Harvey Goldberg Center for the Study of Contemporary History
Biennial Report for July 2007 – September 2009
Overview of Activities, 2007 to 2009:
Over the past two years the Harvey Goldberg Center has continued to support innovative, socially conscious scholarship through subventions and honorariums for public lectures, conferences, and classroom visits to Madison. Among the events supported from summer 2007 to fall 2009 included Marceline Kongolo-Bice’s compelling lectures on the crises facing women in the Congo and Noam Chomsky’s engaging campus visit following the latest Gaza crisis. These and other lectures attempted to promote dialogue on some of the most pressing and controversial of contemporary issues, as Harvey Goldberg himself directed in his bequest some twenty years ago.
As detailed below, the Goldberg Center was particularly proud to be the primary sponsor for a major international conference on modern Chinese history to honor emeritus UW-Madison historian Maurice Meisner, who is the Harvey Goldberg Professor of History (emeritus). This conference represents the fourth major symposium sponsored primarily by the Goldberg Center since 2002, representing a substantial record of activity by what remains a relatively small university unit.
Apart from these public events, the Center completed a long-term project of assembling, digitizing, and archiving the “bootleg tapes” of Harvey Goldberg’s lectures in his famed “Contemporary Civilizations” course of the 1970s, detailed on the Center’s Internet home page. The public response to the release of these lectures in Compact Disk (CD) format has been strong, and sales have recovered costs and returned significant revenues to the Center for use in future public events.
The Goldberg Executive Committee for much of this period was:
Steve Kantrowitz (co-chair)
Alfred McCoy (co-chair)
Brenda Gayle Plummer
Maurice J. Meisner China Conference: June 4-7, 2009
“Reflections on History and Contemporary Change in China Before and After Tiananmen”
In June 2009, the Goldberg Center was the primary sponsor for a major international conference at UW-Madison honoring the long-serving China historian Maurice Meisner, the Harvey Goldberg Professor of History (emeritus). His many books on modern Chinese history include: The Deng Xiaoping Era: An Inquiry into the Fate of Chinese Socialism, 1978-1994 (1996) Mao’s China and After: A History of the People’s Republic, Third Edition (1999), Li Ta-Chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism (2008). In 2007, he also published an authoritative biography of Mao entitled: Mao Zedong: A Political and Intellectual Portrait. More than a dozen of Dr. Meisner’s former students, all now faculty and several holders of distinguish university chairs, presented papers to celebrate his scholarship and career. This focused, thoughtful, and timely conference took place on the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, a fitting moment to reevaluate radical revolution in modern China and expand on Dr. Meisner’s important work in the field.
The conference took place over the course of four days with a variety of specialist speakers, discussants, and chairs, most of whom have worked closely with Maurice Meisner as either students or colleagues. The main organizing committee was composed of: Tina Chen of University of Manitoba, Thomas D. Lutze of Illinois Wesleyan University, Catherine L. Lynch of Eastern Connecticut State University, Robert B. Marks of Whittier College, Dreux Montgomery of the UW Center for East Asia Studies, and Paul Pickowicz of the University of California-San Diego. All of these committee members are past students of Dr. Meisner.
On the first day of the conference, June 5, 2009, Chair Paul G. Pickowicz presided over papers by Tina Chen, who presented on “Maoism, Gender, and the ‘Three Worlds’: Rethinking Women’s Liberation in China through the Lens of Maoism as Global Struggle” and Lee Feigon on “Mao and Tibet: The Image of Marxism Versus the Image of the Other.” Stanley Kutler chaired the next set of papers, including Robert Marks’, “Deforestation and Environmental Degradation in Modern China” and Bruce Cumings’, “On the Incessant, Tumescent Metaphor: ‘The Rise of China.’” That afternoon Marilyn Young presented on “The U.S. and China: Once and Future Enemies” and Wu Shu-chin discussed “Death, Time, History: Li Dazhao and the Rise of Modern Chinese Radicalism” with Robert Marks chairing the discussion. Thomas Lutze chaired as Lisa Brennan presented on “Revolutionary Cinema: Radical Images in Early Chinese Film” and Steven Davidson spoke on “Transcendence, Revelation, and Millennialism at the End of the Han.”
