The Annual Ellsworth Lecture is funded by the Robert A. Ellsworth Trust and brings visiting scholars to campus to speak publicly about their work.
2017: 33rd Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Ricky Tagaban, Alaskan Artist
“Weaving Politics and Process: Expressing Northwest Coast Textiles Through a Two-Spirit Life”
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 7 p.m.
207 Bentley Hall
Juneau, Alaska-based artist Ricky Tagaban will discuss his traditional weaving. Tagaban’s work is influenced by his identity as gay and a member of the indigenous Tlingit community. He makes headbands, bags and other pieces using Chilkat, a traditional form of weaving with wool and wet cedar bark.
Tagaban provides the following overview of his talk: “By defining and describing moiety, clan structure, in relation to intersectionality the importance of traditional arts training, political expressions through current works, and a broad overview of traditional and contemporary pieces through time, highlighting harvesting of materials, natural plant dyes, merging past and present practices.
“My work happens at the intersection of my Queer & Native identities, and allows me to actively decolonize my life & my communities through investigations of traditions and commentaries on histories. It is political on many levels; over the last 200 years, various religious, government, and educational institutions enforce policies to eradicate/assimilate Native peoples. Many of our traditions have since gone underground, but are starting to come out.
“Chilkat weaving originated from the Nisga’a people and was adopted by the surrounding Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribes. As a member of the Tlingit tribe, I was asked to learn Chilkat weaving by artist Clarissa Rizal, who is the last living apprentice of late master weaver Jennie Thlunaut. Rizal was informed by Thlunaut that among our tribe, gay men may weave chilkat. This insight tells us that Two Spirit people held prestigious roles prior to Western contact.
My work is always based in Tlingit traditions, but I take calculated risks throughout my processes. This foundation does not exclude the use of modern materials such as condoms or bullet shells. These works are not just an inquiry of the past, they also reflect the healing I hope our communities gain.”
2016: 32nd Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Jared Carter, Assistant Professor of Law at Vermont Law School
“Cuba Libre? Impacts of the New Cuba-U.S. Policy”
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 7 p.m.
207 Bentley Hall
Professor Carter’s talk explored the connections between Cuba and the United States in both travel and trade relations.
2015: 31th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
James Young, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
“The Memorial Arc Between Berlin’s Denkmal and New York City’s 9/11 Memorial”
Thursday, April 2, 2015, 7 p.m.
207 Bentley Hall
Professor Young discussed the connections between New York City’s 9/11 memorial and Berlin’s Denkmal, which remembers Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Young has written widely on public art, memorials and national memory. His articles, reviews and op-ed essays have appeared in numerous newspapers, including The New York Times Magazine and The Los Angeles Times, as well as in scholarly journals such as Critical Inquiry, Representations, New Literary History, PMLA and many others.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities Exhibition planning, implementation and research grants, and Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Grants.
2014: 30th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Gregory Gause, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont
“The Syria Crisis and the New Middle East Cold War”
Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 7 p.m.
207 Bentley Hall
University of Vermont Political Science Professor Gregory Gause addressed the breakdown of authority in Syria and its connection to the wider crisis in the eastern Arab world. He also discussed how U.S. policy was playing into the regional dynamics.
Gause holds a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University, has authored numerous articles and books in international politics of the Middle East, with a particular interest in the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf. He was the director of the Middle East Studies Program at UVM from 1998 to 2008, served as chair of the Department of Political Science, and currently teaches political science at UVM.
In addition, he serves on the editorial board of several major scholarly publications related to political science and the Middle East. His reading and speaking proficiency in Arabic have allowed him rich academic and research experiences in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Palestinian Territories and Morocco.
2013: 29th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Vermont Historian and 2010 Graduate of Johnson State
“Labor, Law and Power: The Vermont Marble Workers’ Strike of 1935-1936”
Wednesday, March 20, 7 p.m.
Stearns Performance Space
Scott McDowell, a Vermont historian and 2010 graduate of Johnson State, examined the 1935-36 labor strike by Rutland area marble workers against Vermont Marble Company.
