Special Lecture Previews

Annual Buffalo Day Panel to welcome Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist, more

Buffalo Day
Swan-Kilpatrick, Crockatt, Lin-Hill, Murphy, Zyglis

Eleven years ago, Dennis Galucki was struck by the idea of a city where the aesthetic values of Chautauqua Institution existed not just nine weeks a year, but all 52. Galucki attached this idea to his Western New York hometown, which he felt uniquely embodied these values when he established the Institution’s annual Buffalo Day. But as years have passed, Galucki has come to believe that Buffalo Day shouldn’t stop at Buffalo.

“I hope others do explore that connection (of bringing Institution values elsewhere). Why not have an Atlanta Day at Chautauqua? In a digital age, why not think that way?” Galucki said. “It’s not about everybody from Atlanta or San Francisco going to Chautauqua that day — it’s about highlighting a connection (of values), and nurturing it back in your hometown.”

Galucki hopes to inspire Chautauquans to consider these ideas at 12:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, July 14, on the Virtual Porch in a Buffalo Day panel discussion titled “The Sacred Nature of Art & Democracy: Exploring Life’s Aesthetic Values – Beauty, Truth, Goodness, & Justice.” The panel will be moderated by Galucki and Emily Morris, Institution vice president of marketing and communications.

The panel will feature Stephanie Crockatt, executive director of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy; Joe Lin-Hill, deputy director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Michael G. Murphy, the president of Shea’s Performing Art Center; and Adam Zyglis, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist at The Buffalo News.

The week’s theme of “Art and Democracy” spoke to Galucki. He first started to recognize the similarities of Buffalo and Chautauqua through art and architecture in Buffalo. When looking at historical landmarks, Galucki found that they spoke of pillars and values that defined Buffalo at the time of their construction: art, architecture, history and nature

These four values reminded Galucki of the Institution’s four pillars: arts, education, religion, and recreation. Just like Chautauqua, he saw Buffalo’s potential to foster life-long learning, and this sparked what he called the Buffalo-Chautauqua idea. This idea is further exemplified with the Institution’s theme for Week Three. 

“I can connect Buffalo really legitimately with this theme: ‘Art and Democracy,’” Galucki said. “After 11 years it was, in my mind, the best theme that came along to go ahead and do this.”

Galucki believes that this discussion on “Art and Democracy” also comes at an interesting time in history, because current social justice movements have inspired powerful works of public art. 

“Perhaps the most significant art this year is the three words ‘Black Lives Matter,’” Galucki said. “I could argue that the painting of that (phrase) in front of municipal buildings, including the White House, may be the most profound work of art in a long time.”

Galucki said that the panel’s message of justice — along with truth, goodness and beauty — can be relatable across the country. He hopes that the audience can connect to this panel’s message and inspire similar work in their own regions.

“Hopefully people are entertained and find the experience worth wanting to know more about Chautauqua if they are first-timers, or reinforcing their support of Chautauqua if they are folks that have been around,” Galucki said. “That should be why anybody speaks. Yeah, educational, informative, fine. But I would argue that it better be entertaining.”

This program is made possible by the Buffalo-Chautauqua Idea and Connection: Galucki Family Endowment Fund.

Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Ruth Marcus to cover Brett Kavanaugh, conservative takeover in Robert H. Jackson Lecture


An American’s daily life is driven by forces unseen, but perhaps the strongest force is that of nine unelected individuals constantly shaping United States law.

“The things that keep public order, the things that protect individual property, the things that protect individual mobility, liberty, health, etc. — those are all systems that are in law. That’s all in the Supreme Court’s bucket. The Supreme Court is one of those grand forces, seen and unseen,” said John Barrett, professor of law at St. John’s University.

Barrett will return to Chautauqua for the 16th Annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States at 3:30 p.m. EDT Monday, July 6, on CHQ Assembly. Barrett is welcoming Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial page editor at The Washington Post. Much of the discussion will spark from the research Marcus did for her 2019 book Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover.

Marcus has written about Supreme Court appointments since 1987, with President Ronald Reagan’s rejected attempt to appoint Robert Bork. In 1991, she covered the appointment of Justice Clarence Thomas, and the preceding hearings in which former employee Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment. Her experience covering Thomas and Hill informed her decision to investigate Kavanaugh in her new book.

“After Bork, I covered the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings. And so when Kavanaugh was nominated, and when Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations arose, it seemed like the combination of the ideological stakes of the Bork battle and the issues of the Clarence Thomas hearings all rolled into one high-stakes nomination battle,” Marcus said. “So, it kind of felt like it was almost destiny for me to write the book.”

Marcus began her decades-long writing career at The Washington Post as an intern while attending Harvard Law School. She attended Harvard with the intention of returning to journalism after graduation, not to practice law. Marcus said it was her way of expanding her horizons and sharpening her way of thought.

While Marcus’ writing experience extends far beyond politics, Barrett invited her to deliver this year’s Jackson Lecture because of her expertise on the Supreme Court. Barrett said that the Robert H. Jackson Lecture has always sought to bring the nation’s top experts to the Institution, which aids the series’ recurring popularity. 

“Every year, there’s stuff that’s on the front burner that’s just happened, or is happening, at the Supreme Court,” Barrett said. “In a more enduring way, the Supreme Court has a big way of shaping all of our lives. For Chautauquans to have this opportunity to hear from, think and engage with a top Supreme Court expert is what the lecture is about.”

In the 2020 season, the lecture falls at the end of a Court term that brought rulings protecting scholarship access for students at religious schools, abortion rights, and codifying protections against workplace discriminations for LGBT people. This Court term, according to Marcus, would have interested Jackson himself. 

Jackson began his law education as an apprentice at a Jamestown law office outside of Chautauqua. Despite having never attended college, Jackson became a lawyer in 1913 and practiced law for two decades in the area. He moved to Washington D.C. and took on a series of government positions, including Attorney General for the United States during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. 

On July 11, 1941, Roosevelt nominated Jackson to the Supreme Court, and he was confirmed by the Senate the same day. During his time on the Supreme Court, he served as Chief United States Prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials. After 13 years as a Supreme Court Justice, Jackson died in 1954 at 62 years old.

“When he died, the eight surviving justices came for the funeral (in Jamestown). They all said, ‘We want to see Chautauqua, we’ve been hearing about it for years.’ Seeing Chautauqua is what the Jackson Lecture has actually accomplished in some very high-level places,” Barrett said.

Much like the surviving justices, Barrett said that many notable figures flock to the Institution because of Jackson, only now it is in the form of a lecture established in his name.

In week of Chautauqua sermons, the Rev. Traci DeVon Blackmon to focus attention on importance of story

Traci DeVon Blackmon
Traci DeVon Blackmon

A West African proverb sits at the top of the Rev. Traci DeVon Blackmon’s biographical profile on the United Church of Christ Website: “Until the lion tells the story, the hunter will always be the hero.”

