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ABAC Lecture Series

The ABAC Lecture Series, now in its second year, has expanded to encompass not only history and political science but also topics drawn from many disciplines at the College. This year’s series includes celebrated guest lecturers as well as distinguished lecturers from ABAC’s faculty. 

Herbert Shippey - Flying with Big Look: A Memoir of the Vietnam War

Thursday, September 12, 2019, 7 p.m.

Howard Auditorium

The Vietnam War saw the first large-scale use of helicopters in a combat role. Helicopters allowed American forces to use air reconnaissance to locate and assault enemy ground forces and transport U.S. troops into battle. Herbert Shippey served as a Communications Technician Interpreter and was assigned to the Fleet Support Detachment at Da Nang Airbase in South Vietnam. Shippey’s company, Detachment Bravo, was nicknamed Big Look and was tasked with signal intelligence. Trained in the Vietnamese language, Shippey was responsible for listening to communications of the North Vietnamese Air Force in order to help protect American planes and ships in and out of Da Nang. During the lecture, Shippey will discuss the types of aircraft involved, the procedures that were followed, and the places planes were flown during reconnaissance missions. He will highlight memorable missions while enduring rocket attacks and typhoons.

Stoker on Stoker - The Mysteries Behind the Writing of Dracula

Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 7 p.m.

Howard Auditorium

Dacre Stoker’s compelling presentation weaves together the history of the 1897 book Dracula and Bram Stoker’s life in Dublin and London, with Stoker family lore. He then separates fact from popular fiction, revealing the truth about all things Stoker and Dracula. Illustrated with Dacre’s own collection of never-before published and seldom-seen historical images, this lecture gives a glimpse behind the scenes of the life and writings of one of the least-known authors and one of the world’s most famous books. Dacre is the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker and the international best-selling co-author of Dracula the Un-Dead, the official Stoker family endorsed sequel to Dracula, and many other books about Dracula and Bram Stoker such as Dracul: Even Immortals Have Their Beginnings.


This lecture is funded by the Cordell Lecture Series.

Dave Nelson - A Treat or a Trick? The Long, Strange History of Halloween

Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 7 p.m.

 Howard Auditorium

Halloween celebrations today are as American as apple pie and the Fourth of July and second only to Christmas in popularity. Everyone thinks they know the true origins - druids, witches, Celtics - but no one seems to know the entire story. One thing that makes it so American is its multi-cultural origins, stretching back to Ireland, Britain, Catholic Europe, and Mexico. Halloween has risen and fallen over the generations in both popularity and societal acceptance. This lecture will examine the origins of the holiday within the Christian church, the changes it went through in the late 20th Century as Americans saw it as both a secular and fun kid’s day, as well as a dangerous holiday full of poisoned candy, razors in apples, and rampant crime. We will try to answer the age-old question -- is Halloween a treat or a trick?

Jay Baldwin - From Dragnet to Blue Bloods: TV Cops and Why They Matter

Thursday, February 20, 2020, 7 p.m.

Howard Auditorium

Need a cop? You can find fictional police officers patrolling our streets 24/7 thanks to shows like Blue Bloods, Law and Order, Hawaii Five-0, NCIS, Chicago P.D., SWAT, and more. Such shows, known to media scholars as “police procedural” or collectively as “procedurals,” are a sub-genre of crime drama. Before 1948, no shows placed special focus on how cops do their job. Instead, crimes were solved by private citizens, often unwittingly swept up in criminality themselves. During this lecture, Jay Baldwin will treat procedurals as potentially important cultural artifacts capable of revealing shifting notions of crime and criminality, law and order, and justice. He will discuss the salient cultural shifts and the historical events that influenced those shifts, ultimately tracing the origins of the procedural to the training practices of the Los Angeles Police Department, post-WWII.

Sandra Giles - Mr. Pete and “The Baldwin Story”

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Thursday, April 2, 2020, 7 p.m.  Howard Auditorium

In 1935, then professor of English George “Pete” Donaldson took educational leave from ABAC. Matriculating to Ohio State University to earn a Master’s in Rural Sociology, he returned to Georgia to better the recreational and educational opportunities for “rural girls and boys.” For him, recreation included a heavy emphasis on the arts. Soon to become known throughout the state as a most entertaining inspirational speaker and performer, Donaldson built a platform that allowed him to address some of the most pressing higher education issues in rural South Georgia. These issues included segregation and the plight of agriculture. Donaldson was named president of ABAC in 1947 and continued in that position until 1961.

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