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Does History Matter? A lecture by Margaret MacMillan

PSU Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park
1620 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97201, US (map)

Lincoln Recital Hall RM 75

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FREE and opent to the public
RSVP recommended

Lincoln Recital Hall RM 75
1620 SW Park Ave
Portland, OR 97201


HISTORY can be dangerous.

Oversimplified and one-sided stories from the past can be used to stir up resentments and grievances, mobilize hatreds, support unreasonable claims, and justify attacks on others. Yet, we need good history to help us make sense of our world and where it might be headed. History is key to understanding the motives, the hope and the fears of others, and, equally important, ourselves. Knowledge of the past is also helpful for decision makers because it offers instructive analogies and warnings of potentially dangerous outcomes.

This lecture explores some of the ways in which history has been used and abused in the recent past. Margaret MacMillan will draw on examples from her work on the outbreak of the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and the international relations of the 20th century


Margaret MacMillan was the fifth Warden of St. Antony’s College, Oxford from 2007 to 2017, and is a Professor of History at the University of Toronto. Her books include Women of the Raj (1988, 2007); Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World (2001), for which she was the first woman to win the Samuel Johnson prize; Nixon in China: Six Days that Changed the World (2007); The Uses and Abuses of History (2008); and The War That Ended Peace (2013).

Her most recent book is History’s People (February 2016). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Senior Fellow of Massey College, University of Toronto, Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, University of Toronto, and of St Antony’s College and St. Hilda’s College, University of Oxford.

She sits on the board of the Mosaic Institute and the editorial boards of International History and First World War Studies. She also sits on the Advisory Board Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation and is a Trustee of the Rhodes Trust.


Portland State University Department of History
College & University
The PSU Department of History encourages active engagement in historical inquiry.

Friends of History - Portland State University
Nonprofit Organization
The Friends of History promotes excellence in the teaching and study of history within Portland State University and strives to increase awareness of this resource in the Portland metropolitan area.

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