The Department of History Colloquium Committee Presents
Three Brown-Bag Events
All in the Bonner Room at Noon – BRING YOUR LUNCH!!!(Check posters, when available, for possible room change)
We’ve now done the important work of expanding our community with three wonderful new scholars. Now, let’s take time out, help colleagues with work, and gather new ideas as winter term winds down!!!
March 25 (Friday) – A discussion (paper available in front office) with Betsy Lublin
“Stopping the Train from ‘Cigaretville to Ruin’: Nemoto Shō and Japan’s 1900 Ban on Juvenile Smoking”
During the second half of the Meiji period, Christian reformers pursued a variety of measures to counteract the growing propensity of Japanese to smoke. Their efforts against this perceived social evil mirrored their attacks on intemperance and licensed prostitution with respect to the nature of the arguments they employed and their conviction that behavioral modification required not just personal initiative but also government intervention. Yet, while these latter two targets of the reform movement have received significant scholarly attention, smoking has not. This paper seeks to remedy that by providing a brief history of the anti-smoking crusade of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. A particular focus will be Nemoto Shō and his campaign to have the Diet adopt a law to prohibit smoking by minors. The passage of that bill in 1900 marked one of the few major successes of the reform movement and, as this paper will argue, resulted from Nemoto’s strategic use of nationalistic rhetoric, which linked the ban to larger government concerns.
March 31 (Thursday) -- A Discussion of a New Book with Charles Hyde
“The Arsenal of Democracy”
The primary focus of my new book is the role played by the military services, the automobile manufacturers, and the civilian planning agencies, such as the War Production Board, in organizing and managing the production of military goods during World War II. The book will concentrate on the automakers-turned defense contractors and their relationship with the military services and with other manufacturers during the war. The automobile companies served as prime contractors for many war products, but also as subcontractors on many other products. The book will examine the operation of the procurement/contract system used during the war, as well as the serious engineering and production challenges faced by the automakers and the means developed for overcoming these challenges. The roles played by the “ new workforce,” namely female workers and African Americans, in the success of the “Arsenal of Democracy” will receive a good deal of attention. World War II defense production brought the beginnings of the “ military-industrial complex,” a series of on-going working relationships between the military services and the defense industry, with minimal civilian supervision or control. President Roosevelt in effect eliminated New Deal reformers, the left wing of the Democratic Party, and Congress from decision-making for the sake of pursuing the war effort more effectively. In the process, Roosevelt also removed organized labor as an active player in wartime planning. Labor lost out in economic and political terms as a result of Roosevelt’s decisions.
April 12 (Tuesday) – A Panel Discussion with Ron Aronson (chair), Alex Day, Janine Lanza, and Fran Shor
“Is Marxism Still Relevant?”
The death of Marxism has often been proclaimed during the last twenty years. Even the Great Recession has generated no revival of socialist thinking or movements in the United States (although attacks on Obama's "socialism" are part of the Tea Party's calls to action). Where do we as historians stand with regard to Marxism? Is it still useful for understanding the past? methodologically? for explaining important events and processes?