Lectures


Reagan’s 1968 Dress Rehearsal: Ike, RFK, and Reagan’s Emergence as a World Statesman

Gene Kopelson
Gene Kopelson

Lecture #LC164
Gene Kopelson
Ringling College Museum Campus
Friday, Feb. 3, 10:30-11:30 am
Gold Member: $12
Silver Member and General Admission: $15

Gene Kopelson, Reagan historian and author, tells the inspiring, never-before-told history of Ronald Reagan’s first quest for the presidency in the late 1960s. Reagan’s goal was to prevent a Nixon first-ballot victory as many delegates couldn’t wait to vote for Reagan on the second ballot. Kopelson’s presentation features audio clips of presidential candidate, and later president Reagan discussing the critical importance of Eisenhower’s mentorship in world affairs (Vietnam, and much more), which extended through the end of Reagan’s presidency and beyond. For more information, visit www.genekopelson.com.

Gene Kopelson is the president of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the International Churchill Society, national trustee of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Reagan Roundtable Scholar at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’s Ronald Reagan Institute, and a Holocaust educator.


The Supreme Court and American History: Landmark Decisions That Changed the Nation’s Course

Michael Scheibach
Michael Scheibach

Lecture #LC165
Michael Scheibach
Online
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2:30-4:00 pm
Gold Member: Free (pre-registration required) Silver Member and General Admission: $15

The Supreme Court, through its landmark decisions, has played a major role in determining the course of American history, as we are witnessing now after the 2022 decisions to overturn Roe v. Wade granting women the right to choose to have a legal abortion. Such decisions as Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1857, declaring that African Americans could never be American citizens and upholding slavery; Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 upholding “separate but equal” and Jim Crow laws; Korematsu v. United States in 1944 upholding the exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast Military Area during World War II; and the more recent Bush v. Gore in 2000, which ended the recounting of votes in the presidential election, have had a tremendous impact on American society. This presentation discusses these and other consequential and controversial decisions of the Supreme Court from the early 1800s to today.

Michael Scheibach is an independent scholar who specializes in the history of the early Cold War (1945-1965). He is the author of five books on the impact of the atomic bomb on American society in the 1950s. He received his doctorate in American studies from the University of Kansas and taught for several years as an adjunct professor. He currently teaches in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Miami.


Having Fun, Wish You Were Here! An Illustrated History of the Postcard in Florida

Liz Coursen
Liz Coursen

Liz Coursen
Ringling College Museum Campus
Wednesday, Feb. 15 • 2:30-3:30 pm
Gold Member: Free (pre-registration required) Silver Member and General Admission: $15

Come take an exciting trip – a trip back in time – from the days when Florida was a backwoods swamp in the early 1900s through its transformation into a vacation paradise in the 1950s. Join Sarasota editor and veteran postcard collector Liz Coursen as she illustrates how Florida progressed from ox carts to Streamliners, from alligator-infested waterways to bathing beauties cavorting on the beach, using wonderful museum-quality postcards to tell the tale. 

Liz Coursen, an award-winning author, editor, and publisher, grew up bouncing between Sarasota and Brunswick, Maine. Liz graduated from Emory University, where she started a lawn care business and played ice hockey all four years – as the only girl on the team. Liz has lectured about American English best practices from Miami to Mumbai. Her small-press publishing company, OrangeBlossomPublishing.com, has published award-winning autobiography/memoir, poetry, short stories, and how-to books.


Captured! Stories of American World War II Prisoners of War

Kayleen Reusser
Kayleen Reusser

Lecture #LC167
Kayleen Reusser
Online
Thursday, Mar. 23 • 2:30-3:30 pm

Gold Member: $12 • Silver Member and General Admission: $15

During World War II, approximately 120,000 men—some still teens—faced danger, injuries, fear, loneliness, and deprivation—all as prisoners of war. This presentation is based on the speaker’s interviews with veterans who were prisoners of the Germans and Japanese. An especially unique story is that of a high school dropout who ran away to join the Army, and at age 16, was captured by the Japanese. He escaped from the Bataan Death March only to survive three years of slave labor in the Philippines and Japan while enduring multiple life-threatening illnesses. His memories are included in the speaker’s book, Captured! Stories of American WWII Prisoners of War.

