Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies

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Watch recordings of past IHS events, including talks and panel discussions. Special thanks to Not Even Past for posting the recordings on its YouTube channel.

"Hope, Agency and Transformation: Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic
and Tackling Our Planetary Emergency" Talk by John Barry, Queen’s College Belfast | April 22, 2020

barrytalkOn the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Dr. John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, spoke from Queen's University Belfast.







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"Socialisms in Practice: Three Twentieth-Century Cases"
Panel Discussion | March 11, 2020

socpracFrom the time the term was coined in the nineteenth century, ‘socialism’ has been a protean concept, and remains so today. This panel will examine socialist activity and practice in three widely different twentieth-century contexts, analyzing the specific historical circumstances that gave rise to each manifestation. Part of the five-part series titled “Agency and Action: Chapters in Socialist and Collectivist History” at the Institute for Historical Studies in 2019-20.



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"Postcolonial Socialisms in Perspective"
Panel Discussion | February 20, 2020

pcsocFrom the 1940s to the 1970s, as part of the project of decolonization, leaders and thinkers in late colonial or postcolonial states developed strikingly new conceptions of socialism – conceptions that were distinct and often at odds with European ones. The panel will explore this phenomenon as it emerged in three contexts: the Arab world, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. Part of the five-part series titled “Agency and Action: Chapters in Socialist and Collectivist History” at the Institute for Historical Studies in 2019-20.

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“The Problem of Newness: Art Cinema in India”
Talk by Rochona Majumdar, University of Chicago | October 28, 2019

majumdarHow do we think about newness in an aesthetic and commercial medium such as cinema? This talk explores this question with attention to the Indian new wave of the late 1960s-1970s. There is much controversy around the point that the body of films referred to as the Indian new wave were different from mainstream films as well as art films that preceded them. Yet, contemporary critics and film scholars acknowledge that there was a ferment in Indian cinema during this period not witnessed before or since. Taking a historical approach, and with close attention to some key films, Dr. Majumdar lays out a history of the Indian new wave.
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“The Civil War Undercommons: Studying Revolution on the Mississippi River”
Talk by Andrew Zimmerman, The George Washington University | September 23, 2019

zimmermanThe U.S. Civil War gave new scope to revolutionary currents that ran through the Mississippi River Valley, between St. Louis and New Orleans. This talk focuses on two of the most powerful: African American Conjure and European American Communism. These occult plebeian powers challenged the national ontology of U.S. exceptionalism and the despotism of white supremacy and private property that it entailed. Drawing on Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s 2013 The Undercommons, this talk highlights the intellectual and political work of the self-emancipation enslaved people in the United States.
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“From the May Fourth Movement to the Communist Revolution”
Panel Discussion | May 2, 2019

maThe year 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement and the 70th anniversary of the ending of the Communist Revolution in China. Beginning with the unreserved embrace of Western values by “enlightenment” intellectuals, the three decades following World War I in China witnessed dramatic transformation on all fronts, ending in the establishment of a communist government that would rule China to the present day. To make sense of the impacts and legacies of these two historical events as well as the ironies and contradictions that were intrinsic to them, our panelists will discuss the impact of the May Fourth movement on social and intellectual life in Republican China, the opportunities and dilemmas that confronted Chinese women in their involvement in the Communist Revolution, and the strategy and tactics behind Communist success in the Civil War in 1949.

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“Brexit in Global and Historical Context”
Panel Discussion | April 2, 2019

vaughn brexit panelThe United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union would seem to mark an abrupt and unexpected break with post-WWII efforts to bring about greater European integration. Yet like most sudden historical breaks, a look beneath the surface reveals longer-term processes. This panel will discuss how Brexit can be understood from several angles: a) long-term developments in the UK and between the UK and continental Europe, b) Brexit’s challenge to the EU and its impact on internal national debates elsewhere in Europe, and c) Brexit in light of the recent upsurge of global populism.
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“The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919: 100 Years Later”
Panel Discussion | March 13, 2019

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history, causing the death of 50 to 100 million people worldwide. This panel is a wide-ranging discussion of the 1918-1919 outbreak and subsequent episodes from a historical, sociological, and medical perspective.



