Students, parents and faculty may have more in common than they realized, and Daniel Sheehan hopes to prove so tonight in his lecture at Campbell Hall, starting at 7.
Now a visiting professor at UC Santa Cruz, Sheehan will speak about the political effects of the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how the tragedy can be used to bring together multiple generations.
“I’d like to call out to the millennial and baby-boomer generations to come and decide what is to be done in light of recent events,” Sheehan said.
“I was a freshman when JFK was shot,” he said. “You guys are much more like us [now].”
Sheehan studied at Harvard and received a bachelor’s degree in government studies and United States foreign policy under former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He later graduated from the Harvard School of Law and got a Ph.D. in Judeo-Christian Social Ethics from the Harvard Divinity School.
In 1994, Sheehan was the Caesar Chavez Visiting Professor at UCSB and taught a 160-student course titled “The Hidden History of America,” a class focused on the Central Intelligence Agency and its activities from World War II to the present.
Since then he has worked on various legal cases on issues ranging from the Iran/contra civil case to “The Pentagon Papers” to Native American rights. He said one of his most important cases was Karen Silkwood v. The Kerr-McGee Nuclear Corporation, a 1979 decision that ended the construction of all new private nuclear facilities in the United States.
Sheehan said there is a need to identify a new and different worldview, complete with a general statement of principles, political statement and clear concrete alternatives to current outlooks.
“I think that neither the liberal nor the conservative worldview will be successful,” he said, “nor do I think the answer lies between the two.”
Sheehan also said students should use the educational system to learn about controversial historical and political affairs that are not always addressed in the classroom.
“Utilize structures within the university,” he said. “Research, write papers on these topics – use this as a training ground.”
Jeff Wolfe, a junior environmental studies major, saw Sheehan speak at a small, informal gathering Sunday and said he was impressed with Sheehan’s ability to summarize things.
“I thought he was great,” Wolfe said. “He not only gave a historical perspective to the present, but asked what we’re going to do in the future as well.”
The lecture was organized by the Coalition for Peaceful Justice and funded by the Fund for Santa Barbara, the UCSB MultiCultural Center and the Law and Society department. Senior anthropology and environmental studies major Tarek Maassarani said he asked Sheehan to speak after watching a video of his lectures.
“I’d heard of him last year,” Maassarani said. “I didn’t even see him live – just a videotape of a three-hour lecture – and I literally spent all three hours hanging on every word.”