McIntosh’s lecture addressed “the various threats of invasion that the Russian empire endured in the first 1,000 years of its existence and how those threats influenced its perspectives on the world outside Russia.” Specifically, he covered the span from 988 to 1917 A.D.
The Museum of World Treasures Collections Specialist Jordan Adams said the subject matter of the presentations varies greatly from month to month. The museum contacts local universities, museums and uses internal resources for presenter recommendations. They seek out speakers who have a real passion for their subject matter and are highly knowledgeable about it.
Adams said content can be “anything that has to do with history that someone’s interested in talking about because that’s what our museum’s about, it doesn’t really have one main theme so we like to try and expand and bring people from all different backgrounds in to talk about their interests.”
They first contacted Professor of History Cheryl Golden at Newman who then led them to McIntosh.
McIntosh has been studying Russia and the Soviet Union since 1989 and holds a vast amount of knowledge on the topic. He has served as both a military analyst and a foreign area officer until recently when he retired and began teaching at Newman University.
He was excited for this opportunity to reach past the classroom and into the community. He said, “Russia is in the news lately, and I think that opportunities like this one — an invitation for a history/political science guy to respond to an intellectually curious audience downtown — are valuable.”
As for the subject matter, he covered 1,000 years worth of Russian history including foreign invasions, The Third Rome, Napoleon, The Great Game and more. He said, “Russia has had foreign entities moving in on its land and resources — sometimes quite violently — for a millennium and from just about every direction on the map. At the same time there have been pervasive attitudes among Russian and Soviet leaders about being a standard-bearer for the rest of the world and this explicit mission to defend like-minded people internationally — whether Christians or Socialists. These two phenomena explain a lot of what Russia does throughout its history, all the way up to 2018.”
Though his topic of choice was broad, he engaged the audience well and focused on multiple key points.
The audience had many questions at the end of the presentation, which McIntosh responded to with understanding and knowledge.
There was a large audience so McIntosh has agreed to present Part II in November. The museum has nearly a full year of presenters booked for this event.
Adams said, “These speakers are people who are really interested in what they’re talking about and so everyone becomes interested as well. No matter how odd the topic may be.”