New series of public talks will focus on the humanities

Renaissance map of the world

As part of its mission to promote the humanities in the broader community, the Oregon Humanities Center will embark on a new series of public talks by humanities faculty members from the University of Oregon.

The inaugural Wine Chats event will feature Nathalie Hester, associate professor of Italian and French and director of European studies. She will discuss "The Americas and Renaissance Italy" at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Civic Winery and Wines, 50 E. 11th Ave. in Eugene. 

Nathalie HesterItalian navigators, humanists, artists and poets played a key role in the reception of the "New" World in Renaissance Italy and beyond. Hester will explore how Italians in Venice, Florence, Modena and other city-states incorporated the conquest of the Americas in their cultural, artistic and political agendas. 

Hester is a 2018–19 Oregon Humanities Center faculty research fellow currently working on a book project, “Inventing America in Baroque Italy: Columbus, Vespucci, and New World Epic,” which examines the complex ways 17th-century Italian poets represented Italy's role in the exploration and conquest of the Americas. A 2019–20 National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship will allow Hester to complete the manuscript and prepare it for publication.

Hester teaches classes in the cultural legacies of Italy, medieval and Renaissance literature, Renaissance women’s writing, Italy and the Americas, theater in the Renaissance, and Renaissance court culture, among others.

Civic Winery and Wines is a new urban winery, wine bar and bottle shop housed in a restored 1930s building featuring reclaimed wood from Civic Stadium. Civic focuses on organic and biodynamic grape production aged on site in locally made ceramic amphorae.

The event is free and open to the public. Beverages and snacks are available for purchase.