Past Events

Events 2013
Events 2010-2012
Events 2005-2009
Events 1999-2004
List of publications

2013

February 28, 2013: Colonel Erik Rundquist, USAF, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (2 Talks):

“Counter-terrorism Strategies: Past, Present, and Future.” Closed luncheon Q/A open only to World Affairs Forum students, ROTC cadets, invited CAS and CGS faculty.

“Counterinsurgency: Reflections on a Year in Afghanistan.” Lecture open to faculty, two undergrad classes (HI & IR), general public, and ROTC cadets.

February 22- 23, 2013: Third Annual Graduate Research Conference in International Relations:

Fault Lines and Fragmentation in International Systems. Find panelists here.

February 15, 2013: Presidential Deception in War: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Vietnam War:

Public lecture by Prof. Cathal Nolan of the International History Institute presented to World Affairs Forum.

2012

December 3, 2012: Sounds of Ancient Turkey-Turkish Mystic Music, Poetry and Images, with Latif Bolat:

Latif Bolat is a distinguished Turkish musician. His concert and conference itinerary has taken him all across North America, Europe, and Australasia. He composed the soundtrack for Stephen Spielberg’s “Young Indiana Jones” and for the PBS documentary “Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet.”

November 8th, 2012: United States Foreign Policy- A European Review, a talk by Zaki Laidi:

Zaki Laïdi is Senior Research fellow and Professor of International Relations at Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and at the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium). In December, 2005, he founded Telos, a French think tank. He is author of The Great Disruption, The Third World and the Soviet Union, A World Without Meaning, and, most recently, Limited Achievements: Obama’s Foreign Policy.

October 28, 2012: Military History Field Trip to Battleship Cove:

Write up of field trip can be found here.

October 18, 2012: “Black Actions” Assassination in Counter-terrorism Strategy:

A historical and contemporary look at whether ‘wet work’ (assassination) is actually successful as a tool of counterterrorism policy. Professor John R. Schindler, U.S. Naval War College.

September 21-22, 2012: IHI Faculty and Graduate Student Retreat:

Faculty and graduate students discuss the idea of “American Exceptionalism.”

March 27, 2012: Britain and the Origins of the League of Nations, 1914-1919:

Dr. Gaynor Johnson, Reader in International History, University of Salford, UK, will speak about the role played by British leaders and diplomats in the founding of the League of Nations. Dr. Gaynor is the author or editor of ten books on 20th century international history. Her latest is Lord Robert Cecil: Politician and Internationalist (forthcoming from Ashgate)

March 8, 2012: Perilous Sovereignty: Armenia Between Authoritarianism and Democracy:

Dr. Simon Payaslian, Charles K. and Elizabeth M. Kenosian Professor of History will speak about the past, present, and future of Armenia. His publications include The History of Armenia: From the Origins to the Present (2007); United States Policy toward the Armenian Question and the Armenian Genocide (2005); The Armenian Genocide, 1915-1923: A Handbook for Students and Teachers (2001); International Political Economy: Conflict and Cooperation in the Global System (co-authored with Frederic S. Pearson) (1999; Chinese translation, Peking University Press, 2006); and U.S. Foreign Economic and Military Aid: The Reagan and Bush Administrations (1996). He has co-edited (with Richard G. Hovannisian) two volumes, Armenian Constantinople (2010) and Armenian Cilicia (2008). His forthcoming book is entitled The Political Economy of Human Rights in Armenia: Authoritarianism and Democracy in a Former Soviet Republic.

