New Classes. New Cities. Discounts and More!

One Day University with the Cleveland Plain Dealer

March 24, 2018 9:30 AM – 1:15 PM


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
Living the Dream: Utopian Communities and the Search for Paradise

Annemarie Sammartino / Oberlin College

The word utopia is Greek and refers to the idea of a "utopos" or a place that cannot be, an imaginary place. However, for centuries, thinkers and planners have imagined the creation of a better life and a better community in some very specific places. This course will explore some of them. We will begin in upstate New York in the town of Oneida in the mid-19th century where religious people sought to create heaven on earth. We will examine Garden Cities in England, which were designed in the early 20th century as the ideal merger of the city and the countryside. We will also visit 1920s cooperatives, 1960s Communes, and even the housing projects of the Eastern Bloc. In taking this tour, we will talk about how people have thought about the good life over the past century and a half. Beyond the plans for creating utopia, we will look at the reality--the good and the bad--in each of the societies that we visit.

Over 150 years after the Oneida Community, we still do not live in paradise. Our time together will conclude with a discussion of what it means to live well and what these plans for utopia and their fates have to tell us about the world today.

Annemarie Sammartino / Oberlin College
Annemarie Sammartino is an Associate Professor at Oberlin College. She is the author of "The Impossible Border: Germany and the East 1914-1922,", which explored migration and the German crisis of sovereignty during and after World War I. Her more recent work examines urban planning and urban community, focusing in particular on East Germany and the United States. Professor Sammartino has also received Oberlin College's "Professor Props" for outstanding instructor and mentor to first year students.

12:10 PM - 1:15 PM
Three Films That Changed America

Marc Lapadula / Yale University

While most works of cinema are produced for mass-entertainment and escapism, a peculiar minority have had a profound influence on our culture. Whether intentionally or not, some movies have brought social issues to light, changed laws, forwarded ideologies both good and bad, and altered the course of American history through their resounding impact on society. Renowned Yale Film Professor Marc Lapadula will discuss three films that, for better or worse, made their mark.

The Jazz Singer
I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
The Graduate

Marc Lapadula / Yale University
Marc Lapadula is a Senior Lecturer in the Film Studies Program at Yale University. He is a playwright, screenwriter and an award-winning film producer. In addition to Yale, Marc has taught at Columbia University's Graduate Film School, created the screenwriting programs at both The University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins where he won Outstanding Teaching awards and has lectured on film, playwriting and conducted highly-acclaimed screenwriting seminars all across the country at notable venues like The National Press Club, The Smithsonian Institution, The Commonwealth Club and The New York Historical Society.

register now


for the event

To register for this event, please

If you already have an account, please