Sunday, November 09, 2008

Scholarship Application Deadline on December 1

Reminder to All Students:

The deadline to apply for UAHuntsville scholarships is December 1! Click here for information.

Please consider applying!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

History Club: Halloween Visit to West Mastin Lake Elementary School and Election Day Fundraiser

The History Club has been very active lately. On Halloween Friday, the History Club visited a third grade class at West Mastin Lake Elementary School in Huntsville. President Veronica Ferreira brought goodie bags full of healthy treats, and member Craig Noneman talked to students about how Halloween started, how Irish immigrants brought Halloween with them to the New World, how trick-or-treating came about, why people make Jack-o-lanterns, and how Americans began the practice of carving pumpkins. Students then asked a lot of questions.

The History Club also held a successful fundraiser on November 4, Election Day, selling baked goods in Morton Hall and making $120.00. The Club will use the money to organize additional service activities at West Mastin Lake Elementary, one for Presidents' Day in February and for Women's History Month in March.

Great work, History Club!

Pictured here are Craig, Veronica, and Veronica's son Timothy, a member of the third grade class at West Mastin Lake Elementary.

UAHuntsville History Alum Featured in Huntsville Times

Rusty Hughes, a UAHuntsville History Alum, was recently featured in the Huntsville Times, which described a mock election activity that he organized with all 780 students at Riverton Middle School to help them learn about the electoral college.

According to the article, "Each classroom in the building represents a state, from the largest homeroom designated as California, which has the most electors at 55. Principal Todd Markham's office represents Montana, with its three electoral votes. The students will vote Tuesday by homeroom, or state, and the votes will be tallied to see who wins the election."

Hughes' eighth grade students also hosted a debate with ten students researching Barack Obama's positions and another ten researching those of John McCain.

Hughes teaches seventh grade civics and geography and eighth grade world history.

It is so exciting to see our alums engaging so creatively in the classroom and in their schools! Good work, Rusty!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Dr. Johnson publishes "Training Socialist Citizens"

Molly Johnson's book, Training Socialist Citizens: Sports and the State in East Germany is out! The press is Brill Academic Publisher of Leiden, The Netherlands. Here is the summary from the back of the dust jacket:

"Offering a counterbalance to previous scholarship on elite Olympics sports and doping scandals, this study analyzes how the East German government used participatory sports programs, sports festivals, and sports spectatorship to transform its population into new socialist citizens. It illuminates the power of the East German dictatorship over its population, the ways that citizens participated in, accommodated to, and resisted state goals, and the government's ultimate failure to create eager socialist citizens. It also highlights the orchestration of participation in modern dictatorships, the role of mass participatory sports as both a valuable political tool and a popular leisure activity, and elements of continuity and change in twentieth-century German history."

Congratulations, Molly, we are proud of you!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Congratulations to New Phi Alpha Theta Inductees

On Friday, October 24, UAHuntsville's Tau Omega chapter of the national Phi Alpha Theta history honorary inducted ten new members. Pictured here see Christina Barnett, Ruth Behling, Charity Ethridge, Jamie Farrell, Samatha Hillgartner, Svetlana Jovanov, Jonathon Moore, and Craig Noneman. Robin Flachbart and Lewis Martin were also inducted, but were unable to attend.

Many current PAT members also attended the induction. See here the full group, which includes the new inductees, Faculty Advisor Dr. Molly Johnson, and members Jennifer Staton, Joseph Richardson, Elisabeth Spalding, Charles Westbrook, Sarah Fisher, Dawn Suiter, Jennifer Coe, and Greg Hughes.

Many thanks to UAHuntsville alum, PAT member, and current instructor Barbara Wright for letting us use her home for the ceremony. Thanks also to PAT President Elisabeth Spalding for her help coordinating induction, to Secretary Sarah Fisher, Treasurer Dawn Suiter, and department administrative assistant Bev Gentry for helping set up, and to other PAT members who helped with clean-up.

Congratulations new inductees!

