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Parker History Lecture

Dr. Timothy Snyder

Photo courtesy of Dr. Timothy Snyder

Dr. Timothy Snyder

Dr. Timothy Snyder visited The Haverford School for the annual Davis R. Parker History Lecture Series in spring 2022. His lecture, titled "Future Freedom? War, Technology, and Democracy in the 21st Century," was given to the entire Upper School community. Dr. Snyder is considered one of the most famous historians working today, and is one of the world's foremost experts on totalitarianism in Europe. 

During his lecture, Dr. Snyder asked the boys to consider their current and future freedoms, and how they and the rest of society are impacting those freedoms. In recent years, Dr. Snyder has applied his expertise to understanding what is happening in the United States and the precarious nature of democracy. Given his expertise in the region, Dr. Snyder discussed the war in Ukraine, the complicated history of the conflict, and the implications for democracy everywhere. 

You can watch his entire lecture below, or by clicking here

After his lecture, he took part in an extended discussion with students in Ball Auditorium. Dr. Snyder also spent time with Upper School boys during their lunch, discussing current events and how the boys can help their communities.

Upper School students in U.S. history class read Dr. Snyder's book On Tyranny as their summer reading. 

About Dr. Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He speaks five and reads ten European languages. 

His eight chief books are Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (1998); The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (2003); Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (2005); The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (2008); Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010), Thinking the Twentieth Century (with Tony Judt, 2012); Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (2015); On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017); and The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (2018).  He has also co-edited three further books: The Wall Around the West: State Borders and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America (2001); Stalin and Europe: Terror, War, Domination (2013); and The Balkans as Europe (2018). His essays are collected in Ukrainian History, Russian Politics, European Futures (2014), and The Politics of Life and Death (2015).  

Snyder’s work has appeared in forty languages and has received a number of prizes, including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, the Literature Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Václav Havel Foundation prize, the Foundation for Polish Science prize in the social sciences, the Leipzig Award for European Understanding, the Dutch Auschwitz Committee award, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought. Snyder was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, has received the Carnegie and Guggenheim fellowships, and holds state orders from Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland. He has appeared in documentaries, on network television, and in major films. His books have inspired poster campaigns and exhibitions, films, sculpture, a punk rock song, a rap song, a play, and an opera. His words are quoted in political demonstrations around the world, most recently in Hong Kong. He is researching a family history of nationalism and finishing a philosophical book about freedom.

Snyder received his Bachelor of Arts in European history and political science from Brown University in 1991. He then became a British Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he completed his doctorate in 1997.

He has held fellowships at the Centre Nationale des Recherches Scientifiques, Paris (1994-1995); the Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies (1997); served as an Academy Scholar at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs (1998-2001); and has held multiple fellowships at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna.

About the Lecture Series

After Headmaster Davis R. Parker’s death in 1989, his predecessor, Leslie R. Severinghaus, proposed the establishment of an annual lecture dedicated to Mr. Parker’s memory and recognizing his passion for American history.

The initial funding for this endowed lecture series was provided by Dr. Severinghaus and by a bequest directed from Mr. Parker’s estate established by his wife, Jane. The Parker Memorial Fund supports the lecture program and has been sustained by gifts from alumni, faculty, and friends of Mr. Parker.

Upcoming Lectures

Speaker highlights

Dr. Maya Jasanoff
Coolidge Professor of History, Harvard University

Dr. Alan Brinkley
Professor of History, Columbia University

Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust
Annenberg Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania 

David Halberstam
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, & historian

Philip Caputo
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist & foreign correspondent
Dr. Paul Kennedy
J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History, Yale University  

Dr. Joanne B. Freeman
Professor of History & American Studies, Yale University

Dr. Daniel Ellsberg Political activist responsible for releasing The Pentagon Papers

Dr. Eric Foner
Dewitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University