Chautauqua Theme: "Truths and Consequences"

Published on August 03, 2018

The 2018-19 Chautauqua series at Eastern Kentucky University will explore the theme “Truths and Consequences” through nine lectures by many internationally prominent authors, artists and experts; a special documentary screening; and a nationwide juried art exhibition.

"The Chautauqua Committee discussed many potential themes this year, but above all, what emerged was everyone’s concern with the question of truth, to some degree in relation to different fields of knowledge, but particularly in relation to our increasingly swirling and polarized forms of public discourse, where the stakes are huge and the truth has come to seem rather slippery,” said Chautauqua Coordinator Dr. Erik Liddell. “In recent years, we’ve come to think and feel and sometimes act as though we’re in a ‘post-truth’ world, a world of ‘truthiness’ and ‘fake news,’ not to mention one in which opinion is being manipulated by hackers and bots in an evidently determined and calculated way.”

Liddell said he sought speakers “who could speak to a wide range of concerns about truth and consequences involved in important spheres of life and inquiry, from industry and environment to educational access, to international politics, to the foundations of science, to cultural representations, the demographics of race and ongoing debates about gender, and more. Our speakers will give insight into how truths and consequences matter in their fields and in their work.”

Lectures in the series also serve as keynote addresses for Celebration of Science Week, Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month and International Studies.

All lectures are free and open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building unless otherwise indicated. The complete schedule of programs:

Thursday, Sept. 13, Amy and Dave Freeman, adventurers, environmental activists, educators, authors, “A Year in the Wilderness: Bearing Witness in the Boundary Waters,” annual Bruce MacLaren Distinguished Lecture and keynote address for Celebration of Science Week.

Thursday, Sept. 27, Bobby Verdugo and Yoli Rios, activists and educators, “The L.A. School Walkouts: Reflections on 50 Years of Protest and Progress,” keynote address for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Thursday, Oct. 4, Sabine Hossenfelder, theoretical physicist, author of “Lost in Math,” science blogger, research fellow at Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, “How Beauty Leads Physics Astray.”

Wednesday, Oct. 17, David Zurick, EKU Foundation professor of geography, author, “Fantastic State of Ruin,” special event for Homecoming Week.

Monday, Oct. 29, special screening of “Hillbilly, the Documentary” with co-directors Sally Rubin and Ashley York, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 1, Tom Gilovich, author of “The Wisest One in the Room," "How We Know What We Don’t Know," and "Social Psychology,” and Irene Blecker Rosenfeld professor of psychology at Cornell University, “The Pursuit of Happiness in Trying Times.”

Thursday, Nov. 15, Devon Mihesuah, author of “Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and a Cherokee Legend” and Cora Lee Beers professor of international cultural understanding at University of Kansas, “The Story of Ned Christie: Untruths and Their Consequences,” keynote address for Native American Heritage Month.

Tuesday, Jan. 22-Friday, Feb. 15, national juried art exhibition on theme, Giles Gallery, Campbell Building. Opening reception Thursday, Jan. 24, 5-7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 7, Reniqua Allen, author of “It Was All a Dream: A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America,” journalist, writer, producer, fellow at the Nation Institute, “It Was All a Dream,” Black History Month keynote address.

Thursday, March 28, Jennifer Baumgardner, writer, activist, filmmaker, “Beyonce and Beyond: A Brief History of Feminisms, Intersectionality and #MeToo,” Women’s History Month keynote address.

Thursday, April 11, Mehrzad Boroujerdi, author, professor of politics and O’Hanley Faculty Scholar at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, “Postrevolutionary Iran: Truths and Consequences for Middle East and International Politics,” keynote address for International Studies.

For more information, visit or contact Liddell at