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Duncaster Lectures—Fall 2018

As part of the University’s continuing cooperation with the Duncaster Retirement Community in Bloomfield, monthly lectures are offered on the Duncaster campus, 40 Loeffler Road in Bloomfield. Each lecture begins at 4:45 p.m.


Mark Twain in Connecticut, 1871–1910—James Golden

Tues., Nov. 6; 4:45 pm 

Second of three Duncaster lectures. Series cost: $20; Fellows: no charge. Register online.

Although his most famous works were set along the Mississippi River of his childhood, Mark Twain composed those novels while living in the elegant literary community of Nook Farm, a neighborhood of Hartford, Conn. He lived halfway between Boston and New York, in a Hartford of industry, energy, and immigration, while celebrating the pre-Civil War south of his youth. This program explores the importance of Connecticut and Hartford to Twain’s life and work, including his famous neighbors, such as novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, travel writer and journalist Charles Dudley Warner, Civil War hero and senator Joseph Hawley, and female suffrage campaigner Isabella Beecher Hook.

James Joseph Golden is a Hartford, Conn., native. He studied divinity and history at the University of Edinburgh before completing his doctorate in modern history at the University of Oxford. He has been the director of education at the Mark Twain House and Museum since 2015, and has taught history at Trinity College, the University of Hartford, and Wesleyan University. His published work includes contributions to the English Historical Review and collections of essays published by Four Courts Press and Bloomsbury Academic.

Savage Coasts: The United States Exploring Expedition and the Making of Maritime Manifest Destiny—Jason Smith

Tues., Dec. 4; 4:45 pm

Last of three Duncaster lectures. Series cost: $20; Fellows: no charge.Register online.

This lecture will focus on research of the U.S. Exploring Expedition whose circumnavigation of the world from 1838–42 was the most ambitious voyage of ocean exploration in the United States during the 19th century, and whose voyage marked a new vision of American commercial and scientific expansion into the Pacific Ocean. The lecture will examine the expedition's work in the Antarctic, the Fiji Islands, and the Pacific Northwest.

Jason Smith is an assistant professor of history at Southern Connecticut State University. He received his PhD from Temple University and is the author of numerous journal articles in military, maritime, naval, and environmental history. In June of this year, he published his first book, To Master the Boundless Sea: The U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire from the University of North Carolina Press.

Note: Tuition and fees are non-refundable.