Vermont Humanities

First Wednesdays Events

A person in a kayak rowing on a lake in front of a rock face with green folaige on it
First Wednesdays

Free talks held at public libraries around Vermont on the first Wednesday of the month, October through May.

Please note that talks flagged as Digital Event or Hybrid Event may require advance registration.

Upcoming First Wednesdays Events

A glacier falling into the water
Live Event

Where Do We Stand? A Report from the Climate Battle

Author and activist Bill McKibben— the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and leader of the climate campaign group 350.org—provides an overview of the climate crisis and what changes need to be made to save the planet. 

Man in black jacket standing in front of a store in night time
Live Event

Pandemic Architecture: Two Centuries of Disease and Design

Public health crises have prompted many changes to the buildings, skylines, and streetscapes of our cities. Champlain College professor David Mills explores two centuries’ worth of alterations to the built environment made in pursuit of health and wellbeing, from modern to postmodern and beyond. 

A person with glasses, a blue shirt and pink shorts receives a black plastic bag of leafy greens from a man in a black and white shirt and camo pants wearing a surgical mask in a corner market store
Live Event

More than a Market: Food, Community, and Family in the Immigrant-owned Markets of Burlington and Winooski

The food markets operated by immigrants and refugees in Vermont’s urban areas have long offered traditional foods, social connection, and support. More than a Market, an oral history and documentary project exhibited at the Old North End Community Center through December 23, shares stories from these markets. Charlotte Barrett from Historic New England describes the importance of these social centers in the lives of their customers and owners. 

Two cosplayers pose at a convention, one in a gray mask with dark wings and claws and another as Hellboy, dressed in a tan coat and red facepaint
Live Event

The History of Cosplay

Cosplay— the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game—has a long history within science fiction and fantasy fandom. In recent years, it’s become a mainstream phenomenon. Andrew Liptak, author of Cosplay: A History, describes how cosplay has evolved from a niche activity of convention-goers in the mid-20th century to wide popularity today.

Empty table with name cards sits in front of a gallery of individuals at aHouse Banking Committee hearing on Watergate Incident
Live Event

The New History of Watergate

Fifty years after five burglars were caught inside the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee, the scandal that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency continues to reverberate in modern American politics. Journalist Garrett M. Graff, author of Watergate: A New History, discusses how Watergate shaped modern Washington, and how the events of 1971-1974 are stranger, wilder, and weirder than our popular memory.

A group of people gatheed for a rally in the middle of the road with a ship painted pink and the words TELL THE TRUTH in black on the side.
Live Event

Journalists Consider Community News Reporting

Join our panel of journalists as they explore what journalism means in the digital age, and examine ways in which youth take part in current journalism trends. Panelists include Meg Little Reilly, Deputy Associate Director at the White House Office of Management and Budget for President Obama, and Tim Calabro, Editor and Publisher of the White River Valley Herald.

The cover of Revolution in our Time, featuring images from the black power movement set in a black power fist with an orange background
Live Event

Revolution in Our Time

National Book Award finalist Kekla Magoon discusses her award-winning nonfiction book, Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People. The Vermont author also considers the importance of reading as a tool for social change, and our individual and collective power to transform our communities.  

Sherlock Holmes statue in profile against sunset
Live Event

Sherlock Holmes: The Game’s Afoot

Scholar Barry Deitz looks at the life and times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. He discusses the inspiration for Holmes and examines what other writers, actors, and directors have done with the character over the past 30 years. 

The golden dome atop the captial building in Montpelier, Vermont sits agains an overcast sky
Live Event

Changing Times: Reconciliation or Retribution

Changing racial demographics predict that those who identify as white will be in the minority by 2050. Rev. Thomas considers whether Vermont—one of the whitest states in the nation—is prepared to confront the growing presence of people of color within its own borders. He reflects on the recent ideological civil war that aims to maintain the status quo.  

Two men huddle to one side of a train car while another looks on in surprise
Digital Event

Suspicious Minds: Conspiracy Theory Explained

Cultural critic Mark Dery delves deep into the history, causes, and current proliferation of conspiracy theories. He explores their appeal, social media’s role in spreading them, and the threat they pose to democracy and to the very notions of objective fact and nonpartisan truth. 

Vermont Humanities*** December 9, 2021