Reflections on Dr. Harold Isaacs: in search of international conference sites.

Author:Hall, Michael
Position:Tributes From 2015 Conference - In memoriam

In 1997, I began working in the History Department at what was then called Armstrong Atlantic State University [we have since dropped the Atlantic from our name], I was hired to "replace" Dr. Osmos "Oz" Lanier, the diplomatic historian. I came to realize that one does not replace Dr. Lanier so easily. As of 2015, he was still teaching, albeit part-time, at the university. In addition to teaching US foreign relations, I was also the Latin American historian. There were over one dozen historians in the department, but the only other person who specialized in the non-Western World was Dr. George Pruden, who taught both Asian history as well as Middle Eastern history. We have since expanded the number of people teaching non-Western history in our department to include Dr. Jason Tatlock (Middle East), Dr. Hongjie Wang (Asia), and Dr. Kwaku Nti (Africa). Nevertheless, in 1997, it was just me and George.

George told me all about the Association for Third World Studies (ATWS). I was, however, unable to attend the annual conference in Durham, NC in 1998 since I had spent my entire university travel allowance, as well as some of the mortgage money, on a faculty development seminar led by George in China during the summer of 1998. In 1999, I attended ATWS' first-ever international conference in Costa Rica. I had no problem with funding, having discovered that the Dean also had a travel budget. The conference in Costa Rica was an awesome academic experience. It was at that conference that I got to meet Dr. Tom Leonard, from the University of North Florida (located in Jacksonville, not Fruit Cove), who organized the conference. I also got to meet Dr. Harold Isaacs, who so relished in the idea of having the conference in a non-Western locale that he proposed holding the annual conference outside the United States every third year. Thus, two years in the United States and one year abroad. Harold was so laid-back and easy going that I had no clue that he was the mastermind behind a major international association. Both Tom and Harold have had a huge impact on my academic career.

Harold encouraged me [he sent books to me then asked if I would review them] to submit book reviews to the Journal of Third World Studies (JTWS). He also wanted me to get more involved in the association. I attended the conferences in Denver (2000) and Savannah (2001), but was unable to attend the conference in Taiwan (2002) since it took place over the Christmas Break. In 2002, I...

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