December 4, 2020

UMW Presents 2015 Great Lives Lecture Series

The University of Mary Washington will present its 2015 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series beginning Thursday, January 15.   Cover of A Companion to Alfred Hitchcock by Tomas Leitch Now in its twelfth year, the four-month series examines the lives of historical figures told through lectures by nationally prominent biographers and authors. The talks will be held at 7:30 p.m. on selected Tuesdays and Thursdays in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium and are open to the public free of charge. “Great Lives speakers are often the foremost authorities on their subjects,” said William B. Crawley, director of the series and distinguished professor emeritus of history at UMW. The speakers are only half of the equation though, according to Crawley. The series is known for its wide range of subjects with broad popular appeal. “This year’s schedule has an extremely diverse array of topics with something for everybody,” said Crawley. The series will open with a lecture on Alfred Hitchcock by Tomas Leitch, the co-editor of A Companion to Alfred Hitchcock. Including a total of 18 lectures, the Great Lives series will present major historical figures such as John F. Kennedy and Charles Darwin, as well as notable people from entertainment and the arts including Shirley Temple, Mathew Brady and Robert Ripley. Each program includes a Q&A session with the audience and book signing by the author or speaker. Books will be available for purchase on site. For more information and a complete listing of lectures, visit www.umw.edu/greatlives or call the Office of University Events and Conferencing at (540) 654-1065.

Great Lives Lecture Series Kicks Off in January

The University of Mary Washington will present its 2014 Chappell Lecture Series, Great Lives, beginning in January and running through April. The popular series, now in its 11th year, examines the lives of historical figures told through lectures by nationally prominent biographers and authors. The talks will be held at 7:30 p.m. on selected Tuesdays and Thursdays in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium and are open to the public free of charge.

The Chappell Great Lives lecture series brings community members from across the region to UMW each spring.

The Chappell Great Lives lecture series brings community members from across the region to UMW each spring.

The series will begin on Thursday, Jan. 16, with a lecture on John Wilkes Booth by bestselling author David O. Stewart, and will continue with lectures on a wide range of major historical figures from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Henry VIII to Jim Henson and Bob Dylan. Lectures also will represent the fields of art, entertainment, literature and sports, including the Hatfields and McCoys, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Shakespeare and Jim Thorpe.

For the final 2014 lecture, Reeve Lindbergh, daughter of aviator-authors Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, will take a candid look at her legendary family, including the impact of her brother’s kidnapping and death, and her parents’ long and complicated marriage.

The programs include Q&A sessions with the audience and book signings by the author or speaker. Books will be available for purchase on site.

For more information or for a complete listing of lectures, contact the Office of Events and Conferencing at (540) 654-1065 or visit http://www.umw.edu/greatlives/.

Nabil Al-Tikriti Presents Great Lives Lecture on T.E. Lawrence

Pro Photo 2012 I On Tuesday, Feb. 12, Nabil Al-Tikriti delivered a lecture entitled “Troubled Man, Troubling Legacy: T.E. Lawrence, 1888-1935” as part of the Chappell Great Lives lecture series at Dodd Auditorium on the UMW campus. The prezi visuals which accompanied the presentation can be accessed here: http://prezi.com/bjyci7hkur_a/te-lawrence-troubled-man-troubling-legacy/.

The Great Lives series official video production can be accessed here: www.umw.edu/greatlives/2013/02/14/video-lawrence-of-arabia/.

In advance of the lecture, The Free-Lance Star published an opinion piece by Prof. Al-Tikriti regarding T.E. Lawrence, which can be accessed here: http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2013/022013/02102013/752750/index_html?page=1.

Here is the entire text of the opinion piece, published by The Free-Lance Star on Sunday, February 10:

“RARE IS THE individual who attracts over 40 biographies within decades of his or her departure from this world. Thomas Edward Lawrence, whose troubled legacy we will examine in Dodd Hall on Tuesday starting at 7:30 p.m. is one of those rare specimens.

Certain facts about his biography are well-known to casual observers, usually informed by David Lean’s 1962 film classic, “Lawrence of Arabia.” As everyone knows, Lawrence organized and led the Great Arab Revolt, which delivered the Arabs from the terrible Turkish yoke and overturned the mighty Ottoman Empire. He was more a sensitive scholar than a classic warrior, and was reluctantly pressed into service to help his country in its hour of need. He shied away from the limelight, and hated the attention he received as a result of his fame.

While each point is defensible, all are interpretations that have reached the public only after several levels of distillation. The real story is far more complicated.

Lawrence was indeed a complex man, a visionary of sorts who as a child craved to be recognized as a hero and then grew arguably insane as an adult due to his success in this realm. He welcomed the publicity offered by the prominent American journalist Lowell Thomas, the individual most responsible for shaping the legend of “Lawrence of Arabia.” He carefully managed his own image and was not above reminding people who he was when they were either unaware or uninterested in his fame. By the end of his life, he had developed a series of personality quirks that suggested borderline psychosis, and the account of his death never fully satisfied all observers.

Real contention about Lawrence springs from his legacy and the overall British legacy in the Middle East following the Great War. The popular narrative suggests that without the “Arab” uprising, the “Turks” would never have been defeated, as well as that, without Lawrence, there would have been no “Great Arab Revolt.” Neither of these propositions passes without intense criticism in the region itself. While those participating in Lawrence’s military endeavor were certainly Arab when they weren’t loyal soldiers of the British crown, they never numbered more than a few thousand, and were never more than an idealistic core of committed activists leading a motley crew of criminals, opportunists, and tribal raiders interested far more in the violent privatization of spoil and plunder than the ideals of national liberation.