“During my week (of sermons), I will attempt to call attention to the importance of story,” said Blackmon, who is serving as the Week Two chaplain-in-residence on CHQ Assembly. “So much of Jesus’ recorded teachings were done through the reframing of narrative. Currently we are living in a time of social, political, and theological distortion of story. This distortion is amplified through various forms of media.”

Blackmon will preach Sunday, July 5, through Friday, July 10, on the CHQ Assembly Video Platform. On Sunday, July 5, her sermon will be broadcast during the 10:45 a.m. EDT Service of Worship and Sermon. The title for her sermon is “We, Too, Sing Of Freedom.” From Monday, July 6, through Friday, July 10, her sermons will be recorded and broadcast as part of a live 9:15 a.m. EDT morning devotional service. Her sermon titles include “Where Are The Dreamers,” on Monday, July 6; “Story Matters,” on Tuesday, July 7; “Faithful Without Fanfare,” on Wednesday, July 8; “In Defense Of The Ravens,” on Thursday, July 9; and “You Might As Well Throw The Rock” to close the week on Friday, July 10.

“I believe one of the marks of faithful discipleship is as keepers of the story,” she said. “At its core, this is the Bible as we know it, a compilation of sacred story. As people of faith, we are called to preserve a faithful narrative for our generation and generations to come.”

Blackmon is the Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries for The United Church of Christ and Senior Pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri. At first ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Blackmon later became ordained in the United Church of Christ and was installed as the first woman pastor in the 162-year history of Christ The King. 

A registered nurse for over 25 years, Blackmon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Birmingham – Southern College, and a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary. Throughout her ministry, her work has focused on communal resistance to systemic injustice. Her response in Ferguson to the killing of Michael Brown resulted in national and international recognition; her work is now featured in several Ferguson Uprising documentaries.

Appointed to the Ferguson Commission by then-Governor Jay Nixon and to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships for the White House by President Barack Obama, Blackmon is a recipient of the NAACP Rosa Parks Award; The Urban League of St. Louis Woman in Leadership Award; and the National Planned Parenthood Faith Leader Award, among others.

Blackmon co-authored “White Privilege – Let’s Talk,” an adult education curriculum designed to invite members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive and bold conversations on race for the United Church of Christ. She has toured the nation proclaiming the need for a moral revival in America with the likes of the Rev. William Barber of Moral Mondays and Repairer of the Breach and Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus.

Blackmon is listed as one of Ebony Magazine’s 2015 Power 100. She is a graduate of Leadership St. Louis and currently serves on the boards of The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Chicago Theological Seminary, and WomanPreach! She was named 2017 Citizen of the Year by The St. Louis American and as one of St. Louis’ 100 most influential voices.

This program is made possible by the Mr. and Mrs. William Uhler Follansbee Memorial Chaplaincy and the Robert D. Campbell Memorial Chaplaincy Fund.

Braden Allenby to Discuss Representative Democracy in Lincoln Ethics Series


In relation to the Week Eight theme, “Shifting Global Power,” Braden Allenby will dive into the past and present of fulcrum points in the geopolitical world.

His lecture, “1788, 1938, and Today: Fulcrum Points in Geopolitical Evolution,” will be held at 12:30 p.m. Monday, August 12 in the Hall of Philosophy, as part of the Lincoln Applied Ethics Series. Allenby is the President’s Professor of Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering and Law, and the Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics, at Arizona State University.

Allenby will be discussing the changes that representative democracy is undergoing.

“We all know that representative democracy has been under attack,” Allenby said. “The latest testimony on (Robert) Mueller went back to the fact that the Russians in particular have been very effective in attacking representative democracy.”

Allenby said that more people should be questioning whether representative democracy is still effective; he said he will discuss the ways in which technological trends have altered the effectiveness of representative democracy.

“The underlying question of whether representative (democracy) remains the most effective form of government has not been asked,” Allenby said. “What I’m going to talk about is the probability that, in fact, the underlying technological trend, particularly in AI and information technology, significantly shifts the balance of effectiveness from representative democracy to soft authoritarianism.”

Allenby said he hopes Chautauquans will leave his lecture with a better understanding of the “deep challenges” of modern-day governance. He said such understanding also involves considering the roots of national challenges and that “by trying to work on some of those issues before they become crises, we may be able to save important parts of the American experiment.”

Allenby will also lead master classes this week in the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall; the classes are fully enrolled.

“(The classes) look in more detail at some of the sources of the challenges applied to case study and what AI, combined with other technologies, might be able to do as soon as 2020, and gives an idea of the kinds of challenges that are posed for fundamental democratic institutions like freedom of speech, checks and balances and others,” Allenby said.

Donald B. Verrilli, Former Solicitor General, to Deliver Annual Jackson Lecture

Donald B. Verrilli

Donald B. Verrilli will deliver the 15th Annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture at 4 p.m. Monday, July 1 in the Hall of Philosophy. Verrilli is an acclaimed American lawyer and courtroom advocate who has argued 50 cases in the Supreme Court of the United States. He served in the Obama Administration as associate deputy attorney general, then as deputy White House Counsel and solicitor general.

Chautauqua Institution’s Robert H. Jackson Lecture Series is named in honor of Robert H. Jackson, former associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Robert Jackson was from Chautauqua County and was a lawyer in Jamestown, and then went to Washington and was part of the New Deal and rose up through the justice department,” said John Barrett, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law.

Barrett said this lecture is a way for Chautauquans who are interested in the U.S. Supreme Court and the legal system to learn more about the topic and to hear from an expert.

“The notion (is to have) an annual, high-profile lecture at Chautauqua in the name of Robert Jackson, focusing on the U.S. Supreme Court in the summer season which is sort of the sweet spot when the court will have just finished its term,” Barrett said. “The people of Chautauqua, who are of course very knowledgeable and interested in the news, will have  the Supreme Court on the brain, and will be interested in a high-profile expert speaker who can bring Supreme Court expertise to Chautauqua — the Jackson Lecture would be that kind of occasion.”

Verrilli’s experience makes him a great choice as a speaker for the annual Jackson Lecture, Barrett said.

“I think Donald Verrilli is one of the really superb lawyers, former public servants, public advocates in the legal profession today,” Barrett said. “So for the audience to get to meet him and hear him is going to be fantastic.”

Barrett said Verrilli may touch on topics such as recent court decisions and other issues that are of the public’s interest right now.

What I expect he’ll be talking about is the Roberts Court and the recent decisions,” Barrett said. “The particulars that he gets into, perhaps the census case or perhaps gerrymandering, are really important public citizenship topics of the moment, and for a lecturer to engage with Chautauquans about those kinds of topics is superb. He will be a fantastic speaker.

