Craig Murphy Explores Significance of Kathryn Davis Dissertation

November 20, 2013

In 'The Soviets in Geneva after 80 Years: Kathryn W. Davis ’28 as a Feminist Pioneer in the Study of Global Governance'

vintage photo first session League of Nations

On Wednesday, November 20, M. Margaret Ball Professor of International Relations and Professor of Political Science Craig Murphy presents a lecture entitled The Soviets in Geneva After 80 Years: Kathryn W. Davis ’28 as a Feminist Pioneer in the Study of Global Governance, on the doctoral thesis of one of Wellesley’s most beloved alumnae.

Davis (1907-2013) was an extraordinarily gifted and generous woman with a passion for international affairs. Born in Germantown, Pa., she came to Wellesley in 1924 to study English. It was a subsequent trip to Russia in 1929, however, that inspired her fascination with that country and moved her to earn a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University and then a Ph.D. from the Geneva Institute. In her doctoral dissertation, The Soviets at Geneva, Davis predicted that the Soviets would eventually join the League of Nations, a highly controversial opinion that proved to be correct. The Soviets at Geneva is the subject of today’s talk by Murphy, who will examine Davis’ book, its context, and her role as a pioneering American female scholar of international relations. The talk begins at 12 p.m. in Pendleton West 212.

Murphy's lecture is one of several occasions the College will present throughout this academic year to honor and celebrate the life of Kathryn Davis.

Davis went on to become a world-renowned philanthropist and agent for peace. At Wellesley, her generosity can be seen daily through institutions, programs, and opportunities that bear her name, like the Davis Museum and Cultural Center and the Davis Projects for Peace. Throughout her life, Davis continued to be passionately invested in creating a more peaceful global future.

For Russian scholars following Davis' footsteps, or anyone else interested in the current state of the former Soviet Union, the Russian Area Studies Program is hosting a panel discussion later on Wednesday entitled Putin: President, Personage, Potentate. Speaking on the panel are distinguished guests Ivan Kurilla from Volgograd State University and Maria Lipman from the Carnegie Moscow Center. The discussion will begin at 8 p.m. in the Library Lecture Room.


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