Chautauqua Lecture Series
10:45 a.m. EDT Monday–Friday, Amphitheater
Ideas and opinions are exchanged in an open, challenging atmosphere, and Chautauqua’s knowledgeable audiences have the opportunity to participate in question-and-answer sessions at the conclusion of the lectures.
Week One :: June 25–July 2, 2022
What Should be America’s Role in the World?
In the summer of 2022, more than a year into President Joe Biden’s administration, we offer a “check-in” on the state of U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy, while looking historically to America’s role in the world. What is the current state of international relations, and what role is the United States playing on the global stage? How can our position be strengthened, and how in this century have our allies’ and enemies’ views of us changed? Exceptionalism, isolation, cooperation — what is the best path forward for our nation and our world?
Week Two :: July 2–9, 2022
The Wild: Reconnecting with Our Natural World
Since the middle of the 20th century, study after study suggests that humans have become more and more disconnected from the nature surrounding us. What are the human costs of our increasing alienation from nature, both for the individual and society? In this week we examine how this disconnect has come about, from urbanization and sprawl to our work and school lives, to the rise of digital communications. Are we in greater need of nature than ever before? What are the physical and mental health benefits we find through reconnection? We’ll consider various movements in art, architecture, education, faith and urban planning that aim to reconnect us to our natural world.
Week Three :: July 9–16, 2022
The Future of Human Rights
Human rights have long been held as foundational, moral principles protected by national and international law. In this week, Chautauqua looks to the future of human rights both abroad and at home. Great strides have been made across the globe in the more than 70 years since the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights; indeed, human rights have become central to the conversation regarding peace, security and development, and more explicit protections in international law now protect women, children, victims of torture and many other populations. There is much to be celebrated, and still much to be accomplished. What work must still be done in this critical global field, central to our ethics and morality as a human species? What newly recognized rights will shape this work going forward?
Week Four :: July 16–23, 2022
The Future of History
We live our lives swimming in a vast sea of information; what will wash up on the future’s shores and be deemed our history? When data is stored in the cloud rather than compiled in physical files, when we send emails and tweets rather than letters, how do the records of today become primary sources tomorrow? There are more ways to record history than ever before, but how can those records live in a useful way for the historians of the future — or, with everyone having the technology, and thus the capability, to be their own historian, their own librarian, will a need to study history as a formal vocation even exist? Beyond the logistics of such questions, broader issues are at play: Who are the gatekeepers of our stories, and who do we trust to be stewards of our lives and memories?
Week Five :: July 23–30, 2022
The Vote and Democracy
In the first months of 2021, hundreds of bills have been introduced in state legislatures aimed at restricting, expanding and protecting voting access for millions of Americans. Following the 2020 election, what is the state of the American franchise? Is our system truly one person, one vote, and how can we ensure that every eligible voter has access to the polls, and that the vote is trustworthy and secure — particularly from the threat of foreign intervention? We’ll also examine what distinguishes America’s elections, especially the state-by-state approach to navigating and employing systems of voting, and carrying out mandatory redistricting following the 2020 census.
Week Six :: July 30–August 6, 2022
After Dark: The World of Nighttime
What happens to us and our world after the sun goes down each day? From our homes and cities to flora and fauna, each night brings with it a markedly different landscape than the daylit one that preceded it. Nighttime is full of contradictions: It provides cover for all manner of illicit activity but also for safely creating community; it is the domain of both heroes and villains in our favorite cultural touchstones; it is a period many of us spend largely unconscious yet during which our brains are ablaze with creative energy; it engenders paralyzing fear and also incredible beauty. It’s a critical period every day for our economies, including for nightshift workers, and provides essential protection and opportunities for many in the animal kingdom. In the summer of 2022, we look to understand the mysteries of nighttime and, through a variety of other programs on the grounds this week, celebrate the possibilities of Chautauqua after dark.
Week Seven ::August 6–13, 2022
More than Shelter: Redefining the American Home
What is the 21st-century American home? Home ownership has long been considered part and parcel of the American Dream, but trends are rapidly shifting: More and more homes are multi-generational, rentals are up and home ownership is down, and gentrification persists while the nation’s unhoused population is increasing. We are also redefining the idea of “home” — it can be a house, an apartment, a tiny home, a trailer, an RV — and this redefinition in many ways is driven by forces both in and out of our control. How can urban planning, banking practices, and local policies move the needle in creating a sustainable market in which everyone is able to have a home of one’s own and of one’s choosing?
Week Eight :: August 13–20, 2022
New Profiles in Courage
In Partnership with Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
It’s been more than 60 years since then-Senator John F. Kennedy published Profiles in Courage, a collection of short biographies detailing acts of bravery and integrity. The book went on to win a Pulitzer Prize, and the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™ is still awarded every year. Now, two decades into the 21st century, we reflect on the historical rewriting of narratives of courage; consider how one defines and exercises courage in all the complexity of today’s culture; and ask what keeps us from making the courageous choice. In a week of programming curated in partnership with Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation — and through a series of candid lectures and conversations — we look across disciplines to explore where and how we find courage in our world, and in ourselves.
Week Nine :: August 20–28, 2022
A Vibrant Tapestry: Exploring Creativity, Culture, and Faith with Smithsonian Folklife Festival
There is no one story, no single author of our identity or single tradition that defines us. A great blending of cultures and peoples has made and shaped America, like a tapestry with its many hues, textures and layers woven together. In this week, we welcome a diverse line-up of multi-disciplinary folk artists, including The Avett Brothers for morning and evening Amphitheater programs. Together, we’ll trace the threads of the American tapestry in search of the origins, evolution and impact of our country’s music and culture.