Posts Tagged ‘Kluge Center’

John Darwin speaks on Decolonization as a History of Failure

Monday, June 27th, 2011

On Wednesday, July 13 at 4:00 pm, distinguished British historian, John Darwin of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford, will lecture at the National History Center’s Sixth International Seminar on Decolonization. The lecture, entitled, “Decolonization– a History of Failure?”  is free and open to the public and is being held at the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, in the Jefferson Room, LJ-119.  There will be a light reception following the lecture and Q&A session.

Decolonization is widely thought of as one of the foundational processes of the modern world. An old imperial order was swept away: a new ‘world of nations’ emerged to replace it. The inviolable nature of national sovereignty, the right to self-determination and a portfolio of human rights acquired normative status as the basis of international law and practice. With all the wisdom of hindsight, statesmen, politicians and policymakers assured us in their memoirs that such was the vision that guided their actions through the ‘end of empire’. But how much of all this should we really believe? Were the statesmen really so wise and far-seeing or merely dab hands in self-interest and expediency? Is the modern world really a world of nations or (largely) the detritus of broken-down empires? Can the imprint of empire be erased from our culture(s): is it wise to try? Is a world of nations an attainable or even a desirable object? What alternative is there? There’s some room for debate.


John Darwin teaches Imperial and Global history at Oxford where he is a Fellow of Nuffield College and is the Beit University Lecturer in the History of the British Commonwealth. His recent publications include After Tamerlane: the Global History of Empire (Penguin, 2007) which won the Wolfson Prize in History in 2008 (Chinese and German translations have been published, Russian and Japanese are scheduled); and The Empire Project: the Rise and Fall of the British World System 1830-1970 (Cambridge University Press, 2010) which won the triennial Trevor Reese prize for Commonwealth and Imperial history.

The lecture is sponsored by the John W. Kluge Center, in conjunction with the National History Center’s Sixth International Seminar on Decolonization, a four-week seminar, held at the Library of Congress.  It brings together international scholars to examine various dimensions of decolonization, primarily 20th-century transitions from colonies to nations in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. The seminar is supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is cosponsored also by the American Historical Association and the Kluge Center.

Sixth International Seminar on Decolonization Participants Announced

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Participants for the Sixth International Seminar on Decolonization have been chosen.  The seminar, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and hosted by the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, brings together fifteen scholars at the beginning of their careers to Washington, DC for the summer.  The four-week program consists of class meetings, public lectures, informal gatherings, and research in the Washington area on decolonization in the twentieth century.  It begins in mid-July and runs through the first week of August and has become an important stage is many young historians’ career.

This year, the seminar is directed by Wm. Roger Louis (University of Texas at Austin), with leadership help from  John Darwin (Nuffield College, University of Oxford), Philippa Levine (University of Texas at Austin), Jason Parker (Texas A & M University), and Pillarisetti Sudhir (American Historical Association).

The 2011 participants and topics are:

Amanda Behm, Ph.D. candidate, British and imperial history, Yale University (degree expected 2012).
“The Third British Empire: history, theory and reality”

Eveline Buchheim (Ph.D., Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam, 2009), Researcher, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, The Netherlands.
“Passion and Purpose: Intimacies of Decolonization”

Paul Chamberlin (Ph.D., Diplomatic / International History, the Ohio State University, 2009), Assistant Professor of History, University of Kentucky.
“New Imperial Frontiers: The End of the Cold War and the Struggle for the Middle East, 1972-1982″

Jessica Chapman (Ph.D., History, University of California–Santa Barbara, 2006), Assistant Professor of History, Williams College, Massachusetts.
“From Disorder to Dictatorship: The Domestic and International History of Ngo Dinh Diem’s Construction of South Vietnam, 1953-1956”

Mads Clausen (Ph.D., English, U. of Copenhagen, 2010), Assistant Professor of British and American Politics and History, Aarhus University, Denmark.
“Out of the Ashcan of History: Decolonisation, Regional Engagement and Australian Post-Imperial Nationhood, 1956-1972”