A 2012 graduate of the University of Vermont with an M.A. in history, McDowell focused primarily on the role that Vermont labor laws played during the eight-month strike, and how entanglements between the company and the state influenced the course of the strike.
McDowell researched the strike for his master’s thesis. In his thesis, he explores how the strike occurred within the context of the New Deal era when a change in the federal government’s attitude toward labor resulted in the development of legislation sanctioning the existence of unions and providing them with various legal protections. However, he explains, business-political-social power dynamics prevented laws at both the federal and state level from having meaningful significance in practice and ultimately thwarted the collective efforts of the striking workers at Vermont Marble.
2012: 28th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
William McKone and Robert Bushnell
Civil War Re-enactors
“Vermont Enters the Civil War”
Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 7 p.m.
The 2012 Ellsworth Lecture presented a Civil War living history program with performers in authentic costume.
During the day, military and civilian re-enactors set up an encampment on campus and displayed various aspects of life in the Civil War era. In the evening, Vermont Gov. Erastus Fairbanks (portrayed by William McKone) described his role in the initial phase of the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln (Robert Bushnell) provided a national perspective on the conflict. Both re-enactors answered questions and also offered an opportunity for photos.
2011: 27th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Founder and Director of Direct Aid International
Teacher, Center for Technology in Essex, VT
“The Building of Schools in Afghanistan”
Tuesday, March 29, 7 p.m.
Jonathan Hoffman, an Essex teacher who founded a non-profit organization that has built 14 schools in Afghanistan, discussed his remarkable story of bringing positive change to an area of the world that has seen much war, suffering and injustice.
A teacher and chef instructor at the Center for Technology in Essex, Hoffman spent his summers in Afghanistan, bringing donations to impoverished families. Each summer, he traveled alone — except for a translator and, outside Kabul, a bodyguard — to places deemed too dangerous for travel. His work resulted in the building of 14 schools, including those for girls previously taught in tents.
For his efforts, he won the National Education Association’s Applegate-Dorros Peace and International Understanding Award in 2007.
Hoffman is founder and director of Direct Aid International (DAI), a small, non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian 501 C-3 organization. He raises money and awareness through presentations to community organizations and schools, in sister school dialogues, and in interviews with the media.
2010: 26th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Environmentalist and Author
“Eaarth: The Making of a Tough, New Planet”
May 3, 2010, 7 p.m.
Dibden Center for the Arts
Noted environmentalist and author Bill McKibben focused on the perils of global warming and the “tough new planet” we face as a result — the premise of his book.
McKibben maintains that global warming and other environmental travesties have altered the Earth so significantly that our planet might as well have another name. Our old, familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding and burning in ways that are unprecedented, he says. “We’ve created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth,” His new spelling of Eaarth, with an extra “a,” is the title of his book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.
2009: 25th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Speaker, Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre
“Liselotte Ivry, Holocaust Survivor”
March 26, 2009, 7 p.m.
Dibden Center for the Arts
When Liselotte Ivry spoke to a packed house in Dibden on March 26, 2009, faculty, students, and community members listened with rapt attention as she told her story. Ivry was born in 1925 in a small town in Czechoslovakia; she and her brother, Hans, were the only Jewish children in the village. After the Germans invaded, her family was sent to a ghetto and then to concentration camps, where her mother and brother died. In April 1945, she was liberated from Bergen-Belsen by the British army, only 19 years old and having survived horrors and lost her whole family.
Now in her 80s, she speaks articulately and movingly. She says, “Why do I do what I do, to be involved in telling about the Holocaust? Every year there are fewer and fewer of us left. … I am a speaker for the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and visit many schools. Sometimes I am asked, ‘Do you feel guilty that you survived?’ and my answer is No. I feel we are all put on this earth for a certain purpose and I was chosen to speak for the 6,000,000 whose voices were stilled.”
2008: 24th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Writer in Residence at Middlebury College
“Dominican Republic: Coffee Farm/Literacy Center and Stories”
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Evening Lecture: 7 p.m., Bentley Hall, Room 207
Open Classroom: 4 p.m., Ellsworth Rooms, Library and Learning Center
Award-winning writer and story teller Julia Alvarez spoke about storytelling and how it provides guidance in our lives in ways that are mysterious and important to recognize. In her own life as a writer, storytelling has influenced her work both in this country and in the development of a sustainable farm-literacy center, Alta Gracia, in the Dominican Republic.
