From Slavery to Revolution: South of the Border

Four Wednesdays, March 1, 8, 22, 29, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. | Audrey Jones Beck Building, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 5601 Main Street

An exciting change in American studies scholarship proposes that in the nineteenth century, the American South had less in common with the northern states than it did with countries south of the U. S. border. Caroline Levander, director of Rice University's Center for the Study of Cultures and associate professor of English, will  lead an exploration of this new comparative, hemispheric approach to the study of American history, literature, and  political science.

March 1: Whose America Is It Anyway?
Levander will introduce us to the new Americas Archive that Rice University has begun to collect. In addition to viewing such key documents as the first edition of the Chilean Constitution (1822), and Andrew Jackson's 1837 Claims upon Mexico, a pivotal document to the U.S.–Mexican War of 1848, we will discuss famous Cuban expatriot José Martí's acclaimed political treatise, Our America (1891).

March 8:  Slave Narratives Across the Americas
Cuba occupied a unique place in the political culture of the Americas. Its unique slave culture and revolutionary history will be viewed through Juan Fransisco Manzano's narrative—the only extant slave narrative from Spanish America.

March 22:  Filibustering and the Fight for Independence
A romanticized figure in the early nineteenth century, the filibuster or "freedom fighter" became a powerful symbol of democracy for U.S. as well Cuban and Nicaraguan citizens. We will follow the famous filibustering expeditions by Narciso Lopez to Cuba and William Walker to Nicaragua and will focus on an autobiographical novel, Free Flag of Cuba, written by a filibuster's widow, Lucy Holcombe Pickens. 

March 29: The Journey to "Free" Cuba
"Free" Cuba offered an important alternative example of race relations for African Americans like W. E. B. Du Bois, father of the NAACP, and the author Langston Hughes.  We will study it as it was encountered by the politicans, social commentators, and soldiers who fought with Teddy Roosevelt.


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Upcoming is Spring 2018! 

West Side Story: Leonard Bernstein at 100
Two Wednesdays, March 21 and 28, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Private residence directions to subscribers
A few seats available


Farming Wonders in Richmond, Texas
Saturday, March 24
Details to subscribers
A few seats available


What's on Lisa Falkenberg's Mind
Tuesday, March 27, 6:30-8:00 P.M. | Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, Hermann Park, 1500 Hermann Drive, 77004


Gorbachev: His Life and Times
Monday, April 16, 6:30-8:00 P.M. | The Junior League, 1811 Briar Oaks Ln, 77027
Co-sponsored with World Affairs Council of Houston


Behind the Pages: A Conversation with William Middleton 
Tuesday, April 24, 6:30-8:00 P.M.


For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.