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World History Programs

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)

The Making of England: From the Viking Wars to King Cnut

Two centuries of Danish invasions transformed Britain from a patchwork of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic kingdoms into a single one, England. Historian Richard Abels explores how the Viking wars served as the catalyst for its creation.

Date of event
Wednesday, January 8 to 29, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Medieval History: Fact vs. Fiction

From Renaissance faires to “Game of Thrones,” people love the Middle Ages. But does our pop-culture version of the past accurately portray the period? Medievalist Paul B. Sturtevant draws recent scholarship to reveal a medieval world that holds surprises for amateurs and history buffs alike.

Date of event
Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Golden Age of Spanish Art

Over the 16th and 17th centuries, Spanish art flourished as it reflected the influences of Northern European and Italian artists and the complex forces of humanism and spirituality. Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine provides an overview of the era and the enduring achievements of the artists who shaped its visual culture. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Friday, February 7, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The World of the Crusades: Holy War and Jihad

Historian Jennifer Paxton explores the origins of the Crusades, the complex relations between crusaders and their opponents, and their legacy for the modern world.

Date of event
Saturday, February 8, 2020 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 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, February 10, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Seeing History Through Artists' Eyes

Artists such as Picasso, David, and Goya came to grips with the political upheavals of their day with heroic and searing images that elicit our admiration or moral outrage. Art historian Judy Scott Feldman examines the complex interplay between artistic expression and social and political content through the centuries. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date of event
Wednesday, February 19 to March 11, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Religious Crises in the Western World: Triumphs and Traumas

Ori Z. Soltes, professor of Jewish civilization at Georgetown University, examines some of the key transitional moments in the religious history of the West spanning the nearly two millennia from the era of Roman paganism to the secularized shaping of modernity.

Date of event
Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The Inca and Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, built by the Inca Empire around 1450, is one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world. Lecturer George L. Scheper looks through the lenses of geography, history, and culture to uncover new truths about a people and a place that fascinate us still.

Date of event
Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The Wars of the Roses: Cousins, Conflicts, and the Crown

Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger traces the tumultuous history of the battles and power grabs that led to the establishment of the most powerful family of the 16th century, the Tudors.

Date of event
Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The Greek Gods: Myths and Worship

For the ancient Greeks, the gods were more than just powerful characters in exciting narratives: Their worship played a central role in shaping religious life. Classicist Katherine Wasdin examines this vital connection between mortals and their gods.

Date of event
Monday, March 2, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Understanding the Celtic World

The ancient Celts terrified the Greeks and Romans, but the modern-day revival of Celtic music and art charms millions of people around the world. Historian Jennifer Paxton examines the complex and fascinating legacy of the Celtic world, revealing that its language, art, and customs may be rooted in some surprising sources.

Date of event
Wednesday, March 4, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Sicily: Eternal Crossroads of the Mediterranean

From stark Greek temples through dazzling Roman and Arab-Norman mosaics and on to Baroque opulence and charming romantic-era revivals, art historian Janetta Rebold Benton highlights the aesthetic eclecticism and cultural signposts of the island of Sicily. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, March 7, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Author Erik Larson on Churchill's Darkest Year

MEMBERS-ONLY PROGRAM: Drawing on his new book The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson offers a vivid portrait of London and Winston Churchill during the Blitz, detailing how the prime minister taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” Ticket includes a copy of The Splendid and the Vile.

Date of event
Monday, March 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.