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A May Full of Events: WWI, Social Media, Race in America and Astrobiology

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May is a busy month at the Kluge Center, with a full schedule of events featuring scholars at the Library of Congress:

Thursday, May 7 at 4:00 p.m.
Navigating the Blood-Dimmed Tides: Was U.S. Military Intervention in the First World War Worth the Cost?
with Bradford Lee, Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations

Our fourteenth Kissinger Chair Bradford Lee has been in residence at the Kluge Center since November 2014. His ambitious research project analyzes 100 years of American military intervention, from 1917-2017, and assesses whether the results achieved were worth the costs incurred. In his lecture on May 7th, Lee will focus on World War I, a concentration of his research during his residency. By drilling deeply into the papers of President Woodrow Wilson, Admiral William Sowden Sims, General John J. Pershing, and others held by the Library of Congress, Lee will analyze how the United States waged war and negotiated peace from 1917 to 1919 and whether the value of victory was worth the costs of achieving it.

Thursday, May 14 at 4:00 p.m.
“The Digital Traces of User-generated Content: How Social Media Data May Become the Historical Sources of the Future”
with Katin Weller, Kluge Fellow in Digital Studies

In 2013, the Library of Congress launched new Kluge Fellowships in Digital Studies. The purpose of the fellowship is to examine the impact of the digital revolution on society, culture and international relations. Our first fellows arrived in fall 2014, and this May marks the first public lecture by a Digital Studies Fellow showcasing the results of her research. On May 14th, Katrin Weller, one of two inaugural Kluge Fellows in Digital Studies, will present her arguments that big data from social media and online communication channels are valuable sources which need to be understood now in order to be preserved effectively for future historians. Weller is a senior research fellow and information scientist at GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Cologne.

Thursday, May 21 at 4:00 p.m.
Reflections on Issues of Race and Class in 21st Century America: Revisiting Arguments Advanced in The Declining Significance of Race (1978)
with William Julius Wilson, Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance

Sociologist William Julius Wilson is regarded as a top thinker on issues of urban poverty, race and class relations. In his controversial book, “The Declining Significance of Race,” published in 1978, Wilson put forth two major underlying themes–(1) the effect of fundamental economic and political shifts on the changing relative importance of race and class as a determinant of a black person’s life trajectory, and (2) the swing in the concentration of racial conflict from the economic sector to the sociopolitical order. For the past four months, Wilson has held the Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance, using the Library’s collections and resources to revisit his research on race and inequality through the lens of recent events. On May 21st, Wilson will reflect on how the themes put forth in his early work apply to more recent developments in American race and ethnic relations. He will also advance some thoughts on the future of race relations in the U.S. The event is co-sponsored by the American Sociological Association.

Thursday, May 28 at 3:00 p.m.
Blumberg Dialogues on Astrobiology – Part II

Part two of our three-part dialogue series that convenes scientists, social scientists, humanities scholars and writers to investigate the intersection of astrobiology research with humanistic and societal concerns.This month scholars will examine how recent discoveries about the origins and future of life in the cosmos influence an ongoing tradition of inquiry in the history and philosophy of science. Seven leading scholars from the humanities and the sciences will meet at the Kluge Center for a series of public and private conversations. Scholars with expertise in a range of historical, philosophical, and scientific disciplines will participate. The event is part of the Kluge Center’s Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Astrobiology Program.

And don’t forget–on June 11th, the Kluge Center host the first-ever #ScholarFest–a celebration of scholarship at the Library of Congress featuring more than 70 top scholars from around the world, all former residents at the Kluge Center. Read about the festivities here.

All events will be held inside Room LJ-119 of the historic Thomas Jefferson Building. Reservations are not required; all events are free and open to the public. We are pleased to welcome all patrons. Please request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected].

We hope to see you in May. As always, for more upcoming programs, visit our events page at:

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