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Biography & Autobiography Programs
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Political Legacy

Brandon Terry of Harvard University examines the ethical and political thought of arguably the greatest public intellectual and activist that the United States ever produced. He contends that King’s body of philosophy offers indispensable resources for addressing many of our current political crises.

Date
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Bach and Handel: Two Titans of the Baroque

Though they shared a birth year, a native country, and dominance of their era’s musical world, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederic Handel never met. Saul Lilienstein brings them together in a six-part series that explores their creative genius and their legacies. 

Date
Tuesday, January 29 to March 5, 2019 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Napoleon: The Rise and Fall of a Man Who Changed History

Tracing Napoleon’s life from its Corsican roots, through military triumphs and defeats to the final exile, historian and Napoleon scholar Alexander Mikaberidze tells the story of the French leader’s remarkable life and of the sheer determination and careful calculation that brought him to the pinnacle of power in Europe.

Date
Saturday, February 2, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
J.D. Salinger: The Eloquent Recluse

The author of The Catcher in the Rye and other seminal works of midcentury fiction led a life of self-imposed seclusion from the public, preferring to let his writing speak for him. He’s in the spotlight as author Daniel Stashower explores Salinger’s life and legacy and actor Scott Sedar reads a selection of his most celebrated works.

Date
Monday, February 4, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
The Rise and Fall of Alexander the Great: A New Look at an Ancient Hero

Since the Romans gave him the title of “Great” two thousand years ago, Alexander has come to be the embodiment of the ancient heroic ideal. But extensive research by historian and classics scholar John Prevas has led him to question just how great Alexander really was.

Date
Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Humor and Humanism

Brimming with warmth and vivid details of daily life, the paintings of Bruegel are among the defining masterworks of Dutch Golden Age art. Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine explores the facets of his creativity and his profound influence on succeeding generations of painters. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, February 16, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Benedict Arnold: “The Blackest Treason": Betrayal and Loyalty in the American Revolution

How did the name of a Continental Army general become a synonym for treason? Historian Richard Bell reconstructs the life and times of Benedict Arnold, the reasons he turned on his country, and the larger problems of betrayal and desertion that dogged George Washington’s army.

Date
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Dani Shapiro: A Rewritten Life

When test results from a genealogical website showed that novelist and memoirist Dani Shapiro’s biological father was not the man who had raised her, she confronted some of the complicated ethical and moral questions that genetic testing can raise. In a conversation with biologist Carla Easter of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Shapiro discusses how she came to reconstruct—and come to terms with—a different version of her own identity.

Date
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Churchill: The Man Behind the Myths

Historian Kevin Matthews discusses Winston Churchill’s tempestuous career as an army officer, war correspondent, member of Parliament, and minister in both Liberal and Conservative governments to reveal a man too often hidden by the post-World War II legends that surround him.

Date
Saturday, March 9, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Edouard Manet: Reluctant Revolutionary

Art historian Bonita Billman discusses the life and career of Edouard Manet, a premier painter of modern life and a trailblazer of the impressionist movement. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Monday, March 11, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Montgomery Meigs in Washington: Beyond the Civil War

From the Capitol dome to the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, the work of architect and builder Montgomery Meigs is still part of our region’s landscape—and our daily lives. Spend a day focused on Washington history and architecture to discover the many facets and achievements of the former Civil War officer who helped define and develop an enduring vision of the capital city.

Date
Friday, March 15, 2019 - 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tintoretto: The Artist of Venice

The dynamic canvases of Tintoretto explode with inventive compositions, bold lighting, and expressive and audacious brushwork. As a 500th-anniversay exhibition at the National Gallery opens, art historian Lisa Passaglia Bauman celebrates an artist whose stories are told on the most dramatic of scales. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Monday, March 18, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Monet: Impressions of an Artist

Art historian Joseph Cassar offers an in-depth look at the life and work of one of the best-loved impressionist painters, following him from the landscapes, cities, and seascapes that sparked his early works to the home and garden in Giverny that provided his inspiration for a lifetime. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Paul, the Controversial Apostle

The letters of Paul offer a myriad of insights into the foundations of Christianity. They also raise a number of still-debated questions about their author, and in some cases, their own authenticity. Margaret M. Mitchell, an authority on early Christian writings, assembles a portrait of Paul—and his lasting influence—from his epistles.

Date
Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Though most often defined by their positions in a marital parade full of intrigue, divorce, and death, the wives of Henry VIII deserve a closer look as individuals. Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger brings them out of the monarch’s shadow and reveals fuller portraits of the very different women who—often briefly—took their uneasy place beside the throne.

Date
Saturday, April 6, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Leonardo da Vinci: The Ultimate Renaissance Man

On the 500th anniversary of his death, art historian Aneta Georgievska Shine highlights some of the most remarkable aspects of the life, work, and creative thinking of perhaps the most diversely talented individual ever to have lived. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.