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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 2, 2003

UI Lecture Series Highlights 'Brown v. Board' Anniversary

A former University of Iowa professor who is a national expert in civil rights law will kick off a year-long lecture series, "Cultural Frameworks for Civil Liberties," commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.

Mary L. Dudziak, the Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law and History at the University of Southern California, will speak about "Brown as a Cold War Case," at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5 in room 140 Schaeffer Hall. Dudziak is visiting the UI as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Author of a landmark book on federal civil rights policy as a consequence of Cold War international pressures, Dudziak has investigated formerly classified State Department documents to demonstrate that Brown v. Board of Education was less an ethical court decision than a response to State Department concerns about the U.S. image in Third World countries. Her lecture will set the Brown case in the context of the Supreme Court's Cold War jurisprudence and will examine the international impact of the case. Dudziak holds both a doctorate in American studies and a law degree from Yale University. She taught history and law at the UI from 1986-1998. Her scholarship synthesizes law and cultural history in order to make original arguments about civil rights law in historical context.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned the 58 year old doctrine of "separate but equal" in the case of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, ending racial segregation in public schools. The landmark decision, one of the most important of the 20th century, signaled the beginning of the end of racial segregation in public places. The purpose of the UI lecture series, which will continue throughout the 2003-04 academic year, is to foster an ongoing discussion of the principles, issues, and spirit of the "Brown" decision.

The series is co-sponsored by the Departments of American Studies, History, African American World Studies Program, American Indian and Native Studies, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Perry A. and Helen Judy Bond Fund for Interdisciplinary Interaction, and the Office of the Provost Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program.

The series will continue with three more lectures this fall and five during the spring 2004 semester. While not all lectures will be specifically about Brown v. the Board of Education, public talks by distinguished scholars will all consider relevant themes, thereby extending the discussion well beyond the single case to its symbolic value in American history and in society today. By hosting this series the UI is participating in a nationwide observance of this momentous anniversary overseen by the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission, created by presidential order in September 2001.

Upcoming lectures are listed below. All talks begin at 4 p.m. in 704 Jefferson Building (located at the corner of Dubuque and Washington streets) unless otherwise noted.

Oct. 3, "From Measured Inclusion to Measured Exclusion: the Contradictory Experiences of African Americans and U.S. Indigenous Peoples," David Wilkins, associate professor of American Indian studies, political science and law, University of Minnesota

Oct. 31, "Renovating the National Imaginary: Remembering World War II," Barbara Biesecker, UI associate professor of communication studies

Nov. 3, "Colonial (Counter)Inscriptions: 19th-Century Captives of the American Indian Assimilation Policy," Jacki Rand, UI assistant professor of history

Jan. 30, "Fighting for Democracy: African American Military Stories about World War Two," Kimberley Phillips, associate professor of history, American studies, and Black studies, College of William and Mary

Feb. 6, "Getting Around Brown: Fifty Years of Bad Faith," George Lipsitz, professor of ethnic studies, University of California San Diego

Feb. 27, "Lyric Protest: Robert Hayden's 'Peacock Room'," James C. Hall, associate professor of African American studies and English, University of Alabama

April 2, "'Freedom Was All They Had': Civil Rights in the Age of Emancipation," Leslie A. Schwalm, UI associate professor of history

April 16, "Dissolving Boundaries: A History Of Racial Passing In Postwar America," Kevin Mumford, UI assistant professor of history

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the American studies department in advance at 319-335-0320.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, mary-kenyon@uiowa.edu.