Chris Dietrich, Ph.D. candidate, History, University of Texas–Austin (expected 2011).
“In the Wake of Withdrawal: British Decolonization and the International Energy Politics, 1967-1971”

Matthew Heaton (Ph.D., History, University of Texas–Austin, 2008), Assistant Professor of History, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
“The Decolonization of Psychiatry in the British Empire, 1945-1979”

Jon Howlett, Ph.D. candidate, History, Bristol University, UK (expected 2011).
“‘Decolonising Shanghai:’ the American experience of the takeover of Shanghai and the purge of foreign influence in the city”

Su Lin Lewis (Ph.D., History, University of Cambridge, 2010), Past and Present Post-doctoral Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, UK.
“Cultural International and Civil Society Networks in 1950s Southeast Asia”

Moritz Mihatsch, D.Phil. candidate, History, Nuffield College, University of Oxford (expected 2012).
“Colonialism, Neocolonialism and the United States: How the Sudanese Political Parties dealt with Aid and Technical Assistance”

Lata Parwani, Ph.D. candidate, Modern South Asia History, Tufts University (expected 2012).
“From Homeland to Motherland: Reflecting on the Sindhi Hindu Exodus, 1947-49”

Justin Pearce, D.Phil candidate, Politics, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford (expected 2011),
“Decolonisation in Angola and the roots of civil war”

Muhammad Ali Raza, D.Phil candidate, Modern South Asian History, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford (expected 2011).
“Yearning for Freedom and Revolution: Indian Radicals in Moscow during the Interwar Period”

Anne-Isabelle Richard (Ph.D., History, Gonville and Caius College, Univeristy of Cambridge, 2010), Max Weber Fellow, European University Institute.
“How Europe needed Africa: The influence of decolonization in Asia on Eurafrican projects in France, 1945-1954”

Matthew Stanard (Ph.D., Modern European History, Indiana University, 2006), Assistant Professor of History, Berry College, Georgia.
“Belgium’s pro-empire propaganda and official U.S. views of decolonization in the Belgian Congo, 1955-1961″

Philippa Levine’s Lecture on Women and Decolonization

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Professor Philippa Levine, Professor of History at the University of Southern California, gave the lecture on Still Invisible?: 
Women, Gender, and Decolonization, as part of the National History Center’s fourth international seminar on decolonization and its public lecture series.  The John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress co-sponsored the event.

The lecture’s web cast can be viewed here.

Philippa Levine

Asking why studies of decolonization so rarely explore the contributions of women to decolonization struggles around the world, Professor Levine explored the perspective both of women involved in anti-colonial movements and women who were part of the colonial authority structure. She offered examples of women in both these roles, and hoped to encourage researchers to open up this fascinating field for further study.

Philippa Levine is Professor of History at the University of Southern California. She received her Doctorate in Philosophy from St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, in 1983. She is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of British Studies and Women’s History Review, and President-elect of the North American Conference on British Studies. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She is currently president of the University of Southern California faculty. Professor Levine’s works include Feminist Lives in Victorian England: Private Roles and Public Commitment; Victorian Feminism 1850-1900; Women’s Suffrage in the British Empire: Citizenship, Nation and Race (co-edited with Laura Mayhall and Ian Fletcher); Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire; and The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset.

This lecture was a second in series on subjects relating to decolonization, with Marilyn Young of New York University giving another lecture.

Marilyn Young’s Lecture on “Limited War, Unlimited”

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Marilyn B. Young, Professor of History at New York University, gave a lecture during the National History Center’s 2009 Decolonization Seminar. The lecture was jointly sponsored by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and webcasted.

