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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Lectures

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Architect Travis Price leads a global visual pilgrimage to temples, mosques, cathedrals, synagogues, and shrines whose timeless power is rooted in the interplay of architecture and faith. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

In a conversation moderated by Jamila Robinson, food editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, chef and author Marcus Samuelsson discusses how Black cooking has always been more than soul food, with flavors that can be traced to the African continent, the Caribbean, across the United States, and beyond.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, October 30, 2020 - 6:00 p.m. ET

Join Food & Wine magazine’s 2019 Sommelier of the Year, Erik Segelbaum, in an enjoyable interactive workshop designed to boost the wine IQ of both novices and seasoned aficionados.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Great art is timeless. Paul Glenshaw examines the iconic work The Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint Gaudens, exploring its historical context, delving into the era of its artist, the present he inhabited, and what shaped his vision and creations. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

For centuries, philosophers have attempted to answer the question of whether humans are naturally good or evil without any definitive results. Evolutionary biologist Rui Diogo turns instead to the sciences, anthropology, history, sociology, and other fields to examine what empirical data says about our basic nature—and offers some surprising insights into this age-old inquiry.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, November 8, 2020 - 3:00 p.m. ET

Memorable autobiographies are powerful evocations not just of a person, but a time and place, vividly transporting us inside the world of another to experience life as they did. Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson looks at the remarkable life of Julia Child.

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

Did Britain’s Lord Elgin rescue a 24-foot marble frieze from the ruins of the Parthenon in the early 19th century or did he steal it? Art historian Joseph Cassar explores the history of these ancient sculptures and the issues that have swirled around them since they left Greece. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 9, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Though Georgia O’Keefe’s visions of sun-bleached animal bones and close-ups of flowers are among the most iconic of her paintings, they tell only a part of her story as an artist. Art historian Nancy G. Heller looks at the full sweep of her life and career to create a portrait of a seminal American modernist who found expression in a wide variety of forms, styles, and subjects. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Naval historian David Rosenberg and three retired U.S. Navy officers examine the tensions and strategies that grew out of the face-off between America and the Soviet Union over Russia’s decision to place nuclear missiles in Cuba. They reveal how the USS Sam Houston, a Polaris submarine deployed in the Mediterranean, played a significant but little-known role in assuring European security against potential Soviet aggression.

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

The elegant Federal-era mansion Tudor Place has been called the most architecturally significant early-19th century residence in Washington. Join Leslie L. Buhle, a former executive director of Tudor Place, for a look at its history-rich rooms, garden, archival collections, and rare artifacts. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Film studios and media platforms have recently seen an increased interest in black-centered television shows and movies. NPR television critic and author Eric Deggans sheds light on some of the most important series and films that focus on issues of race and culture to watch right now.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

From “Game of Thrones” to video games, festivals to theme restaurants, the Middle Ages are popping up everywhere in pop culture. Medievalist and sociologist Paul B. Sturtevant takes a look at what these rehashes of history tell us about the past—and what our re-imaginings of the medieval era reveal about how we see ourselves today.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Join Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University in spirited lectures and informal discussions about novels that explore stories set in Spain, India, the Dominican Republic, and the world of classical Greek mythology. This session discusses The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

From moles that have super-sensing snouts to eels that paralyze their prey to wasps that can turn cockroaches into zombies, animals possess unique and extraordinary abilities. Biologist Kenneth Catania sheds light on the behaviors of some of these astounding creatures and how studying them can provide deep insights into how life evolved.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Despite the often-nightmarish fantasies that filled her canvases, Frida Kahlo insisted she never painted dreams: She painted her own reality. Art historian Nancy G. Heller traces Kahlo’s brief life to examine the influences—including a tragic accident, a stormy marriage to a fellow artist, and a reverence for her Mexican heritage—that shaped the art in which that reality was reflected. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET

Fast cars, shady liaisons, a murder plot, a Manhattan socialite, and a ringleader codenamed Agent Sex: they’re all elements of the story of the Nazi spy ring that infiltrated America in the 1930s. Historian Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones recounts how an intrepid FBI agent, whose talent was matched only by his penchant for publicity, played an essential role in bringing it all down.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Historian Allen Pietrobon explores American food culture since 1850 and how, throughout American history, food has been a battleground where culture, ethnicity, race, and identity clash.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Get insights into one of the greatest American wildlife conservation and restoration achievements—the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park—from three of the wildlife biologists who have guided the project since 1995.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, November 20, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Historian H.W. Brands offers a dual portrait of Brown and Lincoln as men with profoundly different views on how moral people must respond to the injustice of slavery: by incremental change within the system or by radical upheaval? He also examines how that reckoning finds relevance in today’s political climate.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, November 20, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

