Distinguished IU Historian Padraic Kenney to Deliver Lecture at UE on November 4

Message will focus on hopeless resistance to political change

Evansville, IN (10/19/2022) — The University of Evansville (UE) Department of History, Politics, and Social Change will welcome Padraic Kenney, PhD, for the twentieth annual Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture on Friday, November 4. The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Eykamp Hall, located on the second floor of UE's Ridgway University Center. The event is free and open.

In the decades from 1974 to 2014, dozens of opposition movements around the world brought about real political change. But in the more recent past, resistance in Russia, Iran, Hong Kong, and elsewhere seems to have had little effect. In this lecture, Kenney will draw insights from successful revolutionary movements in Eastern Europe, especially in the 1980s, but also more recent social mobilization in Ukraine, to consider what political resistance is and why it can work. At the same time, though, he will consider how conditions have become less conducive to the success of resistance.

Padraic Kenney is a professor of history and international studies at Indiana University, where he teaches courses on global democracy movements and revolutions, communism, and Polish and Eastern European history. He is the author of six books, including Dance in Chains: Political Imprisonment in the Modern World (Oxford, 2017) and A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe, 1989 (Princeton, 2002). In 2016, he was President of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). Before coming to Indiana University in 2007, he taught at the University of Colorado. He was educated at Harvard University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Michigan.

"Professor Kenney is one of the leading historians of Eastern Europe in the country and it is an enormous privilege to bring him to the University of Evansville to deliver the 2022 Fiddick Lecture and interact with students in class," said James MacLeod, PhD, professor of history at UE and director of the Fiddick Memorial Lecture Series.

Kenney has said, "I want to understand how groups of people and individuals without power manage, survive, resist, and protest in hostile environments. I have been particularly interested in the dynamics of communist societies, especially Poland." This makes him a particularly appropriate Fiddick Lecturer, given Tom's lifelong interest in the history of Poland.

Thomas C. Fiddick, for whom the Fiddick Memorial Lecture is named, served as professor of history at UE from 1963 until 2002. In his 39 years at the University, he was a dedicated teacher, a productive scholar, and a tireless fighter in the cause of justice. His book, Russia's Retreat from Poland, 1920: From Permanent Revolution to Peaceful Coexistence, is still considered to be the best book on this topic. Tom's untimely death on the day of his retirement in 2002 stunned the entire UE community, especially his many former students. It was from the former students' efforts in particular, with the support of Fiddick's friends and the University, that the annual Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture was established.

"For twenty years, the Fiddick Lecture has been one of the best events of the year, as we get to celebrate the career of a truly outstanding faculty member here at UE," MacLeod added. "Tom Fiddick was a brilliant scholar and an incredible teacher who made a life-transforming impact on generations of students."

The University of Evansville empowers students to think critically, act bravely, serve responsibly, and live meaningfully in a changing world. Through an innovative academic curriculum combined with practical hands-on experiences, UE students engage the local and international community in meaningful ways. With a diverse student body from 44 states and 48 countries, students choose from an array of majors in business, engineering, arts and sciences, and health science. UE graduates engage the world and workplace with the tools and skills to excel in fulfilling careers. For more information, please visit evansville.edu.