Common Hour with Author Kurt Eichenwald P’14

Kurt Eichenwald P’14, contributing editor at Vanity Fair, a senior writer at Newsweek, and a New York Times bestselling author of three books, delivered the November 15, 2013, Common Hour talk.

Eichenwald previously worked for 20 years at the Times as a investigative reporter, columnist and senior writer. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award for excellence in journalism and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2000 and 2002.

Eichenwald’s second book, The Informant, was called “one of the best nonfiction books of the decade” by The New York Times Book Review and made into a major motion picture starring Matt Damon.

Published in 2012, his most recent book, 500 DAYS: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, chronicles the 18 months following 9/11 and lays bare the harrowing decisions, deceptions and delusions that changed America and the world forever.

Eichenwald is also the author of Conspiracy of Fools, an “all-true financial and political thriller” about the intersection of Washington and Wall Street, and Serpent on the Rock, another real-life thriller chronicling kickbacks, payoffs and “shady deals struck with known felons.”

Read more about Eichenwald and his books on the author’s website.

For more information and to view the full Fall 2013 Common Hour schedule, please visit: Events and Summer Programs: Common Hour.

Brodie Lecture: Hess Examines the Challenges of Civic Education

Diana Hess, senior vice-president at the Spencer Foundation and professor of social studies in education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, delivered this year’s Brodie Family Lecture on “The Challenges of Civic Education in a Time of Political Polarization” in Kresge Auditorium on Oct. 16. An experienced high school social studies teacher, Hess is the author of Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion and the forthcoming The Political Classroom: Ethics and Evidence in Democratic Education.

Civil War Alumni College: Selected Lectures

In August 2013, Bowdoin College hosted “The Afterlife of the American Civil War,” a four-day series of lectures, demonstrations, exhibitions, and music presented in commemoration of the Civil War’s sesquicentennial celebration. Bowdoin has many important connections to the Civil War through eminent alumni, faculty, and other historical figures associated with the College—including Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (class of 1852), Oliver Otis Howard (class of 1850), William Pitt Fessenden (class of 1823), and Harriet Beecher Stowe, who began writing “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” while her husband was a Bowdoin professor. The Alumni College event, which focused on Bowdoin’s involvement in the post-war years, included lectures by Bowdoin faculty and alumni.

“‘Otis,’ Charles, and Rowland: Sourcing the Wartime Legacy of the Howards” (David K. Thomson and Richard Lindemann) from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

In this presentation, David K. Thomson ’08, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia and Richard Lindemann, director of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, discuss the Civil War experiences of brothers O.O, Charles, and Rowland Howard. Drawing on documents from the Howard collections, Thomson and Lindemann share the stories and larger legacy of this accomplished Bowdoin family.


“Abraham Lincoln’s Historic Photographs” (Frank Goodyear) & “Winslow Homer’s View of the Civil War” (Linda Docherty) from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

Artists reacted to the Civil War in myriad ways. In the North some like Winslow Homer ventured to the front lines, creating paintings and sketches that recorded life in the Union army. Photographers followed as well, and their cameras brought to national attention scenes previously unimagined. In these visual presentations, Frank Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, focuses on the photographs of Abraham Lincoln taken before and throughout the war, while Associate Professor of Art History Emerita Linda Docherty uses Bowdoin’s extensive collection of Homer prints to show the impact of one of America’s most beloved artists.


“The Afterlife of the American Civil War” Keynote Address (Boston Univ. Prof. of History Nina Silber) from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

The keynote address was delivered by Nina Silber, professor of history at Boston University. Her books include “The Romance of Reunion: Northerners and the South, 1865-1900” (1993); “Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War” (1992); “Daughters of the Union: Northern Women Fight the Civil War” (2005); and “Gender and the Sectional Conflict” (2009). She has also worked as a consultant for the Gettysburg National Battlefield, the United States Constitution Museum, and the “American Experience” television series.


“Up Closer With Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain” (Associate Professor of History Patrick Rael) from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

In this lecture, Bowdoin Associate Professor of History Patrick Rael, a specialist in African-American History who regularly teaches courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, including the popular course “The Civil War in Film,” discusses Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and other Bowdoin alumni who fought in the Civil War.


“Northern Writers Speak to War: Whitman, Melville, Longfellow, Hawthorne” (Professor of English Peter Coviello) from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

In this lecture and classroom discussion, Bowdoin Professor of English Peter Coviello covers the response of acclaimed northern writers to the Civil War.

Jean Yarbrough: Theodore Roosevelt

Gary M. Pendy, Sr. Professor of Social Sciences and Professor of Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College Jean Yarbrough speaks with Professor of Government Paul Franco about her new book, “Theordore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition.” In the book, Yarbrough provides a searching examination of TR’s political thought, especially in relation to the ideas of Washington, Hamilton, and Lincoln—the statesmen TR claimed most to admire, according to the University Press of Kansas.
Yarbrough teaches political philosophy and American Political Thought, and has twice received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is the author of “American Virtues: Thomas Jefferson on the Character of a Free People” and has edited “The Essential Jefferson.”

Aviva Briefel and Kristen Ghodsee: The Hunger Games, Revisited

Aviva Briefel (left, Associate Professor of English and Film Studies) and Kristen Ghodsee (John S. Osterweis Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies) sit down to talk about the movie The Hunger Games. Ghodsee and Briefel recently held a panel discussion on this topic with librarian Jeanne Madden of Falmouth Memorial Library, following a screening of the film in Smith Auditorium.

Janisse Ray: The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food

Janisse Ray is writer, naturalist and activist, and the author of four books of literary nonfiction and a collection of nature poetry. She is on the faculty of Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program and is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana.

In her most recent book The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, Ray writes about the renaissance of local food, farming, and place-based culinary traditions taking hold across the country and of something small, critically important, and profoundly at risk that is being overlooked in this local food resurgence: seeds. We are losing our seeds. Of the thousands of seed varieties available at the turn of the 20th century, 94 percent have been lost-forever.

Bowdoin Philosophy Professor Argues for Greater Paternalism

Bowdoin Philosophy Professor Argues for Greater Paternalism from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

The new book, Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism, by Assistant Professor of Philosophy Sarah Conly, has been described as “novel,” “illuminating,” and “provocative” in the New York Review of Books. The New York Times reaffirms that Conly’s book brings “serious philosophical discussion” to the debate on autonomy versus paternalism. Conly’s approach to her subject matter is particularly relevant in light of the uproar that erupted after Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned the sale of large sodas in New York City last year. Watch Associate Professor Philosophy Larry Simon interview Conly about her book and why she thinks paternalism is a reasonable government response to our bad decisions.