Events

The Myth of Race and Its Many Political Uses, from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America

December 09, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
In this presentation, Jacqueline Jones will focus upon the different uses of the myth of race in specific times and places. The life-stories of a Maryland slave murdered by his master; a fugitive in Revolutionary South Carolina; a savvy businesswoman in antebellum Providence; a principled Republican in post-Civil War Savannah; a school principal in segregationist Mississippi; and a Marxist autoworker in industrial Detroit all suggest the shifting, contradictory nature of racial mythologies from the seventeenth century to the present.

OFF-SITE EVENT: Sixty Years of Atoms for Peace

December 06, 2013 // 6:00pm9:00pm
The Department of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna, in collaboration with the Wilson Center's Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, will host a panel discussion on the 60th anniversary of U.S. President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" speech to the United Nationals General Assembly. The discussion will be held off-site at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue on 6 December 2013 at 6:00PM. Speakers include Joseph Pilat, Odette Jankowitsch, Elisabeth Röhrlich, and Oliver Rathkolb.

Yellow and Gold: Chinese Gold Miners and the ‘Chinese Question’ in Pacific-World Settler Colonies, 1848-1910

December 02, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Mae Ngai will address two transpacific circulations in the late-19th century — the movement of Chinese to the gold rushes of the Pacific world, including the forms of work and social organization that they brought with them from southern China and southeast Asia and their local adaptions; and the circulation and evolution of anti-Chinese racial politics from North America to Australia to South Africa, which led to restrictive and exclusionary measures.

Italy, the Cold War, and the Nuclear Dilemma: The Struggle over the NPT

November 25, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Why do nuclear weapons matter? Italy's military nuclear policy throughout the Cold War was an attempt to achieve a position of parity with the major European powers. The Non-Proliferation Treaty, however, challenged this basic goal, and both the signature and the ratification of the treaty became two of the most controversial choices that postwar Italy had to face.

Access to Capital after the Poor People’s Campaign

November 21, 2013 // 2:30pm4:30pm
As we mark the 45th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign, we must consider the mixed legacy of one element of their platform, the demand that access to capital be expanded.

WordPower: Written Constitutions and British Worlds

November 18, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
The proliferation of new written constitutions after 1787 presented British governments with both opportunities and challenges. By way of its empire and international heft – and increasingly in order to compete with the US – the UK came to draft and influence more constitutions in more parts of the world than any other power.

The Other Welfare: Supplemental Security Income and U.S. Social Policy

November 04, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Supplemental Security Income, passed in 1972 during an innovative and expansive phase of the American welfare state, marked an effort to do welfare right. But economic and political circumstances, as well as the contingencies of the moment, all combined to turn the program into a source of controversy over such things as whether parents coached their children to act “crazy” in an effort to secure benefits or whether immigrants deserved benefits.

The Family Jewels Then and Now

October 28, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
The famous 1970s investigations of the Central Intelligence Agency conducted by the Church Committee and others followed leaks of information from the intelligence agencies revealing activities that were illegal or abusive under the CIA’s charter. The CIA secretly compiled a document known as “The Family Jewels” detailing the abuses. This season of inquiry resulted in the intelligence oversight system that exists today. Now a fresh set of leaks confronts Americans, revealing widespread eavesdropping by the National Security Agency. What is the proper response to these revelations?

Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991

October 23, 2013 // 3:30pm5:00pm
During the final fifteen years of the Cold War, southern Africa underwent a period of upheaval, with dramatic twists and turns in relations between the superpowers. Americans, Cubans, Soviets, and Africans fought over the future of Angola, where tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers were stationed, and over the decolonization of Namibia, Africa's last colony. Beyond lay the great prize: South Africa.

Indonesia and the World, 1965-66

October 21, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Pro-communist coup, military counter-coup, and subsequent mass killings in Indonesia in 1965/66 represent one of the major dramas of the Cold War. The powerful domestic impact of those events continues to haunt Indonesia until today, while the role of foreign actors remains largely hidden. Basing their talk on the first international academic conference held on this subject on Indonesian territory (in 2011), the speakers will introduce their edited book, Indonesia and the World, 1965-66, discuss international complicities, and address the current state of debate.

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Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Pieter Biersteker // Editorial Assistant
  • Laura Deal // Catalog Specialist
  • Charles Kraus // Program Assistant
  • Evan Pikulski // Program Assistant
  • Roy O. Kim // Program Assistant