Makayla Hipke
Dole Institute of Politics

Fall at the Dole Institute: Activism, current issues and history

Tue, 08/27/2019

LAWRENCE – The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced its programming lineup for the fall 2019 semester. Events include a mix of topics including effective activism, current U.S. and world events, the upcoming census and national history.

“Our schedule this semester is filled with stories of leadership and creativity, from filmmakers to activists and beyond,” Director Bill Lacy said. “We are also excited to announce our phenomenal guests for the Elizabeth Dole Women in Leadership Lecture and the Dole Leadership Prize later this semester.”

Programming will launch in mid-September with renowned local filmmaker and KU professor Kevin Willmott. The institute’s annual Constitution Day panel will follow, examining three separate U.S. Supreme Court cases originating in Kansas that will be heard this year. September will also include a panel of scholars discussing historical perspectives on women’s suffrage as the U.S. approaches 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

In October, the institute will welcome back author, historian and 2017 Dole Curatorial Fellow Heath Hardage Lee for a discussion of her book on POW/MIA allies and advocates, “The League of Wives.” Her research formed the historical basis for the institute’s traveling exhibition of the same name, and the book was recently optioned for film by Hello Sunshine, a production company helmed by Reese Witherspoon. October will also feature an interactive workshop on the 2020 U.S. Census.

November’s Journalism and Politics Lecture will explore the evolution of television news with two industry experts. The Dole Leadership Prize and the Elizabeth Dole Women in Leadership Lecture will headline late semester programming. Guests for those events will be announced at a later date.

Fall fellow Nancy Bocskor will lead a timely discussion group series designed to educate students and community members on how to become effective advocates and activists. Bocskor has taught citizens around the world how to create change in their communities and countries. She is the director of the Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy at Texas Woman’s University.

The institute will host a variety of afternoon book talks throughout the semester, exploring topics such as prospects for peace in Afghanistan, notable Kansas public servants, a day in the life of a U.S. combat soldier in Afghanistan and the forging of the modern Supreme Court. The Fort Leavenworth series is set to continue monthly through the end of the year.

Evening programs

In Conversation with Kevin Willmott
7 p.m. Sept. 11
With work on titles like “BlacKkKlansman,” “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” “Jayhawkers” and beyond, Kevin Willmott is both a renowned filmmaker and a local legend. Willmott will join the Dole Institute for a conversation on his diverse career as a director, screenwriter, producer, civil rights activist and KU professor. A native of Junction City, Willmott shared the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay with Spike Lee in 2019 for the duo’s collaboration on “BlacKkKlansman.”

2019 Constitution Day program
Kansas in the U.S. Supreme Court
7 p.m. Sept. 19
The U.S. Supreme Court has granted review to three separate cases involving the state of Kansas in 2019, which it will hear in October and November. Join Stephen McAllister, U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas, and special guests as they explore the constitutional issues raised in each of three cases:

  • Kansas v. Garcia: whether federal immigration laws preempt Kansas identity theft criminal laws.
  • Kahler v. Kansas: whether a state is compelled by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to recognize an “insanity defense.” Kansas — like some states, but not others —has abolished an affirmative insanity defense, and the defendant in question has argued he was legally insane at the time of the killings.
  • Kansas v. Glover: in a case originating in Lawrence, whether it is reasonable for a law enforcement officer to assume the driver of the vehicle is its registered owner, as a general matter.

Votes for Women: Suffrage and the 19th Amendment Centennial
7 p.m. Sept. 24
One hundred years have not yet passed since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted many — but not all — U.S. women the right to vote. Passed by the House and Senate in 1919 and reaching the threshold to become law of the land in 1920, it enfranchised 26 million women voters. In this 100th-anniversary kickoff event, a panel featuring professors Jinx Broussard (Louisiana State University), Teri Finneman (KU) and Candi Carter Olson (Utah State University) will examine the women’s suffrage movement and the legacy and limitations of this transformative amendment. This program is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Kansas and its Centennial Celebration Committee.

The League of Wives: Heath Hardage Lee
7 p.m. Oct. 22
Historian and author Heath Hardage Lee specializes in telling little-known stories of dynamic women throughout history. Her latest work, “The League of Wives,” explores a group of fearless military wives that bucked convention during the Vietnam War to advocate on behalf of their POW/MIA husbands and bring them home. The book has since been optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, while its eponymous exhibit debuted at the Dole Institute in spring 2017 and has since traveled nearly 5,000 miles to institutions across the U.S. Lee visits the institute to discuss her book, the research process and what’s next for “The League of Wives.” This program includes a book sale and signing with the author.

2019 Journalism and Politics Lecture
The Evolution of TV News
7 p.m. Nov. 13
A 2018 Pew Research Center survey reminds us that television continues to outpace online, radio and print outlets as the preferred news source for American adults. Once dominated by three networks, the rise of cable news has dramatically altered the landscape of TV journalism and political coverage. Join consultants and lecturers Michael Cascio and Ed Hersh for a discussion of how television news has evolved, challenges facing today’s outlets and what role TV journalists play in our political arena.  

Afternoon programs

Fort Leavenworth series
Frank Jack Fletcher: Unsung Hero
3 p.m. Sept. 4
Frank Jack Fletcher commanded carrier task forces in the critical first year of World War II in the Pacific. He served as senior commander in three famous naval battles (the Coral Sea, Midway and the Eastern Solomons), winning all three and damaging the Japanese Navy, which prevented it from accomplishing its operational objectives. John Kuehn leads an exploration of Fletcher’s accomplishments and examines why the commander has been largely forgotten by history.

