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Lectures

Lecture/Seminar

Botanical Gardens World Tour: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Eden Project

Sunday, February 5, 2023 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Indulge in a colorful midwinter escape as horticultural experts lead a series of virtual visits that highlight the beauty of notable botanical gardens. This program spotlights Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Eden Project.


Lecture/Seminar

The Geology of Western National Parks: Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands

Monday, February 6, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Join geologist Kirt Kempter as he explores the geology of Western National Parks over the course of 2023, with an in-depth look at one location every month. He kicks off the series with a focus on parks in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. This program spotlights Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands, both in New Mexico.


Lecture/Seminar

The Second Middle Passage: America’s Domestic Slave Trade

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Historian Richard Bell takes you inside the domestic slave trade that flourished in the Upper South, tracking its rise and its impact on the expansion of slavery into new territories and states.


Lecture/Seminar

"The Chinese Question": Gold Rushes and Global Politics of Exclusion

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Historian and author Mae Ngai narrates the story of the thousands of Chinese who left their homeland in the mid-19th-century in pursuit of gold, and how they formed communities and organizations to help navigate their perilous new world. But they later found themselves excluded from immigration and citizenship.


Lecture/Seminar

Spices 101: Ginger

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Join Eleanor Ford, acclaimed food writer and author of The Nutmeg Trail: Recipes and Stories Along the Ancient Spice Routes as she explores ginger’s history, lore, science, and flavor, then turns to the kitchen where she shares how home cooks can use it to best effect.


Lecture/Seminar

Stonehenge: An Epic Enigma

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Modern scientists are slowly unlocking Stonehenge’s secrets, but the stone circle remains a uniquely iconic enigma. Kelly Beatty, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine, discusses these new developments and the enduring mystery of Stonehenge.


Lecture/Seminar

Marisol: A Pop Art Superstar

Thursday, February 9, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Glamorous, sophisticated, worldly, and wickedly funny, Marisol Escobar, better known simply as “Marisol,” was the most famous and successful female Pop artist. Art historian Nancy G. Heller examines Marisol’s major works and career, with particular attention to the difficulties of a female Latinx artist in a world dominated by white men. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Astrology in Renaissance Art: Representation and Meaning

Thursday, February 9, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The intersection of art and astrology played a key role during the Renaissance, particularly for patrons like the Medici family, who used astrological imagery to promote themselves and their increasing de-facto power in Florence. Art critic Claudia Rousseau examines the development of astrological practices during the period, their cultural importance, and the artworks they influenced. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

War and Pieces: The Met Cloisters and the Lens of History

Friday, February 10, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

When the Cloisters—the branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art of the medieval world—opened in 1938, not a word was spoken about the threat of war looming over Europe. Yet ironically, the Cloisters’ very foundations stand in witness to the devastating impact of centuries of war and revolution on artistic heritage. Barbara Drake Boehm, curator emerita of the Met Cloisters, examines the museum’s finest works of art against the backdrop of history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

How To Find an Owl in Your Neighborhood

Sunday, February 12, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 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

Botanical Gardens World Tour: Singapore Botanic Garden and Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Sunday, February 12, 2023 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Indulge in a colorful midwinter escape as horticultural experts lead a series of virtual visits that highlight the beauty of notable botanical gardens. This program spotlights the Singapore Botanic Garden and Norfolk Botanical Gardens.


Lecture/Seminar

Ancient Art Collections of Rome

Monday, February 13, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Many of Rome’s lesser-known museums contain some of the world’s most significant Greco-Roman art. Rocky Ruggiero, an expert in Renaissance art, explores the ancient art collections of the Capitoline Museums, the Ara Pacis Museum, the Villa Giulia, and the Palazzo Massimo. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Gothic Kingdoms: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

After the sacking of imperial Rome by the army of Alaric the Goth in 410, three centuries of Gothic kings ruled over southern France, Italy, and Spain. The unity imposed by the Roman empire gave way to the divided kingdoms and peoples that shaped medieval Europe. British historian David Gwynn explores the dramatic histories of those kingdoms.


Lecture/Seminar

Discovering Türkiye

Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

PBS television host Darley Newman shares great places to discover in Türkiye (the now-official name for Turkey) and how to get the most out of your travels, whether you’re visiting bustling bazaars in Istanbul or venturing off the beaten path. Discover the most intriguing places to experience food, culture, adventure, and history in Istanbul, Cappadocia, Anatolia, Antalya, and the Aegean Coast.


