With Historians Dr. Charles Dew and Dr. Ty Seidule
Moderated by WCSU Psychology Professor Dr. Daniel Barrett
The Mark Twain Library and the Redding League of Women Voters are proud to present the second installment of our series “Conversations: Truth, Myth & Democracy.” Dr. Ty Seidule of Hamilton College and Dr. Charles Dew of Williams College will be in conversation on Thursday, April 1st @ 7:30pm, moderated by Western Connecticut State University’s Dr. Daniel Barrett.
This virtual discussion is between two Civil War historians who grew up in the South and whose research took them both to some very personal revelations about their own beliefs. Those revelations are the subject of their books and of our conversation. It follows the discussion presented on March 4th between Dr. Jelani Cobb and Dr. Jason Stanley which explored how the country and the international community arrived at a place where so few share an understanding of what is fact and what is not. The Conversations program is a grassroots effort that continues to examine the underlying meaning of our democracy and how democracy matters even when we have very different ideas about what it should look like.
“That first conversation proved so engaging and full of friendly yet insightful banter about a difficult topic,” said Mark Twain Library Adult Program Coordinator Elaine Sanders. “We are really looking forward to continuing the conversation by hearing the personal stories from these two scholars of American history.”
At a time when American democracy has been challenged by the questioning of truth and the fostering of myth, this program is a local community effort devoted to exploring how caring citizens from disparate groups can find common ground through informed dialogue and civil discourse. In part two of our ongoing conversation we hope to learn from Drs. Seidule and Dew about their own journeys and discuss how as a country and a community we can carry the conversation forward.
“Two historians, from two different generations, radically changed their world views once they saw that historical facts were at odds with the narratives that had been passed down to them,” said the Redding League of Women Voters’ Mary Ann Carman.
“Each presents his own story with great candor and kindness, and we see this as a healthy way to model how we all can break through our own semantic habits no matter how uncomfortable that may be.”
This series of conversations was inspired in part by the polarization and divisive nature of the last year. The intent is to better understand the world we currently live in by inviting renowned historians, philosophers, social psychologists and journalists to share their knowledge and exchange ideas about what, why and how issues are pulling us so far apart.
“Truth, Myth & Democracy” follows a number of collaborative conversations organized by the Redding League of Women Voters and the Mark Twain Library that began in the Fall of 2019 with a handful of then in-person talks with professor Dew about his memoir. That event inspired a series of programs in 2020 – both live and virtual – from author talks to discussions such as that of Ava Duverny’s powerful documentary “13th.”
This particular program is the second in a series that focuses on addressing the difficult issues of truth telling and myth busting within our democracy by bringing much-needed community conversations to help promote education, informed dialogue and civil discourse. The series is brought to you in association with Easton Public Library, Weston Public Library, Friends of the Weston Public Library, Newtown’s C.H. Booth Library, Ridgefield Library, The League of Women Voters of Weston, The League of Women Voters of Ridgefield and The League of Women Voters of Northern Fairfield County.
Register for this Conversation online at: www.marktwainlibrary.org or call the Library at 203-938-2545 for information.