March 6, 2012: A Time to Stir: A Documentary of the 1968 Student Uprising at Columbia University:

A powerful documentary film about the Columbia student revolt of 1968 presented by the filmmaker, Paul Cronin who describes the film as a ‘work in progress’. On April 23, 1968, members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Student Afro-American Society (SAS) occupied Hamilton Hall and took Dean Henry Coleman captive in his office, before students divided along tactical & racial lines. Over the next week, seven more buildings were “occupied” by different groups. This film captures the events and interviews participants on all sides, 40 years later. Images include: negotiations among the “strikers,” faculty, and administration, communal living, angry football players, telegrams from Chairman Mao, folk songs, New Age nuptials, Black Power activists, a national media scramble, & confrontations between students & police. The occupation ended in violence that left scores of students, faculty, and police injured, and talking about their days of rage for the rest of their lives.

January 26, 2012: The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict:

Dr. Jonathan Schneer is the modern British historian at Georgia Tech in the School of History, Technology, and Society. He is a co-editor of two books, and the author of six more, including London 1900; The Imperial Metropolis, The Thames: England’s River and most recently The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict which won a 2010 National Jewish Book Award.

2011

November 16, 2011: Visiting Scholar: “History, Law, and Modern Conflicts:

Major General Charles J. Dunlap, USAF (Ret.), Executive Director, Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, Visiting Professor of the Practice of Law, Duke University School of Law.

November 8, 2011: IHI Authors Series: “Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia:

Professor Anna Geifman, Department of History, will speak about her new book on the origins of modern terrorism in revolutionary violence: “Death Orders.” She delineates psycho-historical patterns of worldwide terrorism during the past century, focusing on Russia as a case study. It was the birthplace of modern political extremism whose key features serve as models for similar experiences in other periods and regions. She shows that terrorists’ objectives have degenerated from punishment of individual adversaries and attempts to intimidate political elites to indiscriminate violence against civilians–most recently against children. The book shifts attention from ideology to practices that had been hidden, ignored, romanticized, or rationalized. “Death Orders” ventures beyond politics and psychology; it is the first work to present modern terrorism as an uncanny form of “dark spirituality.” Among Professor Geifman’s publications are: “Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894-1917″ (PUP 1993) and “Entangled in Terror: The Azef Affair and the Russian Revolution” (Rowman 2000). She is the editor of “Russia under the Last Tsar: Opposition and Subversion, 1894-1917″ (Blackwell, 1999) and author of the psychohistorical essay, “La mort sera votre dieu: du nihilisme russe au terrorisme islamiste” (Paris, 2005).

October 27, 2011: Wondering What You Can Do With Four Years? Alternative Careers for HI and IR Majors:

HI and IHI co-sponsored talk, in conjunction with the Undergraduate History Association (UHA). Natasha Cohen (BU 2011) will discuss her experiences in Kyrgyzstan and Russia, the State Department and the Department of the Army, and alternative tips and strategies for taking advantage of your time in college to prepare for a career anywhere in the world. Email IHI@bu.edu for any questions. Admission is free and open to the public.

October 22-23, 2011: IHI Faculty-Graduate Student Retreat:

From October 22 to 23, the Boston University International History Institute (IHI) held its first annual faculty-graduate student retreat at the BU Sargent Center Outdoor Camp in New Hampshire.  While enjoying lovely fall scenery at the lakeside facility, faculty and advanced graduate students met for four unscripted and stimulating discussions exploring this year’s theme: “Empires.” The history professors in attendance included Betty Anderson, William Keylor, David Mayers, Cathal Nolan, and Suzanne O’Brien. Four BU College of General Studies professors joined us in New Hampshire: Jay Corrin, Sam Deese, Michael Kort, and Leslie Kriebel. Several BU graduate students also participated, including Andrew David, Zach Fredman, Aaron Hiltner, Michael Holm, and Sarah Westwood. Danny Orbach, a Harvard graduate student studying Imperial Japan, rounded out the group.

Retreat participants arrived without prepared notes or papers to present and jumped right into a conversation about why various past empires collapsed. We spent more time looking at the Qing, Ottoman, and Soviets, and Russian/Soviet empires and came to agreement pretty quickly when examining Britain and France. Our next session looked at a few more older empires and one that gets little attention in the United States: the Javanese Empire ruling present-day Indonesia. On Sunday morning we debated the nature of the American Empire. Professor Keylor’s suggestion, looking at America as an “empire by invitation”, garnered the most approval.

