First Wednesdays

A Humanities Lecture Series, October through May

Middlebury First Wednesdays

Venue: Ilsley Public Library

75 Main Street, Middlebury
Library phone: (802) 388-4095
Library website
Directions to the library

Printed Middlebury First Wednesdays brochure

Download the 2017-2018 Middlebury Schedule (PDF)

All First Wednesdays events are free and open to the public!

Wed 04

Willa Cather’s Prairie Landscapes

October 4
7:00 pm
Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury
The European immigrant farmers in My Antonia and Cather’s other novels fail as often as they succeed. Amherst College professor Michele Barale examines the relation between Cather’s art and her very tangible earth. Read More »
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Wed 01

Considering All Things . . .

November 1
7:00 pm
NPR’s Robert Siegel reflects on his thirty years as co-host of the daily news program All Things Considered and the journalistic changes he has seen along the way. Read More »
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Wed 06

Physicists’ Dream of a Theory of Everything

December 6
7:00 pm
Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury
Theoretical physicists have long dreamt of a theory of everything that encompasses all particles of matter and their interactions. Dartmouth professor Marcelo Gleiser describes how physics and astronomy obtain knowledge of the natural world and how their limitations preclude us from ever getting to a “final” theory. Read More »
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Wed 03

Race, Nation, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved

January 3, 2018
7:00 pm
Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury
UVM professor Emily Bernard explores how Beloved argues that America must reckon with the consequences of our nation’s original sin—slavery. Read More »
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Thu 08

Slavery by Another Name

February 8, 2018
7:00 pm
Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury
Historian and filmmaker Douglas Blackmon discusses his film, and Pulitzer-winning book, Slavery by Another Name, which chronicle the return of forced labor across the South between the Civil War and WWII, when hundreds of thousands of African-American men were convicted of trivial or trumped-up offenses—or simply kidnapped—and sold into the forced labor camps of a new system of slavery. The talk includes brief film clips. Read More »
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Wed 07

Presidents Appointing Judges

March 7, 2018
7:00 pm
Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury
As UVM professor Lisa Holmes explains, while presidents have long used judicial appointments to tilt the judiciary in one direction or another, less common historically have been presidents gaining great political benefit from appointing judges for ideological reasons. Its impact on the health of the judiciary remains to be seen. Read More »
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Wed 04

Understanding Scripture

April 4, 2018
7:00 pm
Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury
Middlebury professor emeritus John Keenan considers how we come to understand scripture and gain an interfaith reading of the text by stepping back to see it in context and by stepping aside the text to see parallels and similarities with other traditions. Read More »
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Wed 02

Churchill and Roosevelt: The Personal in the Partnership

May 2, 2018
7:00 pm
Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury
University of Vermont History Professor Emeritus Mark A. Stoler examines the important personal relationship between Britain’s Prime Minister and America’s President during their World War II alliance. Read More »
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