Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
Austin Sarat / Amherst College
Even if we know little about the law, most of us know something about one of law's great rituals, the trial. We are regularly fascinated when this or that legal case is played out in a courtroom and proclaimed in the media to be "the trial of the century." Courtroom contests pit good versus evil, right versus wrong. But, in addition to their dramatic quality, they also are educational moments, occasions on which some of our most important political and social issues get played out before judge and jury. In this lecture we will consider four trials that changed American history during the twentieth century.
We will start by examining the so called "Scopes Monkey Trial." In this 1925 case, a high school teacher was accused of violating a state law that made it illegal to teach human evolution in public schools. Next we take up the Nuremberg trials, held by Allied forces after World War II to prosecute the leaders of Nazi Germany. Our third trial occurred in 1995 when the state of California prosecuted O.J. Simpson for the murder of his wife. The final of the four trials that changed America occurred four year later when the United States Senate took up the impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton arising out of his conduct during and after his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Each of these trials crystallized crucial issues of the day. And, the decisions reached in each of them had a profound impact well beyond the boundaries of the courtroom. If you are interested in such pressing issues as freedom of speech and religion, the responsibilities of perpetrators of war crimes, the legal treatment of celebrities, and the private lives of public figures, or if you just want to have the fun of revisiting some of the most riveting moments in recent American history, this lecture will give you considerable food for thought.
Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has written, co-written, or edited more than ninety books in the fields of law and political science. Professor Sarat has received the Stan Wheeler Award for his excellence as a teacher and mentor, awarded by the Law and Society Association.
Tina Rivers Ryan / Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), Formerly Columbia University
If you had to name the three most important paintings in Western art—the ones that most influenced the course of art, or history, or both—what would they be? (Mona Lisa, anybody?) While a fun exercise, when it comes to understanding art, ranking paintings in this way doesn't help us answer the more profound question of why art, and especially painting, has been so important to Western culture for hundreds of years. In other words, instead of trying to identify the three "most important" paintings—an impossible task, to be sure—what if we picked five paintings that helped us understand the different ways that painting can be used as a meaningful form of communication? These paintings would come from different time periods, genres, and nations, and would outline the different ways that painting has played an important role in Western culture.
These, therefore, are three paintings every art lover should see if they want to understand more about the history and significance of painting—and its continued relevance to our lives.
Our three paintings will be:
An art historian by training, Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan is currently Assistant Curator of contemporary art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. She holds a BA from Harvard, three Master’s Degrees, and a PhD from Columbia, and has taught classes on art at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Pratt Institute, and Columbia, where she was one of the top-ranked instructors of the introduction to art history, “Art Humanities: Masterpieces of Western Art.” A regular critic for Artforum, her writing has also appeared in periodicals such as Art in America and Art Journal, and in catalogs published by museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center. As a public speaker and scholar, Dr. Ryan has delivered lectures on topics ranging from Michelangelo to Warhol in more than 50 cities internationally.
Stephanie Yuhl / College of the Holy Cross
From the kiss in Times Square to “Rosie the Riveter” to “Saving Private Ryan,” Americans tend to cherish their memories of WWII as “the best war ever.” Yet the Vietnam War remains controversial and brings up an entirely different set of images – from anti-war protests to Agent Orange to the film, “Born on the Fourth of July.” What helps explain these radically different understandings of two wars only twenty years apart? Of course, things get even more interesting when we take into consideration the historical memories of the other nations involved in these conflicts.
In this course, we will examine how different societies remember these wars and what those memories might tell us about national hopes and values, about generational change, and even about decisions regarding the military. Animating this presentation is the notion that history is different from the past – it is the often contested way that the past is remembered in the present.
For more lectures about American history by Professor Stephanie Yuhl check out our American History lectures. Sign up for One Day University Membership today for unlimited access to hundreds of talks and online lectures.
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.”