Vermont Humanities
Statue of man on horse atop stone plinth

The Complicated Histories of Monuments

As monuments come down across the US, some decry that history is being erased. But what (and whose) history do monuments contain? Using several American and European monuments as examples, UVM Art History professor Kelley Di Dio explores why, when, and by whom these monuments were made, and considers what should be done with them.

Engraving of Frederick Douglass

David Blight on “Writing the Life of Frederick Douglass”

Video: Yale historian David Blight, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History for his biography “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” tells Douglass’s story: an escaped slave who became one of the leading abolitionists, orators, and writers of his era.

I went to the woods sign in forest

Reading Thoreau in the 21st Century

Video: Henry David Thoreau advocated for both civil disobedience to unjust political authority and also for nature’s appropriate role in our economic, moral, and spiritual lives. UVM professor Bob Pepperman Taylor discusses the relationship between Thoreau’s political and environmental messages and how they resonate today.

Stone wall with park sign

The History and Structure of Stone Walls

Video: New England has thousands of miles of stone walls. Author and builder Kevin Gardner discusses the history of stone walls and how they became a significant element of our landscape, all while building a miniature New England wall in the library.

From Rembrandt to Van Gogh and Beyond

Video: Vincent Van Gogh’s art was among the first that made visible the artist’s subjective feelings, an approach later emulated by 20th-century artists. Art historian Carol Berry discusses Van Gogh’s life, the development of his art, and the artists who influenced him.

Image of hands folded on the Bible

What You Didn’t Know about Evangelicalism

Video: Most Americans associate evangelicals with the hard-right precincts of the Republican Party. But as Dartmouth religion professor Randall Balmer explains, evangelicalism in America has a much longer and more complex history, including a distinguished pedigree of working for progressive reforms. What happened?

Image of Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson: Poet of New England

Video: Emily Dickinson lived her entire life in Amherst, Massachusetts. One of the greatest American poets, and probably the most important woman poet of all time, she was also a quintessential New England poet. UVM professor emeritus Huck Gutman explores what Dickinson can teach us. Part of PoemCity 2019 in Montpelier.

Image of Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Revisited

Video: Historians rank Abraham Lincoln’s majestic second inaugural address as one of the greatest political orations in American history. But at the time, the speech generated entirely partisan responses even as the Civil War headed toward Union victory. Preeminent Lincoln biographer Harold Holzer revisits the unforgettable day of March 4, 1865.

Image of pill bottles

The Opioid Crisis: A Historical Perspective

Video: Today’s opioid epidemic is usually portrayed as a new and shocking development. Yet it is only the most recent crisis in more than a century of widespread addiction to pharmaceuticals. Historian David Herzberg tells the story of past epidemics of addiction and draws lessons from America’s long history of drug policy failures and occasional successes.