June 30, 2014 Origins of the Tet Offensive, 1958 Referendum in French West Africa Subject of July Lectures

Lectures Are Part of National History Center’s Decolonization Seminar at the Library

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In conjunction with the International Seminar on Decolonization, in its ninth year at the Library of Congress, lectures will be presented on the origins of the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive and the 1958 Referendum in French West Africa.

At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16, Lien-Hang Nguyen, associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky, presents “Spies, Allies, and Murder? The Ominous Origins of the 1968 Tet Offensive in Hanoi's Postcolonial War.”

At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22, Elizabeth Schmidt, professor of history at Loyola University Maryland, presents “Decolonization and the Nation-State: Reflections on the 1958 Referendum in French West Africa.”

Free and open to the public, the lectures will be in room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Tickets are not needed. The lectures are co-hosted by The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and the National History Center.

The Kluge Center has hosted the International Seminar on Decolonization for nine consecutive years. The seminar, sponsored by the National History Center with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, convenes 16 young scholars from around the world at the Library of Congress for four weeks of research and investigation into the dissolution of colonial empires and the emergence of new nations in the period following World War II.

The seminar will again be led by renowned historian William Roger Louis, Kerr Chair of English History and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin, past chairman of the U.S. State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee, founding director of the National History Center, and member of the Library of Congress Scholars Council. Louis conceived of the seminar in conjunction with the Library’s Office of Scholarly Programs in 2005; the Library hosted the first-ever International Seminar on Decolonization in 2006. The seminar has helped to establish decolonization as a significant sub-discipline within the field of history.

Nguyen is the author of “Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam,” which was awarded the Society for Military History Edward M. Coffman Prize and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Stuart L. Bernath Prize. Nguyen recently spoke at the 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival. Her second book project explores the role of gender, people’s diplomacy, and transnational networks of anti-war activism during the Vietnam War era.

Schmidt is the author of several books on decolonization in Africa. She has earned multiple awards, including the African Politics Conference Group’s 2008 Best Book Award and Alpha Sigma Nu’s Book Award for History, also in 2008. She is the recipient of two Fulbright fellowships and a research grant from the American Council of Learned Societies/Social Science Research Council.

The National History Center promotes research, teaching and learning in all fields of history. Created by the American Historical Association in 2002, the center is a public trust dedicated to the study and teaching of history, as well as to the advancement of historical knowledge in government, business and with the public at large. For more information on the National History Center, visit www.nationalhistorycenter.org External.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit www.loc.gov/kluge/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.


PR 14-115
ISSN 0731-3527