Copyright Donna De Cesare, 1989
University News

Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum to Deliver Feinberg Series Keynote, Launching Year-long Series of Events on the History of U.S. Imperialism

AMHERST, Mass. – On Monday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. EDT, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum will virtually deliver the keynote address for the 2022-23 UMass Amherst Feinberg Series, followed by commentary and discussion with award-winning journalists Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, and Vincent Bevins, author of “The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World.” Titled “U.S. Policy in the Global South,” the keynote will explore the devastating consequences of U.S.-backed state terror in Central America and Southeast Asia.

feinberg series

The event launches the 2022-23 Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series “Confronting Empire.” From September 2022 through April 2023, renowned scholars, journalists and activists will explore the global history of U.S. imperialism and anti-imperialist resistance in this series of free online and hybrid public events.

The series traces the history of U.S. imperialism from the conquest of North America to the creation of an overseas empire in the late 19th century and to the present day, with a focus on the Americas, Vietnam and Iraq. It also offers a critical historical analysis of the various traditions and movements that have opposed U.S. empire, including Black radicalism, Marxism, revolutionary feminism, armed struggle, international solidarity, pacifism, and liberal, electoral and diplomatic activism.

Following the keynote address, additional events include:

  • Monday, Oct. 3, 6 p.m., UMass Amherst Student Union Ballroom and virtual: Historian Manu Karuka speaks on “The Imperialist Roots of the U.S.A.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m., virtual: A panel on “U.S. Empire in Asia and the Pacific” from the Philippine-American War to the present day will include a discussion of escalating Sino-U.S. tensions around Taiwan.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m., UMass Amherst Student Union Ballroom and virtual: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Azmat Khan discusses “The Human Toll of America’s Air Wars.”
  • Thursday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m., virtual: Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg will be in conversation with historians, activists and veterans on the successes failures and legacies of the “Vietnam Era Antiwar Movement.”

The series continues into the spring 2023 semester with the following events:

  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 6 p.m., UMass Amherst Bowker Auditorium and virtual: Writer and activist Bill Fletcher Jr. will deliver the 2023 James Baldwin Lecture “None of Us Is Free Unless All Are Free: Anti-Imperialism and the Black Radical Tradition.”
  • Tuesday, March 7, 7 p.m., virtual: On the eve of International Women’s Day, a panel called “Feminists Against Empire” will explore revolutionary feminist resistance to U.S. sanctions and embargoes.
  • Thursday, March 23, 4 p.m., virtual: Marking the twentieth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, “Resisting Imperial Memory” will examine the Iraqi experience of the U.S. invasion and occupation.
  • Monday, April 3, 7 p.m., virtual: The series culminates with “The Poetry of War and Resistance” featuring five distinguished, award-winning poets whose work has been deeply influenced by U.S. wars in Vietnam, Central America, and Iraq, including 2019 MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Ocean Vuong.

More than a dozen university classes and a workshop series for K-12 educators, “Teaching Empire,” will accompany the series.

The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is offered every other academic year by the UMass Amherst History Department thanks to the generosity of Kenneth R. Feinberg ’67 and associates. Each iteration of the series focuses on a “big issue” of clear and compelling concern, grounding it in historical context. The 2022-23 series is presented in collaboration with the Ellsberg Initiative for Peace and Democracy and more than three dozen community and university partners, including the Commonwealth Honors College and the UMass Amherst colleges of Humanities and Fine Arts and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

All events are free and open to the public. Register for events on the series at