Lecture/Seminar

Road Trip: Wines of the Iberian Coast

Friday, February 17, 2023 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Whether the Atlantic coast of Portugal or the Mediterranean coast of Spain, Iberian vineyards near the water are benchmarks for extraordinary quality. Trade the winter blues for emerald waves as sommelier Erik Segalbaum guides an immersion into some of the most exciting wines of western Europe. This immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.


Lecture/Seminar

Botanical Gardens World Tour: Temple Gardens of Kyoto, Japan

Sunday, February 19, 2023 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Indulge in a colorful midwinter escape as horticultural experts lead a series of virtual visits that highlight the beauty of notable botanical gardens. This program spotlights the Temple Gardens of Kyoto, Japan.


Lecture/Seminar

The Grapes of Wrath

Tuesday, February 21, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Novelist John Steinbeck's great work of American fiction, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), depicts the treatment of migrant farm workers in California's Central Valley during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. Humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson leads a spirited discussion of The Grapes of Wrath and why its deeply felt themes resonate today.


Lecture/Seminar

Winslow Homer: Capturing an America in Transformation

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

In-Person Program Only: Winslow Homer (1836–1910) has often been called America’s favorite painter. His work was both quintessentially American and quietly replete with narratives for and about people of all races and ages. Drawing on his new biography, Winslow Homer: American Passage, William R. Cross offers an illustrated look at the man behind the art and examines Homer’s role in American culture. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

An Anatomy of Addiction

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Medical historian Howard Markel traces the careers of two brilliant young doctors—Sigmund Freud, neurologist, and William Halsted, surgeon—showing how their powerful addictions to cocaine shaped their enormous contributions to psychology and medicine. He also examines the physical and emotional damage caused by the then-heralded wonder drug, and how each man ultimately changed the world in spite of it.


Lecture/Seminar

Wildfire: The Life and Works of Edmonia Lewis

Thursday, February 23, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Nineteenth-century artist Edmonia Lewis, the daughter of a Black man and a Native American woman, overcame poverty and racial and gender-based discrimination to become an enormously successful professional sculptor based in Rome. Art historian Nancy G. Heller discusses Lewis’s place within the broader context of American Neoclassicism and African American art history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Gene Kelly: Singing and Dancing in the Rain

Thursday, February 23, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Gene Kelly, one of the most engaging and influential dancers to ever set foot in Hollywood, emerged as a star at a time when most movie dancing was basically a showcase for elegant partners in motion. In a program illustrated with video clips, Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, surveys Kelly’s remarkable achievements and examines his enduring impact on Hollywood dancing.


Lecture/Seminar

I Do Solemnly Swear: A History of Supreme Court Nominations

Thursday, February 23, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Join historian Christopher Brooks as he surveys the history of the Supreme Court, its nominations process, and the politics that have played a role in shaping the Court into what we see today.


Lecture/Seminar

Frederick Douglass: Autobiographer

Thursday, February 23, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

During the 19th century, the great civil rights leader Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) was a celebrated orator, editor, and writer. Join Douglass scholar Robert S. Levine as he focuses on Douglass the autobiographer and considers the significant changes and additions he made to his later autobiographies, My Bondage and My Freedom and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.


Lecture/Seminar

Back from the Brink: Lessons from Wildlife Species Defying Extinction

Monday, February 27, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Against the bleak backdrop of wildlife species moving toward extinction, there are also glimmers of hope and lessons to be learned from animals that have defied these global trends. Christopher J. Preston, author of Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think About Animals, reveals the mysteries and challenges at the heart of these resurgences.


Lecture/Seminar

1966: Black Power Challenges the Civil Rights Movement

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Journalist and author Mark Whitaker examines the dramatic events of 1966, in which a new sense of Black identity expressed in the slogan “Black Power” challenged the nonviolent civil rights philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis. He also discusses why the lessons from 1966 still resonate today.


Program

Studio House: A Setting for an Ambassador for the Arts

Thursday, March 2, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

The distinctive Studio House on Washington, D.C.’s Sheridan Circle (currently owned by the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia) was built in 1903 for Alice Pike Barney, an artist, playwright, civic leader, and philanthropist. Join independent researcher Mona Khademi for an evening at the Studio House—now on the National Registry of Historic Places—as she examines its interesting links to history, culture, and creativity. Following the presentation, enjoy a light reception.


