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...

In this program, Joseph Bathanti examines, through his own published work and other texts, strategies of “telling” that have come to be known as autobiographical. The focus of this program is on how the idiosyncratic “I”  and the...

This program examines the life of James Longstreet, who, despite his stellar record as a corps commander in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, became one of the most vilified figures in the postbellum South. How much of the...

It starts with a photograph, a flashing-eyed girl, perhaps 12 years old, posed proudly in front of her piano.  The back of the photo says “Florence Blood, 1912.”  But who was this girl?  Can her story be re-claimed from...

Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century writers and travelers such as Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles Dudley Warner, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Margaret Morley, and Christian Reid tell of the “Land of the Sky,” a destination...

Can a children's story shape history? Benjamin Filene explores that question through the rich story of a single book, Tobe: A Six-Year-Old Farmer. Published in 1939, with dozens...

American military history offers few examples of strategic brilliance. General Eisenhower described the American style of war as dogged, plain as mud, “inundation.”

Should war be limited by ethics? Or is anything justified in time of war? Over the past ten years, the War on Terror and the war in Iraq have sparked many moral questions. How do the traditions of ethics and Just War Theory help us...

This lecture on the windows was first suggested by the parish priest, Klaus Mayer. The windows were designed by Chagall for the apse of the church in 1973 as a sign of love, peace, hope and reconciliation for France and Germany, and for...

In 1942, the United States suffered one if its worst defeats of WWII, not in Europe or the Pacific, but along the nation’s eastern seaboard. Three hundred ninety-seven ships were sunk or damaged, and 5,000 people died. For six...