The second morning, on June 6, began with Catherine Lynch chairing as Paul G. Pickowicz presented his work on “‘Seeing’ China’s Rural Crisis: Local Underground Film and the Not-Usually-Visible” and Thomas Lutze discussed “Postsocialist Capitalism: The Political Economy of Reform-Era China.” Chair Thomas McCormick oversaw discussion of Catherine Lynch’s paper “Euchronia in Twentieth Century China” and Sooyoung Kim’s “Back to Mr. Democracy: The Last Years of Chen Duxiu.” Finally, Tina Chen facilitated discussion for three papers: Carl Riskin’s “The Future of Inequality in China” and Lin Chun’s “Paradoxes of the Maoist Developmental Strategy” and Yan Haiping’s, “The Ding Ling Story: Rethinking the Chinese Revolutions.” The last two paper authors were also not able to attend.
On the concluding day Tina Chen led an open discussion on the key themes in conference papers and the possibility of producing a conference volume. Robert Marks also provided summary remarks, reflecting on his graduate career with Maurice Meisner.
Conference Sponsors: Harvey Goldberg Center, UW Anonymous Fund, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, History Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison, UC San Diego Modern Chinese History Endowed Chair, Deihl Professor of History, Whittier College
Goldberg Sponsored Lectures, June 2007 – October 2009
Past Events: June 2007 to September 2009
George Lipsitz: Lecture, September 20, 2007
In September 2007 the Goldberg Center co-sponsored an interdisciplinary lecture through the English Department by UW-Madison alumnus George Lipsitz on “Why American Studies Matters: Speaking Truth to Power in the Midnight Hour”. Dr. Lipsitz is Professor of Black Studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara and also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the African American Policy Forum. He is the author of numerous books, including: American Studies in a Moment of Danger (2001), The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (1998, republished 2006), and most recently, Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music (2007).
This event was also funded by the Anonymous Fund and American Studies Collective.
Dorothea Browder: Lecture, May 6, 2008
On Tuesday May 6, 2008 Dorothea Browder, professor of History at Western Kentucky University, gave a talk hosted by the Gender and Women’s History Program and the Goldberg Center. Her talk was entitled “From Uplift to Agitation: Working Women, Race, and Coalition in the YWCA Industrial Program, 1908-1950.” Approximately 45 people were in attendance, including Gerda Lerner. Browder was a Lerner fellow when she was a student in the program, and this talk was to honor Professor Lerner and her generous gift of the Lerner fellowship. A reception, also funded by the History Department, followed.
Micheline Ishay: Lecture, October 27, 2008
As part of the Fall 2008 Human Rights lecture series, the Goldberg Center worked in cooperation with the UW-Madison Human Rights Initiative to host a campus lecture by Historian Micheline Ishay. Dr. Ishay is Professor and Director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Denver. Her most recent book, The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era (2008), has been highly influential in the field of human rights studies.
Dr. Ishay’s campus lecture was entitled “Back to the Future? The 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” According to one event organizer: “The room in Ingraham Hall was packed with undergraduates, graduate students and faculty. Ishay spoke for about an hour and then engaged her audience in (at times contentious) give-and-take. Her message was one of general optimism–and was a call to action and activism.”
This event was further sponsored by the International Institute, the Global Studies Department, and the Division of International Studies.
Ana Matiella Bacigalupo: Lecture, December 1-3, 2008
The Goldberg Center co-sponsored several lectures by Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, professor of Anthropology at University of Buffalo, on Chilean Mapuche shamans and resistance in Chile. After receiving both her B.A. and M.A. from the Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago she went on to received a second M.A. and a Ph.D. in anthropology at UCLA in 1994. Dr. Bacigalupo is the author of Shamans of the Foye Tree: Gender, Power, and Healing among Chilean Mapuche (2007).
Her first talk at the Anthropology colloquium on December 1st addressed the topic of “Forgetting and the Willful Transformation of Memory: The Death and Rebirth of a Mapuche Shaman in Chile.” Dr. Bacigalupo also lectured at Helen White Hall on December 3rd on “The Gendered Shamanization of Mapuche Politics: Resistance and Negotiation with the Chilean State” as a contributor to the Gender and Women’s History workshop.
These lectures were also sponsored by the NAVE Visiting Scholars and Artists Fund, the Program in Gender and Women’s History, the Department of Anthropology, and American Indian Studies.
Marceline Kongo-Bice: Lectures, March 30-31, 2009
The Goldberg Center co-sponsored a UW-Madison campus visit by Marceline Kongolo-Bice of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Growing up in the Congo, Ms. Kongolo-Bice witnessed systematic violence against women in the Congo wars. At the age of 18, Marceline, herself a survivor imprisonment, displacement, and violence, began dedicating her life to supporting and empowering rape victims. She founded SOS Femmes en Dangers in 2003, an NGO dedicated to supporting the recovery of victims of sexual violence in the Congo, and in 2009 she was honored with an award by the Washington-based Vital Voices Global Partnership for her humanitarian work.
