Lectures & Seminars
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)

Date
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.

Date
Sunday, June 4, 2017 - 1:30 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.

Date
Monday, June 5, 2017 - 6:45 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.

Date
Monday, June 5, 2017 - 6:45 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.

Date
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 6:45 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.

Date
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 6:45 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.”

Date
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 6:45 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.”

Date
Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 6:45 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.

Date
Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 6:45 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.

Date
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)

Date
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.

Date
Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Creating the Visual World of Game of Thrones

Devoted followers of HBO’s Game of Thrones have production designer Deborah Riley to thank for the highly detailed environment against which the saga of power, family, revenge, and romance plays out. Riley talks about how she and a small army of craftsmen give the series its distinctive visual style, which draws on an imaginative mix of historical periods, styles, and cultural traditions.

Date
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 6:45 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.

Date
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 6:45 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.

Date
Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 6:45 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.

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

Think of 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.

Date
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 6:45 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.)

Date
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 6:45 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.

Date
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.

Date
Monday, June 26, 2017 - 6:45 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.

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

Ken Walsh, chief 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.

Date
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 6:45 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.    

Date
Thursday, June 29, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Unpack the Secrets of Better Vacations

The essential ingredient for a memorable vacation may not be something you can pack in your carry-on: It’s your outlook on travel. Jamie Kurtz, an associate professor of psychology at James Madison University, draws on the growing research on happiness and decision-making to offer practical advice on crafting a more meaningful, fulfilling, and joyful travel experience.

Date
Monday, July 10, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Rise of Women in Science: 250 Years of Trailblazers

Marie Curie may have been the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, but women have made their mark in the sciences long before and after that 1903 accolade. Historian Marsha Richmond tells the stories of influential women celebrated as scientific innovators, as well as those whose opportunities and work were denied or repressed. (An optional tour of the Smithsonian Libraries’ Biodiversity Heritage Library is available to program participants.)

Date
Monday, July 10, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Undiscovered Italy: Emilia-Romagna Sights, Food, and Wine

Emilia-Romagna, in northern Italy, is filled with cities rich in art, culture, music, history, and world-renowned food and wine. Food historian Francine Segan leads a virtual walk along the ancient Roman byway, via Emilia, connecting some of Italy’s most amazing sights with unique gourmet experiences. The “walk” ends with a tasting of regional wines and foods.

Date
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Mario Livio on What Makes Us Curious

The ability to ask “why?” makes us uniquely human. In a fascinating and entertaining evening, renowned astrophysicist and author Mario Livio surveys and interprets cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience that aims at exploring and understanding the origin and mechanisms of our curiosity.

Date
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Hello Girls: America’s First Female Soldiers in War Abroad—and at Home

Historian Elizabeth Cobbs tells the story of how a corps of 200 bilingual telephone operators braved the battlefields and helped win World War I—and later took on a 60-year battle of their own with the U.S. Army.

Date
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Mezcal: Small Batch, Big Flavor

Mezcal has a reputation as a bit of an outlaw in the spirits world—it’s been periodically banned and restricted—and its edgy flavor notes match its history. Miguel Lancha of José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup joins Joe Yonan of the Washington Post to explore the booming popularity of this Mexican import and the intriguing story behind tequila’s smoky sister.

Date
Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Monarchs for the Ages: Elizabeth I and Victoria

Between them, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria ruled England for more than a century and their names define two historically and culturally significant eras. Sabrina Baron, an assistant research professor in the department of history at the University of Maryland, illuminates the lives and legacies of these two extraordinary women.

Date
Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
James Stewart: The Many Faces of a Prolific Actor

He peered through a rear window for Hitchcock, took a midnight swim with Hepburn, filibustered the Senate, and saved Bedford Falls. James Stewart was a versatile and meticulous actor whose dramatic range and emotional vulnerability were unmatched by his contemporaries in Hollywood’s big-studio heyday. Stewart biographer Donald Dewey offers a portrait of his rich—and yes, wonderful—life.

Date
Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Reflections on an Extraordinary Life and Career

Bill Keene, a lecturer in architecture and urban studies, examines the personal and public Frank Lloyd Wright, whose life encompassed acclaim and triumph as well as scandal and tragedy—and the creation of some of the most influential buildings of the 20th century. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, July 15, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Cultures of the Ancient World: An Evolutionary Exploration from the Sumerians to the Greeks

Between them, Sumer and Egypt, two early civilization centers at opposite ends of the Fertile Crescent, invented writing, accounting, and astronomy, and diffused and disseminated a variety of cultural arts to peoples of the Near East. Join archaeologist Robert Stieglitz for a fascinating exploration of achievements that still resonate with us today.

