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Past Events at CDHS 2010

This page lists recent lectures and events. It includes a brief description plus a link to a complete summary.


Dr. Janny Venema- Kiliaen van Rensselaer, New Netherland, and the New Netherland Research Center, December, 2010

Dr. Janny (pronounced “Yanni,” like that Greek schmaltz musician) Venema has been with the New Netherland project for 25 years and is Assistant Director. The Society, under the auspices of the State Library and the Holland Society, is engaged in translating and publishing surviving documents from the Dutch colonial period. Dr. Venema is the author of two books, one about Beverwijck (the Dutch name for Albany) in the 1650s, and one about Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the “first Patroon” of what is now Albany and Rensselaer counties.



Dr. Sherrie Lyons- Species, Serpents, Spirits and Skulls: Science at the Margins of the Victorian Age, November, 2010

At the November 14 meeting of the CDHS, Dr. Sherrie Lyons (BA in Genetics (Berkley)) and Ph. D in the History of Science (University of Chicago), treated a large and enthusiastic audience to a summary of her latest book, Species, Serpents, Spirits and Skulls: Science at the Margins of the Victorian Age. Her presentation was preceded by an interactive session that attempted to answer the question, “How many humanists does it take to get a Mac laptop to communicate with the digital projector?” Dr. Lyons’ presentation described the explosion of scientific investigation and discoveries in the fields of biology, chemistry and geology during the Victorian Age and the coincident proliferation of all sorts of pseudoscience and false science.



Marilyn Sassi - Antique Toys, October, 2010

Marilyn Sassi has a degree in Fine Arts from Russell Sage, has taught at various local colleges, and has been involved with antiques for over 40 years. Her talk was on the history of toys. Sassi first started with antiques when furnishing an apartment; she would encounter antique toys but resisted their allure, thinking toys are for children. Then one day a publication she wrote for sent her to cover a toy auction. The toys were in glass cases; champagne was served; and not a child was in sight. She was soon hooked.



Stephen D. Solomon- Kids and Prayers, September, 2010

Stephen D. Solomon teaches First Amendment law at New York University and is Associate Director of NYU’s Carter Journalism Institute. His topic was “Kids and Prayers – the Misunderstood Conflict over God in the Classroom,” based on his recent book, Ellery’s Protest: How One Young Man Defied Tradition and Sparked the Battle over School Prayer.



Dr. Jason Wiles- The Creation Museum, August, 2010

Dr. Jason Wiles teaches biology at Syracuse Univerity. Having become mindful how misunderstandings about evolution hamper many students in studying biology, Dr. Wiles has focused attention on the teaching of evolution. His presentation was a photo tour of Kentucky’s Creation Museum. Actually located near Cincinnati, this 70,000 square foot, $30 million facility was opened in 2007 by “Answers in Genesis Ministries.” Dr. Wiles’s photos showed it to be no cheesy joke but, in its way, an impressive and seductive attraction.



Nancy Marie Payne- The Orphan Trains, July, 2010

Nancy Marie Payne, our July speaker, has ten years of experience as a professional storyteller. She presented a first-person narrative of a ten-year-old girl, Jenny, who traveled on the first “orphan train” out of New York City in 1853. While Jenny was fictionalized, everything else about the story was fact-based. ”



 Dr. Michael J. Murphy- The Immorality of Coerced Sexuality, June, 2010

 Dr. Michael J. Murphy is a Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus from the Department of Natural Sciences at SUNY Cobleskill. His topic was “The Immorality of Coerced Sexuality: Lessons from the Biology of Intersex Conditions.”    Dr. Murphy’s key premise was that it is indeed immoral to interfere with formation of loving relationships, including those involving sexual intimacy, by rational adults.


Stephen Andersen- Surviving Motherhood in Africa, May, 2010

Our Mother’s Day program was about Motherhood in Africa, presented by Stephen Andersen, who took a leave from his IBM job to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, 2005-07. The Peace Corps is a US government program, begun in 1961, aimed at promoting world peace and friendship, through better understanding of Americans by other peoples, as well as better understanding of other peoples by Americans.



Tom Flynn- The Demographics of Unbelief, April, 2010

Flynn stressed that throughout history, “people like us” have been very much in the minority; and if you think the societal climate is hostile, it was way worse in past times. But nevertheless, Flynn avowed, it’s such people who have been in the vanguard of civilizational progress, with an impact greatly disproportionate to their numbers.


Connie Frisbee Houde- Afghan Culture Today, March, 2010

Connie Frisbee Houde is a photojournalist who has traveled to Afghanistan 4 times since 2003; her last trip, in late 2009, was with “Code Pink,” an activist women’s organization, spending 10 days in Kabul.
She began with a slideshow of a visit to Kabul’s street of music stores, focusing on one musician in particular, whom she labeled “the essence of Afghanistan.”


Dr. Frank Wind- Awash in Tales- Noah's Flood and Other Flood Myths, February, 2010

Dr. Frank Wind, a professional geologist and storyteller, has been an active member of CDHS. His talk was entitled “Awash in Tales – the Biblical Story of Noah’s Flood and Other Flood Myths.” Dr. Wind began by citing the famed 17th century calculation by Bishop Ussher that, based on the Bible’s chronology, the creation occurred in 4004 BCE – to be exact, on October 23....



John Delano- NASA's Search For Life Beyond Earth, January, 2010

Our January program featured Dr. John Delano, from the University at Albany. Professor John W. Delano is a Distinguished Teaching Professor at SUNY’s Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, and Associate Director of NASA’s New York Center for Astrobiology. He discussed the search for life beyond Earth, focusing upon the Kepler space telescope, launched last March.


[Past Events 2010]

[Past Events 2009]

[Past Events 2008]

[Past Events 2007]

[Past Events 2006]

[Past Events 2005]

[Past Events 2004]

[Past Events 2003]

[Past Events 2002]

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