Professor Young during her lecture at the Library of Congress

Professor Young during her lecture at the Library of Congress

Professor Young discussed how the history of the Cold War in the United States is the history of how, while never abandoning World War II as the platonic ideal of war, post-war administrations were able to use military force in a limited, instrumental way. For this to be possible they had to create a public tolerance for war as normal rather than aberrational, so normal that after a while only those who were actively engaged in fighting it—and their families—noticed a war was being fought at all. War, as Joe Haldeman’s dystopian novel, The Forever War, predicted, would be “forever.” Professor Young’s lecture explored the many ways in which the “forever war” was manifested, first in Asia, and subsequently in the Middle East.

Marilyn Young received her PhD from Harvard University in 1963. She taught at the University of Michigan before coming to New York University in 1980 where she is a full professor in the Department of History. Professor Young teaches courses on the history of U.S. foreign policy, the politics and culture of post-war United States. Her publications include Rhetoric of Empire: American China Policy, 1895–1901; Transforming Russia and China: Revolutionary Struggle in the 20th Century (with William Rosenberg); and The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990.

You can view the lecture here.

Professor Young co-edited with Mark Bradley the National History Center’s volume Making Sense of the Vietnam War, the first in the Reintrepreting History series published by the Oxford University Press.  The volume is available for purchase.

This is part of a series of lectures on decolonization, with Philippa Levine giving one on women and decolonization.

2010 Decolonization Seminar Applications Now Being Accepted

Monday, August 17th, 2009

The National History Center is now accepting applications for the fifth international summer seminar on decolonization in the 20th century, which will be held for four weeks, from Sunday, July 11, through Saturday, August 7, 2010, in Washington, D.C.  The deadline is November 2, 2009.

Download 2010 Seminar Application Details, Background, and Structure

Download 2010 Letters of Recommendation Guidelines

The international seminar, organized by the National History Center in collaboration with the American Historical Association and the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, is funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In the fifth seminar in the series, fifteen 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.

Aims: The seminar will be an opportunity for the participants (a) to pursue research at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other repositories of historical research materials in Washington, D.C., on projects within the overarching theme of decolonization; (b) to exchange ideas among themselves and with the seminar leaders; (c) to produce a draft article or chapter of a book with the guidance of the faculty leaders, who, together with the participants themselves, will offer comments and critiques on the evolving draft papers.

When preparing their applications, applicants may find it helpful to consult the following guides to research resources in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere:

Archives and research resources in Washington, D.C.

American Historical Association’s Archives Wiki

Seminar Leaders: Wm. Roger Louis, Kerr Professor of English History and Culture and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin (and the executive director of the National History Center), will direct the seminar. Other seminar leaders will include Dane Kennedy (George Washington Univ.), Philippa Levine (Univ. of Southern California/Univ. of Texas at Austin), Jason Parker (Texas A & M Univ.), Pillarisetti Sudhir (AHA), and Marilyn Young (NYU).

Applications and all supporting materials should reach the Assistant Director of the National History Center by November 2, 2009. They may be e-mailed to decol2010apply@nationalhistorycenter.org or to Miriam Hauss Cunningham.

If e-mailing is not possible, the applications may be mailed to:

The National History Center

ATTN: Decolonization Seminar

400 A Street, SE

Washington, DC 20003-3889

General Seminar Information: The 15 participants selected to participate in the four-week seminar will receive a small stipend that is intended to cover daily living expenses (food, local travel, and so on). The Center will meet the costs of accommodation that the Center will arrange. The Center will also reimburse (subject to limits) travel costs incurred by the selected participants for traveling between their workplace or place of normal residence and Washington, D.C., and back.

Requirements: Applicants should either have a recent PhD (no more than 5 years out) and be at the beginning of their careers or advanced PhD students who are nearing completion of their dissertations are also encouraged.

Applicants should note that all the academic activities (including discussions and written work) will be in English. Applicants must, therefore, be fluent in English.

Those selected will have to undertake that they will actively participate in the seminar for its entire duration.

Selected foreign participants must make their own arrangements to obtain the necessary U.S. visas; the National History Center will provide any documentation that may be required.

