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Lectures

The key to delicious Italian cooking isn’t a generations-old family secret: It’s simply starting with the highest-quality ingredients you can find. After an informative afternoon with a pair of experts in Italian specialty foods, you’ll be ready to step away from  generic offerings on supermarket shelves to fill your basket with cheese, pasta, vinegar, and preserves that reflect the rich heritage of centuries of artisans.

Event date Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 1:00 p.m.

Art historian Renée Ater draws focus to several monuments to the slave past recently added to the landscape in Virginia, Maryland, and the District as she considers the ways that visualizing, remembering, and engaging with the past may help transform the future. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Event date Sunday, February 24, 2019 - 2:00 p.m.

Baltimore-based chef John Shields guides home cooks in preparing dishes in the Chesapeake tradition that are tasty and healthy—and support the regional food industry’s efforts to protect the Bay.

Event date Monday, February 25, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Art historian Nigel McGilchrist considers two Italian Renaissance painters whose approach to creating visual images couldn’t have been more dissimilar: Botticelli, with his fluidity, movement, and elegance of drawing; and della Francesca, with his stillness, thoughtfulness, and reassuring solidity of form. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Event date Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

When test results from a genealogical website showed that novelist and memoirist Dani Shapiro’s biological father was not the man who had raised her, she confronted some of the complicated ethical and moral questions that genetic testing can raise. In a conversation with biologist Carla Easter of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Shapiro discusses how she came to reconstruct—and come to terms with—a different version of her own identity.

Event date Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Their names may not be as familiar as those of Minnie Mouse or Betty Boop, but female animators have made significant contributions to the form since its earliest days. Mindy Johnson, a leading expert on women’s roles in animation and film history, tells their mostly little-known stories.

Event date Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Japanese foodies take their ramen— which boasts more than 30 regional variations— very seriously. The team behind D.C.’s popular Bantam King, Daikaya, and Haikan restaurants explore the essentials of Sapporo-style ramen, how they prepare it, and how best to enjoy it. Then, get a taste of your own when you sit down for lunch at Haikan.

Event date Saturday, March 9, 2019 - 10:00 a.m.

Art historian Bonita Billman discusses the life and career of Edouard Manet, a premier painter of modern life and a trailblazer of the impressionist movement. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Event date Monday, March 11, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Dubai is all about dazzle. But this architectural showplace has been criticized for being more hospitable to affluent visitors than its own residents. Urban scholar Yasser Elsheshtawy examines how members of the city’s marginalized migrant population carved out places in which they can feel at home.

Event date Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The dynamic canvases of Tintoretto explode with inventive compositions, bold lighting, and expressive and audacious brushwork. As a 500th-anniversay exhibition at the National Gallery opens, art historian Lisa Passaglia Bauman celebrates an artist whose stories are told on the most dramatic of scales. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Event date Monday, March 18, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

A curious irrational number called the golden ratio, or phi (approximately 1.618, give or take an endless series of places) has come to represent the proportions of some ideally pleasing geometrical structures. Astrophysicist Mario Livio traces the story of this astonishing number from the ancient world to the present day, examining how it pops up in everything from the natural world to music and architecture.

Event date Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Katie Dandridge and Kevin Parisi, cocktail experts from Quill, the lounge at Washington’s Jefferson Hotel, lead a hands-on class (and tasting) for amateur mixologists who want to learn how to shake things up at home.

Event date Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 3:00 p.m.

Katie Dandridge and Kevin Parisi, cocktail experts from Quill, the lounge at Washington’s Jefferson Hotel, lead a hands-on class (and tasting) for amateur mixologists who want to learn how to shake things up at home.

Event date Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 3:00 p.m.

Devoted followers of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” have production designer Deborah Riley—and a small army of crafts specialists—to thank for the highly detailed environment against which the saga of power, family, revenge, and romance plays out. Join Riley and executive producer Bernadette Caulfield as they discuss the show’s distinctive visual style and offer behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the series.

Event date Monday, April 1, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

A shared faith can unite its followers, but separate them from other believers. Charles Jones of Catholic University’s School of Theology and Religious Studies traces the history of Christianity's encounters with other religions, from the biblical era through various currents of philosophy and science, to both its peaceful and violent meetings with other religions today.

Event date Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Author and cocktail expert Philip Green celebrates the spirit—and the favorite spirits—of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and other members of the swingin’, high-living clan who came to symbolize ’60s-style cool onstage and off.

Event date Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

In 1943, the people of Denmark—led by their king—dared to stand up for their Jewish countrymen in collective resistance to Nazi occupation. Historian Ralph Nurnberger recounts this extraordinary act of courage on the part of an entire nation under duress.

