Associate Professor Deborah Yalen has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers for the 2017 academic year. Funding will support Dr. Yalen’s own scholarly contribution to an international research project entitled “Ideologies on Display: Jewish Ethnography in the Age of Lenin and Stalin.” This project explores the role of ethnographers in documenting the impact of radical social and political transformation on Jewish populations throughout the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s. Special emphasis will be placed on the activities of the Jewish Section of the State Museum of Ethnography in Leningrad in the late 1930s. Together with Russian co-authors Valery Dymshits, Alexander Ivanov, Evgenia Khazdan, and Alla Sokolova, Dr. Yalen will produce an edited English-language volume featuring scholarly articles and annotated translations of previously unpublished archival materials. Selected materials will also be made available in both English and Russian on a free, publicly accessible website.
Jefferson Abbey, a senior in the CSU History Department, attended the annual meeting of the American Historical Association. Interested in graduate school, he wanted to see if he was making the right choice. Here is his reaction to the event:
This year I had the pleasure of attending the 2017 American Historical Association conference in Denver. The event featured more than three hundred 90-minute sessions discussing a range of topics from slavery in the 16th century Spanish Empire, to presentations on how best to use animation and video technology to make abstract ideas stick.
I arrived at the conference the first day an hour early and as I watched people arrive I was struck by a sense of wonder. As hundreds of historians filled the Colorado Convention Center I considered the vast amount of knowledge surrounding me. When it was time for my first session I eagerly sat and awaited the panel of historians to present their papers. While I waited I gave careful attention to the nametags surrounding me and quickly began to realize I was in a room full of historians whose work I knew. As my mind processed thoughts of “I have read her book” or “I have cited his article” I feared that by being at the conference I might be punching above my weight class. In the first session my fears were confirmed. Each presenter spoke about his or her topic in such detail that I had difficulty following. In the Q and A session I was blown away by the thoughtfulness and significance of each audience member’s question. They were not asking about facts. The people in the audience asked questions that inquired about the significance of each presenter’s research and I suddenly realized that in the Q and A, the process of developing and refining the field of history was happening before me.
As I sat in more sessions I learned lessons that are impossible to gain in the classroom alone. By day two I began to track with presentations and develop questions that looked beyond mere facts and into broader avenues of historical inquiry. I was growing as a historian. By day three I committed to asking a question to the panel in front of a room full of professors. When I nervously stood to ask my question I introduced myself as an undergraduate student to the surprise of the room. When the session ended, multiple professors approached me from various universities who asked about my area of interest and some encouraged me to contact them for advice as I moved forward into graduate school.
The AHA Conference was an eye opening experience that I encourage anyone interested in pursuing a higher degree in history to attend. I was able to connect with potential advisors from across the country, my ability to think critically about the discipline of history expanded, and I left the conference certain that I had chosen the right major.
There have been notable upsets in recent world history — the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA Title, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, and Donald Trump winning the presidential election — but none of them compares to what happened in Clark Hall on November 11, 2016. The “Make America Rage Again” team, led by perennial second-place finisher Robert Jordan, stormed its way to a thrilling victory in this year’s Jeopardy! contest. The victory was made even more exciting because this year’s winners captured the new traveling trophy, the Jordan-Dinwiddie belt.
Jeopardy! boasted five teams this semester: “Make America Rage Again,” (or MARA) “The Cheetah Gurls,” “(Tom) Hanks’s Heroes,” “Sid Meier is my Professor,” and “Dr. Jordan Loses Every Year” (or DJLEY). MARA team blazed off to a quick start but made several tactical errors, which allowed the DJLEY team to amass a significant lead halfway through Double Jeopardy! But due to blind luck and smart question management, MARA closed the gap to 500 points.
The Final Jeopardy! category was, fittingly, Veterans Day. It proved to be a challenge to the teams. The clue called for teams to name the presidential administration that converted Armistice Day to Veterans Day and made it a national holiday. While both MARA and DJLEY both correctly answered “Who is Franklin D. Roosevelt,” MARA and his team made a savvy wager that vaulted them into first place. Wild celebrations, including a merry jig with the Jordan-Dinwiddie belt, ensued. Fittingly, it was a night where history was made. Dr. Jordan is truly the king of Jeopardy!
Will Wright, M.A. 2016, appeared on PBS’s “Colorado Experience: Big Thompson Flood.” The episode aired on October 2, 2016 and discusses the conditions that led to this traumatic disaster, the ramifications to the road, property, and residents of the canyon, and the equally cataclysmic flood that occurred in 2013. Wright is currently a doctoral student in History at Montana State University. You can see the video here.
The Department of History’s new Academic Success Coordinator, Kim Daggett, is getting geared up for fall advising. She began her duties at CSU on August 29 and now, less than two months later, she is ready to see a steady stream of History majors in her office in Clark C207. In her short time at CSU, Kim is already impressed with the History students. She describes them as very dedicated learners who are passionate about critical thinking but who sometimes struggle with what they want to do after graduation.
Kim, who earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada-Reno and her Master’s at CSU, worked as an admissions counselor at Fort Lewis College before moving to Fort Collins. That job served her well because even though the majority of her job involves helping students chart out an academic program, she also works with them to meet their personal goals.. “I’m more than an advisor,” Kim notes, “because I connect students to campus resources.” She routinely discusses career options with students and helps some of them to navigate the process of applying to graduate school. “I love meeting with students,” she explains and reiterates that she is available to help with more than just planning a schedule.
