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World History Programs

The Regency World of Jane Austen

Learn how Jane Austen’s novels provide a window into life in Regency England, creating a world of country retreats, London townhouses, balls, fashionable finery, and romantic (if sometimes-rocky) courtships. But the realities of war, poverty, and society’s ills rumble through the novels, threatening to disrupt family reputations and elegantly lived lives during that era.

Date of event
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The French Revolution and the Birth of Modernity

Historian Alexander Mikaberidze examines the revolutionary fervor sparked by the French Revolution that spread across Europe, and which continues to serve as an inspiration of the finest principles of modern democracy, as well as a warning of what can happen when idealism goes wrong.

Date of event
Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Thinking Like an Historian: A Practical Guide

How do professional historians work? In a unique workshop, Christopher Hamner, an associate professor of American history at George Mason University, demystifies this process by guiding you in how to think about and interpret the past.

Date of event
Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Clipper Ships: Sailing Ships That Ruled the Trade Routes

In the early 19th century, fortunes were made and lost importing luxury goods from China to the American marketplace, a trade hampered by the time it took for the ocean journey. Historian Steven Ujifusa tells the colorful story of a handful of cutthroat competitors who raced to create the fastest clipper ships to carry their cargo to American shores—and transformed the design and technology of shipbuilding in the process.

Date of event
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The Legacy of the Ancient World: The Texts That Tell the Stories

Homer, the Bible, and the New Testament, are among the ancient texts that provide us knowledge of the ancient world. Explore the stories behind these and other sources, which still retain their narrative power into the 21st century.

Date of event
Saturday, October 26, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The Jews of Britain: A Complicated History

Though Jews have been part of British society since the 11th century, that long relationship was often a troubled one. Historian Virginia W. Newmyer surveys a cultural and religious history in which achievement and acceptance prevailed over suspicion and ignorance.

Date of event
Monday, October 28, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Introduction to Western Art: From the Great Pyramids to the Pantheon

In a fascinating overview of ancient material culture, art historian Renee Gondek surveys the paintings, sculptures, and architectural wonders produced in ancient Egypt and the Greco-Roman world that served as inspiration for generations of creators to come. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date of event
Wednesday, October 30 to November 20, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

France During World War II: Occupation and Resistance

The world was stunned when, in the spring of 1940, Germany invaded and quickly defeated France. Ronald C. Rosbottom, a scholar of French and European history, examines why knowing more about the impact of both occupation and resistance during WWII helps us understand aspects of France’s present political and diplomatic environment.

Date of event
Saturday, November 2, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The Domesday Book: William the Conqueror's Great Survey

In 1085, the king of England, William the Conqueror, ordered an inquest be made in every shire, in order to record the totality of resources of the realm. Explore how and why this document, the Domesday Book, came to be and what it reveals about the governance, society, and economy of late 11th-century England with medieval historian Richard Abels.

Date of event
Monday, November 4, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Heroes Enthroned in Tapestry

Heroes of the Bible, of great empires of the past, and of legend are among those that preside today at the Met Cloisters, captured in an exceedingly rare, internationally renowned ensemble of tapestries. A Met Cloisters curator explores the singular historic and artistic importance of the Nine Heroes Tapestries. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Friday, November 8, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Victoria: From Teen Queen to Matriarch of Europe

When Victoria came to the throne, she was 18 years old, with no experience or training in governance, just as England was on the brink of enormous expansion and change. Learn how this young woman became one of the most iconic monarchs of all time.

Date of event
Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Mongolia: From Genghis to Khubilai Khan

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

Date of event
Saturday, November 16, 2019 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Prince Albert's Vision of Progress: The Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851

With its curated displays of objects from all corners of the empire, the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations regaled the world as a testament to Britain’s industrial leadership and taste. Art historian Morna O'Neill examines how the Crystal Palace paved the way for subsequent international exhibitions, as well as for museums specializing in decorative art and industry. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Sunday, November 17, 2019 - 1:30 p.m.

J'Accuse! The Dreyfus Affair and its Aftermath

The wrongful court-martial of Alfred Dreyfus, a young officer—and a Jew—in 1895 Paris, has had far-reaching ramifications. Historian Ralph Nurnberger highlights the trial when Dreyfus was convicted and the subsequent trials over the course of the next dozen years.

Date of event
Monday, November 18, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The Journey of the Mask

Symbols of power, mystery, and disguise, masks play a role in cultures and societies across the globe. Stunning images by National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier highlight his exploration of the reasons why humans have donned masks since the beginning of time.

Date of event
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The Battle of Britain

Historian Kevin Matthews examines how the high-stakes contest between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe over the skies of England prevented a Nazi invasion of Britain and become a critical factor in the Allied victory five years later.

Date of event
Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The Architecture of Reuse: Lessons from European Cities

Europeans have spent centuries integrating the architectural legacies of their cities into buildings that meet the changing needs of their residents and reflect an evolving array of design styles. Architect Paola Lugli addresses how historic buildings can survive and thrive through modern adaptations, as well as how architects are re-purposing buildings today. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Delayed Justice: The Hunt for Hitler's Hidden Soldiers in America

Hitler's dreaded SS trained a roving army to help annihilate the Jewish population of occupied Poland. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Debbie Cenziper unfolds the harrowing wartime journeys of two Jewish orphans who settled in the United States—only to learn that some of their one-time captors had as well.

Date of event
Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The House of Medici: The Art of Power

As bankers to some of Europe’s most important rulers, the Medici had a substantial influence on the geo-politics of their time, but perhaps their most enduring legacy is that as patrons of the arts. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, explores how art and architecture became languages of their power. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Introduction to Western Art: From the Great Pyramids to the Pantheon

In a fascinating overview of ancient material culture, art historian Renee Gondek surveys the paintings, sculptures, and architectural wonders produced in ancient Egypt and the Greco-Roman world that served as inspiration for generations of creators to come. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date of event
Monday, January 6 to February 3, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (no class Jan. 20)