The history department hosted Professor Pauline Maier as the 2012 Somers Memorial Lecture distinguished presenter. Professor Maier discussed "The Ratification of the United States' Constitution: The Subject, The Book, and Why We Should Care." This event was held Friday, April 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm in Georgia State University’s Urban Life Building, room 220. Dr. Maier also lead a seminar at 10:30 a.m. in the GSU history department, located at 34 Peachtree Street in room 2131 for faculty and graduate students.
Professor Maier is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History at MIT. Her most recent book, Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788, came out in 2010, making the Wall Street Journal's list of the top ten books of the year and the New York Times' list of the 100 most notable books of the year.
Professor Abdullahi An-Na’im of Emory University's Law School gave the 2011 Dale Somers Memorial Lecture on April 1, 2011. Professor An-Na’im spoke on the topic ‘Human Rights in Africa: the Post-Colonial and Post-Post-Colonial.’ His talk focused on the need to situate our conception of human rights within a truly universal framework, rather than one derived from the European past. Professor An-Na’im suggested ways to move past the post-colonial context, embracing universal human rights in a manner suitable to the variety of cultural contexts present in Africa.
The lecture was held in the Urban Life auditorium, and attendance was larger than in recent years. Professor An-Na’im fi elded questions from the audience on subjects ranging from the recent uprisings in North Africa—which he urged us to consider in an African as well as a Middle Eastern context—to the ways in which Americans can bolster African efforts to secure human rights. That morning, Professor An-Na’im also gave a seminar in the History Department on self-determination in Sudan.