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Ursula Rothrock
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
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American studies celebrates 60 years at KU

Tue, 09/17/2013

LAWRENCE – Sixty years after Chancellor Deane Malott called for a new academic program to “cut across the existing departmental and group barriers,” the Department of American Studies celebrates its history at the University of Kansas.

The weeklong 60th anniversary event, Reflecting Forward, celebrates the department’s accomplishments while exploring the critical issues of tomorrow. Reflecting Forward will provide public events including distinguished speakers, film screenings and open discussions. These free events will be hosted Monday, Sept. 23, through Friday, Sept. 27.

"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to honor our past, and to remind the campus and the community of the important, exciting and diverse scholarship that our students and faculty engage in every day," said Henry Bial, chair of the Department of American Studies.

David Roediger, the Kendrick C. Babcock Professor of History at the University of Illinois, will be the event’s keynote speaker. Roediger is a leading writer on race and ethnicity. His will deliver the keynote address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union. The event is free and open to the public. The lecture is also sponsored by the Office of the Provost as part of the Bold Aspirations Lecture Series.

The department expects to welcome back alumni to the Lawrence campus as part of Reflecting Forward. Alumni will join in discussions, events and receptions hosted by American Studies.

A full list of events is available here.

During the 1953-1954 academic year, KU introduced the American civilization major as part of the call to strengthen the liberal arts education at the university. That major was the beginning of what became the American studies department at KU. Since then the Department of American Studies has been an interdisciplinary mainstay at KU focusing on community, identity and social justice in American culture, politics and society.

The Department of American Studies is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit.



Tears. Smiles. And hugs. That’s what Match Day brought as KU Medical Center’s first Salina class learned where they would go for their residencies — the next step in their medical training. See the Salina Journal’s report and photos: http://bit.ly/1HtAWbW Tags: #KUworks #KUmatch #Match2015 University of Kansas Medical Center Salina Journal KU School of Medicine-Wichita

#KUworks : @KUmedcenter 's 1st Salina class learned where their residencies will be: http://t.co/FjkdQdSFTq #KUmatch http://t.co/TI8UkrTSWV
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


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