On March 30, 2009 Ms. Kongolo-Bice traveled to Madison where she shared her experiences with Neil Kodesh’s History 377 class in a guest lecture entitled “Gender and Violence in the Eastern DRC”. In a second lecture at Ingraham Hall she spoke to a public audience on “SOS: Women at Risk in Congo Wars.”
In addition to Goldberg support, these events were co-sponsored by the Gender and International Policy Research Center, Women’s Studies Research Center, Transnational Applied Research in Gender Equity Training project, African Studies Program, Human Rights Initiative, Division of International Studies, and the Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies.
Robert Whitney: Lecture, April 3, 2009
In cooperation with the Latin American, Caribbean, & Iberian Studies’ NAVE Fund, the Harvey Goldberg Center co-sponsored a campus lecture by Robert W. Whitney, associate professor of International Studies and History at the University of New Brunswick, St. John, Canada and a specialist in the twentieth-century Latin American and Cuban history. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Alberta and earned his Ph.D. in Latin American History from Queen’s University in Canada in 1996. In addition to a myriad of articles and book chapters, Prof. Whitney’s book, State and Revolution in Cuba: Mass Mobilization and Political Change, 1920-1940 (2000) is scheduled to be released in a Spanish edition this year.
Professor Whitney addressed an audience at the Mosse Humanities Building on the subject of: “British Subjects and ‘Pichones’ in Cuba: The British West Indian Diaspora and Cuban Nationalism, 1920-1960.” Event organizers, including History Department Professor Franco Scarano, provided the following testimonial on the important intellectual contribution of the event:
“We evaluate that Robert Whitney’s contribution had a very positive and intellectually stimulating impact on our community. On Friday, Whitney gave a presentation on the current research he conducts on Cuban nationalism, which challenges past and current Havana-centric literature produced on the myth of what it means to be Cuban. Examining eastern communities of British West Indian descent, Whitney argues that, in fact, pluralist and multi-ethnic forms of national identity pervades the island. Furthermore, Whitney had previously sent a written text of his presentation for circulation ends. Some students had read the essay prior to the event, which contributed to engage his work with more depth. Whitney’s presentation was engaging and insightful. Obviously passionate about his work, Whitney enthusiastically welcomed comments and excitedly engaged students’ questions. In the afternoon, our usual seminar on Caribbean historiography allowed us to go deeper into critical feedback and dialogue. During two hours, we discussed, reflected upon, and challenged Whitney’s arguments, placing them in comparison with readings that we had done in the course of the semester.”
Event also sponsored by the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program (LACIS).
Noam Chomsky: Lectures, April 7, 2009
Following the Gaza crisis in early spring, 2009, the Goldberg Center co-funded the campus visit of famed political activist and prolific author Noam Chomsky. Prof. Chomsky is Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and through his many books, articles, and films he has been a vociferous critic of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Two of his most recent publications include: What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World (2007) and Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (2004).
In addition to a public lecture at the Orpheum theater on “Israel-Palestine from Bush to Obama: Assessing the role of US Foreign Policy, Israeli Security Concerns and Human Rights in the OPTs” Dr. Chomsky came to campus to speak with a combined history class on human rights, U.S. policy, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Class lecturer Dreux Montgomery, director of the UW-Madison Center for East Asian Studies, provided the following reflection on the visit’s success:
“On April 7, 2009, Professor Noam Chomsky attended a combined session of History 342: History of the People’s Republic of China, and History 456: The Pacific War in 1800 Engineering Hall. There were approximately 100 students present for the class. Before the class Professor Chomsky had indicated a preference for a discussion-style format over a prepared talk. Accordingly the students had been instructed to prepare questions prior to coming, with a request they pay particular attention to issues concerning the US entry into the Pacific War, the origins of the Korean War, the Taiwan straits, Nixon’s visit to China, and other issues relevant to the history of US foreign policy in Asia. Discussion was spirited and lasted for the full-allotted time of 75 minutes. Interviews with students afterwards revealed a high degree of satisfaction with the guest lecture.” -Lecturer Dreux Montgomery, Center for East Asian Studies at UW-Madison
Martin Espada: Lectures April 30-MAY 1, 2009
In keeping with the mission of the Harvey Goldberg Center to fund innovative, unconventional scholarship, the Center was pleased to co-sponsor a poetry reading and two discussion sessions by political poet and UW-Madison alumnus Dr. Martin Espada. Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a B.A. in history in 1981, Martin Espada has become a renowned essayist, poet, and humanist, and is currently professor of English at the University of Massachusetts- Amherst. Author of more than a dozen books, including A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen: Poems (2001), Dr. Espada engages in edgy social commentary on contemporary society. In addition to his numerous book awards and prizes, his latest release, The Republic of Poetry: Poems (2006), was honored as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 2007.
