Virtual Event     

Historians and the News: A Historical Perspective on Elections and Political Rhetoric

Suggested donation: $35 / $25 OHS members / Zoom link will be sent to ticket holders one week prior to the event.

Monday, November 16, 2020
5:30PM – 6:30PM

  • Teachers
  • Researchers

Virtual program via Zoom. Register here.

Event Type: Virtual EventAudience(s): Teachers, Researchers

During a historic year that has included a global pandemic, massive demonstrations on racial inequality, and a polarizing presidential election, historians are often asked the question — are these truly unprecedented times? In our second “Historians and the News” event, OHS Trustee Christopher McKnight Nichols sits down for a conversation with upcoming Hatfield lecturer Joanne B. Freeman to reflect on the November 3 election and provide historical context to today’s political campaigns and modern political polarization. Dr. Freeman is an expert on early American politics and culture, and readers of her award-winning works know Freeman best for her expertise in dirty, nasty politics. Freeman and Nichols’s conversation will provide historical context to today’s political environment by highlighting Freeman’s scholarship on Alexander Hamilton and her latest book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War.

Ability Accommodation Information

This event provides the following accommodations:

  • Handicap Accessible

Today more than ever, news sources often call on historians to speak to the present, and sometimes even to predict the future. This discussion between two nationally renowned historians promises to offer valuable insights, informed by years of scholarly analysis of the past, into the meaning of news stories that fill our screens and newspaper pages. They will also discuss the role that media outlets play in historians’ public history work, from newspaper sections dedicated to historical analysis like the Washington Post’s Made by History section to how social media outlets like Twitter allow historians the opportunity to add to the conversation in real time.

As historians, Dr. Freeman and Dr. Nichols rely on archival institutions like OHS to do their research, and so they have graciously donated their time to develop this program to sustain the important work of OHS. Tickets would normally be $25 for members and $35 for non-members. To make this important conversation accessible to all, we ask that you contribute what you can. Your donation goes directly to the OHS Pandemic Survival Fund to help replace revenue OHS has lost as a result of COVID-19.

About the Speakers

Joanne B. Freeman, a professor of history and American studies at Yale University, is a leading expert on early American politics and culture. She is the author of the award-winning Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic, and editor of Alexander Hamilton: Writings and The Essential Hamilton. Her most recent book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War — a New York Times notable book of 2018 and a finalist for the Lincoln Prize — explores the impact and legacies of physical violence in the U.S. Congress in the decades leading up to the Civil War. Long committed to public-minded history, she has been a historical advisor for writers, documentary filmmakers, the National Park Service, and a playwright; Lin-Manuel Miranda used her work in writing Broadway’s Hamilton. She was also the historical advisor for the immersive exhibit on Hamilton and his world that opened in Chicago in April 2019, produced by the play’s creators. The winner of multiple teaching awards at Yale, her online course, The American Revolution, has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people in homes and classrooms around the world.

Don’t miss her March 16, 2021 presentation on The Field of Blood as part of the Oregon Historical Society’s Mark O. Hatfield Lecture Series; tickets available here.

Joanne B. Freeman

Christopher McKnight Nichols is associate professor of history at Oregon State University and Director of OSU’s Center for the Humanities. He founded and leads OSU’s Citizenship and Crisis Initiative. Nichols is an expert on the history of the United States’ relationships with the world, including isolationism, internationalism, globalization, ideas, and political history, with an emphasis on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era through the present. An Andrew Carnegie Fellow and Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer, Nichols was honored as Oregon State University’s Honors College Professor of the Year. Nichols also is a frequent commentator on air and in print on U.S. foreign policy and politics, often appearing on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s program Think Out Loud with Dave Miller. He is an editorial board member of the “Made by History” section of the Washington Post and is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Nichols is the author, co-author, or editor of six books, most notably Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age, and the forthcoming Rethinking American Grand Strategy. Nichols is a proud member of the Board of Trustees of the Oregon Historical Society and a passionate advocate for history and the humanities.

Christopher McKnight Nichols, photo by Mina Carson