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Crossroads of Ideas makes fall 2016 debut Sept. 20

September 16, 2016 By Jeanan Yasiri Moe

The popular public lecture series “Crossroads of Ideas” makes its fall semester debut with “Laboratory of Oligarchy” on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Lewis Friedland, a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of journalism, will explore the meaning of oligarchy and how it can emerge in a democratic system.

The event will take place at The Discovery Building, in the Town Center’s DeLuca Forum, at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Starting with the October session, the series will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Friedland, who is the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the  School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will discuss the prospect of oligarchy emergence, how changes in national and state media systems can influence that, and the potential outcomes. His talk will explore both national and state examples, including Wisconsin.

Crossroads of Ideas launched in fall 2015 and immediately became a popular public lecture series for participants from both on and off campus. The series regularly invites speakers and discussions on challenging and engaging social science topics such as politics, policy, ethics, public perceptions, law, and science and society. It is held monthly. Upcoming dates and topics include:

Photo: Lewis Friedland

Lewis Friedland

Photo: Joseph Salmons

Joseph Salmons

Photo: Lucas Graves

Lucas Graves

Photo: Barry Burden

Barry Burden

Oct. 18: “How can we be less wrong about language and immigration?” Joseph Salmons, professor of German

Nov. 1: “Why is it so hard to agree on the facts? The virtues and limits of political fact-checking.” Lucas Graves, professor of journalism

Dec. 13: “The science of the electoral gender gap in 2016.” Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center

All forums are held at The Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St., Madison. Registration is encouraged but not required at

The series is co-presented by Discovery affiliates The Morgridge Institute for Research, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

The Crossroads series coincides in 2016 with a special series produced by the Society and Politics committee of the Wisconsin Union Directorate focusing on issues related to the election. That series is called “Forward? The Wisconsin Idea, Past and Present,” and the first talk will be held Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., Madison. The talk will feature Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, on “The Corruption of the Wisconsin Idea: ALEC and Other Developments.”