Successful Visit by Oral Historian Charles Morrissey

The History Department was pleased to welcome distinguished oral historian Charles T. Morrissey to UAHuntsville October 19-23, 2008.

Morrissey gave two public lectures, an afternoon lecture on Tuesday to the Honors Forum on "Oral History and the Modern Presidency," and an evening lecture on Wednesday on "Life and Memory in America: Oral History in an Age of Public Amnesia." He also gave guest lectures in two classes and met with members of the History Department to discuss the public history program we are currently developing.

Thanks again to the UAHuntsville Faculty Senate Distinguished Speakers Series, the Honors Program, the Humanities Center, and the Bankhead Foundation for helping the History Department make Morrissey's visit possible!

Pictured here see Morrissey responding to questions from audience at the Wednesday evening talk and students and community members gathered for a post-lecture reception prepared by History Department administrative assistant Bev Gentry.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Retirement Party for Professor Lee Williams

On Friday, October 17, the department celebrated the career of Dr. Lee E. Williams, who retired in June 2008 after 36 years as a historian at UAHuntsville. At a dinner in the Great Hall of Dr. Gerberding’s Castle on the Elk River in Rogersville, 34 colleagues and friends gathered to honor Dr. Williams, who specialized in African-American history, also served as director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Dr. Johanna Shields, who herself taught her last class last year, presented a moving tribute to Lee, recalling their years together on the fourth floor of Roberts Hall (then known as the Humanities Building) in the 1970s. Other colleagues in the 1970s, Drs. John White and Philip Boucher, were unable to attend but sent tributes read at the dinner. The department also presented a framed photograph of Roberts Hall, a plaque designed by Dr. Gerberding featuring a white-board marker, and a Western Civ textbook signed by all members of the department.

Once again, best wishes to Lee!

Andy Dunar, Department Chair

Monday, October 20, 2008

Phi Alpha Theta Visit to Maple Hill Cemetery

On Saturday, October 18, 2008, Phi Alpha Theta member and history major Joseph Richardson gave Phi Alpha Theta members a tour of Maple Hill Cemetery in downtown Huntsville; it is Huntsville's oldest and largest cemetery, founded around 1822.

Joseph explained the history of the cemetery to us and then focused our tour on the oldest parts of the cemetery, visiting the graves of several Alabama governors, senators, and other prominent figures in the history of Huntsville. We also paid close attention to the final resting spots of many "ordinary" people, learning what we could about life and death in nineteenth-century Huntsville from their gravestones. At the end of the tour, we visited the special Catholic and Jewish sections of the old cemetery, as well as "Potter's Field," where the indigent were buried.

A highlight of the tour was visiting the gravestone of Dr. Frances C. Roberts, the founder of the UAHuntsville History Department. Roberts Hall, where the history department presently resides, carries her name.

Pictured here see Joseph hard at work giving us a tour, and also German exchange student Simon Rebiger and history majors Charles Westbrook, Elisabeth Spalding, and Joseph Richardson at Dr. Roberts' grave.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Research Experience for Undergraduates, Summer 2009

Calling Undergraduate History Majors!

Are you interested in the opportunity to do independent research under the direction of a history professor during Summer 2009?

In exchange for developing a research plan that would require 32 to 40 hours a week of active research, reading, and writing for 10 to 12 weeks, you could receive a $3000 stipend from the "Research Experience for Undergraduates" program funded by the UAH President’s Office, the Provost’s office, and other sources as they become available. 15-20 proposals will be accepted, pending availability of funds.

If you are interested, please contact a member of the UAH History Department by Monday November 10 to discuss your ideas and to consider possibilities. Prelimininary proposals, prepared by you and a faculty mentor, will be due to the department by November 17. The final deadline for faculty mentors to submit proposals to the Faculty Senate Finance and Resources Committeee is December 1.

We encourage you to consider this exciting opportunity. Be sure to act quickly! You will be competing with students from across the campus and will need time to develop a strong proposal in cooperation with your faculty mentor.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kudos to History Club and Phi Alpha Theta on a Successful Bake Sale

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, History Club and Phi Alpha Theta worked together to host a bake sale in Morton Hall. They raised over $130.00 to use towards service activities and excursions!

