2009 History Lecture Series

The University of Washington Alumni Association and College of Arts & Sciences History Lecture Series began in 1975, featuring legendary UW History Professor Giovanni Costigan. Now in its 34th year, this series continues to be one of the most popular lifelong learning programs offered to alumni, friends and the University community at large.

This year, the UW Alumni Association and College of Arts & Sciences are excited to offer The Vatican in the 20th Century: The Popes Confront a Turbulent World, presented by Associate Professor of History James Ramon Felak.

When:Tuesdays, January 20, 27, February 3, 10, 17 2009, 7-9 p.m.
Where:Kane Hall Room 130, UW Seattle Campus
Cost: Series Tickets: UWAA Member $50, Non-member $60, Student $20
Patron Tickets: UWAA Member $100, Non-member $125
Patron Tickets with parking pass: UWAA Member $125, Non-member $150
Individual Lectures: UWAA Member $12, Non-member $15, Student $5
Online tickets sales for the History Lecture Series are now closed.

Patron Tickets include all five lectures, preferred seating, and a tax-deductible donation to the UWAA, the College of Arts & Sciences and scholarship funds. Non-member Patron Tickets also include UWAA membership. A parking pass can be added for $25.


January 20
1914-1939—Benedict XV and Pius XI
Benedict XV (1914-1922) spent his pontificate dealing with what he regarded as an unjust war followed by an unjust peace. Pius XI (1922-1938) saw the rise to power of Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler, along with the Great Depression and the diplomatic and military maneuvering that paved the way for World War II. This lecture discusses how these two popes dealt with a Europe rife with monumental moral and political choices.

January 27
1939-1958—Pius XII
Pius XII (1939-1958) was pope during the Second World War, the Holocaust and the early stages of the Cold War. He is considered the most controversial pope of the century, and this lecture probes Pius’ notorious policy of “silence” in the face of 20th century Europe’s worst crimes, as well as explores his diplomacy during the period when the Western democracies contended first with Hitler and later the Soviet Union.

February 3
1958-1978—John XXIII and Paul VI
John XXIII (1958-1963) was perhaps the most beloved person of his time, launching the Second Vatican Council in an attempt to bring the Catholic Church into closer dialogue with the modern world and some of Catholicism’s traditional enemies. Paul VI (1963-1978) finished the work of the Council and dealt with its turbulent aftermath, most notably as the Church responded to his controversial teachings on contraception. This lecture focuses on the two popes who helped bring about the most dramatic changes in the history of the Catholic Church.

February 10
1978-2005—John Paul II
John Paul II (1978-2005) helped bring down communism and was the most profound teacher of any modern pontiff. This lecture examines his role in the collapse of communism, his most significant teaching documents, his attitude towards nationalism, and his path-breaking and problematic relations with non-Christian religions.

February 17
2005 to the Present—Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI (2005 to the present) inherited a Catholic Church in a time when Christianity in Europe is in marked decline and in a world where religious faith and religious tensions are on the upswing. This lecture focuses on Benedict’s responses to secularization, Islam and the “war on terror.” It includes commentary on his 2008 visit to the United States and concludes by summarizing the major points from the 2009 History Lecture Series.

About Professor Felak

Associate Professor of History James Ramon Felak has taught at the University of Washington since 1989. He received his B.A. from the UW's Jackson School of International Studies and his M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Indiana University. Specializing in issues connected with nationalism, communism and religion, Felak is the winner of two book awards and a number of scholarly grants, and is past president of the Slovak Studies Association and a member of the Christianity in Eastern Europe Workshop. He currently holds the Jon Bridgman Endowed Professorship in History, and regularly teaches History of Christianity and an undergraduate seminar on Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust, as well as courses on East Central Europe. Felak's current research is on Pope John Paul II and Polish nationalism.

Location and Directions

The History Lecture Series takes place in Kane Hall Room 130. Kane Hall is located on the north side of Red Square on the UW Seattle campus. View a map showing the location. Paid parking is available in the Central Plaza Garage below Kane Hall. The campus is served by many bus routes - see the UW's transit info page for details.

Driving Directions: From I-5, take the NE 45th Street exit (#169). Turn east onto NE 45th Street. Continue east about one quarter mile to 15th Avenue NE and turn right. Head south on 15th Avenue three blocks to NE 41st Street. Turn left at Gate #1 into the Central Plaza Garage. Stop at the gatehouse inside the garage for directions and a parking permit.

Transit Information: The University of Washington encourages you to join our efforts to improve traffic conditions and to protect the environment. Please consider using an alternative to driving alone to get to events on campus. There are more than 60 bus routes from all over King and Snohomish counties serving the University District— 35 come right to campus. Getting here by bus is easy and inexpensive. For more information on taking a bus to the UW, visit the UW's Getting Here site.

Presented by the
UW Alumni Association UW College of Arts & Sciences
Become a Fan

UWAA on Facebook

Connect with the UWAA on Facebook and be the first to hear about special events and giveaways.
Upcoming Events
Define Alumni. Be a member