CORVALLIS - Historian Lawrence W. Levine, widely recognized for explorations of American culture, will present Oregon State University's 14th annual George and Dorothy Carson history lecture.

Topic of the free, public lecture is "'All the Nations of the World:' The Search for American Identity." The talk begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29, at OSU's LaSells Stewart Center, 26th Street and Western Boulevard.

Currently the Margaret Byrne Professor of History, Emeritus, at the University of California-Berkeley, Levine also served in 1993-94 as the president of the Organization of American Historians.

Levine's books include "Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom (1977)," "Highbrow-Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America (1988)," and, most recently, "The Unpredictable Past: Exploration in American Cultural History (1993)."

The essays in Highbrow-Lowbrow, perhaps Levine's most widely read book, were originally delivered at Harvard University as the 1986 William E. Murray, Sr. Lecture in the History of America. But, according to Bess Beatty, associate professor of history at OSU, Levine's earlier "Black Culture and Black Consciousness" is perhaps the more groundbreaking study.

"It is a work that has profoundly influenced two generations of scholars interested in making visible the lives of the largely forgotten," Beatty said.

Levine has written that "to teach a history that excludes large areas of American culture and ignores the experiences of significant segments of the American people is to teach a history that fails to touch us, that fails to explain America to us or to anyone else."

The Carson lectures were founded in memory of the late George Carson, for many years professor of Russian history at OSU, and his wife, Dorothy.

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Bess Beatty, 541-737-1258