Pictured here are Elisabeth Spalding and Craig Noneman selling yummy baked goods.

Thanks to all of you who supported today's fundraiser!

Monday, September 15, 2008

In Memoriam: Sarah Chapman, 1988-2008

Today, UAHuntsville -- and the many individuals who knew and loved Sarah Chapman -- suffered an enormous loss when Sarah was killed in a bicycle accident near campus.

Sarah -- a Marketing major and Communications Art minor -- was one of 16 students who traveled to Germany in May for a History/Global Studies course on "Nazi Germany." Although Sarah was not a history major, the many history majors who got to know her last spring semester and during the two weeks in Germany in May are full of grief today at her death.

Sarah was a truly extraordinary person. She was very intelligent and hard-working, but even more striking were her natural curiosity and her supreme confidence. In Germany, she was tireless, soaking up every opportunity that came her way, whether formal class activities or extracurricular fun. She went to museums, she listened to the Dalai Lama speak at the Brandenburg Gate, she traveled to Neuschwanstein to see the the "fairy tale castles," and she met people from all over the world -- many of whom are now her "Facebook friends." She was absolutely fearless in the way she put herself out there and got every bit possible out of the experience.

Several memories stand out most to me. In Munich, she and her friends Erica and Daniel wanted to enjoy the Viktualienmarkt -- a famous outdoor fresh food market -- in proper style. Rather than buying a premade sandwich, they ended up buying a baguette and spreading fresh salami and cheese on it from several different stands. I remember Sarah coming to me and asking for advice on how to buy the cheese; Gouda was her preference. She and her friends also bought fresh cherries to eat with their "sandwiches." I was proud that she and the others chose to experience lunch in this "authentic" way.

I remember Sarah hard at work on the train from Munich to Nuremberg, jotting down notes for her take-home final exam. She was simultaneously keeping a journal. As she wrote, she came to me frequently for clarification on details related to class activities. She wanted to remember every single thing she experienced, and she wanted to remember it right. She planned to do a scrapbook on her Germany trip when she returned. The day before her death, in fact, she posted an album related to her weeks in Germany to her Facebook page.

In Berlin, Sarah decided she wanted to go the ballet. During a break from a class walking tour, she and I went to the Staatsoper to inquire about tickets for With/Out Tutu, that night's ballet. Lines were out the door because, as it turned out, that was the opening day to purchase tickets for the coming opera season. I explained to Sarah that class had to continue and we could not wait so long in line. Lo and behold, she later went back to the opera house, bought a ticket, and went to the ballet all by herself. She showed enormous self-confidence -- in a city of over 3 million people who speak German! The next morning at breakfast, she told me -- with glowing eyes - "You'll never believe what I did last night."

I was stunned by Sarah. That she had a keen intellect and good work ethic were perhaps not so surprising; many students do. But her wide-ranging curiosity and her fearless confidence were well beyond her years and left me with great admiration -- and great expectations for her future. It is heartbreaking that she will never know that future -- but I am so glad that she got so much out of the life that she had.

Pictured are Sarah in Munich with her friend and roommate Erica Pruett; Sarah in the cheese store (this is Sarah's own photograph, posted to Facebook the day before her death); Sarah on the train from Munich to Nuremberg working on her final exam; and Sarah (third from left, along with Ruth Behling, George Preussel, and Sarah Fisher) at the Berlin Wall. Here Sarah is wearing a pashmina scarf she bought in Nuremberg. The woman who sold it to her suggested that the fabric made her look mature, and Sarah was very proud of her scarf and wore it most days .

Rest in Peace, Sarah.

--Molly Johnson, instructor of "Munich, Nuremberg, Berlin: Legacies of the Third Reich" (Spring 2008)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Congratulations to New Phi Alpha Theta Officers

The Tau Omega chapter of Phi Alpha Theta had its first meeting of the new academic year on Friday, September 5. Members elected officers, made plans for the ceremony to induct new members on October 24, and discussed possible service activities, fundraisers, and excursions for the coming year.

