Join Maggie Paxson and Alexandra Vacroux for a wide-reaching, long-looking, spirit-warming conversation and mini-concert as we prepare for this strangest of holiday seasons. Paxson is an anthropologist whose first book, Solovyovo, explored the way memory, tradition, and the present gave meaning to post-Soviet life in a Northern Russian village. Her second, The Plateau, explores other villages, these in southeastern France. During World War II, residents risked everything to protect strangers; today they offer refuge to migrants. Maggie explores the traditions and traits that might explain why these villagers choose selflessness in the face of need. Can their actions help us find meaning in our difficult present? Paxson's perceptive thoughts about the world should shake us out of our 2020 torpor.
And if the conversation doesn’t do it, her singing will! Paxson has launched her own series of solo concerts of music from the Second World War--sing-along, participatory events that she calls "The Bomb Shelter Café.” Maggie is also a performer with the Imperial Palms Orchestra, a 15-piece, 1930s-themed band based in Washington, D.C. Her interpretation of English, French and Russian songs from the 1930s-1950s will leave you convinced that art and scholarship belong together.