Lecture Series

Intersections and Interactions

A Lecture Series for 2016-2017 sponsored by the History Department

Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Dr. Paul Cobb. “Getting Crusade: An Islamic History of Medieval Holy War.” 6 PM, Scales Fine Arts Center Room 102. Open to the Public. 

paul-cobb-flyer-9-21-16Paul M. Cobb is Professor of History in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a recognized authority on the history of the medieval Levant and of the Crusades in their Islamic context, Professor Cobb is the author of numerous books and articles, including  most recently The Race for Paradise: An Islamic History of the Crusades (Oxford University Press, 2014).


Secrets, Rumors, and Gossip

A Lecture Series for 2015-2016 sponsored by the History Department

Monday, April 4, 2016. Dr. Lu Yan. 5 pm, ZSR Auditorium. Open to the Public.

Lu Yan flyer

Hong Kong stands out as one of the few European colonies in Asia and Africa that did not march down the path toward decolonization after World War II. Instead it remained a British possession until 1997. Come learn about why Hong Kong became an exception, and how the interactions between local dynamics and Great Power politics shaped its fate in the postwar world.

Thursday, February 25, 2016. Dr. Francis Robinson. 5 pm, DeTamble Auditorium. Open to the Public. 

Robinson flyer

Over the past two centuries Islamic knowledge has come to be more vigorously and more widely disseminated than ever before, despite the attempts of both colonial and national rulers in the Muslim world to rebuild their societies on Western models. This talk, by one of the world’s leading experts in the field, will explore the rebuilding of Islamic societies from below since 1800 in the context of South Asia, and link it to developments elsewhere in the Islamic World.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016. Professor Deborah Cohen. 5 pm DeTamble Auditorium, Tribble Hall. Open to the Public. 

cohen poster

Deborah Cohen is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of the Humanities and Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University. She is an historian of Modern Britain and the author of three prize-winning books, including Family Secrets: Shame and Privacy in Modern Britain  (2013). The title of her talk is “Queer Uncles: Homosexuality and the Family in Modern Britain.” This lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Department of English.


Thursday, November 5, 2015. Dr. Don Doyle. 5 pm, ZSR Auditorium. Open to the Public. 

Doyle FlyerThe Civil War was fought not only on the battlefields of America but also in the European court of public opinion. Don Doyle, McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, will explain how agents from the Union and Confederacy struggled to control the war’s narrative as they sought crucial assistance from Britain and France. The story of public diplomacy in Europe reveals the importance of “soft power” in winning the war and highlights how a war over union and secession became understood as a global referendum on slavery, liberty, and the future of democracy itself.


Division and Unity

A Lecture Series for 2014-2015 sponsored by the History Department

Monday, October 20, 2014 @ 4:30 in ZSR Library Auditorium. Open to the Public.

IMG_1213 (1)“What to do About Slavery?: The Grimke Sisters’ Great Dilemma,” by Dr. Louise Knight, Visiting Scholar in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Northwestern University.  Dr. Knight is the author of Jane Addams: Spirit in Action (W.W. Norton, 2010) and Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2005). Her current book project deals with the Grimke sisters, two abolitionists and women’s rights advocates during the 1830s who were born in Charleston, S.C., to a wealthy slaveowning family. These sisters were the first American women to travel, lecture and organize for a secular cause.

Thursday, January 29, 2015.  Dr. Noell Rebecca Howell Wilson. Open to the Public.

wilsonDr. Wilson received her Ph.D.in History and East Asian Languages in 2004 from Harvard University. She specializes in modern military and political history of Japan. Her current research examines the influence of the Kyushu domains in Fukuoka and Saga on national defense policy in Tokugawa Japan. Dr. Wilson is an alum of Wake Forest University, graduating with honors in history in 1994. She is the Croft Associate Professor of History and International Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Thursday, April 16, 2015. Clonts Lecture by Dr. Kenneth Pomeranz. Title and location to be announced.

