McCarthy lecture series returns

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Dale Center for the Study of War and Society began the 14th annual Richard McCarthy Lecture Series. This year’s theme for the lectures is Spy Games-War & Espionage in the 20th Century. The lecture series is a free event and is open to the public.

The beginning of the McCarthy Lecture Series kicked off with Jeremy Black, Ph.D. of history at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom Jan. 29 in the Liberal Arts Building.

Black is the author of more than 100 books, including his recent book on James Bond. Black’s lively presentation of “The World of James Bond: The Life and Times of 007” was based on his recent book on the famed fictional spy, James Bond.

Black proposed the question “Why talk about James Bond?” to the audience to start off his lecture. He explained that if you are a historian, cultural effects and images are part of the way in which we see ourselves and see the world around us.

“I thought the presentation was interesting from Dr. Black. I always watched James Bond growing up,” Logan Carley, freshman Spanish major said. “I think that both the James Bond books and the movies offer a different take to the original idea that Fleming had. I think that both can be equally enjoyable in different aspects.”

In 1953, the first novel in which James Bond is mentioned is “Casino Royale” by Ian Fleming. Black tells the backstory to Fleming’s journey to become a writer. In the novels, Bond emerged as a Cold War figure, and he was a successful creation to look at the changes that occurred in society. Studying and linking the cultural, social and political change that occurs in stories of Bond prompts many questions.

“James Bond is the perfect example of cultural effects and images throughout history. Bond has been around for over 60 years and is the second film franchise in the world in world history. That being said, more than half of the world’s population has seen a Bond film, and that should be of interest to any historian,” Black said.  

Allison Abra, Ph.D., is organizing this year’s McCarthy Lecture Series. A lecture will take place every second week until the end of February. Abra encourages all to attend the McCarthy Lecture Series to hear from world-renowned historians of military history.

“The McCarthy Lecture Series’ goal is to expose people to different kinds of subjects that historians are dealing with in war and society, which include wide-ranging topics from the Vietnam War to World War II, from popular culture to gender history,”  Abra said. “We are really just trying to give a breadth of those areas in this year’s series.”

There are three upcoming speakers for the lecture series this spring semester: On Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m., Lindsey Peterson conducted a Baird Fellow Lecture. On  Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m., Allison Abra led a McCarthy Lecture on “Those Very Gallant Women: Gender and Espionage in World War II Europe” in the Liberal Arts Building, room 101, and on Tuesday, Feb. 26, Larry Berman will conduct a McCarthy Lecture on “Perfect Spy: Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent” at 6 p.m.  in the Liberal Arts Building room 101.

For more information about the lecture series, contact the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society at 601-266-4333. They are also located in the Liberal Arts Building in room 456. More information concerning the lecture series can also be found at usm.edu/war-society/richard-mccarthy-lecture-series.

photo courtesy Southern Miss Foundation