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April 24, 2020

Simon Institute to host author, historian David Kennedy in virtual talk

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Pulitzer Prize-winning author David M. Kennedy will participate in a virtual discussion next week hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Kennedy will discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the world. The online event begins at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 29.

The free event is open to the public but registration is required and closes when the event starts.

First in a series of online discussions

The Institute is planning a series of conversations called “Understanding Our New World” with historians, political analysts, and state and national leaders discussing the pandemic’s worldwide impact. The events will “help us understand the challenges and opportunities we face in the coming weeks and months,” said John T. Shaw, Institute director.

Registration open

Registration for the free ZOOM meeting is available in advance. After completing registration, participants will receive an email confirmation with information about joining the meeting, along with the meeting ID and password.

Participants have an opportunity when they register to submit a question to Kennedy by email at or by including it in the “Questions and Comments” section on the registration form.

Pulitzer Prize winning author

Kennedy is a professor emeritus of history at Stanford University. He won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1999 for “Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War,” a critically acclaimed account of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his times.

“There is no better person to launch our new series than David Kennedy, one of America’s leading historians,” Shaw said. “Professor Kennedy has a broad and deep understanding of how the United States has confronted crises ranging from the 1918 Influenza to the Depression and World War II.  He will help all of us place today’s bewildering events into a constructive historical context.”  

Kennedy presented the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture Series on campus last fall.

He is the author of other highly regarded books including “Over Here: The First World War and American Society,” which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and “Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger,” which won a Bancroft Prize. He collaborated with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on a popular PBS documentary, “American Creed,” that has inspired a spirited conversation about American ideals and identity.