PomeranzDr. Pomeranz is University Professor of Modern Chinese History at the University of Chicago. His research focus in on China, as well as on comparative world history. Much of his work centers on social, economic, and environmental history. His book, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton University Press, 2000), won the John K. Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association, and shared the World History Association book prize. An earlier book, The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society and Economy in Inland North China, 1853‑1937 (University of California Press, 1993), also won the Fairbank Prize. He is a founding member of the Journal of Global History; is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and has received fellowships from the Guggenhiem Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


A Lecture Series for 2013-2014 sponsored by the History Department

Monday, March 31, 2014 @ 5.00pm in ZSR Library, Rm. 404. Open to the Public.

“Hajj in the Time of Cholera: Disease Vectors and the Pilgrimage to Mecca from Southeast Asia” by Dr. Eric Tagliacozzo, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
TagliacozzoPerforming the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, is incumbent upon every Muslim as one of five pillars of the faith.  In colonial times, however, disease stalked the pilgrim ships coming to Arabia, as cholera and other maladies traveled alongside the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who made the long trip. This talk looks at devotion and disease together, as one of the world’s great circuits of human travel for a single purpose evolved in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  In many years during this era, more Muslims performed their Hajj from Southeast Asia than from any other part of the world, making the urgency of epidemiology on the annual Hajj a matter of global import.  This talk examines the fate of these pilgrims, and the actions and attitudes of the states who examined their passage

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 @ 4.30 in ZSR Room 404. Open to the Public

fac_cummings_rdax_220x235“Piracy and the Future of the Information Economy” by Dr. Alex Sayf Cummings, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. His subject: From Tin Pan Alley to the mp3, Americans have battled over the ownership and use of music. Professor Cummings will discuss how the intersection of popular culture, technology, and law has shaped the way we enjoy music—and what this means for economic citizenship in the new economy.



Thursday, October 3, 2013 @ 5:30 in Annenberg Forum (Carswell 111). Open to the Public.

 “The Sudanese Mahdi’s Attitudes on Slavery,the Slave Trade, and Emancipation,” by Dr. Kim Searcy, Loyola University, Chicago. In this talk, Dr. Searcy explores the Madi’s attitudes on slavery and emancipation and his vision for a pure Islamic state.

Visit to Wake Forest University by Dr. Pete Daniel

Pete Daniel

24-27 February 2014: a series of public and other lectures and talks by the Retired Curator of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. See the schedule here. Also available: a Q&A with him.


Conference: Lay My Burden Down

The Lay My Burden Down Conference 10/17-18/2013. An important conference of scholars to discuss freedom and the US Civil War. Held in Old Salem, Winston-Salem State University on 10/17 and on Wake Forest University’s campus 10/18. C-SPAN recorded some of the sessions and they can be accessed via the links below:

The NC Department of Cultural Resources is making more of the conference available via YouTube. Several talks are available here. And you can access them directly below, using the skip button to jump from talk to talk.

Global Cities

A Lecture Series for 2012-2013 sponsored by the History Department

Wednesday, September 17, 2012 @ 5:30 in ZSR Library Room 404. Open to the Public.

“London Entangled: Indigenous Histories from the Heart of Empire,” by Professor Coll Thrush of the University of British Columbia.  Coll Thrush is Associate Professor of History at the University of British Columbia. His interests in place, landscape, and territoriality inform a broader project that he describes as “bring Indigenous histories into conversations with other fields of history.” His talk, “London Entangled,” frames London’s history through the experiences of indigenous people who traveled — willingly or otherwise — to the city.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 @ 5:30 in DeTamble. Open to the Public.
“Old Odessa: The Enchanted City of Jewish Rogues,” by Professor Jarrod Tanny of the University
of North Carolina at Wilmington. Dr. Tanny is Assistant Professor and Block Distinguished Fellow
in Jewish Studies at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. His talk comes from his recent book, City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia’s Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa (Indiana UP, 2011), which reviewers have called “an inspired analysis of Odessa’s role as a city that fueled cultural irreverence throughout the humorlessness of the Tsarist and Soviet ages.” He is currently working on the history of Jewish humour, examining how Jewish humour in popular North American culture has been informed by the collective memory of European Jewish experience.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 @ 7:30 in ZSR Library Room 404.  Open to the Public.
“A Perfect Temper: The Life and Times of Martha Jefferson Randolph,” by Professor Cynthia Kierner of George Mason University. Professor Kierner is the author of six books, many articles, an OAH distinguished speaker and a NEH Fellowship recipient, among other accomplishments.  Her most recent publication is A Perfect Temper: The Life and Times of Martha Jefferson with University of North Carolina Press (2012). Her next big research project will involve the history of leisure in America from the colonial period through the Civil War era.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 @ 5:30 in ZSR Library Room 404. Open to the Public.

