CORVALLIS - William G. Robbins, a nationally recognized expert on the history of the western United States and the environment, will give a free public lecture on May 2 at Oregon State University. His talk, "The Politics of Silence in Academic and Public Life," will begin at 7 p.m. in Memorial Union 206. It is free and open to the public.

The lecture is the last of the year in the College of Liberal Arts Faculty Lecture Series. Sponsored by the college and its Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Research, the series, "Thinking in Public," is designed to show the connection between university life and issues of public concern.

Robbins, a distinguished professor of history at OSU, is the author of several books that look at Pacific Northwest history. They include: "The Oregon Story, 1800-1940," which was nominated for an Oregon Book Award; "Colony and Empire: The Capitalist Transformation of the American West," and "Hard Times in Paradise: Coos Bay, Oregon 1850-1896."

These histories have help reinterpret the past through the present, offering new social and economic explanations for the "swirl of events" that transformed Oregon's landscapes over the past century-and-a-half.

Robbins' work is characterized by sensitivity to the connections between economic, political and cultural history.

He has received numerous honors and awards, including several National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and a recent award from the Oregon Committee for the Humanities.

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Anita Helle, 541-737-1630