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One Day University: A Morning of American History (Norfolk)

March 10, 2018 9:30 AM – 1:15 PM

schedule

9:30 AM - 10:35 AM
The Civil War and Abraham Lincoln: What's Fact and What's Fiction?

Louis Masur / Rutgers University

Abraham Lincoln is considered our greatest President and one of the most controversial. People have debated various aspects of his personality and politics. Was he depressed? Why did he tell so many stories? Was he truly opposed to slavery? Did he free the slaves? Did the Union prevail because of his leadership or despite him? This class aims to uncover the man and not the myth. In 1922, the historian W.E.B. DuBois proclaimed that Lincoln was “big enough to be inconsistent.” To be sure, there were tensions in Lincoln’s character and ideology: he could be happy and melancholy, could promote democracy and suspend civil liberties, could oppose slavery yet have doubts about the place of blacks in American society.

Some of what DuBois saw as inconsistency had more to do with political reality, especially in regard to the issue of the abolition of slavery. Lincoln had to contend with various pressures knowing that any misstep could very well lead to the destruction of the Union. Here is where his temperament becomes so important. As we shall see, Lincoln’s storytelling had a purpose, as did his gradual approach to decision making. But once he made up his mind, he seldom looked back. In the end, it is not that he was inconsistent, but that he was thoughtful and deliberate and was not afraid to change his mind and grow in the process.

Louis Masur / Rutgers University
Louis Masur is a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. He received outstanding teaching awards from Rutgers, Trinity College, and the City College of New York, and won the Clive Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard University. He is the author of many books including "Lincoln's Last Speech," which was inspired by a talk he presented at One Day University. His essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, and Chicago Tribune. He is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and serves on the Historians' Council of the Gettysburg Foundation.

10:50 AM - 11:55 AM
Three Musical Masterpieces That Changed America

Anna Celenza / Georgetown University

Music permeates our lives. Thanks to technology, it is always with us … via the radio, our smart phones, TV commercials, film music, even the streamed music at our local malls and favorite restaurants. Technology has made it easy for us to put music in the background. The goal of this lecture is to bring it front and center again.

As Professor Celenza will demonstrate, music does not simply reflect culture…it changes it. To demonstrate just how such changes come about, she will highlight three musical masterpieces that changed America. These include: a bawdy 18th-century drinking tune that eventually defined American patriotism, a 1930s ballad that fueled the need for the Civil Rights movement, and a 1980s pop album that changed American foreign policy.

Anna Celenza / Georgetown University
Anna Celenza is the Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music at Georgetown University. She is the author of several books, including "Jazz Italian Style: From Its Origins in New Orleans to Fascist Italy and Sinatra." In addition to her scholarly work, she has served as a writer/commentator for NPR's Performance Today and published eight award-winning children's books, among them "Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue" and "Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite." She has been featured on nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, including the BBC's "Music Matters" and C-Span's "Book TV."

12:10 PM - 1:15 PM
A Nation Looks Back: Fifty Years of Race, Sports, and Gender

Matthew Andrews / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

How much has American society changed since the 1960s? And how do you gauge the extent of this change? In this session we will try to answer these questions by exploring a few of the more significant and pivotal moments in American history through the prism of sports. We will look beyond competitive outcomes on the fields of play—who won, who lost, and by how much?—and instead will focus on what these moments can reveal about the struggles for racial justice and gender equality in our nation.

Throughout our session we will consider the ways sports—a marathon, a college football game, a prizefight, a tennis match—have reflected larger trends in American life as well as influenced American history and the nation we occupy today. Whether this influence has been positive or negative is another question we will consider.

Matthew Andrews / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Matthew Andrews teaches American History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His courses use the history of American sports to explore race relations, gender ideals, political protest, and American identity. Professor Andrews was asked by the UNC student body to give the honorific "Last Lecture" to the graduating class of 2015. HIs students voted him their university's "Best Professor" in 2016.

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