Letter from the Chair
Letter from the Chair, December 2012
Welcome to the annual George Washington University History Department Newsletter. Sharing the impressive accomplishments of GW’s History Department is one of our goals in sending out the newsletter to alumni and friends. Letting you know about our current activities -- new faculty, the activities of those who taught when you were a student, and bringing you up to date on our on departmental alumni and current graduate students -- is another of our goals. I hope you enjoy this newsletter as much as the earlier ones, and we look forward to you getting back to us.
We appreciate very much that many of you who were inspired by previous newsletters made a gift to the department. As you will see in the columns below, we used those donations to fund some of the exciting research that necessitated travel being carried out by our undergraduate and graduate students. If you are in a position to do so, I hope that you will consider making a donation. A gift of $1,000 can fund an important short research trip for a student writing a senior, MA, or doctoral thesis. $2,500 can make possible a longer-term visit to a major archive. In any case, gifts of all sizes are most welcome, small and large, as we “bundle” them to use for these activities and many others.
Donations are also used to bring renowned scholars to campus to meet our students and to discuss with them and the public their path-breaking research. This past March, the Kayser lecture was delivered by Thomas J. Sugrue, the David Boies Professor of History and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. In October 2013 the department was host to Columbia University Professor Karen Barkey who presented the Kylan Jones-Huffman Lecture in a talk on “Choreographies of Sharing Sacred Sites among Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire. On February 28, Joan Wallach Scott, Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton will speak about her new book, The Fantasy of Feminist History. Several weeks later, on March 20, at 4:00 pm, the Kayser lecture will be delivered by Professor Geoff Eley, University of Michigan. He will speak on “Empire, Ideology, and the East: Thoughts on Nazism’s Spatial Imaginary.” After the New Year, please consult the department’s webpage for the location of these presentations.
If you have questions or comments, or merely wish to begin reconnecting with the department and GW, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com, by phone at (202) 994-6052, or at the mailing address listed at the end of the newsletter.
With best wishes,
William H. Becker
Department Highlights 2012
Three new members of the faculty
We added three new members of the faculty in 2012. Each has a specialty in the Atlantic World.
Denver Brunsman, a specialist in the era of George Washington, left Wayne State University, to join the department to teach our course on George Washington and His World, which is offered at the Mt Vernon Estate and Gardens. Denver has a PhD in History from Princeton. His book on impressment will appear in 2013, published by University of Virginia Press.
Greg Childs, who recently received his PhD from New York University, is a specialist in Brazil and the Portuguese Empire. In the fall semester, Greg taught a course on Colonial Latin America.
Jess Krug, who received her PhD from University of Wisconsin, focuses on the African roots of the Portuguese Empire in Latin America. In the spring semester, she will teach a Dean’s seminar on Africa and the early Atlantic World.
New Graduate Concentration in The History of Women and Gender in Global Perspective
This new concentration offers MA and PhD students the opportunity to study how gender has shaped and been shaped by historical processes around the world. Topics such as the changing roles of women and men, the construction of the family, understandings of sexuality, the role of gender in religion and popular culture, and the changing discourse on women's political, economic, and social rights, among many others, are addressed from a wide variety of geographical and temporal perspectives. While many graduate programs offer courses in women's and gender history, the GW concentration stands out for the diversity of perspectives it includes. Faculty teaching in the concentration specialize in such wide-ranging fields as African History, African-American History, American Jewish History, Early Modern British History, the History of Empire, Korean History, Latin American History, the History of Medicine, Medieval European History, Middle Eastern History, Modern European History, U.S. Constitutional History, and U.S. Women’s History. Students in the concentration will thus have the opportunity to gain an unusually broad background in the field. At the same time, the many faculty involved in the program allow students to choose an adviser close to their specific interests to guide them in the writing of their MA thesis or PhD dissertation.
Program: Students are required to take a core course on "The History of Women and Gender in Global Perspective." In addition, students will take at least two other relevant graduate-level courses. Masters students are encouraged to write an MA thesis related to the concentration, while PhD students may choose Gender and Women’s History as a Comprehensive Examination field.
