SMU & Sixth Floor Museum explore role of politics in history

Jeffrey Engel

SMU & Sixth Floor Museum explore role of politics in history

President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy

Three preeminent scholars of American history, including an SMU professor, will use Presidents Day and the upcoming 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination as a springboard for examining the changing nature of memory.

Presidential historian Jeffrey Engel, director of SMU’s Center for Presidential History, will moderate a discussion of “JFK, History and the Politics of Memory.” The event takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in The Sixth Floor Museum at 411 Elm Street in Dallas’ West End District. It is presented by The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and SMU’s John G. Tower Center for Political Studies and The Center for Presidential History.

The program features Edward T. Linenthal, professor of history at Indiana University Bloomington, and Timothy Naftali, senior research fellow with the New America Foundation’s National Security Studies program, both of whom have written extensively on the topic.

The 50th anniversary of the assassination presents a unique opportunity to reflect upon the changing nature of history and how it affects our own recollections and understanding of milestones. How has politics shaped our collective memory about this crucial 20th century event?  How has our thinking about the tragedy been shaped by the media, ongoing investigations and the passage of time?  What does this process tell us about what we choose to remember, what we forget and what we ultimately memorialize? Together the historians will explore the role that the politics of memory play in understanding the past.

“JFK, History and the Politics of Memory” is the first in a yearlong series of collaborative programs between The Sixth Floor Museum and SMU commemorating the assassination’s anniversary. This is the third consecutive year both have partnered to present a panel discussion surrounding Presidents Day.

Tickets are $25 per person. A combination ticket that provides access to The Sixth Floor Museum on the day of the event is $35. Tickets may be purchased online at www.jfk.org through Sunday, Feb. 17.

Seating is limited. For more information, visit www.jfk.org or call 214-747-6660.

> Read more from SMU News

February 12, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

Tune In: Jeffrey Engel discusses the Gulf War on C-SPAN2 Feb. 9-10

Book cover for 'Into the Desert,' edited by Jeffrey EngelJeffrey Engel, director of SMU’s Center for Presidential History in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, visited Texas A&M University to talk about his latest book, Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War. Now C-SPAN2 will air Engel’s discussion at 11:30 p.m. CT Saturday, Feb. 9 and 4 p.m. CT Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 as part of its Book TV series.

Engel edited the collection of essays by journalists, government officials and scholars that looks back on the events and impact of the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War. The book was published by Oxford University Press in December 2012.

> Add these showtimes to your Outlook or iCal calendar

February 8, 2013|Faculty in the News, For the Record, Tune In|

SMU event: What memoirs reveal about the Bush Administration

Melvin Leffler

Historian Melvin Leffler will discuss the evolving story of the George W. Bush administration at SMU Friday, Feb. 1, 2013.

One of the nation’s foremost diplomatic historians will use the memoirs produced by members of George W. Bush’s administration to analyze foreign policy shaped by the 43rd president in the post-9/11 world.

Melvin Leffler, the Edward R. Stettinius Chair of Modern American History at the University of Virginia, will speak from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 in Jones Great Hall, Meadows Museum. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Add your name to the waiting list.

Leffler’s lecture will focus on what the memoirs reveal about the motives, goals, and decision-making processes of the Bush administration. The event is the second produced by SMU’s new Center for Presidential History.

“As for disagreements, I shall highlight the discord in the memoirs over the basic questions of whether officials felt that Iraq was contained and whether they thought that military action made sense,” Leffler said. “Some officials felt that Saddam was contained; others felt he was a looming threat. Some felt that war against Iraq made sense; others felt that the dangers of war might exceed the benefits.”

Written by Kimberly Cobb

Learn more at the SMU Center for Presidential History homepage
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February 1, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

Jeffrey Engel named SMU’s Director of Presidential History Projects

Jeffrey A. Engel, new director of Presidential History Projects at SMUJeffrey A. Engel, an award-winning American history scholar, has been selected as SMU’s new director of Presidential History Projects and associate professor of presidential studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Engel will join SMU on July 1, 2012, from Texas A&M University, where he serves as an associate professor of history and public policy and as the Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Professor. Engel also has served as director of programming for the Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs at Texas A&M.

Engel’s wife, Katherine C. Engel, also will join the Dedman College faculty as an associate professor of religious studies. She currently serves as an associate professor of history at Texas A&M and as an affiliate fellow of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University.

In addition to his role as a tenured faculty member of SMU’s William P. Clements Department of History, Jeffrey Engel will be the founding director of the SMU Presidential History Project. The director will oversee a team of scholars who will interview individuals involved in formulating and implementing U.S. presidential policies.

“With the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in the near future, it is fitting that SMU have an academic center devoted to the study of the presidency,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden. “With his broad range of experience and outstanding academic credentials, Dr. Jeffrey Engel is the perfect choice to lead this new effort. Engel is recognized for his insightful writings on the presidency. Most recently, he received the Bernath Lecture Prize as the outstanding young historian writing on foreign affairs.

“At the same time, we are pleased to welcome Katherine Engel, one of the rising young scholars of American religious history working in the field today. Her transnational approach to the study of religion, deploying numerous languages and work on several continents, sets the standard for interdisciplinary scholarship.”

Jeffrey Engel received a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, and a Master of Arts in American history from Wisconsin-Madison in 1996. He graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and attended St. Catherine’s College at Oxford University in 1994.  He was also a John M. Olin Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University’s program in International Security Studies.

“I am honored indeed to join SMU’s prestigious faculty, filled with scholars engaged in studying the United States and beyond,” Jeffrey Engel said. “The American presidency has in many ways become a global office in the 20th century and beyond. I look forward to working with my SMU colleagues to explore the innumerable ways presidents have shaped our country, and our world.”

Jeffrey Engel is the editor of Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War (Oxford University Press, 2012); The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989 (Oxford University Press, 2009); The China Diary of George H.W. Bush: The Making of a Global President (Princeton University Press, 2008); and Local Consequences of the Global Cold War (Stanford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2008).

He is the author of Cold War at 30,000 Feet: The Anglo-American Fight for Aviation Supremacy (Harvard University Press, 2007), which received the American Historical Association’s 2008 Paul Birdsall Prize, awarded biannually to honor important work in European military and strategic history. In addition, he is the author or co-author of 40 academic and professional articles and book reviews and has presented more than 40 scholarly presentations and lectures on American foreign relations, international relations and military history to more than 25 universities and professional associations. Currently, he is writing When the World Seemed New: American Foreign Policy in the Age of George H.W. Bush, to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Katherine C. Engel, associate professor of religious studies at SMUKatherine Engel has served as an assistant professor of history at Rutgers University and holds a prestigious Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. Her recent research has focused on international Protestantism during the American Revolution.

She is the author of the prize-winning Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and numerous articles and book chapters.

She holds both a Ph.D. (2003) and a Master of Arts (1996) in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a Bachelor of Arts in history from Haverford College in 1994.

> Read the full story from SMU News

May 9, 2012|For the Record, News|
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