Date
Saturday, July 15, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Andrew Wyeth: An Appreciation at 100

Andrew Wyeth’s vision of the landscape and the people of rural Pennsylvania and costal Maine has a stark, deeply emotional beauty that has made his paintings among the most iconic of the 20th century. Art historian Bonita Billman highlights works from his extraordinary output, placing them in the context of his career and his life (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
George Orwell in the 21st Century

The publisher of Nineteen Eighty-Four is rushing to print enough copies to keep up with fresh demand for the 1948 classic. Learn why Orwell scholar Andrew Rubin is not at all surprised that everything Orwellian seems new again.

Date
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Kennedy and King

Drawing on his new book, journalist and author Steven Levingston traces the emergence of two of the 20th century's greatest leaders and their powerful impact on each other and the shape of the Civil Rights movement during its tumultuous early years.

Date
Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Cultural Heritage Sites of India

From India’s elaborately decorated Ajanta Caves to the splendor of the Taj Mahal, UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites offers a spectacular window into South Asia’s past. Art historian Robert DeCaroli highlights historic palaces, grand temples, royal mausoleums, and more that showcase the subcontinent’s abundant historically and culturally significant destinations. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, July 22, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Imagining Infinity

Eugenia Cheng, author of Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics, investigates the universe’s largest possible topic, demonstrating how one little symbol can hold the biggest idea of all.

Date
Monday, July 24, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Breath of History: How Gases Connect Us to Our Planet and Past

For science writer Sam Kean, every inhale and exhale we take directly links us to our planet’s atmosphere—and to humanity’s past itself. On a journey through the periodic table, he takes a closer look at the gases we breathe and their origins, significance, and context in history.

Date
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Dining in Early Federal Washington: Making Meals—and History

Washington has always been a place where much happens at dinner parties, particularly in the era in which both the city and the Republic were coming into their own. Food historian Leni Sorensen brings together stories of a hostess, a cookbook writer, and an emancipated black caterer to examine how culinary and social history was made over the city’s most fashionable dining tables.

Date
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Where Harry Met Sally: The Cuisine and Culture of the New York Jewish Deli

Has there ever been a tastier or more beloved institution than the New York Jewish deli? Ted Merwin, associate professor of religion and Judaic studies at Dickinson College, discusses the past, present, and future of the deli and its quintessential role in urban Jewish and American life. And of course, there’s a lunch!

Date
Sunday, July 30, 2017 - 12:00 p.m.
Bootleggers, Bathtubs, and Speakeasies: Tales From Prohibition

Get a taste of the 1920s as you sip some iconic period cocktails (Orange Blossom, anyone?) and hear from Philip Greene, co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, and historian and author Garrett Peck how determined drinkers thumbed their noses at the killjoys who tried to turn America dry.

Date
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
D-Day: Success Against the Odds

Christopher Hamner, an associate professor in the department of history and art history at George Mason University, explores the experiences of the rank-and-file GIs on D-Day as they endured the chaos and terror of what was, for many, their first experience under fire.

Date
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Boost Your Nutritional IQ

Is coffee healthful this week, or evil? What’s the difference between good fat and bad? Should we all go gluten-free? Physician John Whyte offers some sensible and solid guidance to counter the confusion when every meal can feels like a nutritional mine field.

Date
Thursday, August 3, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Art, Power, and Pleasure in Italy’s Renaissance Courts

Art historian Lisa Passaglia Bauman explores Italy’s four northern Renaissance court cities—Ferrara, Urbino, Mantua, and Milan—where artists as famous as Da Vinci and Mantegna, and patrons as notorious as the fearsome Federico da Montefeltro and the elegant Isabella d’Este lived and worked. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, August 5, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Adrenaline Rush: How To Write Suspense Fiction

Nothing quickens the pulse like a good thriller. Award-winning author John Gilstrap presents an informative, entertaining day-long program on the crafting of intelligent suspense fiction. Through lively lectures and writing exercises, students get a peek at the skeleton that gives structure to the stories that keep us reading long into the night.

Date
Saturday, August 5, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
African Art and the Slave Trade

Art historian Kevin Tervala discusses the Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades, with a focus on how African artists—and the societies that they were a part of—reacted to the sudden and brutal disruption and transformation of the world’s second-largest continent. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Inside the World of Diplomacy

Take a rare opportunity to hear first-person stories from men and women whose careers are spent in diplomatic Washington when you spend a day at the American Foreign Service Association and the U.S. Department of State.

Date
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
1922—A Literary Watershed

In the opening days of 1922, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, and E.M. Forster were caught off-balance as the emergence of modernism—and a new kind of expression exemplified by James Joyce’s Ulysses—caused the literary ground to shift. Author Bill Goldstein draws on his new book, The World Broke in Two, to tell how these literary luminaries found their voice again.

Date
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.