History, Political Science & Law

Upcoming Courses


As a dual citizen, Bud Taylor is a student of Canadian and American cultures. Born in 1945, he experienced in Canada the 'compliance' era of the '50s and then participated in the 'rebel' era of the '60s. Similar events happened in the US, but it turns out that the outcomes are quite dissimilar. Let's explore this the reasons why together.

No session is currently available for registration

FIELD TRIP This traveling exhibition explores the causes and forces that sparked the Space Race, a decades-long rivalry between the United States and the USSR. In addition, The Virginia Museum of History and Culture has worked with NASA Langley Research Center to create a complementary exhibition that tells the story of Virginia's contributions to the exploration of 'the final frontier.' Because of the tour costs, fees for this class are non-refundable.

Friday April 21, Virginia Museum of History and Culture (5 seats (20%) remaining)
Friday May 12, Virginia Museum of History and Culture
A young man in a young nation, John James Audubon had the ambitious goal of painting all the birds of America, life-sized. He labored without success for years, suffering personal rejection and financial ruin, as he discovered new species, studied their habits, and left a warning for future generations. This course will focus on Audubon's life and world, a time of explosive growth and rapid scientific and technological change.

Tuesdays 4/18, 4/25, 5/2, 5/9, WHC, Living Room (Deanery) (1 seats (3%) remaining)
This survey will open with basic information on the beginnings of Jewish group life, archaeological ideas about the Hebrews appearance in history, monotheistic thought, and biblical leaders. The second session will focus more on modern Jewish ideas and communities. Both sessions will contain information on divergent religious ideas within Judaism and feature guest speakers (local Rabbis) from different movements, and we will devote the last hour to discussion and questions/answers.

No session is currently available for registration

Union forces gained control of Hampton Roads after the battle of the Monitor and Merrimac. Responding to the threat posed by Union Navy, local units around Richmond quickly built an earthen citadel eight miles south of Richmond on a 92-foot bluff that overlooks a bend in the James River. This lecture and tour will explore the actions of the Union flotilla and the resounding Southern victory: Richmond was never again threatened by a river attack.

No session is currently available for registration

Identified and excavated during the Yorktown Shipwreck Archaeological Project, Betsy represents the measures taken by the British to carry on the fight before their ultimate surrender at Yorktown in 1781. In the over 40 years since Betsy's rediscovery, learn how the wreck continues to teach us about the history of the battle, and the ways in which 18th century materials pulled from York River have been preserved.

No session is currently available for registration

Come tour historic Brown's Island with the American Civil War Museum and learn the role this location played in the Civil War. (Fee for this course is non-refundable.)

Friday, May 5, Brown's Island ( No seats currently available )
Come learn to paint the basic four subjects of orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum, and plum tree. Students will cultivate creativity, new mysterious ink painting ideas with rice paper, and radical constraint, but the brushwork remains in the heart as a story and symbol of things. Asian ink paintings enable students to know and appreciate beautiful East Asian art. The methods help develop a better cultural exchange, understanding of culture, and respect for the diversity of lifestyles.

Wednesdy & Thursday 5/10 & 11. Meets 10-11:30a and 1-2:30p on both days (there is a 1.5 hour break in the between each day), GOTW, Room C114 ( No seats currently available )
How do artists depict children in their art works? Are they merely miniature adults or do they possess a quality or character of their own? Join us in this interactive session to see how American artists have rendered children over the decades and how these images can reflect our social and cultural views of childhood.

Thursday May 18th, Synchronous Online
Would you like to find out what happened AFTER the containers found under Lee were opened? Kate Ridgway, State Archaeological Conservator for the Department of Historic Resources, talks about the efforts to preserve artifacts removed from the Lee Monument, including preparing for the day they were found through the current preservation efforts and how these efforts helped inform the removal of the cornerstone boxes under other monuments on Monument Avenue.

No session is currently available for registration

Songs, essentially poems that are sung, can unite humans with their rhythm, artistry, stories, and universal truths. We'll study several songwriters of country music, a genre that is often overlooked by literary scholars who may not realize the sophistication and wisdom of these writers of truth. We'll look at Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and John Prine.

