Learn how the automobile shaped the U.S. with McPherson College’s weekly webinars

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McPherson College

The United States has a fascinating history with the automobile. Our entire society is inextricably linked to four-wheeled locomotion, and if you think it’s not, the weekly webinars put on by McPherson College may open your eyes to the intimate connection between the car and U.S. history.

“The automobile is so deeply engrained in us that we lose track of just how far its influence can be traced in our society. This series allows us to explore a little bit and prod at some of the particularly interesting parts,” said Ken Yohn, Professor of History at McPherson College.

Yohn is the host of the six-part series, but there’s an entire team of McPherson staff behind these webinars, each of whom chose to leverage the current global health situation to think different about the automobile, and invite others to take part.

“I want each episode to be as relatable as possible to both people who are very into automobiles and also those who are not as engrained in the automotive culture,” Yohn says.

Keeping the interest of a broad audience is no small task, so webinar topics range from road trips to the rise of megacorporations, cars’ ability to captivate teenagers to their influence on the democratization of art. Three sessions of the series have already taken place, but each session takes on a character of its own thanks to guests who join Yohn for a discussion and to share their unique perspective.

The sessions take place each Thursday, and the upcoming session brings two guests on with Yohn. The topic is “The Road to Perdition: How the automobile liberated women and captivated teenagers.” Joining him will be Abbey Paulsen, a high school junior who recently taught Yohn how to drive a Ford Model T (you read that right), and Tabetha Hammer of the Greenwich Concours. Yohn is very used to the classroom environment, but he strives to keep the impact of these classes high despite the lack of face-to-face interaction.

“The interactive capacity is stunted, but I am all about the life-changing aspect of my classes. It’s the most ambitious goal as a teacher, but that really is my goal. I want every one of these to be a concours-quality presentation. I want it to be original work that folks can look back on as a real contribution.”

Having tuned in for the last three sessions myself (including appearing as the guest on the first one), I can say these webinars are a fun way to learn and gain some perspective on the automotive hobby we all love so much. If you want to be a part of it, be sure to pre-register here to receive a link to view each live session. The team at McPherson intends to upload each episode separately to YouTube, but it won’t be until after all the live sessions are completed. Why wait?

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