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World History Programs

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jewish Music: Many Languages, One Heart

What is Jewish music? In this 3-part series, the answers will surprise you as cantor and choral director Ramón Tasat leads discussions about this intriguing history, which segue into live performances. This program focuses on French and Jewish musical traditions.

Date of event
Sunday, March 8, 2020 - 4:00 p.m.

Charlemagne: The Paradoxical Conqueror

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.

Date of event
Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 6:45 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.

Ireland's Fight for Freedom

Ireland’s bitter war with the British Empire from 1919 to 1921 created the template for other independence struggles in the 20th century. Historian Kevin Matthews examines its development and tactics—and the price that Ireland paid for freedom.

Date of event
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Decoding the Royal Wardrobe: From the Tudors to Today

There's more to the gowns, crowns, uniforms, and regalia of British royalty than meets the eye. Join Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger for a glimpse into the palace closet that reveals how monarchs used their wardrobes to project power, influence, politics, and personality.

Date of event
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

European Microstates: Survival of the Smallest

In an age of nation-states, Europe contains the world’s largest collection of a dozen countries that are literally too small to appear on most maps of the continent. Historian Charles Ingrao delves into the remarkable resilience of these microstates by examining the historical forces that shaped them.

Date of event
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

A History of the British Royal Family

Plantagenets and Tudors and Windsors, oh my! Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger traces a path through the twists and turns of the royals and rebels who have ruled England for nearly a thousand years.

Date of event
Thursday, March 26 to April 23, 2020 - 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Exploring World Heritage Sites in Asia

Come on a virtual tour of four of the most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites in Asia, including both well-known and lesser-known sites with Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University.

Date of event
Thursday, April 2, April 23, May 14, and June 4, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Masters and Masterpieces of the 18th and 19th Centuries

Against a backdrop of a rapidly changing world, the 18th and 19th centuries brought forth a profusion of styles in art and architecture in Europe and America. Art historian Karin Alexis offers a cultural context for its creators as she traces the path from Rococo exuberance to a bold new realism. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date of event
Tuesday, April 7 to May 5, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. (no class April 14)

The Art of India: From the Indus Valley to Independence

From its origins in the ancient civilization to the present, the complex culture of South Asia has given rise to some of the world’s most remarkable art. Art historian Robert DeCaroli highlights the artistic traditions and historical changes within the Indian subcontinent from the earliest archaeological evidence to the onset of colonialism. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date of event
Wednesday, April 8 to May 6, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (no class April 29)

Jewish Music: Many Languages, One Heart

What is Jewish music? In this 3-part series, the answers will surprise you as cantor and choral director Ramón Tasat leads discussions about this intriguing history, which segue into live performances. This program focuses on the Jewish choral heritage in England.

Date of event
Sunday, April 26, 2020 - 4:00 p.m.

Jewish Music: Many Languages, One Heart

What is Jewish music? In this 3-part series, the answers will surprise you as cantor and choral director Ramón Tasat leads discussions about this intriguing history, which segue into live performances. This program focuses on the history of Jewish music in Italy.

Date of event
Sunday, June 14, 2020 - 4:00 p.m.