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GCC history club announces Historical Horizons lecture series for fall 2023

By Press Release
Submitted photo of the Historical Horizons Speakers, 
courtesy of Genesee Community College

Press Release:

The Genesee Community College History Club is excited to announce the Historical Horizons Lecture Series schedule for the Fall 2023 semester. The series will kick off Wednesday, September 6, 2023, with Dr. Cari Casteel discussing "A Better Mousetrap for Your Armpit: The Cultural Evolution of Deodorant."

As of 2023, over 90% of men and women in the United States apply a deodorant or an antiperspirant about 6-7 times a week and some more than that. The store shelves are filled with a dizzying array of applications and scents. Before the 1950s, deodorants only came in two forms-liquid and cream. By the 1960s, the choices seemed endless.

In the years following the Second World War, the deodorant market underwent a period of rapid technological innovation. With the market at near saturation, technology and innovation had become the way to win consumers. New application methods including roll-ons, sprays and sticks filled the shelves. These new deodorants drove many consumers to frequently switch brands, opting for the newest, most modern product. This made it possible for an innovative deodorant to go from nonexistent to the market leader in a matter of months. Deodorant makers found themselves locked in a constant struggle to-in the words of an English Leather deodorant ad- "build a better mousetrap" for the armpit.

Wednesday, October 4 - Harold Knudsen, Lt. Colonel, US Army (retired)

James Longstreet and the American Civil War: The Confederate General Who Fought the Next War

The American Civil War is often called the first "modern war." Sandwiched between the Napoleonic Wars and World War I, it spawned a host of "firsts" and is considered a precursor to the larger and more deadly 20th century wars. Confederate Gen. James Longstreet made overlooked but profound modern contributions to the art of war. Retired Lt. Col. Harold M. Knudsen explains what Longstreet did and how he did it in James Longstreet and the American Civil War: The Confederate General Who Fought the Next War.

This book draws heavily upon 20th century U.S. Army doctrine, field training, staff planning, command and combat experience, and is the first serious treatment of Longstreet's generalship vis-a-vis modern warfare. Not everyone will agree with Knudsen's conclusions, but it will now be impossible to write about the general without referencing this important study.

Wednesday, November 1 - Derek Maxfield, Assoc. Professor of History, GCC

"The Victorians and Spiritualism"

Americans in the 19th century were increasingly drawn to the idea that it was possible to communicate with the dead beyond the grave. The Victorians, in particular, already romanticized death and sought to make the rituals surrounding it more attuned to their own values. They embraced the idea of a heavenly reunion in heaven and found solace in being able to communicate with lost loved ones through seances and other mediums. Many of the devices the Victorians created to deal with death stick with us today and have modern relevance.

Wednesday, December 6 - Dr. Aaron Sachs, Professor of History, Cornell University

Stay Cool: Why Dark Comedy Matters in the Fight Against Climate Change

We've all seen the headlines: oceans rising, historic heat waves, mass extinctions, climate refugees. It feels overwhelming, like nothing can make a difference in combating this ongoing global catastrophe. How can we mobilize to save the world when we feel this depressed?

Stay Cool enjoins us to laugh our way forward. Human beings have used comedy to cope with difficult realities since the beginning of recorded timethe more dismal the news, the darker the humor. Using this rich tradition of dark comedy to investigate climate change, Aaron Sachs makes the case that gallows humor, a mainstay of African Americans and Jews facing extraordinary oppression, can cultivate endurance, persistence and solidarity in the face of calamity.

Environmentalism is probably the least funny social movement that's ever existed. Stay Cool seeks to change that. Will comedy save the world? Not by itself, no. But it can put people in a decent enough mood to get them started on a rescue mission.

All events begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building on the Batavia Campus. Events are FREE and open to the public.

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