Top Young Historians: 98 – Natasha Zaretsky

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

97: Shane Hamilton, 1-5-09

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor of History at the University of Georgia, 2005-Present
Area of Research: 20th-century U.S. sociopolitical, history of technology, history of agriculture and rural life, and history of capitalism.
Education: Ph.D. in History and Social Studies of Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005.
Major Publications: Shane Hamilton is the author of Trucking Country: The Road to America’s Wal-Mart Economy (Princeton University Press, 2008). He has published articles and reviews in journals including Shane Hamilton JPGAgricultural History, Business History Review,  Enterprise & Society, Reviews in American History, and Technology and Culture. His article, “Cold Capitalism: The Political Ecology of Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice,” which appeared in the Fall 2003 issue of Agricultural History, won the 2003 Edward E. Everetts Award from the Agricultural History Society. He is currently working on a second book project tentatively titled “Supermarket USA: Food and Power in the American Century.” Part of the research for this project will appear in spring 2009 as “Supermarket USA Confronts State Socialism: Airlifting the Technopolitics of Industrial Food Distribution into Cold War Yugoslavia,” in Cold War Kitchen: Americanization, Technology, and European Users, edited by Ruth Oldenziel and Karin Zachmann (MIT Press).       Awards: Hamilton is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including, among others: National Science Foundation Scholar’s Award, “Supermarket USA: Food, Technology, and Power in the American Century” Award No. 0646662, 2007; National Endowment for the Humanities, University of Georgia Nominee for Summer Stipend, 2007; Gilbert C. Fite Award for Best Dissertation in Agricultural History, Agricultural History Society, 2006;
Herman E. Krooss Prize for Best Dissertation in Business History, Business History Conference, 2006;
University of Georgia Alumni Research Foundation, Junior Faculty Research Grant in the Arts and Humanities, 2006;
Miller Center of Public Affairs, Charlottesville, VA, Fellow in History, Public Policy, and American Politics, 2004-2005;
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC, Predoctoral Fellowship, 2003-2004;
Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Cambridge, MA, Graduate Fellowship, 2003-2004;
National Science Foundation, Dissertation Improvement Grant SES-0322268, 2003-2004;
Edward E. Everetts Award for Best Graduate Essay, Agricultural History Society, 2003;
Siegel Prize for Best Essay on Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003;
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Sawyer Fellowship for “Modern Times/Rural Places,” 2001-2002;
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention, 2000.
Additional Info:
Hamilton has been featured on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Georgia Weekly,” SIRIUS Radio Network’s “Freewheelin’,” and WABC-AM’s “John Batchelor Show.” He will also appear in a documentary film by Nicholas Robespierre, Running Heavy, when that film finally makes its way into art-house cinemas. He also writes op-ed pieces for, among other outlets, the History News Network.

Personal Anecdote

While pursuing a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 2000s I formed a band, The Atomic Harvesters, which we declared to be “Boston’s Sexiest Lounge-Country Band.” Merging the instrumentation of 1950s-60s urban jazz with the raw simplicity of rural country music from the same period, the Atomic Harvesters drew on diverse musical inspirations, ranging from Hank Williams, Sr. to Billie Holiday to the Modern Jazz Quartet and Merle Haggard. The intellectual inspiration for the band name and concept, however, drew directly on a passage in James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State.

On page 272, Scott refers to Davis Meltzer’s artistic rendering of the “farm of the future” in the February 1970 issue of National Geographic magazine. In the image, two men operate a semi-autonomous farm of enormous scale from a glass-topped dome equipped with a supercomputer. Beef cattle are arrayed in what seems to be a “cattle condo,” architecturally not unlike Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the Guggenheim Museum, except that cattle munching on antibiotic-laced feedstuffs fill the places of tourists and art critics. The farmer seated at the supercomputer operates an atomic-powered harvester, processing a grain field of near-infinite size into the foodstuffs of a consumer-driven economy. Meltzer’s image channels modernist Charles Scheeler’s paintings, in which individual workers are dwarfed by the machines that surround them in techno-pastoralist landscapes. Meltzer’s imagery borders on the surreal, yet evokes a very realistic world in which the Jeffersonian vision of independent farmers working the land with simple tools has been subsumed by the technocracy of late-twentieth-century capitalism.

Meltzer’s image provided the inspiration for my band’s name, as well as the title of one of our instrumentals, “Cattle Condo.” James Scott’s critique of high modernist agriculture, meanwhile, laid a cornerstone for my ongoing intellectual interest in the technology, political economy, social realities, and political culture of rural Americans living in a world of industrial agriculture, hypercapitalist consumerism, and profound antistatism-a world that I described in my first book, Trucking Country: The Road to America’s Wal-Mart Economy.

Meltzer’s 1970 imagining of the “farm of the future” and Jim Scott’s critique of high modernism focused on the vast material, political, and ideological gulfs separating urbanites from rural residents in the modern era. I sought in Trucking Country, by contrast, to show how the wrenching transformations of rural life in the mid- twentieth century were deeply intertwined with broader transformations in U.S. politics, economic realities, cultural beliefs, and social experiences. By thus contextualizing the historical experiences of rural Americans- even those country-music-lovin’ neopopulist truckers who self-identified as members of Richard Nixon’s “Silent Majority”-I demonstrated how rural workers helped to construct, from the 1930s through the 1970s, the economic realities and ideologies of neoliberalism that permeated the entire nation by the 1980s. These rural independent truckers, working in a world of industrial agribusiness, suburban supermarkets, and high modernist agricultural policymakers, found themselves with few choices other than to accept a “Wal-Mart economy”-decades before Wal-Mart became one of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations.

I no longer have time to play much guitar, and the members of the Atomic Harvesters have spread to the four corners of the world. My fascination with the “farm of the future” and the rural people of the past, however, continues to drive my research-particularly as I work on my second book, “Supermarket USA: Food and Power in the American Century.” There are far more country music songs about trucks than there are about supermarkets, so I unfortunately will not be integrating my musical interests and my historical research as tightly as I did in my first book. Unless, of course, I revive the Atomic Harvesters and write a couple of lounge-country tunes about U.S. supermarkets being airlifted into Yugoslavia, Italy, and Latin America in the 1950s and 1960s. If anyone knows of a rhyme for “Yugoslavia,” I’m all ears.

