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The Statue of Liberty: Symbol of Global America

Lecture Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Edward Berenson

Edward Berenson

The Statue of Liberty began life as a monument to the abolition of slavery in the United States and evolved gradually into the symbol for which she is most famous today: a warm welcome to “huddled masses” from abroad. But immigration has often been controversial in American history, just as it is controversial today, so it’s important to remember that the Statue of Liberty is herself an immigrant. She was created by French admirers of American liberty, and those admirers helped establish the Statue of Liberty as the global symbol of what is best about the United States. 


Edward Berenson is a professor of history at NYU and director of NYU's Institute of French Studies. He is also senior fellow at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Berenson is a cultural historian specializing in the history of modern France and its empire, with additional interests in the history of Britain, the British Empire, and the United States. He is the author or editor of seven books and is currently at work on a book entitled Blood Libel in an American Town: Massena, NY 1928, which examines the lone case of a ritual murder accusation against American Jews. In 1999, Berenson received the American Historical Association's Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, having earlier won UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2006, French President Jacques Chirac decorated him as Knight in the Order of Merit.


WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion
716 Stevens Avenue
Portland, ME 04103

Assigned Reading

Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot (1908)


5 p.m. at the UNE Art Gallery (Portland Campus)


Edward Berenson Event Poster
6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public