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New Zealand historian to speak at CCU

September 21, 2004

The distinguished New Zealand historian Erik Olssen, Emeritus Professor of History at Otago University, will speak at Coastal Carolina University on Monday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. His topic will be Global Themes and Local Peculiarities: Comparative Community History in New Zealand and the United States. The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow the lecture.

Olssen is virtually unique in his knowledge of both American and New Zealand history, says Charles Joyner, Burroughs Distinguished Professor of History and director of Coastals Waccamaw Center for Cultural and Historical Studies.

Professor Olssen earned his Ph.D. in American and New Zealand history at Duke University and has written and taught about both throughout his career. He is the author of six books and numerous articles.

Since my undergraduate days, says Professor Olssen, my main interest has been the relationships and intersections between politics, society, ideas, culture and economics. The ways in which they produce the lives of individuals and their societies has been a particular interest.

During the past decade Olssen has been director of the Caversham Project, studying space, time, work and gender in a working-class suburb of Dunedin, New Zealand. According to Joyner, Olssens book Building the New World: Work, Politics and Society in Caversham, 1880s-1920s is a model of what Joyner has called the study of large questions in small places.

The lecture is sponsored by Coastals Waccamaw Center for Cultural and Historical Studies, the Department of History, Phi Alpha Theta and the History Club.