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

Wall with poster that says "Post No Hate"
Live Event

Must Free Speech Endure Hate Speech?

The First Amendment prevents Congress from passing any laws that abridge the freedom of speech. But what does that actually mean? Professor Meg Mott considers the history of speech laws in the United States, how states and municipalities have tried to curb offensive speech, and how the Supreme Court has ruled on those efforts.

Maple Sugaring Tools hang on the wall of a sugar shack in New Hampshire
Live Event

Maple, Vermont’s Medicine of Connection

Author and theologian Damian Costello explores how the practice of maple sugaring in Vermont connects us to the land, our ancestors, and all that surrounds us. In conversation with the bestselling book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” he suggests that sugarmaking—which is informed by Indigenous wisdom—is a communal medicine of connection that teaches mutual reciprocity with the land.

A colorful graffito of Miles Davis playing trumpet with bright colors and shapes surrounding him
Live Event

The Electric Period of Miles Davis

The ever-changing music that Miles Davis recorded from 1969 to 1975 angered and bewildered many critics and fans, who accused the trumpeter of “selling out.” Jazz archivist and poet Reuben Jackson shares how recordings from Davis’ “Electric Period”—including 1974’s Get Up With It—prove otherwise. 

Jason Chin Stands in a white shirt and green pants wearing a backpack, staring out over the Grand Canyon
Live Event

Reflections on Writing and Illustration

Vermonter Jason Chin has written and illustrated many acclaimed children’s books, including Grand Canyon, Redwoods, and Your Place in the Universe. He received the 2022 Caldecott Medal for illustrating Watercress by Andrea Wang. In this presentation he describes his passion for nature, science, and art,  and discusses the impact of his work with young people. 

A postcard illustration of the Rudyard Kipling Estate in Brattleboro, VT at sunset
Live Event

Five Hard Questions about Kipling in Vermont

On his farm overlooking Brattleboro, Rudyard Kipling wrote the Jungle Book and many of his Just So Stories, and began to draft his great novel, Kim. Christopher Benfey, author If: The Untold Story of Kipling’s American Years, answers hard questions about Kipling’s time in this country, including whether he should be considered partly an American writer.

A red barn stands in the white snow in the winter of Vermont
Live Event

Vermonters and the Land

UVM professor Cheryl Morse—who studies how people perceive, co-produce, and experience rural places—reports on how different groups of Vermonters have engaged with land as landscape, place, and environment in recent years, and why these engagements matter in contemporary land debates.

A drawing of a woman standing on a pile of pharmaceutical pills
Live Event

What is Graphic Medicine?

Author and cartoonist Rachel Lindsay explores the themes of mental illness and psychopharmaceutical advertising, as chronicled in her book RX: A Graphic Memoir.

Two men stand in front of a wooden frame in matching orange patterned shirts, holding woodwind instruments
Live Event

POSTPONED: Our Native Land

Father and son storytellers and musicians Joseph and Jesse Bruchac of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation use traditional music, storytelling, and the Abenaki language to describe the continuing connection of their people to Ndakinna (our land.) They share greeting and friendship songs and tell stories that relate to the creation of the place now called Vermont. 

A drone sits in a hangar looking out on a desert and mountain as a man in a jumpsuit walks towards it.
Hybrid Event

Dirty Work with Author Eyal Press

Journalist Eyal Press discusses his reporting for his award-winning book “Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America” which examines the morally troubling jobs that society tacitly condones, and the hidden class of workers who do them.

Marquee of the Broadway show Wicked
Live Event

Follow the Yellow Brick Road: A Conversation with Gregory Maguire

In this moderated conversation, Gregory Maguire discusses his “revisionist history” of L. Frank Baum’s fantastic universe, including its ongoing relevance in a world where we too easily put people in boxes labeled “wicked” and “good.” Maguire will sign books after his talk, including the latest in his Oz series, The Oracle of Maracoor.

Vermont Humanities*** December 9, 2021