Peter N. Stearns, provost emeritus and professor of history at George Mason University, will serve as Centre College’s 2016 Visiting Humana Scholar, delivering an upcoming address that poses the integration of peace into the study of world history. The convocation “Focusing History on Peace: Is There Any Point, Since We Always Have War?” will take place on Thursday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m. in Young Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Stearns is the founder and editor of the Journal of Social History and has served as author or editor of more than 100 books. His areas of study include world history, modern social history, globalization and the history of emotions, and he is widely considered a pioneer in the field of the history of childhood and emotions.
The history of peace has been a more recent focus for Stearns, with the publication of his book Peace in World History in 2014, and his convocation talk promises to cover a range of subjects related to this relatively new area of study, including the question of whether it is simply part of human nature to be inherently drawn to war.
Stearns earned his bachelors, masters and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University. His teaching career has included appointments at Harvard, University of Chicago, Rutgers and Carnegie Mellon, and he has been the recipient of teaching awards from several of these universities. In 2014, he was awarded the Mason Medal, George Mason University’s highest honor. Other notable accomplishments include Stearns’ leadership of the committee that devised the Advanced Placement world history course as well as his involvement as vice president for the American Historical Association, Teaching Division, for three years.
The Humana Visiting Scholar program was funded through a gift to Centre from the Humana Foundation, a philanthropic branch of Louisville-based healthcare corporation Humana Inc. Previous Humana Scholars at the College have included Ayana Mathis, Wendell Berry, Joel Pett and Silas House.
by Mary Trollinger
March 10, 2016