Lectures & Seminars
Radio Finds Its Voice

Jill Ahrold Bailey, producer of “The Big Broadcast” on WAMU 88.5, tunes into an era in which Americans became linked by a new and booming medium, as radio dramatically—and quickly—changed the entertainment, news, and political scenes.

Monday, April 24, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Telling Fact from Falsehood: Skills to Expose Pseudoscience

How do we know what we know? It’s hard enough parsing fact from fiction in today’s so-called post-truth environment, but how can we recognize science fact from pseudoscience? Paleontologist Thomas Holtz shares questions we need to ask to get to the truth.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
From Shtetl to Synagogue: Jewish Heritage Sites in Eastern Europe

Journalist and author Ruth Ellen Gruber redraws the map of extraordinary Jewish places in the heartland of Central and Eastern Europe and reveals the remarkable vestiges of the rich and dynamic culture that flourished for centuries.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Jane Austen: From the Parlor to Politics

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. The passing years have increased her novels’ appeal as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, the Dashwood sisters, and Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley continue to delight us. But the real world informed Austen’s portrayals of the elegant confines of Pemberley and the social climbing of Pulteney Street. Discover how Austen introduced the realities of Regency  England into her carefully crafted worlds.

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Discover Cuba: One Island, Many Worlds

After so many years, a thaw in diplomatic relations offers hope for greater opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba and to rediscover a still-evolving island and its people. Emilio Cueto, a popular Smithsonian Journeys’ study tour leader to Cuba, takes you on a virtual journey around the amazing island in the Caribbean.

Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Maurice Ravel in 1920s Paris

He readily comes to mind as the composer of the great orchestral work, Bolero, but Maurice Ravel was one of the great mainstays of musical life in Paris of the 1920s. His work celebrated the greatness of France’s musical past as he also drew on modern techniques of musical composition.  Explore his musical genius and virtuosity in a lively daylong program highlighted by recordings and live piano performances.

Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Shedding Light on Dark Matter

During the past century, advances in technology have allowed for the introduction of radical ideas about the nature of the cosmos and our place in it. Theoretical astrophysicist Priya Natarajan traces the arc of the acceptance of two such ideas: that of dark matter and black holes. She also discusses her intriguing work in mapping dark matter and modeling supermassive black holes.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
“Doctor Livingstone, I presume?”: The Life and Times of an Explorer in Africa

Russell Gammon, one of Africa’s leading wilderness guides, narrates the remarkable and dramatic life story of a man born in a Glasgow slum who opened a new era of African exploration—and, ultimately, a new expansion of the British Empire.

Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
A Day at London’s National Gallery and Tate Britain

There is a reason that London’s National Gallery and the Tate Britain are must-sees for art lovers. In them, one can explore more than five centuries of Western painting. Spend a day with art historian Bonita Billman as she examines the rich holdings of these two world-class museums. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Saturday, May 6, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Exploring Balkan Food: A Private Dinner at Ambar Restaurant

Modern food of the Balkan Peninsula reflects influences from the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, other Slavic nations, and the Mediterranean. Explore this intriguing blend as you sample the food of Serbia during a private dinner—featuring a guest from the country’s embassy—at the new Ambar restaurant in Clarendon.

Sunday, May 7, 2017 - 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Mark Twain: A Celebration

It's been 106 years since the death of Samuel Langhorn Clemens, but his beloved works seems as fresh, funny, and pointed as ever. Author Daniel Stashower and actor Scott Sedar illustrate why we’re still quoting the wisdom of his words.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
A Question of Provenance: Holocaust-era Art, Research, and Restitution

Five international art historians who headed the research task force for a trove of potentially looted art discovered in 2012 unfold fascinating stories of the lives of Jewish collectors, German art dealers, and the art-world web that connected them. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Art of Visual Perception: How To Learn To Really See

Art is rich in visual information and calls for viewers to spend time looking and then processing what they think they see. Visual perception specialist Amy Herman offers a practical guide to fine-tuning your powers of observation. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Great River Expeditions

The mystery and adventurous allure of distant rivers held a fascination for American explorers of the 19th and early-20th centuries. Author and maritime historian Andy Jampoler recounts true stories of voyages of discovery along the Congo and Amazon and to the Dead Sea.

Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Art-Treasure Island: Malta’s Storied History

For the Mediterranean island of Malta, there was no escaping the turbulent influences of ancient cultures. Joseph Paul Cassar, an art historian and native of Malta, offers a highlighted look at its fascinating history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Reading the Gilded Age Authors

Works by novelists Edith Wharton, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, and Anzia Yezierska provide literary perspectives on the changes that swept America during the Gilded Age. Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University leads a reading-group series that explores their varied depictions of characters whose personal dramas play out against rapidly shifting social, cultural, and economic backdrops. This session spotlights Anzia Yezierska’s Salome of the Tenements (1923).

