Lectures & Seminars

Month

  

Programs listed below are in chronological order.



Madagascar: A Lost World, Found

Monday, September 26, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

RESCHEDULED: Madagascar, the world’s fourth-largest island, had managed to keep its secrets for 40 million years. Among them were plants and animals that had evolved in isolation since the days of the dinosaurs. Edwin Smith, a biologist at the National Zoo, delves into some of Madagascar’s storied mysteries and explores the possibilities of the island’s future as human civilization expands across the once-isolated home of its unique plant and animal species.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features the Old Stone House.

Rembrandt: Close-up on a Master

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

The 17th-century Dutch painter and printmaker Rembrandt van Rijn is one of the great innovators in Western art. Using web-based, high-resolution images that provide a look at Rembrandt’s practice from an uncommonly close point of view, art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine explores some of the most unique aspects of his artistic language. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Rock Creek Park: Washington’s True Wild Side

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a presentation that is a virtual journey through Rock Creek Park, local natural historian Melanie Choukas-Bradley talks about its history and shares her impressions of its natural wonders. Part of a Lecture & Bus Tour Combo.

The Change-Makers and Social Justice

Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Ideas that can change the world—and lives—all share the same source: a motivated person who dares to ask, “Why not?" Tonight’s program features individuals who used their platforms to highlight issues as diverse as xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, and other social issues which then allows further discussions on these topics.

Making the Most of Your Memory

Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Are you worried about your memory, or someone else’s? Understand more about how memory works and how you might optimize yours from Barry Gordon, a nationally recognized expert on memory and memory disorders. It is an evening you won’t forget.

The Great Cathedrals and Basilicas of Italy

Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

Join Eric Denker, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, as he leads a lavishly illustrated daylong program that focuses on the churches of Venice, Rome, Siena, and Florence that represent some of Italy’s most exceptional repositories of ecclesiastical art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

The Enduring Magnificent Seven

Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 10 a.m.

The latest version of The Magnificent Seven, starring Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington, is set for a September release. It’s a remake of the 1960 film of the same name.  Find out why this timeless story has endured across the decades, various media, and languages and cultures.

Creating Poetry From Your Family History: A Writing Workshop

Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Family memories, members, and events can provide rich material for poets. Writer Kirun Kapur leads a day-long practical workshop designed to help you turn your family history into effective, meaningful poetry. No writing or poetry experience is required, but in-progress works are welcome at the session.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features the Oak Hill Cemetery.

Meet Astronaut Mike Massimino—No Ordinary Spaceman

Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Former astronaut Mike Massimino is the veteran of NASA space flights aboard space shuttles Columbia and Atlantis. His final mission was to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009. He tells a compelling story about following a dream and what having the “right stuff” really means—at NASA, in space, and in life. 

Hot Pots, Museum Raids, and the Race To Uncover Asia’s Archaeological Past

Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

The chance discovery 50 years ago of beautiful Bronze Age artifacts in the Thai village of Ban Chiang, led to a new understanding of an ancient Asian culture. It also led to one of the largest antiquities-trafficking cases ever investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. In this evening program, discover an exciting detective story that also reveals the harm caused by archaeological looting.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features Dumbarton Oaks Gardens.

The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a five-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This session features William Gahl, Clinical Director, National Human Genome Research Institute and Director, NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program.

Origin Stories and the Star Wars Trilogy: Joseph Campbell and Myth in the 21st Century

Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Joseph Campbell called mythology “Humankind’s one great story.” Explore that story with Doug Herman, senior geographer at the American Indian Museum, and Robert Walter, president and executive director of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, as they carry on a wide-ranging conversation about myths, culture, and what it means to be fully human.

South Africa: Empire, War, and Sovereignty

Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 1 p.m.

Queen Victoria’s military adventures in Africa demonstrate both the global reach of the mighty British Empire in the 19th century and the dangers of overreach. Historian Benedict Carton explores three pivotal conflicts that profoundly shaped South Africa and its legacy of empire.

The Bayeux Tapestry and the Norman Conquest of England

Monday, October 17, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Much has been written about the Norman Conquest of 1066, but nothing begins to compare with the telling of the story on the Bayeux Tapestry. Richard Abels discusses the fascinating history of this time and this special tapestry. 