Sharon Brous to be First Rabbi to Preach at Chautauqua’s Sunday Worship

Rabbi Sharon Brous

As a young woman, Rabbi Sharon Brous spent a weekend walking around the Old City of Jerusalem searching for the answers to life’s questions. When she found out that the answers were “facile and unconvincing,” she decided to devote her life to wrestling with the questions.

Brous, the first-ever rabbi to serve as chaplain-in-residence at Chautauqua, will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Ecumenical Service of Worship Sunday in the Amphitheater and will speak about her faith journey at the 5 p.m. Vespers Sunday in the Hall of Philosophy. She will preach Monday through Friday at the 9:15 a.m. Ecumencial Worship service in the Amphitheater.

In her 2016 TED Talk, “Reclaiming Religion,” which has been viewed 1.3 million times and translated into 20 languages, Brous noted that religions of all faiths were waning.

“Across the board, churches and synagogues and mosques are all complaining about how hard it is to maintain relevance for a generation of young people who seem completely uninterested, not only in the institutions that stand at the heart of our traditions but even in religion itself,” she said.

“And what (the institutions) need to understand is that there is today a generation of people who are as disgusted by the violence of religious extremism as they are turned off by the lifelessness of religious routine-ism.”

Brous sat down with a friend and sent out emails to about 20 people to join them on a Friday night to see what they could make of their Jewish inheritance before they “bailed on religion.” Over 135 came and the result of that wrestling is a community, IKAR, founded in 2004. IKAR means “the essence of or the heart of the matter.”

“The challenge today is to be animated by both gratitude and unrest, by humility and audacity, and to feel the exodus from Egypt — our people’s journey from slavery to freedom, from degradation to dignity — in our guts,” Brous wrote on IKAR’s website. “Our Jewish story calls us to become agents of social change whose fiercest weapons are love, faith and holy hutzpah.”

“Religious Moments that Changed the World” is the theme for the Week One Interfaith Lecture Series, and this is a moment that is changing Chautauqua’s religious life.

“I asked a variety of people why we had never invited a rabbi to serve as our chaplain and preacher of the week,” said The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson in the 2019 winter Chautauquan.

“Other than ‘we’ve never done it that way,’ there was no good answer.”

Robinson noted that Methodist Bishop John H. Vincent said that “the theory of Chautauqua is life is one, and that religion belongs everywhere.” 

That Vincent said “religion” is a key element and not “Christianity” alone is important to Robinson.

Perhaps Vincent’s statement was a “precursor to what would become Chautauqua’s interfaith work,” Robinson said. He said that as long as he and Director of Religion Maureen Rovegno are  responsible for the spiritual and religious life and programming at Chautauqua, the morning worship services will remain Christian “albeit very welcoming of people from other faith traditions.”

“Let’s remember that the only ‘Bible’ Jesus ever knew was the Hebrew Scriptures,” he said. “It seems to me, that if it was good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for us, too. Who better to teach us about God’s self and God’s will in those books than a rabbi.

“I wanted to ensure that our first rabbi chaplain was a sure ‘hit’ — Rabbi Sharon Brous is as close as I am going to get to ‘a sure thing.’ ”

With the goal of reinvigorating Jewish practice and inspiring people of faith to reclaim a moral and prophetic voice, IKAR quickly became one of the fastest growing and most influential Jewish congregations in the country. Today it is credited with sparking a rethinking of religious life in a time of unprecedented disaffection and declining affiliation.

Brous is in the inaugural cohort of Auburn Seminary’s Senior Fellows program, which unites top faith leaders working on the frontlines for justice. Brous also sits on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Interfaith Collective and on the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and REBOOT, and serves on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and the national steering committee for the Poor People’s Campaign. In 2013, she blessed President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the Inaugural National Prayer Service, and Garcetti at his inauguration in 2017.

She spoke at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., in 2017, and at the national launch of the Poor People’s Campaign and the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in 2018. Brous was named No. 1 on the Newsweek/The Daily Beast list of the most influential Rabbis in America, and has been recognized by The Forward and the Jerusalem Post as one of the 50 most influential Jews.

Brous is a graduate of Columbia University and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Historian Cathal Nolan to discuss war and Hollywood for Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series


Cathal J. Nolan is a scholar of war.

His sweeping history of armed conflict, The Allure of Battle: A History of How Wars Have Been Won and Lost, published by Oxford last year, has been hailed as radical re-examination of what war is all about, mainly by debunking the idea of the “decisive battle.”

“The common myth is that war is abnormal, but when you look at it, it’s pretty constant,” Nolan said. “People think that peace is the normal condition. I’m not convinced that it is.”

Cathal Nolan

Nolan has explored the nature of war in 14 scholarly books and seven novels. He is frequently cited in historical TV shows. As an associate professor of history at Boston University and the executive director of the International History Institute there, he shares his deep expertise with his students. And he often uses war movies to pique their interest.

Nolan argues that his students, and young people in general, are an “acutely visual generation” who don’t read much, but love movies. What little sense of history they have, he said, is rooted primarily in films in which Hollywood “serves up fake history.” The films, he said, provoke interest in remote events and, ideally, steer students to books and debates for a deeper understanding.

At 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the Hall of Philosophy, Nolan will talk about war movies in “Fake History: War and Hollywood,” as part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series.

The movies get a lot wrong about war, but they get many things right, too, Nolan said. Hollywood does not shape public opinion as much as it is shaped by public opinion, reflecting social, political and cultural trends.

The movie industry embraced tales of war early, most notably with D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” in 1915, a racist epic that posits that the United States was really born as a country with the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction. The klansmen are portrayed as heroes.

Heroes and villains have always loomed large in war movies, Nolan said. During World War I, Hollywood stoked patriotic sentiment with such pro-war films as “The Prussian Cur” and “The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin.” The good guys were really good, and the bad guys were pure evil.

In the 1920s and ’30s, war became a passe subject, with movies reflecting the isolationist mood of the times, Nolan said. That changed as the world descended into World War II, with 1941’s “Sergeant York,” in which Gary Cooper plays the eponymous, laconic bumpkin who almost single-handedly defeats the Kaiser’s minions.


Morale-boosting pictures like “The Fighting Sullivans” and Frank Capra’s pseudo-documentary series, “Why We Fight,” followed. John Wayne, who sat out the war with a bad knee from playing football, became a big star in “Sands of Iwo Jima.” The Korean War inspired gritty portraits of men in combat like “Pork Chop Hill.”

Vietnam changed everything, Nolan said. John Wayne bombed in “The Green Berets.” American films turned from the heroic to the ironic with fare like “Catch-22,” “M.A.S.H.” and what Nolan calls “the astoundingly ahistorical” film “Kelly’s Heroes.”

