Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Class on the Mediterranean World to be Offered in Fall 2012 by Visiting Professor Kira Robison

Visiting assistant professor Dr. Kira Robison, who holds a PhD in medieval history from the University of Minnesota, will be teaching a new class in Fall 2012. The course number is History 399-01 and the title is "Religion, Magic, and Medicine in the Mediterranean World." The class will be Tuesday/Thursday 9:35-10:55am.

To the Ancient Romans, the Mediterranean was considered “Our Sea” and the center of their vast empire. For medieval Europe, it was the ocean that separated Christians from the infidels. For many merchants, the Mediterranean meant their livelihood, and physicians considered it a major conduit for medical theory. This course will explore the world of the Mediterranean Sea between the end of the Classical Era to the sixteenth century, which saw the focus shift from “Our Sea” to other seas. The interactions within the Mediterranean World during this time encompassed peace and violence, destruction and profit, and health and disease. In order to cope with the breadth and depth of this topic, the class will be divided into separate units that will build on themes we will explore in each, but which will also function in many ways as individual case studies.

Please direct questions to Dr. Andy Dunar at, and he can put you in touch with Dr. Robison.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Course in Science and Religion to be Offered by Professor Evan Ragland

Professor Evan Ragland is introducing a new history course for Fall Semester 2012. It is listed as History 498/598 and is entitled "History of Western Science and Religion." The class will be taught on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:20-3:40pm.

Often depicted as enemies armed and embattled, science and religion have related in history in powerful and fascinating ways. This course aims to address such questions as ‘What is the relationship between science and religion?’ ‘Have things changed significantly over time?’ and ‘Who cares?’ We will also be able to examine notions of ‘popular science’ and engage historical controversies, including the ongoing use and abuse of the trial of Galileo, biblical chronology and geology, the Scopes Trial, and the current debates over Intelligent Design and evolution in American education.

Pictured here, Johannes Kepler reconstructs God’s cosmic architecture.

Please direct questions to

UAH History Alumna Defends MA Thesis in Sociology at the University of Iowa

Veronica Ferreira, who graduated from UAH in 2010 with dual majors in history and sociology and a minor in Women's Studies, recently defended her MA thesis in sociology at the University of Iowa. The title is "Marital Happiness and Marital Satisfaction: A Test of Role Conflict and Congruence."

For her thesis, Veronica used survey data collected in 1986 out of Wayne County, MI (Veroff et al) to test the impact of role conflict (and elements of role conflict) on marital happiness and marital satisfaction. She found that when women perceive the demands of paid labor as frequently disruptive to their married lives, they tend to be less happy with their marriages, but no less satisfied. Additionally, she found that the higher the household income, the more satisfied with marriage both spouses tend to be. Finally, she found that the number of children one has is associated with lower marital happiness and marital satisfaction, regardless of the sex of the respondent.

A version of this project was presented at the Midwest Sociological Association’s annual conference in March, 2012.

Veronica is currently expanding her analysis to include an examination of the same couples in 1987, 1988, and 1989.

Congratulations, Veronica!

Congratulations to Matthew Menarchek for Defending his MA Thesis

The history department congratulations Matthew Menarchek, who recently defended his MA thesis, entitled “Toward a New South: Huntsville, Alabama, 1804-1890.”

This thesis analyzes the commercial and industrial development in Huntsville, Alabama, from its settlement through the late nineteenth century. This study examines the role of prominent residents in bringing change to a southern city based on its relationship with agriculture, land development, and slavery. This work shows how Huntsville’s agricultural and commercial elite sought public education, internal improvements, commerce, and manufacturing. These planter-capitalists succeeded in transitioning Huntsville from an agricultural economy to a more diversified market economy by the 1850s. The city’s development provides a case study of how New South elements developed within Old South society.

Matthew, who recently won the department's Outstanding Graduate Achievement award, also worked for two years as the department's Graduate Research Assistant. His major project during this time was conducting research for a federal judicial case involving taxation and public education in Alabama. He also engaged in collaboration with the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau to highlight local Civil War tourist attractions and conducted specialized research for professors.

Matthew will attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville beginning this autumn to pursue a PhD in history, specializing in Jacksonian America.

Congratulations, Matthew!

History Department Spring Picnic!


On Saturday, April 21, 2012 the History department is hosting a picnic at Brahan Springs Park, Pavilion 2 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The pavilion is located near the pond, the playground, and the restrooms. The meats will be provided by the department. The rest of the picnic items are on a potluck basis. There is a sign-up sheet in the department mailroom/kitchen for dishes, desserts, and picnic items such as drinks and paper plates.

Students, staff, and faculty – along with their families - are welcome to attend. Just bring a side dish to pass or other picnic supplies and whatever sports or game equipment you want to play. This promises to be a great way to relax a little after a long academic year.

Special thanks to Dr. Christine Sears for coordinating, planning, and making this happen. See you all there!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Kudos to the History Department's Honors Day Award Winners in 2012!

On April 3, 2012, five UAH history majors received recognition at the annual "Honors Day" convocation.

Jesse Thomas was honored for Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement, and Matthew Menarchek was honored for Outstanding Graduate Achievement.

Additional winners included Regina Head, honored with the Colonel Walter Aston Chapter of the Colonial Dames of the XVII Century History Award; Julia Paul, honored with the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Alabama History Essay Award; and Charity Ethridge, winner of the Dr John Rison Jones Award in Southern History sponsored by the Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society.

We are very proud of our hard-working and accomplished students and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors!

Pictured here see Regina, Charity, Julia, and Matthew; Jesse with history department Dr. Andy Dunar; Charity and Matthew with advisor Dr. John Kvach; Julia with Dr. Christine Sears (for whom she wrote her award-winning paper); and Regina Head with mentor Dr. Sandra Mendiola.

Congrats to Graduate Student Jillian Rael on Grant from Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives

History graduate student Jillian Rael just received word that she will receive a $400 Lynn E. May Study Grant from the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives. This grant will support Jillian's master's thesis research project, "The Dispersal of Evangelical Ideals from the Second Great Awakenings: A Local Study in Mulberry, Tennessee."

Congratulations, Jillian!

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