Welcome to the Universe: An Intimate Look at the Stars

Monday, October 17, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

This evening, take a seat and listen in as world-class astrophysicists J. Richard Gott and Michael A. Strauss engage in a conversation that takes you from our home solar system to the outermost frontiers of space. Describing the latest discoveries in astrophysics, they address questions that stretch our imagination.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features the C&O Canal.

Light and Color in Art

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

When Isaac Newton’s work with prisms in the 1600s revealed the visible color spectrum, artists began to find ways to use contrasting and complementary colors in their work. Learn how artists over the centuries have manipulated light and color, enlisting their unique properties to create masterpieces. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Challenges in Cheetah Conservation

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Laurie Marker, founder of the Namibia-based Cheetah Conservation Fund and Suzan Murray, the director of the Smithsonian Global Health Program at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, delve into the complex network of social, economic and environmental problems that must be unraveled if the cheetah, Africa's most endangered big cat, is to have a permanent place on Earth.

Your Brain in the Digital Age

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Have you ever wondered how our brain allows us to make decisions in light of the barrage of external and internal stimuli we confront daily? Sarah Shomstein, an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience at George Washington University, addresses the science behind that question and suggests ways we might enhance the brain’s ability to keep us focused.

The Holy Land in the Time of Herod

Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

In the Gospel, King Herod the Great is associated with the Massacre of the Innocents. The truth of that event is open to scholarly debate, but there’s little doubt that Herod was the single greatest builder in the history of the Holy Land. Archaeologist Jodi Magness explores some of the major archaeological sites dating to Herod’s reign.  

Taraji P. Henson: This Cookie Doesn’t Crumble

Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 1 p.m.

At the center of Fox’s wildly popular hip-hop drama, Empire, is the captivating Cookie Lyon. The force behind Cookie is D.C. native Taraji P. Henson, an Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner. Henson talks about her new memoir, Around the Way Girl, about making a life and building career—and what really happens behind the scenes on Empire.

Spiders: Predators and Prey

Monday, October 24, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Tonight, Hannah Wood, curator of arachnids and myriapods at the Natural History Museum, discusses the natural history of spiders and puts a surprising spin on the story of a remarkable species.

Chef Kwame Onwuachi: Top Chef to Chef at the Top

Monday, October 24, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In D.C., a city already filled with extraordinary restaurants, Kwame Onwuachi is about to launch The Shaw Bijou. The chef talks about his high-concept, limited-seating restaurant with an unusual menu inspired by his own life experiences, and offers a sneak peak of The Shaw Bijou’s menu. A tasting follows the program.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features Tudor Place.

Novelist Jodi Picoult: On Tackling Tough Topics

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a conversation with NPR’s Lynn Neary, best-selling author Jodi Picoult discusses her career, inspirations, writing process, and why the issues she takes on in her latest book Small Great Things spoke to her as a novelist. 

Supreme Court Justice Stephen C. Breyer

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 7 p.m.

This evening, Nina Totenberg, NPR’s Legal Affairs correspondent, talks with Justice Stephen Breyer about his life before and after becoming a Supreme Court justice and his interpretation of the Constitution as a “living” document.

Write a Novel in a Month

Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

November is National Novel Writing Month. Each year thousands of writers around the world sign up for what’s dubbed the NaNoWriMo Challenge: drafting at least 50,000 words of their novel in "30 days and nights of literary abandon." Whether you take up the challenge or just want a solid base to begin or continue a novel at your own pace, this seminar is for you!

How the Britons Became the English, the Welsh, and the Scottish: Creating a United Kingdom

Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

How did the island of Britain come to comprise three distinctive ethnic identities—English, Welsh, and Scottish—and what does it mean to be British? Historian Jennifer Paxton traces the emergence of Britain’s diverse ethnic landscape and considers the future of the United Kingdom in a time filled with many uncertainties.

Public Speaking: From Fear to Confidence

Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

If your mouth turns dry and your knees grow weak at the very thought of speaking before a group—large or small—this all-day program is meant for you. Public speaking coach Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger offers practical, confidence-building guidance for anyone who has to speak in front of others, whether it be formal presentations to large audiences or less formal talks to small groups.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 12 p.m.

