Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition

Civilizing Torture places the controversy around “enhanced interrogation tactics” that dominated the national conversation during the War on Terror in a larger context throughout American history.

Triumph of the Dead: American WWII Cemeteries, Monuments, and Diplomacy in France

The overseas American war cemeteries are uniquely American sites of memory, as they are the only war graves to include a variety of monumental art and architecture. They also attract an international audience and are the most visited American memorials outside of the United States.

Bankers, Bailouts, and the Struggle to Tame Wall Street

In her book Broken Bargain, author Kathleen Day examines the history of financial regulation and of government oversight of corporations—which goes back to the founding fathers.

Grand Improvisation: America Confronts the British Superpower, 1945-1957

The British Empire remained a superpower—certainly by the original definition of 1944—at least until 1957 when the reelected Eisenhower administration asserted what it called “a declaration of independence” from British authority.

Law and the Russian State: Russia’s Legal Evolution from Peter the Great to Vladimir Putin

Russia is often portrayed as a regressive, even lawless, country, and yet the Russian state has played a major role in shaping and experimenting with law as an instrument of power. In Law and the Russian State, William Pomeranz examines Russia's legal evolution from Peter the Great to Vladimir Putin, addressing the continuities and disruptions of Russian law during the imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet periods. The book covers key themes, including:

Actors and Control: The Struggle for History and Memory in Russia

The past is an important resource that Russian politicians and businesspeople use to replace ideology, frame policies or earn money. The state attempts to control the use of history by outside actors, but similarly instrumentalizes it for its own purposes. However, in the last five years, alternative social actors (the Yeltsin Center, the Immortal Regiment, various Orthodox groups and others) have emerged within Russia to claim their right to control the past and challenge the state monopoly on memory.

CANCELLED: Panel Discussion on Great Powers

Due to inclement weather, federal offices are closed and the Washington History Seminar Panel Discussion, scheduled for Monday, January 14 at 4pm, is canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience, the WHS will meet again on Monday, January 28.


What History Tells Us about the Prospects for Brazil–U.S. Rapprochement under Bolsonaro

Hopes are running high for the United States and Brazil. There is the prospect of a personal rapport between the apparent kindred spirits now occupying the presidencies of both countries, Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro. There is the promise of policy alignment on issues like the location of their embassies in Israel and their economic attitudes towards China. And there is also a rare and widespread optimism — however cautious — among the international business and financial communities regarding the potential opening of Brazil’s historically closed economy.