Expanded Nebraska Lectures series illustrates history of university, state

As part of the university’s 150th anniversary celebration, the Nebraska Lectures: Chancellor’s Distinguished Speakers Series features 12 presentations in 2019. The extended format is made possible with support from Humanities Nebraska and the National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman’s Statehood Grants Initiative. Many of the 2019 talks focus on the origins and history of the state and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Summaries and videos of the spring lectures are available below. Lecture podcasts are available via Mediahub.

January: Nebraska’s Unicameral: Still Progressive after All These Years?

Charlyne Berens, professor emeritus and former associate dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, examined how a single-house system has allowed Nebraska to historically avoid partisan gridlock that exists in other legislative bodies. She also delved deeper into the history behind the Unicameral’s formation and assessed whether the system continues to meet the goals of its founders.


February: Building Nebraska U: The Saga of University Hall and the Origins of the Modern University

Kay Logan-Peters, professor of libraries and creator of an online tour of the university’s architectural history, discussed the colorful history of early campus architecture. Logan-Peters’ lecture included an NET-produced, virtual reality tour around the exterior of University Hall, the first building on campus. Nearly 300 attended the Charter Week lecture.


March: Grace and Edith Abbott: Nebraska’s Social Justice Sisters

John Sorensen, author and founder of the Abbott Sisters Project, explained the importance of the Abbott sisters to the history of children’s, immigrants’ and women’s rights in America. Sorensen, a film director, is a Grand Island, Nebraska, native.


April: The Hearts of Foreigners: How Americans Understand Others

Tim Borstelmann, E.N. and Katherine Thompson Professor of Modern World History, took viewers on a journey through the past two centuries and demonstrated how American citizens have embraced foreigners to become a “radically inclusive society.” Borstelmann’s lecture is the basis of his upcoming book, “The Hearts of Foreigners: How Americans Understand Others,” coming out in 2020.