Humanities scholar and historian Clay Jenkinson returns to the valley for two special Vail Symposium programs
Whether he’s channeling Thomas Jefferson or discussing controversial topics like immigration or the Supreme Court, humanities scholar and historian Clay Jenkinson is one of the Vail Symposium’s most popular speakers. Jenkinson returns next week for two special programs: On Tuesday, he’ll moderate a discussion about “Voting in America – Relax or Reform?” with a panel of experts. And on Wednesday, he’ll explain “The Unfinished Journey of Lewis and Clark” and share insights into this dynamic duo.
“Clay’s visits to Vail are highlights of the year,” Vail Symposium Executive Director James Kenly said. “In addition to being a prolific academic, he is a captivating performer and his personal connections to the Vail Valley community inform his moderating and presenting.”
Tuesday, 6 p.m. at Eagle River Presbyterian Church: Voting in America – Relax or Reform?
The ideal in a democracy is that every citizen over 18 years old is entitled to vote. State legislatures should devise sensible, efficient and convenient ways to enable every citizen to cast a vote, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, zip code or economic status.
However, we have learned that when there are irregularities, last-minute changes to voting procedures or poll decisions made by unelected bureaucrats, the legitimacy of the election may be called into question.
Some reformers believe we need a national voting rights and procedures law that will bring clarity and regularity to voting procedures throughout the U.S. and to ensure that eligible voters are able to cast their ballots without inconvenience or intimidation. Others argue that voting is a state matter over which the national government has no authority.
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Join Jenkinson in conversation with reporter and author Erin Geiger Smith and associate dean for faculty affairs and research at the University of Colorado Doug Spencer as they examine voting rights in America.
Wednesday, 6 p.m. at Edwards Interfaith Chapel: The Unfinished Journey of Lewis and Clark
The forefathers of adventure travel, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were co-leaders of an expedition tasked with exploring land that the U.S. had recently acquired at the turn of the 19th century. Their trip would turn into an epic 8,000-mile-long trek — and the first big step in westward expansion in the U.S. And though you may have heard their names in elementary school, their story is more fascinating than what is usually skimmed over in school.
Jenkinson is one of the leading Lewis and Clark scholars in America; he is also the editor of the Lewis and Clark quarterly journal, “We Proceeded On.” In this program, Jenkinson will provide some background on the famous 1804-06 expedition (Lewis and Clark 101) and then talk about the future frontiers of Lewis and Clark studies. Now that the 13-volume definitive edition of the journals is available (free on the internet), it is time to read or re-read the journals with exacting attention: not to comb the narrative out of the journal fragments, but to explore the social dynamics of the expedition, its complicated relations with Native Americans, the mix of adventure and imperialism of the expedition, and the relations of Lewis and Clark.
Did Sacagawea really guide the expedition? Were Lewis and Clark “the best friends in American history,” as the late Stephen Ambrose declared? What happened to Lewis after his return in 1806? Did he commit suicide or is it possible that he was murdered on the Natchez Trace in 1809? Join Jenkinson for this special program discussing these and other remaining mysteries of the most famous exploration mission in American history.