Lecture/Seminar

Spring in the South of France: A Virtual Tour of the Region’s History, Culture, and Sights

Thursday, March 2, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

With its lavender-laced valleys, seashores, medieval hill towns, and lively cities, the south of France is downright seductive. Travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy offers a 4-part virtual tour of Provence and the Côte d’Azur and a guide to the regions’ most intriguing sights, historical aspects, food and wine, and art. This session highlights Marseille and Aix-en-Provence.


Program

Sapporo-Style Ramen: A Regional Rage

Saturday, March 4, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

Learn why Japanese foodies have made Sapporo one of the most competitive ramen markets in Japan when you sit down for lunch at the popular Haikan restaurant in Shaw.


Lecture/Seminar

The Geology of Western National Parks: Grand Canyon, Arizona

Monday, March 6, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Join geologist Kirt Kempter as he explores the geology of Western National Parks over the course of 2023, with an in-depth look at one location every month. He kicks off the series with a focus on parks in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. This program spotlights the Grand Canyon in Arizona.


Lecture/Seminar

The Oscars

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Washington City Paper film critic Noah Gittell is back for an evening that focuses on all things Oscar, from Academy Awards history and trivia to discussions of this year’s nominations and behind-the-scenes stories. He sorts through all of the story lines, rumors, and gossip, so that when the telecast begins, you'll be the most knowledgeable guest at your Oscar party.


Lecture/Seminar

Masterworks by Matisse at the Barnes Foundation

Thursday, March 9, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Drawing on the riches of one of the greatest post-impressionist and early modern art collections in the world and remarkable high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen guides a series of live virtual tours that closely examine the paintings and lives of 3 artists who helped shape a truly revolutionary period in the history of art. This session focuses on the gallery's collection of Henri Matisse artworks. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Cuban History: Cycles of Hopes and Heartaches

Thursday, March 9, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

From the wars for independence through the revolution and beyond, Cubans have often felt on the verge of fulfilling their nation’s destiny, only to find their hopes were misplaced or betrayed. Historian Michael J. Bustamante charts these ups and downs from 19th-century Cuba to the present, as well as the ways its citizens have experienced what has been termed cycles of “desire and disenchantment” in their lifetimes.


Lecture/Seminar

American Women and the Fight for Equality

Thursday, March 9, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

After what Susan B. Anthony called “the long, hard fight,” the Nineteenth Amendment enfranchising 26 million white and Black women, was added to the Constitution on August 26, 1920. Join author Elisabeth Griffith as she focuses on a diverse cast of characters, some notable, many unknown, as she highlights how the diversity of the women’s movement mirrors America.


Lecture/Seminar

Feminist Fairy Tales: Who Needs a Prince?

Monday, March 13, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

You might have heard something like this: Fairy tales are so sexist. All these girls needing a prince to save them!" But the politics of gender in fairy tales are much more complicated. Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman explore the roots of fairy-tale studies and illustrate how scholarly discussions of sex and gender have transformed the art of the fairy tale as we know it.


Lecture/Seminar

The Tale of Shuten Doji

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 14th-century Japanese legend The Tale of Shuten Doji was a popular subject in visual and performing arts during the Edo period. Art historian Yui Suzuki examines the illustrated tale in depth, focusing on both the conventional and cryptic meanings that the artworks convey. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Edith Wilson: The First (Unelected) Woman President

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

While this nation has yet to elect its first woman president, just over a century ago Edith Bolling Galt Wilson effectively acted as one when her husband Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated. Rebecca Boggs Roberts, a leading historian on women’s suffrage and power, examines the complicated figure whose personal quest for influence reshaped the position of first lady into one of lasting political prominence.


Lecture/Seminar

Slavery and Freedom in the Shenandoah Valley

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

During the Civil War, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley was the site of fierce conflicts, both on and off the battlefield. The region’s strategic location meant that enslaved and free African Americans navigated a borderland that changed hands frequently. Author Jonathan Noyalas continues the story and reveals the challenges African Americans faced from former Confederates during the Civil War Era.


Lecture/Seminar

Lost Opportunities: The Troubled History of African American and Irish Relations

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The histories of African Americans and Irish Americans have each been fraught with discrimination and hardship. Though both groups faced oppression and societal scorn as second-class citizens, they often found themselves at odds during the 19th century, with the competition for housing and jobs creating racial tensions. Historian Christopher Brooks discusses these parallel histories and how natural allies became historical rivals.