“Hollywood was riding the wave of the counterculture,” he said.

“Apocalypse Now,” “The Deer Hunter” and “Coming Home” went further. They were not just anti-war but practically anti-veteran, he said. The bad guys were not so much the villainous enemy, but our own American leaders and military — if not America itself.

“In short, with its usual black-and-white moralism, but following rather than leading popular academic and cultural motifs, Hollywood flipped the script to relocate the evil in war,” Nolan said. 

By the 1980s, though, the hero was back in “Uncommon Valor” and the “Rambo” movies, with the misunderstood veteran, bloodied but unbowed, returning to Vietnam to rescue captured Americans left behind.

Then came 9/11 and a resurgence of patriotism. But, Nolan said, Hollywood again shifted its focus, depicting soldiers who fought and died for one another, instead of for some ideal or even one’s country. Private motivations superseded national goals, and the causes of war were unimportant compared with the virtues of the individual warrior, he said.

All the while, the horror and drama and glamour of war were plumbed in countless fantasy and science-fiction works, including the “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” series and “Game of Thrones.” Nolan himself has written seven novels under the name Kali Altsoba in a character-driven series about war in the future called The Orion War.

Perhaps most notable, Nolan said, is the technological advances in both filmmaking and war-making that have allowed Hollywood to capture a fundamental aspect of battle that the Hebrews called “the lust of the eye” — battle as spectacle, a visceral, primal experience like no other.

“What Hollywood gets right is that war excites, especially young men,” Nolan said. “It fascinates like fire; moving, almost alive. Emotions are more intense. Its effects last for decades, not just with individual veterans, but with society as a whole. A significant minority of men love war. It’s the dirty secret we don’t talk about.”

And war remains a central, if not the central, aspect of the human condition, he said.

“Big wars like World War I and World War II were crescendos; they were not normal,” Nolan said. “What is normal is constant, chronic warfare, wars of empire maintenance, not just over years or decades, but multiple decades.”

Nolan sees little reason to be optimistic.

“We love war,” he said. “It’s an ugly, uncomfortable truth.”

Allison Blais’ multimedia presentation to focus on 9/11 Memorial & Museum


On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, a stunned world watched as the twin towers in Lower Manhattan collapsed in flames and smoke and dust.

At 8:46 a.m., an American Airlines Boeing 767 carrying 92 people and 20,000 gallons of jet fuel had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Seventeen minutes later, a United Airlines flight with scores aboard, also a 767, slammed into the south tower.

At 9:37 a.m., another American Airlines plane struck the Pentagon. Less than half an hour later, a United Airlines flight crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers fought with the terrorist hijackers who had pirated the plane.

It was the deadliest attack on the United States in its history. All told, 2,997 people died in the day’s strikes, including the 19 radical Islamic hijackers. More than 6,000 people were injured. Two hundred sixty-five people died on the four planes; 125 were killed at the Pentagon. In and around the World Trade Center, 2,606 perished.

“It was an intensely local and exceptionally global event,” said Allison Blais, the chief strategy officer for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Allison Blais

At 3:30 p.m. Fri., Aug. 17, in the Hall of Christ as part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series, she will present a multimedia program called “A Place of Remembrance & Renewal: The 9/11 Memorial & Museum.”

Blais, who oversees strategic planning, commemorations and events for the organization and is co-author of its official book, A Place of Remembrance, sees a natural connection between memorial and Chautauqua.

“Both are steeped in powerful history,” she said. “These two public spaces are integral parts of their respective communities, serving as forums for people to gather, learn, reflect and — ultimately — connect with each other.”

Blais has her own 9/11 story.

“I moved to New York in 2000, and on 9/11, I was working at the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival,” she recalled. “I’d just come out of my subway stop about 20 blocks north of the World Trade Center when the first plane came right over my head. The roar was deafening, and I’ll always remember the sound — and really the feel — of the boom when it crashed into the North Tower.

“After a surreal, confusing, and heartbreaking day, I ended up going home to see my parents in Connecticut, but felt almost immediately that I needed to be back in New York as soon as possible. It was the first time I felt, strangely, like a New Yorker — and I wanted to be there, to be there for people, with people.”

The World Trade Center Memorial opened in 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the attack, and the museum opened in 2014, but the determined drive to build a commemorative space arose while the rubble at ground zero was still smoldering, said Blais, who came aboard the project in 2004.

“There was a public mandate to rebuild — and to rebuild quickly,” she said. “And, at the same time, there were deeply passionate opinions on all sides about what to build.”

The memorial’s architect, Michael Arad, won a worldwide competition with his design, “Reflecting Absence,” which transformed the footprints of the twin towers into enormous waterfalls. They comprise the dramatic centerpiece of the complex on sacred ground in the nation’s largest city. But it is the names, the names of the dead, that make the space so moving.

“Those names are etched through bronze-panel walls, and the sun shines through them in a way that makes each letter an absence,” Blais said.

They are not arranged alphabetically; they are organized by what Arad calls “meaningful adjacencies.” The memorial’s staff reached out to family members to share stories about their lost loved ones. As best could be determined, information was gathered on where each person was that day, who they worked with, who they knew and loved and what they were doing in their final moments.

An algorithm was created and software developed to identify connections, and the names are organized into nine groupings — one for the victims of the Feb. 26, 1993, bombing; two for the twin towers; four for the hijacked flights; one for the Pentagon; and one for the first responders, Blais said. Among those first responders on the wall are the 11 members of the nearby New York Fire Department’s Ladder Company 3, who answered the call that day. All of them died.

“The names are the most important,” said Blais, who lives with her husband and children in the neighborhood, which has doubled its population in the last 18 years. “They allow us to focus on the connections we have with each other. They show that we are there for each other in times of adversity, and that is one of the most important things in life.”

One-quarter of all the names on the memorial belong to people who worked at the financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald. At the time of the attack, the company occupied offices on the 101st to 105th floors of the north tower, just above where the first hijacked plane hit.

Howard Lutnick, Cantor’s chairman and CEO, lost his brother Gary, his best friend, and more than 656 colleagues. Lutnik, who became a driving force behind the memorial, survived because he was dropping his son off for his first day of kindergarten that morning. Everyone in the Cantor offices was killed.

“Every company and organization that was impacted stepped up to help,” Blais said. “They gave us the needed confidence to bring this to fruition. Their hearts are in this place.”

Almost 40 million visitors have paid their respects at the site since it opened in 2011; 7 million to the memorial and 3 million to the museum each year, Blais said.

“People come from all around the world, from 180 different countries,” she said, noting that those who died in 9/11 included citizens of 90 nations.

And yet, some New Yorkers have stayed away, their trauma still fresh, their wounds not quite healed.

