Provost lecturer challenges the concept of American empire

Noted author and historian Dr. T.J. Jackson Lears will challenge the concept of extending America’s power beyond its borders as the final speaker in the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society’s 2007 Provost Lecture Series. His talk, “Challenging the Logics of Empire,” will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday (March 29) in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater.

Lears will discuss how the logic of empire functions, how acts of empire are justified and legitimized, and how contemporary logics of empire can be challenged.

He contends that a lust for empire flies in the face of republican suspicion of concentrated power, democratic celebration of popular sovereignty and religious faith. He will outline a powerful countertradition against empire using the works of William James, Randolph Bourne and J. William Fulbright.

Lears is the Board of Governors Professor of History at Rutgers University and the editor of the journal Raritan. Some of his books include Something for Nothing: Luck in America and No Place of Grace: Anti-modernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920. His book, Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of Advertising in America, won the Los Angeles Times book prize for history.

Lears also regularly writes for The New Republic, Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times Book Review. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and both the Rockefeller and Guggenheim foundations.

The event is also sponsored by the offices of the Provost and the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Dean, the College of Arts and Sciences and the American Culture Studies Program.

March 26, 2007