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World History Programs

Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of two particularly intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites. This session focuses on the Great Wall of China.


Lecture/Seminar

The Escape Artist: A Warning from Auschwitz

Thursday, December 8, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

In April 1944, Rudolf Vrba became the first Jew to break out of Auschwitz, driven to reveal the truth of the death camp to the world and to warn the last Jews of Europe what fate awaited them. Though too few—including world leaders—heeded his warning, Vrba helped save 200,000 Jewish lives. Author Jonathan Freedland recounts the extraordinary story of a man he feels deserves to take his place as one of a handful of individuals whose experiences define our understanding of the Holocaust.


Lecture/Seminar

Rediscovering Botticelli’s Lost Drawings—and the Renaissance

Thursday, December 8, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The 19th-century rediscovery of Sandro Botticelli’s drawings illustrating The Divine Comedy reminded the art world of how the artist’s work embodies the spirit of the Renaissance. Joseph Luzzi of Bard College explains how and why Botticelli’s creations from the beauty of Primavera and the Birth of Venus to the drama of Dante’s Purgatorio—still move us today. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

The Rothschilds: From Frankfurt’s Judengasse to Bankers to the World

Thursday, December 8, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

They spent centuries confined to the Judengasse ghetto in Frankfurt, earning a living peddling goods. But the Rothschild family moved past antisemitism, emerging as one of the world's wealthiest and most influential banking dynasties. Historian Ralph Nurnberger recounts their rags-to-riches story.


Lecture/Seminar

Lost Civilizations: The Incas

Tuesday, December 13, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The Inca were the last major civilization of the Andes, the descendant of a human presence in the region dating back millennia. Kevin Lane, archaeologist and senior researcher at CONICET Universidad de Buenos Aires, analyzes the Inca rise to power, highlighting the social, economic, cultural, dynastic, and military reasons behind the emergence of their imperial hegemony throughout western South America.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, December 14, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview two particularly intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites. This session focuses on the Sacred Buddhist Landscape of Bagan.


Lecture/Seminar

Spices 101: Cinnamon

Thursday, December 15, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The spice we love in apple pie, tagines, and churros has been treasured across cultures since ancient times, and used for culinary, medicinal, and spiritual purposes—even including ancient Egyptian embalming methods. Christine Rai explores cinnamon’s fascinating origins, history, and variety, and shares tips on using the spice in your own kitchen.


Lecture/Seminar

How Weather Has Shaped Human History

Thursday, December 15, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Dramatic weather might seem to be a new phenomenon, but weather and climate change have been shaping human history for thousands of years. Historian Caroline Winterer examines a series of weather-driven turning points that were strong enough to force migration, end wars, and create famines—and how the aftermath of past climate change might affect our future.


Lecture/Seminar

Casanova's Venice

Wednesday, January 11, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The 17th-century Venice of Casanova endured a period of decline and decadence amid a spectacular cultural flowering. Using his story as a jumping off point, historian Monica Chojnack explores this tumultuous time and the ways in which Venetians responded socially, politically, and artistically to the end of the Renaissance and the birth of a new era.


Lecture/Seminar

“Ike”: Eisenhower from D-Day to the Defeat of Hitler’s Germany

Thursday, January 12, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

One man deserves credit for turning American, British, Canadian, Free French, Polish, and other Allied military commands into a single fighting force: Dwight Eisenhower. Historian Kevin Matthews examines how Eisenhower contended with rival armies, navies, and air forces to lead not as an “American general” but as an “Allied general,” which provided him with a unique insight that led to the ultimate victory.


Lecture/Seminar

Renaissance Rome

Saturday, January 21, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

The return of the papacy in the 15th century transformed Rome from a dilapidated town littered with ruins to a city at the center of the Renaissance movement in Europe. The pope and cardinals spent lavishly as Bramante, Michelangelo, and Raphael were given one commission after another to complete and beautify the city of God. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in early-Renaissance art, examines this pivotal time in art history as it swept across Rome. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

The Yalta Conference: The Road to the End of World War II

Monday, January 23, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The February 1945 conference at Yalta marked the second meeting of the “Big Three”—the heads of state of the United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and United States. Historian Christopher Hamner examines the strategic context of the conference, the tensions among the world leaders, and the implications of their discussions on both the coming end of the war and a postwar settlement.


Lecture/Seminar

Richard the Lionheart and Saladin: A Rivalry of the Third Crusade

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The rivalry between the English king Richard the Lionheart and the Muslim ruler Saladin at the time of the Third Crusade captured the imagination of contemporaries and continues to fascinate us today—yet these two larger-than-life figures never actually met. Historian Jennifer Paxton tells the story of the epic clash between the Kurdish leader who had united much of the Muslim Middle East to drive the crusaders out of the Holy Land and the glamorous European king who was determined to recapture Jerusalem for Christendom.


Lecture/Seminar

Allied Strategy and Operation Overlord: The Great WWII Crusade

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Kevin Weddle, a professor of military theory and strategy, traces the development and deployment of the Allied military strategy for Europe—and the cross-channel invasion known as Operation Overlord. He examines how bitter disagreements and reluctant compromises between U.S. and British senior military and political leaders put to the test the “special relationship” between the two allies—and how those leaders and their forces came together to fight in the greatest military operation in history.


