Monthly Lectures

Monthly lectures are usually held on the third Saturday of each month (except in the summer and December), at 2:00 PM at the Community College of Philadelphia's Main campus in Center City Philadelphia, PA. Exceptions are noted below.
NOTE: The Community College of Philadelphia is now requiring visitors to sign in with photo ID. This includes PhACT meetings. Please allow extra time when coming to meetings to complete this process.
Parking is available for $4.00 in the college parking garage on 17th St. The garage is open until 6 PM.
Click here for a campus map.

PhACT thanks Dr. David Cattell and the Philadelphia Community College for providing us with an excellent meeting space.

The general public is more than welcome to attend our lectures. You do not need to be a PhACT member to attend.
For more information, contact Bob Glickman at
Executive meetings are held prior to the monthly lectures, at 1:00 p.m. Any member may attend.

Upcoming Meetings

Saturday, April 21, 2018 - Hip Hop and the Illuminati

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Community College of Philadelphia, Room C2-28 Details
Speaker: Rob Brotherton
The Illuminati Want My Mind, Soul, And My Body: How an 18th Century secret society took over hip hop (allegedly)

Have you noticed how musicians have a habit of covering one eye when posing for photos? Or making some kind of triangle with their hands? Or both? And what’s up with all the occult imagery in music videos like Jay Z’s “On to the Next One” and Kanye West’s “Power”? Is it just because it looks cool and mysterious? The conspiracy-minded say there’s something more sinister to it. This is evidence, they say, of a vast, nefarious secret society—the Illuminati—and its plan to institute a New World Order. What is the Illuminati and how did it come to be associated with hip hop? In this talk Dr. Brotherton will explore the history and social psychology of one of pop culture's most successful conspiracy theories.
Rob Brotherton is an academic psychologist and author of Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories

Saturday, May 19, 2018 - PhACT Expedition to Laurel Hill Cemetary

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: On site Details
Speaker: Mike Brooks - guide
At 2:00 PM at Laurel Hill Cemetery at 3822 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia.

In 1837 necessity drove John Jay Smith to create a new kind of cemetery in Philadelphia. Not that there weren’t already cemeteries. There were more than seventy of them in what we now call Center City. They stood in the way of progress and they were absolutely sure to prove tiny and inadequate for the city’s future population.
So Smith bought acres a few miles north of the city in an area that he expected to remain forever rural. He hired John Notman -- later to be a famous architect but then just a young immigrant from Scotland -- to lay out what the Victorians called a picturesque landscape. It would have gently curving paths, groves of trees, and splendid views of the Schuylkill. Later this rural cemetery would provide one of the important models for New York’s Central Park.
A Quaker, Smith may not have realized that his beloved trees would soon be supplemented by elaborate monuments of stone. And I mean elaborate: a model of the doorway to Moyamensing Prison for a prominent prison reformer, a mausoleum carved into a rocky hillside for an Arctic explorer, and a mother with children in her arms for a woman who died in childbirth.
We will see Victorian monuments and we will see such striking modern ones as a huge candle to light the darkness and a giant microphone for a beloved sportscaster. And we will stop at the grave of the Philadelphia photographer who, way back in 1839, took the first selfie.

Meeting Point: The Gatehouse at 3822 Ridge Avenue
directions -
Public Transportation: Board SEPTA bus route 61, the Ridge Avenue line, in Center City at any stop on 9th Street between Walnut and Arch, and get off at Clearfield Street across from the Cemetery Gatehouse. As an alternative, take any bus, subway or El line that crosses Allegheny Avenue and get the Allegheny bus, route 60,which ends at Ridge Avenue; the Cemetery Gatehouse is a one block walk southward.
Time: 2pm
The cost of admission will be covered for all attendees by PhACT
--Dr. Brooks was a Professor of English at West Chester University specializing in Victorian Literature and in Literature dealing with cities.
--He is the author of two books: John Ruskin and Victorian Architecture and Subway City: Riding the Trains, Reading New York, published by Rutgers University Press.
--For many years he led walking tours of the section of New York City that is now generally referred to as SoHo.
--He has been leading walking tours of Laurel Hill Cemetery since forever (or at least the early nineteen-eighties.
--He is passionate about saving the environment, fights invasive plants at John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, volunteers at Tylor Arboretum, and serves as Vice-President of the Delaware Valley Fern and Wildflower Society.

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