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Published September 21, 2018
A special edition of Saturday University -- the half day of college lectures and discussion offered by the University of Wyoming -- is scheduled Thursday, Sept. 27, in Pinedale.
Three UW professors will lecture on a wide range of topics at the Sublette County Library, located at 155 S. Tyler Ave., beginning at 6 p.m. The “Thursday University” program is free and open to the public.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and a light meal and snacks will be provided. Participants may attend one, two or all three lectures.
“During the fall and spring terms, Saturday University visits locations throughout Wyoming discussing today’s most captivating topics,” says Saturday University Coordinator Paul Flesher, a UW religious studies professor.
In its 11th year, Saturday University is a collaborative program that connects popular UW and Wyoming community college professors with lifelong learners. Offered nine times a year -- twice each in Jackson, Gillette and Sheridan, and once in Rock Springs, Pinedale and Cody -- Saturday University is sponsored by the university, Wyoming Humanities, Wyoming community colleges and local communities.
“Thursday University” is presented locally by UW, the Wyoming Humanities Council, Sublette BOCES and Sublette County Libraries.
Listed below are program topic descriptions and professors lecturing:
-- 6 p.m.: “Keeping the Story Going: The Land of Oz and the Power of Performance,” Kent Drummond, UW College of Business associate dean and associate professor of marketing.
Over a century after L. Frank Baum created the Land of Oz, the Oz stories and their characters live on. But how and why?
“The answers come not only from the book’s engaging characters, but also from Baum’s almost constant promotion of them,” Drummond says. “He kept Oz before the public in plays, musicals, slide shows and film -- producing many powerful performances as well as flops.”
The productions came not only from his creative drive, but also from a keen approach to marketing Oz, he adds. Drummond will bring a marketer’s perspective to explain how Oz continues its current popularity.
-- 6:50 p.m.: “The Rocky Mountain Locust: From Magnificent Profusion to Mysterious Extinction,” Jeff Lockwood, UW professor of natural sciences and humanities.
In 1875, approximately 3 trillion Rocky Mountain locusts formed a swarm stretching 1,800 miles. Yet, less than 30 years after causing such widespread devastation, the locust had disappeared. How did this locust fall from ecological triumph to extinction so rapidly?
“The scientific sleuthing that answered the question began with local historical accounts and obscure maps and extended to ice core analysis from Wyoming’s remote glaciers,” Lockwood says. “The killer lacked a motive and used the simplest of means; the extinction was an incredible accident. This fortuitous collision of humans and nature provides powerful lessons for the modern world.”
-- 7:40 p.m.: “Desperately Seeking King Arthur: History, Myth and Tourism,” Susan Aronstein, UW Department of English professor.
King Arthur is good business, Aronstein says. The monks at Glastonbury Abbey knew this in 1191 when they “discovered” Arthur’s tomb. The Earl of Cornwall knew it in 1233 when he built Tintagel Castle on a rocky coast with no value besides its connection to a mythical king.
“Medieval and modern tourists want to step into Camelot’s story, to draw the sword from the stone, to battle might with right, to seek the grail,” Aronstein says. “Arthur belongs to the mythos that makes England a preferred destination for American tourists.”
Her discussion visits two towns -- Glastonbury and Tintagel -- that have blurred the lines between history and legend to offer tourists a “real” King Arthur. Aronstein will explain how their connections to Arthur have transformed the landscapes and economy, and how they exemplify the increasing role that heritage tourism in general plays in shaping British identity.
For more information about Pinedale’s “Thursday University” program, call Flesher at (307) 766-2616 or email email@example.com.
For more information about Saturday University, visit the website at www.uwyo.edu/saturdayu/index.html.