Friday, March 02, 2007

Arthur Schlesinger, Famous Historian Who Spoke at UM, Dead at 89

Arthur Schlesinger, the Harvard (and later, City University of New York) historian and friend of the Kennedy family, died a couple of days ago at the age of 89. Schlesinger spoke at the University of Michigan in, I would guess, 1987 or '88. I attended and, as I recall, fellow social psych grad student Jill Klein, a longtime fan of the Kennedys, went with me.

Schlesinger's UM talk focused on his theory of 30-year cycles in American politics (the ideas of Schlesinger and others who take a similar approach are analyzed here). The Republicans, of course, dominated presidential politics in the 1920s, '50s, and '80s, whereas the Democrats held the White House for most of the 1930s, '60s, and (not known at the time of Schlesinger's appearance) the '90s.

The regular speaking appearances by eminent scholars, writers, public officials, and artists from around the nation and world are, in my view, an important part of the Michigan experience.