Miller Center

Media Contact: Howard Witt, 434-924-6051

Recasting Presidential History

October 26-27, 2012, Charlottesville, Virginia

Click through to see a series of multimedia exhibits and Miller Center resources related to the conference panels.

Seen here in 1922, using the new media of his day, President Warren Harding spoke into a recording apparatus to create a phonographic copy of one of his speeches. From 1917 to 1921, Harding recorded 14 audio recordings of excerpts of his speeches that he made as a U.S. senator from Ohio, the Republican Party presidential candidate, and as President of the United States.

 

“Recasting Presidential History” seeks to jump start a new generation of scholarship about the presidency that capitalizes on key insights of leading scholars, many of whom have not concentrated on the presidency. Path breaking work in subdisciplines ranging from cultural to social history have created new frameworks that can inform and enrich work on the presidency. It has already begun to do so in the case of senior scholars who have ventured into presidential history after making a name for themselves in fields as disparate as intellectual and social history. 

This conference seeks to galvanize interest in the presidency and extend it from presidential historians and senior scholars to a broader range of historians just embarking on their careers. By pointing to the rich opportunities for a conversation between political history that features the history of presidents and some of the most fruitful trends in historical scholarship over the past generation, and by engaging some of the leading social scientists who concentrate on the presidency as well as public intellectuals who have crafted highly successful accounts of presidents, we hope to foster a new generation of scholars to pursue of variety of analytical approaches to studying the American presidency.

This particular initiative comes at a time that political history, in general, is experiencing a renewal and at a historical moment when the influence of the contemporary presidency has made a deep impression on the current generation of scholars. In short, this is a propitious time for historians of all stripes to “bring the president back in.” Brian Balogh will co-chair the conference with Bruce Schulman of Boston University's American Political History Institute.  Lizabeth Cohen at Harvard, UVa’s Melvyn Leffler, Princeton’s Daniel Rodgers, and Yale’s Stephen Skowronek have all helped conceptualize the conference, and will participate, too, as will the Miller Center's Will Hitchcock, and Sid Milkis. William Galston of the Brookings Institution, John Judis of The New Republic, and Allison Silver of Reuters are just a few of the thinkers that will be on hand to reflect and comment on the conference papers.  We hope you too will be able to join us in this exciting discussion.  We are pleased to announce that the panel focused on the Presidency and the World will be this year’s Ambassador William C. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy. The conference is sponsored by the Miller Center, with support from the American Political History Institute at Boston University.

Click here for a complete schedule of conference events (PDF).

Conference Video

Friday, October 26, 2012

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4 | Audio: MP3

The State of the Field

Chair, Brian Balogh, University of Virginia
Comment, Ira Katznelson, Columbia University
Paper, Bruce Schulman, Boston University, “Presidential History: Its Potential and its Discontents”
Paper, Stephen Skowronek, Yale University, “Recasting Presidential History: A Prequel”

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4 | Audio: MP3

Presidents and the Political Structure

Chair, Sidney Milkis, University of Virginia
Comment, William Galston, Brookings Institution
Paper, Gareth Davies, University of Oxford, “The Presidential Politics of Disaster: From Coolidge to Bush”
Paper, Daniel Galvin, Northwestern University “Taking the Long View: Presidents in a System Stacked Against Them”

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4 | Audio: MP3

Presidents and the Economy

Chair, Brian Balogh, University of Virginia
Comment, Jacob Hacker, Yale University
Paper, Michael Bernstein, Tulane University, “American Presidential Authority and Economic Expertise Since World War II”
Paper, Cathie Jo Martin, Boston University “Parties and Presidential Capacities for Coalition Building from a Cross-National Perspective”

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4 | Audio: MP3

Presidents in the World

Ambassador William C. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy
Chair, Emily Rosenberg, UC Irvine
Comment, Melvyn Leffler, University of Virginia
Paper, Frank Costigliola, University of Connecticut “Personal Dynamics and Presidential Transitions”
Paper, William Hitchcock, University of Virginia “Ike's World: Ideology and Power in Eisenhower's National Strategy”

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4 | Audio: MP3

Presidents and the Social Structure

Chair, John Judis, The New Republic
Comment, Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Paper, Darren Dochuk, Washington University in St. Louis, “There Will Be Oil: Presidential Politics, Wildcat Religion, and the Culture Wars of Pipeline Politics”
Paper, Robert Self, Brown University, “The Reagan Devolution: Conservative Critics and the Right’s Days of Rage”

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4 | Audio: MP3

Presidents and our Cultures of Politics

Chair, James Kloppenberg, Harvard University
Comment, Daniel Rodgers, Princeton University
Paper, Grace Elizabeth Hale, University of  Virginia, “Outsider in Chief:  Presidents and the Politics of Authenticity and Emotion”
Paper, Alice O’Connor, UC Santa Barbara, “Narrator in Chief: Presidents and the
Politics of Economic Crisis from FDR to Barack Obama”

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4 | Audio: MP3

Presidents and the Media

Chair, Allison Silver, Reuters
Comment, Michael Schudson, Columbia University
Paper, Susan Douglas, University of Michigan, “The Presidency, Media Affordances and Media Aptitudes”
Paper, David Greenberg, Rutgers University“The Presidency, the News Media and the Public”

History News Network Interviews