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News, Politics, & Media

Ayn Rand: The Controversy Continues

Writer and philosopher Ayn Rand continues to be controversial years after the publication of her books The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Prepare for a deep dive into Rand’s complicated worldview with Onkar Ghate, a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

Date of event
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Sustainable Eating: Conscious Choices for Eating More Plants

How do we make informed food choices that are right for us and the planet—and are still delicious? Health and nutrition expert Sophie Egan leads a panel of chefs, restaurateurs, and a fellow food writer to explore how an emphasis on plant-based eating might offer one of the major answers.

Date of event
Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Civil War in Perspective: Our Evolving Story

Historian Stephen D. Engle traces 150 years of an ever-changing narrative of the Civil War and why we still contend with reaching an acceptable version of its legacy.

Date of event
Saturday, April 25, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Ancient Sparta: A Template for Modern Dictatorships

Among the ancient city-states, Sparta was the most feared, for good reason. Historian John Prevas provides an analysis of ancient Sparta’s approach to governing, drawing parallels to the modern dictatorships that echo it.  

Date of event
Monday, April 27, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall, erected in 1961, divided a people and marked the tense epicenter of the Cold War. It came down in 1989, but the scars it has left have not fully gone away. Hope M. Harrison, associate professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University, examines these issues.

Date of event
Monday, May 4, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Why Brexit?

As she traces Brexit’s complicated past, present, and future, historian Jennifer Paxton examines issues that reveal the tensions at the heart of a nation that may reshape the United Kingdom more profoundly than any political event in the past 300 years.

Date of event
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Fake News: How To Spot and Discredit Disinformation

How can a society awash in misinformation combat the powerful impact of fake news? Helen Lee Bouygues, president of the Reboot Foundation, offers some practical strategies that news consumers can use to fight back, and examines the prevalence of fake news within the context of broader problems in public discourse today.

Date of event
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Beyond Stonewall: How DC Shifted the Nature of Pride

Although New York City’s first Gay Pride parade in June 1971 was a key marker in the progress of LGBT+ organizing, a lesser-known pivotal moment took place in Washington, D.C., 20 years later. Nikki Lane of American University examines how the city’s home-grown Black Pride event grew into a national and international model for celebrations of community, inclusion, and diversity.

Date of event
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Contemporary Art as a Commodity

Ellen Gorman of Georgetown University offers a survey of the American art market from the 1950s to the present, introducing the cast of players and corporate entities behind the transformation of artworks into commodities for sale to the highest bidder. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Civility's Role in Social Justice

As civility seems to decline due to political polarization and the increasingly unfettered climate of social media, does remaining civil in social and political discourse still have value? Olúfémi O. Táíwò of Georgetown University unpacks the role of civility in today’s world and how its potential benefits—and hazzards—relate to the search for social justice.

Date of event
Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

A Decade of Disruption: America in the New Millennium

The United States weathered a turbulent first decade of the 21st century, tumultuous years of economic crises, social and technological change, and war. Historian Garrett Peck examimes how the fallout from the Great Recession led to the hyper-polarized society of the years that followed and why timely re-examination of the period between 2000 and 2010 can reveal how we’ve arrived at our current era of cultural division.

Date of event
Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Global Climate Justice: What Does It Mean?

The question of how to meet the challenges of climate change continues to take on an increasingly larger role in the worldwide debate about the future of our planet. Olúfémi O. Táíwò, an assistant professor of political philosophy and ethics at Georgetown University, provides an overview of these issues as he examines the range of pathways that are under discussion by communities, countries, and policymakers.

Date of event
Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Bakari Sellers: My Vanishing Country

Bakari Sellers, a CNN analyst and one of the youngest state representatives in South Carolina history, examines the plight of the South's dwindling rural population of black working-class men and women. Drawing on his new book My Vanishing Country, he surveys the struggles that shape their lives: gaining access to healthcare, making ends meet as factories shut down, holding on to traditions as towns erode, and forging a path forward without succumbing to despair.

Date of event
Friday, September 11, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Coal and Capitalism: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Strike That Changed Labor History

In early 1902, a potentially devastating strike by anthracite coal miners in Pennsylvania escalated a legal and personal clash between President Theodore Roosevelt and financier J.P. Morgan over the government’s role in regulating big business. Author Susan Berfield recounts the story of a banker and a president thrown together in the crucible of national emergency, and discusses why the lessons of Roosevelt and Morgan’s time have taken on a renewed urgency today.

Date of event
Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Panama Canal: A Complicated Backstory

Building the Panama Canal was either a bold, decisive diplomatic stroke that claimed America’s rightful place on the world stage or a crude display of arrogance and corruption. Historian Ralph Nurnberger examines the sweep of the canal saga, with elements that include intrigue in the halls of Congress, a revolution, and Teddy Roosevelt’s vision of American global power.

Date of event
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Democracy Today: A Promise in Peril

Historian Charles Ingrao compares democracy with competing forms of government, examines the attributes of healthy democracies, and considers how to strengthen modern democratic institutions in danger of retreat.

Date of event
Wednesday, October 28, 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
Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Napoleonic Wars: A Global Conflict

Austerlitz, Borodino, and Waterloo are among the places most closely associated with the era of the Napoleonic Wars. But this period of nearly continuous Franco-British conflict affected nations far beyond Europe. Historian Alexander Mikaberidze analyzes the immediate and extended consequences of the political tremors that spread as far as the Americas, Africa, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as across the Atlantic and the Indian oceans.

Date of event
Saturday, November 21, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.