Department of History

News

2013 - 2014

Melanie Kiechle, Danna Agmon, and LaDale Winling have all been awarded CLAHS Diversity Grants.

Melanie Kiechle and Danna Agmon plan to organize another speaker series next year, this time on the theme "Crossing Borders, Transgressing Boundaries."

LaDale Winglin's project, entitled "New Town Space and Society," aims to discover and disseminate the historical record of the New Town African American community in Montgomery Country using a database-driven Web site. He is working closely with Dan Thorp on this digital history project.

Roger Ekirch has published another excellent book review in the Wall Street Journal

The 17th annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Conference was held on March 21-22; it featured 33 presentations by students from one international and 15 U.S. institutions, including Virginia Tech. Department of History graduate students organized the conference; faculty from the departments of History and Religion and Culture as well as ASPECT doctoral student Dana Cochran served as discussants for the sessions. The following students presented papers: Earl K. Cherry, a junior History major; Kate Good, who earned her B.A. in History in 2011; Erica Aiken, Eric Ames, Tyler Bergeron, Jay Coman, Alexandra Dowrey, Melea Foley, Alison Hight, Lucas Kelley, and Spenser D. Slough, all master’s students in History; and Gregory Nelson, a doctoral student in Science, Technology, and Society. Details about the conference are available here.

On March 21 the Department of History Student Awards Ceremony was held in Owens Dining Hall in conjunction with the opening of the 17th annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Student Conference.

The following History undergraduates were recognized for their achievements: Taylor Ullrich was honored with the James W. and Martha N. Banks Award. The History Prize was awarded to Grayson Van Beuren, with Diana Piskor and Leah Williams being recognized with Honorable Mention. Rachel Goatley received the Curtis Award, with Carmen Bolt and Derek Litvak being recognized with Honorable Mention. Courtney Howell was awarded the Digital History Award; Jarrid Dulaney received Honorable Mention. Kevin “Tiny” Dawson was recognized with the Hayward Farrar Award.

Two graduate students in History were also recognized with awards. Alison Vick, who earned an M.A. in History in 2013, received the 2012-2013 Outstanding Thesis Award; a 2013-2014 Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award was presented to Erica Aiken.

At that same event, Marian Mollin was the recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award, with Matt Heaton and Paul Quigley receiving Honorable Mention; the faculty awards were given by the History Graduate Student Association.

CLAHS committee has named Andrea Ledesma as the Outstanding Senior for 2014.

According to the committee:

"We feel that she best represents the College in her demonstration of disciplinary skill as a historian combined with the breadth she shows in the talents she shares more broadly with the college and university. We are impressed with Andrea’s credentials as an historian, including her History-Prize-winning original research paper, her selection to present at the ACC conference, and her Gallagher Prize. We like the combination of new and old in her skill sets –Special Collections and National Archives on the one hand, and the Newseum and digital humanities (online database, video, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, globs, podcasts) on the other. We appreciate her committing her design and editorial talents to her department, college, and school through her work with the Historical Journal, Philogia, and the Collegiate Times. Andrea’s service to URI through authoring a research manual for undergrads is a boon to the College, and her contributions as a student leader to the university’s Honors Residential College also draw our admiration.”

Andrea will be honored at the Student Recognition Dinner sponsored by the Alumni Association in April.

Alison Vick, who graduated last year, has won the William Preston Society Outstanding Thesis Award for her MA thesis "German Practices of Prison Taking in the First World War: The Evolution of Human Rights, 1914-1929."

A History major student has been chosen to present her research at the ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference, which will be hosted this year at the University of Pittsburgh, on April 3-5, 2014.

Andrea Ledesma of McLean, Va., a senior in University Honors majoring in History will present on her project entitled “Keep up the fight: Eudora Ramsay Richardson and the evolution of feminism after suffrage.” Her faculty mentor is Marion Mollin.

Also presenting is Elizabeth (Jade) Womack, a senior in University Honors majoring in International Studies whose faculty mentor is Peter Wallenstein. Her research is titled, “Breast is best: A case study of advertising techniques of infant formula post-Nestlé boycott (1984-).”

more...

David Cline played a key leadership role in the project to relocate the Corps of Cadets Museum from Rasche Hall to Newman Library and other spaces more...

Trudy and Andy Becker have received Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education! This is fitting university-level recognition for all the wonderful work they've done over the past 15 plus years. And it's the second year in a row we've had a faculty member win this award (Glenn Bugh was the recipient last year).

Heather Gumbert, has published "Envisioning Socialism: Television and the Cold War in the German Democratic Republic (Social History, Popular Culture, and Politics in Germany)" University of Michigan Press (Dec 28, 2013 )

GumbertEnvisionBook

Four faculty and a graduate student have won major awards from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences:

Alison Hight, Outstanding Graduate Student in a Masters Program
Marian Mollin, Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring
Brett Shadle, Excellence in International Initiatives
Helen Scheider, Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship
Mark Barrow, Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship

Danna Agmon has publish an article "The Currency of Kinship: Trading Families and Trading on Family in Colonial French India", in Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Daniel Thorp, Passion for the Past, is featured in the Winter 2013-14 Virginia Tech Magazine

Richard Hirsh has been inducted into Virginia Tech's Academy of Faculty Service for his exceptional contribution to the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad. For over 25 years now, Richard has served as a volunteer, mentor, and leader for the VT Rescue Squad, which consists of 40 student members and a small number of non-student members. In addition to serving as a faculty advisor for the squad and a faculty member of its Executive Board, for more than two decades he has typically spent about 5-10 hours per week running emergency calls. Since first volunteering with the VT Rescue Squad in 1988, he has also completed scores of hours of state-certified training, re-training, continuing education, and re-certification, and he has offered training in CPR and first aid to members of the squad and the larger university community. In short, he has devoted thousands of hours of his time to this worthy cause and positively touched the lives of hundreds of students, faculty, and visitors to our campus.

Richard is one of seven faculty members who have been chosen as the inaugural members of a newly revived Academy of Faculty Service. The academy is structured to parallel the Academies of Teaching Excellence and Outreach Excellence, and members are called upon for representative service to university committees. More information about this year's award winners may be found at here.

It is a great pleasure to introduce Patty Baker, who will be with us this semester as part of a faculty exchange with the University of Kent. Patty is originally from the states and earned her BA in Anthropology from Millersville University, an MA in Classics from Florida State University, an MA in Archaeology from the University of Newcastle, and a PhD in Classics and Archaeology from that same institution. A specialist in Graeco-Roman medicine, she is the author, co-author, or co-editor of 5 books and 16 articles and book chapters. Outside of academia, Patty can often be found on the sea. She enjoys racing as a crew on a Dart 18 catamaran and helming her Topaz dinghy. She also enjoys ballet, cycling, skiing, windsurfing, photography, painting and Ikebana. You can learn more about Patty and her many interests and accomplishments at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/classics/staff/baker.html

She has come to Virginia Tech for the spring 2014 semester to teach courses in Greek and Roman Medicine and Roman Britain, while Glenn Bugh has gone to Kent to teach in their program.

Richard Hirsh has co-authored an article with his former student, Benjamin Sovacool, that has just been published in Technology and Culture, one of the premier journals in the field of the history of technology.

The full citation is:
Richard Hirsh and Bejamin K. Sovacool, "Wind Turbines and Invisible Technology: Unarticulated Reasons for Local Opposition to Wind Energy," Technology and Culture, 54, no 4 (October 2013): 705-734.

Brett Shadle has published an editorial on human rights in the Kakuma Refuge Camp in Kenya, which currently serves over 110,000 displaced men, women, and children. Brett has not only volunteered in this camp for several years, but he has also established Service Learning Kakuma, a program whereby he mentors VT students on issues surrounding philanthropy in Africa for a semester and then accompanies them to Kakuma, where they work in the camp during the summer.

A link to Brett's editorial, which is published in Kakuma News Reflector, a news magazine produced by a multi-national team of journalists operating in the Kakuma Refuge Camp.

Tom Ewing is the lead author of an article, "Mining Coverage of the Flu: Big Data’s Insights into an Epidemic," that appears in the latest edition of Perspective on History (vol. 52, no. 1, January 2014, pp. 28-31).

The article is a product of NEH funding for the Digging into Data Challenge, and involved History, English, the Library, and Computer Science. The project in general, and this article specifically, are part of his ongoing efforts to promote collaborations between humanities / social science scholars and programs in other colleges and disciplines, such as computer science.

