A Passion for Nature:
Exploring the Life of John Muir

Donald Worster and Richard White with Jon Christensen

Thursday, May 7, 2009 | 7:30–9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

In Donald Worster's new biography, John Muir's "special self" is fully explored as is his extraordinary ability, then and now, to get others to see the sacred beauty of the natural world. A Passion for Nature is the most complete account of the great conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club ever written. Rich in detail and personal anecdote, it traces Muir from his boyhood in Scotland and frontier Wisconsin to his adult life in California right after the Civil War up to his death on the eve of World War I. It explores his marriage and family life, his relationship with his abusive father, his many friendships with the humble and famous (including Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson), and his role in founding the modern American conservation movement. Inspired by Muir's passion for the wilderness, Americans created a long and stunning list of national parks and wilderness areas, Yosemite most prominent among them. Yet the book also describes a Muir who was a successful fruit-grower, a talented scientist and world-traveler, a doting father and husband, a self-made man of wealth and political influence, and a man for whom mountaineering was "a pathway to revelation and worship."
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National Pride, National Shame

Angela Davis, Richard Rorty and Gordon Wood with Kathleen Sullivan

Monday, January 13, 2003 | 7:30 – 9:00 | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

What gives us pride in our country? What gives us cause for shame? If we have gone wrong somewhere, how can we get back on track?
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The American Presidency:
Character and Crisis

Michael Beschloss and David Kennedy with Michael Krasny

Tuesday, October 28, 2003 | 7:30 – 9:00 | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

In the past half-century, the question of character has loomed large in discussions of the American presidency. Does a person lacking integrity also lack the moral capital true leadership requires? Must the president be someone we can hold up as a model to our children? Why has presidential character become a major public concern?
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An Evening with Thomas Jefferson

Clay S. Jenkinson with Jack Rakove

Monday, December 15, 2003 | 7:30 – 9:00 | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

Clay S. Jenkinson began presenting Thomas Jefferson in character in 1984 and has since made presentations in nearly every state to thousands of gatherings, including school children, supreme court justices, and a gala celebration of the 250th anniversary of Jefferson's birth at a White House event hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Jenkinson is a Rhodes and Danforth scholar and winner of one of the first five National Endowment of the Humanities' highest honor: the Charles Frankel Prize (now called The National Humanities Medal).
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Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass:
A 150th Anniversary Celebration

Kenneth Fields, Shelley Fischer Fishkin, Albert Gelpi, and Hilton Obenzinger

Thursday, December 1, 2005 | 7:30 - 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

On July 4, 1855, an anonymous poem entitled Leaves of Grass was published in Brooklyn. Nothing like it had ever been seen before: big, sprawling, sexual, democratic, ecstatic, both rough and gentle. It was, its author claimed, "America singing."In commemoration of this landmark literary event, and in celebration of Whitman's large-hearted vision, the Aurora Forum hosts a dramatic reading of "Song of Myself" directed by Kay Kostopoulos. After the performance—accompanied by music and historic images—a panel of Whitman scholars and poets will discuss the poem's meanings and what it says about democratic ideals today. Facsimile editions of the 1855 version of "Song of Myself" will be given to all who attend.
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Martin Luther King and Economic Justice:
The Fortieth Anniversary Commemoration of Dr. King's "The Other America" Speech at Stanford

Bernard LaFayette and Thomas F. Jackson with Mark Gonnerman

Sunday, April 15, 2007 | 2:00 – 4:00pm | Memorial Auditorium | Free and Open to All

On 14 April 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr., made his second visit to Stanford's Memorial Auditorium. On this occasion he delivered “The Other America,” an address that calls everyone together to create a more just world. At this Aurora Forum Special Event for Community Day at Stanford, we will screen Allen Willis’ film of Dr. King’s Stanford speech and enter into a public conversation that places “The Other America” in historical context and examines its relevance forty years later.
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Exposures of Truth:
Richard Avedon and Gordon Parks

Andy Grundberg and Deborah Willis with Wanda Corn

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | 7:30 - 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

The Aurora Forum hosts this unique conversation on the photographic work of Richard Avedon (1923–2004) and Gordon Parks (1912–2006) with art critics Andy Grundberg, Deborah Willis, and Wanda Corn.
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