Upcoming Events


The Search for the Elusive Female Chiefs of Vanuatu, January 19, 2017, 6pm

For over 100 years, researchers, writers and anthropologists have agreed that there are no female chiefs in Vanuatu or even Melanesia. Writing in 1914, William Rivers in his History of Melanesian Society stated that on Pentecost, females had prefixes to their names indicating differences in rank, but he firmly stated that this was “not connected with any organization resembling the Sukwe” – the male chiefly system. And this was the closest that women came to chiefly status. His analysis has prevailed, down to the present. So I was quite shocked when over pizza at the Numbawan Café a couple of years ago, my friend (and now the Vanuatu Telecom Regulator) Dalsie Baniala casually mentioned that her sister on Maewo was a “female chief.” I said, “That is not possible – there are none!” And so the search for the elusive female chiefs of Vanuatu began.

Join Lew Toulmin of the famous New York Explorers Club to learn more about his search for the elusive female chiefs of Vanuatu. 

Public Talk by Esther Katz, January 26, 2017, 6pm (Marx Library Auditorium, with Mobile Medical Museum)

Please join us for the final lecture in our Healing Women series! 


Pirates! Last Scourge of the Gulf, Mike Thomin, Florida Public Archaeology Network, February 16, 2017, 6pm

Two centuries ago, a massive wave of piracy struck the Gulf of Mexico and terrorized shipping along the Gulf coast. Florida was especially dangerous for travelers. Jean Lafitte and Charles Gibbs, two of the most notorious pirates from this period, had close ties to the Florida panhandle. One case of piracy even wound up in the court of West Florida in Pensacola and made newspaper headlines across the nation. This talk examines some of the broader aspects of piracy during the early 1800s in the Gulf and Caribbean. 

Public Lecture by Archaeologist Bob Kelly, February 22, 2017 (Time and Location TBA)

MARCH 2017

Raiding, War, and Cannibalism: Deconstructing the Myth of the Carib in the 15th Century Caribbean, Dr. Erin Stone, University of West Florida, March 30, 2017, 6pm

From Columbus forward, the Spanish colonial project was founded on the use and abuse of Americas’ indigenous peoples. Whether Indians were considered rebellious, cannibals, or “useless,” the Spanish found reasons to enslave the “Caribs” of the Caribbean. In October of 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to the Caribbean. This time he altered his course, heading to the Lesser Antilles. It was in these small islands that Columbus and his men first encountered “Carib” Indians. Finding various human bones hanging from an abandoned hut, and others boiling in a pot, the travelers deduced that the island’s inhabitants were cannibals. This judgment created the dichotomy between the “good” Taínos and the “vicious” “Caribs” that would survive for centuries. The Spaniards would use the specter of cannibalism, and the label of “Carib,” to justify the enslavement of indigenous peoples across the Caribbean and South America for decades to come. However, recent archaeological and historical studies highlight the fluidity of the pre-colonial Circum-Caribbean. While most evidence can only prove occasional trade between distant regions or islands, it suggests the possibility of tighter kinship bonds connecting the Caribbean islands to both North and South America. It follows that the firm distinction and conflict between the Taínos and the Caribs was a Spanish construction, ultimately designed to enslave Indians. This presentation deconstructs this dichotomy and begins to reveal the pre-Colombian relationship between the Taínos and the Caribs.

Science cafés are live—and lively—events that take place in casual settings. They are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist or social scientist about a timely topic. All Science Cafes are held at Moe's Original BBQ at 701 Spring Hill Avenue in downtown Mobile. 

Algae: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by USA professor Dr. Alison Robertson, January 17, 2017, 6pm

So You Want a New Drug? Exploring Why Prescription Drug Costs Are So High by USA professor Dr. Sandra Stenson, February 7, 2017, 6pm

Marine Worms - Engineers of the Sea Floor by USA professor Dr. Kelly Dorgan, March 14, 2017, 6pm

From Gas to Grass: The Conversion of Biomass Into Fuels and Other Resources by Dr. Matthew Reichert, April 11, 2017, 6pm

The Second Law: How Your Air Conditioner is Destroying the Universe by USA professor Dr. Christy West, May 2, 2017, 6pm


"We Remember" Film Screening with Commentary by Jerry Darring, January 31, 2017, 6pm

Join us for a screening of the film "We Remember," which relates Mobilians' accounts of the Holocaust. “We Remember” calls on six local eyewitnesses to tell their personal experiences in the 1930s and 1940s during the time of Nazi totalitarianism. Interviewing Tennenbaum, Philpot and others in the documentary are Mobile teens Victoria Hirsch and Cory Garfunkel, members of the youth group at Springhill Avenue Temple. This programming accompanies our temporary exhibit "Darkness into Life" and is being held in partnership with the Gulf Coast Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education.