Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, is one of this country’s most prominent historians. He received his doctoral degree at Columbia under the supervision of Richard Hofstadter. He is one of only two persons to serve as president of the three major professional organizations: the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians, and one of a handful to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer Prizes in the same year. Read more
One of the most recognizable and popular documentary filmmakers of our time, Ken Burns chronicles those aspects of U.S. history that make us uniquely American. A perennial figure on PBS, Burns is the creator, director and producer of numerous award-winning documentaries, including Jazz, Civil War, Baseball, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and The Tenth Inning. His most recent documentary, Prohibition, tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed.
Burns has also focused his lens a number of other topics, including: The War, an intimate look at the years 1941-1945; Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, which tells the story of the two women who almost single-handedly created and spearheaded the women’s rights movement in America;Frank Lloyd Wright, the story of America’s foremost architectural genius; and Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, which chronicles the first official expedition into uncharted spaces in United States history. Burns was co-producer of Mark Twain, a four-hour portrait of one of America’s funniest and most popular writers. A compelling storyteller, Burns speaks on these topics as well as the creative process.
An eloquent keynote speaker, Ken Burns always address what we share in common, not what divides us. He discusses his famous trilogy of celebrated documentary films and reveals the leadership models in the unexpectedly dramatic story of Lewis and Clark, delves into the complete and often contradictory lives of great American figures including Thomas Jefferson,Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mark Twain, and celebrates the achievements of the common soldier in The War.
“There is too much ‘pluribus’ these days,” Ken Burns says, “and not enough ‘unum.’ I’m in the business of ‘unum’.” He does this in his films, of course, but also in his equally acclaimed and riveting speeches before business and community audiences. Great oratory has all but disappeared from our public discourse, so it is indeed refreshing to have Burns remind us…words matter.