One of the most popular programs offered at the American Center is our Speakers
Series, featuring U.S. experts in diverse fields including politics, culture, economics
and education. They share their knowledge and engage with our audiences on a
variety of topics.
The Influence of the Colonists’ Relations with American Indians on American History and Identity
Native Americans shaped the colonial project in many ways. Indians made European colonization possible by supplying food, trade, technology, labor, and other resources –sometimes voluntarily, and sometimes involuntarily– that powered the North American economy. Indians incorporated Europeans into trade and military alliance networks that became essential to imperial power in North America. Indian affairs and wars dominated the affairs of colonial states and, later, of the U.S. government, for centuries. Indigenous actions influenced milestone events like the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War and the U.S. Civil War. Intercultural exchange was part of this story, and we will discuss mutual influences and cultural clashes.
Margaret Ellen Newell received her A.B. in History and Spanish from Brown University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Early American History from the University of Virginia. Her research and teaching interests include colonial and Revolutionary America, Native American History, economic history, material culture, and comparative colonial American/Latin American History. Her most recent book, Brethren by Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery won the 2016 James A. Rawley prize for the best book on the history of race relations in the U.S., awarded by the Organization of American Historians and also received the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Prize for 2016 from the Massachusetts Historical Society. Professor Newell’s teaching interests include the use of technology in the classroom. She has given presentations on teaching and multimedia and on electronic publishing at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and has published an article on her experiences “Subterranean Digital Blues; or, How a former Technophobe Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Multimedia,” Journal of American History, 84 (March 1997).
Sign-Up for April 18, 2019 Lecture
Alexis in America: A Russian Grand Duke’s Tour, 1871-1872
In the autumn of 1871, Alexis Romanov, the fourth son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, set sail from his homeland for an extended journey through the United States and Canada. A major milestone in U.S.-Russia relations, the tour also served Duke Alexis’s family by helping to extricate him from an unsuitable romantic entanglement with the daughter of a poet. Alexis in America recounts the duke’s progress through the major American cities, detailing his meetings with celebrated figures such as Samuel Morse and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and describing the national self-reflection that his presence spurred in the American people.
The first Russian royal ever to visit the United States, Alexis received a tour through post-Civil War America that emphasized the nation’s cultural unity. While the enthusiastic American media breathlessly reported every detail of his itinerary and entourage, Alexis visited Niagara Falls, participated in a bison hunt with Buffalo Bill Cody, and attended the Krewe of Rex’s first Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. As word of the royal visitor spread, the public flocked to train depots and events across the nation to catch a glimpse of the grand duke. Some speculated that Russia and America were considering a formal alliance, while others surmised that he had come to the United States to find a bride.
Lee A. Farrow grew up in Louisiana and received a Ph.D. in History from Tulane University, with a specialty in Russian History. The research for her dissertation became her first book, “Between Clan and Crown: The Struggle to Define Noble Property Rights in Imperial Russia” (2004). She is also the author of two other books Alexis in America: A Grand Duke’s Tour, 1871-72, and Seward’s Folly: A New Look at the Alaska Purchase and many articles. Lee is currently working on a new book entitled Russian-American Relations in the Age of Reform and Reconstruction: The Catacazy Affair and the Decline of Imperial Friendship.
Sign-Up for April 19, 2019 Lecture
Over the years, the American Center has been proud to host U.S. Ambassadors, politicians, Olympic athletes, prominent business leaders, astronauts, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, artists and many others, who have presented lectures, workshops and round tables for the public.
We have also had the pleasure of hosting many local Russian experts, including leaders of local NGOs, journalists, scientists, alumni of U. S. Government exchange programs, directors of museums and many others, who have shared their vast wealth of knowledge and research in areas focused on U.S.-Russian cooperation.