Established in 2017 by the Department of Political Studies with support from the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Office of Advancement, the John Meisel Lecture Series in Contemporary Political Controversies honours Professor Emeritus John Meisel, LLD’96, and his extensive contributions to Canadian politics and policy, Queen’s University, and the Department of Political Studies. Each year, the department invites a mid-career scholar to Queen’s University to deliver a public lecture that addresses a contemporary political controversy, followed by an interactive question and answer period and reception open to members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities. The visiting scholar also hosts a small seminar for Political Studies graduate students during his or her visit, where MA and PhD candidates have the opportunity to seek career mentorship and advice.
In 2017, Debra Thompson delivered the inaugural Meisel Lecture on the topic of “Controversies in the Making: Trump, Race, and Time,” and offered a compelling analysis of the role that race and the politics of time played in U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign strategy. Hayden King delivered the second annual lecture in 2018 on the topic of "Canada's Oldest Controversy: The Pretense of Reconciliation," in which he argued that attempts at reconciliation are part of an enduring cycle within the traditional Indigenous-state relationship and should be viewed neither as a contemporary phenomenon nor as a challenge to the status quo.