American Biography After the Cold War | Wilson Center

American Biography After the Cold War

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Webcast Recap

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.

Alice Kessler-Harris is one of the nation's leading scholars of labor and gender, specializing in the history of American labor and the comparative and interdisciplinary exploration of women and gender. Currently, she is the R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History in the School for International Affairs at Columbia University, where she also teaches in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. A past president of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the American Studies Association, this year she is serving as president of the Organization of American Historians. Kessler-Harris has authored numerous influential books in women's labor history and public policy including: Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview; Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States; A Woman's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences; Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview; In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth Century America; and most recently, Gendering Labor History, a collection of her best-known essays on women's work and social policy. Her work has won numerous awards including the Joan Kelly, Philip Taft, Herbert Hoover, and Bancroft prizes. Kessler-Harris holds a B.A. from Goucher College and a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University.


  • Alice Kessler-Harris

    R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History, School for International Affairs, Columbia University
  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center