The Academy of Lifelong Learning offered seven events for the 2020-2021 academic year, thanks to the expertise of ten faculty members across the College, in chemistry, the earth sciences, political science, public policy, history, and music. These events attracted robust participation from Trinity alumni and members of the public. Videos are available below.

2022 Events and Videos

12/8/2022: Imperial Wine:  Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre in conversation with Kevin McMahon 

(Watch a recording of the event here)

The Academy of Lifelong Learning’s directors Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre and Kevin McMahon will discuss Regan-Lefebvre’s book, Imperial Wine: How the British Empire Made Wine’s New World (University of California Press, 2022).

About the Book: A fascinating deep dive into the colonial roots of the global wine industry, Imperial Wine is a bold, rigorous history of Britain’s surprising role in creating the wine industries of Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. Here, historian Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre bridges the genres of global commodity history and imperial history, presenting provocative new research in an accessible narrative.  Copies of the book are available at the Trinity Bookstore, at major online merchants, and at special discount from the publisher (use source code 21W2240 at checkout:

03/15/2022: The Russian Invasion of Ukraine with Professor Sam Kassow ’66 and Dr. Sven Holdar  (Watch a recording of the event here

In response to the invasion of Ukraine, the Academy of Lifelong Learning presents a Common Hour talk with two region experts.  The talk will be moderated by Professor Kevin McMahon, John R. Reitemeyer Professor of Political Science, Trinity College.

03/03/2022: Light, Color, & Visual Perception: Neuroscience and Perception with Professor Michael Grubb (Watch a recording of the event here)

Trinity College pioneered undergraduate teaching and research in neuroscience and this talk offers an introduction to the science of color perception. Michael Grubb’s research addresses how we perceive the physical world in which we are embedded.  Every waking moment our senses are bombarded with information, far too much for the brain to process and render for conscious awareness.  We overcome this challenge by selectively attending to the world, that is, by prioritizing the processing of some kinds of sensory information, at the expense of others, in ways that facilitate goal-directed behavior.  In this talk, he will introduce the science of how we perceive light and color.  The talk will be moderated by Professor Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre.

02/16/2022: Human-Wildlife Conflict in Pakistan: An Anthropological Perspective with Professor Shafqat Hussain (Watch a recording of the event here)

Following the downgrading of the snow leopard’s status from “endangered” to “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2017, debate has renewed about the actual number of snow leopards in the wild and the most effective strategies for coexisting with these enigmatic animals. Evidence from Pakistan and other countries in the snow leopard’s home range shows that they rely heavily on human society—domestic livestock accounts for as much as 70 percent of their diet. Maintaining that the snow leopard is a “wild” animal, conservation NGOs and state agencies have enacted laws that punish farmers for attacking these predators, while avoiding engaging with efforts to mitigate the harms suffered by farmers whose herds are reduced by snow leopards. Based on ethnographic field, Professor Hussain argues that characterizing this conflict as one between humans (farmers) and wildlife (snow leopards) is misleading, as the real conflict is between two human groups—farmers and conservationists—who see the snow leopard differently.  The talk will be moderated by Professor Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre.

2021 Events and Videos

Faculty Grant Success: A Conversation with Professor Lindsey Hanson, ChemistryLindsey Hanson

A conversation with Professor Lindsey Hanson about her major NSF grant, the field of nanotechnology, and how she has “flipped” her undergraduate lab during COVID.

Click HERE to watch the interview.

Helping Connecticut Homeowners: Analyzing Concrete Foundations with Professors Christoph Geiss and Jonathan GourleyCrumbling concrete

Over the past decades pyrrhotite-containing aggregate has been used in concrete to build basements and foundations in northeastern Connecticut and south-central Massachusetts. The sulphur in the pyrrhotite reacts to several secondary minerals, and associated changes in volume lead to a loss of structural integrity. As a result hundreds of homes have been rendered worthless as remediation costs often exceed the value of the homes and the value of many other homes constructed during the same time period is in question as concrete origin and potential future structural issues are unknown.

Trinity College professors Christoph Geiss and Jonathan Gourley have developed a reliable and affordable test for pyrrhotite, and have analyzed over 400 homes in Connecticut and Massachusetts. They will talk about their work and how the results of their ongoing studies may be used in the future to assess pyrrhotite risk to homeowners.

2/18/2021  Watch Now

The Storming of the Capitol and the Future of American Democracy 

Panel Participants:

Cheryl Greenberg, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of History at Trinity College
Susannah Heschel ’73, H’10, Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College and Trinity College Trustee
Kevin J. McMahon, John R. Reitemeyer Professor of Political Science at Trinity College

2/4/2021  Watch Now

2020 Events and Videos

Presidential Election Series

 Why Cities Lose: A conversation with Garth Myers (Urban Studies) and Sean Fitzpatrick (Public Policy Grad/Urban Studies) conducted by Abby Williamson (Political Science/Public Policy and Law) about how political structures in the United States disadvantage its urban centers.

10/19/2020   Watch Now

Pandemics, Polarization, and Presidential Politics: Co-sponsored with TIIS. This panel, with Rachel Moskowitz (Public Policy and Law) and Kevin McMahon (Political Science) will explore various aspects of this year’s presidential race, including questions such as: Will factors that have mattered most in the past apply to the race this year? How closely should we pay attention to public opinion polls? Will President’s Trump handling of the Covid-19 crisis ultimately determine the victor in this race? Will the Supreme Court issue and the pending Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett change the conversation of the campaign? What strategies are the two candidates employing and how might theymake a difference when all the votes are counted?

10/22/2020  Watch Now

Red State/Blue State:  A conversation to help those living in more Democratic Blue states to understand the political situation on the ground in more Republican Red states. Trinity’s Kevin McMahon (Political Science) will moderate the discussion with Pearson Cross (University of Louisiana, Lafayette) and Randall Adkins (University of Nebraska, Omaha). Professor Cross is an expert on Louisiana politics. Professor Adkins is the editor of several books on congressional elections and an expert on perhaps the important congressional district for the 2020 presidential race (Nebraska-2).

10/28/2020  Watch Now

Behind the Scenes with the Organist   

An exclusive post-concert discussion with renowned organist Christopher Houlihan ’09, Trinity College’s John Rose College Organist-and-Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music, and Adjunct Professor of Music, ex officio.  This is in partnership with “Vierne at 150,” an online organ festival presented by Trinity Chapel Music and the Department of Music.