Chats with Champions

This popular program brings outstanding members of the literary world, arts, and sciences to Skidompha to present programs that are free and open to the public. While the series’ emphasis is on top-notch authors, programs often appeal to a much wider audience.  

The widely diverse roster of exceptional programs has included bestselling, prize-winning authors, chefs, mystery writers, scientists, wildlife experts, artists, historians, criminologists, musicians and much more!

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Up Next:

June 26: Understanding ISIS with Jonathan Berkey

“Understanding ISIS” will be the topic of the Chats with Champions talk by Jonathan Berkey at Skidompha Library at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26 in the library’s Porter Meeting Hall. Please allow time for parking.

The so-called “Islamic State,” or ISIS, is now very much in retreat. Nonetheless, it represents the most ambitious effort by radical elements in the Middle East to establish a viable political entity. To what extent was it really “Islamic”? That is very much a matter of debate. The talk will explore that question, and try to identify the factors which made the “Islamic State” a potent force in the early 21st century by examining the deep historical roots of the movement in regional political developments over the last century, demographic and environmental crisis, religious ideology, and the fallout from the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Although the Islamic State no longer dominates the headlines, the issues that led to its rise are still unresolved. Jonathan Berkey is a historian specializing in Islam and the Middle East. He is currently Professor of International Studies and Professor of History at Davidson College near Charlotte, North Carolina. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Williams College and his doctorate from Princeton University. Although his research focuses on Islam during the medieval period, he also responds to student interest in modern Islam and teaches courses in Islamic civilization and the Middle East up to the present, including jihad and the Crusades, and nationalism and colonialism in the modern Arab world. He has written several articles and books on Egyptian and Syrian Islam. In 2003 he was given the Albert Hourani Book Award by the Middle Eastern Studies Association for his book, The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800.

Berkey worked on his current book, Shattered Mosaic, the Middle East Since the Rise of Islam while on sabbatical last fall in Round Pond. He and his wife Vivien Dietz, also a history professor at Davidson, bought a house there in 2014 and were delighted to find they could work on their writing with breaks for staring out the window at the Maine landscape, going antiquing, and sharing glasses of wine with friends.

CHATS CALENDAR OF UPCOMING GUESTS

Check this page and our calendar for the schedule of presentations and for more information about each speaker. Unless noted otherwise, all programs begin at 10 am

   

June 26

Tuesday

 Jonathan Berkey: Understanding ISIS
July 3

Tuesday

Laurie Chandler: First Woman to Solo Thru-Paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail
July 12

Thursday

Robert Cekuta: US Ambassador to Azerbaijan
August 7

Tuesday

Barton Seaver: Chef, Cookbook Author,  and National Geographic Fellow
August 9

Thursday

Elizabeth Berg, Author

 

July 26

Tuesday

Joe Loughlin: Kate Flora: Shots Fired – police shootings
August 16

Thursday

Patricia O’Toole: The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made 

 

August 21

Tuesday

David Yarborough: Blueberry Horticulturist 
August 23

Thursday

KJ Gormley: Life as a Digital Nomad – A Tale of Two Cities
September 4

Tuesday

Pat O’Brian: Fiore Oils
September 11

Tuesday

Bob Hills: Cuba: Our Next Nearest Neighbor
September 18

Tuesday

Elizabeth Garber and Baron Wormser: Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect’s Daughter
October 2

Tuesday

Jonathan Alderfer: Bird Illustrator
October 16

Tuesday

Zip Kellogg: First National White Water Canoe and Kayak Champions   
October 31

Wednesday

Adria Horn: Director of Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services

 

November 14

Wednesday

Dr. Rhian Waller: Diving Down Deep: Deep Sea Coral and Other Critters

 

December 6

Thursday

Myles Felch: Maine Gem and Mineral Museum
Stay Tuned for More!