Monday and Wednesday 4/17, 4/19, 4/24, 4/26, Synchronous Online
How much does the accident of birth still matter to life possibilities and outcomes? Are we becoming a society where 'people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character'? How might these questions intersect with values, culture, and socioeconomic class? Many of us hold decided opinions about these issues. In this course, we will try to grasp the complex realities as clearly and honestly as we can.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 2/14, 2/15, 2/21, 2/22, 2/28, 3/01, 3/07, 3/08, 3/14, 3/15, 3/21, 3/22, 3/28 & 3/29, THC, Alice Haynes Room
Evolution, extinction, climate, continental drift, fossils, and dinosaurs, lots of dinosaurs. A brief look at the history of life, over three billion years in the making. From Australopithecus africanus to Zhuchengtyrannus magnus, trilobites to Triceratops, creationism to volcanism, ice ages to Ichthyosaurs, Darwinism to Lamarckism, if you're interested in how we got here, this may be the course for you. Did we mention dinosaurs?

No session is currently available for registration

It has been said that 'diarists do not know the end of the story,' which gives emotional immediacy to a life that stopped abruptly, a life that ended in murder. Studying diaries of ordinary people whose lives were entangled in the Holocaust allows the reader to hear the words of a group of people whose lives were ended only because they were Jews.

No session is currently available for registration

Isidra Mencos, PhD, examines the intersection between politics and private lives during Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy. Mencos was 17 when the dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975. The transition to democracy took three years, but the cultural revolution happened fast. It was a time of both hope and conflict. With democracy under threat today, Mencos reflects on the impact that authoritarianism has in every aspect of a person's life.

No session is currently available for registration

What woman doesn't love shoes?! They tell the viewer if you are into fashion, comfort, adventure, or pain. Golden Lotus feet/shoes were the most desirable by wealthy Chinese men; it didn't matter if you were beautiful. We will explore the beauty and pain that was passed down from one generation to the next through the ancient tradition of foot binding.

Thursday 4/20, GOTW, Auditorium Room A001
Designed by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) and facilitated at the grassroots level, the Great Decisions program highlights eight thought-provoking foreign policy challenges facing Americans each year. The 2023 Great Decisions videos and briefing book serve as the focal material for the class. It is strongly recommended that students purchase the briefing book and read the relevant topic before each class. To purchase the briefing book visit http://www.fpa.org.

Wednesdays, Feb 8, 15, 22, Mar 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, WHC, Living Room (Deanery) ( No seats currently available )
Built as the home of Westhampton College, North Court is one of the oldest buildings on campus. Learn about its many uses throughout the years from dormitory, military hospital, dining facility, and concert venue.

Tuesday May 2nd, JPSN, Room 118 (7 seats (14%) remaining)
Executive Director Shawn Puller will share the history and stories surrounding the founding of the Garth Newel Music Center as it celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

No session is currently available for registration

Come and hear about an epiphany that changed a Christian writer's life and work, resulting in three literary works about the Holocaust, multiple trips to Israel and Lithuania, American embassy speaking engagements, a book tour at the invitation of two US ambassadors, and two plays.

Mondays 3/27 and 4/3, BUS, Ukrop Auditorium Q162
Join us for a journey from the early 1700s through the 19th century on how events in the United States influenced the Canada we see today: its government, culture, and people.

Mondays, Mar 27 and Apr 3 , BUS, Ukrop Auditorium Q162 (8 seats (11%) remaining)
In the fall, we wrestled with how we are so deeply divided on issues. We agreed that we all have differing opinions and that it's important to move beyond those differences and begin to compromise. It's not easy, and we don't seek consensus. This class will be a continuation of these discussions and will focus on the book, 'How Civil Wars Start' by Barbara Walter. The class size is intentionally small to allow for interaction and discussion. NOTE: You need not have taken the fall class to register for Part 2, but you may benefit from taking Part 1 this spring, which is offered beginning on January 17.

