Tuesday, November 22, 2011

'The Martial Spirit' in American History: John Hope Franklin on Militarization and War

On November 28, I'm delivering a lecture at Duke Law School.  As the John Hope Franklin Chair while a visitor at Duke this fall, my initial plan was to simply draw a connection between Franklin's work and new scholarship on African Americans and war, as well as my new work on the nature of wartime.  But the more I read, the more I came to believe that engaging Franklin's work requires a rethinking of the history of American militarization.  And that became the lecture.  Here's the announcement:
On Nov. 28, legal historian Mary L. Dudziak will deliver Duke University’s Robert R. Wilson lecture titled “The ‘Martial Spirit’ in American History: John Hope Franklin on Militarization and War.” Her lecture will draw both from Franklin’s work and from recent historical scholarship on African Americans and war to place African American history at the center of American militarization.
The lecture will begin at 12:30 p.m. in room 3041 of Duke Law School, located at 210 Science Drive on Duke University’s West Campus. Parking is available at the Bryan Center. A light lunch will be served on a first-come first-served basis.

The role of militaries in enabling or undermining democracy has been on display in 2011 during the Arab Spring. In American history as well, said Dudziak, military conflict has played an important role in shaping domestic politics and culture. “African American history is often seen as peripheral to the history of war and militarization, but Franklin placed it at the center,” she said. “From one of his early books, initially titled The Martial Spirit, which detailed the growth of militias to guard against slave insurrection, to the dynamic impact of war in his sweeping survey, From Slavery to Freedom, Franklin shows us that African American history and the history of American war and militarization were intertwined, from the slave patrols, to the race discrimination in the World War II military that scarred his own family, to the military as a workplace for contemporary people of color.”
More details are here.

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