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Course A. The Alumnae Lyceum

Alumnae Continuing Education
09/21/21 to 11/16/21 (10am - 11:30am)

Course A. The Alumnae Lyceum

Tuesdays, 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Multi-Professor Course

This course meets on Tuesday mornings beginning on September 21. 

Historically the concept of a lyceum derives from the meeting place where Aristotle lectured to young minds of ancient Greece. Over the centuries it continued to connote a location for public education, debate, and discourse. The lyceum movement in the United States began in 1826 in Millbury, Massachusetts, organized by teacher and lecturer Josiah Holbrook. He believed that education was a lifelong experience that strengthened the moral and intellectual growth of a society. His idea for public events quickly became popular and spread throughout the northeastern and midwestern United States. Borrowing from the widespread appeal of lyceums in the 19th century, this Alumnae course will feature an eclectic nine-week lecture series on a range of topics both historical and of current public interest. The course will feature lecturers from various schools and departments within the university.

Sep. 21  Updating Lincoln’s 1838 Lyceum Speech
               David Zarefsky, Professor Emeritus, School of Communication

When he was not yet 29 years old, Abraham Lincoln spoke to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield. Reviewing the signs of the times, he warned of the danger that democracy could deteriorate into lawlessness, inviting a despot who promised a solution. His warning is pertinent today, over 180 years later, but his proposed solution – making respect for laws the political religion – requires some updating in the light of experience. The lecture will review Lincoln’s argument, show how his diagnosis was prescient, examine some difficulties with his remedy, and suggest how we might update his ideas for 2021.  

Suggested reading: Lincoln's 1838 Lyceum Speech available  at

Sep. 28   The First Civil Rights Movement: From the American Revolution to Reconstruction
                Kate Masur, Associate Professor, History

Most people think of the “civil rights movement” as an entirely twentieth-century phenomenon, but Americans have been struggling for racial justice since the nation’s founding. This talk explores the nation’s first civil rights movement, which arose in the free states after the Revolution, and by 1860 had moved from the margins to the center of American politics. The Black and white activists in this movement fought back against policies that denied free Black people their basic civil rights. They did not always succeed, but their efforts ultimately gave shape to the nation’s first federal civil rights measures: the Civil Rights Act of 1860 and the 14th Amendment.  

Suggested reading:  Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, From the Revolution to Reconstruction by Kate Masur.

Oct. 5   Blood Ties: An Intimate History of Political Violence In Twentieth Century America
             Kevin Boyle, William Smith Mason Professor, History

Political violence runs through the American experience. In this lecture Kevin Boyle will explore two terrible events in modern American history, one from the 1910s, the other from the 1930s. They have no connection whatsoever; yet once they’re put together, they reveal a central dynamic of the brutal violence that has long plagued our nation.

Oct. 12   How to Hide an Empire: Telling the Story of the Greater United States
               Daniel Immerwahr, Professor, History

Look at a map of the United States and you’ll see the familiar cluster of states in North America, plus Hawai’i and Alaska in boxes. But what about Puerto Rico? What about American Samoa? The country has held overseas territory – lands containing millions of U.S. Nationals – for the bulk of its history. They don’t appear often in textbooks, but the outposts and colonies of the United States have been central to its history. This talk explores what U.S. history would look like if it weren’t just the history of the continental States but all of U.S. land: the Greater United States.  

Suggested reading: How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr.

Oct. 19   Prosperity and Depression
               Robert Coen, Professor Emeritus, Economics

The American economy has long experienced alternating periods of boom and bust, but recent cycles are marked by disturbing new features. While the ups and downs of success continue to affect many, growing numbers are experiencing near-constant economic failure. Increasingly, prosperity for some coexists with depression for others – and not just economic depression, but emotional depression as well, as those falling behind feel disillusioned and hopeless. My Lyceum lecture examines who is being left behind and why and considers the consequences of their despair.  

Suggested references:

Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, Princeton University Press, 2020.

Raj Chetty, with Nathaniel Hendren, Maggie R. Jones, and Sonya R. Porter, “Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 135(2): 711-783, 2020.

Robert D. Putnam, with Shaylyn Romney Garrett, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again, Simon & Schuster, 2020.

Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: Revised and Updated: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Simon & Schuster, 2020.

Michael J. Sandel, The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.

Oct. 26   A Tale of Two Federations in the Arabian Peninsula: Comparing the Late Federation of South Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
               Henri Lauzière, Associate Professor, History

Few people seem to remember the existence of the Federation of South Arabia - a federation of sultanates that collapsed and gave way to the Marxist republic of South Yemen in 1967. Only four years later, a different federation that is still with us today emerged in the Persian Gulf - namely, the United Arab Emirates. This lecture will address a simple question: why did the Federation of South Arabia disappear whereas the UAE survived nearly the same impact as it does currently.

