Past Princeton Journeys' Live Lectures

December 2, 2020

Battle Lab: The Battle of Princeton in the Past and Present

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Rachael DeLue, Chair and Professor in American Art

Think outside of the classroom and explore the past in revolutionary-era Princeton and the physical remains of the legendary battle between American and British forces on January 3, 1777. What happened on that day? In this lecture, Chair and Professor in American Art Rachael DeLue, discussed how she and Professor Nathan Arrington have teamed up to help students answer this question through a new interdisciplinary course.

November 18, 2020

Women Who Changed How We See the Universe

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Jo Dunkley, Professor of Physics and Astrophysical Sciences

In this lecture, Astrophysicist Jo Dunkley explained what she has learned from three amazing female astronomers, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and Vera Rubin, and how they have changed the universe. 

October 21, 2020

Jazz: Unity Through Diversity

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Rudresh Mahanthappa, Director of Jazz

A lively conversation with Director of Jazz Rudresh Mahanthappa, widely known as one of the premier voices in jazz of the 21st century. Mahanthappa, who was born in Trieste, Italy, brought up in Boulder, Colorado, studied in Texas, Boston and Chicago before settling in New York, discussed the magical power of jazz music to bring people together across all cultures. 

September 30, 2020

Einstein in Bohemia

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Michael Gordin, Professor of History; Director, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts

Professor of History Michael Gordin discussed his most recent book, Einstein in Bohemia, which follows the intertwined paths of Albert Einstein and the city of Prague across the twentieth century.

June 10, 2020

Syracuse as Spectacle: Images of Victory and Catastrophe in Ancient Sicily

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The Greek colonies in Sicily rapidly rivaled the famous cities of the mainland in wealth and power. This lecture begins by tracing the multi-faceted visual language through which the tyrants of Syracuse established their claims to prestige and significance during the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, including architecture, ritual, spectacle, and coinage.  We will then contrast the impression such displays made on the visitor with the famous scene in Thucydides’ History describing the decisive defeat of Athens in the Syracusan harbor in 415 BCE, which he described through the perspective of onlookers from the shore. The vividness of this technique makes it possible for the reader both  to share to an exceptional degree the Athenians’ growing recognition of their defeat and to understand how it responds to the distinctively Syracusan visual environment

Study Leader and Professor of Classics, Andrew Feldherr '85, works on Latin Literature, with a particular interest in historiography and the poetry of the Augustan period. His first book, Spectacle and Society in Livy's History argued that Livy's manipulation of viewers' perspectives in his representation of the Roman past tapped into the political and religious power of spectacle in contemporary Roman. Playing Gods: Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Politics of Fiction examined the role of fictionality in the poem in light of other cultural discourses, especially in the visual arts. Feldherr is also the editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Historians. On this journey, Feldherr will help travelers uncover the impact of the Roman Empire on each site visited.

May 20, 2020

Dunhuang: Buddhist Art and Explorers of the Silk Road

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Strategically located at the convergence of the ancient northern and southern trade routes on the edge of the Taklamakan desert in northwestern China, the oasis town of Dunhuang served as a gateway and nexus for trade between China and Central Asia. Goods, along with art, languages, religions, and ideas, flowed through Dunhuang and spurred the creation of a cluster of cave temple sites. This lecture focused on the caves at Dunhuang, recognized today as one of the world’s richest repositories of Buddhist art and texts, and twentieth-century explorers who, by virtue of their surveys, helped shape the study of Buddhist art.

Study Leader Dora C. Y. Ching *11 is Associate Director of the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University. She is a specialist in East Asian art, and her scholarship engages in questions of identity and function in portraiture, the interplay of aesthetics and literati culture in calligraphy, and the transmission of art and ideas along the Silk Road. Before and during her time at the Tang Center, she has been deeply engaged in book editing and publication, with more than a dozen books to her credit as co-editor or managing editor. She is the author of numerous book chapters and articles and has co-curated three major museum exhibitions. Her current project focuses on the Buddhist caves in Dunhuang in northwest China and the historic Lo Archive of 1940s photographs of the site, culminating in a nine-volume publication. She has taught courses on portraiture and the Silk Road and is developing an art history course on sacred sites in Asia. She has conducted research trips to Japan in the past and is eager to explore again traditional “sacred sites” and their modern architectural and artistic equivalents.

May 13, 2020

The Political History and Governance of New Zealand: Queen Victoria, Biculturalism as Founding Footprint, and Global Aspiration

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This lecture examined key touchstones of New Zealand’s history, society and cultural forms. And discussed complexities beneath the country’s surface, often missed by visitors.  

Study Leader David Huebner '82 S80 is the former United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa (2009-2014). Ambassador Huebner is an independent international arbitrator based in Los Angeles. Previously he held senior positions in the Asia Pacific region, including chairman & CEO of a large international law firm, founding chief representative of a firm in Shanghai, and policy adviser to a member of Japan’s National Diet.

As Ambassador, he was honored for innovative statecraft, social media communication, bilateral security work, science & technology cooperation efforts, and whole-of-society outreach. He was the first openly LGBT person confirmed as Ambassador by the Senate, and the Smithsonian Institution has taken certain of his papers and artifacts into its permanent collection of American history. Huebner is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Distinguished Fellow of the Auckland University of Technology’s Faculty of Business and Law, licensed solicitor in England & Wales, and member of the Bars of California, New York, and the District of Columbia.

A 1982 summa cum laude graduate of Princeton, he also holds his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School.


April 30, 2020

The Compleat Victory: Saratoga and the American Revolution

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By the early summer of 1777, British forces in North American began the campaign that they believed would put an end to the American Revolution once and for all. However, a few months later, after a very promising beginning, they met with a military disaster that turned into an American political and diplomatic triumph. This lecture provides an overview of the campaign and its strategic context and aftermath based on a forthcoming Oxford University Press book of the same title.

Study Leader Kevin Weddle *03 is Professor of Military Theory and Strategy at the United States Army War College and was William L. Garwood Visiting Professor at Princeton University in 2019. A veteran of Operations Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom, Prof. Weddle has led groups of students — including previous Princeton Journeyers — to the battlefields and beaches near Normandy and has also led groups to World War I battlefield sites, as well as the battlefields of Waterloo, Agincourt and Dunkirk. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton in history in 2003, is the author of Lincoln's Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont and a forthcoming volume on the American Revolution's Saratoga campaign.

April 16, 2020

Art of the Invasion: Indigenous Australia and British Colonialism

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The arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay, 1788, began a catastrophic shift for the lives of Australia's Indigenous peoples that continues into our present moment. This lecture will examine that history through the artwork of contemporary Indigenous Australians, including especially the painters Gordon Syron and Gordon Bennett.

Study Leader Jason Rudy '97 is a Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the author of Imagined Homelands: British Poetry in the Colonies (Johns Hopkins University Press 2017). He has been awarded grants from both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. A specialist in nineteenth-century British and colonial literature, his current research focuses on the politics of Indigenous Australian displacement.