Coe College presents the 2022-2023 Thursday Forum lecture series

Thursday Forum 2022-2023Coe College is excited to announce eight lecture topics for the 2022-2023 Thursday Forum series. For more than 30 years, Thursday Forum has been an engaging educational opportunity for adults in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding communities.

The public lectures are taught and curated by Coe’s award-winning faculty, covering a variety of topics in the arts, sciences, humanities and more. The line-up for this year includes:

  • September 8, 15, 22 and 29: Byzantium Sails West: Eastern Heralds to the Italian Renaissance - The art of medieval Byzantine culture, recognizable by the abstract stylized forms seen in icons of Christ and the saints, often appears to contrast with the more humanistic art forms associated with the European Renaissance. In this four-week forum, Howard Hall Professor of Philosophy Jeffrey Hoover will trace artistic innovations within Byzantine art that ultimately found their way to northern Italy, where they inspired a new generation of medieval artists and provided an impetus for the Italian Renaissance. 
  • October 6 and 13: Critical Race Theory: Facts, Misconceptions and Opportunities for Engagement - A topic of study for decades, critical race theory recently has become a topic of public conversation, appearing in political debates and discussions about what should be taught in schools. But what is critical race theory? This two-week forum led by Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Antonio Spikes will define critical race theory and examine public debates involving it. The lecture will study misconceptions about critical race theory and why this long-established but little-known scholarly theory can be utilized to create a more inclusive and equitable society.
  • October 20 and 27: More than Rebecca: The Life and Work of Daphne Du Maurier - Best known for her novel Rebecca, British author Daphne du Maurier’s work included short stories, plays, a biography, nonfiction and 17 novels beyond Rebecca. Often dismissed as a writer of “romantic” literature, present-day readers have begun to more fully appreciate the complexity of du Maurier’s wide-ranging body of work. This two-week forum, led by Adjunct Assistant Professor of English Kate Aspengren, will explore du Maurier’s life and literary works. The novels, short stories and plays to be examined include The Loving Spirit, The Parasites, The Years Between, September Tide, The Birds and Don’t Look Now. 
  • November 3, 10 and 17: Evolution Before, During and After Darwin - Long before Charles Darwin, many philosophers sought to explain the origins of life and the development of species. From Lucretius in the first century BCE to Lamarck during the French Revolution, these initial discussions were often forgotten or suppressed. This special three-week forum, led jointly by Assistant Professor of Biology Daniel Hughes and Professor Emeritus of Biology Floyd Sandford, will explore the study of evolutionary biology past and present and the life and work of Charles Darwin, the field’s most well-known scholar. 
  • February 2, 9, 16 and 23: Hidden in Plain Sight: Tourism and Commemoration in Paris, Martinique, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina - Travelers flock to iconic sites to connect with the past and other cultures. But what stories do such sites really tell, and whose stories do they overlook? This four-week forum will explore how narratives of post-revolutionary and postcolonial tourist sites often obscure as much as they reveal about the pivotal social and political conflicts that occurred there. Joanne H. Pochobradsky Associate Professor of French Joyce Janca-Aji, Assistant Professor of Spanish Laissa Rodríguez Moreno and Assistant Professor of Spanish Martha Torres Méndez will explore narratives of cultural and national identity observant travelers might better be able to see hidden in plain sight.
  • March 2 and 9: Greek Olympians and Roman Gladiators: Divergent Notions of Sport, Spectacle and Violence in the Classical World - The ancient Greeks had the Olympics. The Romans had their gladiators. These events have left a disproportionate imprint on modern society’s impressions of these two ancient cultures. Interim Provost and Associate Professor of History Angela Ziskowski will examine how competition, public entertainment and sportsmanship varied among the ancient Greeks and Romans. Throughout the forum, attendees will explore what constituted socially acceptable forms of sport and entertainment in these two fascinating and influential cultures.
  • March 23 and 30: The History of Sport in the United States - This two-week forum will introduce audiences to the history of sport in the United States focusing on the period between 1900 and today. Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Larry Atwater will explore how sport has long served as a reflection of American society as well as an agent of change in the nation. It will pay particular attention to themes of religion, race, ethnicity and gender in the construction of sport culture and the role of sport in broader events like racial segregation, the Great Depression and the two world wars. The forum will also examine how developments like television coverage, corporate sponsorship and globalization have influenced both sport and society.
  • April 6, 13, 20 and 27: The U.S. Constitution - The United States is governed by its Constitution, the country’s basic system of law since 1789, making it the oldest national constitution still in existence. Neither sacred text nor outmoded artifact of the United States’ agrarian past, the US Constitution today functions as a guide to politics and government: it describes positions, articulates essential principles and establishes boundaries. During this four-week forum, Professor of Political Science Bruce Nesmith will discuss the historical origins and “living” nature of the U.S. Constitution. 

Forum sessions are held Thursday mornings in Kesler Lecture Hall of Hickok Hall on the Coe College campus. Each session begins with registration and refreshments from 8:45 AM to 9:15 AM, followed by the presentation until 11:30 AM.

Admission to each four-week course can be purchased at the door or in advance. For more details or information, visit or call 319.399.8523.

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