Lecture/Seminar

Art Crimes: International Art Heists

Wednesday, February 1, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Big-money art attracts big-money criminals. Expert on art fraud and former FBI agent Robert Wittman provides a closeup view of some of the notorious heists and daring recovery operations he worked on as an agent.


Lecture/Seminar

"The Chinese Question": Gold Rushes and Global Politics of Exclusion

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Historian and author Mae Ngai narrates the story of the thousands of Chinese who left their homeland in the mid-19th-century in pursuit of gold, and how they formed communities and organizations to help navigate their perilous new world. But they later found themselves excluded from immigration and citizenship.


Lecture/Seminar

Spices 101: Ginger

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Join Eleanor Ford, acclaimed food writer and author of The Nutmeg Trail: Recipes and Stories Along the Ancient Spice Routes as she explores ginger’s history, lore, science, and flavor, then turns to the kitchen where she shares how home cooks can use it to best effect.


Lecture/Seminar

Stonehenge: An Epic Enigma

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Modern scientists are slowly unlocking Stonehenge’s secrets, but the stone circle remains a uniquely iconic enigma. Kelly Beatty, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine, discusses these new developments and the enduring mystery of Stonehenge.


Lecture/Seminar

Astrology in Renaissance Art: Representation and Meaning

Thursday, February 9, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The intersection of art and astrology played a key role during the Renaissance, particularly for patrons like the Medici family, who used astrological imagery to promote themselves and their increasing de-facto power in Florence. Art critic Claudia Rousseau examines the development of astrological practices during the period, their cultural importance, and the artworks they influenced. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

War and Pieces: The Met Cloisters and the Lens of History

Friday, February 10, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

When the Cloisters—the branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art of the medieval world—opened in 1938, not a word was spoken about the threat of war looming over Europe. Yet ironically, the Cloisters’ very foundations stand in witness to the devastating impact of centuries of war and revolution on artistic heritage. Barbara Drake Boehm, curator emerita of the Met Cloisters, examines the museum’s finest works of art against the backdrop of history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

The Regency World of Jane Austen: Art, Architecture, Culture

Saturday, February 11, 2023 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Emma Woodhouse, Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and the Dashwood sisters may be fictional heroines, but their creator Jane Austen set their adventures in romance against the very real social and historical backdrop of Regency England. Art historian Bonita Billman brings the era to life as she surveys Regency manners and fashions, the personalities who dominated the public imagination, and the stylish spa town of Bath, where many of Austen’s characters made appearances. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)


Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, February 13, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this winter lunchtime program, Lay's guest is Rosemary Harden, senior curator and Fashion Museum Bath manager, who surveys the past, present, and future of this museum.


Lecture/Seminar

Ancient Art Collections of Rome

Monday, February 13, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Many of Rome’s lesser-known museums contain some of the world’s most significant Greco-Roman art. Rocky Ruggiero, an expert in Renaissance art, explores the ancient art collections of the Capitoline Museums, the Ara Pacis Museum, the Villa Giulia, and the Palazzo Massimo. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Gothic Kingdoms: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

After the sacking of imperial Rome by the army of Alaric the Goth in 410, three centuries of Gothic kings ruled over southern France, Italy, and Spain. The unity imposed by the Roman empire gave way to the divided kingdoms and peoples that shaped medieval Europe. British historian David Gwynn explores the dramatic histories of those kingdoms.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Samarra and the Abbasid Caliphate.


Lecture/Seminar

Discovering Türkiye

Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

PBS television host Darley Newman shares great places to discover in Türkiye (the now-official name for Turkey) and how to get the most out of your travels, whether you’re visiting bustling bazaars in Istanbul or venturing off the beaten path. Discover the most intriguing places to experience food, culture, adventure, and history in Istanbul, Cappadocia, Anatolia, Antalya, and the Aegean Coast.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Angor Wat.


Lecture/Seminar

Scotland and England: An Imperfect Union?

Saturday, February 25, 2023 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Though Scotland is the only part of the island of Britain never to have been conquered by England, the country has always had to reckon with its powerful southern neighbor. Historian Jennifer Paxton explores the remarkable story of the struggle to define Scottish identity over the past thousand years, as the country went from proudly independent kingdom to junior partner within Great Britain.


Course

Exploring Ancient Anatolia: A Turkish Odyssey

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Anatolia’s colorful history has left a windfall of riches—ancient ruins, ornate Byzantine churches, supremely elegant mosques, and splendid Ottoman palaces. In an illustrated series, Serif Yenen, a Turkish-born tour guide and author, highlights the heritage and splendor of ancient Turkey through an examination of some of its cultural gems.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Philippine Rice Terraces of Ifugao.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Sacred Sites of Tibet.


Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, March 13, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this winter lunchtime program, Lay's guest is textile conservationist Julia M. Brennan, who has built cultural bridges to preserve textile heritage.


Lecture/Seminar

The Tale of Shuten Doji

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 14th-century Japanese legend The Tale of Shuten Doji was a popular subject in visual and performing arts during the Edo period. Art historian Yui Suzuki examines the illustrated tale in depth, focusing on both the conventional and cryptic meanings that the artworks convey. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Brasilia, the Utopian Capital of Brazil.


Lecture/Seminar

Tudor London: A Dynasty’s Imprint on History

Saturday, March 18, 2023 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

The rule of three generations of Tudor monarchs became inextricably linked with the growth and identity of London as a powerful urban center. Historian Cheryl White examines how the dynasty created an indelible Tudor imprint on history—and the city—across the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.