Lecture/Seminar

Masterworks by Renoir at the Barnes Foundation

Thursday, March 16, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Drawing on the riches of one of the greatest post-impressionist and early modern art collections in the world and remarkable high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen guides a series of live virtual tours that closely examine the paintings and lives of 3 artists who helped shape a truly revolutionary period in the history of art. This session focuses on the gallery's collection of Pierre-August Renoir artworks. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

How the Internet Changed the Media

Thursday, March 16, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, examines the many ways the internet has radically transformed the “old” media of newspapers, magazines, the recording industry, film, radio, and television. He traces how this digital revolution took place in such a short period of time, and what lies ahead in the continually changing era of “new” media.


Lecture/Seminar

The Heart of John Brown

Thursday, March 16, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

John Brown’s attack on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry—the first salvo in his battleplan to destroy American slavery—went wrong almost immediately and would eventually cost him his life. Historian Richard Bell examines how Brown’s execution made him a martyr and paved the way for Lincoln’s unprecedented election, the secessions crisis, and the coming of the Civil War.


Lecture/Seminar

Island Time: Exploring Wines from the World's Best Island Regions

Friday, March 17, 2023 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

No wine is an island, but many world-class wines are from islands. Sommelier Erik Segalbaum examines various island winemaking regions and how a proximity to oceans and seas leads to consistent flavor elements in the finished products. This immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.


Lecture/Seminar

Magna Carta: A Blueprint for Democracy

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Learn the fascinating story of how a failed 13th-century peace treaty between King John of England and his barons became a foundational cornerstone of citizens’ rights in this country with law professor, Thomas J. McSweeney.


Program

Aperitivo: Italy’s Magical Pre-dinner Hour

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Kick off the evening as the Italians do and learn about the tradition of aperitivo: the informal gathering of friends for a convivial pre-dinner drink, socializing, and hors d'oeuvres. Food historian Francine Segan dishes on the tradition’s delicious history, and a post-program reception offers tastings of regional specialties and recipes for aperitivo cocktails and simple-to-make classic Italian appetizers.


Lecture/Seminar

Masterworks by Cézanne at the Barnes Foundation

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Drawing on the riches of one of the greatest post-impressionist and early modern art collections in the world and remarkable high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen guides a series of live virtual tours that closely examine the paintings and lives of 3 artists who helped shape a truly revolutionary period in the history of art. This session focuses on the gallery's collection of Paul Cézanne artworks. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Thomas Gainsborough: Beyond the Blue Boy

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Thomas Gainsborough, one of the most important British artists of the second half of the 18th century, was also one of England’s earliest homegrown geniuses. Art historian Bonita Billman examines Gainsborough’s lush painterly technique, iconic masterworks (especially those in America), and his influence on painting. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

True Tales from the Life of Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In a rollicking, richly illustrated presentation, popular speaker Paul Glenshaw—in conversation with historian Callan Shea—peels back the fascinating layers and history of an iconic photograph featuring a presidential wild child, an electric car, and the first military airplane.


Lecture/Seminar

“See You in Orbit?”: A History of Space Tourism

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Though millions of dreamers have anticipated their chance to travel in space, fewer than 650 earthlings have viewed our planet from a spaceship. Alan Ladwig, former manager of NASA’s Space Flight Participant Program, examines the promise, expectations, principal personalities, and milestones surrounding space tourism and reviews what has remained constant for decades: our motivation to float among the stars.


Lecture/Seminar

Sears Houses of Arlington

Monday, March 27, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In the early decades of the 20th century, Sears Roebuck & Co. sold more than 70,000 prefabricated Modern Homes kits, offering all Americans the chance to own an up-to-date house. Historian Dakota Springston draws on period and contemporary images to lead a virtual tour through several historic Northern Virginia neighborhoods that boast a wide range of these distinctive houses, followed by a Q&A with a Sears Homes expert.


Lecture/Seminar

Barbra Streisand: She’s All That

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

She’s all-daring and all-voice, magnificent and maddening, improbable and irreplaceable. You’ll be saying “Hello, Gorgeous” when you join documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson, whose commentary and abundant sampling of clips set the stage for a fun night to spend with La Streisand.


Lecture/Seminar

A Journey Through the Potomac Gorge

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

One of the most biologically diverse and ecologically significant landmarks in America, the Potomac Gorge, near Washington, D.C., has held an important place in human history since the Ice Age. Naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a virtual journey along the most dramatic section of the 405-mile-long river: the 15-mile stretch in which it originates at Great Falls in Maryland and Virginia and flows, often through dramatic cliffs and bluffs, to Theodore Roosevelt Island in the District.


