A student participates in a Lepage lecture via Zoom.

For the 2021 – 2022 academic year, the Lepage Center hosted a series of events on Turning Points in History.

We seem to be living in a time of unprecedented change. Are we at a turning point in history? What exactly is a turning point in history? To deepen our understanding of significant transitions in the present, the Lepage Center’s 2021 – 22 programming on “Turning Points in History” draws our attention to the past. In this six-month series of virtual events, experts on critical topics look to past turning points to impart lessons for today’s world.

All the events are ACS-approved and open to the public.

April 2022: Latin America and the Caribbean 

July 11 as a Turning Point in Cuban History?

Described as the largest anti-government protests since 1994, widespread public demonstrations against the Cuban government began on 11 July 2021. How did the paradoxical convergence of repressive measures and the widening access to non-censored information, mainly via 3G mobile service, spark the #SOScuba movement? What role does social media play in its facilitation? This webinar will discuss the role of artists in Cuban civic life, contextualizing the 27N and San Isidro movements within the Cuban revolution, the subsequent consolidation of the Communist Party's control over artistic expression.

Rethinking Latin American Independence Movements in the 21st Century

The year 2020 marked the beginning of a decade-long commemoration of Latin American independence movements. These bicentennial celebrations invite us to revisit how we understand the creation of these nations and their significance as turning points in history. How were the various independence movements in Spanish American colonies related to Brazilian independence? How did these processes shape the Age of Atlantic Revolutions?

March 2022: 1619

The 1619 Project as a Turning Point in History

Was the publication of The 1619 Project in The New York Times Magazine a turning point in history? Why has it generated so much public controversy? Join us for a roundtable discussion about the impact of this important essay collection with historians and journalists, including the Editor-in-Chief of The New York Times Magazine.

1619 as a Turning Point in History

The year 1619 marks the first arrival of Africans on Virginia soil. Why is this year considered a turning point in the history of the United States? Join the Lepage Center for a conversation with The 1619 Project contributor Leslie Alexander, PhD, about the significance of 1619 for our understanding of US American history.

February 2022: Philadelphia

Gentrification and Residential Racial Segregation in Philadelphia

A recent article in the The Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that Philadelphia is one of the most racially segregated cities in America. Join us for a conversation with a local public historian and the journalists who broke the story for a historically informed conversation about the past and present history of residential segregation in Philadelphia.

The MOVE Bombing: A Turning Point in the History of Philadelphia?

Was the bombing of the home of MOVE organization on May 13, 1985, a turning point in the history of Philadelphia? How are scholars and activists reclaiming the narrative by creating archives to preserve local histories and combat erasure? How can we historically contextualize the recent revelations about the Penn Museum’s use of human remains as “teaching tools”? Join us for a conversation with local activists and scholars about the significance of the MOVE bombing for the city’s history.

November 2021: Migration and Displacement

WWI and the Making of Modern Diasporas

The aftermath of WWI was a turning point in the modern history of involuntary migration, mass displacement, and global diasporas. Why did WWI displace so many people? What was the international response to the mass displacement of people after the war, and how did it contribute to the development of modern refugee relief efforts?

Migrations Across Central America

How do histories of migratory movements and policies in Central America shape the current immigration crisis? How has US interventionism in Central America shaped past and present migration processes in this region? What are the effects of US immigration policies on migrants’ clandestine journeys? How do we make sense of the contradiction between the recognition of the human rights of migrants and their lack of immigration status? How is the “illegality” of certain immigrant communities related to their race and ethnicity?

October 2021: White Supremacy

Global Histories of White Supremacy

As the world watched in shock, white supremacists stormed the US Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Was this a “turning point” in history? How are the actions and ambitions of contemporary white supremacists shaped by modern histories of anti-Black and anti-Asian racism and the historical ambition in “white man’s countries” to create a world order based on racial domination and exclusion?

White Supremacy and Classical Athens: A Turning Point?

White supremacist groups often fetishize ancient Sparta, but how and why are they also drawing on classical Athens? Are we witnessing a “turning point” in how white supremacists use ancient Greek societies as historical models

September 2021: Climate Change

Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change

Indigenous peoples around the world are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. How have Indigenous scholars’ historical and cultural perspectives contributed to conversations about climate change? How do Indigenous perspectives powerfully shape national and international climate justice movements?

Turning Points in History with Dipesh Chakrabarty

The Lepage Center kicked off its 2021-2022 event series with a keynote address by Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty, PhD. In this inaugural event, Dr. Chakrabarty explored what a turning point in history is and discussed his recent work on climate change and the Anthropocene.

  • 2021 – 2020: Decolonizing History
  • 2019 – 2020: Revisionist History
  • 2018 – 2019: Histories of Democracy
  • 2017: Fake News and Fake History; Endless War


The Lepage Center records most of their events, making them accessible to the wider community. You can watch these recorded events on YouTube.