Institute for Freedom & Community launches fall speaker series
To kick off its fall speaker series, the St. Olaf College Institute for Freedom & Community hosted a conversation with Pulitzer Prize–winning financial reporter Gretchen Morgenson ’76 on “The Hidden Force Behind Wealth Inequality in America.”
Morgenson is the senior financial reporter in the investigations unit at NBC News, a position she assumed in December 2019. She spent two years as an investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal and almost 20 years as assistant business and financial editor and columnist at The New York Times. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her “trenchant and incisive” coverage of Wall Street in The New York Times. She is the co-author, with Joshua Rosner, of Reckless Endangerment, a New York Times bestseller about the origins of the 2008 financial crisis.
Watch the full conversation with Morgenson below.
This is the first of five events the Institute for Freedom & Community will host this fall featuring experts discussing the theme “Capitalism, Freedom, and Community.”
Each event will be hosted virtually, and these live videos can be accessed through links on the Institute’s website. Events will include a conversation between each invited speaker and Morrison Family Director of the Institute for Freedom & Community Edmund Santurri. Professor of Music Justin Merritt, a member of the Director’s Council of the Institute for Freedom & Community, will host the October 20 conversation. All speaker events are free and open to the public, and their recordings will be archived online. Registration is encouraged but not required.
The next event in the series will be a discussion on September 21 with George Mason University Associate Professor of Economics Virgil Storr on “Markets and Morality.” Storr is the author or co-author of several books, including Understanding the Culture of Markets, Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster, and Do Markets Corrupt Our Morals? He is also the Don C. Lavoie Senior Fellow in the F.A. Hayek Program in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at George Mason’s Mercatus Center.
Following that will be an October 5 event with Villanova University Associate Professor of Humanities and History Eugene McCarraher on “Capitalism as Religion.” McCarraher is the author of Christian Critics: Religion and the Impasse in Modern American Social Thought and The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity. He has been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, and has written many scholarly articles, essays, and book reviews.
The event series continues on October 20 with a conversation with Loyola University Chicago Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Tandy Shermer on “Indentured Students — Higher Ed and the Student Loan Crisis.” Shermer teaches courses on labor, capitalism, and politics and has written about those topics in op-eds, academic articles, and scholarly books, including Sunbelt Capitalism, The Right and Labor, and Indentured Students.
The fall series will conclude with a conversation on November 3 with Georgetown University Professor of History Michael Kazin on “Moral Capitalism in the Democratic Party.” Kazin is the editor emeritus of Dissent magazine and the author of six books and editor of three, including War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918, which won the best book prize from the Peace History Society. He is also editor-in-chief of The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History and is currently completing a history of the Democratic Party to be published in March of 2022.
Established at St. Olaf in 2014, the Institute for Freedom & Community encourages free inquiry and meaningful debate of important political and social issues among students, faculty, and the general public. To that end, the Institute sponsors a range of programming opportunities, in addition to the lecture series, to further cultivate civil discourse within the context of the liberal arts. Subscribe to the Institute’s YouTube channel, follow the Institute on Twitter, or sign up for the quarterly newsletter to receive regular updates and information about Institute programming.