Category Archives: Washington History Seminar

Sponsored jointly by the National History Center and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Washington History Seminar meets each week, January to May and September to December, on Monday afternoons at 4 o’clock at the Wilson Center. It aims to facilitate understanding of contemporary affairs in light of historical knowledge of all times and all places and from a variety of perspectives. For the latest schedule, please click on Spring 2012 Schedule. For more information on past speakers, topics, and videos, please click on Washington History Seminar Schedule.

5/15: Hearts, Minds, Voices: U.S. Cold War Public Diplomacy and the Formation of the Third World with Jason Parker

The postwar emergence of the “Third World” as an intellectual concept and geopolitical community is conventionally seen either as a category imposed on the Global South by the Cold War superpowers, or as an “organic” entity generated by peoples undergoing decolonization.  Jason Parker argues that the Third World instead arose from an interactive process:  as the superpowers sought to win “hearts and minds” through public diplomacy there, their efforts led anticolonial nationalists instead to reject the Cold War in favor of forging an imagined community grounded in nonalignment, economic development, and racialized solidarity.

Jason Parker is Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M University, where he has taught since 2006.  He completed his PhD in 2002 at the University of Florida under Bob McMahon and taught for four years at West Virginia University. He is the author of Brother’s Keeper: The United States, Race, and Empire in the British Caribbean, 1937-1962 which won the SHAFR Bernath Book Prize, and of articles in the Journal of American History, Diplomatic History, the Journal of African American History, International History Review, and elsewhere. He has received research fellowships from the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Truman Library Institute, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Mershon Center in support of his new book Hearts, Minds, Voices: U.S. Cold War Public Diplomacy and the Formation of the Third World and of his next project, a comparative study of postwar federations in the Third World.

Monday, May 15, 2017
4:00pm – 5:30pm
6th floor Moynihan Boardroom
Woodrow Wilson Center

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.

5/8: Winning the Third World: Sino-American Competition during the Cold War with Gregg Brazinsky

Winning the Third World: Sino-American Competition during the Cold War examines afresh the enduring rivalry between the United States and China during the Cold War. Gregg A. Brazinsky shows how both nations fought vigorously to establish their influence in newly independent African and Asian countries. By playing a leadership role in Asia and Africa, China hoped to regain its status in world affairs, but Americans feared that China’s history as a nonwhite, anticolonial nation would make it an even more dangerous threat in the postcolonial world than the Soviet Union.

Gregg Brazinsky is Associate Professor of History and International Affairs at The George Washington University. He is also the author of Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans and the Making of a Democracy. He was a visiting fellow at the Wilson Center in 2010-2011 and is a member of the advisory board of the center’s Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy.

Monday, May 8, 2017
4:00 – 5:30 pm
6th Floor Moynihan Boardroom
Woodrow Wilson Center

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.

5/1: Looking for “The Stranger”: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic with Alice Kaplan

Albert Camus’s L’Etranger has been best-seller for so long, we forget it was ever anything else.  But literary classics are made, not born: though The Stranger was a book very few readers understood or appreciated when it was published in 1942, it became a household name—a regular on lists of the great books of the 20th century.  Alice Kaplan delved into publishers’ archives to uncover a key episode in L’Etranger’s career: the first translation of the French novel into English, in the United States and in England, four years after its publication—in 1946, when the war in Europe had been over for only a year.  This is a tale of two cities, involving an author, his publishers, his translator, and his readers and reviewers.

Alice Kaplan, John M. Musser Professor of French at Yale University, is a specialist of 20th century France.  She works at the intersection of literature and history, using a method that allies archival research with textual analysis. She is a former Guggenheim Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of the French Légion d’Honneur as well the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History for The Collaborator (2000). Recent books include Dreaming in French (2012) and Looking for The Stranger (2016).

Monday, May 1, 2017
4:00pm-5:30pm
6th Floor Moynihan Boardroom
Woodrow Wilson Center

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.