Howard French

Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power

Howard French, Columbia University
April 28, 2017

Howard French will examine the relationship of China’s historical identity, one of dynastic glory, to its current actions in ways ideological, philosophical, and even legal in order to help us learn to anticipate just what kind of global power China stands to become–and to interact wisely with a future peer.

Swaziland: Africa in a Nutshell?

Swaziland: Africa in a Nutshell?

Ann Harris Davidson, CFIS-AIA
April 9, 2017

Swaziland is seldom referenced in international news but it encapsulates much of both the positive and negative views of Africa; in some ways, it is “Africa in a nutshell”, but small can be stunning, as Swaziland’s unique and compelling characteristics demonstrate. Ann Harris Davidson will present some of the history, geography, culture and politics of Swaziland.

Was Iraq a Bad Idea?

Was Iraq a Bad Idea?

Dr. Sara Pursley, New York University
March 31, 2017

This talk will explore ways in which “Iraq” has functioned as an idea, from the state’s formation after World War I to the Islamic State’s attempt to dismantle the Iraq-Syria border starting in 2014. Was Iraq a flawed and hopeless idea from the beginning? Or has it, on the contrary, been a remarkably resilient idea? And what do these questions have to do with the challenges facing Iraqis today?

Adam Garfinkle

Americans and the World: “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Why Americans Can’t See ‘Others’ at All: Case in Point, the Middle East

Dr. Adam Garfinkle, American Interest Magazine
March 19, 2017

From the earliest days, we Americans have had a special way of looking at the world derived from Anglo-Protestant religious traditions and the ideas of the Enlightenment. When Americans’ world view is projected onto other societies, especially non-Western ones, the result is almost always serious misunderstanding and confusion. Policies flowing from these misconceptions rarely succeed except by accident or extreme exertion. By examining U.S. policy toward the Middle East, especially in the period since the end of the Cold War, Adam Garfinkle will illustrate the tragic consequences of America’s problems of perception.

The Roots of Harlem’s Second Renaissance

The Roots of Harlem’s Second Renaissance

Dr. Brian D. Goldstein, University of New Mexico
March 12, 2017

In the last four decades of the twentieth century, Harlem, New York—one of America’s most famous neighborhoods—transformed from the symbol of midcentury “urban crisis” to the most celebrated example of “urban renaissance” in the United States. Dr. Goldstein will explore the role that Harlemites themselves played in bringing about Harlem’s urban renaissance, an outcome that had both positive and negative effects for their neighborhood.

US and the Arab World: The Significance of a Broken Relationship

US and the Arab World: The Significance of a Broken Relationship

Dr. Ussama Makdisi, Rice University
February 26, 2017

Recent American involvement in the Arab world has been vexed, controversial and violent. It has led to both rampant anti-Arab sentiment and Islamophobia in the United States and to anti-Americanism in the Middle East. Yet an older cultural engagement between Americans and Arabs goes back to the early part of the nineteenth century. Professor Makdisi will cover the history and consequences of a changing American engagement with the Middle East.

Wars and Art: Antiquities and Local Cultural Artifacts Protection during Military Operations

Wars and Art: Antiquities and Local Cultural Artifacts Protection during Military Operations

Dr. Laurie W. Rush, US Dept of Defense
February 12, 2017

Wars and Art are not compatible. When armies march, guns thunder, and bombs fall, cultural artifacts get in the way or can be held as hostages, resulting in their destruction. The situation is dire, but there is also hope. NATO allies and partner nations are finding common ground in identifying and protecting cultural treasures.

The United States as a World Power: How It Got There and What Is Its Future

The United States as a World Power: How It Got There and What Is Its Future

Dr. Noel Pugach, UNM
January 20, 2017

Foreign relations specialists, public intellectuals and politicians have been debating the decline of American power, its causes, and America’s future role in world affairs. Dr. Pugach will review how and why we achieved predominance and examine if it is sustainable in the foreseeable future and also examine some possible options and indicate their consequences.

Nobel Prize Through the Prism of Russian Writers

Nobel Prize Through the Prism of Russian Writers

Dr. Natasha Kolchevska, UNM
January 8, 2017

Dr. Kolchevska will examine the story behind the Nobel Prize in Literature by looking at the Russian/Soviet awardees over the last 70 years.