Quotes

By Shane Hamilton

  • Every truck stop in the nation sells belt buckles that proudly declare: “Independent Truckers Move America.” Trucking Country JPG In the following pages I reveal the motto’s deeper meaning, showing how agribusiness relied upon independent truckers to shift American capitalism into overdrive, introducing lean and mean business strategies and cultivating a culture of economic conservatism welcomed by both rural producers and suburban consumers. On country stretches of asphalt, in rural food factories, and in supermarket warehouses and shopping aisles, agribusinesses sowed the seeds of the anti-statist market populism that defined late-twentieth-century capitalism. Though it may seem surprising to link the country culture of trucking to the collapse of economic liberalism in America’s post-WWII consumer economy, we might do well to pay heed to the words of country musician Del Reeves. As he twanged in his 1968 jukebox hit, “looking at the world through a windshield” helps put “everything in a little bit different light.” — Shane Hamilton in “Trucking Country”
  • Florida orange growers were prideful, greedy, even callous, in their efforts to make profits out of industrial agriculture in the 1950s and 1960s. They did not, however, do so by incessantly increasing their production despite the limits imposed by their environment. They struggled to rationalize their industry, but to them, “rationalization” did not necessarily mean stability of production or simplification of the natural world. Instead, the particular political-economic situation of Florida orange growers in the period allowed them to create an industry that maintained oligopolistic control over prices. When freezes brought instability to production, the industry consequently turned less oranges into more money. This was perfectly “rational,” although not for consumers, in the sense that it was a logical response given the conditions of the industry at the time. Thus, it seems that the concept of “rationalized agriculture” tells us more about who is using the term than it does about the actual practice of industrial agriculture. Marxist critiques of industrial agriculture, just like neo-liberal glorifications of “free” enterprise, assume a clear logic to capitalism that does not necessarily exist. — Shane Hamilton in “Cold Capitalism: The Political Ecology of Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice”

About Shane Hamilton

  • “This detailed, closely argued book chronicles the U.S. trucking industry’s history, particularly its role in rolling back New Deal policies and regulations. Hamilton is a knowledgeable guide to everything from beef trusts to the National Farmers Organization to the 1979 strike that opens the book, in which 75,000 truckers tried to shut down the nation’s highway system. Economy and market buffs looking for a different perspective on America’s 20th century economic evolution will find this intriguing and informative.” — Publishers Weekly
  • “With the US again engaged in a debate over the merits of regulation versus the free market, the book’s academic research touches on some timely historical issues. It is also a fascinating account of the political battles over the diesel engine and the refrigerated truck, which had emerged as the new technology of the 1920s and 1930s and a threat to the dominance of the railroad distribution system for beef and milk by a few large meat packing companies and local dairies.”– Jonathan Birchall, Financial Times
  • “Independent trucking is for Hamilton what Kansas was for Frank–the locus that shows a part of what has gone wrong with American politics.” — David Kusnet, Bookforum
  • “Trucking Country intervenes in [the] crowded debate over the demise of New Deal liberalism from a genuinely original vantage point: the political culture of independent long-haul truckers and the political economy shaped by the agribusiness corporations that they served.” — Matthew Lassiter, Democracy
  • “Move over Tom Frank. Hamilton shows that what buried the New Deal was not the recent rise of cultural conservatism, but a longstanding and deep rejection of government intervention in the economy. One of the best history books ever written on the origins of neoliberalism.” — Ted Steinberg, author of Down to Earth
  • “Shane Hamilton traces how an obscure loophole in transportation law helped reshape the rural economy–and, in the process, changed the way we eat. This is an imaginative, provocative piece of work.” — Marc Levinson, author of The Box
  • “Well-written and tightly argued, Shane Hamilton’s Trucking Country illuminates one of the twentieth century’s most important transformations: the role of independent truckers, many of them former farmers, in seizing the delivery of agricultural products from railroads, revolutionizing food distribution, and, paradoxically, abetting the triumph of agribusiness.” — Pete Daniel, National Museum of American History
  • “A startlingly original contribution. Shane Hamilton has crafted a truly fresh, unfamiliar, and enormously enlightening account of the decline of economic liberalism in postwar America. This is a brilliant book, one that should be read by anyone interested in exploring the intersection of politics, culture, and economics in modern America.” — Joseph A. McCartin, author of Labor’s Great War
  • “Trucking Country is a highly innovative and strikingly unique piece of work. Hamilton approaches one of the most intensely studied historical topics of the current scholarly generation–the demise of New Deal liberalism– from an angle that virtually no other social, political, labor, or cultural historian has attempted. Hamilton has written a superb and persuasive book.” — Nelson Lichtenstein, author of State of the Union: A Century of American Labor
  • “The best professor I have ever had, hands down. His knowledge of the material really was astonishing and he made his class very fair.”… “His enthusiasm for history was infectious.”… “He’s clearly passionate about history and makes his students want to learn. One of my best at UGA.”… “Not only did I learn a lot, but this was also one of the more challenging history classes I have taken–I really appreciate how you pushed us to think very deeply and critically about the subject matter.” — Comments from anonymous students

Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009 at 1:43 AM

Top Young Historians: 97 – Shane Hamilton

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

97: Shane Hamilton, 1-5-09

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor of History at the University of Georgia, 2005-Present
Area of Research: 20th-century U.S. sociopolitical, history of technology, history of agriculture and rural life, and history of capitalism.
Education: Ph.D. in History and Social Studies of Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005.
Major Publications: Shane Hamilton is the author of Trucking Country: The Road to America’s Wal-Mart Economy (Princeton University Press, 2008). He has published articles and reviews in journals including Shane Hamilton JPGAgricultural History, Business History Review,  Enterprise & Society, Reviews in American History, and Technology and Culture. His article, “Cold Capitalism: The Political Ecology of Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice,” which appeared in the Fall 2003 issue of Agricultural History, won the 2003 Edward E. Everetts Award from the Agricultural History Society. He is currently working on a second book project tentatively titled “Supermarket USA: Food and Power in the American Century.” Part of the research for this project will appear in spring 2009 as “Supermarket USA Confronts State Socialism: Airlifting the Technopolitics of Industrial Food Distribution into Cold War Yugoslavia,” in Cold War Kitchen: Americanization, Technology, and European Users, edited by Ruth Oldenziel and Karin Zachmann (MIT Press).       Awards: Hamilton is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including, among others: National Science Foundation Scholar’s Award, “Supermarket USA: Food, Technology, and Power in the American Century” Award No. 0646662, 2007; National Endowment for the Humanities, University of Georgia Nominee for Summer Stipend, 2007; Gilbert C. Fite Award for Best Dissertation in Agricultural History, Agricultural History Society, 2006;
Herman E. Krooss Prize for Best Dissertation in Business History, Business History Conference, 2006;
University of Georgia Alumni Research Foundation, Junior Faculty Research Grant in the Arts and Humanities, 2006;
Miller Center of Public Affairs, Charlottesville, VA, Fellow in History, Public Policy, and American Politics, 2004-2005;
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC, Predoctoral Fellowship, 2003-2004;
Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Cambridge, MA, Graduate Fellowship, 2003-2004;
National Science Foundation, Dissertation Improvement Grant SES-0322268, 2003-2004;
Edward E. Everetts Award for Best Graduate Essay, Agricultural History Society, 2003;
Siegel Prize for Best Essay on Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003;
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Sawyer Fellowship for “Modern Times/Rural Places,” 2001-2002;
National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention, 2000.
Additional Info:
Hamilton has been featured on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Georgia Weekly,” SIRIUS Radio Network’s “Freewheelin’,” and WABC-AM’s “John Batchelor Show.” He will also appear in a documentary film by Nicholas Robespierre, Running Heavy, when that film finally makes its way into art-house cinemas. He also writes op-ed pieces for, among other outlets, the History News Network.

