Evenings with History

The University History Institute

You have a unique opportunity to share in the excitement of historical discovery through the twenty-seventh annual Evenings with History series.

The Evenings with History series, sponsored by the University History Institute, features presentations by UA Little Rock faculty members sharing their current research. Although these talks are aimed at a general audience, each offers insight into the real workings of historical scholarship. The nationally-recognized series covers a variety of times, areas, and subjects. Many of the presentations illuminate current affairs. The format also allows for questions and discussion.

This year’s meetings will be held at the Ottenheimer Auditorium in the Historic Arkansas Museum at 200 E. Third Street in Little Rock.  Historic Arkansas’s downtown location and the museum’s adjacent parking lot at Third and Cumberland make the sessions convenient and pleasant to attend. Refreshments and an informal atmosphere encourage the interchange of ideas.  Refreshments are served at 7:00 p.m., and the talk begins at 7:30 p.m.

Come experience the joy of history in a truly historic setting!

An individual subscription to the series, at $50 annually, includes these benefits:

–Admission to all six lectures.

A joint subscription to the series, at $90 annually, offers couples and friends a savings of $10.

A Fellow of the Institute, at $250 annually, receives admission to the six lectures plus an invitation to special presentations for Fellows only. This often includes a private evening with a noted author.

A Life Membership is available at $1,000 and includes the benefits of a Fellow.

Corporate Sponsorships are available at a $250 minimum contribution.

Regular Registered Undergraduate and Graduate Students at UA Little Rock may attend the lectures free of charge.

Subscribers to the series help support historical research.  The presenters donate their time, and the University History Institute uses all proceeds from the series to encourage research at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  In recent years annual Institute grants, made possible by the Evenings with History series, have made major purchases of historical research materials for UA Little Rock.  Subscriptions and donations to the Institute are tax deductible as allowed by law.

2017-2018 Evenings with History Series.

October 3, 2017 — Jess Porter

Know Your American Energy Booms:  A Brief History of the 21st Century Shale Revolution

The United States is reprising its role as a global leader in hydrocarbon production as horizontal drilling and new methods of hydraulic fracturing have unleashed a torrent of American “tight” oil and natural gas on the global market. How does the “shale revolution” parallel or diverge from historic energy booms? This primer on recent energy development aims to provide the audience with a better understanding of the enabling technologies and the global impact of the shale revolution.

November 7, 2017 — John Kirk

Sixtieth Anniversary Reflections on the 1957 Desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School

Sixty years after the dramatic events surrounding the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School, which led to President Dwight D. Eisenhower deploying federal troops to ensure the safety of nine black students, this talk reflects on how historical and popular culture representations of events in Little Rock have located the school crisis within the context of the broader civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. It examines how different approaches to the school crisis by historians from local, state, regional, national, and international perspectives have produced different understandings of the events that unfolded in the city. In many ways, the historiography of the 1957 Little Rock school crisis provides a microcosm of the wider trends that have shaped historical representations of the civil rights movement. The talk also explores how popular culture representations of the school crisis have influenced and shaped intellectual debate in a wide variety of media including theatre, film, essays, poetry and music.

December 5, 2017 — Ed Anson

Manipulating the Word of God: The Use and Abuse of Greek Oracles

The polytheism associated with paganism made possible definitions of piety which would astound a monotheist.  This is seen in what might be called the use and abuse of oracles.  These physical sites where one might query a god were common throughout the Greek world, and thus “shopping around” for a favorable oracle was not uncommon, nor impious.  This talk will look at this practice in general and concentrate on one of the most famous cases that of Alexander the Great and the Oracle of Zeus/Ammon in the Libyan desert.

February 6, 2018 — Thomas Kaiser

Running for the Border: The Royal Family Tries to Escape the French Revolution

Two years into the French Revolution, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were virtual prisoners in the Tuileries Palace and looking towards an even darker fate.  On the night of June 20/21, 1791, they and their children made a daring escape from Paris in disguise and headed towards France’s eastern border, only to be stopped at the town of Varennes and returned to Paris in humiliation. But had they intended to leave the country?  The purpose of this talk is to recount the events of this episode, to examine the intentions of the royal family, and to discuss the impact of this event on the subsequent course of the French Revolution.