A copy of the article is available here

Brooks Tiffany, put together an exhibit for the Science Museum of Western Virginia on the newspaper advertisings published during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. He worked closely with Tom Ewing and the English instructor Jennifer Moody, who teaches a class on Designing Document for Print that included Tiffany. Tiffany is a veteran who did a five-year stint in the U.S. Air Force before returning to Virginia Tech to complete his BA in English.

The story is available here

Eight History faculty members received the new Visible Scholars Initiative Mini-grants from CLAHS and the Library.
They include: Danna Agmon, David Cline, Dennis Hidalgo, Richard Hirsh, Melanie Kiechle, Paul Quigley, Brett Shadle and LaDale Winling

Daniel Thorp has just published "The Beginnings of African American Education in Montgomery County" in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 121, no. 4 (2013): 314-345. The article is part of his larger research project on the history of African Americans in the area.

Richard Hirsh has co-authored an article with his former student, Benjamin Sovacool, that has just been published in Technology and Culture, one of the premier journals in the field of the history of technology.

The full citation is:
Richard Hirsh and Bejamin K. Sovacool, "Wind Turbines and Invisible Technology: Unarticulated Reasons for Local Opposition to Wind Energy," Technology and Culture, 54, no 4 (October 2013): 705-734.

Sunday December 1, the Roanoke Times published Tom Ewing's article about advertising during the 1918 influenza epidemic.

“Better than a Cure for Influenza,” Roanoke Times, December 1, 2013.
Image used in print version of Roanoke Times article
Advertising Influenza Posters (online gallery)

Matthew Heaton has published an article "Aliens in the Asylum: Immigration and Madness in Gold Coast," Journal of African History 54, no. 3 (2013): 373-391.

The poster exhibit, “Protect Yourself Against Influenza: Newspaper Advertisements during the 1918 Epidemic,” is on display at the Science Museum of Western Virginia through January 30, 2014. This exhibit of 12 posters exploring the ways that influenza was incorporated into newspaper advertisements during the 1918 “Spanish Flu” epidemic built on research begun as part of the Epidemiology of Information project, funded by the Digging into Data Challenge administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibit is directed by Tom Ewing, professor in the Department of History and associate dean for research in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. The posters were designed by Brooks Tiffany, a senior majoring in theprofessional writing program in the Department of English. Design assistance was also provided by Jennifer Mooney, senior instructor in the Department of English. The twelve posters can be seen online at this link, and will be on display in the Wallace Gallery through December 3, 2013. The poster exhibit is part of a collaboration between CLAHS, Virginia Tech, and the Science Museum of Western Virginia which promotes outreach efforts in science education from interdisciplinary perspectives.

David Cline received a grant from the Truman Presidential Library to continue work on his book on Korean War veterans.

Danna Agmon, Melanie Kiechle, and David Cline were awarded Niles Research Grants

Matthew Heaton published Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry has just been issued as part of the New African Histories series of Ohio University Press.

Heaton_BlackSkinWhiteCoats

Matthew Heaton has published an article in Social History of Medicine, one of the premier journals in the field. It's available online now and will be published in print in November.

Matthew Heaton, "Contingencies of Colonial Psychiatry: Migration, Mental Illness, and the Repatriation of Nigerian ‘Lunatics’," Social History of Medicine 2013; doi: 10.1093/shm/hkt070.

David Cline received a grant from the Truman Presidential Library to continue work on his book on Korean War veterans.

David Cline is part of a team that received, from the National Science Foundation, a grant for $549,000 to work on "EXP: Exploring the potential of mobile augmented reality for scaffolding historical inquiry learning." The other members of the team are: David Bowman (PI, Computer Science), David Hicks (co-PI; Teaching and Learning), and Jeffrey T Ogle (co-PI). The grant will use materials from the Christiansburg Institute, so it builds from our longstanding collaboration with that local institution.

Roger Ekirch was featured on the public radio show “With Good Reason” the week of October 6 on its program titled “Let There Be Night.” Ekirch discusses his book, At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, in which he sheds light on how pre-Industrial Revolution farmers, tradesmen, and laborers spent their nights. The program is available here.

History Department has awarded this year's Patricia Ann Gallagher Scholarship to Andrea Ledesma.

Andrea is a rising senior History major with minors in American Studies and Political Science. In addition to her stellar GPA, she has completed an internship at the National Archives, she served a student archivist in Special Collections at Virginia Tech, and she’s been working this summer as a research assistant at the Newseum in Washington, DC. During the past two years Andrea has also been deeply involved in undergraduate research, including a senior seminar paper on the popularity of tranquilizers during the 1960s that won the History Prize for the best student essay in 2013. In addition, she has received a grant from the Undergraduate Research Institute to complete research on female authors during the New Deal, and she was selected to present her findings at the ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference in April. Beyond her excellent research and presentation skills, Andrea is also a gifted graphic designer, and she has done an excellent job on the layout for the college undergraduate research journal (Philologia) for the past two years, and our own departmental journal, The Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review, this past year.

The Patricia Ann Gallagher Scholarship recognizes an undergraduate History major who demonstrates a passion for, a devotion to, and a record of excellence in History.

Roger Ekirch had an interview for a BBC radio show on the topic of sleep. The Mark Forrest Evening Show claims an audience of over 1.6 million listeners.

“Remembrance and Celebration of Life for Woody Farrar” event planned for Sept. 27 . Read More

Marian Mollin has been honored with an inaugural ASPECT Outstanding Faculty Award for all her hard work teaching and advising students in that doctoral program

Brett Shadle published an editorial in the Roanoke Times that takes on a previous letter writer criticizing abolitionists

Robert Stephens, associate professor in the department of history, named associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Science. more

The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) has selected Michael Alexader as Teacher of the Week (August 25, 2013) more

Roger Ekirch's work on sleep is prominently featured in two wide-circulation media. First, he contributed an essay entitled "Segmented Sleep" for the August issue of Harper's. His essay, which is part of a forum entitled "Are You Sleeping: In Search of a Good Night's Rest," is available to subscribers

Second, the Wall Street Journal published his review, "Embracing the Dark Side," of The End of Night (Little Brown) by Paul Bogard.

2012 - 2013

Hayward "Woody" Farrar Jr., the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History, died suddenly on Thursday, May 30, 2013. A beloved teacher and mentor, noted expert on the history of Baltimore’s African American community, and a kind and generous colleague, Woody positively touched the lives of all those he came in contact with. He will be sorely missed.

More information about his life and distinguished career may be found here.

Matthew Heaton has been selected as theVirginia Tech Humanities Faculty Fellow for AY 2013-14. In this position, he will work with representatives of the University of Virginia and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities to develop a program of humanities research related to the theme, Mental Health and Social Change. This fellowship is part of the South Atlantic Humanities Project (SAHP).

As a Humanities Faculty Fellow, Matt will be centrally involved in the following activities:

  • Planning, publicizing, and guiding selection of the Virginia Tech cohort of Graduate Humanities Fellows, in coordination with CLAHS Associate Dean Tom Ewing and Robert Vaughn, President, and Ann Spencer, Residential Fellowship Director, of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and the faculty coordinator from the University of Virginia.
  • Planning, coordinating, attending, and leading sessions on the proposed topic, at times and locations scheduled with the Graduate Humanities Fellows and the UVA/VFH partners.
  • Advising the Graduate Humanities Fellows on their research programs, monitoring their participation in seminars, and provided assessments at the end of the program.

Profile of Graduating Senior: Victoria Heath

Huffington Post has posted a video segment on sleep that prominently features the work of Roger Ekirch

Three history majors have published papers in Philologia, the undergraduate research journal of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Those students and their article titles include:

Ashley Williams, "Latin Curriculum and Caesar's Legacy Following the Second World War, 1946-1950," written under the direction of Trudy Harrington Becker.

Daniel C. Newcomb, "Stealing Themselves: Enslaved Virginians and Lord Dunmore's Proclamation," written under the direction of Dan Thorp.

Thomas Norelli, "Emperor Haile Salassie of Ethopia, Leader of African Decolonization," written under the direction of Matt Heaton.

Glenn Bugh has published a chapter in an edited volume, "Democracy in the Hellenistic World," in Belonging and Isolation in the Hellenistic World, edd. Sheila L. Ager and Riemer A. Faber, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013, pp. 111-127.

