The University of Iowa

Sept. 21 WorldCanvass season opener to focus on the Napoleonic legacy

August 24th, 2012

Season four of International Programs’ WorldCanvass series begins on Friday, Sept. 21, with a critical look at the life, times, triumphs, and defeats of one of the major figures in European history, Napoleon Bonaparte. Hosted by Joan Kjaer, WorldCanvass explores international topics through lively conversation between scholars and community experts. The program is produced in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum one Friday a month from 5-7 p.m., and is distributed widely through television, radio and iTunes. No tickets are required and the public is invited to attend. 

Hailed as a military genius and revolutionary hero, reviled for imperial ambitions and over-reach, praised for the establishment of the Napoleonic Code, admired for his grasp of the power of propaganda in all its forms, and, perhaps, pitied for his death in exile, this complex and fascinating leader reshaped a continent and, although few Americans may recall it now, enabled the doubling of U.S. territory when he gave up French ambitions in North America, allowing Thomas Jefferson to make the Louisiana Purchase.

Guests on WorldCanvass: Napoleon and His Legacy will discuss Napoleon as both an individual historical figure and as a larger-than-life phenomenon. While the historical record of Napoleon and his exploits is rich and under constant examination and interpretation, Napoleon himself was an active participant in the creation and propagation of his public image. 

Our guests will discuss the UIMA’s extensive exhibit “Napoleon and the Art of Propaganda;” Napoleon as the creator of an empire; Napoleon as represented in art, literature, film, and music; Napoleon and America, with a look at new discoveries related to Iowa’s role in the War of 1812 and exhibits on display in the Old Capitol Museum and the UI Libraries; and will reflect on Napoleon’s legacy 200 years on.

Participants: Sean O’Harrow, Dorothy Johnson, Heidi Kraus, Jennifer Sessions, Anna Barker, Russell Ganim, Rene Lecuona, Rachel Joselson, Marian Wilson Kimber, Greg Prickman, John Doershuk, and Shalla Wilson Ashworth.

Please join us as a member of the audience at 5 p.m. on Friday, September 21, in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum.

For more information, contact Joan Kjaer at or 319-335-2026.