Personal Anecdote

While pursuing a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 2000s I formed a band, The Atomic Harvesters, which we declared to be “Boston’s Sexiest Lounge-Country Band.” Merging the instrumentation of 1950s-60s urban jazz with the raw simplicity of rural country music from the same period, the Atomic Harvesters drew on diverse musical inspirations, ranging from Hank Williams, Sr. to Billie Holiday to the Modern Jazz Quartet and Merle Haggard. The intellectual inspiration for the band name and concept, however, drew directly on a passage in James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State.

On page 272, Scott refers to Davis Meltzer’s artistic rendering of the “farm of the future” in the February 1970 issue of National Geographic magazine. In the image, two men operate a semi-autonomous farm of enormous scale from a glass-topped dome equipped with a supercomputer. Beef cattle are arrayed in what seems to be a “cattle condo,” architecturally not unlike Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the Guggenheim Museum, except that cattle munching on antibiotic-laced feedstuffs fill the places of tourists and art critics. The farmer seated at the supercomputer operates an atomic-powered harvester, processing a grain field of near-infinite size into the foodstuffs of a consumer-driven economy. Meltzer’s image channels modernist Charles Scheeler’s paintings, in which individual workers are dwarfed by the machines that surround them in techno-pastoralist landscapes. Meltzer’s imagery borders on the surreal, yet evokes a very realistic world in which the Jeffersonian vision of independent farmers working the land with simple tools has been subsumed by the technocracy of late-twentieth-century capitalism.

Meltzer’s image provided the inspiration for my band’s name, as well as the title of one of our instrumentals, “Cattle Condo.” James Scott’s critique of high modernist agriculture, meanwhile, laid a cornerstone for my ongoing intellectual interest in the technology, political economy, social realities, and political culture of rural Americans living in a world of industrial agriculture, hypercapitalist consumerism, and profound antistatism-a world that I described in my first book, Trucking Country: The Road to America’s Wal-Mart Economy.

Meltzer’s 1970 imagining of the “farm of the future” and Jim Scott’s critique of high modernism focused on the vast material, political, and ideological gulfs separating urbanites from rural residents in the modern era. I sought in Trucking Country, by contrast, to show how the wrenching transformations of rural life in the mid- twentieth century were deeply intertwined with broader transformations in U.S. politics, economic realities, cultural beliefs, and social experiences. By thus contextualizing the historical experiences of rural Americans- even those country-music-lovin’ neopopulist truckers who self-identified as members of Richard Nixon’s “Silent Majority”-I demonstrated how rural workers helped to construct, from the 1930s through the 1970s, the economic realities and ideologies of neoliberalism that permeated the entire nation by the 1980s. These rural independent truckers, working in a world of industrial agribusiness, suburban supermarkets, and high modernist agricultural policymakers, found themselves with few choices other than to accept a “Wal-Mart economy”-decades before Wal-Mart became one of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations.

I no longer have time to play much guitar, and the members of the Atomic Harvesters have spread to the four corners of the world. My fascination with the “farm of the future” and the rural people of the past, however, continues to drive my research-particularly as I work on my second book, “Supermarket USA: Food and Power in the American Century.” There are far more country music songs about trucks than there are about supermarkets, so I unfortunately will not be integrating my musical interests and my historical research as tightly as I did in my first book. Unless, of course, I revive the Atomic Harvesters and write a couple of lounge-country tunes about U.S. supermarkets being airlifted into Yugoslavia, Italy, and Latin America in the 1950s and 1960s. If anyone knows of a rhyme for “Yugoslavia,” I’m all ears.

Quotes

By Shane Hamilton

  • Every truck stop in the nation sells belt buckles that proudly declare: “Independent Truckers Move America.” Trucking Country JPG In the following pages I reveal the motto’s deeper meaning, showing how agribusiness relied upon independent truckers to shift American capitalism into overdrive, introducing lean and mean business strategies and cultivating a culture of economic conservatism welcomed by both rural producers and suburban consumers. On country stretches of asphalt, in rural food factories, and in supermarket warehouses and shopping aisles, agribusinesses sowed the seeds of the anti-statist market populism that defined late-twentieth-century capitalism. Though it may seem surprising to link the country culture of trucking to the collapse of economic liberalism in America’s post-WWII consumer economy, we might do well to pay heed to the words of country musician Del Reeves. As he twanged in his 1968 jukebox hit, “looking at the world through a windshield” helps put “everything in a little bit different light.” — Shane Hamilton in “Trucking Country”
  • Florida orange growers were prideful, greedy, even callous, in their efforts to make profits out of industrial agriculture in the 1950s and 1960s. They did not, however, do so by incessantly increasing their production despite the limits imposed by their environment. They struggled to rationalize their industry, but to them, “rationalization” did not necessarily mean stability of production or simplification of the natural world. Instead, the particular political-economic situation of Florida orange growers in the period allowed them to create an industry that maintained oligopolistic control over prices. When freezes brought instability to production, the industry consequently turned less oranges into more money. This was perfectly “rational,” although not for consumers, in the sense that it was a logical response given the conditions of the industry at the time. Thus, it seems that the concept of “rationalized agriculture” tells us more about who is using the term than it does about the actual practice of industrial agriculture. Marxist critiques of industrial agriculture, just like neo-liberal glorifications of “free” enterprise, assume a clear logic to capitalism that does not necessarily exist. — Shane Hamilton in “Cold Capitalism: The Political Ecology of Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice”

