The Vanishing History of the American PresidencyAugust 11, 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Mānoa Campus, Center for Korean Studies Auditorium
Visiting speaker Russell L. Riley is chair of the Presidential Oral History Program of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, where he directs the William J. Clinton Presidential History Project, a comprehensive effort to conduct and compile scholarly oral history interviews with the senior members of the Clinton White House, as well as other important political figures of the Clinton era.
In his talk, Professor Riley will focus on presidential biography, the extraordinary resources we have on presidents in a relatively small window of time (from about FDR to Nixon), and the rapid decline in those resources after Watergate and beyond. He’ll also discuss the role of oral history as a way of dealing with these deficiencies, how the Miller Center goes about its work, and what the Presidential Oral History Program can contribute to history.
Professor Riley has participated in similar efforts to document the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. Riley has taught a wide range of courses in American politics at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown. He is the author of The Presidency and the Politics of Racial Inequality: Nation-keeping from 1831–1965, a comparative study of how presidents dealt with abolitionism and the later movement for black civil rights, and numerous articles on race and politics, presidential leadership, Southern politics, and political parties. He is currently working on a book about post-war politics in the United States, examining comparatively the immediate aftermaths of the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Cold War.
The Miller Center is a nonpartisan institute that seeks to expand understanding of the presidency, policy, and political history. Among other activities, through its Presidential Studies Program, it conducts the official oral history project of every administration from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush, and it is the only organization in the US transcribing and annotating the thousands of hours of secret White House audio tapes of U.S. presidents from Franklin Roosevelt through Nixon.
Free and open to the public
Center for Biographical Research, Mānoa Campus