The spring portion of the 2020-2021 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies, continues Wednesday, May 12, with “Traveling with Twain in Search of America’s Identity,” presented by Loren Ghiglione.
Over three months, Ghiglione traveled 14,000 miles by van with two young journalists, Alyssa Karas and Dan Tham. They followed the path of Mark Twain around America, beginning in his boyhood hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. Stops followed in St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Elmira, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. (with a side trip to New England). The group then headed south along the Mississippi to New Orleans, north to Keokuk and Muscatine, Iowa, and west to San Francisco where their van fell victim to smash-and-grabbers. Along the way they interviewed 150 Americans about race, sexual orientation, gender, and other hot-button identity issues, reflecting on the differences and similarities in attitudes between Twain’s time and now.
Ghiglione is an emeritus professor at Northwestern University, former dean of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and the main author of Genus Americanus: Hitting the Road in Search of America’s Identity (2020). He is the author or editor of nine books. Prior to his 21-year career in academe, he put out New England newspapers for 26 years and served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He received a B.A. from Haverford College, a Ph.D. in American studies from George Washington University, and a Master of Urban Studies and a law degree from Yale. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.
About The Trouble Begins Lecture Series – In 1984, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies initiated a lecture series, The Trouble Begins at Eight lecture series. The title came from the handbill advertising Mark Twain’s October 2, 1866 lecture presented at Maguire’s Academy of Music in San Francisco. The first lectures were presented in 1985. By invitation, Mark Twain scholars present lectures in the fall and spring of each year, in the Barn at Quarry Farm or at Peterson Chapel in Cowles Hall on Elmira College’s campus. All lectures are free and open to the public.