Watch past Happy Hour recordings
Season 8 Recordings

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 4:00 PM (EDT)

Discovering Faulkner’s American South in 1990s Pakistan with Dr. Saima Sherazi

The 1990s found agrarian societies in Pakistan undergoing profound transitions, not unlike the American South in the first part of the twentieth century. William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” captures the stark confrontation between waning Southern aristocracy (the Compson family) and the ascendant middle class represented by the Snopes family.

Dr. Saima Sherazi will take us through the experience of coping with societal change, especially when that change occurs in a setting with entrenched social hierarchies and gender roles. That setting could be rural Pakistan, or the American South of the 1920s. In either place there is upheaval – urbanization and industrialization collide with traditional dynamics of gender and class. Dr. Sherazi will share her experience of teaching Faulkner in an all-girls college in a still conservative Pakistan – far removed from the American South, but nonetheless undergoing similar social upheavals.


Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 5:00 PM (EDT)

Shakespeare: How Leaders Rise, Rule, and Fall with Eliot A. Cohen

Perhaps our best teacher on the nature of power – how it is acquired, exercised, and lost – is none other than William Shakespeare. An incisive observer of human nature, Shakespeare educates us on the qualities that make a successful leader and warns how power can corrupt a leader’s moral compass. Four centuries after his death, Shakespeare’s plays continue to inspire and relate to a 21st-century audience, and we can learn more about our contemporary political leaders through the lens of his characters. Join our next ESU Happy Hour as Dr. Eliot Cohen compares some of the most memorable leaders of Shakespeare’s plays to their real-world contemporary counterparts. Tracing the art of power from its acquisition to decline.


Tuesday, April 9, 2024 at 4:00 PM (EDT)

Winston Churchill and the United States of America with Timothy Riley

On April 9, 1963, President Kennedy signed a House Resolution proclaiming Sir Winston Churchill an Honorary Citizen of the United States. This program will examine and explore Churchill’s life-long admiration for America and his belief that a “special relationship” between Britain and the United States would benefit both countries and the greater world. We invite ESU members and guests around the world to celebrate National Winston Churchill Day on April 9th with our guest speaker, Timothy Riley, Director and Chief Curator of America’s National Churchill Museum.


Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 5:00 PM (EDT)

The Remarkable Tommy Lascelles with Terry Mulchahey

Alan Frederick “Tommy” Lascelles had a remarkable career serving four sovereigns of Great Britain from George V to Queen Elizabeth II in the role of Private Secretary or Assistant Private Secretary. From the death of a monarch, through the abdication of another, World War II, the death of a second monarch and the ascension of a young woman to the throne, Tommy was there closely observing everything. Was he the malevolent martinet as portrayed by Pip Torrens in the Netflix series “The Crown” or was he merely wholly dedicated to preserving the Monarchy by guiding the Monarch?


Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 4:00 PM (EDT)

The Kindertransport to Britain with Holly Mandelkern

From December 1938 until the start of WWII, the Kindertransport operation brought 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia to Britain. Leaving their parents and homes behind, the children would face many challenges and responsibilities in a new country. This endeavor required the commitment of many individuals, humanitarian organizations, and the British government to ensure the safety and well-being of the children. Guest speaker, Holly Mandelkern, acclaimed author and lecturer, tells the story of the harrowing journey these children endured before the start of WWII.


Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 4 PM (ET)

An Ancient and Global History of the Book with Professor James Raven

As James Raven writes, “perhaps we think we know what a book is—it has a cover and a spine and it’s usually printed. It might be illustrated and it’s usually read, although sometimes not all the way through. But over many thousands of years, books have come in many different material forms and have served many different purposes. What, in fact, is a book? In this richly illustrated talk, Professor Raven takes us from the earliest inscribed shells, stones, and clay tablets through to knotted strings, buffalo hides, illuminated manuscripts, printed codices, and the modern digital age. This global journey invites comparisons between materials such as papyrus, silk, bamboo, and plant leaves, and explores different ways of creating texts by writing, painting, imprinting, and digitizing.