Public Events

National History Center events, including sessions at the American Historical Association annual meetings and more.

February 25th, 2014

March 3 (Rescheduled to April 28): James Graham Wilson: “The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptation, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War”

In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar based on his book, The Triumph of Improvisation, James Graham Wilson takes a long view of the end of the Cold War, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to Operation Desert Storm. Wilson argues that adaptation, improvisation, and engagement by individuals in positions of power ended the […]

February 18th, 2014

February 24: Marilyn Lake: “Australia’s Historic Minimum Wage: A World History Approach”

Histories of the minimum wage are usually written within national analytic frameworks. Research in the New York Public Library on the first minimum wage, legislated in Victoria, Australia, in 1896, convinced historian Marilyn Lake that a world history approach was necessary, one that located this experiment in “state socialism” in the context of both the […]

February 6th, 2014

February 8 and 9: The NHC on C-SPAN

C-SPAN3′s American History TV aired two National History Center programs the weekend of February 8 and 9, 2014. Jackie Jones’ talk on the myth of race and its political uses appeared Sunday, February 9, at 9:30 am, 8:30 pm, and 11:30 pm, ET.  Prof. Jones originally gave this presentation to the Washington History Seminar on […]

February 4th, 2014

February 10: Lynne Olson: “Racing Against Time: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over Saving Britain and Going to War”

Today, we think of World War II as the “good war” — a necessary conflict to save Western civilization from the evil of Nazi Germany. But in the years leading up to Pearl Harbor, author Lynne Olson argued in this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, the extent of that evil was not as obvious […]

January 29th, 2014

February 3: Martin Grossheim: “‘We Are the True Revolutionaries’: The Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the 1960s”

 The history of relations between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Soviet Union and other Socialist states during the Vietnam War is usually told as a story of solidarity and “proletarian internationalism.” But there was another side: while the North Vietnamese celebrated “friendly relations” with Moscow and East Berlin and happily accepted aid provided […]

January 17th, 2014

January 27: Stephen P. Randolph: “The Past and Future of the Foreign Relations Series”

In more than 450 volumes produced since its inception in 1861, the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. FRUS, as it is known, is widely and rightly regarded as exemplary. In recent decades the […]

January 7th, 2014

January 13: Risa Goluboff: “People Out of Place: A Constitutional History of the Long 1960s”

Vagrancy laws made it a crime to be idle and poor, or dissolute, or to wander about without any purpose. They came to these shores with the American colonists, proliferated throughout the nation and were on the books in almost every state as of 1950. But beginning in that decade, African Americans and other civil […]

November 26th, 2013

December 9: Jacqueline Jones: “The Myth of Race and Its Many Political Uses, from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America”

In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, Jacqueline Jones focused 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 […]

November 25th, 2013

December 2: Mae Ngai: “Yellow and Gold: Chinese Gold Miners and the ‘Chinese Question’ in Pacific-World Settler Colonies, 1848-1910″

In this Washington History Seminar presentation, Mae Ngai addressed 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 […]

November 21st, 2013

November 25: Leopoldo Nuti: Italy, the Cold War, and the Nuclear Dilemma: The Struggle over the NPT

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 […]