For the next National History Center and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Weekly History Seminar, Marilyn B. Young, Professor of History at New York University, analyzes “The Eternal Question of Counterinsurgency” on Monday, May 3, 2010 at the Wilson Center.
What are historians to make of the phrase made famous during the Vietnam war, “hearts and minds”? With the advantage of distance in time and the cooling of passions, it seems clear that the phrase reflected a tactic of counterinsurgency characteristic of the European colonial empires as well as the American attempt to find a solution to the war. The rediscovery of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan is not only a military tactic but also something that approaches an ideology—and something well worth discussing in the context of the war in Vietnam.
New Books in History has a new podcast of an interview with Mark Philip Bradley and Marilyn Young, the editors of the Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars, the first volume in the Reinterpreting History series produced by the National History Center and Oxford University Press. The volumes in the series aim to convey to readers how and why historians revise and reinterpret their understanding of the past, and they do so by focusing on a particular historical topic, event, or idea that has long gained the attention of historians.
As Marshall Poe, editor of New Books in History, states, “[The] authors provide no simple answers because there are none. You will not find easy explanations, good guys and bad guys, or ideological drum-beating in these pages. What you will find is a sensitive effort to understand an event of mind-boggling, irreducible complexity. There’s a lesson here: we may think we know what we are doing on far-away shores, but we are fooling ourselves.”
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.
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.