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Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times #1 best-selling author. She will talk about her newest book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, at the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, November 3, at 7 p.m. Purchase tickets.

Her seventh book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, published in September 2018 by Simon & Schuster, is the culmination of Goodwin’s five-decade career of studying the American presidents. The book delivers an illuminating exploration into the early development, growth, and exercise of leadership as exemplified by Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. It provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field and for all of us in our everyday lives.

Goodwin’s career as a presidential historian and author was inspired when as a 24-year-old graduate student at Harvard she was selected to join the White House Fellows, one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. At the White House celebration of the newly chosen Fellows, she found herself sharing the dance floor with President Johnson. He told her he wanted her to be assigned directly to him in the White House. But it was not to be that simple. For like many young people, she had been active in the anti-Vietnam War movement and had co-authored an article that called for the removal of LBJ, published in the New Republic several days after the White House dance. Despite this, LBJ said: “Bring her down here for a year and if I can’t win her over no one can.” Goodwin worked with Johnson in the White House and later assisted him in the writing of his memoirs.

She then wrote Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, which became a national bestseller and achieved critical acclaim. It will be re-released in spring 2019, highlighting LBJ’s accomplishments in domestic affairs that have stood the test of time: The three historic Civil Rights bills that he steered through Congress—ending segregation in the South, providing the precious right to vote to African Americans, and Fair Housing—changed the face of our country, as did the host of bipartisan landmark bills that comprised the Great Society—including Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, PBS, NPR, federal aid to education and immigration reform.

Goodwin followed with No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She also authored a bestselling memoir Wait Till Next Year and The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, which was adapted into an award-winning five-part TV miniseries.

Her last book was the critically acclaimed and The New York Times bestselling The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (November 2013). Winner of the Carnegie Medal, The Bully Pulpit is a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners has acquired the film and television rights to the book.

Spielberg and Goodwin previously worked together on Lincoln, based in part on Goodwin’s award-winning Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, an epic work that illuminates Lincoln’s political genius, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president. Team of Rivals was awarded the prestigious Lincoln Prize, the inaugural Book Prize for American History, and Goodwin in 2016 was the first historian to receive the Lincoln Leadership Prize from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

The film Lincoln grossed $275 million at the box office and earned 12 Academy Award® nominations, including an Academy Award for actor Daniel Day-Lewis for his portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln.

Well known for her appearances and commentary on television, Goodwin is seen frequently on all the major television and cable networks and shows including Meet the Press and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Most recently she played herself as a teacher to Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons and a historian on American Horror Story.

Goodwin has served as a consultant and has been interviewed extensively for PBS and HISTORY’s documentaries on Presidents Johnson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, the Kennedy family, and on Ken Burns’ The History of Baseball and The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. She served as a consultant on HBO Films’ All the Way starring Bryan Cranston as President Johnson.

Goodwin graduated magna cum laude from Colby College. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in government from Harvard University, where she taught government, including a course on the American Presidency.

Among her many honors and awards, Goodwin was awarded the Charles Frankel Prize, given by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Sarah Josepha Hale Medal, the New England Book Award, as well as the Carl Sandburg Literary Award.

Goodwin lives in Concord, Massachusetts. She was the first woman to enter the Boston Red Sox locker room, and is a devoted fan of the World Series-winning team.

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Siobhan Carter David

When you get dressed in the morning, are you thinking about how your clothing, or how you wear it, tells the world a story about you or your place in history?

Siobhan Carter-David, assistant professor of history, is a “reader” of clothing and fashion as historical texts and says, “We can learn a lot from studying fashion. It tells us so much about the cultural life of a particular group over time in different places.”

Currently teaching “Dress in Recent U.S. History: The Life and Times of 10 Iconic Fashions,” Carter-David  presented a talk on November 3, “Supreme Style: Fashion, Aesthetics, and the Making of a Black Heterodox Islamic Tradition.” Her talk was part of the interdisciplinary forum for faculty in the arts, humanities, and social sciences to present and discuss new scholarship, with special emphasis on emerging topics, methodologies, and areas of research in the 21st century.

In her “Dress in Recent U.S. History” course, Carter-David discusses the social and historical context and meanings of several post-World War II fashions. Blue jeans, the miniskirt, the dashiki, the studded leather jacket, evening gowns, the power suit, workout wear, the sneaker, and the hoodie all come under her lens in the course.

She plans to publish her dissertation, “Issuing the Black Wardrobe: Fashion and Anti-fashion in Post-Soul Publications,” in which she discusses what fashion and dress mean in “a post-civil-rights moment.”