As difficult as it has been for subsequent Arab and Turkish nationalists to recognize, the vast majority of Ottoman subjects in what is today the eastern Arab world were loyal to their empire to the end. In many cases, they were loyal beyond the end, as when Iraqi peasants appealed to Mustafa Kemal to rescue them from their new British overlords in the early 1920s.

Lawrence, who repeatedly claimed in his own classic “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” to have been tortured by his irreconcilable loyalties to both the British Empire and Arab independence, was capable of a ruthless pursuit of his often inconsistent agenda. He was aware of allied agreements destined to betray British promises made to the Hashemite family, and he believed that Jewish settlement of Palestine need not conflict with the rights of the indigenous Palestinians. He felt that putting Faisal on the throne in the newly created country of Iraq, and his brother Abdullah in the equally unknown Transjordan, discharged his obligations to the Arab cause. Much like today’s Obama administration, Lawrence found the judicious use of air power to be modern, humane, and more efficient than alternative methods of exerting sovereign control over recalcitrant populations.

Although this individual’s illegitimate birth, proclivity for whippings, misanthropic and chaste approach to sexual relations, and extreme personality tendencies are all psychologically fascinating, our talk on Tuesday evening will focus more on public interpretations of his legacy than his private demons. Those planning to attend should do their utmost to first screen Lean’s film classic, as all good history should begin with a great flick.”

William Crawley Appears on WFVA Talk Show this Sunday

William Crawley

William B. Crawley, Jr., professor of history emeritus and director of the Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series, will appear on WFVA’s talk show “Community Link” on Sunday, April 29. The interview will air at 8 a.m. on 1230 AM or online at http://www.wfvaradio.com/Community-Link/11021682.

In the interview, Crawley will preview the final Great Lives lecture of the year “Great Lives (and Times) at UMW.” The Thursday, May 3 lecture is based on Crawley’s book “The University  of Mary Washington: A Centennial History 1908-2008.”

Nabil Al-Tikriti Presents Great Lives Lecture

  On Tuesday, April 17, Nabil Al-Tikriti delivered a lecture entitled “‘Ghazi’ Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1881-1938” as part of the Chappell Great Lives lecture series at Dodd Auditorium on the UMW campus. The prezi visuals which accompanied the presentation can be accessed here: “‘Ghazi’ Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, 1881-1938”

Charles Shields Contributes Article to Journal & Presents at Conferences

Charles J. Shields

Charles J. Shields, associate director of the Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series, has contributed an article titled, “If Jesus Did Stand-Up: The Comic Parables of Kurt Vonnegut” to the quarterly journal, Studies in American Humor, for the fall issue.

Also, Shields will present at two conferences in late May: first, at Biographers International Organization (BIO), May 18-21 in Los Angeles, he will appear on a panel, “Ex-Wives, Angry Children, and Other Delicate Relationships,” about working with the relatives of a biographical subject. He will also teach a workshop on literary biography with Tracy Daugherty, author of “Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller.” Later that week, on May 26, he will appear the panel, “Kurt Vonnegut and Biography” at the American Literature Association conference in San Francisco.

Charles Shields to Give Talk at Mary Baldwin

Charles J. Shields

Charles J. Shields, associate director of the Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series, will present a talk at Mary Baldwin College on Wednesday, March 28. The public reading is part of the SWAG Writers (Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta Group of the Blue Ridge Writers Club) Reading Series. For more information about the reading, visit http://augustafreepress.com/2012/03/20/swag-writers-presents-biographer-kurt-vonnegut-harper-lee/.

‘Great Lives’ Makes its iTunes Debut

Since 2004, the Chappell Great Lives lecture series has brought noted biographers and professors to lecture in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Now, the same lectures are available anywhere, through the iTunes U appfor iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, as well as on a Mac or PC using iTunes.

The free app is home to courses and classroom materials from colleges and universities around the world, as well as lectures and presentations like Great Lives.

Tim Owens, instructional technology specialist at UMW, said the move to iTunes U will help expand the reach of the lecture series beyond Mary Washington.

On Friday, Feb. 24, Charles J. Shields’ lecture on Kurt Vonnegut became the first Great Lives lecture available for download. Each Friday, another of the 2012 lectures will be released. Lectures from previous years also will be released.

Users can subscribe directly in iTunes to receive the video downloads each week, as well as watch them on UMW’s website at http://www.umw.edu/greatlives/category/archived-videos/.

Jeopardy Question References Charles Shields’ Book

In an episode of the television program “Jeopardy”  that aired on Friday, Feb. 24, the final question referenced Charles J. Shields’ biography “And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, A Life.” Shields is associate director of the Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series.

The question, in the category of literary biographies, was:

“Quoting a famous line of his, a 2011 biography of this man was titled ‘And So It Goes’.”

Great Lives Lectures Available Online

Starting Friday, Feb. 24, high-definition presentations of all 2012 lectures in the Chappell Great Lives Lecture series will be available online.

Every Friday, another presentation will be released in chronological order, starting with Charles J. Shields’ talk on the life of American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, which was the first lecture on Jan. 24. The release dates will run into the end of June, the last being James “Bud” Robertson’s lecture on the Civil War soldier. After that, several years’ worth of lectures will be available.

Each presentation will begin with a short introduction summarizing the life of person written about, followed by background about the lecturer. Subscribers to updates about the series will automatically receive a reminder e-mail that a new presentation is available. Each presentation is full-length, about an hour, which includes questions from the audience at the end. The series is being filmed and edited by UMW’s Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies.

The videos will be accessible for viewing online under “Archived Lectures” on the homepage of the Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. A link to the schedule of releases will be there, too. The series will also be posted on YouTube and a number of other social media outlets.

The schedule of the lectures, and the release dates of the videos is here: http://www.umw.edu/greatlives/2012/02/20/great-lives-videos-to-be-released-weekly-beginning-march-24/.