Participating Faculty: Paula Alonso, Latin American History; Nemata Blyden, Africa and African Diaspora History; Erin D. Chapman, African-American and U.S. History; Cynthia Harrison, U.S. Women’s History and U.S. Constitutional History; Jenna Weissman Joselit, American Jewish History; Dina Khoury, Middle Eastern History; Jisoo Kim, Korean History; Suzanne Miller, Medieval European History; Teresa Murphy, U.S. Women’s History; Linda Levy Peck, Early Modern English History; Katrin Schultheiss, Modern European History and History of Medicine; Lauren Strauss, American Jewish and Immigration History; Andrew Zimmerman, German History and History and Theory of Empire.
Center for Study of Winston Churchill comes to GW -- Churchill Library and Center will include endowed professorship
The first permanent American home for studies of 20th-century leader Sir Winston Churchill will be located in GW’s Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library. The gift establishing the center will include a $2.5 million endowed professorship in Churchill and 20th-century British history in the History Department.
The Churchill Center, a Chicago-based international educational organization devoted to preserving the legacy of Winston Churchill, has agreed to establish the National Churchill Library and Center at the GW through an $8 million pledge to the university. The agreement between the two institutions includes rare books and other research materials for the new center, endowed academic positions for the study of Churchill and British history and renovations to the ground floor of Gelman Library. The Center will open in several stages between 2013 and 2015.
GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences has launched the nation’s first graduate degree in Jewish Cultural Arts
The next generation of cultural entrepreneurs and arts administrators will be trained at GW in the university’s new graduate program in Jewish Cultural Arts, the first of its kind in the nation. The two-year Master of Arts program—created by Jenna Weissman Joselit, the Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of History—combines cultural arts research with practical arts training. The multidisciplinary curriculum is complemented by cultural collaborations and internship opportunities with Washington, D.C. arts organizations, foundations and museums.
Dr. Weissman Joselit said the program expands what traditionally constitutes the study of Judaic studies—mostly examining texts—to draw upon the Jewish culture’s other “rich and vibrant” expressions. “The new program underscores the primacy of culture in all of its varied expressions—the visual arts, dance, film, music, theater—to Judaic Studies,” said Dr. Weissman Joselit. “Jewish cultural arts are central, even indispensable, to understanding the Jewish historical experience.”
Graduates will emerge with skills ranging from audience development and fiscal management to the seeding and nurturing of new forms of Jewish cultural expression.“Little by little, the impact of the arts is making itself felt within the academy,” said Dr. Weissman Joselit. “The program will combine the practical with the more theoretical; it enables artists to create but also equip them with a bank of skills as well as intellectual capital.”
The university and the District are the “perfect setting” to launch such a program, said Dr. Weissman Joselit. The program draws on “in-house talents” from departments and disciplines around the university—including English, museum studies, theatre & dance, and music.
The department is now so large that it’s impossible to list everything noteworthy from faculty members. Below is simply a selected list. Impressive overall, though, are the numbers of papers and lectures presented; the grants received; the books published; and those close to publication. History faculty were called on to present 79 invited papers and lectures at leading American universities, major professional conferences, think tanks, and prestigious academic locations around the world. The list of places where Department of History faculty members spoke in 2011-12 includes Washington, D.C. institutions such as the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Smithsonian Institution) and the Martin Luther King Library. Other domestic intellectual centers were the John Carter Brown Library, the Huntington Library, and the East-West Center in Honolulu; many of the top ranked U.S. universities, such as UC Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford; and institutions in South Africa, the Caribbean, England, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Sierra Leone, Russia, Tajikistan, Abu Dhabi, Japan, South Korea, People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Faculty members presented 14 papers in Germany alone and 16 papers in Asia. This year the faculty published seven books and we anticipate four more next year. History faculty received ten grants and fellowships in academic year 2011-2012. Notable among the grants for 2011-2012 was one from the prestigious Wilson Center Fellowship that supported a colleague for the academic year. In addition, funds from the Korea Foundation covered a substantial amount of the spring and fall 2012 salary of Jisoo Kim, our specialist in Korean history for research in Seoul. Other sources of grants and fellowships for this past academic year included the NEH through its summer research institute program, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Winterthur Museum and Library.
