Category Archives: Seminars

International Seminar on Decolonization is a summer program generously sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to bring together young historians from the U.S. and aboard to Washington, DC to study to discuss the history of decolonization in the 20th-century. The seminar will run in July in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

February 10: Lynne Olson: “Racing Against Time: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over Saving Britain and Going to War”

Today, we think of World War II as the “good war” — a necessary conflict to save Western civilization from the evil of Nazi Germany. But in the years leading up to Pearl Harbor, author Lynne Olson argued in this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, the extent of that evil was not as obvious as it is now. From 1939 to 1941, millions of Americans were swept up in a passionate, bitterly fought debate over what America’s role should be in the war. Should the country forsake its traditional isolationism and come to the aid of Britain, then on the brink of defeat by Hitler? Or should it go further and enter the war? At stake was not only Britain’s survival but the very shape and future of America.

Before Lynne Olson began writing books full time, she worked more than ten years as a journalist, including stints as Moscow correspondent for the Associated Press and White House correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. Author of six works of history, she has been described by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as “our era’s foremost chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy.” Her books include the national bestseller Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood With Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour. Her latest, Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941, was a New York Times bestseller and was named by the Times as one of its 100 Notable Books of 2013.

A webcast and podcast of the session will be posted here in a few weeks.

Announcing the 2014 Decolonization Seminar Participants!

The National History Center is pleased to announce the 16 individuals who will be joining the Ninth International Seminar on Decolonization this summer in Washington, DC!

Amber Abbas, St Joseph’s University, Indian Students and Decolonization: American Interests, the Cold War and the Prospects of Radicalism

Jeffrey Byrne, University of British Columbia, A World Too Fast for Theories: Ideology, Oil, and Interdependence in US-Algerian Relations

Arie Dubnov, University of Haifa, The Dream of the Seventh Dominion: Lewis Namier, Josiah Wedgwood, A.J. Toynbee and the Question of Palestine in Interwar Liberal Imperialist Thought

Elisabeth Fink, New York University, Decolonization by the Ballot: The Referendum of 1958 in French West Africa

Frank Gerits, European University Institute, The Counterinsurgency of Public Diplomacy: The USIA’s Management of Insurgency in Africa, 1961-1969

Rajbir Hazelwood, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, Race, Murder, Riots: Being Punjabi in London, 1976-1984

Daniel Immerwahr, Northwestern University, The Decolonization of the United States

Stephen Jackson, The University of Sioux Falls, The View from the Colonies: The American Educator’s Perception of the End of the British Empire

Jack Loveridge, University of Texas at Austin, The Green Reaction: Britain, the United States, and India’s Food Economy, 1942-1955

Molly McCullers, University of West Georgia, Division in the Desert: Men, Water, and the Fight for the Future in Apartheid Namibia, 1945-1985

Thomas Meaney, Columbia University, A War against Empire? The Dependent Areas Branch and the Politics of Trusteeship

Malika Rahal, Institut d’histoire du temps présent (CNRS), Underground in International Relations

Caroline Ritter, University of California, Berkeley, The BBC and the Development of Broadcasting in Africa

Tehila Sasson, University of California, Berkeley, Humanity after Empire: Technologies for Relief in the Age of Decolonization, 1943-1973

Kate Stevens, University of Cambridge, “Half of Vanuatu Is Still Colonized by Herself”: Race, Gender and Law in the Era of Pacific Decolonization

Alden Young, University of Pennsylvania, The Economic Origins of Sudan’s First Civil War: The Military and Development Planning from 1958 to 1964

February 3: Martin Grossheim: “‘We Are the True Revolutionaries’: The Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the 1960s”

 The history of relations between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Soviet Union and other Socialist states during the Vietnam War is usually told as a story of solidarity and “proletarian internationalism.” But there was another side: while the North Vietnamese celebrated “friendly relations” with Moscow and East Berlin and happily accepted aid provided by the Soviet bloc, they were deeply distrustful of Moscow’s policy of “peaceful co-existence” and the influence of “revisionist culture.” In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, Martin Grossheim used the case of Vietnamese students in the former German Democratic Republic as an example of the ambivalent relations between Hanoi and their “comrades” in Eastern Europe.

Martin Grossheim is a Residential Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars working on a project entitled “The East German ‘Stasi’ and the Making of the Autocratic State in Vietnam.” He received his doctorate in Southeast Asian history from Passau University, Germany, where he teaches in the Department of Southeast Studies. He is the author of The Party and the War: Debates and Dissent in North Vietnam (2009) and Ho Chi Minh, The Mysterious Revolutionary: Life and Legend (2011), both published in German.

The seminar is a joint venture of the Wilson Center and the National History Center of the American Historical Association.   A webcast of this session will be posted here in a few weeks.