David Cline and Dan Thorp were featured speakers in the Sharing America lecture series at the Montgomery County Libraries last summer. They've just learned that the Sharing America series won the "Outstanding Adult Programs" Award from the Virginia Public Libraries Directors Association.

The 16th annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Conference was held on April 5-6; it featured 31 presentations by graduate students from 15 different institutions, including Virginia Tech.  Department of History graduate students organized the conference, while the department’s faculty served as discussants for most of the sessions, with ASPECT doctoral students Dana Cochran, and Taulby Edmondson also serving in that role.  The conference was sponsored by the VT History Graduate Student Association, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Alliance for Social Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought, Department of Religion and Culture, Department of Science and Technology in Society, Department of English, Department of Political Science, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Women and Gender Studies Program, and Women in Leadership and Philanthropy.  

Dr. Monica Black (History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville), delivered the keynote address, “German Miracles: Faith, Healing, and the Problem of Evil after Nazism.”  The Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer Dr. Bryant Simon (Temple University), gave the lunch address, “Learning about America from Starbucks.”

History M.A. students presented the following papers:  Anna Fowler, “Self-Selected Report Systems: Oral Histories of SNCC Women,” Ryan Nolan, “Performing Masculinity: Young Men and Football at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, 1891-1906,” Alexandra Dowrey, “The Catonic Persona: Cato as an Ideological Symbol in Revolutionary America,” William Paxton, “No Sympathy for the Devil: Perceptions of Robbery in Late 18th-Century London,” Rebecca Middour, “Distinguished Propaganda: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Sale of the Marshall Plan,” Alison Vick, “Pursuit of International Law at Leipzig: The First World War War-Criminal Trials, 1921,” Jay Coman, “Remembrance and Vergangenheitsbewältigung: The Post War Re-Birth of German Soccer at the Miracle of Bern,” Adam Jones, “‘The Land of My Birth and the Home of My Heart’: Enlistment Motivations for Confederate Soldiers in Montgomery County, Virginia, 1861-1862,”and Heather Lennon, “Taverns, Masculinity and Space in the Early Republic: A History of Taverns in Richmond, VA, 1780-1820.” 

Full details of the conference are available here.

Melanie Kiechle and Danna Agmon have received a Diversity Grant from College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Junior History major Andrea Ledesma received an award from CLAHS Undergraduate Research Institute (URI), for research expenses associated with her project titled “New Deal, New Perspectives: A Collective Biography of White Female Writers of the 1930s.” Ledesma’s faculty mentor is Marian Mollin, History.

The Department of History and the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society hosted the 3rd Annual History Undergraduate Research Showcase on March 20. The following undergraduates participated in the roundtable: Michelle Cohen, History and Psychology; Andrea Ledesma, History; Aaron Rider, History; and Camryn Sorg, International Studies and Architecture; they shared their experiences working on majoring research projects and answered audience questions. Also featured was the formal release of the second volume of the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review. Founding Editor Robert Stephens, History, introduced the students involved: History graduate students Erica Aiken and Heather Lennon, who served as Managing Editors; the undergraduate Associate Editors, who reviewed submissions and recommended revisions for the papers selected for publication: Tyler Abt (History), Bilig Bayarmagnai (History), Katie Dunsmore (History), Victoria Heath (History and Political Science), and Waheed Sheriff (History); and Design Editor Andrea Ledesma. Volume 2 of VTUHR includes the following undergraduate articles: Carmen Bolt, “Help on the Homefront: The Women of the USO”; Emily Bolton, “A Propelling Purpose: A Look at the Motives Behind Group Supplying Aid to RENAMO”; Luke Burton, “Executive Exploitation: Richard Nixon, Administrative Policy, and the Vietnam War”; Grace Cardwell, “Solidarity Remembered: A Look at the Literature of a Social Movement, 1980-1989”; and Kelly Drews, “A Brief History of Quarantine.”

Three faculty received awards from College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Danna Agmon was awarded the Writing Incentive Grant
LaDale Winling and Glenn Bugh both were awarded the Niles Research Grant

The eighth annual Virginia Tech Authors Day was held on February 21. The event honored the authors’ academic contributions to the University and was sponsored by the University Libraries, in partnership with the Provost’s Office, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and Virginia Tech’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The featured speaker was Department of History Chair and Professor Mark Barrow, who discussed his book Nature's Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology, for which he was awarded Phi Beta Kappa’s 2012 Albert L. Sturm Award for Excellence in Faculty Research. A current list of the faculty whose authored, co-authored, and edited works were recognized this year can be found here: among the 29 CLAHS faculty are three individuals with two submissions.

The research of Frederic Baumgartner, History, on the Vatican archives and the history of the conclave, the secret meeting of the cardinals to determine a new pope, was featured recently in the VT news. Baumgartner discusses how the once-public procedure evolved over the course of centuries and comments on the upcoming conclave to select a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

Two faculty have won major awards from Virginia Tech:

Daniel Thorp, Wine Award
Glenn Bugh, Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education

On Thursday, February 21, 4-9 PM, the Department of History hosted its second annual Teaching Workshop with the theme "New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement." About 20 local teachers and teachers-in-training attended this event, which was held in the Graduate Life Center.

The workshop opened with a Roundtable that explored how scholars have recently been expanding traditional views of the Civil Rights Movement, which have tended to be rather limited in their conceptualization of the geography, chronology, participation, and goals of the movement. David Cline (History) moderated the Roundtable while Peter Wallenstein (History) and Paula Marie Seniors (Africana Studies/Sociology) engaged in lively discussion.

The Keynote Address for the workshop was delivered by Katherine M. Charron, of North Carolina State University, who spoke on "Septima Clark, Citizenship Education, and Women in the Civil Rights Movement." Based on her acclaimed book, Charron's presentation explored the inspiring life of Septima Clark (1898-1987), an African American public school teacher and previously unappreciated hero of the Civil Rights Movement. In the mid-1950s, Clark developed a citizenship training program that enabled thousands of African Americans to register to vote and then to link the power of the ballot to concrete strategies for individual and communal empowerment. About 35 workshop participants and members of the Virginia Tech community attended the Keynote Address.

A series of breakout sessions, led by Katherine Charron, Marian Mollin (History), Hayward Farrar (History), Kelly Belanger (English) and Jennifer Mooney (English), Brett Shadle (History), and Paula Marie Seniors (Africana Studies/Sociology) explored a wide variety of topics relevant to the main theme of the conference. Alex Dowrey, an MA student in History, offered a brief demonstration of the most useful online sources for teaching the Civil Rights Movement, which she gathered on the workshop website. LaDale Winling, Peter Wallenstein, Dan Thorp, David Cline, Woody Farrar, Beverly Bunch-Lyons, Tom Ewing (all from History) and Sharon Zuckerwar (the Social Studies Coordinator for Montgomery County Public Schools), served as the organizing committee for this well-received event.

The workshop was sponsored by: the Department of History, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Department of Sociology, the Africana Studies Program, Hayward Farrar Jr (Gloria Smith Professor of Africana Studies), the Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series, and the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Fund.


Civil Rights Workshop

 

Peter Wallenstein recent publications :

“Identity, Marriage, and Schools: Life along the Color Line/s in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson.” In The Folly of Jim Crow: Rethinking the Segregated South, ed. Stephanie Cole and Natalie Ring, 17–53. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2012.

“Pioneer Black Legislators from Kentucky, 1860s–1960s.” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 110:3–4 (Summer–Autumn 2012): 533–57.

“Afterword,” in Kevin Noble Maillard and Rose Cuison Villazor, eds., Loving v. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Marriage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 261–62.

Victoria Heath, a senior majoring in History and Political Science, is prominently featured in the Outreach & International Affairs website for her volunteer work at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya this past summer. Brett Shadle provided the training, raised the funds to make the trip possible, and accompanied Victoria and another student, Maria Evans, on this unique international service-learning experience.

Mark Barrow, published “Carson in Cartoon: A New Window onto the Noisy Reception to Silent Spring,” Endeavour 36.4 (December 2012): 156-64. The article appears in a special issue of Endeavour that examines the legacy of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a bestseller published 50 years ago that helped ignite the modern environmental movement.

