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SUNY GCC - Genesee Community College

Batavia, NY (01/23/2024) — The Historical Horizons Lecture Series is set to make a return in Spring 2024, presenting a captivating lineup of four Wednesday lectures at Genesee Community College, sponsored by the GCC History Club.

The lectures, scheduled to take place at GCC’s Batavia Campus in the Conable Technology Building, Room T102 at 7 p.m., promise to offer a diverse range of topics that appeal to both history enthusiasts and the general public. All lectures are free of charge, underlining Genesee Community College’s commitment to providing accessible educational opportunities to the community.

The series kicks off on February 7 with a lecture titled “‘Opera Was Not Written for New York Alone’: Circuit Chautauqua, English-Language Opera, and the Making of an American Middle, ca. 1910-1930.” Renowned scholar Cody A. Norling, PhD Musicology, will delve into the rich history of the Chautauqua Movement and its impact on the American Midwest, exploring the role of staged opera as a cultural bridge.

Following this, on March 6, historian Jess Maxfield will present “The Cautionary Tale of Encephalitis Lethargica: Epidemic Disease and Historical Memory.” Maxfield will shed light on the encephalitis lethargica epidemic of the early 20th century, drawing parallels with the ongoing conversations surrounding global pandemics.

April 3 brings us to “The Worst of the Worst: The Story of the Confederate POW Camp at Belle Isle in Richmond During the Civil War” by Associate Professor of History, Derek Maxfield. The lecture promises a compelling exploration of the Belle Isle camp, challenging popular perceptions about Civil War prisoner of war camps.

The series concludes on May 1 with a book talk by Civil War Historian Victor Vignola titled “Contrasts in Command: The Battle of Fair Oaks, May 31-June 1, 1862.” Vignola’s award-winning work on the Battle of Fair Oaks offers a fresh perspective on this pivotal moment in Civil War history.

Genesee Community College invites the public to join them for these enlightening lectures, providing a unique opportunity to engage with historical topics and esteemed scholars. Mark your calendars for an enriching experience at the Historical Horizons Lecture Series this spring.

For more information, please contact the Office of Student Engagement and Inclusion at

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Editor’s Note:

A photograph of the Historical Horizons speakers Cody A. Norling, Jess Maxfield, Derek Maxfield and Victor Vignola (pictured from left to right), courtesy of Genesee Community College is available at

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