Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

News, Politics, & Media

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Historian Allen Pietrobon takes us back to the Eisenhower era, a time before the “celebrity president.” He reveals how Sen. John F. Kennedy’s domination of the medium during the first-ever televised debate was key in his winning the presidency. Pietrobon also uses the 1960 presidential election as a lens to explore American politics and culture in this pivotal era in history.

Monday, February 7, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Though the guarantee of equality, liberty, and justice for all is enshrined in the Constitution, Black Americans have long confronted the gap between that promise and the realities of their lives. Join author Farah Jasmine Griffin as she examines how thinkers and leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, and Barack Obama vividly reflect in their works how these Americans have grappled with the founding ideals of the United States.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Nick Charles, NPR’s new chief culture editor, leads a panel discussion that examines how inequality has been propagated throughout history, the many attempts to counteract these inequalities, and necessary next steps to move forward.

Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The emergence of genomic science in the last quarter century has revolutionized medicine, the justice system, and our understanding of who we are. Harvard University professor Jennifer Hochschild examines its politically charged and hotly contested issues.

Thursday, February 17, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The debate in recent years about the politicization of sports may seem like a new topic, but in fact, these two arenas of American life have been connected for a long time. Drawing on fascinating historical anecdotes, historian Kenneth Cohen explores that link and offers a new perspective on the great game of American political hardball.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

No presidential election in American history carried stakes as high as the contest in November 1864. Historian Christopher Hamner examines the months leading up to the critical contest, held while the Civil War, in its third year, had already left hundreds of thousands of dead Americans strewn across battlefields from Mississippi to Virginia.

Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Mark Twain's 1884 masterpiece The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been widely regarded as America's greatest novel. But its frequent use of a vile racial epithet has made it toxic as assigned reading material at any level of the American educational system. Hear the arguments surrounding the fate of a work of literature—and what is lost if it disappears.