WMU News

Historian will address civic responsibility

Sept. 19, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- An activist historian who is pressing Congress to openly debate the potential war on Iraq will visit Western Michigan University next week to discuss civic responsibility.

Dr. Joyce Appleby, professor emerita of history at the University of California-Los Angeles, will be on campus Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 23 and 24, as part of the Visiting Scholars Program, a national initiative of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Appleby will present a free public lecture titled "What Does It Mean to Inherit a Revolution?" at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, in Room 1140 of Schneider Hall. She is expected to discuss civic virtue and participation, as well as what the framers of the U.S. Constitution envisioned for our country. In her talk, Appleby will draw connections between the heritage of the 18th century and pressing issues facing today's society, possibly including the proposed war on Iraq.

A prominent scholar of American and English history, Appleby uses lessons of the past to inform the public about civic responsibilities in the present. Last month, she and a colleague began circulating a petition to Congress requesting a vote on a war with Iraq.

While in Kalamazoo, she will also speak to two history classes on "The Role of Curiosity in the Writing of History" and meet with students and faculty to discuss "American History and the American Public: Exploring the Meaning of Controversies Over Historical Exhibitions and Commemorations."

Appleby is founder and co-director of the History News service, which distributes weekly opinion essays by historians to more than 300 newspapers. She has worked with Congress to put American history and literature books in college libraries around the world. The author or co-author of five books, she is past president of the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. Appleby earned her bachelor's degree at Stanford University in 1950, a master's degree at the University of California-Santa Barbara in 1959 and a doctoral degree at Claremont Graduate School seven years later.

Appleby's visit is sponsored by the University's Theta of Michigan chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and the Department of History. WMU is the first of eight colleges and universities she will speak at as part of the national Phi Beta Kappa Society program.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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