“Real Estate, Cities and the History of Capitalism,” by Professor Alexia Yates.  Dr. Yates is a Prize Fellow in Economics, History, and Yates_AlexiaPolitics at Harvard University. Her work is informed by questions about the interaction between citizens, institutions, markets, and the urban landscape, particularly in the French context. She has published extensively on business practices and consumer culture in modern France, and her research has been recognized by the Urban History Association and the Business History Conference. Her talk comes from her current book project, Selling Paris: Real Estate and Commercial Culture in the Fin-de-siècle Capital.

Tuesday, April 2 @ 5:30 in DeTamble Auditorium:  The Clonts Family Bi-Annual Lecture
“Women’s Improvement and Human Development: The Pious Teachings of a Muslim Princess in Colonial India,” by Professor Barbara Metcalf. Barbara Metcalf retired in 2009 as Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History at the University of Michigan; she is an emerita professor of the University of California, Davis, where she served as departmental chair and dean of social sciences. A specialist in the modern history of South Asian Muslims, she is the author of Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband 1860-1900 (Oxford, 2002, 2nd ed.), Islamic Contestations: Essays on Muslims in India and Pakistan (Oxford, 2004), Husain Ahmad Madani: The Jihad for Islam and India’s Freedom (Oxford, 2009), and co-author of A Concise History of India (Cambridge, 2012, 3rd ed.). Her edited volumes include Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe (Berkeley, 1996) and Islam in South Asia in Practice (Princeton, 2009), a compilation of primary sources prepared by some thirty different scholars. She is currently working on the nineteenth-century history of the princely state of Bhopal, and has long term interests in the proselytizing Tablighi Jamat; in Greco-Arabic medicine in the colonial period; and in the hajj from South Asia, on all of which topics she has published occasional articles. Barbara Metcalf is a past president of the Association for Asian Studies and of the American Historical Association.

“Negotiating Narratives.”

A Lecture Series for 2011-2012 sponsored by the History Department

Wednesday, April 18th @ 6:00 p.m. in Greene Hall 145. Open to the Public.

“The Empire of Hope: Emotion, Agency, and the Politics of Japanese Reconstruction after 3/11” by David Leheny, Henry Wendt, III ’55 Professor of East Asian Studies, Princeton University

The tsunami and nuclear meltdown that devastated Japan’s northeastern coast did not begin the debates about Japanese decline. Those have a longer vintage, emanating most prominently from the end of the bubble economy in the early 1990s, ushering in two decades of low economic growth and doubt about the country’s future, as well as neoliberal economic reforms and sometimes striking neo-nationalist turns in politics. In this milieu, a team of distinguished social scientists began a research project on the “social sciences of hope,” investigating how young people in smaller communities might rebuild employment markets and create new opportunities for themselves and others. The March 11th disaster had special implications for this project, and several of its contributors became key players in subsequent policy debates about how hope could be rebuilt in post-tsunami Japan. This presentation provides an overview of the social and political debates in Japan surrounding the disaster, focusing especially on how discourses of hope — an almost determinedly apolitical, emotional concept in these debates — became part of a contested terrain in which national and local forces imagined the responsibility to rebuild as well as who the beneficiaries of Japanese reconstruction would be.


April 2 @ 6:00 p.m. in ZSR 404.  Open to the Public.

“Leaving New Orleans:  A Personal Urban History,” by Leslie Harris, Associate Professor of History and the Winship Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Emory University.  Professor Harris’s primary research areas are urban history, African-American history, and the history of women and gender.  She is the author of In the Shadow of Slavery:  African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863 (University of Chicago Press, 2003), which was awarded the Wesley-Logal Prize by the American Historical Association.  She co-edited with Iran Berlin Slavery in New York(New Press, 2005). Professor Harris’s public scholarship engages New Orleans’ history on academic, personal, and public levels; she is the principal investigator for the New Orleans After Katrina project, a digital initiative that allows students, scholars, and the general public to contribute to and critically engage with the history of New Orleans.  For more information on the project, please seethe link at http://nolaresearch.org/   In addition to a description of the New Orleans After Katrina project, Professor Leslie Harris will discuss her recent manuscript, titled “Leaving New Orleans: A Personal Urban History,” in which she points out that many aspects of New Orleans history have been obscured by the responses to Hurricane Katrina. Professor Harris seeks to answer important scholarly and personal questions about historians’ roles and responsibilities (to themselves, their families, familiar places, and history) that will be of interest to history students and faculty alike.