Summer Study abroad in Rome and Switzerland

Seven faculty have won major awards from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences:

Amy Nelson, Excellence in Graduate Advising

Heather Gumbert, Excellence in Undergraduate Advising

Richard Hirsh, Land Grant Scholar Award

Trudy Becker and Andrew Becker, Excellence in International Initiatives

Dan Thorp, Certificate of Teaching Excellence

Matt Heaton, Certificate of Teaching Excellence

Pete Schmitthenner, Excellence in Administration Award

The research conducted by Roger Ekirch on nocturnal life and insomnia was featured as a recent VT Spotlight on Impact. Ekirch’s findings regarding the way people sleep culminated in At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past (New York: Norton, 2006) and garnered him the university’s 2009 Alumni Award for Excellence in Research. The author of four books, Ekirch recently was awarded a fellowship – his fourth – from the National Endowment for the Humanities for work on his next project, an examination of a mutiny in the history of Britain’s Royal Navy.

Roger Ekirch has just published a book review in the Wall Street Journal. more

E. Thomas Ewing, Katharine A. Goins, Mallary J. Orrison, and Erin M. Lord, “Researching and Writing a Historical Biography for the Elementary Classroom,” Perspectives on History (Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association) Vol. 50, No. 8 (November 2012), pp. 32-33. This article describes the process of researching and writing a biography of Edgar A. Long, Principal of the Christiansburg Institute, for use in fifth grade classrooms in Montgomery County Public Schools. For more on this book, see the Virginia Tech news article, “Virginia Tech students develop history book for Montgomery County fifth-graders,” October 13, 2011 . E. Thomas Ewing is professor of history and an associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Erin M. Lord graduated with a BA in History (2010), an MA in History (2011), and an MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction (2011); Katharine A. Goins graduated with a BA in History and a BS in Biology (2012); and Mallary J. Orrison graduated with a BA in History (2011) and an MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction (2012).

The History of Science Society (HSS) has awarded the Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize for best general audience book in the history of science to Mark V. Barrow, Jr., author of Nature’s Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Brett Shadle was awarded the Niles Research Grant from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Brett plans to use the funds to undertake new research projects on the history of refugees in colonial and early post-colonial Kenya and to explore the history of the Kakuma Refugee Camp in the northwest corner of the country. He will travel to Kenya this summer to consult the National Archive in Nairobi and to visit Kakuma.

Matt Wisnioski, a faculty member in the STS department and an affiliate faculty member in History, has just published his first book, Engineers for Change: Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America.

CLAHS featuring a video of Andrea Ledesma, who is doing undergraduate research under the guidance of Marian Mollin

Thomas Ewing was one of two featured researchers to speak at the National Digital Newspaper Project Awards Meeting held in Washington, D.C., on 26 September. His presentation was titled “Influenza in the News: Using Newspapers to Understand a Public Health Crisis.” The organizers of the meeting were the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Thomas Ewing selected as Scholar of the Week (September 3, 2012)

2011 - 2012

Brett Shadle is the co-editor of the latest issue of The International Journal of African Historical Studies. Brett also published an article, "Settlers, Africans, and Inter-Personal Violence in Kenya, ca. 1900-1920s," in that themed issue, which explores the history of violence in colonial Kenya.

Hayward "Woody" Farrar Jr. has been appointed as Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies! This professorship was established in 1995 by former Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen with funds from the Athletic Association. Named in honor of the late Gloria D. Smith, a counselor and advocate of minority students on campus before her retirement, it is awarded for a period of two years to an outstanding faculty member who contributes significantly to the growth and development of minority students, student athletes, and scholarly pursuits. The honoree also oversees the Gloria D. Smith Speaker Series and makes at least one university-wide presentation during his/her tenure. more

Roger Ekirch has published a book review in a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal more...

Honor Theses
Spring 2012

Thomas Bensing, "Simplifying the Waldenses in Medieval Christendom"
Advisor: Dr. Matthew Gabrielle

Charles James, "Save the Males: How Gender Identity Shaped the Response to Coeducation At VMI"
Advisor: Dr. Marian Mollin

Rae Kennedy, "The Evolution of Children's Holocaust Literature"
Advisor: Dr. Marian Mollin

Elizabeth Kiefer, "Waiting for Our Letters to Come: The Cultural History of Harry Potter in American Childhood"
Advisor: Dr. Marian Mollin

Rebecca Middour, "Distinguished Propaganda: How the Truman Administration Sold the Marshall Plan"
Advisor: Dr. David Cline

Kristen Petrillo, "The Lex Iulia et Papia Poppaea: The Effects of Social Reform in Ancient Rome"
Advisor: Dr. Trudy Harrington-Becker

James (Chris) Rohde, "The American Policy towards the Early Stages of German Reindustrialization (1945-1947)"
Advisor: Dr. Robert Stephens

Stephanie Washburn, "How Commercial Airlines Adapted Jet Engines for Civilian Aviation"
Advisor: Dr. Heather Gumbert

Mollin Wins Diggs Teaching Scholar Award

Marian Mollin, associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2012 Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.  Sponsored by the Diggs Endowed Professorship Fund and the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, the Diggs Teaching Scholars Award was established in 1992 and is presented annually to three Virginia Tech faculty members to recognize exceptional contributions to the teaching program and learning environment.

Mollin has been a member of the faculty in the Department of History since 2000. Her teaching awards and honors range from successful curriculum and program development to effective mentoring and advising. She is dedicated to fostering a strong sense of community and belonging in both students and colleagues.  She is also instrumental in fostering the introduction of effective technology into the history classroom and has received two XCaliber team awards for her efforts.

Mollin has proposed a teaching enhancement project that would develop a peer-mentoring program for undergraduate history majors engaged in independent research projects and senior theses.  That program involves creating small groups of student researchers who meet weekly to set research and writing goals, share ideas and insights about sources, provide constructive feedback on each other's work, and encourage group members to reach their research goals. Mollin said this mentoring process would provide a sense of community and create peer accountability.

Additional information about Mollin and the Diggs Award may be found at: http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2012/04/042312-facstaffaward-mollin.html

On April 13, 2012, the annual Department of History's Awards Reception honoring both undergraduate and graduate students was held in conjunction with the 15th annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Conference.

At the reception the following undergraduates were recognized for their achievements: Rebecca Middour, History, was honored with the James W. and Martha N. Banks Award.  The History Prize was awarded to Elizabeth G. Kiefer, History, and alumnus Ryan Prest, a 2011 History and Classics major; Katherine M. A. Pandick, a 2011 History alumna, was recognized with Honorable Mention Sodbilig Bayarmagnai, History and Political Science, received the Curtis Award.  History senior Timothy J. Johnson received the Phoenix Award.  The George G. Marshall Foundation Scholars Award was presented to James Christopher Rohde, a senior History major.

Four graduate students were recognized with awards.  David Blaha, who earned his M.A. in History in 2011, was awarded the 2010-2011 Outstanding Thesis Award; Matthew Saionz, who graduated with an M.A. in History in 2011, received Honorable Mention2011-2012 Outstanding Graduate Assistant Awards were presented to Heather Lennon and Stephen O'Hara.  The inaugural Center for Civil War Studies scholarships were presented to:  second-year students Stephen O'Hara and Laura West; first-year students Adam Jones; and incoming master's student Susannah Loumiet.

Kathleen Jones and Marian Mollin were the recipients of Faculty Excellence Awards; selections were made by the History Graduate Student Association.

The 15th annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Conference took place on April 13-14, 2012.  The conference featured 29 presentations by graduate students from 15 different institutions, including Virginia Tech. Department of History graduate students organized the conference, while History faculty served as discussants for most of the sessions. The conference was sponsored by the VT History Graduate Student Association, the Department of History, University Unions and Student Activities, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Alliance for Social Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought, the Department of Religion and Culture, the Department of English, the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown, the University Bookstore, and the Carol M. Newman Library.
 
Dr. Michael O’Malley (History, George Mason University) delivered the keynote address, “Blind Ambition: The Work of Minstrelsy in American Culture.”  Participants also attended a plenary lunch lecture by Dr. Karen Flint (History, UNC-Charlotte), “Modernizing ‘Tradition’: Race, Gender, Science and Competition in South African Medicine,” and a Careers in Public History Roundtable that was moderated by Dr. David Cline (History, Virginia Tech) and featured several alumni from the History M.A. program, including Robert Teagle, Amy Coffman Murray, and April Cheek-Messier.
 
