Among the immortals—Leonardo, Rembrandt, Picasso—Michelangelo stands alone as a master of painting, sculpture, and architecture.

He was not only one of the greatest artists in an age of giants, but a man who reinvented the practice of art itself. Throughout his long career he clashed with patrons by insisting that he had no master but his own demanding muse and promoting the novel idea that it was the artist, rather than the lord who paid for it, who was creative force behind the work.

  We are very happy to continue our weekly feature on the RT, entitled – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter. This morning we welcome the folks from NY Humanities to discuss the importance of remembering World War One through literature.

Wendy Galgan, Assistant Professor of English at St. Francis College joins us to discuss the New York Council for the Humanities' Our World Remade: WWI New Reading & Discussion Series.


  We are very happy to continue our weekly feature on The Roundtable, entitled – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

Today we check in with the New York Council for the Humanities and learn about about the history of Freedom Summer - 50 years ago - and its importance today. We are joined by Dr. Emilye Crosby is a history professor at SUNY Geneseo and the coordinator of the Africana/Black Studies program. She has written A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi and edited Civil Rights History from the Ground Up: Local Struggles, a National Movement.

    On June 27, 1844, a mob stormed the jail in the dusty frontier town of Carthage, Illinois. Clamorous and angry, they were hunting down a man they saw as a grave threat to their otherwise quiet lives: the founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. They wanted blood.

At thirty-nine years old, Smith had already lived an outsized life. In addition to starting his own religion and creating his own “Golden Bible”—the Book of Mormon—he had worked as a water-dowser and treasure hunter. He’d led his people to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois, where he founded a city larger than fledgling Chicago. He was running for president. And, secretly, he had married more than thirty women.

In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation—the doctrine of polygamy—created a rift among his people; how that schism turned to violence; and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.

    From 1944 to 1946, as the world pivoted from the Second World War to an unsteady peace, Americans in more than two hundred cities and towns mobilized to chase an implausible dream. The newly-created United Nations needed a meeting place, a central place for global diplomacy—a Capital of the World.

But what would it look like, and where would it be? Author Charlene Mires share the history with us.


  The Statue of Liberty has become one of the most recognizable monuments in the world: a symbol of freedom and the American Dream. In her new book, Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty, journalist Elizabeth Mitchell tells the story of the envisioning, funding and building of the Statue of Liberty - dispelling long-standing myths around its creation.

We all know the legend that the statue was a gift from France, but that implies that the government of France gave it to the government of America. In reality, it was the inspiration of the French sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, hungry for fame and adoration.

  The Schenectady County Historical Society was founded in 1905 to preserve the history of the area. The Society’s museum and local history and genealogy research library have been located at 32 Washington Avenue in the Stockade neighborhood in Schenectady since 1958.

They are opening a new exhibition this weekend entitled "Canals and Railroads: Collaboration to Competition." The exhibit explores the beginnings of the Canal Era and New York State’s early railroads which were built to enhance and complement–rather than compete with– the waterway system.

It is a traveling exhibit, put together by Alco Historical and Technical Society historian, Dave Gould and Alco Historical and Technical Society designer, John Kolwaite. They join us now along with Mary Zawacki, Curator for the Schenectady County Historical Society.

    Serhii Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History and the Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University.

His new book is The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union.

As prize-winning historian Serhii Plokhy reveals in The Last Empire, the collapse of the Soviet Union was anything but the handiwork of the United States. On the contrary, American leaders dreaded the possibility that the Soviet Union—weakened by infighting and economic turmoil—might suddenly crumble, throwing all of Eurasia into chaos.

Those prejudiced political power brokers, now trying to hang a liturgical lock on this nation’s spiritual inception, as a Christian entity, had best beware of history’s recurrent habit of self-correction…much like proof that appears to be surfacing, now. For starters, let’s not forget the Native American tribes who were here, when the Holy-Roller "conversionists" first set out to "civilize" the “savages” who helped them survive the rigors of this untamed land, they’d come to conquer.  The Amerinds’ own religion taught them to respect and preserve what nature had provided but their fortune-hunting Christian conquerors were determined to despoil. One hesitates to contradict historic errors that have (for some) become part wish-prejudiced and nationally accepted misstatements…but when facts surface, despite repetition to the contrary, truthful contradiction must intercede, like it or not.

Can math be used to better understand history?

Peter Turchin, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, is doing just that through complex mathematical algorithms.