2018 Ena H. Thompson Distinguished Lecturer

Andrew Bacevich

The History Department is proud to welcome Andrew Bacevich as the 2018 Ena H. Thompson Distinguished Lecturer.

Upcoming Ena H. Thompson Lectures

“Why Trump is Not the Problem”
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

“How War Became Normal”
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Andrew Bacevich is a war veteran, retired Colonel, New York Times bestselling author, and massively influential historian. He’s also one of our most incisive critics of U.S. foreign policy—35 years of military operations in the Middle East—and how we frame war, terrorism, security, and ‘the other’ at home. Shaking the cobwebs from public discourse, his talks make people listen—on the left and right.

Andrew Bacevich sees the political, military, and economic crises that face America as deeply interconnected. Applauded for reaching across political lines and speaking blunt truth to power, regardless of who is in office, he offers bracingly pragmatic talks that will help steer the country back on course. Time calls him “one of the most provocative—as in thought-provoking—national-security writers out there today.” His most recent book, America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, long-listed for the National Book Award and named one of Kirkus Review’s Best Non-Fiction of the year, is a searing reassessment of U.S. military involvement in the Greater Middle East over the past four decades.

His book Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country is a blistering critique of the gulf between America’s soldiers and the society that sends them off to war. His bestseller, Washington Rules, is a critique and investigation of the country’s military industrial complex. In The Limits of Power, an immediate New York Times bestseller, he deconstructs decades of disastrous foreign policies, arguing that America’s lust for empire and its sense of entitlement, coupled with its myth of indestructibility, has deluded and diminished the nation, at home and in the eyes of the world. “This compact, meaty volume ought to be on the reading list of every candidate for national office,” The Washington Post writes.

Bacevich is Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University, where he formerly directed the university’s Center for International Relations. He previously taught at Johns Hopkins University and at West Point, where he graduated in 1969. Bacevich also holds an MA and Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton. With the US Army, he served during the Vietnam War, and has held posts in Germany and the Persian Gulf; he retired, as a Colonel, in the early 1990s. Bacevich’s catalog also includes The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, and American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U. S. Diplomacy. He has written for The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, and The New York Times, has received a Lannan award, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

About the Lectureship

Endowed in 1980 through the generosity of Ena H. Thompson, these annual lectures encourage a broader understanding and appreciation of history. Generally held in the spring semester, the lectureship brings a distinguished historian to the Pomona College campus for a week of intensive interaction with students, faculty, and alumni. The visiting lecturers are elected both on the basis of their past contributions to the discipline and of the importance of their current research in advancing the field. Typically, they offer two public lectures on campus during the week of their residency and another lecture for alumni at a dinner event in the greater Los Angeles area.

Past Ena H. Thompson Distinguished Lecturers

2017      James C. Scott
2016      Greg Grandin
2015      Kasia Cwiertka
2014      Tiya A. Miles
2013      Gail Hershatter
2012      Fred M. Donner
2011      Gilbert Gonzales
2010      Thomas R. Metcalf
2009      Louis A.  Pérez, Jr.
2008      Patricia H. Smith
2007      David Roediger / Stanley Nelson
2006      Patricia Ebrey
2005      Dominick La Capra
2004      Robin D. G. Kelley
2003      Gilbert M. Joseph
2002      Patricia Nelson Limerick
2001      Linda Colley
2000      Vicki L. Ruiz / Antonia Castańeda
1999      Allan Bérubé
1998      Lynn Hunt
1997      Peter Brown
1996      Tetsuo Najita
1995      Ramón Eduardo Ruiz
1994      John Higginson
1993      G.W. Bowersock
1992      John H. Elliot
1991      Bernard Bailyn
1990      Ramón Gutiérrez
1989      Wolfgang J. Momsen
1988      Jonathan P. Spence
1987      A.W.B. Simpson
1986      Keith Thomas
1985      Natalie Zemon Davis
1984      Carl E. Schorske
1983      Richard Pipes
1982      Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
1981      Emmanuel Leroy Ladurie
1980      Peter Gay