Marilyn Young to Give Decolonization Lecture

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

The National History Center invites the public to attend its Decolonization Lecture Series Featuring Professor Marilyn B. Young on Limited War, Unlimited.

The lecture will be on Wednesday, July 8, 2009 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. in Room 119, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, SE. It is part of the Fourth International Seminar on Decolonization hosted by the National History Center with funding provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The history of the Cold War in the United States is the history of how, while never abandoning World War II as the platonic ideal of war, post-war administrations were able to use military force in a limited, instrumental way. For this to be possible they had to create a public tolerance for war as normal rather than aberrational, so normal that after a while only those who were actively engaged in fighting it—and their families—noticed a war was being fought at all. War, as Joe Haldeman’s dystopian novel, The Forever War, predicted, would be “forever.” Professor Young’s lecture explores the many ways in which the “forever war” was manifested, first in Asia, and subsequently in the Middle East.

Marilyn Young received her PhD from Harvard University in 1963. She taught at the University of Michigan before coming to New York University in 1980 where she is a full professor in the Department of History. Professor Young teaches courses on the history of U.S. foreign policy, the politics and culture of post-war United States. Her publications include Rhetoric of Empire: American China Policy, 1895–1901; Transforming Russia and China: Revolutionary Struggle in the 20th Century (with William Rosenberg); and The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990.

A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Complimentary light refreshments will be served.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and will be webcast.

A second lecture is also scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, 2009 from 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. in Room 119, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress (101 Independence Avenue, SE) with Philippa Levine, Professor History at the University of Southern California. Her lecture is entitled Still Invisible: Women, Gender, and Decolonization.

2009 Decolonization Seminar Applications Now Being Accepted

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

The National History Center is now accepting applications for the fourth international summer seminar on decolonization in the 20th century, which will be held July 5 to August 1, 2009, in Washington, D.C.

The international seminar, organized by the National History Center in collaboration with the American Historical Association and the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, is funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In the fourth seminar in the series, as in the previous three, fifteen 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, D.C.

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 seminar. Other seminar leaders will include Dane Kennedy (George Washington Univ.), Philippa Levine (Univ. of Southern California), Jason Parker (Texas A & M Univ.), and Pillarisetti Sudhir (AHA).

Applications and all supporting materials should reach the Administrative Officer of the National History Center by November 3, 2008. They may be e-mailed to decol09apply@nationalhistorycenter.org or mhauss@historians.org. If e-mailing is not possible, the applications may be mailed to The National History Center, 400 A Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003-3889.

General Seminar Information: The 15 participants selected to participate in the four-week seminar will receive a small stipend that is intended to cover daily living expenses (food, local travel, and so on). The Center will meet the costs of accommodation that the Center will arrange. The Center will also reimburse (subject to limits) travel costs incurred by the selected participants for traveling between their workplace or place of normal residence and Washington, D.C., and back.

Aims: The seminar will be an opportunity for the participants (a) to pursue research at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other repositories of historical research materials in Washington, D.C., on projects within the overarching theme of decolonization; (b) to exchange ideas among themselves and with the seminar leaders; (c) to produce a draft article or chapter of a book with the guidance of the faculty leaders, who, together with the participants themselves, will offer comments and critiques on the evolving draft papers.

Requirements: Applicants should preferably have a recent PhD (that is, one obtained after January 1, 2002) and be at the beginning of their careers. Applications from advanced PhD students who are nearing completion of their dissertations are also encouraged.

Applicants should note that all the academic activities (including discussions and written work) will be in English. Applicants must, therefore, be fluent in English.

Those selected will have to undertake that they will actively participate in the seminar for its entire duration.

Selected foreign participants must make their own arrangements to obtain the necessary U.S. visas; the National History Center will provide any documentation that may be required.

2009 Seminar Details
Application Procedures
Letters of Recommendation Guidelines

Archives and Research resources in Washington, D.C.

American Historical Association’s Archives Wiki

“United Nations and Palestine in 1947″: Lecture with Roger Louis

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

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.