Fridays, March 31, April 7, 14, 21 *this is a change from Thursdays at 6p to Fridays at 3:30p*, BML, Media Resource Center, Learning Lab Room 201 (3 seats (17%) remaining)
The 'Warren Court' (1953-1969) was one of the most controversial courts in American history and defined what its detractors labeled as 'judicial activism'. We will look at a dozen cases involving racial discrimination, criminal law, the right to privacy, and voting that came before the court and how they were decided. The class is designed for laypersons (not lawyers) and will give everyone a chance to express their own views.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, May 1,3, 5, JPSN, Room 118
Chief Justice John Marshall's court (1801-1835) heard three primary cases relating to indigenous land rights and sovereignty. How did John Marshall view indigenous sovereignty, and how did his decision-making and relationship with the US Presidency unfortunately lead to the forced removal of 16,000 Cherokee from Georgia in a tragic event known as the Trail of Tears? Furthermore, how do we see treatment of indigenous rights manifest in the courts today?

Wednesday 4/5, THC, Alice Haynes Room (5 seats (6%) remaining)
Petersburg played a role in the Revolution for many of the same reasons it played a role in the Civil War. This lecture and subsequent tour will focus on the battle of April 25, 1781 which pitted American militia troops against British regulars, including the traitor Benedict Arnold. It will also address the actions two weeks later when the Marquis de Lafayette faced Lord Cornwallis, which many strategists consider the beginning of the Yorktown Campaign.

No session is currently available for registration

The campaign of 1796 established the template for the "the politics of personal destruction." The campaign of 1800 sank even deeper into the abyss with each side making frightening predictions about what would happen if the other candidate was elected. Underpinning the personal attacks was the message about what type of person should be president.

Fridays, April 7, 14, 21, 28, May 5, 12, Synchronous Online
Trace the history of dissent in the U.S. Supreme Court from its inception through current day. Learn why dissents were discouraged by Chief Justice John Marshall and why that upset some of our founding fathers.

Tuesdays, April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9, Synchronous Online
One of the most inspiring stories in American history is that of the Underground Railroad, where Americans both black and white worked for the freedom of others. Yet during the same era existed one of the nation's most sinister institutions: the Reverse Underground Railroad, whereby thousands of free African Americans were kidnapped and pressed into slavery. In the land of Harriet Tubman, discover the horror of the Cannon-Johnson gang, the most prolific criminal perpetrators.

No session is currently available for registration

FIELD TRIP In this series of classes we will explore dishes and flavors from around the US. Featuring hands on cooking in class, students will learn how to make three to four dishes from each region while also learning cooking tips and tricks that will help with everyday cooking. Recipe packets are provided for students to take home. Fees for this class are non-refundable.

Thursday April 27th, Kitchen Classroom ( No seats currently available )
On January 23, 1968, North Korean naval and air forces attacked and seized an essentially unarmed US Navy vessel, USS Pueblo, operating in international waters off North Korea. The crew was taken prisoner and eventually released exactly eleven months later; Pueblo itself is today is a tourist attraction in Pyongyang. We will examine the circumstances surrounding Pueblo, as well as the US response and subsequent events that may have been influenced by the Pueblo affair.

Wednesdays, April 5, 12, 19, NRCT, Room 103
This lecture will provide an overview of the DNA testing conducted by the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in the Department of Forensic Biology. It will also highlight OCME's response and role in 9/11 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thursday 4/6, Synchronous Online
The string quartet -- the combination of two violins, viola, and cello -- has been called 'the most perfect expression of human behavior.' We will examine the 250+ year history and development of the string quartet, and how it became a medium for many composers' most intimate and profound utterances.

Thursdays 3/23 - 5/4 **SKIPPING 4/6**, WHC, Living Room (Deanery) (5 seats (14%) remaining)
Is the United States an Empire? If so, is it a force for good or evil? Is America the Empire of billion-dollar movies such as 'Top Gun: Maverick,' and 'American Sniper,' or is it a racist, exploitative Empire? We will discuss these issues and others.