Prospects for Peace in Afghanistan
3 p.m. Sept. 17
A former minister of the interior for Afghanistan and Afghan ambassador to Germany, Ali Ahmad Jalali has written extensively on the military history of the country. He visits the institute to look at the current state of affairs in the nation and prospects for peace in the future. His latest work, “A Military History of Afghanistan: From the Great Game to the Global War on Terror,” offers extensive insight into the modern military history of Afghanistan, which has been waged by state and non-state actors, against domestic and foreign entities, and under rapidly changing conditions. This program includes a book sale and signing with the author.

Fall 2019 Discussion Group series
Create Change: Women, Democracy and Global Politics
4 p.m. Sept. 25, Oct. 9, Oct. 16, Oct. 23, Oct. 30, Nov. 6, Nov. 20
Do you dream of creating change in your community, state or country? Are you ready to become a more effective advocate, activist or even an elected official? This fall, Dole fellow Nancy Bocskor will give you a roadmap to turn your knowledge and passion into a plan. By utilizing the tools that women activists use worldwide, you will be both inspired and ready to take action. Bocskor, tagged a “democracy coach” by a German newspaper, teaches citizens around the world how to communicate with passion to effect change in their communities. She is the director of the Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy at Texas Woman’s University.

Fort Leavenworth series
Philip II “Augustus” of France
3 p.m. Oct. 3
The early reign of Philip II of France was an exhibition of poor generalship, but by the early 1200s, Philip had seized most of the counties and duchies under the control of England’s King John. These victories would construct the territorial basis for modern France. Philip’s crowning victory at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214 was dubbed “the most important battle you’ve never heard of” by the BBC, and the result would forever change the face of Europe. An expert in medieval warfare, John Hosler will lead an examination of Philip and some of his most consequential victories.

Count Me In, Kansas
2 p.m. Oct. 11
While many American eyes will be trained on the voting ballot and associated races in 2020, the upcoming U.S. Census is deserving of equal attention. The Dole Institute will partner with staff from the U.S. Census Bureau to present an interactive workshop teaching teens and the general public about the purpose and importance of the 2020 Census. Presented by Melinda Stanley, the event will educate guests on how they can make a lasting, 10-year effect on their community and state by becoming involved in the process.

Marine, Public Servant, Kansan
3 p.m. Oct. 17
The groundwork for Ernest “Ernie” Garcia’s life was laid by his ancestors through a decade of field labor, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and two world wars. Through hard work, education and some basketball, Ernie would rise to become a public servant, Marine Corps officer and the sergeant-at-arms for the U.S. Senate. Author Dennis Raphael Garcia and Ernie Garcia visit the institute to discuss his remarkable life story, his family’s American dream and the immigrant experience. This program includes a book sale and signing with the author.

Taliban Safari: One Day in the Surkhagan Valley
3 p.m. Oct. 24
In his book “Taliban Safari,” retired Lt. Col. Paul Darling offers an engrossing and true day-in-the-life narrative of a combat soldier in Afghanistan in 2009. From the mundane to the high-octane, Darling’s reflections will place the realities of combat into a broader perspective. Darling is both the father and son of combat soldiers, and his writing has appeared in outlets like Defense News and the Armed Forces Journal. This program includes a book sale and signing with the author.

Fort Leavenworth series
Brig. Gen. Frank “Pinkie” Dorn
3 p.m. Nov. 14
From 1942 to 1945, Frank “Pinkie” Dorn, a Chinese linguist and country expert, served in the China-Burma-India theater. Geoff Babb shares the story of Dorn, a colorful and talented officer, writer, mapmaker and artist who had previously served in China as a language student and army attaché. These duties would prepare him for his long service in this critical theater of World War II in the Indo-Pacific, including his time leading the team that trained, advised and equipped 39 Chinese divisions to go on the offensive against Japan in China and Burma.

Battle for the Marble Palace: The Forging of the Modern Supreme Court
3 p.m. Nov. 19
Author Michael Bobelian returns to the Dole Institute to explore a forgotten battle of 1968. Against a backdrop of the Vietnam War, riots during the Democratic National Convention and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, Abe Fortas was nominated to be chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The ultimately failed nomination would launch an all-out cultural war between the two major political parties — one that would determine the course of major cases for years to come. This program includes a book sale and signing with the author.

Fort Leavenworth series
Gen. Sir John Monash
3 p.m. Dec. 5
John Monash was a reserve colonel in the Australian army before World War I, but once the conflict began, he would become a full-time army officer. Promoted to brigadier general, major general and eventually lieutenant general, he commanded the Australian Corps on the Western Front. Monash was one of the first true advocates of combined arms warfare and had a deserved reputation for taking care of his men, going as far as to have hot meals delivered to the front lines in the midst of battle. David Mills examines Monash here, described by British historian A.J.P. Taylor as “the only general of creative originality produced by the First World War.”

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend KU-sponsored events. If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in these events, please contact the Dole Institute of Politics at least four business days prior to the event date by calling 785-864-4900 or emailing

The Dole Institute of Politics is dedicated to promoting political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bipartisan, philosophically balanced manner. It is located in KU’s West District and houses the Dole Archive and Special Collections. Through its robust public programming, congressional archive and museum, the Dole Institute strives to celebrate public service and the legacies of U.S. Senators Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole.

More information on all programs, as well as ongoing additions to the schedule, can be found on the Dole Institute’s website,

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