116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Touching on issues past and present, Coe College’s 30-plus year forum series for this academic year kicks off in September and runs through April with 23 installments covering eight topics — from “critical race theory” to evolution to “The History of Sport in the United States.”
The forum series on the Cedar Rapids campus is pitched as a chance “for older adults who want to expand their knowledge in an academic setting.” The lectures — which typically attract audiences from Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities — are taught and curated by Coe faculty.
Since its inception in 1989, more than 150 speakers have presented on a range of topics touching the worlds of music, science, politics, literature, arts and the humanities. This year, 11 Coe faculty will present.
The 2022-23 lineup begins next week:
- Sept. 8, 15, 22 and 29: Byzantium Sails West: Eastern Heralds to the Italian Renaissance — This four-week forum delves into the art of medieval Byzantine culture, which is known for abstraction — contrasting traditional humanistic art associated with the European Renaissance. Coe philosophy professor Jeffrey Hoover will trace over the four weeks artistic innovations within Byzantine art that migrated to northern Italy, inspiring a new generation of medieval artists and impelling the Italian Renaissance.
- Oct. 6 and 13: Critical Race Theory: Facts, Misconceptions and Opportunities for Engagement — This two-week session led by communication studies assistant professor Antonio Spikes will define critical race theory and examine the public debate. Although it’s been studied for decades, critical race theory recently has captured the public interest and in some cases ire — inciting political discourse, for example, about what should be taught in schools. The lectures will address misconceptions and why this “long-established but little-known scholarly theory can be utilized to create a more inclusive and equitable society.”
- Oct. 20 and 27: More than Rebecca: The Life and Work of Daphne Du Maurier — Adjunct assistant professor of English Kate Aspengren will lead this two-week forum on the life and work of British author Daphne du Maurier, best known for her novel, “Rebecca.” Du Maurier also produced short stories, plays, a biography, non-fiction, and 17 novels — and readers are starting to better appreciate her body of work, beyond her reputation as a “romantic” writer. Work this series will examine include: “The Loving Spirit,” her first from 1931; “The Parasites,” published in 1949; “The Years Between,” a 1945 play; “September Tide,” a 1948 play; “The Birds,” from 1963; and “Don’t Look Now,” a short story collection from 1971.
- Nov. 3, 10 and 17: Evolution Before, During and After Darwin — Assistant professor of biology Daniel Hughes and professor emeritus of biology Floyd Sandford will co-lead this three-session series exploring the history of evolutionary biology. In addition to the life and work of evolution’s most famous scholar, Charles Darwin, the pair will discuss other philosophers who sought to explain the origins of life and development of species — like Lucretius in the first century BCE to Lamarck during the French Revolution.
- Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23: Hidden in Plain Sight: Tourism and Commemoration in Paris, Martinique, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina — Over four weeks, a trio of professors — associate professor of French Joyce Janca-Aji, assistant professor of Spanish Laissa Rodríguez Moreno, and assistant professor of Spanish Martha Torres Mendez — will explore cultural and national identity narratives for some of the globe’s most iconic sites. Discussion will dive into stories often overlooked and how travelers might better understand narratives “hidden in plain sight.”
- March 2 and 9: Greek Olympians and Roman Gladiators: Divergent Notions of Sport, Spectacle and Violence in the Classical World — Interim Provost and Associate Professor of History Angela Ziskowski will examine ways in which competition, public entertainment and sportsmanship varied among the ancient Greeks, who had the Olympics, and Romans, known for their gladiators. Sessions will explore what constituted acceptable forms of sport and entertainment in the two cultures and the legacy they’ve left.
- March 23 and 30: The History of Sport in the United States — This two-week forum will unwrap the history of sport in the United States, looking specifically at the early 1900s through the present. Assistant professor of kinesiology Larry Atwater will look at how sport has reflected American society while serving also as an agent of change. He’ll pay particular attention to religion, race, ethnicity and gender in sport culture and the role sport played in racial segregation, the Great Depression, and world wars. Such understanding will come through, for example, examination of television coverage, corporate sponsorship, and globalization.
- April 6, 13, 20 and 27: The U.S. Constitution — Professor of political science Bruce Nesmith over the four-week session will discuss the historical origins and “living” nature of the U.S. Constitution, which has governed the country since 1789, “making it the oldest national constitution still in existence. Neither sacred text nor outmoded artifact of the United States’ agrarian past, the U.S. Constitution today functions as a guide to politics and government: it describes positions, articulates essential principles and establishes boundaries.”
Every forum session will be held Thursday morning in the Kesler Lecture Hall of Hickok Hall on the Coe College campus. Registration and refreshments for each will go from 8:45 to 9:15 a.m., with the presentation ending at 11:30 a.m.
Admission to each four-week forum series is $40. Individual lectures and each session of two- and three-week forums is $12 per week. Included with admission is the lecture and refreshments. Audience members can pay in person on Thursday mornings by cash or check. Credit card is an option for those paying in advance by registering at www.coe.edu/thursday-forum.
Find more information about each session here.
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
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