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"Climate and Soil: An Environmental History of the Maya"
Talk by Timothy Beach, University of Texas | February 28, 2019

beachThe Late Holocene history of the ancient Maya world provides a microcosm of the Early Anthropocene. Much of the region today is tropical forest or recently deforested, but from 3,000 to 400 years ago Maya cities, farms, roads, reservoirs, and fields altered most of this region. Although a literate society, the written record provides little for environmental history; thus we can turn to climate and soil records. Climate played some role in periods of instability and stability and perhaps the Maya themselves caused some climate change.
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"Debt: A Natural History"
Talk by Daniel Lord Smail, Harvard University | October 16, 2018

SmailDebt is a human constant. The social implications of systems of credit and debt, however, are not; they can vary significantly over time and space. Traveling freely across the human past, this paper explores the paradoxical nature of the borrowing and lending and provides signposts for writing the natural history of debt.





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“The 1965 Immigration Act and Contemporary American Society”
Talk by Madeline Y. Hsu, University of Texas at Austin | July 12, 2018

hsu gliMadeline Y. Hsu delivered a lecture on the 1965 Immigration Act and current immigration demographics, explaining how the number and country of origin for immigrants, visa holders, and refugees has changed over the past 50 years. The talk was part of her seminar entitled “Nation of Immigrants: Migration in the Making of the United States” for K–12 educators participating in the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History summer institute, co-hosted by the Institute for Historical Studies. Video courtesy of C-SPAN.

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“1968: A Year of Upheaval in Global Perspective”
Panel Discussion | April 4, 2018

CoffinWhy has the 50th anniversary of a year generated so much interest just now? The year was 1968, and it witnessed an extraordinary outburst of protest and upheaval - one that transcended international borders. While the protests were triggered by diverse events and conditions, they seemed linked by more general aims of combatting institutionalized injustice and government abuse. This panel will examine the specific background and dynamics of 1968 movements in France, Mexico, and the United States (including Austin, Texas). At the same time, it will ask why these movements surfaced at this particular juncture, across much of the globe.

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 “50 Years Since Prague Spring: Czechoslovak Dreams and Cold War Realities”
Panel Discussion | February 6, 2018

NeuburgerPanelists Dr. Mary Neuburger and Dr. Jeremi Suri offer a retrospective examination of the 1968 Czechoslovak “Prague Spring”, or what the LBJ administration labeled the “Czechoslovak crisis.” They discuss the 1968 reform movement and popular response in the context of internal Bloc transformation and the “global 1960s,” as well as the implications of the Soviet (or Warsaw Pact) Invasion of Czechoslovakia and the US decision not to intervene for East-West Cold War engagement. 50 years after the event, both panelists re-examine the regional and global importance of these events and their aftermath. Dr. Neuburger also introduces a new open-access digital archive of LBJ documents related to the Prague Spring, which offers the potential for increased scholarly engagement with these questions. Video recording by Eyal Weinberg.

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“DACA: Past, Present, and Future”
Panel Discussion | October 2, 2017

daca panel photoWhat will be the fate of DACA - and of the Dreamers for whom it was issued? This panel will examine these topics: the history of DACA in the context of the debate on immigration reform; the constitutional and moral issues raised by the recent order for its termination; and the actions that can be pursued to achieve a just outcome.



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"Beyond 'Crisis' and Headlines: The History of Humanity as a History of Migration"
Talk by José C. Moya, Barnard College | September 18, 2017

MoyaThis presentation treats migration not as a current concern or "crisis" but as an intrinsic element of the human condition, indeed the very origin of our species, of its "racial" and cultural diversity, its global dispersion, and an engine of opportunity, innovation, and socioeconomic growth but also a source of disparities, inequalities, and conflict at global and local scales. Dr. Moya is Professor of History and Director, Forum on Migration at Barnard College, Director, Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University, and Professor Emeritus, UCLA.

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“The Confederate Statues at UT”
Panel Discussion | August 31, 2017

confederate statue panelWhat do statues commemorating Confederate leaders mean? Why has the university decided to remove such statues? And why has the issue been so controversial? This panel discussion aims to address these questions, as well as others from the audience.






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