Congratulations to new officers, pictured here from left:

Sarah Fisher, Secretary

Elisabeth Spalding, President

Veronica Ferreira, Vice President

Dawn Suiter, Treasurer

New President Elisabeth Spalding also created a Facebook page for the Tau Omega chapter. Search for us under "Phi Alpha Theta -- Tau Omega Chapter" if you are a PAT member and Facebook user and wish to join the group.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Congratulations to Veronica Ferreira on the Completion of her Research Experience for Undergraduates Project

On Friday, August 29, history major Veronica Ferreira gave a poster presentation on her summer research project, "Heroines and Harlots: The World War II Experiences of the 'She-Soldier.'" Veronica received $3000 from the UAHuntsville Research Experience for Undergraduates program to conduct her summer research under the direction of Dr. Stephen Waring.

In her research project, Veronica interpreted the oral interviews of 150 women veterans of World War II, available through the website of the Library of Congress. After listening to each interview, she created several graphs, dividing the women according to their responses to various questions. Among these were questions about treatment at the hands of servicemen, familial response to the decision to enlist, and whether or not they married while in service. Then, she compared their responses to existing scholarship on women in the military during the second world war in order to create the most accurate and complete depiction of what it was like to live as one of the first ‘she-soldiers’ in the US. She concluded that the common depiction of women is inaccurate, by demonstrating that in World War II, as today, there is no universal experience among women, even in the same occupation. There are some commonalities that emerge, but amidst more nuance and variation than scholarship typically claims.

According to Veronica, who currently plans to pursue a PhD in history, the REU program enabled her to experience the typical process of developing and refining a Master's Thesis. Rather than turning in a paper and receiving a grade, Veronica received extensive feedback from Dr. Waring on multiple drafts and made many revisions before preparing the final version. Veronica also learned to be more critical of her own work and of the scholarship she read during the research process. She is now considering submitting her paper for consideration for publication in a professional journal or presenting it an an academic conference.

We are very proud of Veronica's hard work and achievement, and we encourage other UAHuntsville history majors to consider the REU program, too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Global Studies & Legacies of 3rd Reich

Earlier this summer, sixteen UAHuntsville students, including ten
history majors, traveled to Germany with Dr. Molly Johnson as part of
a class on "Legacies of the Third Reich." The class was coordinated
through UAHuntsville's "Global Studies" program. Students studied how
the Nazis used aesthetics and space to represent and build power, as
well as how three German cities, Munich, Nuremberg, and Berlin, deal
with the legacies of Nazism today through debates and memorials.

Students started their travels in Munich, where they explored
prominent sites associated with the Nazis' rise to power; they also
visited the nearby Dachau concentration camp. A highlight was the
chance to meet with Franz Mueller, a surviving member of the "White
Rose" student resistance group. The group then traveled to Nuremberg,
where students visited the Nazi Party Rally Grounds made famous by
Leni Riefenstahl. The class concluded in Berlin, where students
explored Nazi architecture, including the Olympic Stadium, the
Tempelhof Airport, and the Air Ministry, visited myriad memorials, and
had a surprise meeting with John Berry, a former German who left
Berlin on a "children's transport" in the late 1930s.

In addition to historical sites, students also enjoyed open air
markets, fresh bread, art museums, public transportation, and even the
chance to hear the Dalai Lama speak at the Brandenburg Gate.

For information on future trips led by history faculty and other
UAHuntsville figures, visit Global Studies

Friday, June 06, 2008

Dr. Lee Williams Retires

Lee Williams: Last day on the clock for UAH

Professor Lee Williams, II, whose lectures featured a familiar booming voice that has echoed through the corridors of Roberts Hall for more than 35 years, has decided to retire. Professor Williams came to UAHuntsville in 1972. Professor Frances Roberts, the founder of the History Department, interviewed Lee Williams, who was on his way to Mississippi State University to complete work on his Ph.D. He accepted the position, and later took a leave of absence to complete his Ph.D. He has been here ever since.

