The Town Hall Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the City of Bethlehem and Lehigh University, seeks to foster an exchange of knowledge between the university and city residents, touching on matters of current interest and of local, national, and global importance. Presentations have focused on a wide variety of topics, ranging from public history, political science, and current events to urban agriculture and community health and well-being.
Past Town Hall Lectures (2010-11)
April 20: "The Egalitarian Promise of Moravian Bethlehem: Some Surprising Truths About the Origins of Our City." (Seth Moglen, Department of English, Lehigh University)
Seth Moglen will explore the unconventional spiritual beliefs and social arrangements that characterized the town of Bethlehem during the 1740s and 1750s. Bethlehem’s Moravian founders created one of the most egalitarian communities in 18th-century North America – but they also feared, and ultimately abandoned, their most impressive social accomplishments. Moglen will argue that we live today in the shadow of this failed egalitarian promise as surely as we live in the shadow of Bethlehem Steel. His Town Hall lecture is derived from a book-in-progress, Bethlehem: American Utopia, American Tragedy, which traces the history of our city from Moravian founding to its post-industrial present.
January 19: "How the Mass Media Keep Us Apart--and Powerless; or, How did we get into this mess?" (Edward P. Morgan, Department of Political Science, Lehigh University)
There is ample evidence that the American political system is both polarized and paralyzed. Our political discourse is full of the rhetoric of attack, blame, and victimhood, while the government seems unable to deal effectively with deepening economic, ecological, and social justice problems. Drawing on the research completed for his newly published book, What Really Happened to the 1960s: How Mass Media Culture Failed American Democracy, Professor Ted Morgan explains how and why we got into this condition and what it might take to revitalize our democracy.
October 20: “Have a Healthier Bethlehem NOW: Community Approaches to Individual Health.” Dr. Judith Lasker (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Lehigh University, and Dr. Meagan Grega, M.D., co-founder, Kellyn Foundation)
Dr. Meagan Grega and Professor Judy Lasker will present, "Have a Healthier Bethlehem Now: Community Approaches to Individual Health." The two will discuss the importance of community-level interventions to improve the health of individuals in our region. Dr. Grega will focus on the Kellyn Foundation's efforts to fight obesity through programs to promote better food and eating practices. Dr. Lasker will report on research on the role of social ties and organizations such as Time Banks in improving health.