Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society are celebrating the 10th year of a collaboration on a scholarly lecture series. This anniversary year’s series will focus on the global perspective and the United States’ place in the world, specifically WWI and its aftermath, and is titled, “Finding Our Place:  Evolving American Identity.”

The five-part series also will examine art as an expression and maker of place, place determined by work, finding one’s place when a technology defines a newer sense of identity, and the United States’ identity today and in the future.

In recognizing the many contributions to the town of Louise and the late Fred Herot, principal sponsors for the series are the Democratic Town Committee, the Republican Town Committee and a group of unaffiliated voters.

A reception will follow each of the talks. There is no charge for the series, but donations are always welcomed. Registration is strongly encouraged for this very popular series; guests are asked to register separately for each lecture. To register, please click on the registration links below in each lecture description or call 203.762.6334. Please note the different locations for each of the lectures.

American Identity and the ‘American Century’:  How US Foreign Policy in the 20th Century Shaped and Reflected American Values

Date/Time:  Sunday, Jan. 29, 4-5:30 p.m.
Lecturer:  John Tully
Location:  Wilton Library
Lecture sponsor:  Anonymous Donor
Moderator:  Max Gabrielson
Click HERE to register

Professor John Tully will kick off the series with an introduction to the global perspective and the place of the United States in the world. Tully will be discussing the ways that American foreign relations in the 20th century were both affected by and shaped American values. From the expansion at the turn of the century, through WWI and WWII, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and 9/11, the ways that Americans have responded to world events has shaped our national identity and our national memory. As a new president is about to take office, it is important to understand the legacy that has shaped America’s place in the world.

Tully received his B.A. from Boston University in 1989 and his M.A. from Central Connecticut State University in 1995. From 1998 until 2004 he was the founding director of the Harvey Goldberg Program for Excellence in Teaching at The Ohio State University. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio State with a concentration in the history of American Foreign Relations in 2004 and joined the CCSU history faculty that year. The University of Wisconsin Press published his most recent book, Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War, which he co-edited with Brad Austin and Matthew Masur in 2013, which helps teachers at all levels navigate through cultural touchstones, myths, political debates, and the myriad trouble spots enmeshed within the national memory of one of the most significant eras in American history. Tully is an award-winning teacher. In 2009, he won both the Connecticut State University Board of Trustees Teaching Award for CCSU and the CSU System-Level Trustees Teaching Award, becoming the first CSU system teaching award winner at the university. Tully has given talks in Ireland and Poland, and presented conference papers at national meetings of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Conference for Irish Studies, and many others.

Connecticut and the Federal Art Project: Idealism and Identity During the 1930s

Date/Time:  Sunday, Feb. 26, 4-5:30 p.m.
Lecturer:  Amy Trout
Location:  Wilton Library
Lecture sponsor: Lila and Buck Griswold
Moderator: Steve Hudspeth
Click HERE to register

In this second lecture, museum curator Amy Trout will focus on community identity expressed in and shaped by art. By examining the artwork created by Connecticut artists for the Federal Art Project (1935-1941), Trout will discuss Connecticut’s identity during the decade of the Depression. Did the artwork reflect the harsh reality of the times or was it an idealized version of the past?

Trout has been the Curator of the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, CT since 2008. Previously, she spent twenty years at the New Haven Historical Society (now known as the New Haven Museum) where she first began her study of the Federal Art Project in Connecticut. During the past ten years, she has researched the topic, written and lectured about it, and curated two exhibits. She has served with the Mattatuck Museum and with the Connecticut Humanities.

Finding Brass Valley, a Place in Time that Has Almost Vanished

Date/Time:  Sunday, Mar. 12, 4-5:30 p.m.
Lecturer:  Emery Roth
Location:  Wilton Library
Lecture sponsor:  Janice and Michael Hess
Moderator: Max Gabrielson
Click HERE to register

In this third lecture, Emery Roth will focus on place in society defined by our work, specifically the Connecticut brass industry and its collapse. Connecticut’s Naugatuck River valley was where the brass industry thrived until the last factory closed in 2013. The talk is derived from Roth’s book, Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry (Schiffer Books, 2015). The book tells the story of the last working brass mill, how Brass Valley came to be, the men and communities that made Brass Valley and the culture we call the American Dream. The talk is accompanied by vivid photographs of Brass Valley from the book and others taken more recently; the author shares experiences and discoveries made while capturing images and talks about what it means to try to find Brass Valley, a place in time that has not quite vanished. Q&A and book signing after.

Roth, Southwest CT Arts Council, has been shooting photographs since childhood. He studied both design and language arts at Carnegie-Mellon University, simultaneously earning degrees in architecture and literature. After forty years living and teaching in Connecticut’s Northwest Hills, he became fascinated with the old mill towns of Connecticut and their history, and he began following tracks through old ruins until he was led to the last working brass mill in Brass Valley. His book documents his journey into time and culture; it seeks to revive in words and pictures, a place in time, perhaps a place in the American Dream.

Navigating the New Digital Landscape of Knowledge

Date/Time:  Sunday, Mar. 26, 4-5:30 p.m.
Lecturer:  Julia Adams
Location:  Wilton Historical Society
Lecture sponsor:  Elaine Tai-Lauria and Phil Lauria
Moderator:  Steve
Hudspeth
Click HERE to register

In this fourth lecture, Professor Julia Adams will highlight the role of women in ‘tech culture’ within our emergent digital environment. Drawing on her research on Wikipedia and academic knowledge, and on the uses of journalism and fake news in the recent presidential election, Adams will discuss the promise and peril in the emergent digital landscape of knowledge.

Adams is Professor of Sociology and International and Area Studies and Head of Calhoun College at Yale University. She was previously the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. At Yale she has chaired the department of Sociology, directed the Division of the Social Sciences and the International Affairs Council. She currently codirects YaleCHESS (Center for Historical Enquiry & the Social Sciences). Her book, The Familial State:  Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe (Cornell University Press), won the Gaddis Smith Book Prize.

9/11 and America’s World View

Date/Time:  Sunday, April 2, 4-5:30 p.m.
Lecturer:  Matthew Warshauer
Location:  Wilton Historical Society
Lecture sponsor:  Chris and Dan Delmar
Moderator:  Max Gabrielson
Click HERE to register

In this final lecture, Professor Matthew Warshauer will summarize the series, focusing specifically on two themes:  who are we now and who can we expect to be? In his lecture, Warshauer will reflect on America’s response to the 9/11 attacks. He will also examine our memory of the tragedy as well as where the nation is today more than 15 years later.

Warshauer received his B.A. in history from Central Connecticut State University in 1990. He completed his M.A. (1993) and Ph.D. (1997) in American Studies at Saint Louis University. He joined the faculty at CCSU in the fall of 1997 and has served as editor of Connecticut History from 2003 to 2011. In 2007, Warshauer won the Connecticut State University Trustees Research Award and in 2012 he was awarded the Kidger Award for Inspiring Scholarship and Teaching by the New England History Teachers Association. Warshauer’s book publications include:  Andrew Jackson and the Politics of Martial Law; Andrew Jackson in Context; Connecticut in the American Civil War; and Inside Connecticut and the Civil War:  Essays on One State’s Struggles.