National experts gather for 'War and Empire'

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The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University is hosting a series of events this fall to explore whether the United States is internationalist or imperial. Since the Iraq War, numerous books have come out asserting that the U.S. is an empire, begging the question whether the U.S. is an empire of good intentions or of reckless might.

"Most of the world regards the U.S. as an empire, and many Americans suspect we are," said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. "But to be imperial goes against the American grain."

To help people grapple with this critically important issue, the Hauenstein Center is bringing in two dozen of the nation's top scholars and journalists this fall to debate whether the U.S. has become an empire.

"No one perspective is considered sacrosanct," explained Whitney. "Diverse perspectives will be thoroughly aired and debated."

Schedule of Events

  • The Debate: Wednesday, September 14, 8 p.m.
    Gerald R. Ford Museum Auditorium
    Arianna Huffington vs. Victor Davis Hanson

    Author, syndicated columnist and TV commentator Arianna Huffington will square off with author, historian, political commentator and farmer Victor Davis Hanson.

    "I've never seen Hanson lose a debate, and I've never seen Huffington back down from a debate, so this should be quite an evening," said Whitney.

  • The Conference: Thursday and Friday, October 6-7
    featuring H.W. Brands, Michael Scheuer and others

    Thursday, October 6
    Loosemore Auditorium, Grand Valley's Pew Grand Rapids Campus

    8-9 a.m., Keynote Address

    9-10:30 a.m., Panel I: American Founders and Empire
    David Hendrickson
    Peter Onuf
    Karl-Friedrich Walling

    11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Panel II: 19th-Century American Empire
    Josiah Bunting
    Donald Frazier
    Scott Stabler
    Bruce Winders

    1:30-3 p.m., Panel III: War and Empire, 1898 to 1945
    H. W. Brands
    Brad Birzer
    Andrew Cayton
    Richard Gamble

    Gerald R. Ford Museum Auditorium

    8-9:30 p.m, Keynote Address by H. W. Brands

    Friday, October 7
    Pere Marquette Room, Kirkhof Center, Grand Valley's Allendale Campus

    9-10:30 a.m., Panel IV: The Cold War and American Empire
    Josiah Bunting
    Thomas Carty
    and others

    11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Panel V: Empire after 9/11?
    Ivan Eland
    David Hendrickson
    Michael Scheuer

    12:30-1:30 p.m.
    Luncheon address by Michael Scheuer


    The Lessons: Thursday, November 17, 8 p.m.
    Gerald R. Ford Museum Auditorium
    Featuring Robert Caro

    To make reservations, call the Hauenstein Center at 616-331-2770.

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