She presented both an afternoon “open classroom” as well as an evening lecture. In the lecture, Alvarez discussed storytelling and how it provides guidance in our lives in ways that are mysterious and important to recognize. In her own life as a writer, storytelling has influenced her work both in this country and in the development of a sustainable farm/literacy center in her native country, the Dominican Republic.
2007: 23rd Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Author and Professor, Tufts University
“Peace or War in the Nuclear Age: Oppenheimer’s Shadow: His Nuclear World and Ours”
March 9, 2007
2005: 22nd and 21st Ellsworth Lectures
Retired CIA Deputy Director for Operations
“Afghanistan and Iraq: American Intelligence on the Front Lines Against Terrorism”
January 20, 2005
Cox Center for International Mass Communication at the University of Georgia
“European Perspectives of the U.S. Media”
September 18, 2005
2004: 20th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Cynthia Gates Fujikawa
Award-winning filmmaker of Old Man River
“The Internment of Japanese Americans During World War II”
February 5, 2004
2003: 19th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Author, Teacher and Traditional Mayan Medicine Man
“Coffee and Chocolate: the Tzutuhhil Mayan”
January 29, 2003
2001: 18th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Professor Chester H. Liebs
Professor Emeritus at UVM and Visiting Professor at Tokyo National University
“Conserving Natural and Cultural Heritage in Japan”
March 24, 2001
1999: 16th and 17th Ellsworth Lectures
Instructor, University of Texas
“Five Years After the Rebellion: The Chiapas Region of Mexico”
April 15, 1999
Professor, Dartmouth College
“The Perils of Global Capital: Reflections on the Crisis in the Far East”
October 19, 1999
1998: 15th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Merry I. White
Professor of Sociology, Boston University
“Japanese Women as a National Security Issue: Japan’s Demographic Crisis”
April 14, 1998
1997: 14th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Professor Peter J. Seybolt
Professor, University of Vermont
“Portrait of Village Life in China: 1923-1995”
September 16, 1997
1996: 13th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Fellow, Russian Research Center, Harvard University
“Women in Russia Today: Progress or Regress?”
March 6, 1996
1995: 12th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Martin J. Sherwin
Author and Professor, Tufts University
“Hiroshima’s History, America’s Memory: 1945 and 1995”
March 21, 1995
1994: 11th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Scott A. Mori
Senior Curator, The New York Botanical Garden
“The Rain Forests of Latin America: Is There Hope for the Future?”
April 19, 1994
1992: 10th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Lily Gardner Feldman
Research Director, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies
“The European Community: The New Super Power?”
September 25, 1992
1991: 8th and 9th Ellsworth Lectures
Director of Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)
“The North American Economic Bloc”
April 22, 1991
Professor and President Emeritus, Middlebury College
“The Russians and the New World Order”
October 11, 1991
1990: 7th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Robert E. Hunter
Vice President for Regional Programs and Director of European Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
“Earthquake in Europe: From European Community to Freedom in the East”
May 3, 1990
1989: 6th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Arthur Macy Cox
Secretary, American Committee on U.S.-Soviet Relations
“The U.S. and the U.S.S.R.: Requirements for a Stable Coexistence”
May 4, 1989
1988: 5th Annual Ellsworth Lecture
Ambassador Maynard W. Glitman
Chief U.S. Negotiator, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
“Arms Control, Foreign Policy and National Security”
May 2, 1988
1987: 3rd and 4th Ellsworth Lectures
Howard J. Wiarda
University of Massachusetts
“The U.S. and Latin America: Historic Communities, New Directions”
April 8, 1987
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist for The New York Times and New York Review of Books
December 3, 1987
1986: 2nd Annual Ellsworth Lecture
U.S. Senator from Vermont
“International Terrorism: U.S. Perspectives and Options”
April 1, 1986
1985: 1st Annual Ellsworth Lecture
President, Middlebury College
“Reagan and the Russians: The Second Term”
April 22, 1985