You can’t visit Italy right now—but you can make pasta. Join art historian and culinary expert Elaine Trigiani at her farmhouse in Tuscany for a virtual exploration of this beautiful region through its artistic and culinary heritage.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, November 20, 2020 - 6:00 p.m. ET

The holidays are meant to be filled with friends, family, cheer, and great meals. So why stress over the right wines to pair with the season’s traditional foods? Sip along at home with award-winning sommelier Erik Segelbaum in a guided tasting of the perfect wines to accompany your menus.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, November 22, 2020 - 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

There’s likely a cunning top-of-the-food-chain predator living close by you: the Great Horned Owl. Join naturalist Mark H.X. Glenshaw to learn how to find these amazing and beautiful animals and other owls in your own neighborhood.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 23, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

The landscape of Glacier National Park, Montana, and surrounding areas reveal evidence of almost two billion years of geologic change. Geologist Callan Bentley offers a virtual field guide to the landscape that focuses on sedimentology, structural geology and tectonic history, paleontology, and glaciers and climate change.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 30, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

We humans live in a world driven by chance, one in which many things had to happen in certain ways for any of us to exist. Sean B. Carroll, an evolutionary developmental biologist, examines the astonishing power of chance and how it provides the surprising source of beauty and diversity in the living world.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Discoveries made at the ancient mound at Megiddo transformed our understanding of the ancient world. Eric Cline, a professor of classics and anthropology and director of George Washington University’s Capitol Archaeological Institute—who also dug at Megiddo in more recent times—draws on archival records left by the participants to present a portrait of a bygone age of archaeology.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Light pollution—excessive illumination at night—has become a pervasive and ugly consequence of our 24/7 society, one that a growing body of research finds disruptive to our bodies and nocturnal ecosystems. Sky and Telescope magazine’s Kelly Beatty as he discusses how we can safely light up our homes, businesses, and communities without wasting energy, disturbing the neighbors, or creating an unhealthy environment for humans and wildlife.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

In this interactive, multimedia talk, music historian Kenneth Womack traces the story behind Double Fantasy, John Lennon’s remarkable 1980 comeback album with wife Yoko Ono.

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
Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Amid our own global pandemic, certain wildlife are also facing an unprecedented conservation crisis. Scientists Rebecca Gooley and Luke Linhoff of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute discuss their work in taking in members of two animal populations devastated by pandemics —the Tasmanian devil and amphibians—into captivity in order to protect, study, breed, and reintroduce them into the wild. 

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
Friday, December 4, 2020 - 6:00 p.m. ET

You’ve swirled and sipped wines from many countries. Now taste the same classic varieties with a Virginia twist. Join award-winning sommelier Erik Segelbaum for an interactive exploration of some of Virginia's best in comparative flights with their counterparts from around the globe.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, December 6, 2020 - 3:00 p.m. ET

In time for the holiday season, chef Danielle Renov, a Moroccan Jew born in New York and at home in Israel, shares the cultures and traditions that inform her recipes in a lively conversation with cookbook author and Jewish cuisine maven Joan Nathan.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 7, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET

No one led a life, led a band, or made music like Duke Ellington. American music specialist John Edward Hasse surveys the life and career of a one-of-kind man who overcame racial, social, and musical obstacles to become one of the 20th century’s greatest musicians.

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.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by Mary Hall Surface, instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon. Inspired by depictions of winter in works of art and poetry, explore the lessons that the season offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET

After the Bible and the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita is the most beloved of sacred texts in the world. Graham M. Schweig, a professor of religion at Christopher Newport University, illuminates some of the exquisite passages in this Hindu philosophical poem, examines their rich narrative context, and reveals how a work created around the 2nd century A.D. still poignantly addresses the universal problems of the human condition.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Join Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli as she talks about the stories behind the food in her new book, Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook. She shares how the recipes, traditions, and insights she captured reflect generations of collective experience and the power that food has to bring people—especially families—together.

