arrow-orange arrow caret-dark-graycaret-orangefacebookinstagramlinkedinlogo-accentlogo-wordmarkplay-circlesearchsoundcloudtwitteryoutube

Events and Learning Cohorts

Loading Events

University Roundtable at Upper House: Public Dialogue in an Era of Polarization with Katherine Cramer and John Fea

Wed 04.19.23 @ 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM CDT

  • This event has passed.

In an era of polarization and upheaval, knowing when to “speak” (organize, protest, argue, and actually talk) and when to “listen” (observe, rethink, seek out new information, and take note) can be unclear, even as our choices to engage can be quite consequential. At this inaugural University Roundtable, we will explore the tension between speaking and listening in today’s fractured culture. How might we balance curiosity, humility, and civility with integrity? We will hear brief remarks from two eminent scholars, Katherine Cramer (UW-Madison) and John Fea (Messiah University) before engaging in extended table discussions over dinner, drinks, and dessert. 

Roundtables are intended to foster cross-disciplinary community-building and dialogue that explores the intersection of various ethical, worldview, and religious or non-religious perspectives. We invite you to join us in discussing this important yet nuanced topic. Our program will commence at 5:30 with a reception, followed by brief introductory remarks from our speakers. Over dinner we will have table discussions followed by speaker Q&A. Our evening will conclude around 8:30 PM, although guests are welcome to linger in conversation.

A New Tradition: The University Roundtable at Upper House

The University Roundtable at Upper House is inspired by the Faculty Roundtables model, first held in 2002 at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and since hosted at Harvard, MIT, Yale, Brown, Northwestern, and other universities, for thousands of faculty, staff, and students. The former Dean of Harvard College, Harry Lewis, commented that Roundtables are “the kind of night that should be the norm in academia — serious conversation among smart people about contested issues, with pretty much everyone who spoke and counter-spoke both witty and civil.” 

At Upper House, we intend Roundtables to spark our UW-Madison community to consider new approaches to diverse academic, social, and thematic questions. Ideally, conversations begun at Roundtables will continue in classrooms, seminars, discussion groups, coffee shops, and in every corner of Madison going forward. 

A sit-down dinner, dessert, discussion, and Q&A will be the norm at our Roundtable gatherings. As a site of gathering and hospitality, Upper House is honored to bring this tradition to Madison. 

Invitees and Reservations

Faculty, administrators, staff, graduate students, and those with a stake in the content under discussion are invited to attend these roundtable events. We hope invitees will also bring spouses and partners. Your reservation fee of $25 includes a full sit-down dinner. Graduate students will be charged a reduced rate of $10. We hope you will encourage colleagues who would be interested in being part of this roundtable experience to also reserve their place. 


Katherine Cramer

Katherine Cramer is the Virginia Sapiro Professor of Political Science and Natalie C. Holton Chair of Letters & Science at UW-Madison. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker (University of Chicago Press, 2016). 

John Fea

John Fea is professor of American History at Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous books, including Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump (Eerdmans, 2018), as well as the Executive Editor at CURRENT magazine. 



Wed 04.19.23
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM CDT
Event Categories:


Daniel Hummel


Upper House
365 East Campus Mall, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53715 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website