May 19, 2011 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
Death and Redemption examines the Gulag's role defining the border between reintegration into society and permanent removal through death. Steven Barnes focuses on Kazakhstan's Karaganda region, a location that hosted a number of Soviet detention institutions, and suggests that the Gulag should be construed as a "corrective facility," which gave its occupants a final chance to prove themselves through forced labor. Those who succeeded returned home after years of brutal, forced labor; the ones who "failed" died. Barnes traces the evolution of the Gulag from its origins post-1917, immediately following the Russian Revolution up to the death of Stalin in 1953. The author draws on recently declassified materials from Russia and Kazakhstan, including memoirs of survivors, to show that the Gulag as an institution remained closely linked to the Soviet idea of creating an utopian socialist society.
From Historian to Incidental Diplomat: The Writing of History Before and After Participating in its Making
May 18, 2011 // 2:30pm — 3:30pm
Former deputy foreign minister and negotiator for Armenia Gerard J. Libaridian will present a talk entitled From Historian to Incidental Diplomat: The Writing of History Before and After Participating in its Making drawing extensively on his own experience and revelations as a diplomat for Armenia and as a historian of Armenian foreign policy.
May 12, 2011 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
As the American public began to question the war in Vietnam, a group of scientists deeply concerned about their government's use of Agent Orange and other herbicides started a movement to ban what they called "ecocide." U.S. Deptartment of State Historian David Zierler in his latest book entitled The Invention of Ecocide, traces this movement, from the 1940s, when weed killer was developed in agricultural circles and when theories of counterinsurgency were studied by the military.
May 02, 2011 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
Upon his release from prison, Nelson Mandela led the crowd in a rousing chant of the old resistance phrase, "Come Back Africa." Now, twenty years later, we may begin to ask what kind of Africa is coming back. The question can be addressed by looking beyond the struggle of the African National Congress to focus on ordinary people's mobilizations in the past. A history of generational conflict, chiefship, and trans-ethnic solidarity continues to be felt in the present.
April 27, 2011 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar Melvyn P. Leffler will review prevailing interpretations and suggest how his current research may refine our understanding of the decision to intervene militarily in Iraq in 2003.
April 25, 2011 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
While the military contest between North and South dragged on inconclusively over four years, an equally crucial contest of diplomacy, ideology, and propaganda was waged abroad. Powerful economic interests and anti-democratic sympathies favored the South. On the other hand there was a reservoir of popular good will toward the "Great Republic" and widespread antipathy toward human slavery. Each side sought to shape foreign debate over the "American Question." The Union won only when it learned to align its cause with what foreigners understood to be an ongoing international struggle for liberty, equality, and self-government.
April 11, 2011 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
Military historians of the modern era have often neglected the relationship between the armed forces and the state, particularly its effect on outcomes in war and military policy and activity during peacetime. Yet some of the more famous writing on military theory have emphasized the importance of the topic. Military historians of the United States, as the literature reveals, have only now begun to address the subject systematically and in depth.
April 07, 2011 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
Konrad H. Jarausch, Lurcy Professor of European Civilization, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill will discuss his latest book entitled Reluctant Accomplice: "Good Germans" in the War of Annihilation, 1939-1942. Comprised of wartime letters written by Jarausch's father, Konrad Jarausch, a German high-school teacher of religion and history who served in a reserve battalion of Hitler's army in Poland and Russia. The book brings the letters together to tell the gripping story of a patriotic soldier of the Third Reich who, through witnessing its atrocities in the East, begins to doubt the war's moral legitimacy.
April 04, 2011 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
What are the issues of judgment, perspective, and stance that confront historians whose subjects played a role in debates about Stalinism, McCarthyism, and Communism? In the years when the Cold War shaped perceptions, historians identified themselves with particular political positions. But what is the view toward such issues today? Is the intellectual Cold War over? Or does it still constrain our minds and our words? Lillian Hellman will serve as a case in point in this presentation with Columbia University R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History Alice Kessler-Harris.
March 28, 2011 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
Henry Kissinger is perhaps the most famous and most controversial American diplomat of the twentieth century. Much of the literature about him emphasizes his geopolitical approach to international relations, his European background, and his advocacy of Realpolitik. But to a large extent of his foreign policy was fundamentally shaped and conditioned by domestic politics. Kissinger ultimately failed to bring about a different approach to foreign policy, one moving beyond American exceptionalism and toward an understanding of the limits of power.