Spring 2015 Calendar of Events

Film: 'For the Rights of All: Ending Jim Crow in Alaska'

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February 5, 2015 7:00 PM  – 8:30 PM
Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

This one-hour, award winning documentary reveals the true-life story of an extraordinary Alaskan woman who becomes an unlikely hero in the fight for civil rights. Like Native Americans in the lower forty-eight states, Alaska Natives struggled to keep their basic human rights, as well as protect their ancient ties to the land. The Bill of Rights did not apply to them.

Elizabeth Peratrovich, a young Tlingit woman and mother of three, testified before the Alaska Territorial Senate in 1945 and swayed their vote with her compelling testimony in favor of the Anti-Discrimination Act, the first civil rights bill passed in the U.S. since the Civil War.&


Free and open to the public.

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Hester Blum: "Polar Imprints: The News from the Ends of the Earth"

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March 2, 2015 6:00 PM  – 7:30 PM
Hubbard Hall, Room 208 Thomas F. Shannon Room

Narratives of polar voyages enjoyed wide circulation in Anglo-American cultural and political spheres during the long nineteenth century. Yet the familiar travel accounts of adventurous voyage and their fictional counterparts were not the only forms of literary production generated by Arctic and Antarctic exploration. Many expeditions brought a surprising piece of equipment aboard ship: a printing press. With such presses, polar-voyaging sailors wrote and printed newspapers, broadsides, plays, and other reading matter beyond the Arctic and Antarctic Circles; these publications were produced almost exclusively for a reading audience comprised of the mission’s crew members. In this presentation, Hester Blum, associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, will examine the first printed polar newspapers. What does this drive toward what she calls “extreme printing” tell us about the state of print culture and coterie publication in the nineteenth century Anglo-American world? Her talk will be attentive to the rhetorical distance between mass-published voyage accounts, and the coterie publications produced and circulated aboard ship. 'Polar Imprints' is attuned to the tension between the global ambitions of polar voyages, and the remarkably circumscribed conditions of their practice.

Sponsored by Africana Studies, Arctic Studies, and the English Department.

Free and Open to the Public

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MIT's Craig Steven Wilder: 2015 John Brown Russwurm Lecturer

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March 31, 2015 6:30 PM  – 8:30 PM
Moulton Union, Main Lounge

Craig Steven Wilder, Professor of History at MIT, will deliver the annual John Brown Russwurm Lecture in the Main Lounge of Moulton Union.  A reception in the Russwurm House Library at 5:00 pm will precede the lecture, and both are free and open to the public.

Professor Wilder will examine the contrasting figures of "the matriculating Indian" and "the uneducable Negro" to explore the limits on access to higher education in the second half of the 18th century. Looking closely at the experiences of two friends, the Reverend Samson Occom - a member of the Mohegan nation who became a Presbyterian minister, and poet Phillis Wheatley - the first African-American woman to be published, Professor Wilder will demonstrate how illusory were even the modest hopes of education held by Native and enslaved Americans. Though hailed by well-wishers as possessors of exceptional talents, Occum and Wheatley could find no institutional structures that would support them in intellectual, literary, or religious pursuits. This lecture stems from his important and widely reviewed new study, Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities, where he argues that many of America's revered colleges and universities were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color. 

Professor Wilder is a senior fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative, where he has served as a guest lecturer, commencement speaker, academic advisor, and visiting professor. For more than a decade, this innovative program has given hundreds of men and women the opportunity to acquire a college education during their incarcerations in the New York State prison system.

He has advised and appeared in numerous historical documentaries, including the celebrated Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon film, The Central Park FiveKelly Anderson's highly praised exploration of gentrification, My Brooklyn; the History Channel's F.D.R.: A Presidency Revealed; and Ric Burn's award-winning PBS series, New York: A Documentary History.

Named after the first African-American graduate of Bowdoin College (class of 1826), the lecture series explores the "legacy and status of Black Americans".  Notable speakers include Robert Levine, Lani Guinier, Carl Stokes, Vernon Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Hooks, and Julian Bond, among others.


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Through the Heart of Dixie: Anne Sarah Rubin on Sherman's March

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April 16, 2015 4:30 PM  – 6:00 PM
Hubbard Hall, Room 208 Thomas F. Shannon Room

Anne Sarah Rubin, associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Sherman's March, cutting a path through Georgia and the Carolinas, is among the most symbolically potent events of the Civil War. Rubin uncovers and unpacks stories and myths about the March from a wide variety of sources, including African Americans, women, Union soldiers, Confederates, and even Sherman himself. Drawing her evidence from an array of media, including travel accounts, memoirs, literature, films, and newspapers, Rubin uses the competing and contradictory stories as a lens into the way that American thinking about the Civil War has changed over time.

Part of the Enhancing the Humanities at Bowdoin Civil War Era Cluster.

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