Tyler Anbinder continued to utilize a $290,000 NEH Collaborative Research Grant as he studied bank accounts of Irish immigrants driven to the United States by the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s and 50s. He has employed a number of GW undergraduates as research assistants. He also continues work on his book-length study on New York City immigrant life, City of Dreams.
Eric Arnesen spent 2011-2012 as a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars completing a biography of A. Philip Randolph, a prominent African-American labor and civil rights leader.
Bill Becker had his coauthored book, Eisenhower and the Cold War Economy, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in December 2011.
Ed Berkowitz completed work on The Other Welfare, a book that is expected to be published in 2013 by Cornell University Press.
Erin Chapman saw her first book published in 2012, as Oxford University Press released Prove it On Me: New Negroes, Sex, and Popular Culture in the 1920s. She is currently continuing her work on her second book, still in its early stages. (See the faculty profile.)
Hope Harrison's expanded German-language version of her 2003 book, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961, rekindled a large interest in her work in Germany during the 50th anniversary year of the building of the Berlin Wall.
Ben Hopkins’ coauthored book Fragments of the Afghan Frontier was published by Columbia University Press in 2012. It examines the tense relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan along the former country’s Southeastern border.
Jenna Weissman Joselit wrote the script of and provided the narration for the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington’s introductory video.
Dane Kennedy has submitted the final version of his book, The Challenge of the Continents: Exploring Africa and Australia, to Harvard University Press. It is expected to be published in 2013.
Dina Khoury completed work on her next book, Iraq in Wartime: Soldiering, Martyrdom and Remembrance, which Cambridge University Press, will publish in 2013.
Jisoo Kim received a $20,000 Korea Foundation Research Award to continue work on women and the law in Korean history.
Christopher Klemek was awarded the Davidoff book prize from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning for his 2011 book The Transatlantic Collapse of Urban Renewal: Postwar Urbanism from New York to Berlin, published by University of Chicago Press.
Suzanne Miller received a $3,000 NEH grant to participate in its Summer Institute for College and University Professors. The Summer Institute, held in Barcelona, focused on “Networks and Knowledge: Synthesis and Innovation in the Muslim-Christian-Jewish Mediterranean” in July 2012.
Marcy Norton received $8,400 from the John Carter Brown Library to continue work on her current book project, People and Animals in the Atlantic World.
had his book, The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image, published by Princeton University Press.
David Silverman won the Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in New York History from the New York Academy of History. In addition, he received a $2,000 Winterthur Museum and Library Research Fellowship and a $2,500 American Philosophical Society Library Fellowship for his current book project, Thudersticks: Firearms and the Transformation of Native America.
Daqing Yang received a $28,000 fellowship from the Japanese Ministry of Education.
Andrew Zimmerman was interviewed about the history of anthropology for the “Cast among Strangers” episode of the Australian Broadcasting Service’s show Awaye!, which is the only national indigenous arts and culture program in the country.
Alumni and Current Students
Recent history graduates are engaged in a very wide variety of activities from the academic world to public service. One 2012 graduate is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis, while another is working in a joint law international affairs degree program at Syracuse University. Madeleine Peckham, BA '11, is in a Ph.D. program in early modern European military history, while Leslie Pitterson, BA '09, has completed a masters' program at Columbia and is preparing to pursue her doctorate in history.
Many are devoting their time and abilities in one of several forms of public service, either as a "gap" year experience or for a career. Monica Hanson, BA '12, and Mike Keough, BA '08, and others have worked for Teach for America, while other graduates have participated in the highly competitive City Year Program.
Connie Golding, BA '10, is working at Ford's Theater, where she is expanding her interest in the era of the Civil War. She also serves as a docent at Anderson House, the historical headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati, and plans to pursue a PhD in history.
Kate Hardwick, BA '11, completed the Nashville Teaching Fellows program and has been teaching social studies at the middle school level before returning to graduate school next year.
Another grad is teaching English in Burma as part of a community-building program. Some graduates have gone on directly to both master's and PhD programs in history around the country. One student is taking her history degree in another direction, attending Emory's Rollins School of Public Health to capitalize on her interest in water borne disease.