Her November 3 talk, although focused on fashion and history, is a side project, she says. She became interested in the topic because, she says, “so little is done on the Five-Percent Nation,” which she explains is an offshoot of the Nation of Islam and is also called the Nation of Gods and Earths (NGE). Founded in Harlem in 1964, NGE is a heterodox black Islamic faction that is intentionally flexible and individualized in its doctrine. Women members have used the NGE’s modest dress code to create an evolving aesthetic that has influenced and been influenced by many facets of post-civil rights urban life.

Carter-David says she finds the NGE interesting because of its flexible doctrine. “Everything is negotiable,” she says. “People are affiliated with it, but not members.”

This flexibility comes into play in the clothing worn by Five Percenters, which is why their fashions drew Carter-David’s particular attention. She explains that in the NGE, women – whose clothing is called “refinements” — are referred to as Earths and men as Gods (as in the Nation of Gods and Earths). Earths are expected to cover three-quarters of their bodies, as three-quarters of the earth is covered by water. The fashions are hip-hop inspired, and many rappers of the 1990s were affiliated with the Five-Percent Nation, such as Erykah Badu and Wu-Tang Clan.

Carter-David conducted oral histories for most of her research on this project, as so little academic research has been done on fashion in the NGE. What an Earth wears is negotiated between herself and her male partner, and every woman who becomes affiliated with NGE has to be taught about it by a man – not necessarily a male partner, but a man nonetheless. Yet in spite of this male influence on Earths’ experiences and refinements, Carter-David found that much of what is done with women’s fashions is feminist in nature. Her use of oral histories – interviews with Earths — helps her tell a story that is less about seeing dress through a men’s lens than through a female one.

In the 1960s, for example, older Earths would teach the younger ones how to dress, and Earths would make clothing for each other, as some of the articles of clothing were not easy to find. Earths wear headwraps, and women would share with each other in private how to wrap their heads. Carter-David says this practice has been changing with the advent of YouTube; Earths can now watch videos that show them different styles of wrapping their heads. Yet “women have created their own spaces in terms of how they do their refinement,” Carter-David says, “rather than letting men dictate it.”

As romantic vibes fill the air with the approach of Valentine’s Day, it is easy to assume that today’s customs — such as buying your significant other a token of affection or taking them out for a candle-lit dinner — have always existed in the American culture.

blogphotovalentinesdayGranted, the chocolates that existed once upon a time probably didn’t come in as many forms or flavors. And a floral arrangement in the 1700s might not include one of those cute teddy bears. But the basic idea was pretty much the same, right?

Not really. In fact, dating as we know it did not even exist in America until the Revolutionary War. And even courtship – a serious effort to woo a potential marriage partner – had been confined primarily to the elite class, according to Marie McDaniel, assistant professor of history at Southern.

To be fair, the country was much more sparsely populated back then, and there were no cars to hop into for a quick drive. People either walked, or traveled on horseback, wagon or if you had money, by carriage.

So, guys, if only you were alive in those days, you wouldn’t need to worry about trekking out late on Valentine’s Day eve to pick up a card, or get those chocolate truffles she has come to expect.

But romance began to change in America after the birth of our nation.

“The Revolutionary War served as a social revolution, even though it was an unintended consequence,” McDaniel says.

She notes that during colonial times, marriages were based more on economic interests than romantic ones. And companionate love took precedence over passionate love when considering a spouse. “The emphasis on romantic love really doesn’t take off until after the Revolutionary War. The culture and customs in colonial America were in many ways a backlash against England,” says McDaniel, who notes that passionate love was alive and well in England during the 1700s.

But societal mores began to change. The courting ritual began to take hold among what would later be known as the middle class after American independence.

The change to a democratic form of government had a cascade effect that led to the proliferation of romantic literature, especially in the form of novels. McDaniel notes. America began to place a higher value on education after the war – first with boys — because it recognized the importance of an educated citizenry in a democracy. White male property owners had gained the right to vote to elect the nation’s leaders and with that right came an increased responsibility. But an increased emphasis on the need to educate girls would follow – not because women could vote back in the early 1800s, but because mothers needed to be better educated so that they could raise well-educated sons. This better education of girls enabled them to read more novels, which encouraged their publication.

And by 1840, and the advent of the Victorian Era, the whole concept of romance in America had changed. Even many of the trappings of marriage that exist today, such as the wearing of white dresses and the exchange of vows and rings, began to flourish around that time.