“I understand the impulse not to come here,” Blais said. “But it’s not a didactic experience. It’s not just about what happened on 9/11. It’s about what came afterward. It’s about the perspective the memorial gives us that inspires the connections and compassion the world needs.”

Volker Benkert to deliver final lecture in Lincoln Applied Ethics Series on memory


Volker Benkert, assistant professor of history at Arizona State University, grew up in Germany, where he was exposed to the memory of the Nazi and Soviet occupations of the 20th century.

“I think that memory is around us all the time,” Benkert said. “If you go to a German city, of course everything is nicely restored, and the old buildings, many of them, are back up again.”

But the history of these “modern buildings” that were once hit with bombs during World War II has not been erased. Benkert and all German citizens remember this time in history, and it was this aspect of Benkert’s life that first motivated him to focus his research on the history and memory of both totalitarian regimes in Germany.

At 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, in the Hall of Philosophy, Benkert will give a lecture as part of the Lincoln Applied Ethics Series. He has studied how Germany has remembered the time of totalitarian rule in the country, in addition to what the German people have chosen to remember, forget and invent regarding that history.

Germany has developed a particular narrative around its history, according to Benkert. He is currently studying how “World War II (is) expressed in contemporary German film.”

“Germany has, of course, acknowledged the Holocaust and depicts German war crimes,” Benkert said. “But my argument is that even though these crimes are acknowledged, they are wrapped into very apologetic narratives that offer an excuse or explanation for why Germans would participate in these crimes.”

Benkert said that Germany is currently acknowledging that it was not just high-ranking Nazis who made these crimes against humanity possible. He said “ordinary Germans” who were draftees in the military participated in these crimes as well, and Germans who were not fighting in the war still benefited from them.

“This acknowledgement that we can no longer deny triggers a response,” Benkert said. “It’s painful; it means everybody’s grandfather somehow was involved.”

The response to this acknowledgment is the apologetic narratives that have been created, according to Benkert.

Benkert’s lecture will be the fourth and final installment of this season’s Lincoln Applied Ethics Series. He said that memory and ethics are “deeply linked,” as people and countries chose what to remember about a historical event.

“In choosing what to remember and what to forget, we make a deeply ethical choice,” Benkert said. “We cannot remember everything, and memory will change over time — that’s perfectly normal. Every generation will have its own take on the past. … However, one thing that is clear is that these choices that are necessary need to be based on some sort of ethical idea.”

He said in the case of the German people, it is “very ethical” to recognize that ordinary Germans had a part in the war crimes that occured during World War II.

“But at the same time, it’s deeply unethical and self-serving to take that idea and cushion it by coming up with these very apologetic and redemptive narrative traits,” Benkert said. “It’s on us to concentrate … (on) what we chose to remember and what we chose to forget.”

SUNY professor David Kaplin to discuss modern forgeries in Heritage Lecture Series


The term “fake news,” used to describe deliberate misinformation spread by mainstream print, broadcast and social media, is a relatively recent concept, its nomenclature usually attributed to President Donald Trump.

The idea of fake art, on the otherhand, is nothing new. Artistic forgeries are probably as old as art itself. Literary forgeries followed suit. Now there are digital forgeries, too. Scientific advancements have made it easier to detect such fakery, but in an age of relativism, does it really matter what is phony and what isn’t?

David Kaplin

David Kaplin is an associate professor of English at SUNY Fredonia who once practiced trademark law on Wall Street. He has studied literary piracy in the 19th century, particularly as it relates to the flagrant violations of international copyright law that vexed contemporaneously popular writers like Charles Dickens.

Kaplin’s research has led him to explore more modern iterations of such nefarious practices, and at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug.3, in the Hall of Christ, he will present his findings in a program called “Modern Forgeries: From Digital Plagiarism to the Phony Kouros at the Getty,” as part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series.

There have been a number of infamous literary hoaxes in the past 50 years, most notably the Howard Hughes “autobiography” perpetrated by Clifford Irving in the 1970s and the forged “Hitler Diaries” in Germany in the 1980s. But Kaplin believes that for sheer chutzpah, the American writer Lee Israel may take the cake.

Israel had published three tepidly received celebrity biographies when, in the 1990s, she began forging — and later stealing and selling — letters from such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Eugene O’Neill and Lillian Hellman, to name a few. In her own memoir, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which will be released as a movie starring Melissa McCarthy this fall, Israel boasted of her prowess using old manual typewriters and aged paper to fool libraries and collectors around the world.

“I love the idea that she was very proud of that stuff,” Kaplin said. “She portrays herself as an endearing misanthrope.”

Israel was not the only colorful fabulist in recent history.

Mark Landis, a prolific art forger who specialized in medieval paintings, bamboozled 46 major museums, including the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, according to Kaplin.

“He is an amazing character,” Kaplin said. “He got his materials at Hobby Lobby. He liked to dress up as a Jesuit priest.”

Unlike Israel, who was convicted and sentenced to house arrest, Landis never ran afoul of the law. That’s because he donated all of his work, often in the name of imaginary family members in France, Kaplin said.

“He said he did it because he liked the way people treated him,” Kaplin said. “He thought, ‘What difference does it make? All that matters is what it looks like.’ We want these things to be real.”

Another forger, Robert L. Trotter, was sentenced to 10 months in prison in the 1990s for cheating people with bogus 19th-century folk art.

“He started off selling paintings for a few hundred dollars each, but he got greedy,” Kaplin said. “He was arrested in an FBI sting for forging a painting ostensibly by John Haberle.”

Why people continue to forge fraudulent artwork may seem puzzling, Kaplin said, because the chances of being exposed are actually high.

“Forgeries are easily called out by the science of detection today,” including radiocarbon dating and pyrolysis gas chromatography, he said. Kaplin noted that a team from Buffalo State College was employed to test one of Trotter’s “19th-century” paintings, and found that the binding agent used to get the paint to adhere to the canvas had not been developed until 2000.

On the other hand, Kaplin said, an estimated 20 percent of all major museum holdings are forgeries, and the percentage at some museums is even higher.

Just this spring, more than half of the paintings at the Etienne Terrus museum in France — 82 out of 140 pieces — were determined to be fake, Kaplin said.

But does it really matter? Was Landis right that “all that matters is what it looks like?”

A Statue of a Kouros is thought to be from about 530 B.C or modern forgery. The statue will be one of the topics disciussed in David Kaplin’s Aug. 3 lecture on forgery.

In 1985, the J. Paul Getty Museum in California paid $10 million for a kouros, a statue of a standing, nude youth popular in ancient Greece.

“These archeologists claimed it was from the fourth century B.C.,” Kaplin said. “It was presented to curators, who tested it extensively and found it to be in accordance with similar statues. They tested the marble. They really went over it. So the Getty got excited and prepared for a grand showing, but just before that, they called in other experts who said ‘No, no, no! There’s something wrong with this!’”