After their public service, both Mike Keough and Brian Witthuhn, BA '10, have gone on to law school at Fordham and Columbia. They join a large contingent of History Department grads at some of the country's finest law schools, including Harvard, Chicago, Virginia, Washington, and Colorado.
Others are in graduate programs in International Affairs and Public Policy.
We have a number of graduates serving in the military, including ROTC grads Bruce Rushing, BA '09, Ray Ashton, BA '12, and Amanda Schuck, BA '12,in the Navy and Amanda James in the Air Force. Others are employed in a variety of fields. Very popular are jobs in policy and defense analysis. One recent graduate is in such a position and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence as part of the National Intelligence Scholars Program. The State Department is a popular choice, where Anna Thiergartner, BA '11, is working while pursuing her MA in GW's Imperial and Colonial Studies program.
Michael Landis , PhD '11, has recently accepted a tenure-track appointment at Tarleton State University, which is outside of Ft Worth, Texas.
Our current graduate students have had a busy and productive year. Among those who published articles, reviews and op-eds were: Greg Tomlin, Jon Keljik, Bell Clement, and Alexander Lovelace, Chris (Matthew) Mason. Those receiving Grants and Fellowships were Matthew Bias, Theresa Baum, Bell Clement, Corey Decker, Patrick Funiciello, Martin Margolis, Tamar Rabinowitz, EricSetzekorn, and Greg Tomlin.
A number of students presented papers at conferences: Richard J. Boles, Bell Clement, Kelsey Flynn, Patrick Funiciello, Stephen Jackson, Jon Keljik, Mary McPartland, Charles Richter, Chris Ryan, Julia Sittmann (3 papers), Greg Tomlin (3 papers), and Katharine White.
2011-2012 Graduate Program Prize Winners were: Christina Dempsey Chronister (Elmer Kayser Prize for best M.A. History Thesis); Matthew Bias and Seth La Shier (Howard M. Sachar Prize for Best History Research Paper); Kelsey Flynn (Charles Herber Teaching Prize).
A highlight of the year for our undergraduate students was that five history majors presented papers at the national meetings of Phi Alpha Theta (the history honor society) in Orlando Florida in January 2012. GW sent the largest contingent of students presenting papers of any college or university attending the conference. Four of the five papers presented by our students were judged “excellent.”
This year we profile two younger faculty members who have recently published books.
Like her colleagues in the department, Erin Chapman spends many hours in the archives uncovering new material, but adhering to her father’s maxim has allowed her to make her work a little bit more enjoyable. As a child, her father encouraged her to do work she loves. "Everyone has to work," he said, "you might as well spend your days doing something you really enjoy." In researching her book Prove It On Me: New Negroes, Sex, and Popular Culture in the 1920s, published by Oxford University Press in February 2012,Chapman was able to read novels, watch early movies, and analyze images in addition to conducting regular archival research, making her research, might we say, more entertaining. Erin is a historian of U.S. race politics, African American cultural expression, U.S. gender politics, and racialized popular culture. Prove it on Me is a history of the cultural investment in African American women’s images and bodies that pervaded U.S. society in the midst of transformations in race politics, sexual mores, and popular culture that defined the New Negro era of the early twentieth century. Dr. Chapman is currently working on a second book-length project, which will analyze the long history of gender politics operating within African American racial advancement ideologies and the praxis African American women developed to address combined racism and sexism. The Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, among others, have supported her research. Dr. Chapman teaches the African American History surveys, classes on Race and Gender in the New Negro Era, American Slavery, U.S. Black Feminisms 1830-1990, and Race in U.S. Popular Film.
Daniel Schwartz specializes in modern Jewish and European intellectual and cultural history. His first book, The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image, was published by Princeton University Press in Spring 2012. The book traces the shifting image of the seventeenth-century Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza in modern Jewish culture. Also forthcoming is Spinoza in Modern Jewish Culture: A Reader. Schwartz is currently working on a new research project, a genealogy of the ghetto that traces its evolution as a word, concept, metaphor, and place in both Jewish history and beyond Jewish contexts as such. His research interests include Jewish historical consciousness, early modern and modern Jewish identities, and Jewish intellectuals. Schwartz teaches courses on the History of Modern Israel, The Jewish Intellectual, Modern Jewish History, and Jewish Civilization. Dan will spend the spring semester at the Library of Congress. He received a prestigious Library of Congress Kluge Fellowship to advance his work on the ghetto.
