Vanka Lectures


February 14th @ Noon

Talk & Listening Session with Ian Nagoski

As part of his course, Art at the End of the World, CMU professor and founder of the Center for Post Natural History, Richard Pell invites you to a talk and listening session of music recorded by immigrants to the US in the 1910’s and 20’s. These immigrants, many who were the greatest musicians of their time and place such as present-day Syria, Turkey, and Germany, were fleeing the effects of war, genocide, economic and environmental collapse.

Introductions to Ian Nagoski: Canary Records & Ottoman Diaspora Music.

St. Nicholas Church, 24 Maryland Ave.Millvale, PA
Free admission.
Onsite parking is available.




March 22

Presenters: Michael Cary, Tim Kelly and Margaret PowerCover image for Hope in Hard Times: Norvelt and the Struggle for Community During the Great Depression By Timothy Kelly, Margaret Power, and Michael Cary

The authors of “Hope in Hard Times: Norvelt and the Struggle for Community during the Great Depression,” will focus on the similarities between the history of Norvelt, the small New Deal community in Westmoreland County, and that of the Millvale Murals.

Picturing Injustice

September 5, 2018

Presenter: Dr. Michael Goodhart, University of Pittsburgh

Why are problems like racism, poverty, and homelessness so difficult to overcome? Partly because they are so difficult to understand. These structural injustices arise from complex social and institutional arrangements, making them hard to analyze and address.

Dr. Goodhart analyzed three of Vanka’s murals—The Capitalist, Croatian Mother Raises Her Son for War, and Immigrant Mother Gives Her Sons for American Industry—to illustrate the artist’s gift for representing structural injustices pictorially. Goodhart argued that developing the ability to picture and discuss injustice in straightforward and compelling ways crucially aids our struggles for a better world and helps us to counter the demagoguery and scapegoating that offer simplistic analysis and easy answers in Vanka’s time and in our own.

Dr. Goodhart is author of Injustice: Political Theory for the Real World (Oxford, 2018).  Cover photo credit: Rob Long/Clear Story.