When the statue was uncloaked at lavish dinner party in 1986, “the audience gasped and fell silent,” Kaplin said. “Then they said, ‘Oh, my God! It’s fake!’ Everyone who knew anything about this kind of art knew it was fake.”

And yet, the Getty still exhibits the controversial kouros. The museum’s catalogue describes it as: “Date: About 530 B.C. or modern forgery.”

A conversation between two comedic legends: Lewis Black and Alan Zweibel to speak on process, career paths at the Hall of Philosophy


In the 2017 season, Grammy Award-winning comedian and actor Lewis Black gave a talk at Chautauqua as part of the morning lecture platform. His lecture was part of Week Six, “Comedy and the Human Condition,” in partnership with the National Comedy Center.

Lewis Black

Black, dubbed “the king of the rant,” used his loud, profane and comedic style to navigate through political topics, his personal experience with comedy and how the genre can affect society. He said comedy is “insulation from the madness that we witness daily.”

At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1,  in the Hall of Philosophy, Black returns to the Institution with Emmy Award-winning producer and writer Alan Zweibel to discuss their respective careers. The conversation is presented in partnership with the National Comedy Center, which opened its doors at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1.

“What we’ve done with this program is invite them into a conversation between the two of them,” said Chief of Staff Matt Ewalt, “exploring their career paths in comedy, reflecting on particular challenges relative to their own paths, but also reflecting on the vast (and) diverse paths that are possible for those both entering and making a career of comedy.”

Ewalt said he would not necessarily frame this event as a “lecture,” but rather a conversation between the two comedic legends. He said Black and Zweibel have known and worked with each other for a number of years, and he sees value in allowing the two to have a conversation.

“(This event), I think, knowing these two legends, isn’t something we can predict where it will go,” Ewalt said. “I think in this case, there is value that can come from a conversation between two people who know each other well and are (both) very quick on their feet, who have certainly shared stories (with each other) before.”

Alan Zweibel

Black and Zweibel have both been involved with comedy for decades. At 12 years old, Black fell in love with theater, leading him to study drama at the University of North Carolina and Yale School of Drama, where he was introduced to stand-up comedy.

After college, he became the playwright-in-residence at the West Bank Cafe’s Downstairs Theatre Bar on West 42nd Street in Manhattan, overseeing the development of more than 1,000 plays. Since he emceed every show, this was his opportunity to develop his stand-up skills, which led him to pursue a full-time stand-up career in the late 1980s.

Black has gone on to produce Grammy Award-winning work, create segments for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and two HBO specials, and overall has enjoyed a long career in comedy.

Zweibel began his script writing career on “Saturday Night Live” in 1975. He worked with the program for five years, returning every so often throughout the 1980s. From there, he went on to win multiple Emmys and awards from the Writers Guild of America. Some of his works include: “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Yet his career has not been contained to the television world. He has produced on- and off-Broadway hits, such as Fame Becomes Me, Happy and Pine Cone Moment. He is also the best-selling author of Bunny Bunny: Gilda Radner, A Sort of Romantic Comedy.

Currently, both Black and Zweibel are on the advisory board of the Comedy Center, the first museum that tells the story of comedy as an art form in America. The museum has more than 50 exhibitions displaying the work and creative processes from people like Charlie Chaplin to George Carlin.

“One of the things that has drawn (Black and Zweibel) together is a strong support for the National Comedy Center,” Ewalt said, “and the idea of an institution like the National Comedy Center holding up and showcasing comedy as the art form that it is.”

Ewalt said the addition of Black and Zweibel’s program is an example of how a partnership between the National Comedy Center and the Institution will be beneficial now and into the future. With individual lectures, like Laraine Newman’s, and a planned week of programming with the Comedy Center in the 2019 season, Ewalt said he believes the partnership will continue to grow.

In Heritage Lecture, Judge Sutton to discuss state and federal jurisprudence


When people talk about constitutional law, they almost invariably refer to the United States Constitution and federal law, but each state has its own constitution and its own supreme court.

Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton

Between them, the state and federal court systems offer Americans two avenues of legal redress in protecting their individual rights.

“It’s like basketball,” said Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, who has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since 2003. “When you are unhappy with the law, you get two shots. Sometimes the second shot is the best.”

Before he was a federal appellate court judge, Sutton was state solicitor of Ohio. He has argued 12 cases in the United States Supreme Court and numerous cases in state supreme courts and federal courts of appeal. He knows how federal and state courts work, and he thinks that the states deserve more respect than they have traditionally received. In his recently published book, 51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law, Sutton argues that a bias favoring federal jurisprudence has undermined and obscured the importance of state constitutional law.

“People think the heroes are the Supreme Court, and the villains are the states,” Sutton said. “That’s a mistake.”

At 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, in the Hall of Philosophy, Sutton will delve into the subject in a lecture titled “States and the Making of American Constitutional Law: Free Speech, Free Exercise of Religion and the Compelled Flag Salute Cases,” as part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series.

Sutton, who teaches state constitutional law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Harvard Law School, is no stranger to Chautauqua. He was been coming to the Institution since he was 4, and his children are sixth-generation Chautauquans.

“I want to let people understand the history,” he said. “I’m trying to connect the role of state courts to what is going on with the U.S. Supreme Court today,” he said. “One concrete example is gerrymandering.”

Gerrymandering is the manipulation of electoral boundaries to unfairly favor one particular party over another. State legislators have been using it since 1812 to try to influence elections. Recently, state supreme courts in North Carolina and Pennsylvania have ruled the practice unconstitutional, but the U.S. Supreme Court has not taken a stand and has left it to the states to sort out.

There is long history of tension between the two appellate court systems. In his book, Sutton looks at famous cases that highlight that tension, and he will discuss at least two of them in his lecture.

One of the most infamous cases in American jurisprudence is Buck vs. Bell, a 1927 ruling that upheld 8-1 the right of Virginia to forcibly sterilize an 18-year-old woman who was judged “feebleminded.”

At the time, the eugenics movement, which posited that selective breeding of human beings could promote healthier, smarter and more upstanding people while curbing immorality, mental illness and other undesirable traits, was gaining acceptance throughout the West. It reached its nadir under the Nazis in Europe.

In the United States in 1927, at least 12 states had passed laws allowing authorities to sterilize people they deemed unfit to procreate. Many people sued in state courts, and most won. Carrie Buck was one such person. Her advocates argued that forced sterilization violated her rights of equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

The United States Supreme Court disagreed.

“Three generations of imbeciles is enough,” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote for the majority, upholding the Virginia law. Holmes’ celebrated colleagues Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Justice Louis Brandeis joined the opinion, with only Justice Pierce Butler dissenting.

