May 4 Symposium- Save the Date

Dear Kent State History Alumni,

I’m writing to share advance notice of what promises to be an outstanding event being hosted by our department in Feb. 2020. As part of the year-long slate of commemorative events surrounding the 50th anniversary of the tragic events of May 4, 1970, the History Department will be hosting a daylong symposium called “New Directions in the History of the Vietnam War.”

While units across campus are developing a wide array of events to remember what happened on May 4, I can say with confidence that our symposium will be among the best. I hope that you will place this event on your calendar—it will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29 in the Kiva — and plan on joining us. (We’re also hoping to livestream the proceedings for alumni unable to travel that weekend.) A more detailed list of participants, paper titles and session times will be sent out to you via email just after the new year.

There will be two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, built around the cutting-edge research on the Vietnamese perspective and the American home front being done by seven scholars from across the United States and Canada, as well as our own Shane Strate, a specialist in the history of Southeast Asia.

Some of you attended last spring’s panel on digital history, which provided the spark of inspiration for this much larger event. Last spring’s panel reflected an initial attempt by our department to realize one of my goals when I assumed the position of Chair - to host an alumni event on a specific historical theme or topic every spring semester to strengthen the bonds between the department and our alumni.

Our “New Directions” symposium will be bigger than most given the public interest in and institutional support for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of May 4, 1970, but the basic idea remains the same: to keep interested alumni abreast of developments in the discipline of history and to share the outstanding work of our faculty. It is also a way for us to give back to you as your generosity provides crucial support to our operations. In the past 10 months alone, gifts to the General Fund have enabled us to fund trips by graduate students presenting at national conferences, including the American Historical Association’s annual meeting; allowed the department to pay Cornell University Press’ subvention request, paving the way for the imminent publication of Professor Ann Heiss’s second monograph, a study of U.S. foreign policy and decolonization; and funded research trips by doctoral students to archives both in and out of the country. We were also able to distribute a record $17,000 in scholarships. Thank you for all that you’ve done for us!

Please send any questions about the May 4 symposium my way. Anyone interested in discussing the current goings-on in our department and our strategic vision is welcome to either send me an email or swing by 305 Bowman Hall for a chat. We always enjoy hearing what is new in the lives of our graduates and sharing our own updates!

Best wishes,

Kevin Adams
Associate Professor & Interim Chairperson
Department of History