Coe to host Shirer Symposium on World Politics, Journalists and Their Impact on Society

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2010-09-30 13:28:53 - General

Coe College will honor the professional achievements of a famous alumnus with a major event entitled "A 20th Century Journey: The Influence of William L. Shirer, A Symposium on World Politics, Journalists and Their Impact on Society." The symposium will be held at various locations on the Coe campus from Wednesday, Oct. 13 through Friday, Oct. 15, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the publication of Shirer's landmark work, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." All of the seminars offered during the symposium are open to the public at no charge.

A 1925 graduate of Coe, Shirer was a journalist and foreign correspondent, covering Europe, India and the Middle East for the Chicago Tribune and Universal News Service. In 1937, Shirer was hired by acclaimed CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow as the network's European correspondent. Shirer reported from various European countries as the Third Reich gained strength, and was stationed in Berlin through the early years of World War II. Working under increasing censorship and threats against his personal safety, Shirer fled Nazi Germany in December 1940, smuggling out his diaries and notes.

Scholars consider "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" to be a comprehensive history of Nazi Germany from the rise of German nationalism through World War II. The work is based not only on Shirer's observations as a journalist, but also on diaries kept by Nazi leaders uncovered after the war, as well as other German records.

Shirer's diaries and documents are housed at Stewart Memorial Library, in the George T. Henry College Archives. The collection, which constitutes 150 linear feet of material, continues to be organized, cataloged and made available to researchers. Scholars from around the world have traveled to Coe to further their own research by accessing the rare Shirer materials. A public open house featuring the Shirer papers will be held in the Henry Archives on Thursday, Oct. 14, beginning at 5 p.m.

During the three-day symposium, more than a dozen seminar sessions will be held at lecture halls across campus featuring presentations by leading scholars to consider the moral and ethical responsibilities of journalists, their influence on foreign policy, and their response to censorship and propaganda.

Coe faculty members presenting at the conference include Assistant Professor of History Bethany Keenan who will speak on "Finding Himself in the Lost Generation: The Role of Paris in Shirer's '20th Century Journey'," "Killing Fascism: International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War" by Monica Fuertes-Arboix, assistant professor of Spanish, and "The Konversionskasse Scheme of Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, Reichsbank President and Minister of Economics in Early Nazi Germany," by B.D. Silliman Professor of Physics Steve Feller.

Among the seminars to be presented by other scholars from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom:

"Keeping News in the Box: The Containment of Information, Interpretation, and Dissent on Cable Television" presented by Deborah L. Jaramillo, assistant professor of film and television at Boston University.

"William L. Shirer and Edward R. Murrow: The Best of Friends, the Worst of Enemies," presented by Ken Cuthbertson, a writer, editor and broadcaster and professor for Queen's University, Ontario, Canada.

"Journalist as Imperial Critical: William Shirer, M.K. Gandhi and the British Raj in India," presented by Chandrika Kaul, lecturer in modern history at the University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom.

"'This is Berlin': William L. Shirer's Years as a Foreign Correspondent" presented by Steve Wick, a Pulitzer Prize journalist and deputy editor for Newsday.

For more information or a schedule of events, call 399-8023 or visit: