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All upcoming Biography & Autobiography programs

All upcoming Biography & Autobiography programs

Programs 1 to 10 of 19
Wednesday, July 31, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence and our third president, has been called the architect of American democracy. Yet his legacy has been questioned in large part because he owned over 600 slaves during his lifetime. Historian John Ragosta examines the question of what a white slave-owning aristocrat has to teach us about the nature of American leadership.

Tuesday, August 6, 2024 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The role is unpaid and undefined, yet many women serving as First Lady made pivotal contributions that helped shape the United States. From early trailblazers like Dolley Madison, whose residence on Lafayette Square was nicknamed the “second White House,” to those in the role who are less well-known, like Harriet Lane—the first to use the title—explore how first ladies can personify persistence and perseverance. Join staff from A Tour Of Her Own to hear stories of America’s first ladies, not often recognized with monuments but ingrained in the fabric of history.

Wednesday, August 7, 2024 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Borgias—a family synonymous with murder, rape, incest, and torture—have been immortalized by historians, authors, and a pair of dueling series on Showtime and Sky. But was it all sex, simony, and scandal? Art historian Elizabeth Lev examines their political aspirations, religious conflicts, fascinating artistic commissions—which, despite their extraordinary beauty, could not redeem the family's reputation—and the surprising epilogue to the clan’s inevitable downfall.

Monday, August 12, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Ulysses S. Grant’s rise during the four years of the American Civil War was nothing less than meteoric, and a critical part of his success was his ability to communicate his strategic vision to his subordinates. Historian Christopher Hamner uses Grant’s often-overlooked 1864 Overland Campaign as a window into his effectiveness as a commander and communicator—roles that proved crucial in driving the Union toward its overall victory the following year.

Tuesday, August 13, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Auguste Rodin is considered the father of modern sculpture. Yet his works were deeply inspired by ancient classical and Renaissance art. Art historian Judy Scott Feldman explores how Rodin’s fascination, even obsession, with earlier figural traditions inspired his fusion of tradition and innovation in “The Kiss,” “The Gates of Hell,” and his powerful “Monument to Balzac.” (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Wednesday, August 14, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Agrippina the Younger emerges from history as an ambitious political strategist and a ruthless killer. Ancient sources seem to both admire her power and guile while questioning her methods, suspicious of the many convenient deaths that paved the way for her ascendance as Roman empress. Historian Colin Elliott leads an exploration of Agrippina and the complexities of her legacy—forever intertwined with the rise and fall of Nero­—and how she impacted the history of ancient Rome.

Tuesday, August 20, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

In America’s collective consciousness, Pat Nixon has long been perceived as elusive and enigmatic. Her biographer Heath Hardage Lee examines a figure who bore little resemblance to the woman so often described in the press: an empathetic, adventurous, self-made woman who wanted no power or influence but who connected warmly with both ordinary Americans and people from different cultures she encountered worldwide.

Thursday, August 22, 2024 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

During the reign of Justinian, the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, empire reached its largest extent since the last Western Roman emperor was deposed in 476. In addition, Justinian and his wife, Theodora, oversaw reforms that laid the foundation for later Western law and saw the construction of the magnificent church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Yet his attempts to impose religious unity failed, and his wars caused widespread devastation. Historian David Gwynn explores contradictory assessments of Justinian, both historical and modern.

Thursday, August 22, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Think you already know everything about Alexander Hamilton? Historian Robert P. Watson takes a deep look at the intriguing story of the great Founding Father’s life, including his difficult and little-known upbringing and war service. He also highlights his meteoric rise to power, his many contributions to the nation, and his legacy. Along the way, Watson fact-checks the hit Broadway musical biography.

Friday, September 13, 2024 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET

A master of light and color, Johannes Vermeer creates a timeless world where the smallest actions take on a sense of beauty and meaning beyond their commonplace settings. His gloriously lit, serene, and exquisitely rendered masterpieces continue to speak to us through their ability to capture some of the most universal ideas in human experience. Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine discusses Vermeer’s place within the artistic culture of Holland and examines some of his favorite themes and their possible meanings. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)