No session is currently available for registration

Nuclear weapons remain the most destructive and terrifying devices ever built. They are both defensive and offensive simultaneously, helping to prevent WWIII through deterrence, yet menacing humanity with the potential for its complete destruction. In this lecture, we will explore causes of the spread of nuclear weapons over the past 70 years, successes and failures of treaties designed to limit proliferation, and the intentions of countries most likely to acquire nuclear weapons in the future.

No session is currently available for registration

FIELD TRIP This exhibition features artwork and artifacts that portray the spirit of Virginia: its past, its present, its landscape, and its people. The Art Experience at the Executive Mansion highlights works from a mix of genres and mediums with particular focus on Virginia artists and themes. It is a living display which will evolve and change over time as additional works of art become available and as different parts of the Virginia story become the focus. NOTE: This course is offered twice; please register for only one.

No session is currently available for registration

There's much more to animated film than cartoons and Walt Disney. In this four-week course, we'll take a look at early animation, Disney and his less known contemporaries, international animation, and modern animation.

No session is currently available for registration

NOTE: DATE and TIME have changed for this class. Hear the trials and tribulations of a dot-com start-up of the late 1990s: Netflix. Founded by a team with no entertainment experience and with the goal of taking on industry giant Blockbuster, this group of brilliant renegades ended up changing the face of entertainment forever. Hear stories and lessons from the University of Richmond's Dr. Joel Mier, a former director of Netflix during its formative first decade.

Tuesday, May 16*Rescheduled from March 21, 2023*, JPSN, Room 118 (6 seats (9%) remaining)
CLASS AND FIELD TRIP Edgar A. Poe grew up, lived in, and started his writing career in Richmond as a popular journalist and short-story writer at the Southern Literary Messenger. Murray Ellison (a Poe scholar) and Poe Museum Curator Chris Semtner will lead one class on the UR campus on the life, work, and death of Poe around Richmond. In the second session, Murray and Chris will lead an inside tour of the 100-year-old Poe Museum in Richmond.

In class on Wed, Apr 5; field trip to Poe Museum on Wed, Apr 12, The Poe Museum ( No seats currently available )
Come and learn about this unusual 212-year-old church, probably the earliest, independent, ongoing church founded by Blacks in the South, emphasizing their remarkable work in offering a place of worship; providing education even before slavery; and promoting political activity. Students would benefit from reading Dr. Dance's book, 'Land of the Free. . . Negroes: A Historical Novel' prior to class.

Monday 5/8, JPSN, Room 118 ( No seats currently available )
FIELD TRIP Join us at the Virginia War Memorial for a tour, which will include its new exhibit, '50 Years Later: The Vietnam Veteran Experience.' Virginia is home to nearly 200,000 veterans who served during the Vietnam era. For fifty years, these Virginians have lived with the war in the background of their lives. This exhibit offers a glimpse into fifty of those lives, acknowledging that the Vietnam experience remains understudied and misunderstood.

No session is currently available for registration

Ever wonder where some of your tax dollars go? Learn more about the work that the Division of State Archaeology does at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR). See where we house roughly 7 million archaeological artifacts. Tour the conservation lab where experts analyze and preserve artifacts. Find out what resources are available to the public at VDHR. Offered twice - on Oct 14 and Nov 10. Please register for only one.

No session is currently available for registration

FIELD TRIP Enjoy a docent-led tour of Richmond's Valentine Museum. Drawing from the Valentine's extensive collection of signs, the latest exhibit will highlight Richmond businesses and independent artisans' stories from the 18th century to present day. (Because of tour costs, fees for this class are non-refundable.)

Friday, May 12, Valentine Museum
Join us for a book talk with author Kris Spisak as she discusses her novel, 'The Baba Yaga Mask,' her Ukrainian heritage, and the Ukrainian history, folk art, and folklore behind the story. The Baba Yaga Mask was inspired by her family's experience in the post-WWII Ukrainian diaspora and has been called 'A complex, poetic tale' by Kirkus Reviews.

