Washington History Seminar

September 30th, 2015

October 5: Kathy Peiss on “Bookmen at War: Libraries, Intelligence, and Cultural Policy in World War II”

The Monuments Men have been justly celebrated for their rescue of art treasures in World War II. The focus on individual heroism, however, obscures the larger impact of the war on modern policies and practices toward information, knowledge, and culture. Kathy Peiss explores the role of librarians, collectors, and intelligence agents to explain why and […]

September 24th, 2015

September 28: Adam Rothman on “Beyond Freedom’s Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery”

Historians of slave emancipation during the Civil War must answer the question that W.E.B. Dubois posed eighty ago: “Can we imagine this spectacular revolution?” In his new book, Beyond Freedom’s Reach, Adam Rothman rises to the challenge by telling the story of Rose Herera, an enslaved woman in New Orleans whose children were taken to […]

September 17th, 2015

September 21: Leila Fawaz on “A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War”

World War One was a hugely transformative event in Europe and the Middle East. Fawaz argues, however, that in the Middle Eastern theatres of the war in particular many people did not see this war as a “great” war at the time. Average people were consumed with their own survival; they saw the war through […]

September 9th, 2015

September 17: Willard Sunderland on “Journeys with Baron Ungern: Empire and Biography in the Russian Revolution”

Willard Sunderland’s prize-winning book, The Baron’s Cloak: A History of the Russian Empire in War and Revolution (Cornell, 2014), offers a tour of the Russian Empire in its final decades through the momentous life of Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, a Baltic German aristocrat and tsarist army officer who fought against the Reds in Eastern Siberia […]

May 19th, 2015

Washington History Seminar Fall 2015 Schedule

The Washington History Seminar is pleased to announce its Fall 2015 schedule. A joint venture of the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the History and Public Policy Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Washington History Seminar meets each week, January to May and September to December, on Monday afternoons […]

May 12th, 2015

May 18: Kate Brown on “Bursting the Plutonium Bubble: How Utopian Communities Made Dystopian Nuclear Landscapes”

Historian Kate Brown draws on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the extraordinary stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia – the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias – communities of nuclear families living in highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities. Brown shows […]

May 6th, 2015

May 11: James Loeffler on “The Swastika Epidemic: Global Antisemitism and Human Rights Activism in the Cold War 1960s”

It is common knowledge today that antisemitism is on the rise today in Europe and around the world, but there is no consensus about how the global community should respond. In this talk, drawn from his forthcoming book, scholar James Loeffler offers a historical perspective on this debate by looking back on the first major […]

April 28th, 2015

May 4: Doug Rossinow on “The Reagan Era: From a “New Cold War” to the “Washington Consensus”

During the decade of the 1980s, the foreign relations of the United States traced a surprising path from what many called a “new Cold War” with the Soviet Union to the ascendancy, by 1990, of the so-called “Washington Consensus” that governed global economics in the name of free trade and investment. Despite what some say, […]

April 21st, 2015

April 27: Sulmaan Khan on “Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy: China’s Cold War and the People of the Tibetan Borderlands”

In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa, leaving the People’s Republic of China with a crisis on its Tibetan frontier. Drawing upon never before seen Chinese sources, Sulmaan Khan tells, for the first time, the story of how non-state actors moving across the Tibetan borderlands exposed state weakness and caused the PRC to move from […]

April 14th, 2015

April 20: The History Manifesto panel discussion at WHS

How should historians speak truth to power – and why does it matter? Why is five hundred years better than five months or five years as a planning horizon? And why is history – especially long-term history – so essential to understanding the multiple pasts which gave rise to our conflicted present? The History Manifesto […]