Professor Williams leaves behind a fine record of achievement. His book on twentieth century race riots has recently been reissued by the University of Mississippi Press. He is a frequent book reviewer and contributor to encyclopedias dealing with African American issues. As director of the UAHuntsville Office of Multicultural Affairs, he has assisted countless students, and has brought African American speakers and performers to campus. He, along with his History Department colleague Jack Ellis and three other UAHuntsville faculty
members, organized a semester-long collaboration with Alabama A&M University in 2001 to commemorate the civil rights movement. It was a stunning success, bringing to campus central figures in the civil rights movement in Alabama and the nation. Among the featured speakers were Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch and several civil rights pioneers, including U.S. Congressman John Lewis, Diane Nash, Fred Gray, J.L. Chestnut, and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.

Students remember Professor Williams fondly, and he in turn enjoyed working with them. “I enjoy the students and participating in the process of helping young people find out what they’re all about,” he remarked on the occasion of his 35th annive
rsary of teaching at UAHuntsville. “It brings such satisfaction to hear kind remarks from former students who enjoyed my class. It makes me feel good.”

With the retirements of Dr. Williams and Dr. Boucher, the last two members of the team that played UAH’s only intercollegiate football games have now left the university. For a brief time in the 1970s, UAH had a club football team that included faculty and students. Although the documentary record is full of holes, it is said that they played other colleges. Here is the team photograph from 1974-1975. Dr. Williams is the first in the back row left; second from the left is Philip Boucher; Clyde Riley of Chemistry is on the front row left.

Lee Williams will be greatly missed by his colleagues in the History Department. With his retirement, and with Drs. Johanna Shields and Philip Boucher teaching their last classes in the recently concluded academic year, the department loses its connection to the 1970s. We will miss hearing about those years, and we will miss Dr. Williams’s shrewd analyses of Alabama politics. The faculty wishes him a wonderful retirement!

--Andy Dunar, Chair

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Alum John McKerley earns Doctorate

On May 15, John McKerley, an alumnus of the UAH History Department, successfully defended his dissertation in History at the University of Iowa.

Entitled “Citizens and Strangers: The Politics of Race in Missouri from Slavery to the Era of Jim Crow,” John’s dissertation examines the ways in which the state’s culture of white supremacy affected the political calculus of white Missourians and the ability of black men and women to use formal political institutions to advance their individual and collective interests between (roughly) 1860 and 1920. It argues that African Americans’ ability to transform formal political participation into effective political empowerment during the first half century after enfranchisement was determined more by where and how they intersected with local and statewide partisan politics than by white racism or their numbers alone. In particular, John’s dissertation emphasizes the importance of industrialization, class conflict, and black urbanization in destabilizing wartime partisan coalitions in the Border South and creating space for limited alliances across the color-line that prevented white Democrats from uniting around a policy of statewide, legal black disfranchisement at the turn of the century.

This fall, John will join the faculty at the University of Maryland in College Park as a faculty research associate and assistant editor with the Freedmen and Southern Society Project. Founded in 1976, the project has produced five volumes of edited documents detailing the transition from slavery to freedom in the United States between 1861 and 1867. As an assistant editor, John will participate in the creation of the sixth installment in the series, Violence, Law, and Justice. His work will involve everything from proofreading, document transcription, checking annotations, indexing, and coauthoring the introduction. In his spare time—if he has any—he also hopes to teach classes in U.S. and African-American history.

At UAH, John was president and vice-president of Phi Alpha Theta, a recipient of the John Hendricks scholarship and the Colonial Dames Essay Award, and a proud member of the Society for Ancient Languages.

