Hugh Hawkins Lecture

The annual Hugh Hawkins Lecture is named in honor of the late Professor Hugh D. Hawkins. Professor Hawkins was the Anson D. Morse Professor of History and American Studies upon his retirement from the faculty in 2000, after forty-three years of teaching at Amherst. He was a distinguished scholar of American higher education, the American South, and of cultural and intellectual history. In 1976 he was the principal architect of the first-year Introduction to Liberal Studies curriculum, and he helped build both the History and American Studies Departments. 

2019-2020 Hugh Hawkins Lecture: Mae Ngai

"'Mother of Exiles': Refugees in American History and Myth"

Mae Ngai

Mae Ngai
Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History
Columbia University

Thursday, October 10

4:30 p.m.
Paino Lecture Hall 
107 Beneski

Emma Lazarus called America the “mother of exiles” in her poem, “The New Colossus,” which graces the Statue of Liberty. This lecture examines the enduring idea of America as a land of hope and refuge for the persecuted and oppressed. It goes beyond the familiar narratives of the Puritan settlers and the Statue of Liberty to think about how the idea of asylum has historically justified and obscured nation-building and racial agendas. It will compare the politics surrounding cold war refugees from Europe, Cuba, and Asia, and consider the contemporary recasting of Central American asylum seekers as undocumented migrants.

Mae Ngai is the Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and a Professor of History at Columbia University. She is the author of the award-winning Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. (Columbia's full profile)

The annual Hugh Hawkins Lecture honors the late Hugh D. Hawkins. Professor Hawkins was the Anson D. Moore Professor of History and American Studies upon his retirement from the faculty in 2000, after forty-three years of teaching at Amherst. He was a distinguished scholar of American higher education, the American South, and of cultural and intellectual history. In 1976 he was the principal architect of the first-year Introduction to Liberal Studies curriculum, and he helped build both the History and American Studies Departments. 

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Event Flyer: 

2018-19 Hugh Hawkins Lecture: Tara Zahra

“Against the World: Deglobalization in Interwar Europe”

Tara Zahra
Homer J. Livingston Professor of History
The University of Chicago

Thursday, February 7th
4:30 p.m.
Paino Lecture Hall 
107 Beneski

For decades before the First World War, the world seemed to shrink. Millions of migrants crossed the globe. The railway and steamship accelerated their journeys, and reduced the cost and risk of travel. To many observers, the growing interconnection of people and states seemed unstoppable. They believed that it would produce progress, prosperity, and peace. These illusions were, however, shattered in 1914, when the First World War ushered in a quarter century of anti-global retrenchment. This talk will explore deglobalization in interwar Europe. Why did so many Europeans reject globalization after the First World War? What relationship did these anti-global movements have to the rise of radical political movements on the far right and left? And to what extent do the anti-global politics of interwar Europe resemble those of our own time?

Tara Zahra is the Homer J. Livingston Professor of History at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching focus on the transnational history of Modern Europe. Zahra is most recently the author of The Great Departure: Mass Migration and the Making of the ‘Free World’ (Norton, 2016). Her previous books include The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe's Families after World War II (Harvard University Press, 2011) and Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands (Cornell, 2008) and (co-edited with Leora Auslander), Objects of War: The Material Culture of Conflict and Displacement (Cornell, 2018). Her current projects include a co-authored history of World War I in the Habsburg Empire (with Pieter Judson), and a history of deglobalization in interwar Europe.

The annual Hugh Hawkins Lecture honors Hugh D. Hawkins. Professor Hawkins was the Anson D. Moore Professor of History and American Studies upon his retirement from the faculty in 2000 after forty-three years of teaching at Amherst.  He was a distinguished scholar of American higher education, the American South, and of cultural and intellectual history.  In 1976 he was the principal architect of the first-year introduction to Liberal Studies curriculum and he helped build both the History and American Studies departments. 

This lecture is free and open to the public.

2017 Hugh Hawkins Lecture: Craig Steven Wilder

“The Approaching Past: Legacies of Slavery and Conquest on Campus”

Craig Steven Wilder, Barton L Weller Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Craig Steven Wilder
Barton L Weller Professor of History
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Thursday, October 5

4:30 p.m.
Paino Lecture Hall
107 Beneski

Professor Wilder will be speaking to contemporary efforts of colleges and universities to confront historical relationships to slavery and colonialism. His most recent book is the award-winning Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013). He is also the author A Covenant with Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000/2001) and In the Company of Black Men: The African Influence on African American Culture in New York City (New York: New York University Press, 2001/2004). His talk will examine how we arrived at this moment and how to address the challenges that remain. (MIT’s full profile).

The annual Hugh Hawkins Lecture honors Hugh D. Hawkins. Professor Hawkins was the Anson D. Moore Professor of History and American Studies upon his retirement from the faculty in 2000 after forty-three years of teaching at Amherst.  He was a distinguished scholar of American higher education, the American South, and of cultural and intellectual history.  In 1976 he was the principal architect of the first-year introduction to Liberal Studies curriculum and he helped build both the History and American Studies departments. 

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Event Flyer: 

Hugh Hawkins Lectures

2017: Craig Steven Wilder
"The Approaching Past: Legacies of Slavery and Conquest on Campus"

2016: Arne Westad
"Worlds Apart: The Cold War in the 20th Century"

2015: Pekka Hamalainen
"The Comanche Empire and the Grand Narrative of American History"

2014: Mark Mazower
"Does Fascism Mean Anything Anymore?: Europe Then and Now"

2013: Charles C. Mann '76
"1493: Entwining Ecology and History"

2012: Rebecca J. Scott
"She Had Always Enjoyed her Freedom: Reenslavement and the Law in the Era of the Haitain  Revolution"

2011: Martha Sandweiss
"Unpacking a Photograph: Small Stories, Big Ideas, and Tales of Race and Violence from the American West"

2009: Dipesh Chakrabarty
"Between Globalization and Global Warming: The Long and the Short of Human History"

2008: Londa Schiebinger
"Exotic Abortifacients: Gender Politics of Plants in the 18th Century Atlantic World"

2007: Donald Worster
"On John Muir's Trail: Nature in an Age of Liberal Principles"

2006: Elliott West
"Disease and the Making of Empires: Why it Matters that Lewis and Clark Didn't Get Sick (Or at Least REALLY Sick)"

2005: David W. Blight
"Seizing Freedom: The Emancipation of Wallace Turnage and John Washington"

2004: William Cronon
"The Portage: Time, Memory, and Storytelling in the Making of an American Town"

2003: John Lewis Gaddis
"9/11 as History"

2002: Drew Gilpin Faust
"Missing in Action: Naming the Dead in the American Civil War"