Speakers 2014-2015

Iowa State Fair

Colin Woodard
The Iowa State Fair came to Simpson College a few months early! In March, we hosted a panel of three speakers who discussed the history and the importance of the Iowa State Fair. Photographer Kurt Ullrich, Iowa State University Professor of Architecture Thomas Leslie, and Chris Rasmussen, a historian at Fairleigh Dickinson College, all shared fascinating perspectives about the fair and its place in Iowa history. The three speakers emphasized the everlasting debate on whether the primary focus of the fair should be on agriculture or on entertainment, and they referred to how attitudes have changed over the years. Despite opposing beliefs on the purpose of the Iowa State Fair, there is no debate that the fair plays a significant role in Iowan culture that all can enjoy.

American Nations:

A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

Colin Woodard
There's never been one America, Colin Woodard argues in this award-winning book, but rather several Americas, each with its own, centuries-old ideals, values, and religious and cultural heritage. Understanding the real map of the continent and its rival cultures is essential to grasping our history, from the divisions of the American Revolution and Civil War to the "blue county / red county" maps of past and recent elections. Tuesday, November 11 at 7:00 pm in Kent Campus Center.


This program made possible in part through the generous support of Humanities Iowa, the James W. Hubbell Jr. and Helen H. Hubbell Foundation and the Wonder of Words Festival


Joseph Weber on Transcendental Meditation and Fairfield, Iowa

Joseph Weber In Transcendental Meditation in America: How a New Age Movement Remade a Small Town in Iowa, journalist Joseph Weber examines the impact of Indian spiritual leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s decision to make tiny Fairfield, Iowa, the American center of the alternative religion. Weber describes the group’s 1970s move to Iowa and examines its influence on the town’s economy, politics, culture, and architecture. He concludes by wondering about Transcendental Mediation’s future and what that future may mean for Fairfield and its residents. Tuesday, September 16 at 7:00 pm in Kent Campus Center.