Department of History M.A. students presented the following papers: Heather Lennon, “Educating the Other Half: Women, Education, and Family in the Early American Republic,” Stephen O’Hara, “The Pulitzer and the President: John Updike, James Buchanan, and Contesting Public Memory via Historical Fiction,” Jacob Spraker, “Ghost Town Letters: Public Health and One Community’s Response to Polio in the Summer of 1950,” Kimberly Staub, “Making Food and Women Fight for Freedom: The U.S. Government, Women, and the ‘Food Situation’ in World War II,” Alison Vick, “Panthers under Foreign Skies: The 36th Infantry Division in the Final Months of the Great War,” and Laura Elizabeth West, “Poor Men Can’t Vex: Black Modernity and the Creation of the Liberian Colonial State.”

ASPECT doctoral students presented the following papers: Dana Cochran, “The Desegregation of Bluefield State College,” and Marc Thomas, “Arrested ‘Development’: How Western Aid Explains Haiti’s Demise.” STS doctoral student Mary Richie McGuire presented “Tobacco Project: Nature, Culture, and the Art of Environmental History,” and Sociology doctoral student Sara McDonough presented “Challenging the Masculine Spectacular: Invigorating Engendered Reappraisals of Women Warriors at Wounded Knee ’73.”

Full details of the conference are available at: http://www.history.vt.edu/hgsa_website/bertoti/index.html

Mark V. Barrow, Jr., Professor and Chair of History, received the 2012 Scholar Award in History from the Virginia Social Sciences Association.  Each year since 1981 the VSSA has recognized outstanding scholarship and teaching in the social sciences through awards to higher education faculty in the Commonwealth.  Barrow delivered an address, "Chapman's Parakeets: On the Role of Serendipity in Historical Research," as part of the Award Recipients Plenary Session at the 85th Annual Meeting of the VSSA, March 24, 2012, in Norfolk, Virginia.

This month's Public History News contains a short article about the Booker T. Washington Workshop held last November at Virginia Tech: Laura West, Katharine Goins, and E. Thomas Ewing, "Approaching Booker T. Washington as Public History,Public History News Vol. 32, No. 2 (March 2012), p. 12.

10 Phi Alpha Theta members to present their original research at the PAT Regional Conference at Lynchburg University on March 31st.

The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) has selected Daniel Thorp as Teacher of the Week (March 5, 2012) more...

Heather Gumbert and Robert Stephens are featured prominently in a nice story on the new Honors Residential College at East Ambler Johnston that the university posted this morning. more...

Matt Heaton has published a chapter in an edited anthology: "Thomas Adeoye Lambo and the Decolonization of Psychiatry in Nigeria." In Science and Empire: Knowledge and Networks of Science Across the British Empire, 1800-1970, ed. Brett M. Bennett and Joseph M. Hodge, 275-96. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

More info on the volume may be found at:

http://www.amazon.com/Science-Empire-Knowledge-Networks-1800-1970/dp/0230252281

The BBC News Magazine, has an article featuring Roger Ekirch's discovery of how we slept in a fundamentally different fashion before the Industrial Revolution, along with discussion of the modern implications of this discovery for sleep science.

Titled "The Myth of the Eight-Hour Sleep," the feature quotes, for example, Russell Foster, a professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford, who notes, "Many people wake up at night and panic . . .I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern." So the word about segmented sleep seems to be having an important impact upon the treatment of some forms of insomnia by lessening people's anxiety when they awaken in the middle of the night, which, of course, only makes their "insomnia" worse.

Kathleen Jones, Rob Stephens, Stephen O'Hara and Mark Barrow have published an article in the March issue of the Journal of American History.  That article, "Romancing the Capstone: National Trends, Local Practice, and Student Motivation in the History Curriculum," explores how History Departments at a variety of colleges and universities across the nation relate the capstone experience to the rest of their undergraduate curriculum.  It also discusses the "Book Project" that several of his have been pursuing in our 4000-level topics courses for a number of years now.

 

Three faculty and a student have won major awards from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences:

Kathleen Jones received the Excellence in Graduate Student Advising Award

Rob Stephens received the Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

Brett Shadle received a Certificate of Teaching Excellence

Laura West received an Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Roger Ekirch's book on Ian Marchant's "Top Ten Books of the Night," which was recently published in The Guardian

Larry Shumsky has published Homelessness: A Documentary and Reference Guide (Greenwood, 2012).  According to the publisher, "The book considers homelessness and its distinctive character in three periods of American history: the era of tramps and hoboes in the late 1800s-early 1900s, the era of transients and migrants in the 1930s, and the era of homeless and 'street' people in the last 40 years. It clarifies the multiple meanings of the word 'homeless' today and demonstrates that homelessness is a symptom of more than one problem, leading to confusion about the issue of homelessness and hampering attempts to reduce its occurrence."

More information may be found at: http://www.abc-clio.com/product.aspx?isbn=9780313377006

Homeless_Documentary

Thomas Ewing is part of team of faculty and graduate student researchers from Virginia Tech and the University of Toronto who submitted a winning proposal for the "Digging into Data Challenge," an international funding competition designed to promote innovative humanities and social science research using techniques of large scale data analysis.

Their proposal "An Epidemiology of Information: Data Mining the 1918 Influenza Pandemic" was one of 14 projects approved for funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  Virginia Tech and the University of Toronto will split $250,000 in external funding for this two-year project, which will begin immediately. more...

 

Roger Ekirch published a fascinating op-ed on the decline of municipal street lighting in Sunday's New York Times

The lecture “Black Women, Slavery, and Resistance in America” by Beverly Bunch-Lyons, History, which she delivered for her Fall 2011 class in Afro-American history, was broadcast as part of C-Span's Lectures in History Series on December 17 and 18.  Bunch-Lyons, who works on Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region campus, taped the lecture on the Blacksburg campus in October; it was her first face-to-face meeting with the students.  The lecture was later broadcast on C-SPAN and is now archived here.  Details can be found in the Virginia Tech News.

On November 8 the Department of History collaborated with the National Park Service Booker T. Washington National Monument on a one-day workshop for teachers on The Life and Legacies of Booker T. Washington.  Participants included teachers from several different districts in the region, pre-service teachers enrolled in Virginia Tech licensing programs, and volunteer historians from the National Monument; funding was provided by the National Park Service, and the workshop was organized by the Department of History and Continuing and Professional Education at Virginia Tech.  Virginia Tech participants included faculty members David Cline, History, Virginia Fowler, English, David Hicks, School of Education/Teaching and Learning, Daniel Thorp, History, and Peter Wallenstein, History; as well as students Katherine A. Goins, a senior History and Biology double major, Erin M. Lord, a master's student in History and School of Education/Curriculum and Instruction, and Mallary Orrison, a History alumna (B.A. 2011) enrolled as a master's candidate in the School of Education/Curriculum and Instruction.  The event was organized by Tom Ewing, Associate Dean and History, Laura West, English, and Goins, with assistance from Cline, Hicks, Lord, Thorp, and Wallenstein, as well as Mark Barrow, History, and Sharon Zuckerwar, School of Education.

Robert P. Stephens, Kathleen Jones, and Mark V. Barrow, Jr., published "The Book Project:  Engaging History Majors in Undergraduate Research," History Teacher 45.1 (November 2011):  65-80

Mark V. Barrow, Jr., Professor and Chair of History, has been selected as the winner of the 2011 Susan Elizabeth Abrams Prize, which is awarded biennially for the best book in the history of science published by the University of Chicago Press.  The citation from the selection committee noted: "The 2011 Susan Elizabeth Abrams Prize is awarded to Mark V. Barrow, Jr. for Nature's Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology. A synthesis of original research and wide reading across several bodies of scholarship, the book traces changing conceptions of extinction from the eighteenth century to the present, concentrating especially on the role played by American naturalists. Barrow writes about extinct species, and the naturalists who fought to save species from extinction, with pathos and panache.  Readers come away with a vivid sense of what has been lost, and also of the long struggles to save threatened species and raise awareness of extinction as a real - and avoidable - possibility."

Established in 2003 by the University of Chicago Press, the nation's largest academic publisher, this prize honors the contributions made by the late Susan E. Abrams--as editor, mentor, critic, and friend--to the history of science.  The prize is awarded to a book that exemplifies the standards that Susan brought to bear on publication within the field: originality, exceptional scholarship, and well-crafted prose.


