2021 Björklunden Seminars

The summer Björklunden Seminars are being presented virtually, using Zoom, and will run from 10:30 am to 12 pm CT. There will be time for questions to be answered at the end of each session. Registration and fee is required.

2021 Bjorklunden SeminarsWinston Churchill: The War Years, 1939-45
Tim Crain
Monday, July 12-Friday, July 16, 2021
10:30 am-12 pm CT

Winston Churchill was a politician, historian, and artist, who rallied Britain against Nazi Germany during World War II. Although he had many talents, his greatest gift was politics. Churchill rose to significant prominence in the Conservative party, and he ultimately led the nation to its finest hour during the Second World War.  The seminar will explore the life and times of Winston Churchill,  but the focus will be on his exceptional leadership during World War II. 

Recommended text: Erik Larson, The Splendid and the Vile.

Tim Crain received a Ph.D. in modern Europe, modern British and Irish, and modern Jewish history at Arizona State University after earning a B.A. and M.A. from Marquette University. His areas of specialization include modern Britain, modern Europe, and the modern Middle East. Crain taught for 15 years at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the former director of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education at Seton Hill University, where he was also a history professor. Crain is a recipient of numerous distinguished teaching and professional awards, and in 2015, he received Marquette University's Alumni Award for Leadership Excellence.

Helen Klebesadel
Tuesday, July 20 & Thursday, July 22, 2021
10:30 am-12 pm CT


This two session watercolor webinar with Helen Klebesadel will explore the concept of ‘positive shape painting’ in watercolor.  During the two 90 minute sessions Helen will answer questions and live-stream demonstrating how to use this approach in the creation of simple landscape paintings inspired by the Björklunden environment.  In advance of the webinar participants will be invited to a website with a list of materials required and contains a video lesson that explains and demonstrates the concept ahead of the live lesson. The website also will provide a place where participants can post their own paintings done after the lesson. 

Helen Klebesadel was a tenured member of the Lawrence University faculty, teaching studio art and gender studies from 1990 to 2000. She has continued to offer her summer Björklunden watercolor seminars annually since that time. Helen served as director of the University of Wisconsin System Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium (2000–2018) and as director of the Wisconsin Regional Arts Program (2013–2017). She is known as an engaging teacher and for her evocative and highly detailed narrative watercolors. Klebesadel maintains an art studio in Madison, Wisconsin and exhibits her paintings nationally and internationally. She has been invited to teach watercolor and creativity workshops from Texas to Alaska to Switzerland, but loves Door County and Björklunden best. Klebesadel is proud to be a past member of the Wisconsin Arts Board and a past-president of  the national Women’s Caucus for Art. Learn more about her artwork and exhibition schedule at www.klebesadel.com.

The Chemistry of Art
Allison Fleshman
Tuesday, July 27 & Thursday, July 29, 2021
10:30 am-12 pm CT


Chemistry of Art Part 1: The Chemistry of Paint Drying: It’s more fascinating than it sounds!
Paintings embody human expression, but they also encompass quite a bit of chemistry! From the optical properties of varnish, to the pigments that produce vivid colors, Allison Fleshman will take you on a chemical adventure into the captivating world of oil paintings. Allison has spent several years watching paint dry, and she assures you, it is quite a fascinating endeavor!

Chemistry of Art Part 2: Investigating Illuminations: how chemistry can shed light on a medieval book’s history. 
Illuminated manuscripts are medieval hand-written books containing colorfully decorated letters and images. Made of parchment (animal skin) and natural pigments and inks, these mostly religious books were prized possessions and handed down for generations. Their pages have enlightened art-historians of medieval Europe, but recently the chemists have taken a closer look. In this talk, Allison will share how chemists investigate the illumination colors, the medieval inks, and even the origin of the animals used to make the parchment.  

