History in the public interest from the Lepage Center at Villanova University
Policy should be rooted in solid & honest history
That was the message delivered by three federal government historians during a panel conversation on history and policymaking, hosted by the Lepage Center during the inaugural " Villanova on the Hill" in Washington, D.C.

Featuring Clara Altman, Director, Federal Judicial History Office at the Federal Judicial Center ; Daniel S. Holt, Assistant Historian, U.S. Senate Historical Office; and Thomas Faith, Historian, U.S. Department of State, the historians spoke to a group of Villanova students on the role historians play in the federal government--from preservation of important government records to helping policymakers understand contemporary issues. The work of federal historians, and the records they create and maintain, are crucial to our institutions.
From left to right: Lepage Center Jason Steinhauer; Clara Altman; Daniel S. Holt; Thomas Faith; Lepage Center faculty director Paul Steege participate in a roundtable on history and policymaking during the inaugural "Villanova on the Hill," Washington, D.C., October 13, 2017.
Sarah Knowles, a liberal arts major and a participant in Villanova on the Hill, posted her reaction to the historians' insights:

"The issues we face now are rooted in past institutional interactions. Understanding policy with a historical context broadens the discussion around specific policies and helps policymakers find common ground... The historical panel helped to expand the way I think about legislative policy and understand the interrelation of culture, institutions, and history that influences contemporary social issues and policies. "

Endless war
Lepage Center faculty director Paul Steege (far left) moderates a panel on endless war, Nov. 1, with (from l. to r.): Jay Lockenour, Associate Professor of History, Temple University; Elizabeth Kolsky, Associate Professor of History, Villanova University; and Lt. Col. Guy Berry, U.S. Marine Corps.
The U.S. has not declared war on another nation since 1942. Yet, American teenagers alive today have never known a world where American troops are not engaged in combat operations.

Our panel on November 1 examined this state of endless war. Its origins in colonialism, World War II, Vietnam, U.S. military doctrine, and the stories of war we tell ourselves were examined by historian Jay Lockenour (Temple University), historian Elizabeth Kolsky (Villanova University), and U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Guy Berry. A video of the event is now posted.

The stories we tell about war help enable it to continue; our stories of past wars determine whether they were justly fought. The stories of the Vietnam War are again in public consciousness due to the documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. And stories of war are the subject of a this month's blog post by Lepage Center faculty director Paul Steege.
Monuments and public debates

Like many Americans, Philadelphians are wrestling with how to memorialize, or de-memorialize, certain historical figures in their city.

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As America debates monuments and their locations, the histories of where they stand are rarely part of the conversation.

Historian Whitney Martinko has been examining this issue through event appearances and articles on Hindsights. On October 5th, she spoke at an event co-hosted by the Lepage Center and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Her article on Hindsights this month on former Mayor Frank Rizzo places the debate over Rizzo's statue amid a history of the plaza in which it stands.
Attacks on environmentalists

In hindsight: Today's attacks against environmentalism are not a new phenomenon; there is a long history of demonizing activists, scientists, and government bodies.

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Attacks on environmentalists may seem a recent phenomenon, yet they date to the early 20 th century.

Common to them? Portraying environmentalists as anti-American, Communist, or demonizing them as witches.

Historian Paul Rosier continues his examination of environmental history with a new post on Hindsights titled, "The Long War on Environmentalism. "
The place of American women

The notion that a woman’s place is in the home stretches back far in American life — though not as far as one might suspect.

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One purpose of the Lepage Center History Communication Fellowships is to cultivate skills in students to communicate complex histories in ways that affect audiences beyond academia.

We are proud that our History Communication Fellow Maggie Strolle, an M.A. in History at Villanova, has woven together women and gender history with contemporary affairs into an excellent first post on Hindsights, titled " The Place of the American Woman."

These types of skills are critical to bringing sound historical scholarship to public audiences. Our goal is to cultivate them through History Communication Fellowships at the Lepage Center.
50th anniversary of 1968
Coming in 2018... we will be marking the 50th anniversary of 1968 through programs and digital resources. In the spirit of the Lepage Center, we will not solely look back but also think about how 1968 can lead us to ask different questions about the present, and better understand issues that matter to us today. Stay tuned.
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