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with a focus on Georgetown. Founded in 1751, it predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Each week, expert lecturers focus on one of the extraordinary historic places that make Georgetown the unique neighborhood it is. This lecture features the Peabody Room, Georgetown Library.

A Taste of Japan

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Join Rudy Maxa, host of Rudy Maxa’s World on public television, and local restaurateur Daisuke Utagawa (Daikaya, Bantam King) for a preview of their upcoming series Taste of Japan, which follows their search for the ingredients, the people, and the traditions behind the country’s exquisite cuisine.

The Splendors of Vienna

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Mention Vienna, and waltzes, pastries, and refined elegance come to mind. But the Austrian capital also gave us Freud, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Mahler, and its remarkable achievements in painting, design, contemporary music, medicine, literature and philosophy are second to none. Opera expert Fred Plotkin reveals the many layers of this beautiful city.

Shuck Beans, Stack Cake, and Chocolate Gravy: Food Traditions of the Mountain South

Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Food writer and cooking teacher Sheri Castle, who hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, explores the rich history and heritage of the foodways of the Mountain South, a region whose cuisine—long overlooked or misunderstood—is riding the wave of new attention.

Choosing the Right To Die: A Mother’s Perspective

Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

When Deborah Ziegler’s 29-year-old daughter Brittany Maynard, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, went public with the decision to end her own life she became the face of the controversial right-to-die movement. Ziegler shares how that family anguish played out in public, and how since her daughter’s death in late 2014 she has found a role as an advocate for the growing number of people worldwide who are struggling with end-of-life issues.

Seductive Paris: American Painters in the City of Light, 1855–1920

Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

In the late 19th century, Paris beckoned young aspiring American painters like Whistler and Sargent. Art historian Bonita Billman highlights Paris’s ascension as the center of the art world, and the French masters who trained American artists and sent them home brimming with creative new ideas. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Russia’s Place in the World

Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

As Russia transformed itself from a formal empire into the Soviet Union, and most recently, into the Russian Federation, it has been a power to be reckoned with. Historian George Munro examines four key periods of Russian history, each spanning about a half century of Russia’s history, concluding with a consideration of Russia’s ambitions in the post-Cold War world. 

Jewelers Gilded Age

Monday, November 7, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Enduring Extremes: The Science of Astronaut Health

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

As a manned mission to Mars becomes a possibility, the dangers of long-duration space travel for humans must be addressed. Find out what is being done to ensure astronaut health from a panel of top NASA medical experts.

Death by Shakespeare: Final Exits

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Shakespeare knew that gory, grisly, and imaginatively unusual deaths were what his fans at the Globe wanted to see. Carol Ann Lloyd Stranger of the Folger Shakespeare Library and classical actor and dramaturge Cam Magee lead an evening devoted to the onstage demises that have moved, surprised, and shocked audiences for four centuries.

The World of Spices

Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Lior Lev Sercarz knows exactly how to spice up your life—and your cooking. New York City’s “wizard of spice” shares spice history, how-tos for creating your own blends, cooking inspirations, and other flavorful tips from his new book, The Spice Companion: A Guide to the World of Spices.

Campaign 2016: Behind the Scenes of the Presidential Election

Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

For a firsthand look behind the scenes of this election, joins U.S. News and World Report senior White House correspondent Kenneth Walsh as he moderates a lively discussion among a panel of experts who were right down in the trenches during the battle.

Prisoners of War

Monday, November 14, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Just as war and the rules of engagement have changed dramatically over the years, so has the treatment of one of their inevitable results, prisoners of war. Evan J. Wallach, an expert on war crimes and the law of war, investigates the history of POWs and their status in current conflicts.

The Hollywood Musical: Four Decades of Magic! Part 4: The 1960s

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Big stars, big budgets, and big box office were the mark of hits like West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady, crowning achievements of the screen musical. But how did Hollywood and the beloved film form reflect—and weather—the social and cultural change of the 1960s? Music specialist Robert Wyatt looks at the triumphs and the decline in the musical’s last golden decade.

I’ll Take a Manhattan: Cocktails of the Gilded Age

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

As the robber barons were making millions, bartenders around the country were making something that was also in demand: the cocktail. Join author and cocktail historian Philip Greene in a spirited discussion of the cocktails of the Gilded Age and sample four delicious cocktails of the era.