Brett Shadle, Associate Professor History and ASPECT, is working with the National Council Law Reporting (Kenya), Google, Inc., and the Kenya Law Review to place searchable pdf copies of colonial-era Kenya Legislative Council debates online.  Working under Shadle's supervision, history graduate students Jacob Spraker and Chris Westfall have scanned and performed OCR recognition on over 15 years' of legislative debates.  The records will soon be made online

Chris Rohde, a history undergraduate student, has won the George C. Marshall Undergraduate Research Scholarship.  An advisee of Amy Nelson, Chris will conduct his research, “The American Policy towards the Re-industrialization of Germany,” with Rob Stephens.

Roger Ekirch, was honored for his book Birthright (W.W. Norton, 2010), a finalist for the People’s Choice Award. At the 14th Annual Literary Awards Celebration, October 15, at the Library of Virginia.

Ekirch was a leading contributor to “The Sleep Diaries,” a five-part series about sleep that aired in the UK on BBC Radio Four, Oct. 24-28.

His research figured in “Die Mär vom Durchschlafen” (The Myth of Sleeping Through the Night) in the Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Sept. 9, and in “Maldito Despertador” (Cursed Alarm Clock) in elPeriódico (Barcelona), Sept.18.

Radio interview with Brett Shadle during a recent visit to the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.  Brett talks extensively about his teaching in and research on African history. Listen ...

Collegiate Times articles featuring History Department faculty and students.

The first is an article on the Edgar Long biography that Katie Goins, Erin Lord, and Mallary Orrison wrote under the supervision of Tom Ewing

The second and third are on Civil War historian Bud Robertson's recent book, which was published by the National Geographic Society:
Retired professor tells human Civil War stories in book
Robertson a ‘Blacksburg rockstar’

Randy Shifflett's editorial on the RoanokeTimes: "Tech has little appettie for humanities"

Thomas Ewing and David Hicks wrote a story that looks at the newspaper's coverage of Roosevelt's decision to invite Booker T. Washington to the White House in 1901.
"Revisiting 'Roosevelt's Blunder' "

Peter Wallenstein's editorial about the new Virginia history elementary school textbook for which he served as a consultant: "New edition of 'Our Virginia' serves our young readers well"

Thomas Ewing, a Professor in History and Associate Dean of CLAHS, guided three Virginia Tech history students, Erin Lord, Mallary Orrison, and Katie Goins, through the process of writing the biography of Edgar Long , which will be used by 5th Graders in Montgomery County. more...

Helen Schneider was co-organizer of a recent workshop "Relief and Reconstruction in Wartime and Postwar China, 1937-1949" held at the University of Oxford on June 10-11, 2011.  Thirteen invited participants, ranging from graduate students to well-established scholars, presented new, primary source-driven research that addresses the significance of social programs, international and domestic organizations, and government social policies in China during and after the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945.

Damion Blake, an ASPECT doctoral student who has been teaching in the History Department, has recently won an Social Science Research Council Fellowship

Washington Post article "Virginia Tech dorm becomes a learning experience" on the new Honors Residential College at West AJ that features Heather Gumbert and Rob Stephens

Brett Shadle published "Sexual Offences in Kenya Courts, 1960s-2008," in the Kenya Law Review 2 (2008-10)

shadleOffendres

Amy Nelson and Heather Gumbert have published chapters in a recent anthology on Soviet space exploration and culture:

Amy Nelson, "Cold War Celebrity and The Courageous Canine Scout: The Life and Times of Soviet Space Dogs," in James T. Andrews and Asif Siddiqi, eds., Into the Cosmos. Space Exploration and Soviet Culture (Pittsburgh University Press, 2011), pp.  133-158

Heather L. Gumbert, "Cold War Theaters: Cosmonaut Titov at the Berlin Wall," in James T. Andrews and Asif Siddiqi, eds., Into the Cosmos. Space Exploration and Soviet Culture (Pittsburgh University Press, 2011), pp.  240-262.

cosmos

The Virginia Tech Pi Xi Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society, has received a 2011 Best Chapter Award from the society.  Each year Phi Alpha Theta presents Best Chapter Awards to chapters that excel in promoting the mission of the honor society on the local level.  Chapters compete in six divisions based on student enrollment at their institutions; the Pi Xi Chapter was the winner for universities with more than 23,000 students.  Faculty members Marian Mollin and Glenn Bugh served as advisors during the award year.

Glenn Bugh received a Humanities Summer Stipend to continue archival research on cavalry inHellenistic Athens and Renaissance Venice. 

Mark Barrow published "The Specter of Extinction: Taking a Long View of Species Loss," in Environmental History 16, no. 3 (July 2011):  428-32.

barrowSpecter

The groundbreaking research of Roger Ekirch, History, on sleep prior to the Industrial Revolution was prominently profiled in an article, “The Myth of a Good Night’s Sleep,” in the Copenhagen newspaper Dagbladet Information on July 22 and in a feature, “An Interview with Professor Ekirch,” on August 21 in the Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second largest paper. His book Birthright (W.W. Norton, 2010) served as the basis of an hour-long documentary on BBC television, “Kidnapped: A Georgian Adventure,” which premiered on August 10. Ekirch was the program consultant and a commentator for the documentary, which was filmed in London, Ireland, and the U.S. A Russian translation of Ekirch’s 2005 book, At Day’s Close, has been published by Azbuka of St. Petersburg, bringing to seven the number of foreign editions, with others in press in Italy and Taiwan.

2010 - 2011

Richard Hirsh selected as Scholar of the Week (June 13, 2011)

Two history majors, a history graduate student, and a history faculty member have published a brief biography of Edgar A. Long, an influential principal at the Christiansburg Institute.

Edgar A. Long: Principal of Christiansburg Institute, by Erin M. Lord (an M.A. student in history), Mallary Orrison (a senior in history), Katherine A. Goins (a junior in history), and Professor Thomas Ewing, tells the story of Long, who attended the Tuskegee Institute and studied under Booker T. Washington at the end of the nineteenth century.  Following graduation, he came to southwest Virginia to begin teaching and then serving as principal at the Christiansburg Institute. April Baker, a student in the professional writing program in the English Department worked under her faculty mentor, Jennifer Moody, to complete the book design.

The book was written with input from numerous Montgomery County teachers, for use in fifth-grade history classes.  Copies have been distributed to every fifth grade classroom in the county, to local school and public libraries, and to the Christiansburg Institute.  Funding for printing the book came from the History Department, the Office of the Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs, and the CLAHS Diversity Committee.

EdgarALong

Richard Hirsh selected as Scholar of the Week (June 13, 2011)

Roanoke Times New River Current featured a story about the discovery in the Montgomery County Courthouse of a marriage register from early 1866, with listings of marriages among freed slaves. The article connects the discovery and restoration of this document to Daniel Thorp’s research on the African American community in Montgomery County, as well as the efforts of Christiansburg Institute to preserve and document this history

Helen Schneider has been promoted to Associate Professor.

Thomas Ewing has beenn promoted to Professor.

James Robertson and Jack Davis was on the radio show "With Good Reason" this coming Wednesday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m.  The program was entitled "Horses and Water in the Civil War," and it examines the impact of the environment and animals on the outcome of the war.

Thomas Ewing published an article entitled "Using Digital Resources to Teach U.S. Policy History in the Middle East" in Perspectives in History

Roger Ekirch's Birthright: The True Story that Inspired Kinapped is about to release a paperback version of the book by W.W Norton, just over a year after the hardbound version was published.

Alison Hight selected to receive an ACC Undergraduate Research Scholar Award to pursue a research project on Witchcraft in Early Modern Scotland!

She is one of only five undergraduates across the university to receive the award this year, and she follows in the footsteps of Erin Weiss, a History and Interdisciplinary Studies major and Ryan Prest, a History and Classical Studies Major who received this award last year.

The Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review We are pleased to announce the launch of the VTUHR. Please visit the journal's homepage for details about submissions.

Glenn Bugh elected Chair of the Managing Committee for the American Research Center in Sofia (ARCS).   He was unanimously elected by the representatives of 76 cooperating universities and colleges in the US and abroad.  This appointment runs for 5 years.  He will be working closely with the Board of Trustees and the Director of ARCS in Sofia, Bulgaria to provide leadership over all the programmatic and personnel needs of the Center.

Heather Gumbert and Robert Stephens were interviewed on March 28, 2011 at WVTF about the new residential honors college. Listen

Amy Nelson selected as Scholar of the Week (May 2, 2011)

Peter Wallenstein wrote an op-ed commentary for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It tells the fascinating story of Barbara Johns Powell, one of the cases that led to Brown v. Board of Education, and Massive Resistance in Prince Edward County. more...

Jack Davis' most recent book,The Rogue Republic, has a review in the Wall Street Journal more...

