Civil Discourse: Now and in Jefferson’s Time
Is the civility Jefferson practiced in the late 18th and early 19th centuries possible or desirable today? Is civility a good thing?
Join Dr. Lori Britt, Dr. Andrea Douglas, Tom Walls and Stephanie Roark Keener (moderator) inside Jefferson’s villa for a discussion about what civility actually was in Jefferson’s time, as well as the limits of civility in today’s polarized political and social environments. A reception of wine and light appetizers to follow. Reservations are required due to limited space available.
About the Speakers
Dr. Lori L. Britt
Dr. Lori L. Britt is an associate professor at JMU’s School of Communication and is the director of the Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue. Dr. Britt’s research focuses on understanding how communities and organizations go about charting future courses of action and how different structures and practices can aid in making those plans more inclusive. She has experience facilitating deliberation, dialogue and visioning processes for governmental and non-profit agencies.
Dr. Andrea Douglas
The executive director of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center at University of Virginia, Dr. Andrea Douglas holds an MA and PhD in art history from the University of Virginia and an MBA in arts management and finance from Binghamton University, New York. She has participated in the Getty’s Leadership Institute, and presently serves on Monticello’s Advisory Committee on African American Affairs. She was recently appointed co-chair of the next President’s Commission, which will explore the university’s post-Emancipation history. Dr. Douglas also sits on the boards of the Miller School of Albemarle and the Emily Couric Leadership Forum.
Tom Walls, a legal, legislative and political advocate, is the executive director of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership, a program that trains Virginians in the skills of politics and public policy and promotes ethics and civility in public life. Walls holds two UVA degrees: a BA in English (1982) and JD from the School of Law (1987). He has served as a senior staff member to three U.S. senators; was a partner at McGuire Woods LLP and senior vice president of federal public affairs at McGuireWoods Consulting; and was a principal in the Public Policy and Regulation group at Dentons US LLP in Washington, DC, before joining the Sorensen Institute.
Stephanie Roark Keener (Moderator)
Stephanie Roark Keener is director at the Small Business Development Center, Lynchburg Region. She came to the Small Business Development Center from Lynchburg’s Virginia Main Street Program where she developed and directed marketing and events for Downtown Lynchburg, including the James River Batteau Festival, Friday Cheers and Get! Downtown. She has an MA in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University and BA in history and political science from the University of Kentucky.
About Mr. Jefferson’s Salon Series
The Salon Series was developed to offer a place for people to discuss their differences of opinion in an open and civil way, and to help to come to an understanding about the issues our nation faces today. Poplar Forest patterned the Salon Series on the 18th-century Enlightenment salons—fostering discussion and debate on topics ranging from politics, to art and literature, to science, philosophy and morality—that Jefferson himself attended while serving as American ambassador to France, and are designed to encourage an exchange of ideas on issues that were of interest or a challenge to Jefferson in his time, and why they continue to matter today.
“In stating prudential rules for our government in society, I must not omit the important one of never entering into dispute or argument with another. I never yet saw an instance of one of two disputants convincing the other by argument. I have seen many of their getting warm, becoming rude, & shooting one another.”
—Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson Randolph, November 24, 1808