Cracking the Runic Code: The Alphabet of Mystery

Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

The Runic alphabet has long held its secrets chiseled on stone. Henrik Williams, a professor and chair in the department of Scandinavian languages at Uppsala University, shares the stories behind this still-mysterious code, providing glimpses of the Viking culture as it was nearly 2,000 years ago.

The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a five-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This session features Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Inside Blair House

Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Blair House has long been an elegant and welcoming setting for international diplomatic hospitality. Join curator Candace Shireman as she covers the intriguing history of “the president’s guest house” and highlights its recently restored interiors.

Exploring Islam: Myths and Realities

Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

In a thought-provoking program, explore the faith of Muslims from different perspectives with an Islamic scholar Salih Sayilgan.

Spanish Art and Architecture: A Treasury of Delights

Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

Art historian Joseph Cassar examines how the art and architecture of Spain—as seen in the works of El Greco, Goya, Velazquez, Picasso, and Gaudi—offer a window into the influences that define the country's history and national identity. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Theodor Herzl: The Founder of Modern Zionism

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

As an assimilated Viennese Jew who was not particularly religious and didn’t speak Hebrew, Theodor Herzl was a most unlikely candidate to spearhead the movement to create an independent Jewish homeland. Ralph Nurnberger, professor of international relations at Georgetown University, shares how—against the odds—this determined playwright, writer, and political activist became the founder of 20th century Zionism.

Montgomery Meigs in Washington: The Civil War and Beyond

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

From the Capitol dome to the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, the work of architect and engineer Montgomery Meigs is still a visible part of our region’s landscape—and our daily lives. Historian and urban studies specialist Bill Keene explores the many facets and achievements of the former Civil War officer who helped define and develop an enduring vision of the capital city.

Cultivate Your Speaking Voice

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

It’s loud and clear: A well-developed, effective speaking voice best supports who you are and what you want to say. Listen up as speech pathologist Laura Purcell Verdun reveals why you have more control over your voice than you realize, and how specific techniques can bring greater impact to your words.

Naples: History in a Crucible

Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Come on a virtual tour of one of the world’s most exciting and appealing cities, Naples, in the Campania region of Italy, guided by art historian Nigel McGilchrist. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Ray Charles: “The Genius”

Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

His unique voice and passionate style made Ray Charles one of the most beloved and influential musicians of our time. Music curator John Edward Hasse of the American History Museum celebrates the music, the man, and his place in our country’s cultural history.

The Civilizations of the Andes: A Cultural Exploration

Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

In a day-long seminar, survey the pre-Columbian civilizations that created the earliest cities of the Western hemisphere, stupendous monumental architecture, magnificently crafted artifacts, and one of the most extensive empires the world has known, the Inca. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo: Contrasts in Greatness

Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

In a daylong program, art historian Nigel McGilchrist examines Leonardo and Michelangelo, towering geniuses of Western art, who shared an intense dislike for each other, but their fraught relationship spurred them—and their contemporaries—to new levels of artistic achievement. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

P.G. Wodehouse: “I Expect I’ll Feel Better After Tea”

Monday, December 5, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Raise a toast to the genius of P.G. Wodehouse and his uniquely comic—and uniquely British—literary world as author Daniel Stashower and actor Scott Sedar salute one of most widely read humorists of the 20th century.

The Christmas Markets of Europe: A Festive Stroll

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Take a vicarious stroll through some of Europe’s charming Christmas markets in a delightful evening filled with holiday music and a reception highlighting European-inspired specialties and traditional holiday sweets.

Hieronymus Bosch: Heaven and Hell

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Full of fantastic imagery and dense symbolism, the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch create a one-of-kind world that continues to fascinate—and perplex—across the centuries. Art historian Aneta Georgevskia-Shine offers a guide to his life and his haunting works. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Travel Hacking 101: How To Travel Longer for Less

Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Mike and Anne Howard—founders of the travel website HoneyTrek.com—share tips on a travel style that is more immersive and creative—where saving money is but one of the pleasurable benefits.

The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

In a five-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This session features Julie Segre, Head, Microbial Genomics Section and Chief, Translational and Functional Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute.

The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 6:45 p.m.

In a five-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This session features Gary Gibbons, Director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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