Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Germans Visit Summer Class

On Wednesday June 17, 2009, three citizens of Germany -- who grew up in communist East Germany and who had just begun their university studies when the wall came down in 1989 -- participated in a panel discussion in Dr. Molly Johnson's summer class, History 479/579, "Europe in the Twentieth Century: Special Focus, The Cold War, 1945-1991."

Pictured here from left to right see Jana Sachsinger, Katrin Rebiger, and Bill Rebiger. (Katrin and Bill's son Simon was an exchange student at Huntsville High School in 2008-2009.)
UAH students asked the panelists a wide range of questions pertaining to topics as varied as the Stasi (the East German secret police), the Free German Youth organization, their views of the positives as well as the negatives of East German communism, their participation in resistance activities and demonstrations in 1989, their memories of shortages of consumer goods in East German times, the phenomenon of nostalgia for East German communism, etc. Bill Rebiger commented afterwards to Dr. Johnson that he was extremely impressed by the questions the students raised. Hurray for UAH students!

Many thanks to Jana, Katrin, and Bill for sharing their insights and experiences and enriching the class experience for all students.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Memorable Travel to Rome for Dr. Richard Gerberding's Course on "Rome: The Eternal City"

From Thursday May 14 to Monday June 1 2009, thirteen History students, Classical Studies students, and students representing other UAH majors traveled to Rome, Italy, as part of Dr. Richard Gerberding's Global Studies 199/History 399 course on "Rome: The Eternal City." This is the fourth time Dr. Gerberding has offered this course for UAH students, and it was once again a resounding success.

After a semester's worth of lectures in Huntsville, students benefited from additional lectures in Rome as well as the opportunity to see and interpret historical sites for themselves, including: St. Peter's Basilica; the Roman Forum; the Palatine; the Coliseum; the tomb of Augustus; the Ara Pacis; the Circus Maximus; the Catacombs; the Parthenon; the Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine; the Capitoline Museum; the church of San Clemente; the Castelo Sant Angelo; Santa Maria Maggiore; the Villa; the Vatican Museums and St. Peters; the Villa Borghese; Piazza Navona; the Victor Immanuel Monument; Mussolini’s Sports Stadium (Foro Italico); and the Milvian Bridge. Students also took excursions to Pompeii, Capri, and Florence.

Pictured here are two groups of students in Rome, one group next to the Trevi Fountain and another group on the way to the Opera.

The History Department is delighted these students got to experience such an amazing opportunity and encourages all History majors and minors to consider future Global Studies/History courses.

Three UAH History/Education Students Participate in Workshop on Teaching the Holocaust

On Friday May 8, 2009, three UAH History/Education students -- Kim Willis, John Milling, and Eddie Kimbrough -- participated in "Echoes and Reflections: A Multimedia Curriculum on the Holocaust," a Continuing Education workshop held at Athens State University for area teachers and teachers-to-be. The workshop was organized by the Anti-Defamation League, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, and Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, with funding from Dana and Yossie Hollander and the Braun Holocaust Institute-Glick Center for Holocaust Studies.

Students participated in six hours of workshops and also received extensive curricular material tied to Alabama Education Standards, including multiple lesson plans on themes as varied as Anti-Semitism, the Ghettos, Jewish Resistance, and Children. Participants also discussed innovative ways of using literature courses as well as history courses to teach the Holocaust.

Particularly impressive to participant John Milling were the oral interviews that were done for the project. According to John, "They are a great primary source. It is fascinating to see the emotions people have and the intricate details people remember after more than sixty years. During their conversations, you can see on their faces that they are reliving their past in their memory. It is very sad to see how they are still affected by those events. That is something you miss by merely reading a personal account."

Pictured here are John and Kim with a copy of the curriculum materials they received at the workshop.

The history department commends Kim, John, and Eddie for seeking out this opportunity and hopes future History/Education students will also participate in similar workshops.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Annual History Research Journal Now Available

The History Department is pleased to announce the publication of the 2009 edition of "A Journal of Graduate and Undergraduate Research in History." The Journal features the papers prepared by students enrolled in Dr. Andrew Dunar's senior seminar course (History 490 and History 590) in spring 2009.

The prize winning papers, based on a vote by seminar participants, were:
-- "Camaraderie or Competition: Dissension Between the National Japanese American Citizens’ League and its Seattle Chapter in the Struggle for Redress" by Charity Ethridge
-- "Tense Theology in a Holy Hierarchy: Liberation Theology Versus The Vatican" by Sarah Fisher
-- "Frances Cabaniss Roberts: Teacher and Historian" by Charles Westbrook

The remaining papers were prepared by William Bailey, Christina Barnett, Ruth Behling, Alyson Buck, Arthur Harrison, Rachel Hillman, Eddie Kimbrough, Jonathon Moore, Jonathan Neely, Craig Noneman, Elizabeth Simmons, Elisabeth Spalding, Casey Smith, and Chris Weed.

Congratulations to all students for completing the very demanding senior seminar class. Don't forget to pick up your copy of the Journal in Roberts Hall 409!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Congratulations to Svetlana Jovanov for MA Thesis, "Yugoslav-American Relationships during the Truman Presidency"

The history department is happy to congratulate Svetlana Jovanov on completing and defending her MA thesis entitled "Yugoslav-American Relationships during the Truman Presidency: Truman’s Eggs and Tito’s Separate Road."

According to Svetlana's abstract, "This study addresses the historical, political, military, and economic issues that established the character of the relationship between the United States and Yugoslavia during the Truman presidency. This relationship faced great challenges after the end of the World War II. Although the American government had been supportive during the war, it expressed concerns about Tito’s communism and his loyalty to Stalin after the war. The approach of the American government toward Yugoslavia changed after the Cominform’s expulsion of Yugoslavia in June 1948 and as a result of the Kremlin’s desire to force Yugoslavia down to the level of the occupied East European countries. After overcoming initial obstacles, the Yugoslav-American relationship became generally positive and pragmatic. American aid enabled Yugoslavia to survive as an independent socialist country, following its own socialist path. The historical material used in this study relies on sources from both countries, and presents motives that led the American and Yugoslav governments to overcome initial obstacles and develop a positive relationship."

Pictured here see Svetlana on Honors Day 2009 with her MA thesis advisor, Dr. Andy Dunar. Svetlana received the department's top award for a graduate student on Honors Day.

Congratulations to Whitney Snow on MA Thesis "The Cotton Mills of Huntsville"

The history department is proud to commend recent MA graduate Whitney Snow on completely one of the department's two successfully defended MA theses for academic year 2008-2009. Whitney's thesis was entitled, "The Cotton Mills of Huntsville." According to Whitney's abstract: "The textile industry fueled industrial, economic, and cultural growth in the city of Huntsville, Alabama. The Huntsville industry, a
microcosm of the Southern textile industry, maintained reactionary tendencies while becoming an agent of change. Its mills, though dependent on Northern funds, became regional, national, and international competitors. Mills assisted in the transition from farm to factory by providing employment to the masses, implementing corporate welfare, and fostering village life. The textile industry and its accompanying culture shaped both Huntsville and the South."

Whitney is now working towards a PhD in history in the field of "New South" at Mississippi State University. Congrats, Whitney!

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