2016 St. Johnsbury First Wednesdays Events
Series Underwriters: St. Johnsbury Academy
October 7 — What If Poor Women Ran the World? • Annelise Orleck
Labor historian Annelise Orleck tells the story of nine African-American union maids in Las Vegas who, during the 1970s, challenged welfare cuts and built a long-lasting, vibrant anti-poverty program run by poor mothers.
November 4 — Georgia O’Keeffe: A Critical Look • James Maroney
Georgia O’Keeffe produced more than 2,000 works in her 75-year career. James Maroney, the former head of American Paintings at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s in New York who appraised her estate after her death, presents a critical evaluation of her best work. Underwriter: Passumpsic Savings Bank-Member FDIC
December 2 — The Literary Achievement of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales • Peter Travis
Dartmouth professor Peter Travis discusses the genius, comic wisdom, and enduring humanity of Geoffrey Chaucer, the fourteenth-century “Father of English Poetry.”
January 6 — Art and Life in Renaissance Venice • Katy Smith Abbott
Middlebury professor Katy Smith Abbott explores how fifteenth-century Venetians came to see themselves reflected in depictions of St. Mark, the Virgin Mary, Mars, Venus, and others, and what this reveals about Venice’s distinct place in the Renaissance.
February 3 — Celebrating E. B. White • Nancy Jay Crumbine
From Charlotte’s Web to his exquisite essays in The New Yorker, E. B. White remains the master’s master of elegant prose, sophisticated wit, and graceful irreverence. Drawing on his stories, essays, poems, and letters, Dartmouth professor Nancy Jay Crumbine celebrates White’s versatility and enormous legacy.
March 9(Note date) — The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition • Caroline Alexander
In 1914, polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton left England for the Antarctic with a crew of 27 on his ship Endurance. When it was crushed by sea ice, they became castaways in the harshest environment on Earth. A century later, author Caroline Alexander shares a thrilling saga of stoic courage that also serves as a master class in leadership. Underwriter: Gil Steil Associates
April 6 — Understanding Islamic Extremism • Haviland Smith
Former CIA Chief of Counterterrorism Haviland Smith examines the roots of Islamic fundamentalism, its spread since 9/11, how it affects us, whom it targets, and how the US might respond. Underwriter: Vermont Council on World Affairs
May 4 — The Memoir Boom: Who, What, Why • Irene Kacandes
Dartmouth professor and experimental memoirist Irene Kacandes discusses current approaches to life writing and considers why we continue to love reading about others’ lives. Underwriter: Bill and Sharon Biddle
Photos (top to bottom): Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918, by Alfred Stieglitz; detail of The Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese (1528–1588); The Endurance stuck in Antarctic sea ice, 1916, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division; former Taliban fighters returning arms to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 2012, Department of Defense photo by Lt. j. g. Joe Painter.