About Shane Hamilton

  • “This detailed, closely argued book chronicles the U.S. trucking industry’s history, particularly its role in rolling back New Deal policies and regulations. Hamilton is a knowledgeable guide to everything from beef trusts to the National Farmers Organization to the 1979 strike that opens the book, in which 75,000 truckers tried to shut down the nation’s highway system. Economy and market buffs looking for a different perspective on America’s 20th century economic evolution will find this intriguing and informative.” — Publishers Weekly
  • “With the US again engaged in a debate over the merits of regulation versus the free market, the book’s academic research touches on some timely historical issues. It is also a fascinating account of the political battles over the diesel engine and the refrigerated truck, which had emerged as the new technology of the 1920s and 1930s and a threat to the dominance of the railroad distribution system for beef and milk by a few large meat packing companies and local dairies.”– Jonathan Birchall, Financial Times
  • “Independent trucking is for Hamilton what Kansas was for Frank–the locus that shows a part of what has gone wrong with American politics.” — David Kusnet, Bookforum
  • “Trucking Country intervenes in [the] crowded debate over the demise of New Deal liberalism from a genuinely original vantage point: the political culture of independent long-haul truckers and the political economy shaped by the agribusiness corporations that they served.” — Matthew Lassiter, Democracy
  • “Move over Tom Frank. Hamilton shows that what buried the New Deal was not the recent rise of cultural conservatism, but a longstanding and deep rejection of government intervention in the economy. One of the best history books ever written on the origins of neoliberalism.” — Ted Steinberg, author of Down to Earth
  • “Shane Hamilton traces how an obscure loophole in transportation law helped reshape the rural economy–and, in the process, changed the way we eat. This is an imaginative, provocative piece of work.” — Marc Levinson, author of The Box
  • “Well-written and tightly argued, Shane Hamilton’s Trucking Country illuminates one of the twentieth century’s most important transformations: the role of independent truckers, many of them former farmers, in seizing the delivery of agricultural products from railroads, revolutionizing food distribution, and, paradoxically, abetting the triumph of agribusiness.” — Pete Daniel, National Museum of American History
  • “A startlingly original contribution. Shane Hamilton has crafted a truly fresh, unfamiliar, and enormously enlightening account of the decline of economic liberalism in postwar America. This is a brilliant book, one that should be read by anyone interested in exploring the intersection of politics, culture, and economics in modern America.” — Joseph A. McCartin, author of Labor’s Great War
  • “Trucking Country is a highly innovative and strikingly unique piece of work. Hamilton approaches one of the most intensely studied historical topics of the current scholarly generation–the demise of New Deal liberalism– from an angle that virtually no other social, political, labor, or cultural historian has attempted. Hamilton has written a superb and persuasive book.” — Nelson Lichtenstein, author of State of the Union: A Century of American Labor
  • “The best professor I have ever had, hands down. His knowledge of the material really was astonishing and he made his class very fair.”… “His enthusiasm for history was infectious.”… “He’s clearly passionate about history and makes his students want to learn. One of my best at UGA.”… “Not only did I learn a lot, but this was also one of the more challenging history classes I have taken–I really appreciate how you pushed us to think very deeply and critically about the subject matter.” — Comments from anonymous students

Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009 at 1:43 AM

Top Young Historians: 96 – J.P. Daughton

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

96: J.P. Daughton, 12-15-09

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor, Department of History, Stanford University, 2004-Present
Area of Research: Late Modern European History, with particular interest in nineteenth and twentieth-century France and the history of French colonialism and imperialism. Modern French political and cultural history; Colonialism and Imperialism; religious missionaries; French republicanism; French national identity; Indochina, Madagascar, Tahiti and the Marquesas.
Education: Ph.D., History, University of California, Berkeley, 2002
Major Publications: Daughton is the author of An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880-1914 (Oxford University Press, 2006; paperback, 2008); Winner of the George Louis Beer Prize, American Historical Association; Winner of the Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize, French Colonial Historical Society; A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of 2007. JP Daughton JPG
In God’s Empire: French Missionaries and the Modern World, co-edited with Owen White (a collection of thirteen articles, currently under review with Oxford University Press). Daughton is currently working on Imperial Hardships: The Politics of Suffering in the Rise and Fall of the French Empire (book length project in progress), and Humanity So Far Away: International Organizations, European Empires, and Modern Humanitarianism (book project in progress) Daughton is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “When Argentina Was ‘French’: Rethinking Cultural Politics and European Imperialism in Belle-Époque Buenos Aires,” Journal of Modern History 80 (December 2008): 831-864; “Documenting Colonial Violence: The International Campaign Against Forced Labor during the Interwar Years,” Revue de l’Histoire de la Shoah, No. 189 (October, 2008); “Recasting Pigneau de Béhaine: French Missionaries and the Politics of Colonial History,” in Nhung Tuyet Tran and Anthony Reid (eds.), Viet Nam: Borderless Histories (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006); “A Colonial Affair?: Dreyfus and the French Empire,” Historical Reflections / Réflexions historiques 31: 3 (Fall 2005): 469-84; “Kings of the Mountains: Mayréna, Missionaries, and French Colonial Divisions in 1880s Indochina,” Itinerario: International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction 25: 3/4 (2001): 185-217; Reprinted in Eric Jennings (ed.), French Colonial Indochina (University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming), and “Sketches of the Poilu’s World: Trench Cartoons from the Great War,” in Douglas Mackaman and Michael Mays (eds.), World War I and the Cultures of Modernity (University Press of Mississippi, 2000). Awards: Daughton is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
George Louis Beer Prize (for best book on any aspect of European international history), American Historical Association, 2007;
Alf Andrew Heggoy Prize (for best book of the year), French Colonial Historical Society, 2007;
American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship, 2006-2007 (Declined);
Stanford Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University, 2002-2004;
Pew Charitable Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center on Religion and Democracy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 2002-2003 (Declined);
Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2001-2002;
Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, 2000-2001;
Fellowship and Travel Stipend, Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California, San Diego, 2000-2001;
Mabelle McLeod Lewis Memorial Fellowship, 2000-2001 (Declined);
John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Prize, American Catholic Historical Association, 2000;
J. William Fulbright Foundation Fellowship, France, 1998-1999;
Dean’s Fellow in the Humanities, Stanford University, 2008-2010;
John Philip Coghlan Fellow, Stanford University, 2006-2008;
William and Flora Hewlett Endowment Fund Fellowship, Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, 2005;
Course Development Grant, Program in Ethics in Society, Stanford University, 2005;
Townsend Humanities Center Fellowship, U.C. Berkeley, 2000-2001 (Declined);
Humanities Research Grant, U.C. Berkeley, 2000-2001;
Graduate Division Fellowship, U.C. Berkeley, 1999-2000;
Henry Morse Stephens Memorial Travel Grant, U.C. Berkeley, 1999-2000;
Sidney Hellman Ehrman Travel Grant, U.C. Berkeley, 1999-2000;
Allan Sharlin Memorial Fellowship, Institute for International Studies, U.C. Berkeley, 1998-1999 Social Science Research Grant, U.C. Berkeley, 1997;
Research Grant, Center for German and European Studies, U.C. Berkeley, 1997;
Mellon Summer Research Grant, U.C. Berkeley, 1997;
Sather Fellowship, U.C. Berkeley, 1995-1996;
France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, annual conference funding for “Terror and the Making of Modern Europe: Transatlantic Perspectives on the History of Violence / Rencontres Transatlantiques sur l’Histoire de la Violence,” in collaboration with Sciences-Po (Paris), April 17-19, 2008 ($60,000);
Center for European Studies, funding for “Terror and the Making of Modern Europe: Transatlantic Perspectives on the History of Violence,” in collaboration with Sciences-Po (Paris), April 17-19, 2008 ($5,000);
Research Unit of the Division of Languages, Cultures, and Literature, for the French Culture Workshop, Stanford University, Annual Funding for 2005-06, 2006-07 ($10,000);
Mellon Workshop Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center, for the French Culture Workshop, Annual Funding for 2003-04, 2004-05; 2006-08 ($8500 p.a.).
Additional Info:
Daughton has conducted archival research in France, Italy, and Tahiti, and he was a visiting fellow in the Faculty of History at the National University of Vietnam, Hanoi.
Co-Director, Stanford French Culture Workshop, Stanford Humanities Center, 2003-Present;
Book Review Advisory Panel, H-France, 2006-present.
Co-organizer, with Jean-François Sirinelli, Sciences-Po (Paris), of the conference, “Terror and the Making of Modern Europe: Transatlantic Perspectives on the History of Violence,” Stanford University, April 2008.

