Spring 2017 Schedule
Teaching 'Death of a Salesman'
Thursday, January 12, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST
A collaboration with Pulitzer NC

Death of a Salesman is often framed as (in Arthur Miller's words) a "tragedy of the common man," but genre is not necessarily the most compelling entry point for today's students. While it is true that the play charts one man's journey to self-destruction, Salesman is first and foremost a family drama. The Loman family's fall is less the result of Willy's tragic flaw than the postwar American family's investment in ideals that threaten to destroy it from the inside, especially conventional attitudes toward masculinity, gender roles, work, and sexuality. To help account for the play's enduring power nearly seventy years after its premiere, this webinar will explore how Miller's Loman family comes to stand for an entire postwar ideology.

Leader: Andrew Sofer, Professor of English, Boston College

The Poetry of Rita Dove
Thursday, January 19, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST
A collaboration with Pulitzer NC

History tells us what happened. Poetry tells us why we should care. In 1803 violinist George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860), Wunderkind progeny of a white European woman and a self-styled "African Prince," rose to his fifteen minutes of fame. He traveled from London to Vienna to meet the Continent's "bad boy" musical genius, Ludwig van Beethoven, who recognized his talent and originally dedicated what's known today as the Kreutzer Sonata to his new "mulatto" friend. By all rights, the sonata should have borne Bridgetower's name -- had not young George, still exuberant from having premiered the difficult piece to great acclaim, been fresh with a girl Ludwig also fancied. Sonata Mulattica, a cautionary tale woven from historical events subjected to literary imagination, builds around this crucial moment to present an eccentric pageant of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century life -- from Haydn's discovery of the child genius in the servants' quarters of a Hungarian castle to Paris mere months before the French Revolution -- to create a grandiose yet melancholic tale. This webinar will discuss several poems with varying points of view to illustrate how poetry can "reconstruct" and enliven an era, looking specifically at classical music and lost history.

Leader: Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English, University of Virginia

Islam in America: A Cultural History
Thursday, January 26, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

This webinar will pose the question, "What does it mean to be a Muslim American?" by addressing local and global, national and transnational identities. Through an introduction of a brief history of Islam in America, teachers will gain foundational knowledge necessary for understanding the contemporary cultural life of Muslim Americans. The webinar will then examine civic and religious roles of Muslim Americans as they converge in shared spaces and various community institutions. This webinar will explore the diversity of the Muslim American community, differing concepts of gender roles, and emergent forms of cultural expression. Examining Durham, North Carolina as a case study will provide examples of the diverse spaces, practices, and ethnicities of one Muslim American community as it establishes its identity.

Leader: Ellen McLarney, Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University

Rushmore Series: Roosevelt and the Gilded Age
Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

Why was Teddy Roosevelt chosen as the fourth and last face to be sculpted into the southeastern face of Mount Rushmore? This webinar will take a closer look at Gutzon Borglum's political support for Roosevelt in order to analyze the aspects of his personality and ideas that the Rushmore monument dramatizes. We will discuss Roosevelt's views on nature and the strenuous life, and we will explore his application of those concepts to public issues of race and war. Join us for a re-examination of Borglum's effort to depict in granite one of the liveliest and most intellectually vigorous American presidents.

Leader: Thomas Brown, Professor of History, University of South Carolina

Modern Art Comes to America: The Armory Show, 1913
Thursday, February 9, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

In February 1913, the American public was introduced to modern art through a massive presentation of over 1300 works in The International Exhibition of Modern Art. On view inside the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue in New York and popularly known as The Armory Show, the exhibition included well known modern pioneers such as Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Gaugin, as well as more radical Fauvist, Cubist, Futurist, and Dada works by artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Wassily Kandinsky, and many others. The exhibition was organized by a small group of American artists and underscored the disparity of innovation between the visual arts in the United States and Europe. The Armory Show caused a sensation among the general public, was savagely derided in the press, and forever changed the course of American art. This seminar will detail the genesis of the exhibition, explore some of the significant works included in it, examine reactions by the press and the public, and reveal how its legacy is still felt today.

Leader: Marshall Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum

Hidden Photos of the Civil Rights Movement
Thursday, February 16, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

Leader: Martin A. Berger, Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz

Teaching Langston Hughes
Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

Black, broke, bereft of parental encouragement and love, the baby born James Langston Hughes on February 1, 1902 had his life set on a bleak, terribly troubled road, primarily because it ran right through America. In 1953 the Permanent Standing House Sub-Committee on Un-American Activities labeled Langston Hughes's work as "un-American." Hughes responded, "To give a full interpretation of any piece of literary work, one has to consider not only when and how it was written, but what brought it into being. The emotional and physical background that brought it into being. I, sir, was born in Joplin, Missouri. I was born a Negro. From my earliest childhood memories, I have encountered very serious and very hurtful problems." This webinar will examine Hughes's poetry collection in an effort to advance an understanding of the genesis of his work.

Leader: Carmella Williams, author of Langston Hughes in the Classroom: "Do Nothin' till You Hear from Me"

JFK and Television
Thursday, March 2, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST
A collaboration with
JFK Library

Leader: Ellen Fitzpatrick, Professor of History, University of New Hampshire

Black Lives Matter in Historical Context
Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST
A collaboration with NCHE

Leader: Yohoru Williams, Professor of History, Fairfield University

A History of Immigration Control: Contesting Nation, Citizenship and Race in America
Thursday, March 30, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST
A collaboration with Primary Source

The issue of immigration control has become a lightning rod in American political discourse. At stake is how we define ourselves in relation to each other and to the state, which is perhaps why many Americans across the political spectrum feel so passionately about the issue. Join us as Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) unravels the complicated history of immigration control in the United States, and in doing so sheds light on 20th-century contests over identity and belonging.

Leader: Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Associate Professor of History, UCLA

A History of Violence: Mexico and the United States
Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST
A collaboration with

Leader: Elaine Carey, Professor and Chair, Department of History, St. Johns University

Teaching the Great Depression with John Steinbeck
Thursday, April 13, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST
A collaboration with OAH

Leader: David Wrobel, Professor, Merrick Chair of Western History, Oklahoma University

Cultivating Students' Philosophical Thinking
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM EST

This interactive webinar will explore how introducing philosophy in the classroom can enrich student learning, and will provide ideas and resources for encouraging deep and well-reasoned thinking about some of life's "big questions.” Participants will learn about some of the methods of pre-college philosophy, and will engage in philosophical discussions and activities on topics such as: "What can we know? What makes something right or wrong? Are we free? What is a mind? How do we define happiness?”

Leader: Dr. Jana Mohr Lone, Director, University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children

On Demand Webinars

Visit our archive of more than 100 on demand webinars.