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.

Though they have often been silent, NC women who have been on strike have powerful stories to tell. Their voices are rarely heard in a state that has consistently maintained the lowest rate of unionism. These women worked in textiles...

This lecture attempts to define the role of the Black church in three works by Ernest J. Gaines: A Lesson Before Dying, A Gathering of Old Men, and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. The church has traditionally been cast...

Susan Ketchin provides a lively, audience-interactive look at four contemporary “Christ-haunted” writers:  Lee Smith, Doris Betts, Alice Walker, and Charles Frazier*

What if Abraham Lincoln hadn’t been elected? What if Robert E. Lee had accepted the offer to command the Union armies? What if Stonewall Jackson had lived? This presentation will explore several such counterfactual scenarios and...

In this program, Dr. Fasih Ahmed describes the demographics, geography, and cultures of Islamic societies and analyzes the diverse political and social systems in Muslim countries. He also presents a brief history of US relations with...

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...

This program helps spread the joy of Argentine tango. It features stunning dance segments from video films of international tango shows. While giving a brief history of tango music and dance, William McNeill explores its growing...

This program explores how slavery and oppression deconstruct the traditional image of motherhood and manhood for the black man and woman, a dynamic which is clearly defined in characters such as Toni Morrison’s Sethe and Paul D. and...

The American Civil War commands as much interest and intrigue today as it has since the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865.  Much of that interest lies in the enduring need, especially of Confederate...

Mahatma Gandhi was a man of peace who helped bring about India’s independence through non-violent means, creating the basis for the world’s largest democracy. This program reflects on Gandhi’s early childhood experiences in India and...