Personal Anecdote

The best thing about being an historian, in my opinion, is working in archives. The research for my book, An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880-1914, took me to almost twenty archives on four continents. They ranged from the high-ceilinged reading room of the Archives Nationales in Paris to a small table next to a photocopy machine in a cramped office of the Papeete, Tahiti archdiocese.

Non-historians often ask me what exactly I do at the archives. For me, it is a little like digging through the old papers left in someone’s long abandoned desk. An average box or bundle of documents – at least the ones I look at most – is often a hodgepodge of letters, handwritten notes, receipts, a calling card from some forgotten visitor, official reports, and faded photographs. Spending hours sifting through dead people’s refuse is not for everyone. But at no point in researching or writing do I feel more connected to my subject than in the archives.

There is something undeniably voyeuristic about archival work: reading letters never meant to be read by outsiders, seeing pictures not taken for posterity’s sake, perusing someone else’s secrets and exposing their plans. These remnants present great puzzles to be unraveled. Who were these people whose lives we now look into? How did they see their world, and how did they organize their vision of it? Trying to answer such questions inevitably requires looking for more and more sources, opening wider the cast of human characters, complicating the plot, drawing you in like a good mystery. The probing historian can discover things about historical figures – their motives, insecurities and contradictions – that they themselves may have denied or hidden from friends and loved ones.

Archives are also much more than repositories of documents. They are often themselves places where memories of the past come alive – sometimes in astonishing ways. One archivist, for example, at a religious archive in Paris assured me that, had the Catholic missionaries of the South Pacific failed to spread Christianity in the nineteenth century, the cannibal Polynesians would have eaten one another into extinction.

On another occasion, a French woman working in the departmental archives in Tahiti told me that she did not know why so many people wrote critically of colonialism when it was obvious that the Tahitians were happy to have gained the great cultural traditions of the French. While this struck me as a misguided assessment, I was equally surprised to have an octogenarian Vietnamese historian at the national archives in Hanoi wax nostalgic about the 1930s when he and his friends spoke French and devoured the latest books and music from Paris.

I have been in archives where I saw a rat scurry across the floor. I have unearthed worms gnawing through documents. I have seen people weep, sleep, and get angry in archives. I have even seen an archivist pass out from too much drinking at lunchtime. But I have never been bored in an archive. It is a place where Faulkner’s often quoted observation – “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – takes on real meaning.

Quotes

By James Patrick Daughton

  • By examining the array of factors that shaped the civilizing mission, this book argues that what is often called French “colonial ideology” – the ideas behind, motivations for, and implementation of programs designed to
    An Empire Divided JPGreform and develop colonial societies – was in fact much less an extension of revolutionary republican values than a set of individual projects defined by degrees of dissent, debate, competition, and collaboration between people both at home and abroad. Differences of opinion over strategies of colonizing… forced administrators, missionaries, colonists, local inhabitants, and others to present, critique, and defend plans for expansion and control…. The “civilizing” policies ultimately adopted were neither strictly republican nor Catholic. Instead, they were shaped by the anxieties and aspirations of a variety of French men and women faced with the challenge of living with one another and ruling large indigenous populations. — James Patrick Daughton in “An Empire Divided”

About James Patrick Daughton

  • “Daughton’s work has important ramificatoins for both imperial and domestic French history…. Remarkably well-researched and well-written first book. Highly recommended.”– D.A. Harvey, CHOICE
  • “Thoroughly researched and eloquently written, Daughton’s comparative study of the complex, often contradictory, relationships between Republicans in France, the Church, and Catholic orders across the French Empire is one of a kind. His work also pays attention to critical issues of women and gender throughout, which renders this history all the more original.”– Julia Clancy-Smith, The University of Arizona
  • “Daughton’s treatment of the relations between colonial administrators and missionaries in the wake of conquest makes for fascinating and often gripping reading…. [A] richly documented and beautifully written book.” — Journal of Modern History
  • “This illuminating book explains how the political tensions between Catholics and Republicans that beset France were exported to its new colonies, with grave consequences for the subject populations. Covering a wide range of territories and examining new documents, J.P. Daughton paints a picture of a colonial enterprise tainted by hypocrisy and warped by the animosity between church and state.” — Ruth Harris, Oxford University, author of “Lourdes: Body and Spirit in the Secular Age”
  • “Under the secular Republic, the cross and the tricolor could be waved in unison in the colonies, albeit with some tension. Daughton succeeds in writing missionaries back into empire and, mostly, at elucidating their complex and shifting roles as para-colonial actors with interests of their own. Nuanced and balanced, the book is also beautifully crafted.” — Eric Jennings, author of “Vichy in the Tropics”
  • “J.P. Daughton uses three deeply researched case studies to explore the enormously important and complicated role of Christian missionaries in the construction of the French empire. Daughton takes their religious motives seriously, while also showing how their tense collaboration with the imperial project led to significant changes in how they understood their work with indigenous peoples. An Empire Divided is broad in its sympathies, gracefully written, and full of dramatic incidents; it is a major contribution to the emerging literature on the history of European imperialism.” — Thomas Kselman, University of Notre Dame
  • “The Third Republic went at the work of empire-building with a civilizing zeal, but it was not alone in its sense of mission. The Roman Catholic Church had a missionary project of its own, which, as J.P. Daughton’s excellent volume reveals, it threw itself into with a passion and on a scale altogether unsuspected. Daughton’s is a history of competing missions, of how they interacted and changed one another with lasting consequences, not just for the French, but also for the colonial populations they ruled.” — Philip G. Nord, Princeton University
  • “An elegant study of the intersection of religion and empire…. It demonstrates how under the umbrella of the French empire, regional particularities were not just shaped by responses to local conditions and peoples, they were often formed by differences and conflicts among the French themselves.” — Patricia Lorcin, H-France Review

Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 3:39 AM

Top Young Historians: 95 – Matthew Avery Sutton

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

95: Matthew Avery Sutton, 11-17-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor of History at College of Liberal Arts, Washington State University, 2008-
Area of Research: 20th century United States history, cultural history, and religious history.
Education: PhD, Department of History University of California, Santa Barbara, 2005
Major Publications: Sutton is the author Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America (Harvard University Press, 2007), Matthew Avery Sutton JPGwon the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize from Harvard University Press,  awarded annually to the best book in any discipline by a first-time author. The book also served as the basis for the Public Broadcasting Service documentary Sister Aimee, part of PBS’s American Experience series.
Sutton’s current book project, tentatively entitled American Evangelicals and the Politics of Apocalypse, Harvard University Press (forthcoming, 2011) examines the relationships among American evangelicalism, apocalyptic thought, and political activism during times of national crisis and war.
Sutton is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, articles and editorials, and reviews including among others: “Crashing into Public History with Aimee Semple McPherson,” The Public Historian 29:4 (Fall 2007): 35-44; “Clutching to ‘Christian’ America: Aimee Semple McPherson, the Great Depression, and the Origins of Pentecostal Political Activism.” Journal of Policy History 17:3 (Summer 2005): 308-338; “‘Between the Refrigerator and the Wildfire’: Aimee Semple McPherson, Pentecostalism, and the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy.” Church History 72:1 (March 2003): 159-188.
Awards: Sutton is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Young Scholars in American Religion Program Participant, 2007-09;
New Investigator Research Excellence Award (Oakland University), 2008;
Oakland University Faculty Research Fellowship, 2008;
Historical Society of Southern California/Haynes Research Grant, 2006;
Oakland University Faculty Research Fellowship, 2006;
Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, 2004-05;
Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship (declined), 2004-05;
University of California’s President’s Dissertation Fellowship (declined), 2004-05;
Richard Mayberry Award, Department of History, UC Santa Barbara, 2005;
Western Historical Association’s Conference Scholarship 2004;
UC Santa Barbara Humanities Research Assistantship Fellowship, 2003-04;
Walter H. Capps Center Fellowship, Department of Religious Studies, UC Santa Barbara, 2003-04;
Everett Helm Visiting Fellowship, Lilly Library, University of Indiana, 2003;
History Associates Fellowship, 2003;
UC Santa Barbara Academic Senate and UCSB Foundation Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award, 2002-03;
UC Santa Barbara Humanities/Social Sciences Research Grant, 2002;
UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division Summer Dissertation Proposal Fellowship, 2002;
William H. Ellison Prize for “Re-envisioning Evangelicalism Through Pentecostal Eyes.” Best graduate student paper in any field, Department of History, UC Santa Barbara, 2001.
Additional Info:
Formerly Assistant Professor of History, Oakland University, 2005-2008; Instructor, US Cultural History, UC Santa Barbara, 2005; Instructor, Religious Studies, Westmont College, 2004.
Sutton has been featured on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition among many other news shows. He has published articles in Church History, the Journal of Policy History, and the Public Historian, and he writes for the History News Network and the Christian Century.

Personal Anecdote

I remember as an undergraduate watching teachers ruffle through their notes in the middle of a lecture, looking totally perplexed as they hunted for the one page that was eluding them. And I remember others who would check every pocket-pants, shirt, coat, and bag-looking for that lost piece of chalk, or the one white-board marker that still had some ink left. I vowed then and there that I would never become one of them-I would never be an absent minded professor. Well, I have become one. At no time was this clearer than one day last semester. Although I did not teach that day, I had a series of meetings with students. I thought everything had gone fine-until I got home that night and discovered that my polo shirt had been on inside-out the entire day. Yep, the tag was sticking out from the back of my neck, my buttons were on the inside, and the seams ran along the outside of the shirt. I hoped that students might think that I was a trend-setter, but I know what they really thought. There is Sutton-the absent-minded professor. Unfortunately, I suspect my absent-mindedness is only going to get worse. Fight it as I may, I guess I am going to have to embrace the label. I suppose I am in good company.

My research explores the intersections among religion, politics, and American culture. Despite the fact that “religion and politics” are the two things that you are not supposed to discuss at the dinner table, I can’t help myself. I grew up in Southern California’s evangelical subculture and I had a lot of family connections to the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (the denomination founded by Aimee Semple McPherson). I was vaguely aware of who McPherson was, and as I began studying American religion during my undergraduate years I became increasingly curious about her role in shaping modern American evangelicalism. When I started applying to graduate schools, I needed a good dissertation topic and I realized that McPherson was a perfect vehicle through which to explore gender, mass media, popular culture, and politics in the interwar years. The result was my first book Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America (Harvard University Press, 2007).

My current research explores the connections among evangelicals’ social/political activism and their belief in the nearness of the Apocalypse-especially in the context of national crises and war. I find few things more fun than thinking about people who predict the end of the world; my only fear is that one of these days, one of them might be right!

Quotes

By Matthew Avery Sutton

  • From the Pilgrims who settled at Plymouth Rock to Christian Coalition canvassers working for George W. Bush, Americans have long sought to integrate faith with politics. Few have been as successful as Hollywood evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.

    Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America JPGDuring the years between the two world wars, McPherson was the most flamboyant and controversial minister in the United States. She built an enormously successful and innovative megachurch, established a mass media empire, and produced spellbinding theatrical sermons that rivaled Tinseltown’s spectacular shows. As McPherson’s power grew, she moved beyond religion into the realm of politics, launching a national crusade to fight the teaching of evolution in the schools, defend Prohibition, and resurrect what she believed was the United States’ Christian heritage. Convinced that the antichrist was working to destroy the nation’s Protestant foundations, she and her allies saw themselves as a besieged minority called by God to join the “old time religion” to American patriotism…..On one level this is the story of the rise, fall and redemption of one of the most fascinating characters in American history, Aimee Semple McPherson. But it is much more than that. It is also the story of how Americans came to embrace a thoroughly modern form of evangelicalism that had its roots in McPherson’s innovations and concerns, one that flourished to this day. Indeed, the tensions and controversies that characterized McPherson’s world have come to define faith and politics in the twentieth-first-century United States. — Matthew Sutton in “Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America”

