Join us every other Tuesday for a virtual Connected Conversation to discuss various humanities topics with people around Idaho. Subjects span urban history, the presidency, cultural influences in Idaho, and even baseball. These talked are typically 6-7pm Mountain Time.

Each speaker will talk about their topic for about 30 minutes or so and then will take questions and discuss for about 35 minutes more.  Missed a conversation? No problem! You can watch them online and links are included below.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Holley, Director of Programs & Development (jennifer@idahohumanities) or Doug Exton, Program Officer (

From Alcatraz to Mauna Kea
February 23, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm MT
Speaker: Dr. Erik Hadley

Program Description:  This talk explores the historical perspective of Native Hawaiians with regard to struggles over land, sovereignty and community empowerment over the past 50 years, and how it fits within, and should be considered a part of, a greater theme of indigenous civil rights movements in the United States. Native Hawaiian activists tapped into the American Indian movement and in the process, became part of a wider movement for the rights of indigenous peoples impacted by American settler-colonial dispossession and marginalization. As the Native Hawaiian movement took shape, not only did it gain inspiration, momentum and support from mainland indigenous Americans, but, over time reciprocated the same. Native American and Native Hawaiian protests over land and sovereignty demonstrated growing indications of indigenous solidarity; Native Hawaiian activists joined the Standing Rock protests in 2016, viewing the Dakota Access Pipeline as a desecration of land belonging to indigenous Americans.  Likewise, Native American activists provided support for the Mauna Kea protests in 2018-2019, some even staging protests on the mainland.

Bio:  Dr. Erik Hadley received his BA in History from the University of Montana and MA and PhD in History from University at Buffalo, with specializations in Early Modern Europe and the Atlantic World. He is a lecturer in the History Department at Boise State University, where he teaches classes on medieval and early modern Europe and oceanic histories of the Atlantic and Pacific Worlds. His research interests center on cultural history, particularly folkloric rituals, identity and popular commemoration, in both Western Europe and indigenous peoples in the Americas and Hawai’i. Dr. Hadley is the recipient of 2019-2020 Fulbright Research U.S. Scholar grant to Belgium to study the historical evolution, commemoration and public memory of UNESCO-recognized folkloric ritual festivals dating back the late Middle Ages and has authored numerous articles on historic cultural identity in French-speaking Belgium.

After you sign up via Eventbrite you will receive the link to the Zoom conversation via email. Here's a quick guide to getting started using Zoom.

History of the Basques in the Western US
March 9, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm MT
Speaker: Annie Gavica

Program Description:  This presentation will give a glimpse into the unique history of the Basques from the late 19th century to current day, their immigration throughout the world and their impact on their communities, especially in Idaho. You will get a preview of Spain and France prior to so many Basques leaving the area as well as the incredible tourist destination it has become. You will also learn about the hardships Basques faced throughout the entire immigration process as well as their perseverance as they established themselves in the many communities in the western United States. Finally, attendees will learn about the Basque’s impact on local communities and how one can be part of the Basque community in Idaho and beyond. 

The Basque Museum & Cultural Center shares the story of the Basques in the Basque Country and their immigration and their establishment in the West in an effort to empower people of all backgrounds to explore points of connection and reflect on the common dignity of the human experience.

After you sign up via Eventbrite you will receive the link to the Zoom conversation via email. Here's a quick guide to getting started using Zoom.

Rural Farmland in Idaho

March 23, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm MT

Speaker: Dr. Jodi Brandt and Dr. Rebecca Som Castellano

It is no secret that rural lands are vanishing within the Treasure Valley and elsewhere across the Gem State. This land use change can have a range of impacts on the individuals, households and communities in Idaho. Join Dr. Jodi Brandt & Dr. Rebecca Som Castellano, both from Boise State University, for a discussion and Q & A on the ways this change is measured, the implications of this, and the social effects disappearing farmland can have on impacted communities.

Jodi joined the Human-Environment Systems Research Center at Boise State University in 2015. The goal of her research is to better understand how human societies and healthy ecosystems can thrive, on a rapidly changing planet. She focuses on quantifying human-environment interactions and whether they create sustainable environmental trajectories. She works with a wide range of people, including economists, ecologists and anthropologists, farmers, hunters and tribal communities.






