Road Scholars

Road Scholars

The North Carolina Humanities Council has been offering speakers, free of charge, to public audiences since 1990. All presentations are grounded in the humanities.

This year's catalog of Road Scholars includes over 70 speakers whose lectures focus on issues of history, literature, philosophy, ethics, religious studies, linguistics, jurisprudence, history and criticism of the arts, sociology, and certain aspects of social science.

This new listing of speakers brings to the public a variety of presentations that explore the nuances of identity and community. Some of them start in North Carolina, revisiting rural farm life, regional folklore, the dynamics of ethnic populations throughout the state, and the history of local traditions. Others discuss the legacies of historical events including the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Holocaust.

Some explore the history and techniques of art, from Latin American music to North Carolina crafts. Others widen perspectives on a variety of literary genres, including poetry, autobiography, and oral history.

The scholars explore the celebrations and struggles of race relations, the experiences of immigrants, the stories of women in untraditional roles, and the lives and works of historical figures. They discuss ways to use literature, music, and art as cultural expression, and they contemplate the need for educational reform. These presentations span past and present, factual history and timeless theory, and traditional and innovative interpretations of our literary canons.

Because the Civil War was fought mostly by volunteers, a vital question is what motivated millions of young men (and a few women) to endure four years of horrific combat? This presentation will examine the reasons why soldiers fought by...

Translating biblical texts is a difficult undertaking. Differences in the translation of sacred texts help to shape and reshape their meanings for us. Errors that have occurred in this process range from the sublime to the ridiculous....

This lecture describes the history of ground transportation in the southeast during Colonial times. The transition from subsistence to market economies in the southern backcountry was reflected in commercial transportation processes...

The roots of culture grow very long, and change comes slowly into traditional societies. Despite pressures of modernization and three centuries of adaptation to a new land, there are remarkable survivals in the material culture of the...

In 2002, filmmaker and author, Kevin Duffus, solved the long-standing mystery of the missing, first-order Fresnel lens from the 1803 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, lost for 140 years. The French-manufactured lens, considered to be “a...

In the 1920s and 1930s, the soulful rhythms of blues and jazz signaled an explosion of African American creativity. During this period, known as the Harlem Renaissance, musicians, dancers, visual artists, writers, and scholars sought...

Why has the Piedmont, and Charlotte in particular, produced so many writers of mystery and crime novels? How has the textile mill culture influenced Piedmont literature throughout the 20th and into the 21st century? What are the...

Charles, Lord Cornwallis—the commander of the British Army in the South—built a bonfire in February 1781. Mustering his men from their camp at Ramseur’s Mill in the North Carolina backcountry, he ordered them to burn everything—creature...

The 1930s was a remarkable decade of dance. There were the joyous cinematic explosions of Astaire and Rogers and the grueling rise in “dances of death,” dance marathons of desperation and endurance. In this program, we will consider...

Signs Followers, sometimes known as “Jesus Only”, or pejoratively called “snake handlers,” are in the Pentecostal tradition.  Their worship practices are based literally on Mark 16: 17-18:

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