His first presentation in Madison, “Poetry of the Political Imagination,” took place at the Pyle Center the evening of April 30, 2009. Espada electrified the overflow crowd with radical poetry delivered with humanity, humor, and a powerful voice. He also returned to the History Department for two interactive brown bag discussions on “The Redemption of Pablo Neruda” and “Colonialism and the Poetry of Rebellion.”
These events were also sponsored by the Center for the Humanities, the Vice-Provost Office, the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives, the Department of History, Latin American, Caribbean, Iberian Studies, the Comparative US Cultures Cluster, and Chican@ & Latin@ Studies Program.
Andrew J Bacevich: Lecture, October, 10, 2009
The Goldberg Center co-sponsored two timely lectures by distinguished historian Andrew J. Bacevich, author of numerous publications on American foreign policy, including The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U. S. Diplomacy and most recently, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. Dr. Bacevich is Professor of History and International Studies at Boston University where he also served as director of the Center for International Relations from 1998 to 2005. A West Point graduate and retired Army colonel, Dr. Bacevich received his PhD in U.S. diplomatic history from Princeton University.
The Wisconsin Veterans Museum hosted the first lecture, titled “Sacred Trinity: US National Security Policy during the American Century,” which drew a crowd of approximately 120 people. The Wisconsin Book Festival sponsored the second lecture in which Dr. Bacevich spoke on “The Enduring Relevance of the Wisconsin School: What William A. Williams Got Right and Where He Went Wrong.” This event, whichtook place at Promenade Hall inside the Overture Center, drew an audience of about 150. At this latter event, Dr. Bacevich argued that while William A. Williams misjudged the future of a worldwide socialist revolution, he nonetheless understood his own country and its imperial trajectory well. Dr. Bacevich’s talk was also accompanied by commentary by Dr. Alfred W. McCoy and Dr. Paul Buhle was followed by a lively question and answer session. This second session was taped by Wisconsin Public Television for later broadcast and webcast.
Dr. Buhle is Senior Lecturer in the History and American Civilization Departments at Brown University and is the co-author of Williams’ biography, The Tragedy of Empire: Biography of William Appleman Williams. He graduated with his PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975.
Dr. McCoy is J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the co-editor of “Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State” a compilation volume dedicated to Williams. Dr. McCoy received his Ph.D. in History from Yale in 1977. His latest book is Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State.
These events were co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Book Festival, the Veterans Museum, the Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE), the Grand Strategy Program, the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA), and the UW-Madison History Department.
Heraldo Munoz: Lecture, October 26, 2009
The Center co-funded a talk by Heraldo Munoz, Chilean Ambassador to the United Nations, entitled “From Dictatorship to the Security Council: A Political Memoir.” Heraldo Muñoz spoke about his experiences working under the Allende government in the 1970’s and subsequent position as the head of the United Nations Security Council during the US invasion of Iraq post-9/11.
The event took place at the University Club in the main dining room where about 90 people were in attendance. Ambassador Munoz was welcomed by Gilles Bousquet, Dean of the Division of International Studies and introduced by Steve Stern, History Professor and current Vice-Provost. The Ambassador’s lecture was extremely interesting and well-received. He took questions for about 20 minutes and then engaged in a book signing (books were supplied by the University Bookstore).
This event was also sponsored by the Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE), LACIS’ Nave Fund, Division of International Studies, the Political Science Department, the Human Rights Initiative, the Dane County Chapter of the United Nations, and the University Bookstore.
Jeffery Perry: Lecture, October 29, 2009
The Goldberg Center co-sponsored an engaging presentation by independent scholar and working-class activist Jeffrey Perry on his recent biography, “Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918.” This event took place in 1651 Humanities, a lecture hall in the George Mosse building. Approximately 60 people attended, including History department faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and members of the public. The presentation was also followed by an animated Q&A session.