Richard Hirsh wrote an op-ed for the Roanoke Times, "Government Regulations Aren't All Bad." 

Woody Farrar published a foreword to Kibibi Mack Shelton's book, Ahead of Her Time in Yesteryear: Geraldyne Pierce Zimmerman Comes of Age in a Southern African American Family (Knoxville, University of Tennessee Press, 2010)

Rena Glavas, a double major in Classical Studies and History, has been named the CLAHS Outstanding Senior. more...

Heather Gumbert received a 2011-12 Niles Faculty Fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Heather Gumbert and Robert Stephens will lead the first step in the university's residential college initiative as faculty principals of the Honors Residential College at East Ambler Johnston Hall.
-  Read Full Story

The 14th Annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Conference took place on March 25-26.  The conference featured 28 presentations by graduate students from 12 different institutions, including Virginia Tech; Virginia Tech Department of History faculty served as discussants for most of the sessions.  The conference was sponsored by the VT History Graduate Student Association, the Department of History, University Unions and Student Activities, the Department of Science and Technology in Society, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and the Department of Women's and Gender Studies.

Dr. Claudrena Harold (History and African-American Studies, University of Virginia) delivered the keynote address called, "Behold the Land: Reconfiguring the Roots and Routes of the Southern Black Radical Tradition during the Jim Crow Era and Beyond."  Participants also attended a screening of the documentary, For Memories' Sake, followed by a discussion with the film's writer-director and producer, Ashley Maynor and Paul Harrill.

Department of History graduate students presented the following papers:  David Blaha, "Somali v. Gosha: British Colonialism's Effect on the Formation of Identity in Jubaland, 1895-1925," Dan Fischer, "The De-politicization of Everyday Life: Consumer Culture and the Politics of the Individual," Jill Ketron, "I Am Not a Woman Revolutionary but a Revolutionary Who Happens to Be a Woman," Stephen O'Hara, "A Matter of Honor: Media Opposition to Political Dueling Following the Henry Clay-John Randolph Duel on the Potomac, 1826," Matt Saionz, "Visions of Anglo Empire: Anglo-Texan Justifications for the Texan Santa Fe Expedition of 1841," Jacob Spraker, "Chiropractors and the Containment of the Polio Vaccine: An Historical Inquiry into the Controversial Cure," Kimberly Staub, "Religious Empowerment: Women's Impact on the Early Evangelical Movement, 1780-1820," Laura West, "Saving White America, Saving Black America: Postmillennial Thought and the American Colonization Society, 1800-1822," Christopher Westfall, "Union Above All Else: Evansville, Indiana's Republicans and the Emancipation Proclamation," and Erin Weiss, "A New Deal for Junkies: Changing Perceptions of Addiction and Treatment, 1835-1974."

ASPECT graduate students presented the following papers: Joseph Forte, "The De-Politicization of Everyday Life: Consumer Culture and the Politics of the Individual" and Marc Thomas, "Aid and AIDS in Africa."

Full details of the conference are available here

Department Hires Cline and Winling for Public History Initiative

The Department of History is delighted to announce that David Cline and LaDale Winling will be joining our faculty this next academic year.  The addition of these two new colleagues will help us greatly strengthen teaching, research, and outreach in public history at Virginia Tech, and we look forward to their arrival.

David Cline is a public historian and oral historian who specializes in the study of religion and politics in 20th century social change movements.  He received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010 and his M.A. in U.S. History with a certificate in Public History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2003. David worked at the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina since 2004, and was the Associate Director of the program from 2008 to 2011. He is the author of Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961-1973, published in 2006 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Dr. Cline worked as a journalist and publicist for a dozen years, and his public history projects have included directing fieldwork on the Long Civil Rights Movement research initiative of the University of North Carolina, interviews for a NPR documentary on the Korean War, work at Historic Deerfield in Deerfield, MA, museum exhibits, large-scale community history projects, and a project documenting the Cherokee Trail of Tears. He is the recipient of a number of fellowships and awards, including a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship in 2008 and a National Council on Public History New Professional Award in 2004. He is currently working on an edited collection of oral histories with African American veterans of the Korean War and on a book on the Student Interracial Ministry, a seminary-based civil rights organization active during the 1960s.  His website is located at http://www.david-cline.com.  He will be joining the department in August, 2011.

DavidCline
Dr.Cline

LaDale Winling is an urban and public historian with experience in digital media.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2010 and has graduate degrees in urban planning and public history.  He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Temple University and was previously an instructor at Loyola University Chicago.  His research and publications examine the role of American universities in urban development, including a book in progress entitled Building the Ivory Tower.

Dr. Winling's public history experience ranges from architectural research with the Historic American Buildings Survey in Washington, D.C., to exhibit development on regional history and educational outreach at The Heritage Museum in southwest Michigan.  Since 2008, Dr. Winling has been a co-director of the digital humanities project Classicizing Chicago at Northwestern University, an examination of classical reception in the Midwestern metropolis scheduled to launch in May 2011.  For his academic research and public history work he has received support from the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library and the National Building Museum.  His website is located at http://www.urbanoasis.org.  He will be joining the department in January, 2012.

LaDaleWinling
Dr. Winling


Three History students have received funding to support their research and presentation of their results from the college's Undergraduate Research Institute:

  • Andrew Gibbs
    Faculty Mentor: Peter Wallenstein
    Project: "Yes, but. . .": Oscar Blayton and the Unenthusiastic Intergration of William and Mary
  • Alison Hight
    Faculty Mentor: Michael Alexander
    Project: "Beyond the Broomstick: Witchcraft in Early Modern Scotland"
  • Alexander Adkins
    Faculty Mentor:  Michael Alexander
    Project: "Iraq through the New York Times"

Linda Arnold has published a book chapter and an encyclopedia article:

  • "La Suprema Corte de Justicia. Entre el proyecto liberal y la visión conservador del país: la clausura de la Suprema Corte y la ley de justicia de 1855."  In Los caminos de la justicia en México, 1810-2010 (México: Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, 2010): 141-157.
  • "Juicos verbales y conciliatorios." In Diccionario histórico judicial en México: ideas e instituciones. 3 vols. (México: Suprema Corte de la Nación, 2010): Vol. 2, 910-919.

Richard Hirsh published "Historians of Technology in the Real World: Reflections on the Pursuit of Policy-Oriented History,"Technology and Culture 52 (January 2011): 6-20.

Historian of Technology

Glenn Bugh has been granted the CLAHS International Initiatives Award for the outstanding work he has done at/for Riva, the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the American Research School in Sofia, the Smithsonian Institution, and others.

Congratulations, Glenn, for this well-deserved honor!

Michael Alexander has won the Sporn Award for Teaching Introductory Subjects.
Sponsored by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research and the Virginia Tech Academy for Teaching Excellence, the Sporn Award is presented annually to a Virginia Tech faculty member to recognize excellence in teaching introductory-level courses. Nominations are received from students, and recipients are selected by a committee comprised of student representatives from Omicron Delta Kappa and Golden Key honor societies and a faculty advisor who was the previous year's award winner. Recipients are awarded a $2,000 cash prize and are inducted into the university's Academy of Teaching Excellence. The award was established in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Philip J. Sporn. Dr. Sporn was a Virginia Tech alumnus and president and chief executive officer of American Electric Power Company.

Awesome job, Michael!  Congratulations!

Roger Ekrich appears in the documentary, The City Dark, which will premier later this month at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.  The film explores how the disappearance of darkness affects humans and the natural world.  For more information, see the film trailer (which features Roger prominently)

Matthew Heaton was selected to participate in the National History Center's sixth international seminar on decolonization, to be held July 11 through August 7, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The seminar, which is supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is cosponsored by the American Historical Association and the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress. more...

David Zimring, who has been teaching courses for us for several years, successfully defended his dissertation in Charlottesville last Friday and will graduate in May.
The title of his dissertation is:
"Crossing the Line: Northern-born Men and Women in the Confederacy."

Congratulations Dr. Zimring!

James I. Robertson received a standing ovation in the Virginia
House of Delegates for his outstanding service to the Commonwealth. more...

Thomas Ewing, Associate Professor (and, hopefully, soon to be Professor) of History, has been named Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research and Director of Diversity Initiatives for the College.

Helen Schneider published Keeping the Nation's House: Domestic Management and the Making of Modern China KeepingTheNationsHouse

Trudy Becker, senior instructor, Department of Religion and Culture and frequent adjunct in the History Departmen , has been awarded this year's CLAHS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring.