Nov. 2   U.S. Asylum and Migration Along the U.S.-Mexico Border
              Uzoamaka Nzelibe, Clinical Professor, Pritzker School of Law

The migrant situation along the U.S.-Mexico border has been described as a humanitarian crisis since 2014. News agencies report that the U.S. is on track this year to encounter more than one million migrants along its southern border, including a large number of unaccompanied minors and families traveling with young children. The last time southern border apprehensions surpassed one million was in 2006. This lecture will take you beyond the headlines. Drawing on her nearly eighteen years of experience representing Central American and Mexican asylum seekers, Uzoamaka Emeka Nzelibe will answer your questions about who is coming and why, provide an overview of the U.S. asylum system, and discuss how different administrations have used a wide range of policies to manage migration along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Nov. 9   The Syrian Conflict Ten Years On: Understanding Revolution, War, and Displacement
              Wendy Pearlman, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, Political Science

2021 marks the tenth year of the start of the Syrian uprising, which evolved to become one of the most brutal wars and humanitarian crises of this century. What is this conflict about and why does it matter? In this lecture, Professor Wendy Pearlman will explain the conflict from its origins to the present. To bring human experiences of war to life, she will incorporate voices from among the 450 Syrian refugees whom she has interviewed all over the world since 2012, as featured in her book, We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria.

Nov. 16   Northwestern in Qatar: Teaching Journalism in a Country without a Free Press
               Craig LaMay, Professor, Medill School of Journalism; Director of Journalism-NUQ

Northwestern opened its Qatar campus in 2008 with two home campus schools: the School of Communication and Medill School of Journalism. Unlike other American universities in Qatar, which can easily explain their mission and presence in the country, Northwestern’s elevator speech is more complex because it has to address an obvious question: Why does it have a journalism school in a country without a free press?

Information is subject to change. Full course and policy descriptions are available at


• Each 9-week online course is $155.00.  Registration pays for access to a live webinar and limited-time access to a recording of each week’s 90-minute session.

• Late registrations require payment of the full course price. Courses cannot be prorated. Late registrants will NOT be able to access recordings from prior weeks if the links and passcodes have expired.

        • There are no multi-course discounts.

        Per Diem pricing is not available for these courses.


        • Registrations can only be purchased online at  A payment card is required.  No other forms of payment can be accepted at this time.  Neither the Norris Box Office nor the Alumnae Continuing Education group can process any other type of registration payment.  There are no exceptions.

        • After registering for a course, you should receive a registration confirmation message from  It will be sent to the email address associated with your profile.  Though it is not your entry to the ZOOM class, it is important that you locate the confirmation as soon as possible. If you don't receive an email, it could mean that there is a problem with how your email address is listed in our system.  A typo in your email address could result in the Zoom link being lost.  You can correct your information by logging in at, clicking on your name in the purple bar at the top, and then on Edit Profile.

        • To access the first webinar on September 21, your online registration must be completed by midnight, Thursday, September 16, 2021. If you register on September 17 or later, we cannot guarantee timely entry to the course on September 21, the first day.

        • Your registration automatically includes temporary access to a recording of each remaining livestream session in the course.  You will be sent a separate link with a passcode to give you access to the recording for six days, ending when the next session begins. If you register late, you may not have access to recordings of livestreamed sessions that took place prior to your registration.

        Your Zoom link and passcode are specific to your email and may not be shared.  Sharing your links may void your registration without refund.

        • All course times listed are in the Central Daylight Time zone (UTC -05:00). Course times will return to Central Standard Time (UTC -06:00) on Sunday, November 7, 2021, at 2 a.m.

        • Given the limitations presented by the pandemic, support from customer service will be limited to email correspondence.  Please use the Help Form or for assistance with any service issues.

        Linking to Live Sessions

        • You will be emailed a Zoom link invitation for each session on the Friday before the session is scheduled to be livestreamed.  The invitation will be sent from Norris Technical Services . You will also receive an email reminder with the link one hour prior to the start of each session. Please check your spam, junk folder, or deleted messages if you don't see the email in your inbox.

        • Plan on clicking on the Zoom link and joining the online session at least 10 minutes before the session begins.

        Your Zoom link is specific to your email address and may not be shared.

        • For a detailed guide on using Zoom, please click on the Alumnae Continuing Education Zoom Guide here.

        Limited Access to Recorded Sessions

        • If you cannot attend the live-streaming of the session, you may still view the recorded session for a limited time.

        • You will be sent a separate link with a passcode to give you access to the recording of the session for six days, ending when the next session begins. 

        • Your Zoom link and passcode are specific to your email and may not be shared.

          • Recordings CANNOT be downloaded.

          • If you don’t receive the email with the link and passcode to the recording, please complete the online Help Form at or contact as soon as possible to ensure timely assistance. Weekend support is not available.

          • For additional support, call The Alumnae voicemail number: (847) 604-3569.

          Refund Policy

          • If you intend to withdraw from a course, you must purchase a $10.00 cancellation fee by Thursday, September 16, 2021. A full refund will be processed to the payment card used for the initial purchase.

          • Registrations purchased after September 20 cannot be refunded.

          • No refunds will be given once the first webinar begins.

          • Credits are not given for future classes.

          • Contact the if you would like to transfer to another class offered during the same quarter.  There is no additional cost.  But you will have to wait until the following week to access the new course links.

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          Registration Options

          Please see Box Office to purchase tickets.

          Event Location
          Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive Evanston, IL 60208

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