The Roosevelt Institute for American Studies in Middelburg will host a conference on 30 November – 1 December 2017. The conference builds on the experimental MOOC, ‘The Rooseveltian Century’, produced by Giles Scott-Smith and Dario Fazzi in 2016. The event, the first to be held at the newly-founded Roosevelt Institute for American Studies, has two main purposes. Firstly, it will uniquely combine research on each of the three principal Roosevelts within an overarching historical investigation into their influence and legacies. Secondly, it will frame the debate around the central themes, motifs and images that can be represented by the term Rooseveltian Century, identifying the longer-lasting meaning and importance of this frame in current-day (international) politics.
Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin Roosevelt are three of the most inspiring and dynamic political leaders in 20th century US history. Theodore and Franklin both redefined the presidency and political leadership, each in their unique way. Eleanor, the first modern First Lady, as a widow became a prominent media personality and advocate of political causes such as human rights and the anti-nuclear movement. Each of the three Roosevelts had a specific impact, influence, and legacy, shaping the foreign and domestic policy of the United States, and the relations between the US and the world, through the twentieth century and beyond.
The Rooseveltian Century is a new concept for contemporary history. The nearest equivalent is the idea of the Wilsonian Century, based on the worldview of President Woodrow Wilson and how he conceived of US power being used to shape world politics through WWI (‘making the world safe for democracy’). In contrast, the Rooseveltian Century examines the three Roosevelts as a ‘collective agent’ who, through both domestic and foreign policies, changed our understanding of the responsibilities of government and the global role of the United States. This mean that the Rooseveltian Century, as a historical frame, makes use of the three Roosevelts to view, critically consider and explore key themes in US history and international relations, without necessarily stating that the three acted in unison or that they expressed the same views or policies.
It builds on the success of the experimental Massive Open Online Course, ‘The Rooseveltian Century,’ which was produced by RIAS scholars Giles Scott-Smith and Dario Fazzi in 2016.
The conference has two principal aims. Firstly, it will uniquely combine research on each of the three principal Roosevelts, Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor, within an overarching historical investigation into their influence and legacies throughout the twentieth century. Secondly, it will frame the debate around the central themes, motifs and images that can be captured under the term Rooseveltian Century, identifying the longer-lasting meaning and importance of this frame in current-day (international) politics.
To that end, the conference will host panels on a number of themes that connect the three Roosevelts in history and legacy, including their approaches to domestic and international policy; their political style; the alliances and institutions they helped to establish; and their place in public memory.
30 November – 1 December 2017, Roosevelt Institute for American Studies, Abdij 8, Middelburg, The Netherlands