About Matthew Avery Sutton

  • This biography of McPherson explores how the evangelist combined old-time religion with newfangled technology to build a multimedia soul-saving juggernaut in 1920s Los Angeles…A thorough and absorbing portrait of a wholly original figure. — The Atlantic reviewing “Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America”
  • [Sutton] gives an account of McPherson’s life within the cultural currents of her time. He argues that she had an almost preternatural ability to tap her audience’s social fears–about immigration, for instance, or the changing role of women–and offer reassurance in the form of simple spiritual storytelling…As Mr. Sutton’s fine book shows, she proved to be an emblem of things to come. — Christine Rosen, Wall Street Journal
  • Lively and diligently researched. — Caleb Crain, New York Review of Books
  • In the page-turning book, Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America, Matthew Avery Sutton makes a persuasive case that the Canadian evangelist was responsible for rescuing conservative Protestantism from obscurity while creating the political model for today’s powerful Religious Right. She promoted the now- widely held conviction that Jesus Christ and the ‘American way of life’ are synonymous. Other books have been written about McPherson, but Sutton’s goes furthest in making the important argument that the Canadian evangelist was the most influential model for the merging of conservative Christian identity and American patriotism…At the time of the 1925 Scopes ‘monkey trial’ over the teaching of evolution, McPherson organized a giant parade and theatrical stage play at her baroque Angelus Temple that portrayed what she called the ‘hanging and burial of monkey teachers.’ Eighty years later, McPherson’s brand of evangelical sensationalism is again spiking up the issue of whether to teach evolution in U.S. public schools, while in most other industrialized countries the dispute barely registers…Sutton’s book deserves special praise for its socio-political analysis–for outlining Sister Aimee’s pivotal role in giving birth to today’s politicized evangelical Christianity. — Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun
  • Decades before televangelists like Billy Graham, Pat Robertson or Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker started mixing show business and conservative Christianity, there was Aimee Semple McPherson…An impressive new biography. — Don Lattin, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Sutton helps readers see in McPherson more than one paradoxical woman: her Foursquare Gospel helped catalyze a fundamental cultural realignment that brought Pentecostals and Evangelicals into the American mainstream, transforming American politics in ways that continue to write today’s headlines. A nuanced portrait of an entire movement. — Bryce Christensen, Booklist
  • Matthew Avery Sutton has done such a thorough and engaging job with Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America. — John M. and Priscilla S. Taylor, Washington Times
  • [A] delightful biography of the first American woman to become a celebrity-preacher. — David Crumm, Detroit Free Press
  • Matthew Avery Sutton knows how to spin a yarn. His new biography of the Pentecostal preacher Aimee Semple McPherson beautifully evokes the allure of this early-twentieth-century charismatic revivalist, and manages as well to capture the boosterism and bravado of Los Angeles in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. One can easily understand why the Public Broadcasting Service chose this book as the basis for an episode of the American Experience. Sutton’s tale has all the pathos of a soap opera, while speaking at the same time to central issues of American cultural life, including gender, celebrity, sexuality, and the volatile mix of religion and politics. When Sutton harnesses his gift for storytelling to the task of critical analysis, the book is a model of what narrative history can be at its best. — Matthew S. Hedstrom, Politics and Religion
  • An impressive work…Sutton’s account of Aimee’s search for companionship and the debilitating toll her “kidnapping” took on her mentally as well as physically (in 1926, she disappeared for 36 days, then concocted a bizarre tale of kidnapping that led to a lengthy trial, the equivalent in its day of the O.J. Simpson trial) is the most persuasive portrayal of this episode to date; it also sheds light on the continuing struggles of Pentecostal women called to ministry in a man’s world…I highly recommend it, not just because it tells a good story-though it certainly does that-but also because its insights into the Pentecostal cult of personality are all too relevant today. — Arlene M. Sanchez Walsh, Books & Culture
  • [Sutton] reminds us that Aimee Semple McPherson ‘exemplified evangelicalism’s appeal to millions of Americans’ and suggests that it is time to re-examine her life and legacy. — Bryan F. LeBeau, Kansas City Star
  • In a clear and frightening way [Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America] both locates her origins in what could be called America’s mainstream fringe and her influence on today’s Christian right, with its political manipulating and media empires. — George Fetherling, Seven Oaks
  • [A] gripping new biography of Aimee Semple McPherson…Sutton has focused on McPherson’s substantive legacy– a politically powerful religious commitment shared by millions of Americans–rather than the legend of the self- proclaimed salvation-bearing empire-builder. Many readers will find themselves giving new thought to the potent and disturbing policy-shaping force that today’s Christian Right embodies. — Peter Skinner, ForeWord
  • Although it is hard to imagine in this era, the dominant view among religious Christians in the early part of the 20th century was that mixing the realms of Christ and Caesar was unholy business. McPherson smashed that taboo, and turned evangelical Protestantism into a fighting faith. — Jonathan Kay, National Post
  • [Sutton’s] delightful biography of the first American woman to become a celebrity preacher makes us want to enroll in one of his classes — Ventura County Star
  • Sutton’s study, part biography and part cultural history, attempts to explain the long 20th-century run of traditionalist Protestantism on the political stage. It is, therefore, an important book. — Anne Blue Wills, Christian Century
  • Sutton’s engaging work also makes important contributions by linking McPherson’s adept use of publicity and celebrity status, social conservatism, and American patriotism to the modern evangelical vision of a more Christian nation. — W. B. Bedford, Choice
  • [Sutton] offers progressive Christians a must-read study of this important but enigmatic figure in American religious history. If we wish to understand the use of celebrity and technology by religious conservatives, not only to spread the gospel but to influence politics as well, we must look to its beginnings in the ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson. — Rev. Robert Cornwall, Progressive Christian
  • Matthew Sutton’s Aimee Semple McPherson may be the best single book yet published on this icon of early twentieth-century American religion and culture. Beautifully paced and superbly researched, the book weaves McPherson’s inherently fascinating and ultimately tragic career into larger stories about California, pentecostalism, and emerging popular culture. Empathetic, critical, and insightful simultaneously, Sutton has produced a compellingly narrated book about one of modern America’s most magnetic women. — Jon Butler, author of “Becoming America: The Revolution before 1776”
  • At long last, a biographical exploration of Aimee Semple McPherson that steers clear of stereotype, caricature, and condescension. Matthew Sutton deftly addresses Sister Aimee’s fame and her legacy in his fine biography, but he does so with care and attention to her humanity as well. — William Deverell, University of Southern California
  • Aimee Semple McPherson passionately embraced her role as a religious celebrity in an increasingly mass media- oriented age and steadfastly refused to be constrained by traditional notions of gender or sexuality. Americans of the 1920s and 1930s were fascinated by her, and readers today will feel the same way, thanks to Matthew Avery Sutton’s timely and absorbing biography. — Susan Ware, editor of Notable American Women: Completing the Twentieth Century
  • Not content to see Aimee Semple McPherson–“Sister”–simply as a woman evangelist, or even as a religious icon, Matthew Sutton places her career in a wide range of contexts, including gender, media, Southern California popular culture, and the muscular expansion of American evangelicalism. This is terrific history, reflecting meticulous research, persuasive argumentation, and a writing style as vibrant as the story it tells. — Grant Wacker, author of Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture
  • “This was BY FAR my favorite class this semester!….
    He’s a very good teacher. He knows a lot about what he’s teaching….
    LOVED this professor…he is really passionate about what he teaches especially his topic of choice, Mcpherson…
    He’s amazing. I absolutely loved his class. He made a subject that I care very little about, into something so intersting. I was always excited to got to his class….
    One of the best profs in any department at OU. Funny, interesting, fair, smart, caring–not too many profs have ALL of those qualities!….
    Professor Sutton is by far the most devoted teacher I have had thus far….
    I loved prof. Sutton. He’s a good guy who knows his stuff….
    Professor Sutton is incredibly passionate about the subject he teaches!….
    excellent professor. Clearly, his forte is history as he has abounding knowledge and passion for this subject area; as a history major, I enjoyed the lectures and multimedia aspects and found his method of visual and auditory stimulators to be the perfect method of teaching to all different types of people, which cannot be said for many profs!….
    Professor Sutton is young and energetic. His class is very interesting. He made me enjoy history…. I enjoyed this class and this professor. History is definitely his thing and he is very passionate and enthusiastic about the subject!….
    I never liked history before this class. He made learning American history fun and interesting he breaks up the class with documentaries, films, class discussion, reading, and lectures….
    Yeah, he is a great teacher, He is young, fun, and very multimedia, makes the new deal exciting, I would definitely recommend him to anyone, really appreciates students, very down to earth. — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 12:54 AM