Thomas Ewing, has received two CLAHS awards this year:

  • The Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award
  • The Land Grant Scholar's Award (which he shared with his longtime collaborator, David Hicks). This award was made possible by the Niles family, alumni, faculty, and friends through the Dean Jerry A. and Ruth Anne Niles Fund for Faculty Excellence.  Its purpose is to honor the vision and tireless work of Dean Niles to the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the field of education, and to particularly recognize his commitment to the university’s land-grant mission.  In addition, the award honors Ruth Anne Niles, his wife, for her support of his work and the college. 

Thomas E. Sebrell, who earned his M.A. in history at Virginia Tech in 2004 and his Ph.D. in history at Queen Mary, University of London in 2010, has organized a series of walking tours of British sites relevant to the American Civil War.  The idea originated when he was conducting research for his PhD thesis on Union and Confederate propaganda in Britain.  His research uncovered not only a great wealth of knowledge pertaining to American Civil War activities occurring in London (and other areas of Britain), but the locations of most events and the personnel involved.  Upon further research, Tom discovered that most sites not only still exist, but are largely in their 1860s' setting, unlike most urban Civil War sites in the United States owing to urban renewal.  At the recommendation of several British and American academics, most notably his PhD supervisor Dr Peter Catterall, Tom began mapping out walking tours, which he has been offering to the public since October 2010.  For additional information, see http://www.acwlondon.org/.

Daniel Thorp published "New Zealand and the American Civil War," in Pacific Historical Review (February 2011) pp. 97-130. 

NewZealandAmericaCivilWar

Mark Barrow’s book Nature's Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology  has been selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2010.  Every year, Choice subject editors recognize the most significant print and electronic works from among the 7,000 reviewed during the previous calendar year.  Appearing annually in the January issue, this prestigious list of publications reflects the best in scholarly titles.

NaturesGhosts

James I. Robertson Jr: "Mr. Civil War", Virginia Tech Magazine, Winter 2010-2011, vol. 33, no.2

Peter Schmitthenner, Associate Professor of History and Religion and Culture chair, published "Colonial Hydraulic Projects in South India: Environmental and Cultural Legacy,"The British Empire and the Natural World: Environmental Encounters in South Asia, edited by Deepak Kumar, Vinita Damodaran, and Rohan D'Souza (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011), 181-201

BritishEmpire

Thomas Ewing, Pedagoji ve Devrim. Eğitimin Temelleri Üzerine Disiplinlerarası ve Ulusüstü Yaklaşımlar (Ankara: Dipnot, 2010), 359 pp. Turkish language translation of edited Revolution and Pedagogy. Interdisciplinary and Transnational Perspectives on Educational Foundations (New York: Palgrave, 2005).

Ewing_Pedagoji

Brett Shadle published "White Settlers and the Law in Early Colonial Kenya," in the Journal of Eastern African Studies 4 (2010): 510-24

ShadleWhiteSettlers

Ryan Prest, senior in the University Honors program majoring in history and classical studies, has been selected as an ACC Undergraduate Research Scholar.
His project title is "The Valeril Flacci: A Prosopographical Study of One Patrician Family in the Roman Republic." His faculty mentor is Trudy Harrington Becker, senior instructor, Department of Religion and Culture and frequent adjunct in the History Department. more...

Two of our majors, Rebecca Middour and Andrew Gibbs, have received Marshall Undergraduate Scholarships this year.

Middour
, a junior and double major in history and political science, will be working on a project entitled "The Dilemmas of Postwar Americanization in France."  Her faculty mentor is Amy Nelson.

Andrew Gibbs, a junior and double major in history and economics, will be working on project entitled "The Role of American POWs at Home." His faculty mentor is Woody Farrar.

The George C. Marshall Foundation provides financial and logistical support for undergraduates to undertake major research projects using primary sources, especially material contained in the rich collections at the Marshall Research Library in Lexington, Virginia.

Gender Networks Research Symposium
Monday, November 15, Graduate Life Center, Room B
• 9:20 - 10:20 Women’s Networks and Transnational Activism
- Jillian Ketron, “ 'The Way a Sister Shares with a Sister': Woman-to-Woman Connections in the U.S.-Nicaraguan Solidarity Movement of the 1980s”
• 10:30 - 11:00 Knowledge Networks
- Matthew Heaton, "Transnational Networks of Black Psychiatry, 1945-1979"
• 11:15 - 12:30 Faith and Violence in Gendered Networks
- Tom Ewing, “ ' Turkish Outrage': Communication Technology, Social Networks, and Gender Politics in United States-Ottoman Relations circa 1893”
- Marian Mollin, “Ita Ford and the Maryknoll Sisters: Hidden Gender(ed) Networks of the Global 1960s”
Helen Schneider, has been invited to the University of Oxford to serve as a research associate. During her two-year appointment, which begins this fall, she will join a team of researchers based to work on the project “The Persistence of Conflict: China's War with Japan: Experience, Legacy, and Memory, 1931 to the Present.” more...
Thomas Ewing published Separate Schools: Gender, Policy, and Practice in Postwar Soviet Education, by Northern Illinois University Press.  Separate_School
Amy Nelson, co-edits Other Animals: Beyond the Human in Russian Culture and History published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.  Amy not only co-edited the book (w/ her colleague at Bates College, Jane Costlow), but also contributed a chapter, "The Body of the Beast: Animal Protection and Anticruelty Legislation in Imperial Russia."  She and Jane Costlow also organized the 2007 international conference that became the impetus for this publication.  Other Animals Beyond
Heather Gumbert published "Constructing a Socialist Landmark: The Berlin Television Tower" in Berlin: Divided City, eds. Sabine Hake and Philip Broadbent (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2010) BerlinDivededCity
Amy Nelson published "La politique musicale de Lounatcharski. L'art pour le peuple,"in Lénine Staline et la Musique. Musée de la musique 12 octobre 2010-16 janvier 2011 (Paris: Cité de la Musique, 2010), 87-95.
The book is an catalogue for an exhibit on Soviet music at the Cité de la Musique in Paris
Amy Nelson published "The Legacy of Laika: Celebrity, Sacrifice, and the Soviet Space Dog," and Mark Barrow published "The Alligator's Allure: Changing Perceptions of a Charismatic Carnivore" in Dorothee Brantz, ed., Beastly Natures: Animals, Humans, and the Study of History (University of Virginia Press, 2010).  Both papers, contributions to the emerging field of animal studies, were originally presented at a conference on animals and history that the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., organized at the Literaturhaus in Cologne, Germany. BeastlyNatures
 
Mark Barrow published "On the Trail of the Ivory-Bill: Field Science, Local Knowledge, and the Struggle to Save Endangered Species," in Jeremy Vetter, ed., Knowing Global Environments: New Historical Perspectives on the Field Sciences (Rutgers University Press, 2011), 135-161. KnowingGlobal

Brett Shadle and Paulo Polanah have been awarded a Humanities Symposium Award for their joint proposal, "Whiteness Beyond the West." in the College Humanities Summer Stipend Committee

Thomas Ewing and David Hicks, have been awarded a Teaching with Primary Sources grant, sponsored by the Library of Congress. The project develops curriculum materials and pedagogical strategies for use by teachers on the topic of the controversial October 1901 dinner between President Theodore Roosevelt and the African American educator, Booker T. Washington.

This initiative, which builds from our ongoing collaboration with the Christiansburg Institute, is part of the effort to document and broaden our understanding of Booker T. Washington's significance as a national leader in African American educational history. The grant also builds on the History Department's collaboration with regional schools, through the CI project as well as Teaching American History programs, and with the School of Education.

James Robertson's career and legacy that's published on the front page of today's Collegiate Times.  A link to the article is here
Daniel Thorp, has been named the university’s director of Curriculum for Liberal Education in the Division of Undergraduate Education. more

Roger Ekirch's eloquent request, broadcast on WVTF, for the owner of the Washington Redskins to change his team's name, which Roger described as a "notorious racial epithet." 

Roger Ekirch, at the behest of the New York Times, he wrote columns relating to “sleep violence” and nightmares for the paper’s online op‐ed page that appeared on March 31 and August 1 respectively.
Roger Ekirch, served as the chief commentator in a two‐hour History Channel special titled “Afraid of the Dark” that began airing over the summer
   

 

 

 


 

 

 

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