Dudziak speaks on African Americans, militarization, and war, Nov. 28

November 21, 2011Duke Law News

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.”

Dudziak is visiting Duke Law in the fall 2011 semester as the John Hope Franklin Professor of American Legal History. A renowned legal historian, she is the Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and Political Science at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on international approaches to legal history and the impact of war on American democracy, and she has written extensively about the impact of foreign affairs on civil rights policy during the Cold War. Her books include War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences, forthcoming in February 2012 from Oxford University Press, Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey (Oxford University Press, 2008)(paperback Princeton University Press 2011), and Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2000, 2nd ed. 2011) among others. She blogs at legalhistoryblog.