President’s Arts and Humanities Luncheon

Featuring Victoria Pagán
Professor of Classics & Specialist in Roman History

  • Friday, February 14
  • Noon – 1:30 p.m.
  • The Dasburg House

Conspiracy Theories:
How they emerge and why they persist
from antiquity to the present

The February 14 luncheon has reached capacity. RSVPs for the March 20 luncheon, featuring UF History Professor Lillian Guerra discussing the unique role of art as archive of the modern Cuban experience, open March 6th.

More about the Talk

Although conspiracies and conspiracy theories are as old as history itself, they have only emerged as a topic of research and study in the last twenty years. Whether considered beneficial or corrosive or both, one thing is certain:  The steady advancement of science, knowledge and technology has done nothing to dull their remarkable persistence – and may even be encouraging it. In this talk, Professor Victoria Pagan will delve into the reasons that conspiracy theories are such a fixture of the human condition while describing her journey as a scholar and teacher of conspiracy theory.

More about the speaker

Victoria Pagán is a professor of Classics and has written twin studies on conspiracy for the University of Texas Press: Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History and Conspiracy Theory in Latin Literature. She is also the author of Rome and the Literature of Gardens and co-editor of Disciples of Flora: Gardens in History and Culture. As an internationally recognized specialist on the Roman historian Tacitus, she has edited a Companion to Tacitus; she has written the volume Tacitus for the “Understanding Classics” series; and she is chief editor of the Tacitus Encyclopedia, an in-progress collaboration of 168 scholars from six continents.

Victoria Pagan

Upcoming Speakers

Lillian Guerra

March 20, 2020: “Art as Memory and Archive in Cuba Today” to be presented by Cuban and Caribbean History Professor Lillian Guerra.

Professor Guerra is the author of four scholarly books of history, including three books on Cuba as well as several books of Spanish-language poetry and a book of short stories published in Spain, Ecuador and Cuba. Born in New York to Cuban exile parents, she grew up in Kansas and Miami. Her most recent includes include Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption and Resistance, 1959 to 1971, recipient of the 2014 Bryce Wood Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association, its most prestigious prize for a book on Latin America across all fields, and in 2018, Heroes, Martyrs and Political Messiahs in Revolutionary Cuba, 1946-1958, published by Yale University Press. A veteran researcher and observer of Cuban society since 1995, Guerra is also a consummate  lover of Cuban art. She has curated shows of Cuban art with Yale University, Bates College and the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana. Guerra is also the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies and for the year 2020-2021, she has just been awarded a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 


RSVPs open March 6.

More about the President’s Arts and Humanities Luncheon

The President’s Arts and Humanities Luncheon is a new speaker series featuring regular free lunchtime presentations by UF faculty in the arts and humanities for current UF students, followed by informal Q&As and discussions.  Due to limited space, attendance is restricted to the first 60 students who sign up when RSVPs open two weeks before each luncheon. Once the attendance limit of 60 students is reached, RSVPs will close.  To maximize opportunities for all students, individuals may attend only one luncheon (no repeat attendees).

Past Speakers

Jose Valentino Ruiz

January 22, 2020: Beyond the Grammys, Beyond Yourself, It’s About People: Making a Meaningful Career as a Creative Professional presented by José Valentino Ruiz.

Dr. Ruiz's passions are expressed as a multi-instrumentalist, performing artist, record producer, composer, missionary, empirical researcher, CEO, author, and educator. His skills have paved the way for him to become a Grammy Award Winner, an Emmy Award Winner, a multi-Grammy Award Nominee, a Global Music Award Winner, a Parents' Choice Award Winner, and a 51-time Downbeat Music Award Winner. He is the Inaugural Director of the Music Business & Entrepreneurship Program at UF and holds a bachelor’s degree in music theory, a master’s in instrumental performance, a doctor of ministry in global outreach, and a Ph.D. in music education.

Author and Creative Writing Professor Jill Ciment

November 4, 2019: The Other Half: A Reconsideration of My Earlier Memoir, Half a Life presented by Jill Ciment.

Jill Ciment is a professor of English and teacher of graduate and undergraduate writing workshops. She is the author of Small Claims, a collection of short stories and novellas; The Law of Falling Bodies, Teeth of the Dog, The Tattoo Artist,Heroic Measures (a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize), Act of God,  and The Body in Question, novels; and Half a Life, a memoir. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a NEA Japan Fellowship Prize, two New York State Fellowships for the Arts, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Veteran Broadway dancer and School of Theatre and Dance Professor Andrew Cao

October 9, 2019: Pippin: UF’s 2019 Mainstage Musical presented by Andrew Cao.

Andrew Cao is a veteran Broadway dancer and lecturer in the UF School of Theatre + Dance. He danced on Broadway in Disney’s Aladdin, the 2011 revival of Anything Goes with Sutton Foster, and Nice Work if You Can Get It, spanning almost 10 years and thousands of performances. In addition, Andrew appeared on television in Iron Fist, The Mysteries of Laura, Blue Bloods, The Detour, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tony Awards, The View, Good Morning America, and Nickelodeon’s The Backyardigans.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Professor Jack E. Davis

September 11, 2019: Coming Ashore: Wonder, Creativity, and Beholding the Blue-Green Earth presented by Jack Davis.

Professor Davis is a professor of history and the Rothman Family Chair in the Humanities at the University of a. His The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in history, and in 2019 he was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship to support his current book project, Bird of Paradox: How the Bald Eagle Saved the Soul of America