Rebecca L. Som Castellano is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Boise State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Rural Sociology at The Ohio State University, her M.A. in Sociology from the University of Kentucky and her B.A. in interdisciplinary studies from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University. Previous research projects have included examination of the actors and interests involved in the construction and development of National School Lunch Program policy; inequalities within sustainable agriculture initiatives; food insecurity in both urban and rural contexts; and climate change adaptation. Frequently working in interdisciplinary collaborations, her current work focuses on the experiences of Latina farm workers in Southern Idaho, and land use change, including concern with the development of farm land and sagebrush steppe in Idaho. She is also currently working to develop research focused on how COVID has shaped local food consumption. For her work, she has been awarded several national awards, including a USDA National Needs Fellowship. Her research has been funded through a range of grants, including the American Sociological Association, the United States Department of Agriculture, and Mountain West CTR-IN Program for Clinical and Translational Research.

After you sign up via Eventbrite you will receive the link to the Zoom conversation via email. Here's a quick guide to getting started using Zoom.

History of Vaccines

April 6, 2021  6:00pm-7:00pm MT

Speaker:  Laura Jenski

Humanity struggled to contain infectious diseases long before the concept of microscopic germs emerged. The histories of smallpox, polio, and covid-19 illustrate how vaccine development has changed—and in some ways, not changed—in the last 300 years.

Laura Jenski is a retired university professor and vice-president for research. She received her PhD in oncology and postdoctoral training in immunology from the University of Wisconsin and bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from Northern Illinois University After decades of authoring original scientific research articles, Laura now writes what she loves to read—serious mysteries and farces—for her independent publishing company, Snowbound Stories LLC.

After you sign up via Eventbrite you will receive the link to the Zoom conversation via email. Here's a quick guide to getting started using Zoom.





The Welsh in Malad Valley

June 1, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm MT

Speaker: Dr. Jean Thomas

After you sign up via Eventbrite you will receive the link to the Zoom conversation via email. Here's a quick guide to getting started using Zoom.

If you have questions or suggestions about these conversations, please contact Program Officer Doug Exton at or Director of Programs Jennifer Holley at

The views expressed by our speakers do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) or the Idaho Humanities Council (IHC).

Past Conversations

Jennifer Stevens

“Boise’s Industrial Past”


“History of Idaho Falls Baseball - 80th Season of Professional Baseball in Idaho Falls"

Scott Slovic Pic

"Semester in the Wild at U of I"

Larry_LaRocco 2

"History of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness"

Click picture for video

"LGBTQIA+ History in Boise"

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"The Black Experience in Idaho"

Dan Prinzing

"The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial"

Marc Johnson

"Idaho’s Most Controversial Politician: Glen H. Taylor, the Singing Senator"

Ryan Weeks INL

"How INL is Changing the Future of Nuclear Energy"

HanakoHeadshot (002)

"Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp"


"Native Women Writers and Colonial Domesticity at the Federal Indian Boarding Schools"

Rick Just

"The History of Idaho State Parks"

Salome Mwangi

"The Refugee Experience and Boise"

Kathy Aiken

"Seeking Suffrage: The Idaho Story"

Communication department photo, portraits, Allison Corona photo.

"Beyond Fake News: News Literacy and the Informed Citizen"


"Approaching the US Constitution: Sacred Covenant or Plaything For Lawyers and Judges"


"Victory and Triumph in Ancient Rome"

Steven J. Pyne

"Fire’s American Century"

Carole Skinner

"A Dialogue on Independent Film"

Michael Faison

"A Discussion on the Arts and the Humanities"

Alex Meregaglia

"Discovering Vardis Fisher’s Boise: Reexamining Idaho and the Federal Writers Project"

Lisa McClain

"Women in Art During the Renaissance and Reformation"

Chelsee Boehm 2

"Archie Boyd Teater: Art, Architecture, Artifacts & Archives"

Wallace, ID

"The History of Wallace, Idaho"

Matthew Miles

"The History of Presidential Inaugurations"