THOUGHT

PROVOKING

Book a Distinguished Lecturer from the Organization of American Historians for your next event.

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VMI Photo by - H. Lockwood McLaughlin

WHY A HISTORIAN?

Our OAH Distinguished Lecturers are scholars and storytellers, uniquely qualified to bring historical context to some of today's most provocative issues. They engage audiences, sharing monumental moments and unknown stories from our nation's past that influence and inform our world today. The Distinguished Lectureship Program offers Virtual OAH Lectures (custom-recorded or live with Q&A) and traditional in-person OAH Distinguished Lectures. 

Working with Sally to schedule and walk through the webinar was excellent as was working with Dr. Dumenil on the virtual guest lecture. The lecture engaged undergraduate, graduate, and faculty in a meaningful manner and the live Q and A session was excellent.

Jon Taylor, - University of Central Missouri

Featured Lecturer

Portrait of lecturer

Gregory D. Smithers

Gregory Smithers is professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University and a British Academy Global Professor. He specializes in Native American history and culture from the eighteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on the Cherokee people and their Indigenous and non-Indigenous neighbors in the Native South. Smithers' research also explores the history of climate change through the lens of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and tackles questions about how and why people form individual and collective identities. He is the author of numerous books, the most recent being Native Southerners: Indigenous History from Origins to Removal (2019) and The Cherokee...
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Featured Lecture

They’re Killing the River: The TVA, Environmentalism, and Native American Activism

In the 1960s and 1970s, Cherokee people led an environmental movement. Their objective was to stop the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) from constructing the Tellico Dam along a sleepy section of the Little Tennessee River. This lecture explores the forgotten history of Cherokee resistance to dam construction. As the lecture reveals, that resistance focused not only on efforts to "save the Little T" but inspired a generation of Cherokee people and their allies to work together in a bid to prevent the TVA from flooding thousands of years of Cherokee history and culture.

"Water helped to sustain life in Cherokee towns for thousands of years. But mere subsistence didn't give communal life its meaning. For that, the Cherokees consistently returned to, and renewed, oral traditions and practices. In working to halt the construction of the Tellico Dam, Cherokees tapped into those traditions with the goal of ensuring a sustainable future for the next seven generations of Cherokees."