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Program in the Humanities

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


 June 2015

“This is the sort of heat that reminds you why Southern ministers are so good at describing hell.” – Alison Fields

Due to the recent heat wave baking the Southeast, the Program in the Humanities has decided to shutdown for the summer so we can spend the rest of June, July, and August by the pool or at the beach.  We suggest you hunker down somewhere cool and we’ll see you in September.

Just kidding! As our fans and friends already know, even in the face of severe thunderstorms, power outages and record-breaking heat, we’re committed to bringing you great programs.

Spotlight on Scholars Takes Flight to China!

Spotlight on Scholars takes flight with two great topics.  You’ve probably heard a lot about the Wright Brothers recently with the release of David McCullough’s new book, but what about the attempts at flight before the Wright Brothers? On June 23, Dr. Glaire Anderson will share the long-lost medieval Arabic account of a flight that took place in Córdoba (the capital of Islamic Spain) in the Ninth Century with “The Art & Science of a Medieval ‘First in Flight.’”

On June 30, Dr. Robin Visser will take us on an intellectual journey to 21st century China to discuss  “The Chinese Eco-City and Urbanization Planning.” China has promoted sustainable urban development since the early 2000s, particularly new urbanism ideals of transit-oriented development. Yet most experts indicate that these new cities ultimately fail to meet their sustainability goals. Dr. Visser will use three cities as case studies to describe what works and what doesn’t when it comes to Chinese Eco-Cities.

All Spotlight on Scholars talks take place at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill. They start at 4:30 p.m. and end at 6:00 p.m.

Register in advance for a discount or register at the door for $20. To register, visit our website or call us 919.962.1544.

Ponder Humanity’s Oldest Questions at the NC Botanical Garden

Why are we here? Where does Earth fit in the grand scheme of the Universe?

Since the dawn of human existence, people have tried to understand their place in the natural world and Earth’s place in the wider universe. Join us on July 11 to ponder these ancient questions while surrounded by the Earth’s natural beauty at the NC Botanical Garden.

Drawing from both the arts and sciences, this diverse seminar will explore the “Big Bang” & the ultimate fate of the universe, art & nature, poetry & the natural world, and new scientific accounts of evolutionary changes in the natural world. You’ll leave with a better understanding of how both science and the arts have shaped our understanding of the earth and of human connections with nature.

To register for the “Earth, the Arts, and the Meaning of Nature” seminar, visit our website or call us at 919.962.1544.

Summer of Napoleon: 200th Anniversary of Waterloo

On June 18th – the actual 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – our Faculty Director, Dr. Max Owre gave a fascinating talk to a full house at Flyleaf Books about Napoleon’s most famous defeat. Max ruminated on the social, cultural, and political impacts of the battle, introduced us to the important military commanders, and provided the audience with a bird’s eye view of the military tactics and strategy that led to Napoleon’s final downfall. We even sang some Abba to commemorate the day.

For those of you who were unable to join us, we hope to get the lecture posted to our iTunes page (remember that?) in the near future.  For now, here are some pictures from this captivating talk:

The Civic Education Consortium is Helping Teachers Beat Boredom this Summer

A common knock against teachers is that they don’t do anything over the summer. Well, Paul and Christie are here to tell you that criticism doesn’t hold any water – the NC Civic Education Consortium’s summer workshops are proof of that!

This July, the CEC is headed to historic Tryon Palace in New Bern for “Talkin’ Tar Heel: Exploring the History & Diversity of North Carolina.” This innovative program will integrate immersive experiences at North Carolina’s most famous historic site, scholar lectures on various historical subjects related to North Carolina’s past, and pedagogical exploration of lesson plans and strategies for bringing history alive in the K-12 classroom. Teachers will also receive a free copy of the book, Talkin’ Tar Heel during a special session with the book’s authors – Dr. Walt Wolfram & Dr. Jeffrey Reaser. Special thanks to Rusty Edmister for his generous support for this workshop.

The City of Greensboro and Guilford County welcome the CEC for the “2015 Local Government Seminar.” This annual collaboration between the CEC and the North Carolina City and County Management Association gives teachers an opportunity to see how local government works by providing “behind-the-scenes” field trips to various city and county facilities, opportunities to interact with various city and county officials, and free curriculum to take back to the classroom. Only a few seats remain, so if you know a teacher, please tell them RIGHT NOW about this unique opportunity! Click here to download the registration form.

Finally, we’re pleased to announce that the “Hidden Histories” series is BACK! The NC Museum of History and the CEC are collaborating once again to provide teachers with a new look at World War II this August.  “Beyond the Battlefield: Exploring the Role of Fear & Prejudice During World War II” will examine some of the lesser-known events of World War II. Teachers will hear about US immigration policy during WWII, the internment of Japanese-Americans, the “Hidden Children” of the Holocaust, and more! Special thanks to the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust for their generous support.

  Odds & Ends

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K-12 educators, remember our endowment funds ensure that you receive a 50% discount on tuition as well as a $75 stipend!  (Please note: Although the tuition discount applies for all Adventures in Ideas seminars, teachers can only claim one $75 stipend a semester.)  Be sure to visit our webpage to learn about our teacher trainings — we have new content, new lesson plans, and new opportunities for your classrooms!

Check out our website and sign up today!

Please share your suggestions and comments about the newsletter and the program. Contact us at 919-962-1544 or email

For more on the Program’s opportunities for K-12 teachers including free lesson plans and our schedule of teacher trainings, sign up for the Civic Education Consortium’s monthly electronic newsletter by clicking here.

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