Since 2006, One Day University has produced hundreds of fascinating events featuring some of the best professors in the world. On September 29th and September 30th we are presenting a remarkable day of learning for the very first time in Victoria BC. The professors teaching that day have won numerous teaching awards and the highest ratings from their students on campus. Now they’re coming to Victoria to educate, inspire, and entertain students who may no longer be in college, but believe learning is a lifelong pursuit. You’ll enjoy three thought-provoking lectures that will challenge you, make you think, and give you fodder for conversation long after the event is over. Best of all, there are no grades, no tests, and no homework. Just the pure joy of learning! We hope you’ll join us.
- Saturday MorningSeptember 29
- Saturday AfternoonSeptember 29
- Sunday MorningSeptember 30
- Sunday AfternoonSeptember 30
9:30 AM – 10:35 AM
Four Books that Changed the World Seth Lerer / University of California at San Diego
Literature has always shaped societies, built cultures, and helped readers grow. This course explores four great novels that have helped to change our modern, western world – the world of personal feeling, social experience, family belonging, and moral imagination. Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations stands as the defining novel of the individual in society, struggling to become a person and a writer in the heart of a new empire. George Orwell’s 1984 remains the classic of dystopia – a satire on a totalitarian past, but also a lesson for a democratic future. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man makes us all aware of how race and region bear on our culture, while Viet Nguyen’s brilliant new book, The Sympathizer, reveals just how much our world has changed, now, in response to different communities in contact and in conflict.
All of these books are stories not just of politics and people, but of writers. All of these books show the power of the literary imagination to make and remake our world. They dramatize how our modern ideas of the hero have adapted to new pressures. They make us laugh, cry, ponder, and pause. They teach that the art of reading is essential to negotiating unfamiliar landscapes in our cities and our classrooms. These books have changed, and will continue to change, the ways we think and feel. Whatever happens, books will survive. These are four of them that will live on, both to instruct and to delight us in the future.
10:50 AM – 11:55 AM
Positive Psychology: The Science Of Happiness Catherine Sanderson/Amherst College
Happiness has been in the news quite a bit lately. The UN released a “Happiness Report” rating nearly 200 countries, which found that the world’s happiest people live in Northern Europe (Denmark, Norway, Finland, and the Netherlands). The report’s conclusion affirmatively states that happiness has predictable causes and is correlated specifically to various measures that governments can regulate and encourage. And there’s more. A new AARP study looks at how North Americans feel – and what factors contribute to their sense of contentment. It concludes that nearly 50% of us are “somewhat happy” and another 19% are “very happy.” What role do money, IQ, marriage, friends, children, weather, and religion play in making us feel happier? Is happiness stable over time? How can happiness be increased? Professor Sanderson will describe cutting-edge research from the field of positive psychology on the factors that do (and do not) predict happiness, and provide practical (and relatively easy!) ways to increase your own psychological well-being.
12:10 PM – 1:15 PM
The Five Most Powerful People In The World William Burke White / University Of Pennsylvania
Who are the real influencers on the world stage? Who makes the decisions that determine war and peace? Economic growth or stagnation? Global cooperation or political stagnation? This lecture answers those questions by examining how we think about power and influence in international politics. We will consider traditional answers based on military might and examine how globalization, technology, ideology, and economic interdependence are changing the ways we should think about power and influence.
After engaging in an analysis of power and influence in today’s world, we will consider 5 particular individuals—some expected, others perhaps unexpected or even unknown—who are calling the shots in global affairs today. The lecture concludes with a detailed look at what their influence means for our global future.
1:50 PM- 2:55PM
10 Weather Disasters that Changed History Caroline Winterer/Stanford University
Weather and climate have been shaping human history for thousands of years. Blizzards, hurricanes, droughts, dust storms, and floods: all of them have been turning points. Weather disasters seem so much bigger than we are, but they’re accurate barometers for telling us about what we value as human beings. This course will examine some of these major turning points (some of them based on controversial evidence!), from the ancient world, to Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, to the Dust Bowl, to Hurricane Katrina. How have weather disasters shaped human history, and what can this tell us about how we think about climate change today?
3:10 PM – 4:15 PM
Leadership Lessons From Abraham Lincoln Louis Masur/Rutgers University
Abraham Lincoln continues to be revered around the world. He is consistently listed in every top ten list of “Most Important” or “Most Influential” figures in history – regardless of which country is publishing the list. There is certainly no doubt anyone and everyone can profit from studying him. All agree that he possessed extraordinary leadership skills that he employed to win the American Civil War, abolish slavery, and preserve a nation. While most leaders may display a unique style, there is much to learn from Lincoln. For example, he used humor and storytelling to great effect. He understood when to criticize and when to hold his fire. He worked deliberately and he skillfully utilized various tools of persuasion. Perhaps most important of all, he was not afraid to change his mind. By examining specific moments in Lincoln’s life, we emerge better equipped to think about how to handle conflict and controversy in our own affairs. No one can achieve Lincoln’s greatness, but in studying and understanding him as a leader, we can perhaps strive toward new leadership heights.
4:30 PM – 5:35 PM
The Artistic Genius Of Michelangelo Tina Rivers Ryan / Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), Formerly Columbia University
A leader of the High Renaissance of the early sixteenth century, Michelangelo Buonarroti was legendary even in his own time for his inventiveness as an artist: Giorgio Vasari, the godfather of art history, wrote that he had been endowed by God with “universal ability in every art and every profession…to the end that the world might choose him and admire him as its highest exemplar in the life, works, saintliness of character, and every action of human creatures, and that he might be acclaimed by us as a being rather divine than human.”
