University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

Pulitzer Prize winner speaks on “What Is an American?: A Revolutionary Era Question” on April 13

In the midst of the American Revolution, the French-American writer St. John de Crevecoeur famously asked the question, “What is an American?” His answer opened a debate that would last for decades.

Edward J. Larson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Pepperdine University Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law, will speak from his new book, “American Inheritance: Liberty and Slavery in the Birth of a Nation, 1765-1795” (W.W. Norton, 2023) on Thursday, April 13, at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union, Room 340.

His presentation, “What Is an American?: A Revolutionary Era Question,” is part of the Robert P. Wilkins Lecture Series hosted by the Department of History & American Indian Studies.

Light refreshments will be served following the lecture. Free parking is available in the parking ramp adjacent to the Memorial Union. Remote participation via Zoom is available with advance registration.

About Edward J. Larson

Larson holds the Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law and is University Professor of History at Pepperdine University. He has lectured on all seven continents and taught at Stanford Law School, University of Melbourne, Leiden University and the University of Georgia, where he chaired the History Department. Prior to becoming a professor, Larson practiced law in Seattle and served as counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC.

Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in History and numerous other awards for writing and teaching, Larson is the author or co-author of 14 books and over 100 published articles.

About the Wilkins Lecture Series

The Robert P. Wilkins Lecture Series was established by the UND Department of History (now the Department of History and American Indian Studies) as a tribute to the long service, dedication to teaching and intellectual curiosity of Professor Robert P. Wilkins (1914-1998).

Wilkins, who earned degrees from Indiana University and West Virginia University, joined the UND History Department in 1945, where he offered courses in Ancient, Medieval, Modern European, American and Canadian history, and also developed a series of courses on popular culture, particularly in the area of American popular music. His wife, Wynona, taught French. He taught at the University of Oklahoma during a 1962 leave of absence and in 1964 took a position at Marshall University. He returned to UND in 1967 to teach and to be editor of North Dakota Quarterly, developing it into one of the region’s premier academic journals. He specialized in North Dakota history, and he and Wynona authored North Dakota: A Bicentennial History. He retired in 1981 and continued to conduct research and publish. For a full decade after his retirement, he volunteered to teach at least one class each semester. He died in 1998.