Event date Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Philanthropist and technology pioneer Jean Case examines the risk-taking principles that guided notable change-makers from JFK to Jane Goodall to José Andrés and shares how they can be put into action in our own lives.

Event date Friday, April 5, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award recognizes and celebrates influential thinkers, innovators, and catalysts in the arts, sciences, and humanities in both traditional and emerging disciplines. Nina Totenberg, NPR's legal affairs correspondent, is the recipient of the 17th annual award, and discusses her career in a lively conversation during the presentation program.

Event date Friday, April 5, 2019 - 7:00 p.m.

Despite decades in the spotlight, Bob Dylan remains a beloved enigma. Drawing on his new book, Bob Dylan’s Poetics, Timothy Hampton, explores the interplay of music and lyrics as a key to understanding the heart of Dylan’s artistry—and perhaps, the man.

Event date Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The origins of the notorious screed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a mystery, but its reality as a malicious tool used by such disparate voices as the Russian secret police, Adolf Hitler, Henry Ford, and the Charlottesville ultra-nationalists underscores its evil staying power. Historian Ralph Nurnberger unravels the story behind this infamous anti-Semitic document.

Event date Monday, April 15, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

One significant aspect of Harriet Tubman’s life is less well-known than her role in the abolitionist movement: her Civil War military service as a spy for the Union Army in South Carolina. Historian Elizabeth Cobbs examines her activities behind enemy lines—including guiding an armed mission that liberated more than 700 slaves.

Event date Monday, April 22, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Author Geraldine Brooks examines the enduring appeal of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel and its roots in the author’s life. Brooks, who drew on the Civil War-era experiences of the family’s head, Bronson Alcott, in her Pulitzer Prize–winning novel March, explores how Alcott’s radical parents and their progressive intellectual milieu shaped the woman, and the writer, she became.

Event date Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Late 18th-century England is the backdrop for the British series “Poldark” on PBS. Ross Poldark is the dashing hero caught up in the social, political, and economic changes swirling around him. Find out what the series, set in rugged Cornwall, gets right about the period.

Event date Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Southern Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs are a vivid remnant of the Chesapeake Bay’s prehistoric past. Stephen Godfrey, a Smithsonian research associate and curator of paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum, traces the fascinating history of the cliffs, discusses the amazing diversity of fossils that they preserve, and the picture they present of the Mid-Atlantic environment during the Miocene epoch.

Event date Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Pull up a chair as food writer Elizabeth Minchilli and cookbook author Domenica Marchetti serve up a lively discussion about what goes into an Italian meal. They consider the country’s many food-focused traditions, as well as the way they are celebrated every day at the table. 

Event date Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

In a one-day workshop at Pizza University, chef Felice Colucci guides you through the steps and secrets of making Neapolitan-style pizza from scratch. Graduate with tips on making the pie at home.

Event date Friday, April 26, 2019 - 6:00 p.m.

In a one-day workshop at Pizza University, chef Felice Colucci guides you through the steps and secrets of making Neapolitan-style pizza from scratch. Graduate with tips on making the pie at home.

Event date Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 1:00 p.m.

Thomas Jefferson was among the most notable aficionados of Madeira, the fortified Portuguese wine that at one time was the most popular potable throughout the British Empire. At his namesake hotel in downtown Washington, learn about the Founding Father’s connection to the drink, and enjoy a guided tasting of fine Madeiras.

Event date Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 1:00 p.m.

Animal behavior expert Frans de Waal’s fascinating explorations into the social and emotional lives of primates have revealed that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, joy, or generosity. Drawing on his newest book, Mama’s Last Hug, he examines the remarkable emotional continuity between our species and others.

Event date Monday, April 29, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The sprawling Central Intelligence Agency has thousands of eyes and ears, but only one client: the president of the United States. The CIA’s chief historian David Robarge discusses the agency’s changing role throughout administrations, and how presidents’ experience with intelligence and their foreign policy agendas have affected that relationship.

Event date Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Drawing on his new memoir, the executive chef of Kith and Kin shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age: one about the intersection of food, fame, and race.

Event date Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

His early political career was notable for his embrace of plans to build a better world. But then things changed. Biographer John Farrell examines Richard Nixon’s personal and political journey from naval lieutenant to disgraced president.

Event date Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

From their first performance of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 to “Let It Be” on their final album in 1970, the songs of the Beatles defined and shaped an explosive era in musical and cultural history. Join musical raconteur Robert Wyatt on a “magical mystery tour” of the life and works of the group whose influence still echoes in pop music—and our lives.

Event date Thursday, May 9, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Considered by some to be the “First Brexit,” the 16th-century break with Rome and Catholic Europe would forever change England’s religion, culture, communication, and place in the world. Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger examines how the Reformation transformed England into a maritime nation, a global power, and the center of a new empire.

Event date Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.