Kayleen Reusser is the author of 10 books on World War II. She has interviewed 260 World War II veterans. She has presented programs virtually and in person across America. In 2017, she and her husband participated in a World War II Tour of Europe. She lives with her husband, who is an Air Force retiree, in Indiana.


Harriet Beecher Stowe: Yankee, Abolitionist, and Florida Promoter

Liz Coursen
Liz Coursen

Lecture #LC172
Liz Coursen
Ringling College Museum Campus
Thursday, Mar. 30 • 2:30-3:30 pm

Gold Member: $12 • Silver Member and General Admission: $15

The world knows Harriet Beecher Stowe as the internationally famous author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. What is not so well known is Mrs. Stowe was a resident of post-Civil War Florida, and, in fact, she was such an effective promoter of the state that she received an award from Florida’s governor, Marcellus Stearns, for her enthusiastic role in encouraging northerners to experience the health benefits of the Florida “lifestyle.”

Join award-winning Sarasota author and editor Liz Coursen as she explores the surprising life and historical milieu of Harriet Beecher Stowe, both “up North” and here in the Sunshine State, in this lively and fast-paced PowerPoint lecture.

Liz Coursen, an award-winning author, editor, and publisher, grew up bouncing between Sarasota and Brunswick, Maine. Liz graduated from Emory University, where she started a lawn care business and played ice hockey all four years—as the only girl on the team. Liz has lectured about American English best practices from Miami to Mumbai. Her small-press publishing company, www.OrangeBlossomPublishing.com, has published award-winning autobiography/memoir, poetry, short stories, and how-to books.


Understanding Philosophy and Religion in Early China

Matt Wells
Matthew Wells

Lecture #LC171
Matthew Wells
Ringling College Museum Campus
Thursday, April 13 • 2:30-3:30 pm

Gold Member: Free (pre-registration required) • Silver Member and General Admission: $15

It is often said that China has one of the oldest philosophical traditions in the early world, even rivaling that of the ancient Greeks. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about Chinese philosophy? And how is it different from Chinese religion? This lecture will attempt to explain how early Chinese thinkers approached these categories absent many of the assumptions we take for granted in the modern Western world, focusing on the so-called “Three Teachings” of Confucianism, Daoism (Taoism), and Buddhism.

Matthew Wells received his doctorate in Chinese from the University of Oregon in 2006. He taught Asian and world history at Eastern Oregon University (2006-2009), Chinese Studies at the University of Kentucky (2009-present), and history at the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. He is currently working on a translation and study of early Daoist hagiographies from the 4th century. For the past two, years he has been the research director of the Elling Eide Center, a non-profit research library in Sarasota dedicated to the study of early China


Who Are the Jews of India?

Sue Spector
Susan Spector

Lecture #LC169
Susan Spector
Ringling College Museum Campus
Friday, Apr. 14 • 10-11:30 am

Gold Member: Free (pre-registration required) • Silver Member and General Admission: $15

What are the different groups of Jews in India? How and when did they arrive there? What have they contributed to Indian culture, business, and government? What problems have they encountered, and what challenges do they experience today? How are they similar and different from other ethnic groups in India? We’ll get some answers and make a few discoveries along the way.

Susan Spector has a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in Jewish studies, and has spent her life as a Jewish educator and community volunteer. She was the director of Akron Jewish High School and a faculty member of Akron Melton Adult Mini-School and Kent State University (Ohio). She has presented Jewish ethics workshops in Sarasota, Akron (OH), and Chautauqua Institute (NY).

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