CENFAD Represents Temple at Yale’s “Age of Rage” Conference

Will Hitchcock
Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs
Professor of History, Fall 2005

On April 1, 2005, Temple History took its show on the road. Lynnette Deem, Drew McKevitt, and David Zierler, joined by Drs. Regina Gramer and Will Hitchcock, traveled to New Haven to participate in a graduate student conference on "The Age of Rage: Hatred and Violence in International History." Four panels presented papers that focused on conflict in various settings, from Ireland, Chechnya, and Serbia to the Middle East and Africa. Temple's David Zierler delivered an excellent paper on "Beyond Rage: The Superpower Detente and the Yom Kippur War," which assessed the impact of the Yom Kippur War on the process of détente between the superpowers.

The conference, taken as a whole, showed that the study of violence in the twentieth century has broadened beyond state-focused studies, andthat scholars are searching for new ways to approach the study of war and conflict. The papers gave prominence to issues of nationalism, ethnicity, ideology, gender, collective memory, and violence in the colonial periphery, suggesting fascinating new avenues in the field of international and military history.

The Temple group was welcomed to Yale on the morning of April 1 by John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of History, who kindly opened his home, produced muffins and coffee, and chatted about his current work. Gaddis is the authorized biographer of George F. Kennan, and he spoke in some detail about the biography and the kinds of source material he planned to use. Most extraordinary was the discovery of Kennan's "dream diary" - a notebook that Kennan kept by the side of his bed in which he recorded his nocturnal thoughts. The book contained entries dating back to the 1920s. Rare is the biographer who can produce evidence of his subject's dreams!

The conference was a terrific opportunity for graduate students in the field of international, diplomatic and military history to share their work in a collegial environment. Next year, Temple might return the favor, and invite a small group of scholars in this field to campus for a day of discussion and debate. Watch this space!