Pivotal Events in History Lecture Series
Each year, Pivotal Events in History brings the work of the department to the general public through teaching sessions, guest speakers, and open discussions devoted to particular historical turning points. The program is open to our alumni, friends, and students to attend and focuses on historical events that transformed the world. Professor Jonathan Earle delivered the inaugural address, "Contingency and the Canvass: Abraham Lincoln and the Pivotal Election of 1860," in 2010. The program commemorated the U.S. presidential race of 1860, in honor of the sesquicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's election. In 2011, Professor Hagith Sivan delivered the Pivotal Events in History talk on “A Roman Cleopatra: Princess Galla between Alaric and Attila.” Using coins as illustrations, Professor Hagith Sivan discussed Galla Placidia (390-450 CE), an unjustly forgotten princess who should be as famous as Cleopatra. Professor Theodore A. “Ted” Wilson, KU’s venerable historian of the American military and foreign relations, delivered 2012’s Pivotal Events in History lecture. Professor Wilson’s lecture, “The War of 1812: Was it a Second American Revolution?,” used the bicentennial of America’s first declared war to revisit its causes and reckon with its consequences. Drawing from his wider consideration of the long history and evolution of coalition warfare, Professor Wilson’s lecture illuminated one of the most fascinating and least understood aspects of the War of 1812. In spring of 2014, the Department of History invited historian Michael Neiberg to explain how ordinary Europeans, unlike their political and military leaders, neither wanted nor expected war during the fateful summer of 1914. As a renowned historian and popular lecturer, Neiberg gives voice to a generation who found themselves compelled to participate in a ghastly, protracted orgy of violence they never imagined would come to pass.