The National History Center of the American Historical Association provides a venue in the nation's capital for all who care about the human past to make history an essential part of public conversations about current events and the shared futures of the United States and the wider world.

2/8: Elizabeth Borgwardt on “The Nuremberg Idea: Crimes against Humanity in History, Law & Politics”

“The Nuremberg Idea” offers a historically-informed answer to one of the key social theory questions of our time: How did “human rights” become a concept that even the most heinous regimes feel they need to buy into? In tackling this question through the vector of the term “crimes against humanity,” this history offers a new transdisciplinary analysis of how human rights norms are formed, transmitted, and sustained, both domestically and at the supra-national level. Nuremberg-infused ideas about accountability and sovereignty have unfolded throughout the postwar era, culminating in the United Nations’ official adoption of the doctrine of “the Responsibility to Protect” in 2005.

Liz Borgwardt specializes in the history of international law with a focus on human rights ideas and institutions. As associate professor of History at Washington University in St Louis, she also holds a courtesy appointment in Law. Her A New Deal for the World: America’s Vision for Human Rights, was published by Harvard University Press and has been recognized as the Best Book in the History of Ideas and the Best First Book in U.S. Foreign Relations by the Organization of American Historians and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, respectively. It is in its fourth printing. Borgwardt has earned History doctorate from Stanford, a JD from Harvard Law School, and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. She has held fellowships with Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, and NYU, as well as a Fulbright with the University of Heidelberg and the Holocaust Memorial Museum. She recently served as the Richard and Ann Pozen Visiting Professor of Human Rights at theUniversity of Chicago. Her current project on crimes against humanity in history, law, and politics is under contract with Alfred A. Knopf.

The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.  Reservations requested because of limited seating.

1/30: DC-Area African American Studies Works-In-Progress Seminar

The next meeting of the DC-Area African American Studies Works-In-Progress Seminar is Saturday, 30 January 2016, from 2-5 pm at the Teamsters’ Archive in George Washington University’s Gellman Library, 7th floor.

The seminar will discuss the two pre-circulated papers listed below.

  • Marcia Chatelain (Georgetown) – “Feeding the Franchise: Voters, Business Owners, and Black Progress.”
  • Melissa Stuckey (Independent Historian) – “A Second Emancipation: Freedom and the Black Town”

If you would like copies of the papers or to be added to the seminar’s mailing list, please email Jay Driskell at driskell@hood.edu .

The seminar is open to any scholar with a focus on historically-oriented scholarship relating to the experience of peoples of African descent in the diaspora or in Africa. Graduate students are especially welcome. If you are interested in attending or presenting a paper at a future seminar please email Jay Driskell (driskell@hood.edu).

 

2/1: David E. Hoffman on “The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal”

From 1979 until 1985, the CIA ran an immensely productive spy in the heart of the Soviet military-industrial complex in Moscow. Author David E. Hoffman will describe this singularly-important operation, based on declassified CIA cables and his new book, The Billion Dollar Spy, and argue that despite the many achievements of technology in espionage, human sources are still vital.

David E. Hoffman is a contributing editor at the Washington Post. He was pre­viously foreign editor, bureau chief in Jerusalem and Moscow, and White House correspon­dent. He is the author of The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Beytrayal (2015), The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy (2009) which won the Pulitzer Prize, and The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia (2002).

The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.  Reservations requested because of limited seating.