Calendar set for 25th year of Thursday Forum

Extra: Lonnie Zingula, Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8613 or

2013-08-22 15:13:43 - General

Coe College's Thursday Forum opens Sept. 5 with a series on the cultural output of the Harlem Renaissance and ends April 24 with a review of quantum physics in the last century. In between, the 2013-14 academic calendar touches on Madeleine Albright, the archaeology of Greece, the legacies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s production of Bizet's "Carmen," the human sense of place, and Hollywood’s Vietnam War.

The opening series examines the cultural output that emanated from the migration of Black Americans to the Harlem neighborhood of New York City after World War I. The series will provide an overview of the social commentary and movements associated with Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, Marcus Garvey, and A. Philip Randolph, as well as a close look at the artists who responded to them. Professors Dennis Barnett and Steve Shanley will especially focus on the contributions of Wallace Thurman, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Duke Ellington, and, of course, Cedar Rapids' own Carl van Vechten. All presentations will feature examples from the films and the recordings of the era.

A single presentation on Oct. 3 focuses on former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's remarkable emergence into responsibility and influence in shaping American foreign policy in the aftermath of the Cold War. Political Science Professor Emerita and former Thursday Forum Director Margaret Haupt will concentrate on what is known of the personal influences in Albright's life and career that she has now explored in her recently published "Prague Winter." An opportunity will also be provided for a guided tour of the exhibit Albright has called "Read My Pins." It opened at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in May and will be closing on Oct. 27.

Beginning Oct. 10, Thursday Forum participants explore the field of archaeology and the history of Greece with History Professor Angela Ziskowski. This series offers an introduction to the methods archaeologists use to understand and study ancient sites. It then employs major forms of evidence available – like pottery, coins, architecture, and ancient texts – as tools to interpret a number of the best known sites in Greece.

November's forum marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Emeritus Sociology Professor Allen Fisher will examine Kennedy's record on domestic issues and foreign policy. Participants will also look at the stunning record of domestic legislation passed while Lyndon Johnson was president and the war in Vietnam, which ultimately ended Johnson’s presidency. Fisher will conclude by addressing some larger questions regarding the Kennedy and Johnson administrations; for example, how these two presidencies affected Americans' confidence in the credibility and effectiveness of the federal government.

Founding Director Daniel Kleinknecht and members of the artistic team from Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre discuss the process of building an opera production in the opening of Thursday Forum's 25th anniversary year on Jan. 16. This one-day forum will present an inside look at the new production of "Carmen" to be staged at the Paramount Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19.

In February, Political Science Professor Bruce Nesmith explores how human beings create and sustain meaningful places, and how social changes may affect our relationships to places in the future. The series will look at what it means for people to have a sense of place, focus on sacred spaces, explore how events of the past contribute to our present sense of place, and speculate about the future of places. Nesmith will explore whether the global economy has led to "placelessness;" efforts of cities and regions to market themselves in order to lure businesses and tourists; and the New Urbanism movement in urban design that tries to recreate intimate feelings of community.

In March, History Professor Derek Buckaloo brings together his interests in both movies and the American War in Vietnam to shed light on the relationship between Hollywood and this challenging, difficult war. Buckaloo will present the Vietnam War and its place in Americans' memories, as well as an introduction to the relationship between the American film industry and the war. Attendees will consider various well-known Vietnam War movies in order to see how the "genre" of the Vietnam War film was established and has changed over time. Presentations will include discussion of the significance, meaning and reception of these films, as well as the screening of crucial scenes for class consideration.

The Thursday Forum calendar closes in April with a series on the importance of quantum physics in the last century, focusing on the major historical figures and their achievements. Physics Professor Ugur Akgun will explain these groundbreaking developments in plain language for the general public.

Thursday Forum lectures are held in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with coffee and pastries from 8:45-9:15 a.m., followed by the class until 11:30 a.m. A luncheon is offered at the conclusion of each series.

The courses are open to all adults. The cost is $30 for a four-week course paid on the first day, or $12 per week. The closing luncheons cost an additional $8. Thursday Forum gift certificates are available. For more information about the Coe CollegeThursday Forum lecture series, call 319-399-8619.

Thursday Forum schedule:

  • "Theatre, Film and Music in the Harlem Renaissance" - Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26.
  • "Madeleine Korbelová Albright: Her Remarkable Journey" - Oct. 3.
  • "Digging Up the Past: Introduction to the Archaeology of Greece" - Oct. 10, 17, 24, 31.
  • "Fifty Years After Dallas: The Legacies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson" - Nov. 7, 14, 21, and Dec. 5.
  • "Carmen: Assembling the Pieces to Make an Opera" - Jan. 16.
  • "A Sense of Place" - Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27.
  • "Hollywood’s Vietnam War" - March 6, 13, 20, 27.
  • "Quantum Century" - April 3, 10, 17, 24.