Ill Winds: The Dust Bowl in American History and Memory with Dr. Spencer Wells

Ill Winds: The Dust Bowl in American History and Memory with Dr. Spencer Wells


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Friday, June 04, 2021 at 3:00 PM EDT
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Join Dr. Spencer Wells, American historian, to explore the rise, progress, and effects of one of the worst ecological disasters in modern American history–the Dust Bowl. 

Sandstorms 7,000 to 8,000 feet high; trains derailed because of dust. Such were the images engraved upon the individuals who suffered through the Dust Bowl throughout the American Midwest throughout the years of the Great Depression.

Together in this interactive seminar, we will ask how one of the worst ecological catastrophes of the twentieth century came about, how regular Americans sought to deal with the fallout (roughly 40 pounds of dust per person would descend upon individuals as far away as Chicago) of the Dust Bowl, and how the Federal Government strove to respond to the demands of its citizens. Additionally, we will ask how emigrants seeking to escape a dusty fate sought to start over, emigrating as "Oakies," en masse to California, all the while dealing with hostile officials and squalid labor conditions. The story of the Dust Bowl is, at its root, one of unspeakable hardship and awe-inspiring determination.

Led by an expert on American history, politics, and religion, Dr. Spencer Wells, this interactive seminar will explore the social, political, and environmental implications of the Dust Bowl.  Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of how this event fits into the larger context of the Great Depression in America’s history.

This conversation is part of a three-part series on The Great Depression with Dr. Spencer Wells. Each session is designed as a stand-alone seminar as well as part of a three-week series.

 

Spencer Wells received his Ph.D. in American history from William & Mary in 2018. He is particularly interested in the overlap between politics, religion, and war. He has taught courses on "Religion and War in Modern America" as well as "God in the White House" at the University of Virginia. He is currently writing a book on dissent in Mormonism in the mid-twentieth century as well as working on a volume on Quakers and religious tolerance in colonial America.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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