October 18, 2011: Visiting Scholar: “Wanted Dead or Alive: Manhunts From Geronimo to Bin Laden:”

Author Benjamin Runkle discusses his new book, Wanted Dead or Alive: Manhunts From Geronimo to Bin Ladin. The Navy Seal raid that killed Osama Bin Ladin marked the end of the longest strategic manhunt in American history, yet the al Qaeda leader was not the first to be targeted by a U.S. military campaign. Since 1885, from Geronimo through Pancho Villa, Manuel Noriega, and Saddam Hussein, the United States has deployed military forces to kill or capture a single person nearly a dozen times. Part military history, part action story, part policy analysis, Wanted Dead or Alive chronicles the efforts of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies to bring down those identified as America’s enemies. The author is a former paratrooper and presidential speech writer with a Harvard PhD and a Bronze Star awarded in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has worked for the Department of Defense and National Security Council and is currently a Professional Staff Member on the House Armed Services Committee.

April 20, 2011: IHI Military History Series: “The Big Fellow: Terrorist or Patriot?”

March 26, 2011: Plymouth Rocks!

March 23, 2011: Fate of Empires Series: “The Tide of Nationalism: NATO and African Decolonization, 1957-1963

March 3, 2011: Military History Series: “The Anti-Nazi Coups that Failed: 1938 and 1944: Did They Have a Chance?”

February 24, 2011: Vintage History Series: “Reconsidering Howard Zinn as Historian”

February 16, 2011: International Food History Series: “West African Food History”

2010

December 1, 2010: IHI Film Series: Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”

November 9, 2010: Fate of Empires Series: “Algeria’s FLN and the Lure of Moderation”

Author of, inter alia, Cultured Force: Makers and Defenders of the French Colonial Empire (2004), and Maxime Weygand: A Biography of the French General in Two World Wars (2008).

November 4, 2010: IHI Authors Series: Bacevich on “Washington Rules”

Discusses his latest book on perceived misdirections in American foreign policy: Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War

October 28, 2010: Military History Series: “War of the Flea: Historical Perspectives on Terrorism and Asymmetric Warfare”

April 29, 2010: The Short American Century, 1941-2008: Contrasting Views of the Era of American Dominance

April 25, 2010: Military History Field Trip to Battleship Cove

April 7, 2010: Bosnia and the Roots of Global Jihad: A Historical Perspective

April 1, 2010: The Short American Century: A Transnational Perspective

March 24, 2010: “Marx in Soho” by Howard Zinn

“Marx in Soho” is a one-man play written by the late Howard Zinn and performed by National Touring Actor and Barrymore Award nominee Robert Weick. The premise of this romp through Marxist and anarchist ideas is that Karl Marx achieves agreement with the masters of the afterlife for a chance to clear his name from negative judgments of the history of his ideas and of 20th century socialism. Bob Weick, has presented over 170 performances of Zinn’s play from Maine to California. Co-sponsored by the International History Institute and Department of Political Science.

March 22, 2010: The Fighting Airman: Historical Perspectives on Defending Air Dominance at Ground Level

March 18, 2010: “American Century/Consumer Century”

March 4, 2010: Japanese Food History

Professor Suzanne O’Brien of the Department of History hosts an evening of talk and sampling of Japanese cuisine, explaining changes to food preparation and styles over time and what this has meant in the larger context of Japan’s history and interaction with the outside world. First in a new series in food history.

March 3, 2010: Casablanca

The well-loved and classic film Casablanca was released into theaters on January 23, 1943, just two months after the TORCH landings in North Africa. Memories of Vichy French and Allied landing forces violently clashing were raw, and Europe was still under Nazi occupation. The majority of actors playing the flotsam of Europe’s refugees washed up in Rick’s Cafe were actual refugees from Nazi persecution. Some member’s of the Hungarian-born director’s family died in Auschwitz.