In 1942, as the impact of eugenics laws became ever more apparent in the Third Reich, the Supreme Court ruled in Skinner vs. Oklahoma that persons thrice convicted of “moral turpitude” crimes should not be sterilized as was mandated under state law. That ruling effectively ended government-ordered sterilization in America, but Buck was never officially struck down.

“It’s still considered settled law, though none in their right mind would ever cite it,” Sutton said.

School children raise their arms in a gesture known as the Bellamy Salute while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in 1942. Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Another case that Sutton sees as emblematic of the tension between the state and federal high courts is West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette in 1943, in which Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote in an eloquent majority opinion that the government could not force people to salute the American flag.

At issue was the right of a Jehovah’s Witness child not to salute the flag, as part of the group’s religious beliefs. Three years earlier, the court had upheld the right of a Pennsylvania school district to expel Jehovah’s Witness children who refused to pledge allegiance to the flag in a case called Minersville School District vs. Gobitis. The plaintiffs in Gobitis had won in state court, but lost in the Supreme Court.

Sutton attributes the court’s dramatic reversal to several factors, especially the influence of Jackson.

“Jackson was now on the court, and his reasoning was that you can’t make people say what they don’t want to say,” Sutton said.

Despite having never attending college and taking only one year of law school, Jackson was “one of the best writers, if not the best writer ever on the Supreme Court,” Sutton said.

“Great writing can sway opinion,” he said. “It was one of the most significant court decisions ever, second only to Brown vs. Board of Education.”

Some justices who had upheld Gobitis had changed their opinions as the world watched the Nazis enforcing similar laws. The fact that, in those days, the flag salute closely resembled the Hitler salute did not help, either.

The Barnette decision was announced, appropriately enough, on Flag Day.

“There is an assumption that the courts would protect the minority, but that wasn’t always true,” said Sutton, who himself has clerked for Supreme Court Justices Lewis F. Powell and Antonin Scalia. “The role of the courts in addressing the infringement of rights has really grown in the last 70 years.”

Sutton hopes his work explaining the divisions between state and federal jurisprudence may help in correcting this historic imbalance. But he is philosophical.

“We Americans love our rights,” he said. “But we fiercely disagree over which ones to protect.”

Gary Marchant to discuss possibility of robots stealing human jobs in the near future


For hundreds of years, people have been concerned about machinery taking their jobs, according to Gary Marchant, Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law & Ethics at Arizona State University.

“All throughout the 20th century, people had concerns about this,” said Marchant, who is also a Regent’s Professor of Law and director of the Center for Law, Science and Innovation at ASU. “At one point, 50 or 60 percent of workers in America at the beginning of the 20th century were working in agriculture. That went down to 2 percent. … That’s always been the history over hundreds of years.”

Gary Marchant

But Marchant said that history has always included technology creating more jobs for people in the workforce, such as the rise of manufacturing in industrial cities. Yet as technology has advanced into the 21st century and artificial intelligence has been utilized more and more, Marchant said people are starting to question if this situation is different.

At 12:30 p.m. Monday, July 30,  in the Hall of Philosophy, Marchant will deliver his lecture, “(When) Will a Robot Steal Your Job?” addressing concerns about artificial intelligence in the workforce and discussing possible solutions. His lecture is a part of the Lincoln Applied Ethics Series.

“First of all, what is the risk of this?,” Marchant said. “How likely is it that robots will take people’s jobs? … I think there’s no question that they will take some, and more and more over time.”

Marchant said that robots and computer programs powered by AI have a number of advantages that humans don’t across all fields in the workforce. They have the ability to quickly memorize massive amounts of information, they don’t need breaks or vacations and don’t take sick days.

But Marchant said humans have their own advantages over robots and computer programs.

“We have judgment and common sense,” Marchant said. “We have empathy, the ability to interact well and understand what other humans are going through and what they may need.”

Marchant said certain jobs will be more prone to being taken by robots than others. He will not only talk about the specific professions that are at risk, but also provide projections from different economists about how many total jobs may be lost in the near future.

“The estimates range anywhere, in the next 10 or 20 years, from 9 percent to 50 percent of all jobs,” Marchant said. “Maybe some of these new technologies, like artificial intelligence and so on, will replace those with new jobs. That’s always what’s historically happened in the past.”

But not everyone thinks history will repeat itself, according to Marchant.

“It doesn’t mean there won’t be serious disruptions even if we do have new jobs,” Marchant said. “But a lot of people are starting to think there many not be a lot of new jobs. Again, more and more, these computers can do better than a human. There may not be a huge increase in new jobs, in which case we’ll have a net loss of jobs.”

In addition to emerging technologies, Marchant teaches courses in law, governance of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, neuroscience, biotechnology and artificial intelligence, and other fields. For his lecture, he will pull multiple areas of expertise to look at “the big picture” of this issue.

“We’re looking at legal intervention; what kind of legal steps could possibly be taken (and) looking at what is ethical to do,” Marchant said. “I teach courses and give a lot of lectures on artificial intelligence. … (I am) looking across those different areas to sort of give a big picture of the situation.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan to discuss changing nature of work

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Tim Ryan, U.S. representative of Ohio’s 13th Congressional District, will deliver a special lecture at 3:30 p.m. Monday, July 30, in the Hall of Philosophy as part of Chautauqua Institution’s Week Six programming, “The Changing Nature of Work.”

Ryan was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 as the youngest Democrat in Congress at 29 years old. He is currently serving his eighth term and is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, co-chairman of the Military Mental Health Caucus and Addiction Treatment and Recovery Caucus. He supports a number of initiatives and organizations to invest in the next generation of American manufacturing jobs.

“I think Congressman Ryan is uniquely positioned to speak on the politics of work,” said Matt Ewalt, Institution chief of staff, “and the way in which politics previews the way in which work is changing and will change in a number of ways.”

In a report titled “Putting America Back to Work,” Ryan wrote that America’s “economy is continually changing. As industries and workers adapt to globalization, automation, technological advancements, and growing wage inequality — the United States must speed up to keep up.”

Ryan wrote that rise of automation, robots, and artificial intelligence could benefit the economy and “create new opportunities for our society that few can imagine,” but “we cannot ignore the reality that these advancements combined with globalization have already contributed to job loss and economic instability for many American workers, especially those who are low-paid, under-skilled, or less-educated.” His report included recommendations for research, job development, policy changes and strategic investments.

Ewalt said the politics of work have consequences on everyone in the country, from small to large households.

“For us, (Ryan) was a critical complement to what we’re doing through the morning platform,” Ewalt said. “When you look at his voice within the (Democratic) Party on a number of issues, this has been one that has really risen to the top for him and in terms of the national discourse.”