Congratulations John! Go Hawkeyes!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Everything old is new for local history scholar Chris Paysinger

The Athens News Courier has a recent article on Chris Paysinger, the Department's Outstanding Graduate Student in History.
- Meet the Neighbor: Everything old is new for local history scholar Chris Paysinger

Thursday, April 24, 2008

History Participates in Liberal Arts Tournament Day, 2008

On April 17, 2008, the History Department -- together with the Political Science Department, the Art and Art History Department, and the Women's Studies Program (through the Art department)-- participated in the 12th annual Liberal Arts Tournament Day on the UAH campus.

350 high school students from 11 area high schools traveled to UAH, and 150 of these students -- from Johnson High School, Catholic High School, the Randolph School, Ardmore High School, Madison County High School, and the Covenent Christian Academy -- participated in the History competition (pictured). Three of these student groups came with the UAH History alums who are presently their teachers, Brad Lewis of Ardmore, Jeff Murphy of Randolph, and Ann Lawson of Catholic (pictured).

The winner of the U.S. History competition was David Grzybowski of the Randolph School, and the winner of the World History competition was Andrew Jones from Catholic High School.

Special thanks are due to History Department Senior Staff Assistant Bev Gentry for all of her work preparing the event, as well as History Department Student Assistant Matthew McDaniels.

Dr. Boucher's Final Class

On Monday April 21, Dr. Philip Boucher taught his final class at UAH. Pictured here see him presenting a study guide to his students in History 102, Western Civilization.

Dr. Boucher has now completed his post-retirement contract at UAH. During his successful tenure at UAH, he was appointed the first Distinguished Professor in the College of Liberal Arts, and he also inspired countless students in the many classes he taught over the years, concluding this spring with History 102 and a graduate course, Studies in Early Modern Europe.

The faculty and students of the History Department will miss Dr. B's presence in the classroom and in the hallways, but we wish him well as he enjoys many leisurely moments at his vacation home in Mentone, Alabama! (also pictured)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Congratulations to 2007-2008 Student Award Winners

At the Honors Convocation on April 8, 2008 five of our history majors received honors and awards. Emily Espenan won the "Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement" award for the history department; Chris Paysinger won the "Outstanding Graduate Achievement" award for the history department; Dillon Lee won the "National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Alabama History" award; and Jennifer Staton won the "Colonel Walter Aston Chapter of the Colonial Dames of the XVII Century History" award. In addition, history major Veronica Ferreira won the "Outstandung Undergraduate Achievement" award for the Women's Studies program.

Pictured here see Jennifer Staton with Mrs. Bonnie Turner (of the Colonial Dames); Dillon Lee and Emily Espenan; and Veronica Ferreira with Dr. Nancy Finley, the Director of Women's Studies.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dr. Dunar at Cazenovia College -- with his first PowerPoint

Over spring break, Dr. Andrew J. Dunar, chair of the UAHuntsville Department of History, delivered the 8th annual Paul J. Schupf lecture at Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, NY. His lecture title was "Fifty-Fifty: The 1950s Fifty Years Later," and for this lecture, he produced and presented his first PowerPoint show! The first image showed Harry Truman. During his visit, Dr. Dunar also gave a guest lecture in an upper-level U.S. history course for which students read his book America in the Fifties (Syracuse University, 2006).

Dr. Dunar is currently mulling over whether to drop using overhead projector slides (not "vu-graphs"!) in the classroom for what he calls "new-fangled" teaching technology. Meanwhile, he keeps muttering in the coffeeroom, "Williams, Gerberding--eat my dust."

Welcome John Kvach!

We are pleased to announce the hiring of John F. Kvach!

John's specialty is the Nineteenth-Century South and he is currently finishing his doctorate at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. His dissertation, entitled Up, Up Ye Men of Capital: J. D. B. De Bow and the Antebellum Origins of the New South, shows how influential figures in the Old South promoted economic development and modernization. The work not only offers an intellectual biography of De Bow, the prominent Southern editor and journalist, but also provides a collective biography of the subscribers to his journal from across the region. John's work transcends some historiographical patterns which traditionally argue that the South opposed modernization. In contrast, he shows how De Bow's readers, while mostly slave-owners, called for internal improvements, economic diversification, urbanization, and cultural sophistication.

