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Pierson Lecture

The Annual Pierson Lecture is a Department of History tradition that spans back to 1993, when it was founded to honor Stan and Joan Pierson. The Piersons were both exemplary citizens of the community, dedicated to history and education as proven by their distinguished records of intellectual accomplishment and community involvement. This lecture series brings distinguished scholars to the University of Oregon, so that they may share their work in alignment with the Piersons’ interests in cultural, intellectual, and political life.

2023 Event

The Department of History is pleased to welcome Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, presenting the 2023 Annual Pierson Lecture:

The Work of Wisdom in a Catastrophic World
February 21, 2023
3:30–5:00 p.m.
McKenzie Hall, room 375

This lecture explores how a variety of mid-20th century American intellectuals navigated the demands of contemplation and the rewards of the interior life with their felt obligations to intervene on the major social and political issues of their day.

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti and Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she researches and teaches U.S. thought and culture in transatlantic perspective. She is the author of American Intellectual History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2021), The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History (Oxford, 2019), and American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (Chicago, 2012), and is currently at work on a history of ideas about—and the quest for—wisdom in 20th-century U.S. history.

Past Events

2021-2022 — “When the Archives Don’t Easily Speak: The Life and Times of Julia Chinn.” Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, professor of history at Indiana University.

2020-2021 — “History and Modern Conscience: Evidence from the British Empire.” Priya Satia, author and professor of history, Stanford University.

2019-2020 — rescheduled due the to COVID-19 pandemic

2018-2019 — “Race and Gender in the Digital Humanities: Ethics, Algorithms, and Archives.” Sharon Block, professor of history, University of California, Irvine

2017-2018 — “Fascism and Antifascism, 1920-2020: Slogan, Impulse, Theory, Strategy.” Geoff Eley, Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History, University of Michigan

2016-2017 — “Back to the Future: Scandal, Pederasty, and the Medieval Church.” Dyan Elliott, professor of history, Northwestern University

2015-2016 — “Love and Money in the Informal Empire: The British in Argentina, 1830–1930.” Deborah Cohen, Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Humanities and Professor of History, Northwestern University

2014-2015 — “Witch-Hunting and the Sadness of Everyday Life in Seventeenth-Century New England.” David Hall, Bartlett Research Professor of New England Church History, Harvard Divinity School

2013-2014 — “The Work of the Dead.” Thomas Laqueur, Helen Fawcett Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

2011-2012 — “Marxism and the 1930’s Origins of the Social Construction of Science.” Mary Jo Nye, Horning Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History, Oregon State University

2010-2011 — “The Stakes of Citizenship: Gender and the Crisis of Governance in Germany, 1916–20.” Kathleen Canning, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History, University of Michigan

2009-2010 — “Visions of Revolution: European Intellectuals and the French Revolution of 1848.” Jonathan F. Beecher, professor of history, University of California, Santa Cruz

2008-2009 — “The Precious Raft of History: The Past, the West, and the Woman in Question in China.” Joan Judge, associate professor, School of Women’s Studies, York University, Toronto

2007-2008 — “The Virtues of Mendacity: On Lying in Politics.” Martin Jay, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

2006-2007 — “Reforestation, Landscape Conversation, and Anxieties of Empire in French Colonial Algeria.” Caroline Ford, professor of history, University of California, Los Angeles

2005-2006 — Jean Franco, Columbia University

2004-2005 — Teofilo Ruiz, University of California, Los Angeles

2003-2004 — Paul Pierson, Harvard University

2002-2003 — Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of Chicago

2001-2002 — Thomas Brady, University of California, Berkeley

2001-2001 — Roger Chartier, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris

1997-1998 — John Toews, University of Washington

1996-1997 — Robert Nye, Oregon State University

1994-1995 — Joan Scott, Institute for Advanced Study

1993-1994 — Thomas Haskell, Rice University