After taking August off, we’re back in September, and this month, we’re part of Read Across Lawrence! The presentations will relate to the Dust Bowl (aka The Dirty Thirties), the subject of this year’s Read Across Lawrence book, Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time.

NN20-flyerWe will be selling our special Nerd Nite pint glasses. Buy a glass and use it for any beer or cocktails from the bar!

Also, we’re going to have a raffle! because, RAFFLES! details soon!

Wednesday, Sept 11
Doors at 7PM, Presentations at 8PM
The Alton Ballroom at Pachamama’s (8th and New Hampshire)


From one-ways to listers: The agricultural equipment that helped usher in the Dust Bowl by Beth Beavers

Considering her fascination with early American history (her dog’s name is Thomas Jefferson) and stern criticism of everything ever, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise when Beth started her career fresh out of journalism school as a magazine editor who deals with history. The big surprise was that a girl from the suburbs fully embraced rural America by jumping head first into her position at Farm Collector and Gas Engine Magazine, magazines for collectors of antique farm equipment. (A segment of the population she wasn’t aware existed.) Three years later, she can happily jabber on about everything from 3-point hitches, the difference between swathers and combines, and farm practices of yesteryear that kept the world fed.

You Need a Continent Against Your Feet:’ The Dust Bowl and Eroded America by Kate Meyer

In the second half of the 1930s, the eroded landscape emerged as a subject that artists, writers, and scientists utilized to convey their anxieties about the current problems and uncertain future of America during the Depression. The loss of soil and the exodus of Dust Bowl migrants described in imagery and rhetoric from the period reveal the extent to which America was rooted in its imperiled Heartland. Kate will explore these themes, drawing upon her cred as an art historian and Kansas native, and promises to divulge just what the Dust Bowl has to do with Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.

The Politics of Hard Times: American Populism and its Kansas Roots by Luke Wuhlford

Throughout American history, severe economic downturns have drawn out a strain of political thought that merely simmers below the surface during periods of prosperity. Indeed, populist movements have enjoyed their greatest success in American politics during the hardest of economic times. Although populism is an amorphous label that can be affixed to movements on both the right and left side of the political spectrum, the term populism is defined generally as a political movement that champions the common person against an elite and unfairly privileged ruling class. Despite its current conservative bent, Kansas can fairly be viewed as the cradle for some of the most progressive populist reform movements in American history. This presentation will provide a brief history of Kansas’ contribution to these movements, spanning from the Kansas Populists of the 1890’s to recent populist reform movements.

Luke Wohlford was born and raised in Kansas and he has lived in Lawrence for much of the last 12 years. He received his undergraduate degree in political science and his law degree from KU. Luke practices law in Topeka, and he spends his free time following KU sports, going to concerts, and consuming movies, literature and politics.

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