This item originally appeared in the April 8, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.
By ERIN HOPKINS
In hopes of educating students on the complex issue of the Middle East and their relations with the United States, a historian shared his experiences in researching the history of the Middle East and U.S. involvement.
Dr. Peter Hahn, an associate professor of history from Ohio State University in Columbus, visited Tech on March 31 and gave a lecture as part of his participation in the new program called "Media and the Middle East."
"A student who faithfully participates in the whole series from beginning to end, I think, will really have an excellent exposure to the Middle East and why it's significant to the United States and the American people," Hahn said.
The topic of Hahn's lecture was "Caught in the Middle East: The Origins and Endurance of U.S. Policy since 1945."
"Dr. Hahn was very objective in his lecture," Dr. Edward Jacobs, dean of College of Liberal Arts, said. "He gave a very educated and informative lecture on the material."
Dr. Brian Etheridge, principal investigator for the program and an assistant professor of history, said Hahn's lecture was beneficial for students.
"I think that one of the things that students can get out of his visit is an appreciation and a small understanding of how complex the Middle East is and how America's involvement is complex as well," Etheridge said.
"He talked about how historians do their job and how he has personally approached understanding American foreign policy in the Middle East," Etheridge said.
Hahn said through his visit, students will get a range of views and perspectives on the topic of the Middle East.
"It gives them a full picture of what the Middle East is all about, how it should be interpreted and what it means on a fundamental level," Hahn said.
While attending Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, Hahn said he became interested in the Middle East and has gotten to know a lot about the topic through research papers and books he worked on.
"I found I not only had a professional interest but also a natural personal curiosity of the conflict itself between the United States and the Middle East," Hahn said.
Hahn said hopefully students will begin to appreciate what a professional historian has to do to understand the region and how they can convey their findings to a larger audience.
"The students seem to be very interested because the Middle East is very much in the headlines," Hahn said. "Students are concerned and worried about what would happen and take the topic very seriously."