Confronting Empire

2022-2023 Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series

The 2022-2023 Feinberg Series, Confronting Empire, brings together scholars, journalists, educators, writers, community organizers, and survivors of state violence to examine global histories of U.S. imperialism and anti-imperialist resistance.

The first theme of the series is the historic role, forms, and impacts of U.S. empire: What is imperialism? What are its institutions, resources, practices, aims, justifications, and consequences? 

The second theme is histories of anti-imperialist resistance movements. How have people of color, workers, women, queer people, and others in the U.S. and Global South developed anti-imperialist political analysis, strategy, movements, and alternatives? What concrete practices have enabled or dissolved solidarity across borders and between diverse groups of people? Events will offer a critical historical analysis of U.S. empire and the various traditions and movements that have opposed it–including Black radicalism, Marxism, revolutionary feminism, armed struggle, international solidarity, pacifism, and liberal, electoral, and diplomatic activism.

The series will trace the roots of U.S. imperialism from the conquest of North America through the creation of a formal and informal overseas empire in the late nineteenth century and to the present day. The core focus will be U.S. imperialism and anti-imperialism since World War II, with a particular emphasis on the Americas, Vietnam, and Iraq.

The Feinberg Series

The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is an event series offered every other academic year by the Department of History at UMass Amherst, thanks to the generosity of Kenneth Feinberg ’67 and associates. Each iteration of the series focuses on a “big issue” of clear and compelling concern, generally a policy or social issue, aiming to ground it in historical inquiry, context, analysis, and experience. It features a wide variety of events, including lectures, exhibitions, performances, panel discussions, and film. Previous themes include: Planet on a Precipice: Histories and Futures of the Environmental Emergency, Another World Is Possible: Revolutionary Visions, Past and Present, The U.S. in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Immigration in the Modern Americas, and more. See links for audio and video of previous events.

The 2022-2023 series is presented in collaboration with the Ellsberg Initiative for Peace and Democracy and more than 3 dozen university and community partners.