WMU News

Princeton scholar examines 'culutral mixtures'

March 12, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- A renowned international historian will examine cultural boundaries during a talk on the Western Michigan University campus, Wednesday, March 19, when she delivers the annual H. Nicholas Hamner Lecture.

Dr. Natalie Zemon Davis, professor emeritus at Princeton University, will present, "People Between Worlds: A Historian Looks at Cultural Mixture," at 8 p.m. in the Fetzer Center. Zemon Davis' appearance is sponsored by the WMU Department of History and is free and open to the public.

The lecture will draw on Davis' most recent research that focuses on individuals throughout the world who crossed cultural boundaries in the 16th, 18th and 20th centuries. "I am certain that she will use her research to demonstrate how the past can illuminate some of our current debates," says Dr. Judith Stone, professor of history.

Davis is credited with offering one of the first courses in the history of women. She is the author of more than100 articles and nine books, including "The Return of Martin Guerre," a book regarded in many circles as the definitive social and cultural history of French peasant life. The book has been published in 20 languages and has been made into a film of the same name. She also published "Women on the Margins," a triptych that tells about the lives of three women in 17th-century Europe, and North and South America. Her most recent publication, "Slaves on Screen" studies how slaves are depicted in films.

The lecture is part of an annual series named for Dr. H. Nicholas Hamner, WMU professor emeritus of history, who established a permanent endowment in 1999 to fund the series. Hamner, a specialist in British history, retired in 1992. The series is designed to bring to WMU outstanding historians to speak on topics of interest to students, faculty members and the larger community.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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