Linfield talk illuminates pioneers of American history

Thaddeus RussellHistorian and cultural critic Thaddeus Russell will present “A Renegade History of the United States” Wednesday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield College.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored through the Jonas A. “Steine” Jonasson Endowed Lecture.

The talk will touch on American feminism, sexual liberation, civil rights and dancing to illuminate larger historical struggles between social control and freedom. According to Russell, a history professor at Occidental College, most Americans believe that the weekend, vacations and leisure are good things. Most believe that dancing and popular music are not evil. Nearly all think that women should be able to walk in public without a male chaperone, earn high wages and own property. Russell will introduce cultural ancestors who are the unacknowledged pioneers of American freedom: drunks, prostitutes, lazy workers, shiftless slaves, and what John Adams called the “vicious,” “vile” and “depraved” of early America.

Born and raised in Berkeley, Calif., Russell graduated from Antioch College and received a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. Russell is the author of “A Renegade History of the United States.” His first book, “Out of the Jungle: Jimmy Hoffa and the Re-Making of the American Working Class,” was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2001. He has written for The Daily Beast, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Salon and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as scholarly essays in American Quarterly and The Columbia History of Post-World War II America. Russell has also appeared on the History Channel and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In addition to teaching at Occidental College, he has also taught at Columbia University, Barnard College, the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College.

The Jonas A. “Steine” Jonasson Endowed Lectureship at Linfield honors Jonasson, professor emeritus of history who was associated with Linfield for more than 60 years before his death in 1997. The endowment is used to bring in distinguished scholars and speakers in the area of history. Jonasson held the unofficial title of Linfield historian and wrote “Bricks Without Straw,” a history of the college. For more information, contact Peter Buckingham, Linfield professor of history, 503-883-2479 or