The film’s complex mix of comedy and suspense, its famously quirky dialogue, and unforgettable scenes such as the ‘battle of the anthems,’ consistently earns ratings for Casablanca among film buffs, and even critics, as one of the best feature films ever made. Academy Award winner as “Best Picture” of 1943.

February 17, 2010: Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War:

Through pamphlets, manuscripts and scrapbooks, and Abraham Lincoln’s own letters, experience the intimate workings of the Oval Office at one of the most volatile times in American history. Hold and examine the letters that crossed Lincoln’s desk.

February 2, 2010: Tora, Tora, Tora!

2009

December 9, 2009: The Short American Century, 1941-2008: Contrasting Views of the Era of American Dominance

November 18, 2009: A Tale of Three Cities: The Origins and Uses of American Hyperpower

November 7, 2009: Western Front Association Annual Conference

October 29, 2009: American Aid to the French Resistance in World War II

October 22, 2009: “The Heavenly City of Business: The American Century as Corporate Eschatology.”

October 8, 2009: “America in the World Economy: From the American Century to Globalization” Lecture #2 in series: The Short American Century, 1941-2008: Contrasting Views of the Era of American Dominance

September 25, 2009: Gerald Protheroe: Roger Hilsman and the Vietnam War

Roger Hilsman was an important State Department official in the Kennedy administration, active in formulation of policy leading into the Vietnam War from 1961-1963.

Hilsman was one of the leading opponents of a conventional military escalation of the war, frequently clashing with the Pentagon in an effort to limit U.S. engagement. Hilsman was convinced that “victory” in Vietnam was possible if the United States instead adopted a counterinsurgency approach to the conflict.

This perception was forged by his experiences as a guerrilla fighter in World War II. Perceived as one of the main architects of the coup against President Diem in 1963, and vilified by elements in the United States military and press, he was removed from office by President Johnson early in 1964.

September 17, 2009: The Short American Century, 1941-2008: Contrasting Views of the Era of American Dominance

April 23, 2009: Film Screening: Yamato

The IJN Yamato was the largest battleship ever floated. Its huge, 18-inch guns outranged every other warship in the world, while its name bore reverential meaning in Japan. Nearly 400 U.S. naval aircraft met the Yamato squadron on April 7, 1945, as the battleship and its escorts made a “suicide” run at high speed toward Okinawa. Only 269 men survived out of Yamato’s crew of 3,332. This new Japanese feature film recounts the lives of several crewmen, before, during, and after the final voyage of Yamato. Professor Suzanne O’Brien of the Department of History will introduce the film and answer questions afterward.

April 9, 2009: “Neither War Nor Peace: FDR’s Diplomats in Berlin and Policy toward Germany, 1933-1941″

David Mayers, Senior Fellow of the International History Institute and Professor of History and Political Science at Boston University, will present his research on U.S. diplomacy toward Nazi Germany carried out in Berlin in 2008. He will focus on critical decisions made in the first years of the war, as the U.S. departed from de facto neutrality at sea and in presidential rhetoric, yet remained de jure neutral and at uneasy peace with the Axis states. Professor Mayers will also discuss why Hitler declared war on the U.S. on December 11, 1941.

March 16, 2009: Modernization And Revolution In China: From The Opium Wars To World Power

BU Professors and IHI Fellows Michael Kort, June Grasso, and Jay Corrin discuss their recent book on the history of China, and salient controversies in the field. The format is informal and conversational, with questions and interaction most welcome. A catered reception will follow, to which all are also welcome.

March 5, 2009: Michael Collins: Terrorist or Freedom Fighter?

