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   from the issue of April 22, 2004

Speaker to discuss how U.S. relates to the world

Tim Borstelmann, the first faculty member to hold the position of Elwood N. and Katherine Thompson distinguished professor of modern world history in the Department of History at UNL, will give the final lecture of the year in the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues, “America and its Enemies,” at 3:30 p.m. April 27 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

The talk, free and open to the public, will be carried live on KRNU radio, 90.3 FM, and on the Web at

A pre-forum discussion with UNL historian Lloyd Ambrosius will begin at 3 p.m. in the Steinhart Room at the Lied Center.

The lecture was originally scheduled for Jan. 26 but was postponed because of a snowstorm. His talk is also sponsored by the UNL Department of History.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks make it important to understand the background to the war on terrorism and the way the United States perceives the countries of the Middle East and the general international scene, Borstelmann said. His talk will address the European response - to the attacks and the U.S. response - and how it has complicated those countries’ relationships with the United States.

Borstelmann’s recent books include The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena, in which he examines how the U.S. government responded during the post-1945 era to the rising demands for racial equality at home, in the civil rights movement and in the decolonization movement abroad. He argues that for U.S. policymakers, these were two sides of the same coin, and that waging the Cold War on behalf of the “free world” required moving away from racial discrimination and inequality.

Borstelmann also co-wrote Created Equal: A Social and Political History of the United States, a new U.S. history textbook. The authors emphasize themes of cultural diversity, economic power, the environment and international relations.

Borstelmann is working on a book about the United States and the world in the mid-1970s. The book will focus on issues of democratic and anti-colonial reform, the spread of feminism, environmentalism and the resurgence of religious faith and its impact on American politics. He said it would pay particular attention to how Americans of this time period thought about and engaged the world.

“As a historian I am committed to structure and the more dramatic and obvious cultural manifestations of cultural change,” Borstelmann said, including an examination of the underlying structures of economic power, who they benefit, and who has control and influence.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1980 from Stanford University, Borstelmann taught high school for four years in Washington and Colorado. He then entered graduate school at Duke University, where he received his doctorate in 1990.

Borstelmann became a full professor in 2003 at Cornell University, where he worked for 12 years before coming to Nebraska in fall 2003.

The professorship is funded by the endowment of Elwood N. and Katherine Thompson through the Cooper Foundation.

The Thompson Forum on World Issues, named in honor of Elwood N. Thompson, is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, the Lied Center and UNL. For 16 years the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues has offered lectures presented speakers whose work and ideas affect our world.

Thompson Forum lecture

Tim Borstelmann’s lecture, “America and Its Enemies,” begins at 3:30 p.m. April 27 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.



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