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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

World History Programs

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Great art is timeless. Paul Glenshaw examines Rodin’s epic and controversial sculpture, the story of its creation, and the moment of the burghers’ sacrifice in 14th-century Calais. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 4, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Victorian era was a time of calling cards and letters of introduction; croquet and garden parties; and afternoon teas and fancy-dress balls. But the dinner party established the era’s reputation for elaborate excess. Food historian Francine Segan provides a glimpse into the very specific etiquette behind those affairs.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 7, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

From generals to enlisted men to spies, thousands of men of Irish heritage played crucial roles in waging the American Revolution. Historian Richard Bell examines the fight for American independence from the perspective of the Irish and their descendants, as well as the political and economic impact of the Revolution on Ireland itself.

Course
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an overview of some of the most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites, providing glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In this session, he explores the world of the Inca empire and analyzes Machu Picchu’s original function as a royal estate, its abandonment, rediscovery, and popularization in the 20th century.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Explore the heart of Italy during the first millennium B.C. through a journey into the enigmatic world of the Etruscans. Art historian Renee Gondek assembles a portrait of daily life in this lesser-known civilization—whose writings have never been translated—by examining the distinctive visual style reflected in recovered art, artifacts, and structures. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, December 12, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Venice was shaped by its privileged position as cultural and economic bridge between the eastern and western Christian world, with a distinctive mix of Islamic, Byzantine, and classical influences, and the brilliant creators who reflected the glories of its long-lived republic in some of the most enduring and distinctive art and architecture in Europe. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, examines the artistic heritage and the history of perhaps the most singular city in the world. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Too small to turn the tide of the war on its own, the success of the 1943 American and British campaign in Sicily nevertheless produced lessons that would be put to good use ten months later on the beaches at Normandy. Historian Christopher Hamner examines the battle for the island in the context of World War II Europe.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Great art is timeless. Paul Glenshaw examines Théodore Géricault’s epic painting that caused controversy when first exhibited in 1819 in Paris but has since become a milestone of the Romantic movement, laying bare human endurance and suffering in the extreme. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

They were the least likely of spies—and their exploits have often remained in the shadows of WWII’s espionage lore. Brent Geary and Randy Burkett, career officers in in the CIA, share the stories of remarkable women who fought both the Nazis and gender stereotypes to help win the war and create the foundation for the modern CIA and U.S. military special forces.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, January 8, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Join art historian Elaine Ruffolo, direct from her home in Tuscany, for a close look at the history, art, and culture of one of Italy’s most treasured cities, one on which artists including Donatello, Mantegna, Titian, and Giotto left their dazzling marks. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, January 22, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Draped on three hills, Siena is the most beautiful city in Tuscany, a flamboyant medieval ensemble of palaces and towers cast in warm brown brick. From her home in Italy, art historian Elaine Ruffolo examines how art went hand in hand with fierce civic pride to make Siena a world of its own. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Iran and America’s current fraught relationship has its roots in one that was long grounded in friendship and opportunity. Historian John Ghazvinian draws on his new book, America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present, to trace how and why the link between these former allies eroded and offers a glimpse of what lies in store for both nations.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

From the early 15th century, the story of the Jewish population of Florence has encompassed vast wealth and prestige—and almost continual trial and tribulation. Art historian and Florentine tour guide Laura Greenblatt explores the history of their presence in the city over the course of six centuries.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, February 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Florence is replete with frescoes, paintings, sculpture, and architecture created in an era in which art was the cornerstone of cultural activity. From her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo traces the history of this jewel of a city from the dawn of the Renaissance to the era of the Medici dukes. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Monday, February 8, February 22, March 1, and March 8, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Spanning more than 1400 years, three continents, and a geography that encompasses a great diversity of peoples, languages, and ethnicities, Islamic art and civilization forms one of the great contributions to humanity. Art historian Ann Birkelbach surveys its wide-ranging heritage, from calligraphy to architecture, painting to magnificent crafts. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, February 11, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Oxford and its storied history have inspired a startling catalog of eccentric sleuths and outré crimes. Settle in with a spot of tea for an evening of shuttered rooms, cryptic clues, and dodgy detectives as you follow a virtual tour of the city and its byways, where danger lurks! 

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

The Second World War remains the greatest catastrophe in human history, with more than 70 million deaths, most of them civilians. Historian Christopher Hamner explores the roots of the war in Europe against Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

Course
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Each of the more than 1,100 UNESCO World Heritage Sites offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. Some, however, are more iconic than others. Historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of four of the most significant ancient sites in Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Mesoamerica. This session focuses on Ancient Thebes.

Course
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Each of the more than 1,100 UNESCO World Heritage Sites offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. Some, however, are more iconic than others. Historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of four of the most significant ancient sites in Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Mesoamerica. This session focuses on Ancient Persepolis.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, February 26, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

How in the 5th century B.C. did a small town on a remote peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean create an unparalleled legacy of innovation, higher education, discovery, and invention? Historian Diane Cline examines how the social fabric of classical Athens shaped an environment in which creative people and their new ideas could thrive.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, February 27, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

The legacy of repeated historic conflicts still looms over an island still emerging from the 30 years of violence known as the Troubles. Historian Jennifer Paxton traces the turbulent and fascinating history of Ireland from the Tudor conquest and the English and Scottish settlements in Ulster to the Good Friday Agreement, Brexit, and beyond.

Course
Monday, March 1 to Friday, March 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The British monarchy has outlasted most of its European counterparts, adapting to changing times and managing to maintain enough popularity to survive for more than a thousand years. Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger traces a path through the lives and times of the kings and queens who have ruled England, then Great Britain, and finally the United Kingdom to examine how the monarchy has endured from the days of King Arthur to today.

Course
Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Each of the more than 1,100 UNESCO World Heritage Sites offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. Some, however, are more iconic than others. Historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of four of the most significant ancient sites in Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Mesoamerica. This session focuses on Acropolis.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

For many of the impressionists, women were not simply passive models but essential partners, collaborators, muses—and sometimes lovers and wives. Art historian Natasha Schlesinger looks at five fascinating women who inspired portraits created by Renoir, Monet, Degas, Manet, and Cassatt. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, March 6, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

The famous breaking of the Mayan code in the late 20th century revolutionized the study of these peoples and of ancient America. Humanities scholar George Scheper examines how interdisciplinary study of the Maya extends beyond the traditional archaeological focus to comprise political and social history, art, comparative religion, and ecology.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, March 6, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. ET

As the 19th century drew to a close, Vienna was an incubator for some of the most important figures in the arts, letters, and philosophy. Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine explores the ways in which fin-de-siècle Vienna became the cradle of modernity in Central Europe.  (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Course
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Each of the more than 1,100 UNESCO World Heritage Sites offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. Some, however, are more iconic than others. Historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of four of the most significant ancient sites in Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Mesoamerica. This session focuses on Teotihuacan.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

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.