The Seventh Annual QUFA Lecture on Academic Freedom
THE GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENCY in the United States exposed serious flaws in the workings of American democracy at home and exacerbated a profound crisis of credibility for the reputation and image of America in the wider world. While it is certainly too early to offer a definitive assessment of the Bush presidency, it is perhaps timely to ask some questions about the context in American life that made such a profound disaster possible. For historians, the assessment of America during the Bush era poses a fundamental challenge: how did a society that had emerged as a global symbol of progress over the course of the twentieth century become a symbol of political dysfunction in both domestic and international contexts in the first decade of the third millennium? Cary Fraser's talk will address this question as part of an exploration of both the professional and civic responsibilities of historians in the contemporary world where academic freedom provides a legitimate platform for "speaking truth to power.""
Cary Fraser is an historian of international relations who teaches American and Caribbean History, the politics of race, American foreign policy, and the history of the African Diaspora in the Atlantic World at Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on Caribbean History, British Imperial History, American Foreign Policy, and the International relations of the Middle East and Persian Gulf. He is the author of Ambivalent Anti-Colonialism: The United States and the Genesis of West Indian Independence 1940-1964. He has also worked as a Project Officer for the Caribbean Conference of Churches, a Program Officer for the Social Science Research Council, and a Human Rights Observer for the OAS/UN Mission in Haiti in 1995.