Monday, May 15, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
The WWI Navy: Second to None

For the U.S. Navy, World War I was the first significant test of its global prowess. Historian James C. Rentfrow, a faculty member at the U.S. Naval Academy, examines the growing role of the Navy in peace and war during early decades of the 20th century.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Manhattan Project: Visions of a Nuclear Future

The clandestine Manhattan Project was a futuristic enterprise embedded in a wartime environment—and both the war and the future influenced its evolution. Historian Martin J. Sherwin explores the history and legacy of this world-changing mission.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Epidemics Past and Present: Causes, Responses, and the Human Impact

David Morens of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH offers a survey of the most significant epidemics in human history, as well as an examination of global efforts to eradicate their contemporary counterparts.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Jerome Kern: Godfather of American Musical Theater

Drawing on personal correspondence, film clips, and recordings of masterworks, American music specialist and pianist Robert Wyatt guides you through highlights in the life of Jerome Kern, the genius who set the cornerstone of American musical theater.

Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Scott Turow: Testimony

The master of the legal thriller returns with Testimony, set against the backdrop of the International Criminal Court and an investigation into the baffling disappearance of an entire refugee camp during the Bosnian War. Join Scott Turow as he discusses his career and the process of researching and writing his latest novel.

Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Paths to God: Heresy and Belief in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism

In this thought-provoking all-day program, investigate the idea of God and the rise of heresy as an issue within Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. What are the implications for today, an era both secular and fraught with contending religious beliefs?

Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Home Is Where the Art Is: Connecting Creativity and Place

Did the houses, gardens, and locations where Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Monet, and other leading artists lived directly influence their work? Art historian Janetta Benton surveys the private residences—and private lives—of painters, sculptors, and architects from Fra Angelico to Philip Johnson to explore this artistic connection. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The National Gallery of Art’s Renovated East Building

Last fall, the National Gallery of Art’s I.M. Pei-designed East Building galleries, which house the modern art collection, reopened after 3 years. From sky-lit interior tower galleries to an inviting rooftop terrace, learn about the exciting new space to view some of the best modern art anywhere. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
City of Trees

Washington’s rich botanic diversity and arboreal history is a living legacy built on the horticultural expertise and passion for trees of founders such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Local natural historian Melanie Choukas-Bradley offers an illustrated overview of many of the city’s notable green spaces and landscaped landmarks.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Treasures of Dresden’s Green Vault

Once, Saxon ruler Augustus the Strong had the dazzling silver and ivory artifacts and jewels housed in Dresden Castle’s Green Vault all to himself. Art historian Stefanie Walker provides a guide to this glittering collection, now displayed in a real gem of a renovated setting. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Arts and WWI: Creation, Destruction, and Revolution

The crucible of destruction and death that was World War I also forged some of the most innovative and significant creative works of the early 20th century. Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine surveys the artists and writers whose wartime experiences provided the genesis for bold—and often, highly personal—experiments in form and expression. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Saturday, June 3, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Working Dogs: Saviors in the Post-9/11 World

The Penn Vet Working Dog Center in Philadelphia transforms qualified pups into highly trained bomb-sniffing, drug-interdiction, search-and-rescue, and cancer-detecting professionals. Learn about the puppies’ rigorous training, and then watch as several of the center’s graduates demonstrate their special skills.

Sunday, June 4, 2017 - 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Tasting Cuba: History, Hospitality, and the Foods of Memory

American travelers are excited to finally explore Cuba firsthand—especially its cuisine. Johanna Mendelson Forman of American University’s School of International Service discusses the evolution and historical importance of the island’s foodways, as well as how the Cuban food in restaurants here mirrors the food memories of those who prepare it. Get an authentic taste courtesy of the Colada Shop and Mi Cuba Café.

Monday, June 5, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Britain in WWII: Europe’s Last Hope Island

When the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled over continental Europe in the early days of World War II, London became a refuge for government leaders and armed forces from six occupied nations who escaped there to continue the fight. Author Lynne Olson, in an interview with historian Evan Thomas, discusses those perilous days when Europeans joined forces to fight their common enemy and restore order to a broken continent.

Monday, June 5, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Rise of Genghis Khan: Forging the Mongol World Empire

Historian Michael Chang of George Mason University examines the path that transformed an ambitious warrior named Temujiin into Genghis Khan, a forward-thinking, politically savvy ruler of a the largest contiguous land empire in history.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
American Eclipse: Scientific Rivals in the 19th-Century West

A rare total eclipse drew scientists from all over the country to Wyoming and Colorado in the summer of 1878. Three of them became professional competitors: astronomers James Craig Watson and Maria Mitchell, and a young Thomas Edison. Author (and eclipse chaser) David Barton tells their story.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Women’s Vote: The 19th Amendment and Its Aftermath

Although the ratification of the 19th Amendment on Aug. 26, 1920, didn’t actually change the status of many American women, it did set in motion events that would have a huge impact on the national agenda. Learn about the amendment’s tumultuous history and how American women of the 1920s “changed the meaning of womanhood.”

