Wm. Roger Louis gave a lecture at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, July 16, 2008. The lecture, co-sponsored by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library and given in conjunction with the third international seminar on decolonization, was entitled “The Moral Conscience of the World: The United Nations and Palestine in 1947.” The lecture was webcasted by the Library and can be viewed here.
Professor Wm. Roger Louis is the Kerr Chair of English History and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin is the author or editor of approximately 30 books, including
his recent book of collected essays, Ends of British Imperialism: The Scramble for Empire, Suez and Decolonization. Louis is the founding director of the National History Center. He is also a member of the Scholars’ Council of the Library of Congress and currently the chairman of the U.S. State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee. Professor Louis is a past president of the American Historical Association (2001).
This lecture examined the Palestine crisis of 1947 and the creation of the Jewish state in the next year marked the beginning of a critical episode in the changing colonial world order. The question of partition tested the principle of self-determination. The debate on these issues in 1947 had enduring significance. In the context of the dissolution of the British Empire, the United Nations played a vital part in the creation of the state of Israel.
Questions and answers followed the presentation.
Also as part of the seminar, Dane Kennedy gave a lecture on Decolonization and Disorder on July 9.
In summer 2008, the Center will collaborate with the Library of Congress to convene the third of the international research seminars on the history of decolonization in the 20th century. These seminars are funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In the third seminar, to be held from July 6 to August 2, 2008, in Washington, DC, participating historians will engage in the common pursuit of knowledge about various dimensions of decolonization, primarily 20th-century transitions from colonies to nations in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. At the same time, participants will conduct research in the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other repositories of research materials in Washington, DC. It is expected that many of the 15 seminar participants will come from the new postcolonial states as well as the former metropoles and that they will bring to the seminar multiple viewpoints and historical perspectives. Wm. Roger Louis, chair of the National History Center’s board of trustees, Kerr Professor of English History and Culture, and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, will direct the seminars. Other seminar leaders will include Dane Kennedy (George Washington Univ.), Philippa Levine (Univ. of Southern California), and Jason Parker (Texas A & M Univ.).
The fourteen participants for the 2008 Decolonization Seminar are:
- Carolyn Biltoft (PhD Candidate 2008, Princeton University), “Assassination: Life and Death at the End of Empire”
- Jennifer Dueck (DPhil 2005, Oxford), Lecturer, Corpus Christi, Oxford, “Inter-confessional relations in French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon”
- Eric D. Duke (PhD 2007 Michigan State University), Assistant Professor, University of South Florida, “Out of One … Many Nations: Imagining the West Indies Federation”
- Jennifer Foray (PhD 2007 Columbia University), Assistant Professor, Purdue University, “From Dominion Status to Decolonization: The Commonwealth Idea in the Netherlands, 1920–1954”
- Leigh Gardner (DPhil Candidate, 2009, Jesus College, Oxford), “Public Finance and Decolonization in British Africa: Continuity and Change in Kenya and Zambia, 1945–75”
- Emma Hunter (PhD 2007, University of Cambridge), Lecturer, University of Cambridge, “Political Languages in Decolonization Era Tanzania: Revisiting the Centre-Local Dynamics”
- Shereen Ilahi (PhD Candidate 2008, University of Texas at Austin), “The Amritsar Massacre of 1919 compared to 1920 Bloody Sunday in Ireland”
- Fabian Klose (PhD 2007, University of Munich), Lecturer, University of Munich, “The Transfer of Strategic Knowledge in the Age of the Wars of Decolonization”
- Guy Laron (PhD Candidate 2008, Hebrew University), “Decolonization age and the Eisenhower Administration, 1952–1956”
- Daniel da Silva Costa Marcos (PhD candidate 2008, Portuguese Institute for International Relations-New University of Lisbon), “The USA, Portugal, and the Colonial Issue, 1945–1961”
- Laura Robson (PhD candidate 2009, Yale University), “Decolonization and Christian Arab Political Identity in British Mandate Palestine, 1917–1948”
- Maria Romo-Navarrete (PhD, 2006, Sorbonne) Associate Researcher, Research Center of History at the University of Sorbonne, “French Indigenous Political Elites Through the Last Years of the French Empire”
- Lori Watt (PhD 2002, Columbia University), Assistant Professor, Department of History, Program in International & Area Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
“When Empire Comes Home: Repatriation in Postwar Japan”
- Stefanie Wichhart (PhD 2007, University of Texas at Austin), Assistant Professor, Niagara University, “A ‘well-run’ Iraq or a ‘happy’ Iraq: the Second British Occupation, 1941–1946”