CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University’s School of History, Philosophy and Religion is holding a flash panel to discuss the current political environment, including the recent U.S. Capitol insurrection and ongoing presidential transition.  

The panel, titled “Divided States of America: Sedition, the Inauguration, and the Unfolding Crisis in American Democracy,” will include experts from OSU and other universities speaking about the historical, political and philosophical underpinnings of today’s national climate.

It will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21 via Zoom and is free and open to the public. Register here.

“This panel was already in planning stages before the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building, and that event only increased the importance of having a deeply informed conversation among experts about the conflicts and dangers surrounding the transition of presidential power,” said Amy Koehlinger, an associate professor of history and religious studies in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts and the moderator of the panel.

The event is part of an ongoing series of flash panels from the college’s School of History, Philosophy and Religion, which began in 2016 as a way for students to hear professors apply their academic expertise to real-world current events. Previous panels have discussed issues such as the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, Black Lives Matter protests and President Trump’s first impeachment.

The panelists are: Alison Gash, associate professor of political science at the University of Oregon; Sylvester Johnson, professor of religion and culture and founding director of the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities; Christopher McKnight Nichols, OSU associate professor of history and director of the Center for the Humanities; Joseph Orosco, OSU professor of philosophy; and Christopher Stout, OSU associate professor of political science.

Each panelist will offer commentary for roughly 10 minutes, and the rest of the time will be a moderated question-and-answer period. Attendees can submit questions in the Zoom chat. Koehlinger anticipates that panelists will cover the unfolding Constitutional crisis leading up to the inauguration of Joe Biden as president and the transition of power, the false narrative of a “stolen election,” the origins and repercussions of the attack on the Capitol, the resurgence of violent white supremacy, and the larger context of the global pandemic, economic disruption and U.S. national security interests.

Koehlinger said the event is aimed at anyone who wants a deeper analysis of the nation’s current political climate.

“I want people attending the panel to come away with informed insights into the current political situation in the U.S. that help them be more thoughtful and engaged citizens of the U.S. and of the world,” she said.

For more information or to inquire about accommodations for disabilities, contact Amy Koehlinger.

College of Liberal Arts

About the OSU College of Liberal Arts: The College of Liberal Arts encompasses seven distinct schools, as well as several interdisciplinary initiatives, that focus on humanities, social sciences, and fine and performing arts. Curriculum developed by the college’s nationally and internationally-renowned faculty prepares students to approach the complex problems of the world ethically and thoughtfully, contributing to a student's academic foundation and helping to build real-world skills for a 21st century career and a purposeful life.

Story By: 

Molly Rosbach, [email protected]


Amy Koehlinger, [email protected]

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