Lecture at Williams College Explores Kenyan Athletics in the Era of Olympic Boycotts

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 3, 2020—Jessica Chapman, associate professor of history at Williams College, will present the first of six talks in the college’s 2020 Faculty Lecture Series. Her lecture, titled “Running to School: Kenyan Athletics in the Era of Olympic Boycotts,” will be held Thursday, Feb. 13, from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. in Wege Auditorium. A reception will follow in Schow Atrium. The event is free and open to the public.

Chapman’s area of focus is the United States and the world, with research emphases on Vietnam, decolonization, and the Cold War. Her teaching interests include U.S. foreign relations, the Vietnam Wars, the Cold War and decolonization, sport and diplomacy, and the relationship between foreign policy and domestic affairs.

She is currently working on a book project, supported by a Mellon New Directions Fellowship, that provides an international history of Kenyan runners. The project unpacks the layered significance of Kenya’s running industry at the local, national, and international levels in order to shed light on the new international system that began to take shape in the late 1960s. It illuminates new modes of economic, cultural, and political exchange between decolonized peoples and the industrialized West and explores the effects of those exchanges on postcolonial participants and societies, particularly in Kenya’s running hotbeds of Eldoret and Iten.

Her first book, Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, The United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam, was published by Cornell University Press in 2013. She is also working on a second book project, titled Decolonization and the Cold War, which is under contract with the University Press of Kentucky.

Chapman received her B.A. from Valparaiso University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Faculty Lecture Series was founded in 1911 by Catherine Mariotti Pratt, the spouse of a faculty member who wanted to “relieve the tedium of long New England winters with an opportunity to hear Williams professors talk about issues that really mattered to them.” From these humble and lighthearted beginnings, the Faculty Lecture Series has grown to become an important forum for tenured professors to share their latest research with the larger intellectual community of the college.

The Faculty Lecture Series is organized by the faculty members of the Lecture Committee.

The series will continue on Feb. 20 with Ashok Rai, associate professor of economics, who will discuss “From Muslim to Christian: how Coffee Went Global.”

For more information: https://events.williams.edu/event/running-to-school-kenyan-athletics-in-the-era-of-olympic-boycotts/

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