LSU Shreveport hosts "The Roosevelt Century" conference
Dozens of political scientists will converge this week for a three-day presidential conference at LSU Shreveport. It dates back to 1989 and it’s held every three years. This one will focus on Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
LSUS political science professor Bill Pederson is the organizer. When he started it, he recalls, administrators and peers doubted that people would come to Shreveport for a national conference on the lives of presidents.
“As it turned out, they were wrong. It’s built up a clientele over time. People are really interested in the topic of presidential history and the characters of these people and the legacy they’ve left behind,” Pederson said.
Scholars who study presidents will come from colleges and universities across the country and abroad. It opens Thursday with an address on presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt by University of South Dakota professor John Soubik. Pederson says in his 36 years of teaching at LSUS, this conference has shaped his research pursuits.
“It’s really changed my focus. At least now probably 75 percent of my time I write on presidential topics as a result of the conference. It’s had a major impact on me,” Pederson said.
The conference is free and open to the public. Pederson is proud that it’s not “stuffy” and presenters are accessible. The conference, titled “The Roosevelt Century: TR and FDR An International Conference,” opens Thursday Oct. 22, at 9 a.m., and runs through Saturday at LSUS’s University Center. More than 50 scholars are expected to participate.