John taught several years at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland, and at UAH will teach courses on the US in the Nineteenth-Century, including the Old South and Civil War and Reconstruction. He also wants to teach the history of Alabama.

In addition, John has a passion for world history and public history. He has a master's degree in public history from West Virginia University and has worked as a public historian for the National Park Service, the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, and West Virginia's Humanities Council and State Park System. John dreams of teaching a public history course on heritage tourism. Once again, welcome John!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Welcome Sandra Mendiola!

The History Department welcomes our new colleague, Sandra C. Mendiola! Sandra is currently finishing her doctoral dissertation in the History Department at Rutgers University and will join us this fall.

Her dissertation, entitled Street Vendors, Marketers, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Puebla, examines the lives of market women in Puebla, Mexico. She analyzes their backgrounds and values, and shows how they organized to defend their dignity and enhance their income. Blending labor, gender, and business history, Sandra not only uses traditional evidence, but also oral history interviews and records of police spies.

Sandra loves teaching! At Rutgers, she has taught Latin American Revolutions and Social History of Latin America. Among her ideas for courses in Latin American history at UAH, she suggested introductory surveys, labor and gender history, revolutions and counter-revolutions, the region during the Cold War, as well as media and history. Sandra is expert at teaching with technology (she confesses that she loves gadgets).

Sandra was born and raised in Puebla, Mexico. In 1998, she completed a BA in International Relations at the Universidad de las Américas-Puebla. From 1998-1999 she worked as a Spanish language assistant at Union College, NY. In 2000 she finished an MA in History at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Welcome Sandra!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

History Majors Present at Phi Alpha Theta Conference; Jennifer Staton Wins Best Paper Award!

UAH history majors Thomas Bockhorn, Veronica Ferreira, and Jennifer Staton presented papers at the 2008 Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, on Saturday, February 9, 2008. They were accompanied by Phi Alpha Theta Faculty Advisor Dr. Molly Johnson.

Thomas presented a paper on "Enterprising Citizens: Bell Factory's Profit by Slave Labor," written for Dr. Johanna Shields' graduate class on Southern History (HY 614). Veronica presented a paper on "How the Vote was Won: Alice Paul and the US Woman Suffrage Movement," written for Dr. Molly Johnson's Historical Methods course (HY 290). Jennifer Staton presented on "European Ideals of Slavery in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko," written for Dr. Christine Sears' Atlantic World class (HY 424).

All three students presented their papers and fielded questions well and were impressive representatives of the UAH history department.

The department is particularly pleased to announce that Jennifer Staton's paper was chosen for a Best Paper award. Congratulations, Jennifer!

Pictured here are Jennifer Staton with her professor Christine Sears and a sketch based on a stage performance of Oronooko, the subject of Jennifer's paper.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

UAHuntsville Co-Hosting 2008 Conference of the "Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1850"

From February 28 to March 1, UAHuntsville will be co-hosting the 2008 Conference of the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1850, together with Jacksonville State University. Dr. John Severn, Professor of History and Associate Provost at UAHuntsville, is on the Consortium's Board of Directors and was instrumental in bringing the 2008 Conference to Huntsville.

Including among the 100+ Conference participants are several current and former UAH historians. Dr. Severn and Dr. Christine Sears are both presenting papers, as is Carrie Barske, part-time instructor at UAH and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts. UAH alum Thomas Reidy, now pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, is also presenting. Dr. Ernest Limbo, visiting assistant professor of history, is chairing a panel, and UAH alum Michele Kinney, now pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Texas-Arlington is chairing a panel for which Dr. Philip Boucher is providing commentary. Click here to see the conference program.

