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Virtual Alumni College

Virtual Alumni College Spring 2021 is now complete. We hope you enjoyed watching all of the lectures and participating in the lively discussion sessions. You can continue to register to watch the lectures, listed below. We are currently planning for the fall of 2021. Stay tuned to the Grinnellian and this website for more information. Thank you for continuing to make this program a huge success. #GrinnelliansStayConnected

If you would like to submit ideas for future Alumni Colleges, please send us an email, or if you have specific questions, contact Sarah Smith-Benantismithben@grinnell.edu.

Virtual Alumni College Spring 2021 Lectures

What's So Great About Beethoven's Fifth?

Faculty Member: Eric McIntyre

Although in popular culture, it might suffer from perception as a classical music cliché, is it possible that Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is actually as good as they say it is?

Learn more about professor Eric McIntyre and see a full description of the lecture on the What's So Great about Beethoven's Fifth registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

What Grinnell and its students taught me over my 40 years at Grinnell College

Faculty Member: Will Freeman

This presentation is about what I learned and how our teams became successful. It’s about psychology, training design, and pedagogy, and Grinnell teaching me what really mattered.

Learn more about professor Will Freeman and see a full description of the lecture on the My 40 years at Grinnell College registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Decolonizing Museums, Repatriating Collections

Faculty Member: Lesley Wright

The modern museum is a product of colonial Western cultures. Contemporary museums are reckoning with practices that are less than equitable, and facing calls to return, share, and rethink collections. The Grinnell College Museum of Art is not immune to these significant shifts in museum practice. 

Learn more about Director Lesley Wright and see a full description of the lecture on the Decolonizing Museums, Repatriating Collections registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Music, Difference, Empathy, and Africa (i.e., Zimbabwe)

Faculty Member: Tony Perman

Like the legacies of the banjo, or yoga, or a number of other examples, what are the consequences of consuming and performing difference through music. Does empathy have a dark side?

Learn more about Professor Tony Perman and see a full description of the lecture on the Music, Difference, Empathy, and Africa (i.e., Zimbabwe) registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Fragility and Conflict-Affected States

Faculty Member: Leif Brottem

As we consider the United States in its current state of social and political fragility, what are the parallels with other countries affected by conflict? The label "fragile and conflict-affected state" is typically reserved for countries where governance is viewed by outsiders as hopelessly corrupt and politics are practiced in ways that most Americans would not recognize.

Learn more about Professor Leif Brottem and see a full description of the lecture on the Fragility and Conflict-Affected States registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Race and the Bible

Faculty Member: Elliot Ratzman

Are the British the "lost tribes of Israel"? Does the Bible condemn interracial marriage? Is there "racism" in the ancient world? In the Americas, South Africa, and elsewhere the Bible has been used as a tool of oppression to justify slavery, colonialism, and massacre but also as a tool for the fight for justice and racial equality. In this pre-recorded lecture, Dr. Ratzman explores some of the obscure Biblical episodes that were mobilized over the centuries to underwrite racism, slavery, and colonialism. By understanding the original contexts and their modern interpretations, we can see how holy texts play a role in justifying – and combatting – racism and injustice.

Learn more about Professor Elliot Ratzman and see a full description of the lecture on the Race and the Bible registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Intersubjectivity: Love, Loss, and The Self

Faculty Member: Johanna Meehan

What is a self and how is it formed? What role does love, loss, trauma, and resilience play in making us who we are?

Learn more about Professor Johanna Meehan and see a full description of the lecture on the Intersubjectivity: Love, Loss, and The Self registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Virtual Alumni College Summer 2020 Lectures

The Confederate Flag: Contextualizing White Supremacy

Faculty Member: Sarah Purcell

Learn the historical context of the confederate flag to help you make sense of today's flag debates.

Learn more about Sarah Purcell and see a full description of the lecture on the The Confederate Flag registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

"Everything in the Future is Black: An Introduction to Afrofuturism"

Faculty Member: Makeba Lavan

This lecture will guide listeners through the basic tenets and purposes of Afrofuturism.

Learn more about Makeba Lavan and see a full description of the lecture on the Everything in the Future is Black registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

The Indispensable Grinnellian: Joe Rosenfield and Grinnell’s Trajectory from Salvation to Excellence

Faculty Member: George Drake

In this lecture, George Drake will discuss his biography of Joe Rosenfield ’25, Mentor.

Learn more about George Drake and see a full description of the lecture on the The Indispensable Grinnellian registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Jazz Works: Making Money Making Music in 1970s Toronto

Faculty Member: Mark Laver

This talk will share stories of the music scene in 1970s Toronto: a time and a place where the music business was booming, where people moved from bigger cities and left other careers to get on board.

Learn more about Mark Laver and see a full description of the lecture on the Jazz Works registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Lessons for Humanity from a Black Lives Matter Lens

Faculty Member: Kesho Scott

In this lecture, you will learn about the Black Lives Matter framework and get answers to seven essential questions. You will leave with more questions but feel good about your newly acquired knowledge.

Learn more about Kesho Scott and see a full description of the lecture on the Lessons for Humanity from a Black Lives Matter Lens registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Messy Humans: The Social Life of Machines

Faculty Member: Karla Erickson

As a labor ethnographer trained in American Studies, Sociology and Feminist Studies, Erickson and her research team have developed a method for investigating present-day technologies to develop a sociology of machine/human interaction. Please join us as we use the machines of today to think of possible futures.

Learn more about Karla Erickson and see a full description of the lecture on the Messy Humans registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Movement, Feeling, Who We Are

Faculty Member: Liz Queathem

In this lecture, you will learn how movement is both a physical action that takes an organism from one place to another, and a metaphor for progress. Come prepared to watch, learn, and do the hokey-pokey.

Learn more about Liz Queathem and see a full description of the lecture on the Movement, Feeling, Who We Are registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

The Pandemic as a Complex Collective-Action Problem: Contagion, Recession, Political Decay, and Inequality

Faculty Member: Bill Ferguson

This lecture will address several political and economic dimensions of this global pandemic, using the notion of collective-action problems as an analytical framework.

Learn more about Bill Ferguson and see a full description of the lecture on the The Pandemic as a Complex Collective-Action Problem registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

The Struggle for Gay Rights Before Stonewall

Faculty Member: Javier Samper Vendrell

This lecture proposes that homoerotic magazines played a crucial role in the homosexual rights movement during the Weimar Republic (1918–1933).

Learn more about Javier Samper Vendrell and see a full description of the lecture on the The Struggle for Gay Rights Before Stonewall registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

To Mask or Not to Mask: Why is There a Question?

Faculty Member: Johanna Meehan

In this lecture, we will examine the answers to critical questions that have a very significant impact on how we understand dependence and independence, and ultimately on how we understand human dependence and independence.

Learn more about Johanna Meehan and see a full description of the lecture on the To Mask or Not to Mask registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

What is Writing For?

Faculty Member: Tisha Turk

This lecture explains some of the limits of defining writing as a skill, offers alternative ways of understanding what writing is and how it works, and explains why embracing these alternative understandings can help us become better writers.

Learn more about Tisha Turk and see a full description of the lecture on the What is Writing For? registration page. You are still able to watch the lecture by registering. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.