History Lecture Series

Life, Death, and the Gods

The 2020 History Lecture Series

What happens after death? How should the living care for the dead? How do beliefs about the gods and the afterlife shape different approaches to death and burial?  In this exciting set of lectures, four UW historians examine  the relationship between the living and the dead in Ancient Rome and Iran and among the Aztecs and the Chinese.

Wednesday evenings, Jan. 22–Feb. 12. All lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in Kane Hall 130 (directions and parking information).

Special perks for series pass holders! As well as savings on admission, series pass holders enjoy reserved seating at all lectures and an invitation to a welcome reception with the speakers before the first lecture on Jan. 22.

Series Passes (4 lectures)
General public: $50
UWAA/UWRA member/Veteran: $40

Individual Lectures
General public: $15
UWAA/UWRA member/Veteran: $12
Students: Free with valid id

Video will be posted after each lecture; watch the lectures as they are released here.


Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020

The Body as Offering: Making Meaning of Sacrifice in the Aztec Imperial Past

Portrait: Adam WarrenAdam Warren, Associate Professor, History, UW

The Aztec Empire looms large in the popular imagination for its practice of human sacrifice. But how much did Spanish invaders exaggerate in their descriptions of its use? Explore how those living under Aztec rule made sense of the relationship between the living, the dead, and the divine.


Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020

Skeletons and Dining Couches: Eating and Dying in the Roman Empire

Portrait: Mira GreenMira Green, Lecturer, History, UW

From stuffed dormice to recreational vomiting, modern ideas about ancient Roman eating practices fall back on images of decadent excess, set against a backdrop of violence and disease. But what does the evidence say about how the ancient Romans actually lived?


Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020

Death and the Ancestors: The Religion of the Family in China

Portrait: Patricia EbreyPatricia Ebrey, Professor, History, UW

The powerful of ancient Chinese society went to great lengths to communicate with their dead ancestors, seeking their advice and keeping them informed of events. These practices spread throughout Chinese society to shape the everyday life of ordinary people, even in more recent centuries.


Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2019

Ancient Iran: Heaven, Hell, and the Good Life

Portrait: Joel WalkerJoel Walker, Associate Professor, History, UW

Ancient Iran possessed a deep and complex culture that possibly influenced Jewish, Christian and Muslim views of the afterlife and the cosmos. Explore Zoroastrianism — the “Good Religion” in ancient Iran — from its founder’s homeland in prehistoric Central Asia to communities in contemporary India and beyond.


UWAA and UWRA members receive discounts and advance registration for lectures.

Not a UWAA member? Join today!

For more information, contact the UW Alumni Association at 206-543-0540 or uwalumni@uw.edu.

 

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