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April 2018

Race at Ground Zero: Integration in Leland, Mississippi

April 24
7:00 pm
Image of boy in cornfield

Pulitzer-winning historian and filmmaker Douglas Blackmon speaks about and offers a sneak peek of his documentary film The Harvest. It looks at the failure of public school integration and its relation to our nation's current racial turmoil, as seen through the eyes of people born in 1964 in his hometown of Leland, Mississippi—the state’s first students to attend integrated classrooms from K to 12. Read More »

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Transatlantic Traumas: Endangering the West

April 25
7:00 pm
Brownell Library, Essex Junction
Image of the White House in thunderstorm

"The West" has been challenged by President Trump's policies, Russian covert actions, and domestic nativist and nationalistic tendencies. Stan Sloan, Visiting Scholar at Middlebury and author of Defense of the West, examines whether a perfect storm of external threats and internal politics is undermining Western values and interests. Read More »

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May 2018

Vincent Van Gogh and the Books He Read

May 2
7:00 pm

Van Gogh’s letters reveal that his paintings and drawings were inspired by his reading as well as by people, nature, and other painters’ work. Art historian Carol Berry shows the profound influence of the works of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and others on Van Gogh’s life and art. Read More »

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What If Poor Women Ran the World?

May 2
7:00 pm
Image of African American women marching

Labor historian Annelise Orleck tells the story of nine African-American union maids in Las Vegas during the 1970’s who challenged welfare cuts and built a long-lasting, vibrant anti-poverty program run by poor mothers. Read More »

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Georgia O’Keeffe: A Critical Look

May 2
7:00 pm
Image of Georgia O'Keefe

Georgia O'Keeffe lived 99 years and produced over 2,000 works in her 75-year career. James Maroney, the former Head of American Paintings at both Sotheby's and Christie's in New York who conducted her estate appraisal after her death, presents a critical evaluation of her best work. Read More »

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Love and Marriage in the 21st Century

May 2
7:00 pm
Brownell Library, Essex Junction
Image of couple holding hands

Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath looks at the transformation of marriage over the past century from a traditional contract between families to one that celebrates idealization in the form of “true love,” and suggests why the latter may be harder to fulfill than many thought. Read More »

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Roots of Our Geographic and Political Divide

May 2
7:00 pm

Pulitzer-winning historian David Hackett Fischer explains the astonishing tenacity, even in our multicultural nation, of the social and political cultures that different early British immigrant groups brought to different regions—cultures that underlie our fractured political landscape today. Read More »

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Mourning Lincoln

Image of Lincoln Memorial

Public responses to Lincoln’s assassination have been well chronicled, but New York University Professor of History Martha Hodes is the first to delve into personal and private responses—of African Americans and whites, Yankees and Confederates, soldiers and civilians. In this talk, she investigates the reaction on a human scale to America’s first presidential assassination, when the future of the nation was at stake for everyone whether they grieved or rejoiced at the news. Read More »

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“A Republic, If You Can Keep It…”

May 2
7:00 pm
Image of preamble to the Constitution

After the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government we had. His famous reply speaks to the fragility of our constitutional form of government. Middlebury Professor Emeritus of Political Science Eric Davis explores how the brilliant foundational concepts established in 1787 remain just as essential—and fragile—today. Read More »

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Reckoning with Darwin in American Culture

May 2
7:00 pm
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St Johnsbury

Americans came to terms with Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) in the aftermath of the Civil War, which shaped how Americans processed new ideas about evolution. Dartmouth history professor Leslie Butler traces the ways Americans responded to Darwin, culminating in the showdown over the teaching of evolution in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. Read More »

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