Lecture/Seminar

An Enemy of the People? Niccolò Machiavelli in Context

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Author Ross King reveals why Florentine statesman Niccolò Machiavelli’s writings are more sophisticated than even the most Machiavellian passages of The Prince would seem to suggest. King offers a portrait of a perceptive writer who is far from being an enemy of the human race, and whose lessons on leadership, liberty, virtue, and good government are worth re-examining today.


Lecture/Seminar

Black Holes 101

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Though the concept of black holes can be traced back to the late 1700s, the quest to understand their nature and how they shape our universe continues. Kelly Beatty, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, discusses how cosmologists still grapple with precisely what black holes are and how best to study them.


Lecture/Seminar

J.M.W. Turner and the Art of the Sublime

Thursday, March 30, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

British artist J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) is known for innovative landscape paintings that captured nature’s power and drama. Tim Barringer, a professor of art history at Yale University, places a selection of Turner’s works in historical context.


Lecture/Seminar

Assateague: A Natural History Primer

Thursday, March 30, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Join Keith Tomlinson, garden educator and naturalist, on a virtual tour of Assateague Island National Seashore and neighboring Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.


Lecture/Seminar

Spring in the South of France: A Virtual Tour of the Region’s History, Culture, and Sights

Thursday, March 30, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

With its lavender-laced valleys, seashores, medieval hill towns, and lively cities, the south of France is downright seductive. Travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy offers a 4-part virtual tour of Provence and the Côte d’Azur and a guide to the regions’ most intriguing sights, historical aspects, food and wine, and art. This session highlights Avignon and the Vrai Provence.


Lecture/Seminar

From Towers to Palaces: An Architectural Tour of Medieval Florence

Friday, March 31, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Florentine architecture in the 13th and 14th centuries was characterized by soaring towers, massive fortress-like palaces, breathtakingly beautiful basilicas, and public buildings that set an important precedent for the future palace builders of wealthy patrician families. From her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo traces how the built environment of medieval Florence clearly reflects the historical development of the city at the dawn of the Renaissance. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Wonder Tales from Japan

Monday, April 3, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Like their Western fairy tale counterparts, Japan’s fantastical stories—otogi-banashi—are part of the body of stories folklorists call “wonder tales.” Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman explore these traditional tales from Japan, the ghosts and spirits that haunt them, and how contemporary creators translate their supernatural enchantments into genres like anime (animation) and manga (comics).


Lecture/Seminar

Spring's Awakening: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by works of art by Vincent van Gogh and poetry by Mary Oliver, writers of all levels explore the lessons that the season of spring offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.


Lecture/Seminar

J. Robert Oppenheimer: Genius, Tragedy, Ethics, and the First Atomic Bomb

Tuesday, April 11, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Robert Oppenheimer never really thought about the ethics of the atomic bomb until the successful test of a plutonium device at Alamogordo, New Mexico, in July 1945. Then, one of the most highly educated men of the 20th century felt an inrush of ethical anguish and spent the rest of his life trying to come to terms with what he, what America, and what humankind had done. Historian Clay Jenkinson examines the gated world of Los Alamos, the race to build the bomb, Oppenheimer’s ethical quandry about nuclear warfare—and the price he paid for it.


Lecture/Seminar

What Were They Thinking?: The Philosophies of Maimonides and Aquinas

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Maimonides and St. Thomas Aquinas, the two pre-eminent Jewish and Christian thinkers of the medieval period, shared a passion for applying the rationalist methods of Aristotle to questions of belief. Ori Z. Soltes, author and Georgetown University professor, considers how these two gigantic thinkers differ and where they share common ground, both generally and in particular, and how they offer relevance to our own world of thought and action.


Lecture/Seminar

Art Crimes: Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Expert on art fraud, author, and former FBI agent Robert Wittman draws from his book The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich to recount his 2013 recovery of the long-lost private diary of the Nazi Party’s chief ideologue, who laid the philosophical foundations for the Holocaust. Rosenberg’s diary had been lost for more than 60 years and its long-hidden contents offer first-person insights into the Nazi rise to power, the genesis of the Final Solution, and Germany’s brutal occupation of the Soviet Union.


Lecture/Seminar

The Changing Face of Television: YouTube, Bingeing, Streaming, and Beyond

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Television is changing in front of our eyes. More and more viewers prefer to watch new online-only channels like Netflix or Disney+. An entire generation of younger viewers has given up on the TV set altogether. Drawing on video clips to illustrate his talk, media expert Brian Rose explains why the old days of simply “watching TV” are fast disappearing.


