History

African Americans in History: The 20th Century
This presentation is a chronological review of the socio-political struggles and accomplishments of African Americans during the twentieth century. Particular focus is placed on the modern Civil Rights Movement (1955-1970), and special attention is devoted to the lives of a wide spectrum of individual Blacks whose political activism and achievements exerted a decisive impact on future historical developments. Materials can be modified to accommodate various age groups and venues, including libraries and community centers.
Dr. Valeria G. Harvell

African American Women
The sociopolitical activism of African American women from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement has been frequently overlooked in the study of our nation’s history. This program will help fill the void by presenting highlights of the lives and accomplishments of both major and lesser-known female figures. Special attention will be focused on the ways in which racism and sexism impacted their lives and shaped their individual and collective struggles. Materials can be modified to accommodate various age groups and venues, including libraries and community centers.
Dr. Valeria G. Harvell

Home Away From Home: Immigrants and Their Institutions
Immigrants to the United States have generally created vast networks of self-help organizations to aid them in their adaptation to their new home. Conversely, these relationships also served as ways to maintain ties to the “old country.” The immigration associations were innovative grassroots responses that played important roles in helping newcomers to adjust to life in America. The experiences of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, who created many groups based upon shared hometown roots, provide insights into an immigrant community’s responses to the challenges of acculturation in pluralistic society.
Dr. Hannah Kliger

Indian History and Culture
A short description of ancient India from 2500 B.C., as well as social, economic, and cultural changes throughout the ages will be discussed. The present conditions in India have caused economic growth as well as an amalgamation of eastern and western cultures among the more elite and educated citizens but, still, the major part of the country maintains its own different cultures.
Joyce Sheila John

In the Wake of Thor Heyerdahl: Raft Expeditions in Search of the Human Past
In 1947, the Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood raft named for a legendary prehistoric sun god, drifted more than 4,000 miles in 101 days on a journey from Peru to Polynesia. Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian explorer who built and tested the raft with five companions, sought to understand the experiences of the first human beings who inhabited the islands of the Pacific. This expedition was history’s greatest sea adventure and archaeology’s most original and famous experiment. Over the next half century, more than three dozen similar raft expeditions followed Heyerdahl across the oceans of the earth. This illustrated presentation highlights many of these journeys using both PowerPoint and video clips from the explorers themselves.
Dr. Peter Capelotti

Neolithic Stone Circles in Wiltshire and Somerset, England
Between 4,700 and 4,500 years ago, ancient Britons went to extraordinary efforts to construct a wide variety of stone circles. Stonehenge is the most famous of these, but there are also the circles at Avebury, Wiltshire, and Stanton Drew and Priddy (both Somerset). In addition, these circles are only part of interconnected sites in the complexes. While we still do not know who built these monuments or why, we can speculate as to their purpose and uses. The complex at Avebury, with the three stone circles, the mound and ditch surrounding them, Silbury Hill, the West Kennet Long Barrow, and two avenues is the primary focus of this talk.
Bryan Polk

To Form a More Perfect Union: A Historical Perspective on European Unification
As some Europeans share a single currency and others mourn the loss of national sovereignty, debates rage over the true nature of Europe and its political future. Recent developments raise important questions about European unity. In an attempt to provide some answers, this presentation offers an overview of the political organizations in Europe from the seventeenth century to the present. Emphasis is placed on the development of the nation-state and the alternatives to it. Also covered is the recent history of European integration along with some of the challenges and questions that face European policy makers today.
Dr. Andrew August