Recent Donors to the History Department
December 2011óDecember 2012
The History Department would like to gratefully ackowledge the following generous donors who made a gift to the department this year:
Dr. Hugh L. Agnew and Nancy MacLachlan
Mr. Robert A. Alden, MA '68, BA '65, AA '62 and Mrs. Diane Alden
Mrs. Adele Logan Alexander and Mr. Clifford Alexander
Mr. Joshua Ira Altman, BA '10
Dr. Joseph P. Bassi, MA '03
Mr. Christopher R. Brooks, BA '06, MS ‘11
Mr. George A. Chadwick, III, MA ‘67
Dr. Malcolm C. Clark, MA ‘59, BA ‘53, AA ’50 and Mrs. Janice Clark
Mr. Peter Lee Collins, MA ‘81 and Mrs. Laura Collins
Ms. Lindsey M. Cross, MA ‘11
Mr. Neil DeHaan, Jr., BA ‘70
Mr. Bert Howard Deixler, BA ‘73 and Ms. Leslie Swain
Mr. Ronald J. Denham, BA ‘67 and Mrs. Gail Denham
Mr. Claude W. Elliott, BA ‘62 and Mrs. Alice Elliott
Ms. Mary F. Goldwag, MA ‘80, BA ‘66 and Mr. Edmund Goldwag
Mr. William R. Gotkin, BA ‘10
Mr. Warren Gould, MA ‘55, BA ‘51, AA ‘50,
Mr. Richard Perry Harl, MPHIL ‘78
Allen K. Harris, Esq., BA ‘65
Ms. Karen Scott Heath, BA ‘64 and Mr. Edgar Heath
Dr. Peter Proal Hill, PhD ‘66
Ms. Arleen R. Klaich, BA ‘83
Mr. Thaddeus A. Lindner, BA ‘51, AA ‘50, HON ’94 and Mrs. Mary Lindner
Dr. Joel A. Lipkin, BA ‘74 and Ms. Helen Spencer, BA ’74, MA ‘86
Dr. Cynthia J. Little, BA ‘67 and Mr. Leonard Braitman
Marc Marmaro, Esq., BA ‘69 and Ms. Cheryl Johnson
Ms. Lynn R. Perkins and Mr. Glenn Sorenson
Clifford M. Rees, Esq., BA ‘74
Ms. Elizabeth C. Rosenwasser
Professor Lois Green Schwoerer
Ms. Alison Amelia Seeberger, BA ‘12
Mr. Daniel I. Sherman, BA ‘01
Dr. John D. Sherwood, MPHIL ‘93, PHD ‘95 and Mrs. Darina B. Sherwood
Mr. Randall Shoemaker, Jr., BA ‘57, AA ‘49
Mr. John C. Stiassni
Ms. Dina S. Towbin, MA ‘83 and Mr. William Hardigg
Mrs. Christine N. Vidovich, MA ‘92 and Mr. John Vidovich
Mr. Michael W. Weeks
Ms. Abigail J. Whalen, BA ‘10
Ms. Rosa D. Wiener, BA ‘56, AA ‘54
Ms. Sandra Yin, MA ‘94
Ms. Misa A. Zane
We apologize if we have inadvertently left anyone off this list.
How Your Donation Can Help
Gifts to the Department of History allow us to provide support for faculty and student research and travel, graduate student fellowships, and academic enrichment activities including guest speakers, visiting faculty, and symposia. Each gift, no matter how large or small, makes a positive impact on our educational mission and furthers our standing as a vibrant department serving the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Elliott School of International Affairs, and the greater community of The George Washington University.
You can make your gift to the Department in a number of ways:
The George Washington University
- Securely online at www.gwu.edu/give2gw. Just choose "other" under designation and type in the name of the department.
- By mailing your check, made out to The George Washington University and with the name of the department in the memo line, to:
2100 M Street NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20052
- By phone by calling the GW Annual Fund at 1-800-789-2611
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