Lecture/Seminar

Literature's Nobel Prize: Who won, who didn't, and why it matters

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Leo Tolstoy, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce never won the Nobel Prize in Literature, but Bob Dylan did. Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, delves into controversial decisions by the Nobel Prize committee and the history of the prize since it was first awarded in 1901.


Lecture/Seminar

The Uffizi Gallery: An Unrivaled Collection

Friday, April 14, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Uffizi Gallery has long been regarded as one of the most important museum collections in the world, boasting some of the greatest masterpieces of the Florentine Renaissance. From her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo leads a lively two-part virtual walk through the Uffizi as she discusses its history, architecture, Medici connections, and an in-depth examination of the best of the remarkable painting collection. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

How Culture Works: Driven by the Intersection of Peoples

Monday, April 17, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Two faculty members of Harvard University, Martin Puchner, a professor of English and comparative literature, and Maya Jasanoff, a professor of history, converse on how humanity has sought to understand and transmit to future generations the meaning and purpose of our existence, as expressed in art, architecture, religion, and philosophy.


Lecture/Seminar

Three Masterpieces of Etruscan Art

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Etruscans hold a reputation for mystery, but the truth is we know a lot about these creative ancient Italians and their remarkable contributions to the history of art. Art historian and author Laura Morelli takes a deep dive into the heart of ancient Italy as she examines three masterworks of painting, sculpture, and metalwork that reflect Etruscan culture’s unique place in the Mediterranean world. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Rasputin: The Man Who Would Not Die

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

More than 100 years after his death, few figures in Russian history evoke as much fascination as Gregori Rasputin, often portrayed as the “Mad Monk” who became the political power behind Tzar Nicholas II and his family. Historian Ralph Nurnberger explores the labyrinth of stories surrounding the life and death of one of the early-20th century’s most intriguing characters.


Lecture/Seminar

The Sun: Front and Center
A Grand Tour of the Solar System

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

The Sun, the 4.5-billion-year-old star at the center of the solar system, is the glue that holds it together, and its activity provides a protective bubble that shields the planets from damaging galactic radiation. Astrophysicist and cosmologist Hakeem Oluseyi shines a light on this special star.


Lecture/Seminar

Renaissance Cabinets of Curosity: Collecting All Sorts of Wonders

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

A narwhal tusk and a meticulous painting of a tulip might seem to have little in common, but they were among the wonders of nature and artifice displayed proudly in Renaissance collections of marvels. These early private collections, or cabinets of curiosity, ultimately led to the genesis of the modern museum. Biologist Kay Etheridge describes how this passion for collecting provided naturalists with centers of study and source material for their quest to find order in nature.


Lecture/Seminar

Pati Jinich: La Frontera

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In her PBS Primetime docuseries “La Frontera,” Mexican chef Pati Jinich uses food as the vehicle to explore the culture and people along the border of the United States and Mexico, sharing meals with locals from all walks of life and reflecting on the melding of cultures. Join her in person for a screening of an episode from the second season, “La Frontera: The Everchanging Borderlands,” which debuts this spring, followed by a conversation focusing on the creation of the series and what she discovered traveling in both countries.


Lecture/Seminar

The French Wars of Religion, 1559-1598: Reform and Conflict

Thursday, April 20, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

During the second half of the 16th century, France was near anarchy, torn apart by vicious cycles of violence between Catholics and Protestants. Historian Alexander Mikaberidze discusses the complex origins of the Wars of Religion in France and provides concise analysis of the wars, their social and economic toll, and the lasting impact of political ideas that they generated.


Lecture/Seminar

In a New York State of Wine

Friday, April 21, 2023 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The vineyards surrounding New York’s Finger Lakes have proven time and time again to produce wines on a world-class scale. Sommelier Erik Segelbaum leads a tasty, in-depth session focused on the red and white varieties that grow best in the state, as well as some up-and-coming varieties that are being pioneered in New York's appellations.


Lecture/Seminar

From Coronation to Committal: Traditions and Ceremonies that Shape the British Monarchy

Saturday, April 22, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET

In September 2022, the world watched the pageantry of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, including the committal ceremony, during which the emblems of royalty were taken from her coffin and placed on the altar. In May. the coronation of King Charles III and his wife, Camilla, will be celebrated. Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger explores the protocols and traditions that continue the monarchy from one individual to the next.


Lecture/Seminar

The Supreme Court’s Role in Our Constitutional Democracy

Monday, April 24, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Recent years have seen increasing controversy around the Supreme Court—contentious appointments, divisive opinions, and even leaks from inside. Kermit Roosevelt, a constitutional law professor, former Supreme Court clerk, and member of President Biden’s Supreme Court Reform Commission, assesses the court’s role in our democratic system, the forces driving the recent controversies, and what, if anything, we can do to make things better.