Kim enjoys living in Fort Collins, especially the sunny weather and the bike friendly environment. She loves the fact that Fort Collins is a college town and that CSU is so much a part of the community.
If you would like to contact Kim, her email is Kimberly.Daggett@colostate.edu and her office phone is 491-3117.
Christopher Molina West earned his B.A. in History from CSU in 2013. He subsequently attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for a second undergraduate degree, earning a B.A. in Greek and Latin there in 2015. After graduating from CU, Christopher then took a year off from academic work and lived in Europe for six months with a community of Benedictine monks at the Monastero di San Benedetto located in Norcia, Italy. In Fall 2016, he began his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Yale University, where he plans to study Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Coptic Christianity with a focus on patristic literature.
In 2016, the National Park Service’s centennial year, the American West Program seeks both to celebrate the NPS and to examine significant issues in the past, present, and future of our parks. The National Park Service has recently signaled its deepening commitment to making the parks relevant and accessible to people of all races, ethnicities, ages, and genders. In a public event on Thursday, September 29th, the American West Program will take up this issue. A panel of speakers will share historical and contemporary perspectives on race and diversity as they affect experiences of nature, resource stewardship, and interpretation in the national parks.
The panelists will include Nina S. Roberts, Professor of Recreation, Parks & Tourism, San Francisco State University; Gillian Bowser, Research Scientist, Natural Resources Ecology Lab and Associate Affiliate Faculty, Department of Ethnic Studies, CSU; Ruth M. Alexander, Professor of History, Department of History, and Affiliate Faculty, Public Lands History Center, CSU; Camille Dungy, Professor of English, CSU; Alexandra Hernandez, National Heritage Areas Regional Program Manager, National Park Service, Intermountain Region.
This public event will be held on Thursday, September 29th, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm in the CSU Morgan Library Event Hall (first floor). Please invite colleagues, family, and friends to be a part of this essential discussion of our national parks.
The American West Program is an outreach series presented by the Public Lands History Center at CSU.
The Public Lands History Center (PLHC) has been chosen as one of CSU’s new Programs of Research and Scholarly Excellence for the next four years, beginning in 2016. This designation, conferred by the Vice President for Research, gives the PLHC a four-year graduate fellowship and the opportunity to apply for substantial amounts of internal CSU funding. It is extremely rare for programs or centers in the College of Liberal Arts to receive the PRSE designation.
The PLHC is a partnership of university-based historians who use history to shed light on contemporary problems. It sponsors a number of programs, including the America West Program, National Parks Beyond the Nation, the Western Water Symposium, and the Parks as Portals to Learning program. The PLHC also offers graduate students a number of opportunities to get involved in collaborative history projects with public lands agencies and to be employed as researchers. For more information, see the PLHC’s website.
The Department of History hosted its 51st annual Furniss Lecture series on April 28 and 29. Dr. Lynn Hunt of UCLA, who is an expert on the French Revolution, delivered two lectures. In talks on Thursday and Friday, she spoke about how a global perspective has influenced her study of history and then about what lessons from the debt crisis of the French Revolution can teach us about current financial markets.
Dr. Hunt also gave the keynote address at the Department of History’s banquet, which was held at the Hilton Hotel. Besides Dr. Hunt’s practical advice on how to write well, undergraduate and graduate students received awards. Dr. Mark Fiege recognized undergraduate winners Michaela Kimbrough, Alexis Deneice, Luke Simpson, Erik Johnson, Natalie Pace, Robert Ower, and Alexis Opper.
Dr. Adrian Howkins presented awards to graduate students Mark Boxell, Will Wright, Jessica Campbell, Sam Iven, Poppie Gullet, Maggie Moss Jones, and Sean Fallon.
Associate Professor Adrian Howkins recently published The Polar Regions: An Environmental History with the Wiley publishing group. He explained that his book has been fifteen years in the making and that it took a crooked path to publication.
Howkins, a native of England, attended the University of Texas for his graduate work in the hopes of examining the relationship between Argentina, Chile, and Britain. As he started his research, Howkins realized that no scholar had studied the Antarctic Peninsula. He approached his advisor with his idea of writing a history of Antarctica, and was met with a cool response. Howkins pressed on and, during a time when climate change was becoming an important topic of discussion, a study of Antarctica gained interest outside of the historical profession. As he completed his dissertation, Howkins learned that he would have to broaden his approach and incorporate international and environmental perspectives.
As his research gained momentum, Howkins knew that he would have to visit Antarctica. He has now made five visits to the frozen continent, twice to McMurdo Station and three times to the Antarctic Peninsula. Howkins notes that fewer than 2,000 people live in Antarctica in the winter (no surprise there) but perhaps 20,000 tourists visit the Antarctic Peninsula in any given year. Most of them are adventure tourists who hope to visit all seven continents (as a side note, Howkins has traveled to all the continents). Howkins has come to realize that the study of Antarctica shows that History has an important role to play in scientific research and political decisions for the continent.
Howkins is planning to write another book in a series that studies biomes, so he has expanded his research to include Alaska, Greenland, and Scandinavia. He also has secured a NSF grant to construct a historical photo archive of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. Graduate student Poppie Gullet will be assisting Howkins in the project and should be able to visit Antarctica as part of the project. Howkins also teaches an online class about the history of Antarctica and will be an instructor for Semester at Sea during fall 2016 semester.