Vermont Humanities

Fall Conference Videos

Fall Festival

Every fall since 1974, Vermont Humanities has explored a humanities topic in depth at our annual fall conference. Browse videos below recorded at recent conferences, including our 2021 conference on the humanities and climate change.

From our 2021 Fall Conference

Young man holding an American flag jumping between rocks in a river

Are “We the People” Up to the Task?

In the United States, all power is derived from the people. While this sounds noble in theory, can we expect the American public to have the wits and self-control to meet the demands of climate change? Constitutional scholar Meg Mott explores the paradox of self-governance when the natural foundations of life itself are changing.

Image of boat under green water with a rope tied around the bow

History in Hot Water: Climate Change and the Shipwrecks of Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is home to hundreds of well-preserved shipwrecks that help tell the story of our region. But climate change is altering the lake’s underwater cultural heritage. Susan Evans McClure and Christopher Sabick from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum consider the impact of historical objects changing before our eyes.

Person standing on a dock in the rain

NPR’s Eric Westervelt on Bigger Fires, Hotter Days, and Drier Lands

NPR national correspondent Eric Westervelt describes how mega fires, excessive heat and widening drought all underscore how climate change is fueling the routinization of extreme weather, with consequences for all of us.

Climate advocate Elizabeth Yeampierre

The Path to Climate Justice is Local

Puerto Rican climate justice leader Elizabeth Yeampierre has helped pass climate legislation at all levels, including New York’s progressive Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. In this talk she describes how intergenerational BIPOC activists are changing the landscape of national climate priorities by speaking up for themselves and their neighborhoods.

Woman walking through a maze beside a seaside cliff

The Zone is Us: Sacrifice in the Space-Time of Climate Change

Gleaning from classical mythology, UVM professor Adrian Ivakhiv suggests three paths for navigating climate-related trauma: those of Chronos (science), of Aion (arts and humanities), and of Kairos (action without guarantee).

Author and environmental activist Bill McKibben. photo by Nancie Battaglia

Thinking Through the Future with Bill McKibben

Author Bill McKibben shares how the humanities can help us understand climate change, the greatest crisis we’ve ever found ourselves in. From the biblical book of Job to the latest science fiction, literature gives us clues to how we might shrink ourselves and our society a little.

Drawing of people fleeing in terror during Midsummer Night's Dream

Vermont Teen Shakespeareans Save the Planet

Get Thee to the Funnery founder Peter Gould and a panel of informed, passionate, articulate, and wise Shakespeare campers describe examining global warming and climate justice through their study of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

All Fall Conference Videos

Portrait of Alexander von Humboldt

Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture

Eleanor Jones Harvey, the author of “Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature and Culture,” illuminates Humboldt’s lasting impression on American visual arts, sciences, literature, and politics.

Young man holding an American flag jumping between rocks in a river

Are “We the People” Up to the Task?

In the United States, all power is derived from the people. While this sounds noble in theory, can we expect the American public to have the wits and self-control to meet the demands of climate change? Constitutional scholar Meg Mott explores the paradox of self-governance when the natural foundations of life itself are changing.

Quadrant of images from our fall conference

Democracy 20/20 Fall Conference Supercut

This Fall Conference “supercut” video selects the best clips from our Democracy 20/20 Fall Conference and presents them all in a 13-minute video. Our first-ever virtual Fall Conference was just one of the ways that we pivoted to meet the challenges that 2020 brought to us and our state.

State House knitting project with balls of yarn

Democracy Knitting Circle with Eve Jacobs-Carnahan

Knit Democracy Together is a modern take on historical knitting circles like those that supported the abolitionist and suffragist movements. At a time when people are losing confidence in government, this project creates a positive model of democracy.

Four members of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association

Democracy, Social Change, and Representation in N’dakinna (Our Homeland)

Beginning with a greeting and historic overview of democracy in N’dakinna (Abenaki for Homeland), this panel of Abenaki voices considers the threads of place, home, belonging, and representation in a time of great social change.

Image of George C. Marshall

George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century

Video: With Mark A. Stoler. Marshall was the architect of both the Allied World War II victory and key U.S. Cold War policies, most notably the European Recovery Program, known as “the Marshall Plan,” for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Journalists Yvonne Daley and David Moats

Getting it Right: Research and Diligence in Reporting

Author and longtime Vermont journalist Yvonne Daley interviews David Moats, her former colleague from the Rutland Herald, about Moats’ series of Pulitzer Prize-winning editorials on the divisive issues arising from civil unions for same-sex couples.

Image of boat under green water with a rope tied around the bow

History in Hot Water: Climate Change and the Shipwrecks of Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is home to hundreds of well-preserved shipwrecks that help tell the story of our region. But climate change is altering the lake’s underwater cultural heritage. Susan Evans McClure and Christopher Sabick from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum consider the impact of historical objects changing before our eyes.

Image of painting of U.S. map and woman

How the Gilded Age Created the Progressive Era

Video: 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.

Image of migrant workers beside car

How the Great Migration Changed American History

Video: The failures of Reconstruction, increasing levels of lynching and racial violence, and the economic stagnation of sharecropping encouraged many black southerners to seek steady factory work in northern cities like New York and Chicago.

Image of painting of two trains coming into a station

Is the Economic Past Prologue: Will the Industrial Revolution’s Economic Growth Continue?

Video: For 97% of recorded history, the world economy remained in a largely stationary state—until the Industrial Revolution, which brought significant economic growth. Is that growth sustainable?

Image of MLK at March on Washington

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Lessons in Leadership

Video: Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Taylor Branch explored how the citizens’ movement around Dr. King is a patriotic model for the future, not the past, promising once again to overcome gridlock and other intractable barriers along with race.

Vermont Humanities*** December 1, 2021