College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

history lecture series

Phi Alpha Theta & Department of History Lecture Series


Phi Alpha Theta and the Department of History cosponsor an annual lecture series, leading with the Carl L. Becker Lecture.

A Tribute to Carl L. Becker

The lecture has been named in honor of a man who was, perhaps, the most distinguished scholar and teacher to emerge from Iowa. Carl L. Becker, born near Reinbeck, received his Ph.D. in 1907, from the University of Wisconsin.  From 1902-1941 he taught at various universities in the Midwest and East, the last being Cornell University in New York.

It was as a progressive thinker that Becker became an internationally-recognized figure.  He believed that the historian writes in the present, always with one eye on the past and the other on the future.  History then can be used to improve human relations.  This type of thinking gave history a purpose and was responsible for the still popular idea that historians, armed with knowledge of the past, can better respond to problems of the present.

Becker’s thoughts on mechanical power also are indicative of his progressive thinking.  He was concerned that humanity not become slave to weapons of mechanical power for fear we might, in the end, destroy ourselves.  Becker expressed these concerns in the decade before the atom bomb was dropped over Hiroshima.

46th Annual Becker Lecture 

Dr. Michael H. FisherThe History Department of the University of Northern Iowa is proud to welcome Dr. Michael H. Fisher, the Robert S. Danforth Professor of History Emeritus at Oberlin College, to give the 46th Annual Becker Memorial Lecture. Join us on September 25th, at 7pm in Seerley Hall room 115 for this year's Becker Lecture titled: "India Engaged in World History: Environment, Migration, Politics"

Dr. Michael H. Fisher received a B.A. from Trinity College, earned his M.A. and his Ph.D. in History with a concentration on South Asia from the University of Chicago. 

Since 1971, Professor Fisher has lived, researched, and taught in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. He has been a visiting faculty fellow at the University of Delhi, University of Hyderabad, University of Allahabad, Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, and the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Professor Fisher has published 12 books and many articles on South Asian history.  He has been interested in interactions between Indians and Europeans from the 16th century onward.  His writing includes biographies of Indian settlers and visitors to Britain and histories of the British Empire as it developed in India. His most recent book is A Short History of the Mughal Empire (2015).  His many accomplishments as a teacher include developing “A History of India” for the Great Courses series.