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
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Despite its reputation as a notoriously difficult-to-read modern classic, James Joyce thought of his masterwork as a comic novel. Irish literature specialist Cóilín Parsons revisits the chronicle of the June day on which Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom meander their way through Dublin to examine why that description may be the right one for this richly rewarding book.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 11, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The inexplicable force of nature that was Wolfgang Mozart seemed to live onstage and off simultaneously, a character in life’s tragicomedy but also outside of it, watching, studying, and gathering material for the fabric of his art. Biographer Jan Swafford examines how those dual lives converged in the creation of works that shaped classical music for all time.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 11, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, explores the evolution of the subject of the Last Supper in Italian art, from early Christian images to examples from the late Renaissance. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, December 13, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

Learn how first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump have left their mark on White House Christmas celebrations.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 14, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Two dark-haired women—separated by more than 400 years—were behind America’s first blockbuster art show in 1963. One was Lisa Gherardin, better known as the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and the other was the driving force behind the portrait’s journey to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jacqueline Kennedy. Biographer Margaret Leslie Davis recounts an art-world saga filled with international intrigue that triggered “Lisa Fever” and a national love affair with the arts.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 14, 2020 - 5:00 p.m. ET

Join historian Peter Fischer as he explores the history of winemaking in Tuscany and how it was transformed in the 1970s by a few bold makers whose radical modern techniques reset the model for quality with the introduction of the Super Tuscans.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 14, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Around December 14, the annual Geminid meteor shower will be plentiful and bright around a new moon. Join George Mason University Observatory’s Peter Plavchan and geologist-turned-meteorite scientist Tim Gregory for a night illuminated by meteors and meteorites.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Whether intentionally or not, some movies created as entertainment have also had a significant impact on American society. Playwright and screenwriter Mark Lapadula examines a quartet of these—I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, The Graduate, Jaws, and Philadelphia— to reveal what they tell us about the times in which they were created and their continuing significance today.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Sean Carroll, an acclaimed theoretical physicist, is determined to demystify quantum mechanics for a new generation by way of the Many Worlds Theory.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Generations of painters have been inspired to capture the moment—and intense spirituality—of Christ’s birth. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo examines how the artistic evolution of the Nativity reflects developments in European art, from the earliest known image in a 2nd-century catacomb through 17th-century presentations of the Holy Family in dramatic Baroque style. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Ecologist Enric Sala, National Geographic’s explorer-in-residence and director of its Pristine Seas project, asserts that once we appreciate how nature works, we will understand how conservation is economically wise and why it is essential to our survival.

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

The fledgling aviators who followed in the steps of the Wright brothers were daring, dashing, and about to launch themselves into a whole new world of entertainment—the air show. Aviation writer and filmmaker Paul Glenshaw leads a rollicking trip around the country at the dawn of the last century and the age of flight.

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
Friday, December 18, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Caravaggio was a genius, a scoundrel, an outlaw, and a murderer. But above all, he was the greatest artist of his age, and remains one of the most influential and absorbing of all Italian painters. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo highlights his legacy. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

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

Over a career that spanned six decades, Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s films never failed in bringing audiences to the edge of their seats. Join playwright and screenwriter Marc Lapadula as he peels back the layers of meaning beneath this grandmaster’s bold intentions and dazzling techniques that made him one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of world cinema.

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
Monday, January 11, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Paul Halpern, professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, tells the little-known story of the unlikely friendship between physicist Wolfgang Pauli and renowned psychoanalyst Carl Jung and their insights about the concept of synchronicity and the nature of quantum reality.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Artist and art historian Joseph Cassar leads a fascinating journey through the landscape of the imagination as reflected in the distinctive work of artists including Ernst, Arp, Miro, Magritte, and Dali. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

After one of the most polarized presidential campaign seasons in recent history, will it be possible to resurrect the very American notion of E Pluribus Unum or “out of many, one”? A frank panel conversation moderated by civility expert and Washington Post columnist Steven Petrow looks at the challenges before us, as well as some reasons to be optimistic.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Rita Colwell, a pioneering microbiologist and the first woman to lead the National Science Foundation, has long known that her profession is not always welcoming to women. Yet she and others excelled despite the obstacles they faced. Colwell examines how women successfully pushed back against the status quo—and what science gained in the process.

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
Friday, January 29, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

According to religious scholar Karen Armstrong, the misunderstanding of scripture is perhaps the root cause of many of today’s controversies. She shines fresh light on the world’s major religions to examine how a creative and spiritual engagement with holy texts can build bridges between faiths.

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)