Allison Fleshman is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and current Chemistry Department Chair. She obtained her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry and Bachelor’s Degree in Physics both from the University of Oklahoma. Her primary research involves studying materials used in lithium batteries, and recently took her to Oak Ridge National Lab where she studied the dynamics of liquid salts. Her other interest is in the chemistry of artistic materials, in particular, illuminated manuscripts. She has taught courses in the chemistry of art, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics—which have more overlap than you would think! 

Is American Democracy in Trouble?
Terry Moran ’82
Tuesday, August 3 & Thursday, August 5, 2021
10:30 am-12 pm CT


In January, for only the second time in our history, Americans failed to have a peaceful transfer of presidential power after an election. Not since 1860, when the South rose up to defy the constitutional election of of Abraham Lincoln, has our democracy faced a crisis like this. The crisis continues, and it deepens by the day.

What does it mean that so many millions of Americans remain willing to reject the basic arithmetic and the fundamental values of our democracy? This is something new in our country. Our seminar will try to find concepts and language that might help us understand this moment, and find a way out of it.

Suggested reading: “How to Lose a Country: The 7 Steps From Democracy to Dictatorship,” by Ece Temelkuran.

Terry Moran ’82 is a Senior National Correspondent at ABC News. Based in Washington, D.C., Moran covers national politics and policy, reporting from the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and the campaign trail for all ABC News programs. Previously, Moran served as ABC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent, based in London, as co-anchor of the ABC News show Nightline from 2005-2013 and as Chief White House Correspondent from 1999-2005.

When Fictions Tell History: The Case of Occupied France
Eilene Hoft-March
Tuesday, August 10 & Thursday, August 12, 2021
10:30 am-12 pm CT

The French began telling their stories of living under German occupation (1940-44) even while German boots and tanks were churning up French soil. We have only to think of the classic underground novel, Le Silence de la mer [The Silence of the Sea] published in 1942. In the war’s immediate aftermath, anecdotes, histories, and fictions dwelled on heroic resistance, both real and imagined. It took several decades for more balanced and sometimes less flattering representations to emerge. In this mini-course, we will look at how French works of fiction (novels, films, TV series) have taken on the task of “telling” history, both forging a national narrative and refashioning it over time. Just as importantly, we will consider the ethical challenges to storytelling that have arisen as a generation of witnesses to this history is disappearing. Recommended reading for Day Two:  Soazig Aaron’s Le Non de Klara, 2002 (English translation:  Refusal, 2008).

Eilene Hoft-March is professor of French, Milwaukee-Downer and College Endowment Association Professor of Liberal Studies. She holds the B.A. in English and French from Carroll University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in French from the University of California, Berkeley. She contributes to First Year Studies, Gender Studies, and Global Studies. Her published research has grown out of an interest in 20th- and early 21st-century French fiction and life writing with secondary interests in European philosophy and history.

Chekhov: On the Beaten Path
Peter Thomas
Tuesday, August 17 & Thursday, August 19, 2021
10:30 am-12 pm CT

This seminar is designed to be an introduction to the brilliance of Anton Chekhov’s prose.  Taking our cue from George Saunder’s recent book A Swim In A Pond In The Rain, we will caress the details in a few of Chekhov’s most well-known and well-loved stories, as well as his last play, The Cherry Orchard.  We will explore the narrative voices, unpack the historical and cultural background, and discuss what necessarily gets lost in translation.
Our first session will be devoted to Chekhov’s late stories: the trilogy “The Man In The Case,” “Gooseberries,” and “About Love;” “The Sweetheart;” “The Lady With The Little Dog;” and “The Bishop.”
Our second session will tie up any loose ends that may have remained from the first, and then dive into The Cherry Orchard.
All readings are from Anton Chekhov’s Selected Stories (978-0393925302) and Chekhov: The Essential Plays (978-0375761348).

Peter Thomas has been teaching Russian language and culture in the Russian Department at Lawrence University since 2006. Before coming to Lawrence, he taught courses in comparative literature and in Russian language, culture and film, at Northwestern University, Beloit College and St. Olaf College.  Since arriving at Lawrence, Thomas has received the Young Teacher Award (2013) and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award (2015).

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