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Drinking the Past: Re-creating Ancient Brews

This evening, archaeologist Patrick E. McGovern leads a sensory journey back in time as he recalls adventures in China, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Peru and Mexico, and other locales, in search of “liquid time capsules.”

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Alan Alda: The Science and Art of Communicating

Interviewing a wide range of guests as host of “Scientific American Frontiers” on PBS propelled Alan Alda to investigate new ways to communicate complex ideas more effectively. He digs into the heart of what it means to be a true and empathetic communicator as he shares techniques, which also draw on the actor’s arts of storytelling and improvisation, that can be incorporated into everyday communications.

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
The Origins of Wine Civilization: From Ancient Vines to Modern Expressions

In a unique 2-day event, international experts in the culture, history, science, and production of wine explore the link between the wines we enjoy today and the earliest of wine-making traditions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Caucasus. An opening reception, panel presentations, a lunch featuring dishes from these wine regions and complementary pairings, and a concluding Grand Tasting enhance the experience.

Friday, June 9, 2017 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Opening Reception)

Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Seminar) and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Grand Tasting)
Roman Holiday: A Cinematic Introduction to the City’s Architecture

In an offbeat and entertaining overview of the Eternal City, follow the cinematic adventures of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in clips from the 1953 romantic comedy Roman Holiday. A scholar provides the architectural commentary on the locations. Hepburn and Peck provide the dazzle. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The Origins of Wine Civilization: From Ancient Vines to Modern Expressions Grand Tasting

The concluding event in a 2-day exploration of the origins of wine civilizations, the Grand Tasting offers opportunities to meet winemakers from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Caucasus and to sample products from their vineyards.

Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
How to Make the Mummies Talk

More than 2,000 years after Egypt's Ptolemaic Dynasty, new imaging technology is beginning to unlock texts hidden within the layers of papyrus mâché masks used in elaborate mummification rituals common from 300-30 B.C. Learn about the efforts by an international team of researchers to evaluate new methods to help reveal stories from the past.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Elegant, Intimate Lisbon

Portugal’s capital city is fast becoming a not-so-hidden jewel among European destinations. Spend an evening discovering the charms of this great old city.

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Captain America’s Super-Soldier Serum: 1940s Fantasy Meets Modern Biotechnology

In the original Marvel Comics story, puny Steve Rodgers morphed into a shield-slinging avenger thanks to Professor Erskine’s mysterious chemical compound and a dose of “vita rays.” Eric Spana of Duke University explains how the mighty powers of biotechnology might make such a transformation possible today.

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Mammals on Camera: A New Approach to Wildlife Observation

Think it as wildlife selfies: Camera traps that capture images of animals in their natural habitats are offering scientists a tool to gather crucial information about their behavior. Bill McShea, a wildlife ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, examines how these candid creature photos can influence discussions and decisions about ecosystems, conservation, and preservation.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Ann Hornaday on How To Watch Movies

Ever wish you could watch a movie with a critic beside you in order to sharpen your own film-viewing savvy? Ann Hornaday, chief film critic for the Washington Post, offers the next best thing: She walks you through the production of a typical movie and explains how to evaluate each piece of the process. (Popcorn not included.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
From Idea to IPO: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Success

Successful Washington, D.C.-based entrepreneur Danielle Tate provides an informative look at the basic tenets of entrepreneurship, drawing on the stories of real entrepreneurs for illustration.

Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Doctor’s Orders: The Growth of the Public Health Movement

The 1920s stimulated many new discoveries and initiatives in medicine, as well as a growing public confidence that the field could conquer and control modern problems. Alexandra Lord of the American History Museum explores the medical and public health advances of the decade and places them in a cultural context.

Monday, June 26, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Undercover with the FBI

Mike German shares the hard lessons he learned as an undercover agent with a clear-eyed assessment of the threats we may or may not face, how to fight them, and how to preserve our core values in the process.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
John F. Kennedy: 1,000 Days in Office
The Making of an Iconic Presidency

Ken Walsh, veteran White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, considers JFK’s 1,000 days in office, his legacy, and whether any president could ever again attain his mystique.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
All the Presidents' Gardens

From plant-obsessed George Washington to Michelle Obama's kitchen garden, the White House grounds have mirrored American garden history and changing fashions in horticulture and design. Author Marta McDowell offers a survey of their transformations and traditions, featuring the presidents, first ladies, and their gardeners.    

Thursday, June 29, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.