Coming Home: Baseball’s America
Baseball still holds a grip on America. It serves a quasi-religious function, as shown by its central story, a journey story of hope: “safe hit,” “touching base,” “coming home.” And, more pragmatically, baseball has been a surprisingly innovative engine of social change, as shown by its recurring episodes of inclusion, an emblem of many journey stories from the Irish to Ichiro. To highlight these themes, historian William Woodward will lead a conversation using metaphors of hope, homecoming and meaning-making through baseball to trace the history of the game – and our nation. Whimsical and informative, this program will prompt us to discuss how baseball is emblematic of American culture.
The Gettysburg Gospel: Exploring Lincoln’s Famous Address
President Abraham Lincoln had profound respect for the Constitution. And yet it seemed (at least to some of his critics) that he bent it to the breaking point to advance his goals. Even the acclaimed recent Steven Spielberg film Lincoln portrays a manipulative president angling for votes for the constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. What was Lincoln really up to? Historian Bill Woodward will make the case that Lincoln based his constitutional and moral vision on the Declaration of Independence. He will argue that, in the few short sentences of the storied Gettysburg Address, Lincoln puts forth the Declaration of Independence as the key to his understanding the Constitution. Woodward will introduce us, in turn, to Lawyer Lincoln’s case against slavery, President Lincoln’s case against secession, Commander-in-Chief Lincoln’s case for presidential power, and Martyr Lincoln’s case for a new birth of freedom – all as a prelude to giving us a fresh and close reading of Preacher Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Gospel.”
About William Woodward
In research, writing and public presentations, William Woodward, a professor of history at Seattle Pacific University since 1974, explores the American experience – including the history of baseball. His 1988 essay “America as a Culture” was named best article in the Journal of American Culture. A member of the Society for American Baseball Research, Woodward has received the Pacific Northwest Historians Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and been cited by Seattle Pacific University for teaching excellence, campus leadership and meritorious scholarship. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College and master’s and doctorate from Georgetown University. Since 1997, Woodward has served as Seattle Pacific University’s Faculty Athletics Representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Woodward currently lives in Seattle.
For more information on how to book a speaker, please contact Zaki Abdelhamid at (206) 682-1770 x102 or by email.
What people are saying:
"Fantastic presentation. [An] ideal mix of baseball, history and cultural perspectives."
Check out a video of Woodward's presentation at Edmonds Community College as part of the Hazel Miller Conversations in the Humanities series.