New Classes. New Cities. Discounts and More!

One Day University with the Kennedy Museum (Cape Cod)

June 24, 2018 9:30 AM – 1:15 PM

schedule

9:30 AM - 10:35 AM
The Rise of Jack and Bobby: The America That Made the Kennedys

Stephanie Yuhl / College of the Holy Cross

In the decades following World War II, no American family captured the national imagination more than the Kennedys. From tales of military heroism to fighting the "Communist menace" to the latest women's fashion, the actions, choices, and words of Jack (and Jackie) and Bobby captivated audiences, at home and abroad. While the role of the Kennedy "machine" – Joe Senior's powerful behind-the-scenes network of support and ambition – is well known for buttressing his children's success, what other cultural factors allowed for the rise of the Kennedys?

In this this class, we will explore some key elements of this larger post-1945 historical context, including McCarthyism and the Cold War, the Civil Rights struggle, the rise of popular media (especially television), and the changing status of so-called "old" immigrants (especially Irish Catholics), that help explain how Jack and Bobby were able to position themselves in the mid-century American spotlight.

Stephanie Yuhl / College of the Holy Cross
Stephanie Yuhl is a Professor of History at the College of the Holy Cross. She is a recipient of the Fletcher M. Green and Charles W. Ramsdell Award for the best article published in the Journal of Southern History, as well as the Inaugural Burns Career Teaching Medal for Outstanding Teaching. Professor Yuhl is also an Associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in the Critical Conservation Program, and an expert in twentieth-century US cultural and social history, with specialities in historical memory, social movements, gender, and Southern history. She is the author of the award-winning book, "A Golden Haze of Memory: The Making of Historic Charleston."

10:50 AM - 11:55 AM
The President's Library: Books that Shaped JFK (and other Commanders in Chief)

Joseph Luzzi / Bard College

This fascinating brand new class will guide audiences through a fascinating "Presidents' Library," as we explore the books that shaped some of the most powerful men ever to sit in the Oval Office. Our focus will be on the extraordinary role that reading and books played in the presidency of John F. Kennedy. We will explore how JFK obsessively turned to his beloved history backs to help make informed political decisions, and we will also consider his more playful literary side, including his great passion for the spy novelist whose books would create one of the greatest film franchises in history. This class will show what a remarkable reader JFK was, and how deeply influenced he was by the rich array of books he encountered throughout his life.

As part of our talk, we will also discuss how JFK’s own writings were shaped by the world of literature he loved so dearly. In addition to JFK, other presidents and their reading will feature in our discussion. We will see why George Washington was obsessed with a play about a Roman freedom fighter who opposed Julius Caesar, how Thomas Jefferson came to have the largest personal library in the country, what drew Abraham Lincoln to Shakespeare so obsessively, and which British poet Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorized. Together, we will see how presidential action and presidential reading are intimately linked, as we explore the momentous events in these presidents' lives in light of the books that inspired their thoughts and guided their actions.

Joseph Luzzi / Bard College
Joseph Luzzi is a Literature and Italian Professor at Bard College, and was previously a Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received the Scaglione Prize for his teaching. He is also the author of the audio course, "The Art of Reading." Professor Luzzi previously taught at Yale University, where he was awarded a Yale College Teaching Prize.

12:10 PM - 1:15 PM
JFK'S Second Term: An Alternate History

Jeremi Suri / University of Texas

Had Kennedy lived to win a second term against Barry Goldwater, what would that term have been like? Would he have continued the existing deployment of special forces in Vietnam, or would he have escalated the war? Would he have been able to "fine tune" the economy, or would it have overheated anyway, leading to the fiscal and currency crises that overtook the Nixon presidency? Would Kennedy have expanded the New Frontier program and equaled LBJ's commitment to civil and voting rights, and if so, could he have done so in ways that would have been politically sustainable?

This lecture considers whether a two-term Kennedy presidency would have altered anything fundamental in American foreign and domestic policies, and to what extent the assassination marked a fundamental turning point in American history.

Jeremi Suri / University of Texas
Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the University's Department of History and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Professor Suri is the author and editor of nine books on contemporary politics and foreign policy, most recently: "The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Office." His research and teaching have received numerous prizes. In 2007 Smithsonian Magazine named him one of America's "Top Young Innovators" in the Arts and Sciences. In 2018 Suri received the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas, and the Pro Bene Meritis Award for Public Contributions to the Liberal Arts.

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