Category Archives: History News

News about the National History Center or the history profession.

March 3 (Rescheduled to April 28): James Graham Wilson: “The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptation, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War”

In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar based on his book, The Triumph of Improvisation, James Graham Wilson takes a long view of the end of the Cold War, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to Operation Desert Storm. Wilson argues that adaptation, improvisation, and engagement by individuals in positions of power ended the specter of a nuclear holocaust. Eschewing the notion of a coherent grand strategy to end the Cold War, Wilson illuminates how leaders made choices and reacted to events they did not foresee.

James Graham Wilson received his Ph.D. in diplomatic history from the University of Virginia in 2011 and his B.A. from Vassar College in 2003. He currently works on Soviet and National Security Policy volumes for the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series in the Office of the Historian at the Department of State.

Report from the Field: To be announced

The Washington History Seminar, a joint venture of the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, meets at 4 p.m. in the 6th Floor Moynihan Boardroom at the Wilson Center in the Ronald Reagan Building, 13th and Pennsylvania, NW, Federal Triangle Metro Stop. Reservations are requested because of limited seating: WHS@wilsoncenter.org

The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for its support.

A webcast and podcast of the talk will be available here later.

February 24: Marilyn Lake: “Australia’s Historic Minimum Wage: A World History Approach”

Histories of the minimum wage are usually written within national analytic frameworks. Research in the New York Public Library on the first minimum wage, legislated in Victoria, Australia, in 1896, convinced historian Marilyn Lake that a world history approach was necessary, one that located this experiment in “state socialism” in the context of both the longue duree of imperial labor relations and encounters between the subjects of the British and Chinese empires in the new world of urban Melbourne. This presentation to the Washington History Seminar will take that approach.

Marilyn Lake is Professor in History and Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Her recent publications include Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men’s Countries and the International Campaign for Racial Equality (2008), co-authored with Henry Reynolds; and the articles “Chinese colonists assert their ‘common human rights'” in the Journal of World History (2010) and “Colonial Australia in its Regional Context” in The Cambridge History of Australia, vol. 1 (2013).

Report from the Field: To be announced

The Washington History Seminar, a joint venture of the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, will convene at 4:00 p.m. in the Wilson Center’s 6th Floor Moynihan Boardroom in the Ronald Reagan Building at 13th and Pennsylvania, NW, in Washington, DC, above the Federal Triangle Metro Stop (Blue & Orange Lines). Reservations are requested because of limited seating: mbarber@historians.org.

February 8 and 9: The NHC on C-SPAN

C-SPAN3’s American History TV aired two National History Center programs the weekend of February 8 and 9, 2014.

Jackie Jones’ talk on the myth of race and its political uses appeared Sunday, February 9, at 9:30 am, 8:30 pm, and 11:30 pm, ET.  Prof. Jones originally gave this presentation to the Washington History Seminar on December 9.

“The Art & Craft of the Obituary,” with Adam Clymer, formerly the chief Washington correspondent of the New York Times;  Adam Bernstein, news obituaries editor at the Washington Post; and journalism historian Janice Hume of the University of Georgia appeared  Saturday,  February 8, at 9:15 am and Sunday, February 9, at 4:15 pm, also ET. This session originated at the American Historical Association’s 2014 annual meeting in January. It is part of “Historians, Journalists, and the Challenges of Getting It Right,” an initiative of the AHA, the NHC, and two centers at USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

These and other NHC programs can be viewed 24/7 at C-SPAN’s online Video Library.