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History Lecture Series

A Seattle Tradition

One of the UW’s most popular lifelong learning programs, the History Lecture Series began in 1975. For 15 years, it featured History Professor Emeritus Giovanni Costigan, the first recipient of the UW’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Today professors from the Department of History are proud to carry on his legacy, with the generous support of the UW Alumni Association. Scroll down to learn about upcoming lectures and to watch video recordings of past presentations.

Tickets for the 2019 History Lecture Series will be sold by the UW Alumni Association.

Winter 2019 Lecture Series: Challenging Gender

History Lecture Series Challenging Gender Logo

Throughout the ages and around the globe, history has been shaped by those who dared to defy. The 2019 History Lecture Series shines a spotlight on those who challenged gender expectations and changed the cultural landscape.

January 9, 2019
Maids in Men's Clothes: Joan of Arc and the Tradition of Transvestite Saints
Charity Urbanski

Wearing men's clothing protected Joan of Arc on the battlefield and exposed her to charges on heresy in the courts. Explore why cross-dressing was celebrated in certain circumstances - and punished in others - by the medieval Church.

January 16, 2019
Catherine the Great: Gendering Sovereignty in 18th-Century Russia
Elena Campbell

Catherine the Great wrestled the crown away from her husband to rule over a deeply patriarchal society. We discuss how Catherine used her gender as part of her political persona to attain and maintain power.

January 23, 2019
Switching Gender: Love, Desire, and Ethical Debates in Mughal India
Purnima Dhavan

Why would a male poet talk in a female voice? Explore how Mughal poets used themes of love and desire to define a spiritually grounded life and explore gendered conduct in ways that still resonate today.

January 30, 2019
Women of the 1960s: Betty Friedan, Janis Joplin and Angela Davis
William Rorabaugh

Three American women helped shape the Sixties, even as the decade shaped them. Discover the story of this tumultuous time through the experiences of feminist author Betty Friedan, counterculture icon Janis Joplin, and radical African American intellectual Angela Davis.

Tickets go on sale in early December.
Series pass: $15-50 | Single ticket: $5-$15

Winter 2018 Lecture Series: Speaking Truth To Power: Protest and Dissent in Modern History.

2018's theme was informed by the climate of political activism that was taking shape in an increasingly agitated and divided nation, and aimed to trace connections between historical and contemporary movements and struggles. What lessons might the activists of today learn from those in the past who have stood up to power in the name of social justice?

January 10, 2018, Anand Yang, "Truth and Power: The Origins and Influence of Mahatma Gandhi's Ideas of Nonviolence." See lecture here.

January 17, 2018, Laurie Marhoefer,"Popular Protest in Nazi Germany: Rethinking the Power of Public Opinion in a Police State." See lecture here.  

January 24, 2018, Arbella Bet-Shlimon, "The People Want to Bring Down the Regime: A History of Dissent and The Arab Spring." See lecture here.

January 31, 2018, Joshua Reid, "The Historical Roots of Indigenous Activism in The Era of Standing Rock." See lecture here.


Winter 2017 Lecture Series: Worlds Turned Upside Down: Five Revolutions that Shaped Our Times

Five revolutions that shaped our times

2017 marked the centennial of the Russian Revolution – one of the most decisive and influential events of modern times. It stands within a lineage of dramatic upheavals characterized by violent insurgency, heroic leadership and radical change. Join our faculty members as they examine five revolutions around the world to explore how these events still shape our world today.

January 11, 2017, Richard Johnson, "A New Order for the Ages: The Many Meanings of the American Revolution"

January 18, 2017, Raymond Jonas, "Power and Privilege in the French Revolution"

January 25, 2017, Glennys Young, "The Russian Revolution and the Making of the 20th Century: Global Perspectives at the Centennial"

February 1, 2017, Christoph Giebel, “'Compatriots, can you hear me?' The Vietnamese Revolution of 1945 and Its Implications for a Post-Colonial World"

February 8, 2017, Ileana Rodríguez-Silva, "Beyond and Within the Cuban Revolution"


Winter 2016 Lecture Series: Excavating Seattle's Histories

History lecture series 2016 banner

Fall 2014 Lecture Series: The Great War and the Modern World

The Great War and the Modern World

Fall 2013 Lecture Series: Slavery and Freedom in the Making of America

History lecture series 2013 poster

Watch Other History Lecture Series

Click to view other Department of History lectures