Charles Mann's most recent book, 1491, won the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Keck award for the best book of the year. In this lecture he looks at new reserach on pre-Columbian America. He concludes that the Americas had actually been heavily populated and developed before the arrival of Columbus but then were rapidly depopulated by the introduction of numerous European and African diseases, giving Europeans the mistaken idea that their new land was a vast, empty wilderness.
David Brion Davis is Sterling Professor of History Emertius at Yale University and director of Yale's Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. He is the author of award-winning works that include The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1967, and The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, for which he won the National Book Award and the Bancroft Prize in 1975. In the Image of God assembles many of his wide-ranging essays on the origins and enduring legacy of slavery. In the opening essay, Davis notes the links between his lifelong concern with moral values and his extensive research, writing, and teaching on slavery.