We are pleased to welcome historians from all over the United States and from Europe to Huntsville!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Congrats to Dr. Christine Sears on $7000 UAH Research Mini-Grant

Congratulations are in order for one of the department's newest members, Dr. Christine Sears! For her proposal on “Captive and Corsairs: The International Context of North African Corsairs, 1776-1830,” Christine has been awarded a $7019 UAH Research Mini-Grant. This grant will support a month of research in mid-Atlantic archives during the Summer of 2008. This research will help Christine turn her dissertation into a book manuscript.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, North African corsairs seized captives at sea and forcibly employed them in urban centers such as Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis, until they died or were redeemed. Contemporary Westerners—and later historians—saw this as a barbarian, backward practice that impeded modern free trade. However, North African privateers operated within a set of long-standing customs and systems long recognized, and practiced, by Western countries. As Western countries moved from constrained trade and monopolies to free trade over the long nineteenth century, they continued to license their own privateers and to buy the prize ships and cargoes taken by North African corsairs while simultaneously denouncing the barbaric depredations of the corsairs.

With this research grant, Christine will continue looking at corsairs’ practices and Western reactions to them. Further, she will begin looking more directly at privateering and piracy in the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds in order to put North African corsairs and reactions to them in a broader historical context.

History Major Veronica Ferreira (and Dr. Waring) Wins Research Grant!

Congratulations to History Major Veronica Ferreira, who has received a $3000 fellowship from the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at UAH to fund ten weeks of full-time research during the Summer of 2008. Veronica’s project -- which will be closely supervised by Dr. Stephen Waring -- will be an investigation of how the federal government attempted to regiment the sexuality of service women and men during the Second World War.

The primary source database for her research will be mainly online archival materials, training manuals and films, recruitment and educational posters, personal papers, and oral history interviews. The finished product will combine a paper written during the History Department's senior seminar (History 490) during Spring Semester 2008 with a REU paper of an additional 20-25 pages based on the summer research. She hopes to submit her paper for publication in a scholarly journal.
Congratulations, Veronica!

Photos from Dr. Waring's Archaeological Excursion in Peru

Dr. Stephen Waring travelled to Peru in December to visit historical and archaeological sites, as well as have some tourist and culinary adventures.
Highlights included the Moche Temple of the Moon, the adobe city of Chan Chan, the museum for the Lord of Sipan, the art and architecture of Cuzco, the Inca Sacred Valley and mountaintop city of Machu Picchu, and the Nazca lines and Chauchilla Cemetery.

Here Waring experiences an Incan "flying staircase" at Ollantaytambo and photographs a two thousand year old textile at Chauchilla. He wants to return to Peru someday with his daughters and some students to hike the Inca Trail.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Congratulations to Dr. Boucher on Yet Another Book!

Congratulations to Dr. Philip Boucher, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History, on the publication of his new book -- his fourth! -- France and the American Tropics to 1700: Tropics of Discontent? (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).

Here are some excerpts from the book description:

"Traditionally, the story of the Greater Caribbean has been dominated by the narrative of Iberian hegemony, British colonization, the plantation regime, and the Haitian Revolution of the eighteenth century. Relatively little is known about the society and culture of this region -- and particularly France's role in them -- in the two centuries prior to the rise of the plantation complex of the eighteenth century. Here, historian Philip P. Boucher offers the first comprehensive account of colonization and French society in the Caribbean.

Boucher's analysis contrasts the structure and character of the French colonies with that of other colonial empires. Describing the geography, topography, climate, and flora and fauna of the region, Boucher recreates the tropical environment in which colonists and indigenous peoples interacted. He then examines the lives and activities of the region's inhabitants -- the indigenous Island Caribs, landowning settlers, indentured servants, African slaves, and people of mixed blood, the gens de couleur. He argues that the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were not merely a prelude to the classic plantation regime model. Rather, they were an era presenting a variety of possible outcomes. This original narrative demonstrates that the transition to sugar and the plantation complex was more gradual in the French properties than generally depicted -- and that it was not inevitable."

Dr. Boucher, who officially retired in August, is teaching his final two courses at UAH -- one section of Western Civ and a graduate course on Early Modern Europe -- on a post-retirement contract this semester. He will then continue his research and writing at home here in Huntsville and at his new vacation cabin in the mountains near Mentone, on the Alabama-Georgia border.

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