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November 2018

How to Be an Antiracist

November 16
4:00 pm – 5:15 pm
Image of white supremacists with flag

In this deeply personal and empowering lecture, Ibram X. Kendi shifts the discussion from how not to be racist, to how to be an antiracist, offering direction to those who want to see a real antiracist America. (Registration required.) Read More »

From Here to Nowhere: Utopian Schemes in American Life

November 16
4:00 pm – 5:15 pm
Image of Methodist revival

Randall Balmer considers how The Great Awakening at the turn of the 19th century unleashed a flurry of utopian experiments, several of which had their roots in Vermont. (Registration required.) Read More »

Frederick Douglass, In Spite of Everything, Optimistic

November 16
4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Despite having been an enslaved person, a leading abolitionist for decades, and a witness of the end of Reconstruction and the establishment of Jim Crow, Frederick Douglass had a deep 19th-century belief in progress. David Blight examines this brilliant, prominent, and influential American. (Registration required.) Read More »

Walt Whitman, America’s Great Optimistic Writer

November 16
4:00 pm – 5:15 pm
Image of Walt Whitman

Huck Gutman and Mary Lou Kete discuss the ebb and flow of optimism in Walt Whitman, an optimist among American writers, and yet one with a darker side. (Registration required.) Read More »

Racist Ideas in America: From Slavery to Black Lives Matter

November 16
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Ira Allen Chapel, Burlington
Image of Black Lives Matter march

Ibram X. Kendi will trace the history of racist ideas through American history, including the “dueling dualities” of racial progress and simultaneous progress of racism. He considers the relationship between those ideas and racial discrimination, and offers reasons for hope for the future. Read More »

“Composite Nation:” Can America Find a Unifying Historical Narrative Rooted in Progress?

November 17
9:10 am – 10:25 am
Image of immigrant family looking at Statue of Liberty

Americans’ sense of hope or faith that tomorrow will be better than today has always depended upon not only when one lives, but also who one is. David Blight considers the ebb and flow of optimism throughout American history in light of this fact (Registration required.) Read More »

The Blessed Hope: Optimism and Apocalypticism in American History

November 17
10:40 am – 11:55 am
Image of painting of men on horseback

Randall Balmer explains how, from the earliest days of American history, Protestants have disagreed about interpreting various prophetic passages in the Bible. Their interpretations have sometimes inspired great waves of social reform, and other times have spurred Protestants to seek the second coming of Jesus and the imminent end of history. (Registration required.) Read More »

Tribal Nations, Manifest Destiny and the “Dying Indian”

November 17
10:40 am – 11:55 am
Image of tepees outside of frontier fort

Bruce Duthu considers how Native writers, artists and other humanists have confounded and complicated the national origin story. In the process, they have challenged the United States to live up to its professed commitments to justice for Native peoples as expressed in federal law and Indian affairs policy. (Registration required.) Read More »

Visions of Progress

November 17
10:40 am – 11:55 am
Image of painting of mountain scene

Jennifer Raab looks at 19th-century American landscape painters like Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, and Albert Bierstadt to consider how artists of that era represented progress and used the physical environment to express hope and doubt, past and future, and the local and the global. (Registration required.) Read More »

How the Gilded Age Created the Progressive Era

November 17
10:40 am – 11:55 am
Image of painting of U.S. map and woman

The voices of the Progressive Era, including Jane Addams, W. E. B. Du Bois, Theodore Roosevelt, and Zitkála-Šá, didn’t come from nowhere. Heather Cox Richardson explains how they articulated a vision for America that had its roots in the runaway capitalism of the Gilded Age. (Registration required.) Read More »

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