No session is currently available for registration

FIELD TRIP Join us at the Valentine Museum to experience their new exhibit. 'Sign Spotting' features an interactive gallery of signs from Richmond businesses and attractions. Fees for this class are non-refundable.

No session is currently available for registration

FIELD TRIP Taste some wines from the up-and-coming winemakers and vineyards that are pushing the boundaries of what is grown and produced in Virginia. Chef Warren Haskell will make food pairing with two wines: one white and one red. Fees for this class are non-refundable.

Thursday 4/13, The Kitchen Classroom
FIELD TRIP Join us for this two-part tour of the VMFA's current exhibits. Be transported by Whitfield Lovell's evocative multisensory installations, conté drawings, and assemblages. 'Whitfield Lovell: Passages' is the most comprehensive exhibition to date of this renowned contemporary artist's works. Then, we'll explore the life and legacy of Richmond native Benjamin Wigfall (1930-2017): artist, educator, and champion of arts equity. Docent-led tour is $20 ($10 for tour, $10 for admission) If you are a VMFA member, please enter this code at checkout for free admission: VMFAMBR23.

No session is currently available for registration

George Washington did not have much military acumen, and his troops, although loyal, were woefully unprepared for battle. Friedrich Baron von Steuben, with his years of experience, trained the troops, won the war, and retired a hero. Washington, Ben Franklin, and others knew about his past, and his current interests in men, but chose to overlook it: as his expertise was direly needed to salvage the war effort.

Thursday 4/6, Synchronous Online (17 seats (17%) remaining)
FIELD TRIP Join a Valentine Museum docent to learn about the cemetery's history, artwork, symbolism and famous residents, including two U.S. Presidents, writer Ellen Glasgow, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals George Pickett and J.E.B. Stuart. Fees for this course are non-refundable.

Friday. Apr 28, Hollywood Cemetery ( No seats currently available )
Join a Valentine Museum docent for a walking tour to learn about the rich history of Jackson Ward through the many murals that enhance this area. Fee for this course is non-refundable.

Friday, Apr 21 ( No seats currently available )
CLASSES AND BUS TRIP We will review a brief history of America's founding and America's founding documents in conjunction with an overview of the National Archives and its role in preserving American history This introduction will be followed by a day-long trip to the National Archives in DC. A final session will be devoted to sharing our individual experiences at the Archives. (Part 1 was offered in 2019 and is not a required prerequisite for this course.) Due to costs associated with this course, fees are non-refundable unless we can fill your slot.

Tuesdays, April 11 and 18 for in person classes, 1-3pm. Saturday, April 15 is field trip to DC, 8am-4pm, BUS, Room 114
Join University of Richmond's 11th President, Kevin F. Hallock, for a presentation on why college costs so much. Hallock, an economist, will discuss a set of factors including wage inequality, increases in regulation and compliance costs, increases in student support, including for mental health, and the competition for amenities. He will also discuss finances at the University of Richmond today and challenges and opportunities for higher education in the future.

No session is currently available for registration

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In this class, we will discuss and include all the documents one should have for the main crises of life: wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, burial designation forms, and elder law. The elder law discussion will center on different levels of care and payment for assisted living and nursing homes.

No session is currently available for registration

FIELD TRIP In this series we will explore wines from different countries and regions around the world, both old and new. In each class students will be guided though tasting eight wines by a knowledgeable wine professional, with light snacks provided. Wines will be selected to highlight the variety and styles of the area. Fees for this class are non-refundable.

No session is currently available for registration

FIELD TRIP Join us as we explore the wines of Northern Italy, two regions in the shadows of the European Alps. The areas of Piemonte, Alto Adige and Friuli: these legendary wine regions give us Friulano, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Grigio: the exotic, aromatic white wines of the Northeast. We then move west to the historic vines around Alba that provide us with the intense wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as local favorites Barbaera and Dolcetto. Fees for this class are non-refundable.

No session is currently available for registration