February 27 @ 6:00 p.m. in DeTamble Auditorium.  Open to the Public.

“Then and Now:  Civil War memory in the Civil Rights Era and in the Obama Era,” by David W. Blight, Professor of History at Yale University and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance & Abolition.

Professor David Blight, award-winning author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, now examines the Civil War’s centennial celebration to determine how Americans made sense of the suffering, loss, and liberation a century earlier. He shows how four of America’s most incisive writers—Robert Penn Warren, Bruce Catton, Edmund Wilson, and James Baldwin—explored the gulf between remembrance and reality. Now on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the war, we have an invaluable perspective on how this conflict continues to shape the country’s political debates, national identity, and sense of purpose.

February 2 @ 5:00 in DeTamble Auditorium.  Open to the Public.

“The American University of Beirut: Student Activism and the Arab Spring,” by Professor Betty S. Anderson of Boston University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations.  Her lecture will deal with university students who joined the Arab Spring protestors.  While analysts have listed historical antecedents to the current events, such as the 1919 Revolution in Egypt, little mention has been made of the Arab students movements that erupted in the 1950s and 1960s. The conditions giving rise to those movements differ from those of today, but the excitement engendered by youth empowerment resonates quite vividly across the generations. Just as with today’s youth, their predecessors demanded that they be considered valid actors on the political stage. In the case of the earlier generation, the arena on which they chose to focus was, first and foremost, the university campus, but they also articulated demands that called for change at the political level throughout their countries and the region at large. A study of student activism at the American University of Beirut (AUB) highlights the issues most important to the earlier generations of student activists


November 14 @ 6:00 p.m. in ZSR Library Room 404

“Rethinking the Image of China and Japan in Global History” by Benjamin Elman

Benjamin Elman is Professor of East Asian Studies and History at Princeton University. Professor Elman will contribute a thought-provoking lecture on the ideological uses (and abuses) of historical narratives and the historian’s role in perpetuating or challenging stories held dear to national identities. He is the author of several books in the fields of Chinese intellectual and cultural history and the history of science, including From Philosophy to Philology: Social and Intellectual Aspects of Change in Late Imperial China (Harvard Press, 1984), Classicism, Politics, & Kinship: The Ch’ang-chou New Text School of Confucianism in Late Imperial China (Berkeley, 1990), and On Their Own Terms: Science in China, 1550-1900 (Harvard, 2005).  In 2008 Professor Elman co-authored a world history textbook: World Together, Worlds Apart, Vol. 1 [Vol. A-B].

September 12 @ 12:00 in De Tamble Auditorium

Dr. Omar Ali, Associate Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina @ Greensboro, will deliver his talk entitled “The Swahili Coast as Part of the Indian Ocean African Diaspora.”  Professor Ali’s presentation will focus on the diasporic journeys of African men, women and children from the interior of the continent to the Swahili Coast, and on to places as distant as southern Iran, western India, and Sri Lanka.  He explores the conditions that led these Africans far from their homes and discusses the ways in which captives of war, mercenary soldiers, merchants, sailors, musicians, and concubines from the Swahil coast and interior regions of Africa shaped the cultures and histories of the wider Indian Ocean world


September 14 @ 6:00 in DeTamble Auditorium

Dr. Jonathan Berkey, Professor of Middle East History at Davidson College, will deliver his talk entitled “Muslim Pasts and Islamic Futures:  Narrative, History and the Future of Islam.”  Professor Berkey’s research and writing focus on Islamic religious culture and medieval Egypt and Syria.  He is the author of The Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Cairo (1992); Popular Preaching and Religious Authority in the Medieval Islamic Near East (2001); and The Formation of Islam:  Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800 (2003).  His talk is open to the general public.