Virtual Lightbulb Café: Faculty Book Series (Video)

In a new take on the Lightbulb Café, faculty authors discuss their books, describing the inspiration and research behind their work.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

The Virtual Lightbulb Café: Faculty Book Series showcases faculty experts sharing insights into their new publications and reserach. The series launched during Homecoming Weekend this past fall and featured Kristen Ghodsee, Professor and Chair of Russian and East European Studies, discussing her book, Everyday Utopia: What 2,000 Years of Wild Experiments Can Teach Us About the Good Life.


Ghodsee’s latest book is a tour through 2,000 years of audacious utopian thinking and experiments, with a trip around the world to explore places that reimagine how we might live our daily lives, from Danish co-housing communities to matriarchal Colombian ecovillages to Chinese micro districts. The talk was moderated by Julia Alekseyeva, Assistant Professor of English and Cinema and Media Studies.

The latest Virtual Lightbulb Café featured Jared Farmer, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History, who discussed his book, Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees, with Karen M’Closkey, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Weitzman School of Design.

Farmer reveals in Elderflora that our admiration for long-lived trees took a turn in the 18th century, when  naturalists embarked on  a quest  to  locate and precisely date the oldest  living things on Earth. The new science of tree time led to protection and veneration of some trees, while old-growth forests were succumbing to imperial expansion and the Industrial Revolution. Farmer takes us from Lebanon to New Zealand to California, showing that a long future is still possible.

Be sure to tune-in for our upcoming Virtual Lightbulb Cafés starting on January 30, when Brent Cebul, Assistant Professor of History, discusses his book, Illusions of Progress: Business, Poverty, and Liberalism in the American Century.