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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Biography & Autobiography Programs

Friday, September 4 to 25, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET

Explore the legacy of painter Johannes Vermeer, a master of light and color whose paintings captured the beauty and meaning of everyday life, with art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Monday, September 14, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

The greatest of the barbarian rulers who rose to power after the fall of the Roman Empire was both a warrior king marked by a lust for territory and plunder and a great patron of the arts, learning, and religion. Historian Richard Abels explores the defining facets of the man and the myth behind the so-called Father of Europe.

Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

What happens when there’s a power struggle within a power couple? Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger examines some of Britain’s most famous royal pairs and the challenges they faced in maintaining a happy marriage while one of them ruled the kingdom.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Bakari Sellers, a CNN analyst and one of the youngest state representatives in South Carolina history, examines the plight of the South's dwindling rural population of black working-class men and women. Drawing on his new book My Vanishing Country, he surveys the struggles that shape their lives: gaining access to healthcare, making ends meet as factories shut down, holding on to traditions as towns erode, and forging a path forward without succumbing to despair.

Tuesday, October 6 to November 17, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET (no class Nov. 3)

Opera and classical music expert Saul Lilienstein surveys Stravinsky’s major accomplishments, from his early ground-breaking music for the Ballets Russes, through the neoclassical masterworks that culminated with The Rake’s Progress, to the far-reaching modernism of his later years.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

For Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilei was “the father of modern physics—indeed, of modern science altogether.” Astrophysicist Mario Livio examines Galileo’s monumental achievements in astronomy, mechanics, and the development of the scientific method.

Friday, October 9, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For Picasso, Paul Cezanne was simply “the father of us all.” Art historian Joseph Cassar examines key works that reflect how this pioneer of modernism pointed to future developments in art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Explore the life and career of Edward Hopper, one of the great American realists of modern art, with art historian Bonita Billman. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Monday, October 26, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

What kind of nature drove Thomas Cromwell, chief courtier of Henry VIII and architect of the English Protestant Reformation, to carry out his political agenda in the face of enemies of all stripes? Historian Jennifer Paxton explores the real story behind the intrigues of a court where religion, politics, bureaucracy, and sex were entangled in a dangerous mix that led Cromwell to follow his adversary Sir Thomas More to the scaffold.