Cathal J. Nolan, Executive Director of the IHI and Associate Professor of History, will introduce, discuss, and show the feature film “Michael Collins.” The film depicts Ireland’s bloody path to independence from the Rising of 1916 through the Irish Civil War. Michael Collins was a key leader of the Irish Republican Army and a negotiator of the peace and partition treaty between Ireland and Britain. He was commander-in-chief of Free State forces in the Civil War, until he was assassinated by IRA irreconcilables and bitterenders. Collins’ pioneering of urban guerrilla and terror techniques became influential far beyond Ireland during the rest of the 20th century. In a follow-on discussion led by Professor Nolan, the film will be examined for its historical recreation of events.

February 25, 2009: “The Sorrow and the Pity” Part II

William R, Keylor, Director of the IHI and Professor of History and International Relations, will introduce “Le Chagrin et la pitié.” This extraordinary documentary by Marcel Ophüls deals with Vichy and the French Resistance in World War II. It was first shown in cinemas in 1971. The film was made for French television but not shown on TV until 1981 because of objections to its bleak portrait of France during the war. “Le Chagrin et la pitié” is among the most important historical documentaries ever produced. It will be shown in two parts. Each showing will be followed by a discussion led by Professor Keylor.

February 24, 2009: “The Sorrow and the Pity” Part I

William R, Keylor, Director of the IHI and Professor of History and International Relations, will introduce “Le Chagrin et la pitié.” This extraordinary documentary by Marcel Ophüls deals with Vichy and the French Resistance in World War II. It was first shown in cinemas in 1971. The film was made for French television but not shown on TV until 1981 because of objections to its bleak portrait of France during the war. “Le Chagrin et la pitié” is among the most important historical documentaries ever produced. It will be shown in two parts. Each showing will be followed by a discussion led by Professor Keylor.

2008

December 9, 2008: “Joyeux Noel: The Day the Guns Fell Silent”

Joyeux Noël: The Day the Guns Fell Silent” Professor Cathal J. Nolan will show this French feature film and take questions on the “Xmas truce” of December 1914. Location TBA. Date: December 11, 2008.

September 27, 2008: “Legacy of the Armenian Republic”

September 26, 2008: “History of the CIA”

“History of the CIA.” Co-sponsored by the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs (CCEIA). Executive Leadership Center, School of Management. September 19, 2008. 1:00-5:00 p.m.

April 10, 2008: Military History in Film: Allied and Axis Commanders in “Patton” and in Reality

Cathal J. Nolan, Executive Director of the IHI and Associate Professor of History at Boston University, will give a short talk on Allied and Axis commanders as portrayed in the film “Patton.” Then the film will be shown in its entirety. Does the film accurately convey the relative importance and skill of Patton and Montgomery as field commanders? How did stiff relationships and rivalries at the top affect the conduct of the war? What did Omar Bradley really think of his fellow Allied generals? Was Eisenhower seen by his peers as the remarkable Supreme Commander that popular history still portrays him to be? Or was he seen as challenged and even incompetent outside the political sphere? Rommel is popularly seen in the West as a superior battlefield opponent. How was he viewed by his fellow German generals?

March 26, 2008: “Varoujan and Siamanto: The Last Generation in Historic Armenia before the Cataclysm”

March 24, 2008: IHI Symposium on European Fascism

February 21, 2008: “The Day the Guns Fell Silent”

William R. Keylor, Director of the IHI and Professor of History at Boston University, will give a talk on the “Xmas truce” of December 25, 1914. On that remarkable day British, French, and German troops stopped fighting and shared Christmas together, fraternizing amidst shell craters and the shattered hopes of all sides for a short war. The talk will be followed by a showing of “Joyeux Noel”  (2006), an excellent French feature film about that extraordinary day and event.

February 11, 2008: “Military Bonding: A Force in Shaping Solidarity Among Enslaved Africans?”

Professor Thornton, noted and widely published expert on African military history, will consider the connection between military bonding and the formation of American slave communities by ex-soldiers.

January 31, 2008: “The Coming Age of Preventive War”

Dr. Tom Nichols, IHI Fellow, Professor of Strategy and Forrest Sherman Chair of Public Diplomacy at the Naval War College, will speak and take questions on the theme of his new book: “Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War.”

