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 is a call to arms to historians and everyone interested in the role of history in contemporary society. Authors David Armitage and Jo Guldi identify a recent shift back to longer-term narratives, following many decades of increasing specialization, which they argue is vital for the future of historical scholarship and how it is communicated. This provocative and thoughtful book makes an important intervention in the debate about the role of history and the humanities in a digital age. It will provoke discussion among policymakers, activists and entrepreneurs as well as ordinary listeners, viewers, readers, students and teachers.

Guldi and Armitage will discuss their book, and will then be joined by a panel comprised of Eric Arnesen (The George Washington University), J.R. McNeill (Georgetown University), and Rosemarie Zagarri (George Mason University) to address its implications on the field.

Jo Guldi is the Hans Rothfels Assistant Professor of History, Brown University. She is the author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State and What is the Spatial Turn? (2012) published by Harvard. Guldi received her PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley.

David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Harvard University. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000),The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (2009), and Foundations of Modern International Thought (2013).

The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support. Reservations requested because of limited seating.