On his website, Ryan asks questions like “What is the future of the workplace? How will we deal with the rise of automation? How can we ensure that a rapidly changing economy leaves no one behind?” One of his main concerns throughout his years in Congress has been the working-class American in places like his home district, which includes blue-collar manufacturing towns like Akron, Kent and Warren, Ohio.

“The question is how do you plug in communities, like Youngstown, Ohio, who have been left behind and I think gave rise to the Donald Trump presidency,” Ryan said in a June interview with Bloomberg. “Because while globalization and automozation were happening, these communities (like) Flint, Michigan, Gerry, Indiana (and others) along the Great Lakes and down in the south were left behind.”

Ryan began his career as a politician in 1995 when he became a congressional aide to former U.S. Rep. Jim Traficant and then served as an intern for the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office. As a congressman, he not only advocates for working-class Americans, but also works to make college more affordable and combat the heroin epidemic.

“Congressman Ryan has been very vocal in challenging fellow Democrats, particularly after the election, in how they engage or don’t engage working-

Oliver Heritage Lecture Series kicks off with “Alice in Wonderland” bibliographer Jon A. Lindseth

A Bengali edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 

A year after the 1865 publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the author wrote to his publisher: “Friends here (in Oxford) seem to think that the book is untranslatable.”

His friends were wildly wrong.

An idiosyncratic work packed with puns, nonsense, doggerel, idioms, absurd and bizarre situations, Alice is quintessentially British, a Victorian puzzle crafted by the wordsmith, mathematician and Oxford don, Charles Dodgson, writing as Lewis Carroll. And yet it has been translated into more than 9,000 editions in 174 languages, according to a massive three-volume study Alice in a World of Wonderlands: The Translations of Lewis Carroll’s Masterpiece.

The study began as a catalogue for an exhibit of the same name at the Morgan Library & Museum and the Grolier Club in New York in 2015, the 150th anniversary of the release of Alice. At 3:30 p.m. Tuesday June 26 in the Hall of Christ, Jon A. Lindseth, who with Alan Tannenbaum edited the compendium and curated the project, will deliver a lecture and presentation about it in the first of the Heritage Lecture Series for 2018.

Lindseth is a bibliographer and book collector. He is also an emeritus trustee of Cornell University, a fellow of the Morgan Library & Museum in New York and a member of the bibliographical organizations the Grolier Club and the Rowfant Club.

Alice in Wonderland is just the sort of book you’d think no one would try to translate, which is part of what makes its history and this compendium so extraordinary,” Rebecca L. Walkowitz wrote in the Los Angeles Review of Books in 2016.

The first translations of Alice appeared in German and French in 1869. It has since been translated into every European language, including six Spanish and six Celtic dialects. With the assistance of 250 translators, scholars and literary historians, Lindseth determined that there are currently 463 editions in Chinese. Besides being rendered in 12 languages of the Indian sub-continent and eight African languages, Alice has appeared in the Australian aboriginal language Pitjant- jatjara, Cockney, Brazilian sign language, and invented languages like Esperanto and Alphagram.

The first book of Lindseth’s three-volume, 2,656-page labor of love features 188 scholarly essays and includes 15 pages of color reproductions of cover images for the translated editions, showing the transformation of the book into vibrantly distinct cultural interpretations.

The second volume contains back translations — the translating of a foreign language edition of the book back into English by nearly 200 contemporary scholars of the eight pages of chapter seven, “A Mad Tea-Party.”

You know the story: Having fallen down the rabbit hole and into a new world, Alice finds herself as a guest at a tea party along with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse, who regale her with stories, poems and riddles including, “Why is raven like a writing desk?”

“Twinkle, twinkle little bat!/ How I wonder where you’re at!” the Mad Hatter intones to Alice.

“You know the song, perhaps,” he asks her.

“I’ve heard something like it,” Alice replies.

Volume two includes no less than 200 versions of the mad tea party story (a mad beer party story in an Old English translation). The little bat is rendered variously as a “little goat,” in Yiddish and a “little clock” in Swedish. Each translation takes on a unique cultural life of its own.

The third volume comprises checklists and bibliographical information for more than 7,600 editions of Alice and 1,500 editions of its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass.

Altogether, Alice in a World of Wonderlands is an impressive feat of scholarship and lots of fun. It chronicles how the story has been adapted for a wide range of audiences around the world. But it’s about much more than the translations into so many languages; it’s about the organic nature of language itself, about its fluidity and ambiguity and playfulness, which is, after all, what Carroll was exploring in the first place.

Nuland speaks on technology’s effect on med school training

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Lori Humphreys | Staff Writer

Sherwin Nuland
Sherwin Nuland

It’s unfortunate for modern Greece that there wasn’t an ancient resident who was interested in economics. If modern Greek financiers seem dicey, ancient Greek philosophers continue to influence modern thought. Why? Perhaps because they were first; perhaps because they were wise, and perhaps because as technology alters society, the question of what it means to be human, as opposed to machine, is being asked again. Arguably, the ancient Greeks began that conversation.

Sherwin Nuland will begin with the thoughts of Greek physician Hippocrates during his 3 p.m. Saturday Contemporary Issues Forum presentation, “The Goodness of the Physician: From Hippocrates to Hi–Tech” at the Hall of Philosophy. Nuland, former Yale-New Haven Hospital surgeon and professor at Yale University School of Medicine, will discuss his concern that, in Hippocratic terms, the role of “the goodness of physicians” is being leeched away by the emphasis on technology in current medical school training.

“In this age of high tech, objectivity, distancing, we forget that the physician has always been seen by the patient as an ideal,” Nuland said. “Patients look to the physician as a strong, comforting figure.”

He will point out that this historical view of the physician is used less and less and suggests “what we can do to bring it back.” Nuland speaks with conviction formed not only by personal experience but from a study of the history of medicine. If Nuland needs an historian credential, consider that the title of his first book is Doctors: The Biography of Medicine. A condensation of his historically aware, humane view of the practice of medicine is found in the commentary ending the first chapter of Nuland’s book, The Soul of Medicine: Tales from the Bedside.

“Science changes, but human nature does not. As long as one human being is called upon to treat another, bits of story will repeat themselves, similar dilemmas will be confronted and repetition of seemingly new challenges will appear as though for the first time.”

No wonder he begins with Hippocrates!

This is Nuland’s fourth visit to Chautauqua. He spoke at the Amphitheater in 1995, 1999 and 2003. He was founding member of the Bioethics Committee of the Yale- New Haven Hospital and since his retirement teaches undergraduate seminars in medical history and ethics at Yale University. He is the author of numerous books including the 1994 National Book Award winner The Way We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter, an international best-seller. These books and others are available at the Chautauqua Bookstore and Nuland will do a book signing after the lecture.

The Contemporary Issues Forum is sponsored by the Chautauqua Women’s Club.

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