David Blight gave the annual Merle Curti Lectures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, October 26-28. His lectures included: “Childhood of ‘Extremes’ and ‘Baltimore Dreams’: Slave Youth” on October 26; “ ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’: Words, the Bible, and the Mid-Life Radical” on October 27; and “ ‘Joys and Sorrows’ at Cedar Hill: Old Age, Family, and Fame” on October 28.
The annual Merle Curti Lectures commemorate the late Merle Curti, a pioneer in the practice of American intellectual and cultural history, as well as a beloved member of the University of Wisconsin Department of History for nearly half a century until his death in 1996. The Curti Lectures constitute the centerpiece of the department’s academic year. For almost thirty years, highly distinguished historians have presented new or ongoing research to large audiences, comprised of faculty, students, and members of the larger Madison, Wisconsin community. The series takes the form of three public lectures, presented on consecutive days, under an overarching thematic rubric.