As a part of the National History Center’s third International Seminar on Decolonization in the 20th Century, Dane Kennedy, the Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History and International Affairs at George Washington University, gave a lecture entitled “Decolonization and Disorder” at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress on July 9, 2008. The lecture is now available online through a video at the National History Center Site and web cast on the Library of Congress’s site.
Kennedy examined the waves of European decolonization that began with the “New World” colonies in the late 18th/early 19th century, spread to the “Old World” in the early 20th century, and culminated in the “Third World” in the mid- to late-20th century. He explored the relationship between decolonization and global war, and considered the patterns of disorder (civil war, ethnic cleansing, etc.) that often accompanied and followed these upheavals. As mentioned above, the Kluge Center, at the Library of Congress, web casted the lecture, which can be viewed online here.
The seminar was generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and also featured a lecture on July 16 by Wm. Roger Louis on “The Moral Conscience of the World: United Nations and Palestine in 1947.” Professor Louis, the Kerr Chair of English History and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin, is also the founding director of the National History Center. His lecture, also available by web cast, examined the Palestine crisis of 1947 and the creation of a Jewish state in the next year. It was a critical moment that changed the colonial world order. The partition of the country tested the principles of self-determination and its debate in 1947 still has a lasting effect. As the British Empire decolonized, the United Nations played a crucial role in the creation of Israel.
The National History Center is now accepting applications for the fourth decolonization seminar, which will be held in July 2009.
Miriam Hauss, administrative officer for the National History Center, worked as the special projects coordinator for the American Historical Association from 1999 till 2006, when she became a full time employee of the center.