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James Loewen

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Schofield Auditorium

7:30 p.m.

Topic  >  Lies My Teacher Told Me:

Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong


James Loewen is an acclaimed historian and bestselling author whose mission is to overturn myths and misinformation that too often pass for history. Revised and updated in 2008, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong is a telling critique of existing books and a wonderful retelling of U.S history as it should — and could — be taught. The book has sold some one million copies and was the winner of the 1996 American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship. 

Loewen holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University. He taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont, and he previously taught at predominantly black Tougaloo College in Mississippi. He now lives in Washington, D.C., continuing his research on how Americans remember their past.

He co-authored Mississippi: Conflict and Change (1974), winner of the Lillian Smith Award for Best Southern Nonfiction but rejected for public school text use by the State of Mississippi, leading to the historic First Amendment lawsuit, Loewen et al. v. Turnipseed, et al. His other books include The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White (1971), Social Science in the Courtroom (1982), and The Truth About Columbus (1989). Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong came out in 1999. The Gustavus Myers Foundation named his book, Sundown Towns, a Distinguished Book of 2005. In 2010, Teachers College Press brought out Teaching What Really Happened, intended to give K–12 teachers and prospective teachers solutions to the problems pointed out in Loewen’s earlier works.

Loewen has been an expert witness in more than 50 civil rights, voting rights, and employment cases. His awards include the First Annual Spivack Award of the American Sociological Association for “sociological research applied to the field of intergroup relations.” He is also distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, visiting professor of sociology at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and visiting professor of African-American studies at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Loewen was one of more than 100 educators and activists from across the country who gathered at Purdue University on November 5 to read and celebrate the work of historian Howard Zinn, whose writings were sharply criticized by university President Mitch Daniels during his time as governor. "This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away," Daniels wrote in a February 2010 e-mail to his staff, in which he called Zinn's greatest work, A People's History of the United States, "a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page." Last summer the Associated Press obtained the e-mails and reported that, as governor, Daniels had sought assurances that Zinn's writings were not being used in Indiana K–12 classrooms or counted toward continuing education credit for teachers. Daniels became the 12th president of Purdue University in January 2013.

"I think Howard Zinn was a patriot," Loewen stated during the November 5 read-in, urging the Purdue community to continue to stand up for academic freedom. Zinn spoke on The Forum in October 2000.




$8  General Public
$6  UW System Faculty/Staff • Age 62 & Over
$4  UW System Student • Age 17 & Under
Student tickets are $2 until the day of the event
All seats are general admission

A typical Forum program includes a 60-minute lecture and a 30-minute question-and-answer session, followed by an informal open reception. The reception for this event will take place in the Ojibwe Ballroom, Davies Center 330. Books will be sold by the University Bookstore for signing by the speaker during the reception.

This event will be signed for the deaf and hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are also available upon request.

The Forum is funded by the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Wisconsin Public Radio and WHYS Radio have contributed generous promotional support.