleolithic cave paintings.

Each course will be taught in six weekly sessions from 6 to 7:15 p.m. in the University’s Weinberg Memorial Library.

Sean Brennan, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Scranton, will present the first course, “Dwight David Eisenhower and the American Century,” on Sept. 16, 23 and 30 and Oct. 7, 21 and 28.

In the course, Dr. Brennan will take a close look at President Eisenhower, from his childhood in Abilene, Kansas, to his legendary military career during World War II, to becoming the first Republican president in more than 20 years during the 1950s.

“Few American figures in the 20th century had a larger impact on both the history of their own country and that of the world than Dwight Eisenhower. … One cannot understand American history in the 20th century without understanding Eisenhower,” Dr. Brennan said. “My hope is the course will help us understand Ike as a husband, father, general, university president and as, finally, one of America’s great presidents, as opposed to the distant commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force who gave the green light to D-Day, the sole impression many Americans have of him.”

Harold W. Baillie, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at the University, will present the second course, “Threats to Democracy in Our Time,” Sept. 17 and 24, and Oct. 1, 8, 15 and 22.

Dr. Baillie will look at the current threats facing modern democracy, including authoritarianism, populism and various forms of meritocracy. He will examine claims of democracy’s supposed triumph, then discuss why democracy might be transitory, with insights from Plato’s “Republic,” Marx’s “Economic Manuscripts” and Levitsky and Ziblatt’s “How Democracies Die.”

Finally, Harmar Brereton, M.D., a retired radiation oncologist, will present “Paleolithic Cave Painting in Europe: The Origin of Human Consciousness,” Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31. The course will review and contrast art found in the caves of Altamira, Tuc d’Albert, Trois Freres, Lascaux and Chauvet and explore why the art was created and what it might have meant to its creators.

“I’ve had a lifelong interest in the cave paintings of Western Europe and was lucky enough to visit many of them almost 20 years ago before the most famous caves were closed to visitors. The artwork is some 35,000 to 40,000 years old; and very beautiful, but also mysterious,” Dr. Brereton said. “The appearance of this art coincides with a remarkable advance in human behavior that reflects a change in consciousness, so in the course we’ll be looking at not only the art but also the emergence of modern humans.”

The courses are free for University students, faculty, staff and Schemel Forum members, while for non-members the fee is $75 per individual and $125 per couple. Space is limited and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register for the courses, contact Alicen Morrison, Schemel Forum assistant, at 570-941-6206 or

For more information on Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers, Schemel Forum director, at 570-941-4089 or