March 6, 2018 — Barclay Key

The 1967 Little Rock Crisis

The infamous 1957 desegregation crisis at Little Rock’s Central High School became emblematic of the short-term challenges in desegregating public schools after the Supreme Court’s Brown decision. However, few people know about the Little Rock School District’s subsequent efforts to desegregate. Behind the leadership of a school board controlled by local business elites and a compliant superintendent, the district minimized desegregation as much as possible. When supporters of desegregation captured a majority on the school board in 1966, however, they pushed for more substantive changes. Their recommendations created a public outcry. Segregationists regained control of the school board through elections in September 1967 and March 1968, and they effectively stopped further desegregation until 1971. This lecture introduces the Oregon Plan, that was the basis for the 1966 Board’s recommendations, analyzes the results of the 1967 and 1968 elections, and interprets the long-term consequences for the city’s refusal to desegregate its schools.

April 3, 2018 — Anne Fulk Memorial Lecture
featuring Deborah Skok, Professor of History at Hendrix College

That Red-Headed Devil: Jane Hoey and Women’s Leadership in the New Deal

The Great Depression of the 1930s produced widespread unemployment, hunger and misery in the United States and around the world. In response, FDR’s New Deal created several new government agencies to promote the economic security of the American people. Within the new Social Security Bureau, social worker Jane Hoey took charge of relief programs for poor mothers and their children. Because women’s leadership in government was still a relative novelty in the 1930s, female New Dealers like Hoey pioneered new ways to establish their authority. Hoey called upon all her resources to do so, drawing upon both her professional experience and ethnicity. Hoey built an image of herself in which red-headed Irishness was equated with strength, stubbornness, and willingness to fight for a good cause. Hoey used this image to fight for the professionalism of her staff and the rights of poor mothers and children.

About the University History Institute

The University History Institute, a nonprofit Arkansas corporation, is an organization of private citizens interested in history and in community support for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  The officers and board of directors of the Institute represent a cross section of the Central Arkansas community. At present they are:

Craig Berry, President
Dr. Joe Bates, Vice President
Lee Johnson, Treasurer
Frederick Ursery, Secretary

Robert Adams     Judge Ellen Brantley     Kathryn Fitzhugh
Dr. Joe Crow    Dr. Betty Hathaway     Bob McKuin
Dr. Bobby Roberts     Elaine Scott     Dr. Robert Sherer
Dr. David Stricklin     Patrick Goss

All funds collected by the University History Institute are used to further historical research at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  The UA Little Rock  Foundation Fund is also a nonprofit Arkansas corporation and holds U. S. Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt status.  For additional information about the Institute, call 501.569.3235.

Please consider subscribing to the University History Institute’s Evenings with History series at the Fellow ($250), Life ($1,000), or Corporate Sponsor ($250 minimum) levels. Members at this level receive special benefits. In addition to membership in the Evenings with History subscription series for a donor and guests, Fellows and Life members are invited to sessions held for them only.

Special sessions for Fellows and Life members include an annual event held in the Arkansas Studies Institute and other events held in a variety of locations. These delightful and intimate occasions involve a brief presentation by a special guest, and then an open discussion among everyone.  It’s a kind of history-in-the-making that is a rare opportunity.  The Fellow and Life member events usually feature distinguished scholars or, in many cases, significant historical figures themselves. In the past, that has included noted author Dee Brown; UA Little Rock  law professor Lynn Foster; celebrated journalist Ernie Dumas; former Senator David Pryor; early Clinton observer Steve Smith; Native American Press collector Dan Littlefield; and others.

If you’re interested in becoming a major donor, contact any officer or board member of the University History Institute or write or call us at:

University History Institute

2801 South University Avenue

Little Rock, Arkansas 72204-1099


FAX: 501.569.3059

A Thank You to Corporate Sponsors for the 2017-2018 Season.

The generosity of Friday, Eldredge, & Clark and the Union Pacific Railroad help make these lectures possible. Thanks also for support and gifts in kind from the Ottenheimer Library, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Historic Arkansas Museum, a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage; UA Little Rock  Public Radio—KUAR-KLRE; UA Little Rock  public television; and Grapevine Spirits.

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