Lecture/Seminar

The Spanish in the American Revolution

Monday, April 24, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Between 1779 and 1782, Spanish rangers from the region around San Antonio herded more than 10,000 cows over 500 miles to Louisiana to help feed Spanish soldiers fighting the British in the American Revolutionary War. Spain had joined the war on the patriots’ side in 1779 and would spend the next four years contributing a deluge of soldiers, sailors, ships, and cows to the war effort. University of Maryland historian Richard Bell reveals the hidden history of Spain’s participation in the American Revolution.


Lecture/Seminar

Mario Livio on What Makes Us Curious

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Curiosity drives basic scientific research, is the engine behind creativity in all disciplines, and provides a necessary ingredient in every form of storytelling. Astrophysicist Mario Livio interprets cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience that explores the origin and mechanisms of human curiosity. His own curiosity on the topic led him to interview linguist Noam Chomsky and the virtuoso lead guitarist of the rock band Queen, Brian May (who holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics).


Lecture/Seminar

20th-Century Oceanic Art

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

For over 40,000 years, people have lived and traveled among the islands that dot the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, establishing thriving and interconnected states and societies and creating artworks that express the excitement and vitality of their lives. Art historian Kevin Tervala surveys the artistic practice across 20th-century Oceania, examining the ways that European colonization and decolonization, the Pacific theater of World War II, and the increasingly globalized nature of the economy transformed the work that artists did and the forms that they produced. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Isabella Stewart Gardner: A Global Vision of Art

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Isabella Stewart Gardner assembled an extraordinary collection of art from diverse cultures and eras and built a Venetian-style palazzo in Boston to share her exquisite treasures with the world. Diana Seave Greenwald, assistant curator of the collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, shines new light on Gardner as a trailblazing patron and collector who created a museum unprecedented in its curatorial vision. She also discusses how Gardner’s far-flung journeys to fill that museum—recorded in her exquisitely crafted collaged travel albums—reveal the global influences of this legendary collector. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Gods and Mortals: A Modern Look at Ancient Greeks Myths

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Gripping tales that abound with fantastic characters and astonishing twists and turns, Greek myths confront what it means to be mortal in a world of powerful forces beyond human control. In a journey from the origin of the cosmos to the aftermath of the Trojan War, classicist Sarah Iles Johnston takes an engaging and entertaining new look at some of the best-known tales—as well as others that are seldom told—and highlights the rich connections among the characters and stories, draws attention to the often-overlooked perspectives of female characters, and stays true both to the tales and to the world in which ancient people lived.


Lecture/Seminar

Alcatraz: 250 Years on the Rock

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Alcatraz is America’s most notorious island, and its most misunderstood. Former National Park ranger and historian John Martini uncovers its fascinating multilayered history, including the island’s infamous past as a federal penitentiary, its role in American popular culture (especially the movies); the evolution of Alcatraz as a National Park site; its now-resurgent natural life; and the challenges of preserving its aging infrastructure.


Lecture/Seminar

Chasing Plants

Thursday, April 27, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Chris Thorogood clambers over cliffs and up erupting volcanoes and treks through typhoons--it’s just part of the job for this field botanist. He shares details of hair-raising excursions, brings his travels to life with his vivid paintings, and explains the vital work he and other botanists are doing to protect the world’s plants.


Lecture/Seminar

Private Art Collections of Rome, Part 1

Monday, May 1, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Many of Rome's greatest art treasures are displayed in the private collections of historically influential Roman families. Fortunately, a number of these art collections are now museums open to the public. Rocky Ruggiero, an expert in Renaissance art, surveys four of these private collections and explains how the artworks held there helped shape the Italian Renaissance. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Taking a New Look at Historical Objects: Interdisciplinary Technology Studies Unveil Insights

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Using powerful sensors and computers—and even a repurposed particle accelerator—cultural heritage researcher Michael B. Toth and his colleagues in humanities and science mine everything from ancient manuscripts to fossils to lacquerware panels for new information about their content and creation. Past projects include the earliest known copy of work by Archimedes, Gutenberg and other early Bibles, and Muslim manuscripts.


Lecture/Seminar

Moviegoing in America: From Nickelodeons to Movie Palaces to IMAX to Streaming

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The silver screen has changed drastically since its beginnings in the 19th century. Media expert Brian Rose looks at the history of movie theaters and considers what might happen next in the age of streaming services. BYOP—bring your own popcorn!