A largely forgotten but influential African American radical, Hubert Harrison spent his life working against white supremacy and dedicating himself to the causes of anti-imperialism, black nationalism and international socialism. Born in St. Croix in 1883, Harrison came to New York in 1900 where he encountered lynchings and race riots for the first time. Harrison, a brilliant autodidact, became a prolific writer, editor, and stump speaker on both race and class concerns. He campaigned for Eugene Debs before splitting with the Socialist Party over what he viewed as the importance of racial equality in addition to worker’s rights. Harrison was in many ways, Jeffery Perry argued, the direct intellectual forbearer of such black intellectuals as Marcus Garvey, A. Philip Randolph, and Malcolm X.
This event was also sponsored by Rainbow Book Cooperative, The Havens Center, The History Department, and the Afro-American Studies Department.
Fred Ho: Lectures, Forum, and Performances, November 4-6, 2009
The Goldberg Center co-sponsored a series of innovative events surrounding a campus visit by writer-activist-musician Fred Ho. Fred Ho is the co-author of several books including Legacy to Liberation: Politics and Culture of Revolutionary Asian Pacific America (2000), Sounding Off! Music as Subversion/ Resistance/ Revolution (1996). His latest book is Wicked Theory, Naked Practice: The Fred Ho Reader (2009). Fred Ho has been widely recognized for his work including, most recently, receiving the Harvard Arts Medal from his alma mater.
Events kicked off on Wednesday, November 4 at the Multicultural Student Center Lounge with a student discussion on “Wicked Theory/Naked Practice and Institutional Memory: 10 Years of Gains and Losses at UW-Madison for Folks of Color.” This event brought together more than 30 students to engage in an action dialogue about institutional memory and the state of UW-Madison’s multicultural student groups.
On Thursday, Peggy Choy (Dance /Asian Am. Studies) moderated a panel at Room L140, Chazen Museum on “Wicked Theory/Naked Practice: The Subversive Legacy of Asian American Composer Fred Ho.” The panel included Kevin Fellezs (School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, University of California, Merced), Katrina Flores (Curriculum & Instruction), R. Anderson Sutton (School of Music, UW-Madison), Salim Washington (Brooklyn College), and Tim Yu (English/Asian-American Studies, UW-Madison). Later that night, Fred Ho presented a lecture-demonstration to an audience of 120 at Morphy Hall, Humanities Building entitled “Jazz and the Revolutionary Imagination: Afro/Asian Identities, New Sounds and a New World.”
On Friday, Fred Ho met with approximately 40 students at the Multicultural Center to discuss art and activism which was followed later that afternoon by “Performing Hybrid Asian Identity,” a lecture by Kevin Fellezs (School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, University of California, Merced) at the Memorial Union. Events concluded Friday evening with another collaborative performance led by Fred Ho entitled “Big Green Monster Concert: Tomorrow is Now!” at Morphy Hall in the Humanities building. More than 150 turned out for this energetic, finale event.
These events were also co-sponsored by: Asian American Studies Program, Asian American Student Coalition, Associated Students of Madison, Department of Afro-American Studies, Filipino American Student Organization, Music-Race-Empire Research Circle, MultiCultural Council, MultiCultural Student Coalition, Pathways to Excellence, School of Music, The Ki Project, Women of the Scarred Earth, MEChA, Queer People Of Color (QPOC).
Looking Ahead: Upcoming Event for the Academic Year 2009-2010
Errol Morris: Symposium and Film Screenings, Fall 2011
The Harvey Goldberg Center is a major sponsor for an exciting upcoming symposium and film series dedicated to renowned documentary filmmaker and UW-Madison alumnus Errol Morris. In cooperation with the Communication Arts Department, the History Department will stage a retrospective on Errol Morris’ body of work, including public screenings of all nine of his feature films through the UW Cinematheque. The accompanying symposium will include an interdisciplinary academic forum and a lecture by Morris himself. This will be his first major visit to Madison since Morris launched his film career, providing an opportunity for one of Wisconsin’s most distinguished alumni to reconnect with his alma mater.
Director of numerous compelling documentaries Errol Morris’ work includes The Thin Blue Line (1988) and the widely acclaimed Fog of War (2003), a film Morris dedicated to eminent historians George Mosse and Harvey Goldberg. His most recent film, Standard Operating Procedure (2008), delves into the events underlying the infamous torture photos from Abu Ghraib prison.
Events are tentatively scheduled for October 2011. Further details will be forthcoming.
Co-sponsored by the UW-Madison History and Communication Arts Departments.