In this talk, we will trace the arc of Michelangelo’s storied life, from his upbringing by the powerful Medici family, to his glory days as architect and artist to the Popes, and his spiritual re-awakening late in life. Along the way, we will look closely at his paintings and sculptures, including the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Last Judgment, the Pietà, and the David, in order to understand the importance of his unique artistic vision. Through his works, we will come to better understand the man behind the legend–a passionate artist and competitive rival to the likes of Raphael and Bramante–whose outstanding achievements and temperament gave rise to the modern notion of the artistic “genius.”
9:30 AM – 10:35 AM
Understanding the Roman Empire: Is History Repeating Itself? Caroline Winterer/Stanford University
The rise and fall of ancient Rome is one of the greatest stories in the history of the world. From a group of settlements huddled along the Tiber in Italy, Rome rose to conquer much of the Mediterranean world and Europe. At the height of the Roman Empire, one in every five people in the world lived within its territory. For many people today, wherever they live, Rome’s unlikely ascent, spectacular ambitions, and gruesome decline provide endless fuel for political self-examination. Are empires good or bad? What makes great civilizations decline and fall—and how can we avoid that fate? This talk will explore the great question—”Are We Rome?”—and show why this ancient empire continues to fascinate us today.
10:50 AM – 11:55 AM
Reinventing English: The Troubled Future Of Reading, Writing, And Thinking. Seth Lerer / University of California at San Diego
The English Language is changing at a faster rate than almost ever before. Not only are new words and new expressions entering popular expression; the language is becoming more evocative and idiomatic. Digital technologies have changed the way we write and read. Global media has helped make English into a world language — but a world language with many different social, regional, and cultural variations. Should English be an official language; what standards to we use in public discourse; what happens when cultures come together and introduce new words; what role does technology have in language change? These are all questions that, in one form or another, have been asked for a thousand years — ever since the Anglo-Saxons first committed “English” into writing and created poetry and prose of power and imagination. English has always been Re-Invented by everyone who speaks and writes it. In this course, we will search for ways of anticipating future changes to the language and prepare for a world in which English will be Re-Invented before our eyes and ears.
12:10 PM – 1:15 PM
The Psychology Of Good and Evil Catherine Sanderson/Amherst College
In 2011, a 2-year-old in China wandered into a busy road and was struck repeatedly by passing cars. Although people walking and driving in the road clearly saw what had happened, not a single person stopped to help for 10 minutes; the child died of her injuries a week later. In Guyana in 1978, nearly 1000 members of the “Jonestown Cult” killed themselves – and their children – by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid following the order of leader Jim Jones. In the 1930s and 1940s, more than 23,000 non-Jews risked their lives to save Jewish people – usually strangers – from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis. What explains these kinds of events? What drives human beings to be so horrifically cruel and callous to one another — or so heroically helpful and generous? Professor Catherine Sanderson examines these complex questions in this talk.
1:50 PM- 2:55PM
World Powers: A Shifting Balance in Uncertain Times William Burke White / University Of Pennsylvania
What does the international system of the future look like? Since the end of World War II, the answer has been an international order created by the United States and a coalition of likeminded states. That coalition has advanced a shared global vision rooted in economic liberalization, shared security commitments, and mutual values such as human rights. Today, however, disruptive forces are threatening the post-WWII international order. In a time of international crises ranging from Iran and North Korea to the health of the global economy, it is far from clear whether the international order as we know it can survive. In the wake of World War II, the US and its allies constructed an international system that provided lasting stability and advanced their interests and values, including open economic flows, a US security guarantee, and core liberal values. Today, that system is under threat from 5 disruptive trends: 1) power shifts from the US to China and others, 2) the rise of populist nationalism around the world, 3) artificial intelligence and information transparency, 4) the rise of non-state actors, and 5) the threat of climate change. In light of these disruptive forces, can post-WWII order continue? Can liberal values survive? If not, what will global politics look like in the years ahead? This talk will conclude with three distinct visions of the global order that may emerge in the decades ahead. What might these different world orders mean for our economy, for our security, and for our values?
3:10 PM – 4:15 PM
The Promised Land: Bruce Springsteen’s Universal Vision Louis Masur / Rutgers University
In 2017, Bruce Springsteen performed in Toronto at the Invictus Games, an international multi-sport event for wounded military personnel. He performed “The Promised Land,” a signature song about everyday dreams. For nearly fifty years, Springsteen has been talking and singing about dreams: rock ‘n’ roll dreams, dreams of escape, dreams of community, and dreams of faith. He may be the consummate American star, and his body of work no doubt addresses “the distance between American reality and the American dream,” as he has put it. But what started as an American theme became a universal one, as evidenced by his popularity around the world. In this lecture, we will trace the arc of Springsteen’s long career and show how his work and life has engaged the hopes and dreams of millions around the world.
4:30 PM – 5:35 PM
Rediscovering Picasso’s Genius Tina Rivers Ryan / Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), Formerly Columbia University
Pablo Picasso was probably the most prolific visual artist of all time; he’s also probably the most misunderstood. As Picasso’s sales records and biographies keep piling up, the myth of Picasso—to which the artist himself contributed—only continues to grow. As a consequence, the actual works of art seem to recede into the background, and we lose sense of why Picasso was an artistic genius and one of the most influential artists in the history of Western civilization. In order to bring his works back into the foreground, this talk will focus on the development of Picasso’s art in its early years. Picasso once explained that Cubism, the revolutionary artistic style that he helped develop at the dawn of the twentieth century, foreshadowing the birth of abstract art-was “an art dealing primarily with forms.” Taking the artist at his word, we will examine the development of Picasso’s signature style by looking closely at the works themselves, looking past his storied life to better appreciate his stunning achievement.