Lecture/Seminar

To Have and Have Another: The Life and Times (and Cocktails) of Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

In addition to being one of the 20th century’s greatest writers, Ernest Hemingway lived a big, bold, adventurous life filled with exploits all over the world. You could say that he traveled globally and drank locally. Author Philip Greene, a co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, examines the life, prose, travels, and adventures of Hemingway through the lens of his favorite drinks, watering holes, and drinking buddies. Enjoy light snacks and four cocktail samples and raise a toast to Papa.


Lecture/Seminar

Spring in the South of France: A Virtual Tour of the Region’s History, Culture, and Sights

Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

With its lavender-laced valleys, seashores, medieval hill towns, and lively cities, the south of France is downright seductive. Travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy offers a 4-part virtual tour of Provence and the Côte d’Azur and a guide to the regions’ most intriguing sights, historical aspects, food and wine, and art. This session highlights Côte d’Azur.


Lecture/Seminar

The Cuban Missile Crisis: Re-examining a Moment of Extreme Danger

Monday, May 8, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Many Americans recall the Cuban Missile Crisis as an American-Soviet faceoff that the United States won. Allen Pietrobon, a global affairs professor at Trinity Washington University, disagrees. He argues that the crisis consisted of two sides that came perilously close to destruction and pulled through mostly due to both luck and fear. He examines some close calls and assesses what lessons the crisis can teach about the potential for future nuclear armed conflicts.


Lecture/Seminar

Mercury: Small but Mighty Interesting
A Grand Tour of the Solar System

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Mercury, the innermost planet in the solar system, remained relatively unexplored until NASA’s MESSENGER probe orbited and studied it from 2011 to 2015. Physicist Ronald J. Vervack Jr., who worked on the MESSENGER mission, highlights how Mercury provides insight into the formation, evolution, and current state of the solar system.


Lecture/Seminar

Virgil’s Aeneid: An Inside Look into Ancient Rome’s Greatest Epic Poem

Thursday, May 11, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Two millennia after it was composed, Virgil’s Aeneid remains one of the most influential and remarkable works in Western literature. Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, delves into what makes Virgil’s great work tick.


Lecture/Seminar

Wein-derlust: Exploring Austrian Wine

Friday, May 19, 2023 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Austria has a long and storied history of producing extraordinary, high-acid, and fresh wines. Sommelier Erik Segelbaum spotlights the best of its exceptionally food-friendly whites (think bone-dry Rieslings or Austria's heritage grape, Grüner Veltliner) as well as native reds and international varieties like Pinot Noir.


Lecture/Seminar

George Gershwin: Our Love Is Here to Stay

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

George Gershwin is one of the giants of American music, unique in that he was a brilliant composer of both popular songs (“Swanee,” “I Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”) and more serious music, including Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, and Porgy and Bess. Pianist and Gershwin authority Robert Wyatt explores the composer’s much too short life (he died at age 38) and legacy. S’wonderful!


Lecture/Seminar

The Art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Outdoors, Outsized, and Out of the Ordinary

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The public art projects of Christo Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (better known as Christo and Jeanne-Claude) used acres of colorful fabric to cover an entire building, line a path, or surround islands. They took years to accomplish but remained in place for no more than two weeks. Art historian Nancy G. Heller analyzes the couple’s most important works and their long-lasting influence. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Venus, Shrouded in Mystery
A Grand Tour of the Solar System

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

In this solar system, Venus is the planet most like Earth in size and density, yet it has a toxic atmosphere and is the hottest planet, contrasting with habitable Earth. Astrophysicist Stephen Kane reveals clues that point to a possible habitable past of Venus and discusses how its environment might have become hostile to life.


Lecture/Seminar

Spring in the South of France: A Virtual Tour of the Region’s History, Culture, and Sights

Thursday, June 1, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

With its lavender-laced valleys, seashores, medieval hill towns, and lively cities, the south of France is downright seductive. Travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy offers a 4-part virtual tour of Provence and the Côte d’Azur and a guide to the regions’ most intriguing sights, historical aspects, food and wine, and art. This session highlights some of the South of France’s lesser-known charms.


Lecture/Seminar

Deutschland Entkokt: Uncorking Germany’s Best

Friday, June 23, 2023 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Germany has some of the world's most challenging vineyards to maintain, but the effort is well worth it. Erik Segelbaum reveals why the country’s wines are mainstays of any sommelier's toolkit for food-and-wine pairings in a delicious exploration of the wines of Germany and their rich histories.