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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