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One Day University: A Morning of History (Seattle)

February 10, 2019 9:00 AM – 12:45 PM

schedule

9:00 AM - 10:05 AM
When Empires Collapse: What Can Americans Learn from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome?

Kara Cooney / UCLA

The Egyptian kings, who created long lived, god-given dynasties, never imagined ancient Egypt would ever fall. How could a civilization which built the Great Pyramids, capable of 3000 years of the same religious, political, economic, and social systems ever fall? But fall it did, losing autonomous rule around when it was taken into the Roman Empire, and losing its cultural identity in the 4th century AD when Christianity became the only accepted religion in the Roman Empire. Could they have survived? Ancient Greece was never united politically. Regions warred with each other until Alexander the Great conquered the whole Mediterranean, defeating the Persians and entering India. But just ten years later, in 323 BC, that great empire was already dead and Alexander himself was fevered and gaunt, expiring of typhoid or some other infectious disease. His chosen successor and his son were killed by rivals. The great warrior was so busy taking over the world that he never put any systems in place to keep the empire he had taken.

Of course, Rome's fall has been debated endlessly, and historians can’t even agree on the date, as numerous theories abound. In 285 AD when Diocletian divided the vast expanse into two halves? In 378 AD when Rome lost to the Goths at the disastrous Battle of Adrianople? In 380 AD when Christianity became the only accepted religion of the Roman Empire? Or as late as 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks? The question becomes: when wasn't Rome falling, and how did it even function as long as it did? What were the instigators of such constant distress? Historians are obsessed with the rise and fall of great civilizations of the past. Those same historians like to instruct us to learn from the past lest we repeat past mistakes. So…can Americans learn anything from the fall of Greece, Egypt and Rome that we can apply to our own modern world?

Kara Cooney / UCLA
Kara Cooney is an Egyptologist and Professor at UCLA. In 2002, she was Kress Fellow at the National Gallery of Art and worked on the Cairo Museum exhibition "Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt." In 2005, she acted as fellow curator for Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the LA County Museum of Art. She also worked on two Discovery Channel documentary series: "Out of Egypt" and "Egypt's Lost Queen."

10:20 AM - 11:25 AM
American Immigration: Past, Present, and Future

Jeffrey Engel / Southern Methodist University

The Statue of Liberty is the quintessential symbol of the United States. But as Presidential candidates debate building a wall along the border with Mexico and deporting 11 million illegal immigrants, has the welcome mat worn thin? What does it meant to hold out a beacon to the world's "tired, poor, huddled masses"? Do we welcome immigrants in because of or despite their economic impact on the United States? Many in the American labor movement contend immigrants take jobs away from native-born workers and send wages tumbling. But do they really? Drawing on the research into the economic impact of immigration, we will examine how new immigrants fare in the U.S. labor market, and how they affect the economic well-being of those of us already here.

Jeffrey Engel / Southern Methodist University
Jeffrey Engel is the founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, and taught history and public policy at Texas A&M University. He has authored/edited eight books on American foreign policy, most recently, "When the World Seemed New: George H.Bush and the Surprisingly Peaceful End of the Cold War."

11:40 PM - 12:45 PM
World War I in America: What Really Happened, and Why it Matters

Jennifer Keene / Chapman University

Most Americans possess only a hazy understanding of World War I or its significance for the United States. So why not leave it there? Why bother with this history lesson? How the nation responded to the challenge of fighting its first modern war re-made America, leading to female suffrage, the modern civil rights movement, the drive to protect civil liberties, new conceptions of military service, and an expanded role for the United States in the world.

There are striking parallels between the problems Americans faced a hundred years ago in 1917-18 and the challenges we face now. How do we balance protecting national security with civil liberties? Is it appropriate for Americans to continue to debate a war once the fighting has begun? Are immigrants importing terrorism? Do Americans have a responsibility to participate in global humanitarianism? Can soldiers ever convey to those at home the reality of what they've encountered on the battlefield? Can they ever leave the war behind? Americans grappled with these issues in World War I, and these are once again relevant questions for a society at war.

Jennifer Keene / Chapman University
Jennifer Keene is a professor of history and Chair of the History Department at Chapman University. She is also the current President of the Society of Military History. She has published three books and numerous articles on the American involvement in the First World War including "Doughboys, the Great War and the Remaking of America," "World War I: The American Soldier Experience," and "The United States and the First World War." She has received numerous awards for her scholarship, including Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards to France and Australia and Mellon Library of Congress Fellowship in International Studies. She has served as an historical consultant for exhibits and films, and was recently featured in the PBS documentary mini-series, "The Great War."

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