2007

December 5, 2007: Three IHI Authors

October 24, 2007: Vintage History Faculty Seminar

The International History Institute (IHI) will host a seminar in its “Vintage History” series of visiting international scholars on Wednesday, October 24th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Department of History, Room 504. The guest speaker will be Serge A. Ricard, Professor Emeritus of American Studies and U.S. History at the Sorbonne Nouvelle (University of Paris III), Institut du Monde Anglophone. He will speak and receive questions on the topic “Real and Mythical Perils in the Caribbean in the Age of Mahan and  TR.” All are welcome.

April 25, 2007: “The Realities of Power and Responsibility: Britain and the United States, 1919-1939,”

March 23, 2007: From the Great War to the Paris Peace Settlement, 1918-1919

March 7, 2007: Conspiracy: The Wansee Conference

February 14, 2007: Israel’s Lebanese Morass, 1975-2006

Professor Inbar is Director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. Born in Romania,  he was educated at Hebrew University and the University of Chicago (Ph.D). He was visiting professor at Georgetown University from 1991-92 and at Johns Hopkins in 2004, and a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1996. He was Manfred Warner NATO Fellow in 1998, a visiting fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London in 2000, and an Onassis Fellow in 2003. He has lectured at RAND, Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Oxford, and Yale Universities. Professor Inbar’s publications include over 50 articles in professional journals and four books: Outcast Countries in the World Community (1985), War and Peace in Israeli Politics (1991), Rabin and Israel’s National Security (1999), and The Israeli-Turkish Entente (2001), and he has edited eight more. He served in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) as a paratrooper, and is presently a reservist at the IDF College of Staff and Command. He was a member of the Political Strategic Committee of the National Planning Council and the Chair of the Committee for the National Security Curriculum at the Ministry of Education. He writes a regular column on international affairs for the Jerusalem Post.

2006

April 25, 2006: Research Seminar: Klaus Schabe, “Problems of Nation-building in U.S. Foreign Policy in the 20th Century: A German Perspective.”

Klaus Schwabe held the Chair of Contemporary History at the Historisches Institut from 1980-1997. From 1972-1980 he was Professor of Modern History at the University of Frankfurt. He has also taught at The Ohio State University and Georgetown University, the Sorbonne and University of Louvain‑la‑Neuve, and was a research fellow at Princeton University and the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo.

Among Professor Schwabe’s major publications are Woodrow Wilson, Revolutionary Germany, and Peacemaking 1918‑19 (1985); The Beginnings of the Schuman Plan (1988); a three‑language documentary volume of the Paris Peace Conference (Quellen zum Friedensschluß von Versailles, 1997); and Weltmacht und Weltordnung. Amerikanische Außenpolitik von 1898 bis zur Gegenwart (2006). He is also co‑editor of the Journal of European Integration History.

April 11, 2006: Research Seminar: Anna Geifman, “Terrorism and the Bolshevik Revolution”

Professor Geifman will introduce the topic, take questions, and guide the conversation (there will be no formal paper). Faculty and Graduate students are all welcome, and faculty are encouraged to invite selected undergraduates as well.

Professor Geifman’s works include Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894‑1917 and Entangled in Terror: The Azef Affair and the Russian Revolution. Her most recent book is La mort sera votre dieu: du nihilisme Russe au terrorisme islamiste, or,  In the Service of Death

April 1, 2006: Conference: International Origins of the Preservation Movement: 1880-1920

March 23, 2006 Research Seminar: Jonathon Zatlin, “German Unification in Retrospect”

February 28, 2006 Live Theatre: The Lights are Going Out All Over Europe: A Danse Macabre:

A theatrical reenactment of the crisis of July, 1914, and the origins of WWI. Performed in English, German, French and Russian by the original touring company Theatre Sündenfall, from Munich, Germany.