Top Young Historians: 94 – Eugenia Y. Lean

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

94: Eugenia Y. Lean, 10-20-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University, July 2002-present.
Area of Research: Late imperial and modern Chinese history with a particular focus on the history of emotions and gender, law and media, as well as consumer culture, science, and urban society, issues of historiography and critical theory in the study of East Asia
Education: Ph.D., Chinese History, University of California, Los Angeles, December 2001.
Major Publications: Lean is the author of Public Passions: the Trial of Shi Jianqiao and the Rise of Popular Sympathy in Republican China, (University of California Press, April 2007), which is a study of how a high-profile crime of female Eugenia Lean JPGpassion helped give rise to the moral and political authority of “public sympathy” in Republican-era China. The book was awarded the American Historical Association’s 2007 John K. Fairbank prize for an outstanding book in modern East Asian history.
She is currently working on Global Soap, Local Desires: Transnational Circuits of Science and Commerce in Modern China, which is a study of the global circuits of science and commerce that introduced modern soap to China.
Lean is the author of scholarly journal articles and book chapters in both English and Chinese including:
“Daode xunjie yu meiti xiaoying: Shi Jianqiao’an yu sanshi niandai Zhongguo dushi dazhong wenhua” [Moral Exhortation and Media Sensation: the Case of Shi Jianqiao and Urban Mass Culture in 1930s China]. In Wenhua qimeng yu zhishi shengchan [Cultural Enlightenment and Knowledge Production]. Ed. Chia-ling Mei, 213-232. Taipei: Maitian Publishing, 2006; “Shenpan zhong de ganqing yinsu: ji 1935-36 nian xiju xing de shenpan – Shi Jianqiao qi’an” [Emotions on Trial: Courtroom Drama and Urban Spectacle in the 1935-36 Case of Shi Jianqiao].” Zhongguo Xueshu (China Scholarship) 6.2 (2005): 206-231; “Liu Jinggui Qingsha’an: sanshi niandai Beiping de dazhong wenhua yu meiti chaozuo” [Love with a Vengeance: Media Sensation in Republican Era Beiping]. Beijing: Urban Culture and Historical Memory. Eds. Chen Pingyuan and David Wang, 269-84. Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2005; “The Making of a Public: Emotions and Media Sensation in 1930s China.” Twentieth Century China 29.2 (April 2004): 39-61; Gongde huo sichou? Yijiu sanshi niandai Zhongguo “qing” de guozu zhengzhi [Public Virtue or Private Revenge? Female Qing and the Chinese Nation]. Public and Private: Individual and Collective Bodies in Modern Chinese History. Eds. Huang Kewu and Chang Che-chia, 223-53. Taibei: Institute of Modern History, 2000; “Reflections on Theory, Gender and the Psyche in the Study of Chinese History.” Funü lishi yanjiu fukan [Research on Women in Modern Chinese History] 6 (August 1998): 141-173; “The Modern Elixir: Medicine as a Consumer Item in the Early Twentieth-Century Press.” UCLA Historical Journal 15 (1995): 65-92.
Awards: Lean is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
2007 John K. Fairbank Book Prize (awarded by the American Historical Association) for Public Passions: the Trial of Shi Jianqiao and the Rise of Popular Sympathy in Republican China (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, April 2007).
ACLS/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Junior Faculty, 2004-2005;
An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship, Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, Harvard University, 2004-2005;
School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Mellow Fellowship in East Asian Studies, Fall 2004 (Declined);
University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Chinese Studies Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2004-2005 (Alternate);
UCLA History Department Dissertation Writing Fellowship, 2000-2001;
Paula Stone Dissertation Fellowship (Center for Study ofWomen, UCLA), 2000-2001;
Herma and Celia Wise Fellowship (UCLA), 2000-2001;
ICFOG Pre-Dissertation Fellowship (UCLA), 1999-2000;
American Council for Learned Societies-Committee on Scholarly Communication with China (ACLS-CSCC), Dissertation Research Grant, 2/1999-12/1999;
Fulbright IIE, Dissertation Research Grant, 9/1998-2/1999;
Eugene Cota-Robles Four-year Fellowship, University of California, Office of the President, 1992-1994, 1995-1997.
Additional Info:
Formerly Assistant Professor, History Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, July 2001-June 2002.

Personal Anecdote

My first book, Public Passions, historicizes the political uses of emotions. It explores a 1935-36 cause célèbre, the trial of Shi Jianqiao (a woman who assassinated a warlord to avenge her father’s death), to show how “public sympathy” (tongqing) for the female assassin gained unprecedented moral and political authority in early twentieth century China. The affair generated sensation and stirred passions precisely because it effectively mediated much larger social anxieties, including debate over proper gender norms, questions of legal reform versus vigilante justice, and concerns with attempts by the Nationalist (Guomindang) government to expand its authoritarian rule. In its ability to skewer politicians, cast doubt on official narratives, and enable serious exploration of social and gender issues, the sentiment-based public that arose in the case came, I argue, to exhibit qualities that much of the critical theory on political participation conventionally associates with “rational” publics.

In the course of writing this history of emotions, I found myself reflecting upon my own passions. There is no doubt that in writing Public Passions, I was informed by a range of sentiments. I had an unmistakable admiration for the “heroine” at the center of story; I was driven by a desire to recoup her “agency,” as well as the agency of China itself, too often depicted in historiography as a passive agent in the face of modernization wrought by the West. My penchant for cultural history was pivotal, and to be sure, I am easily smitten by romantic, even exotic, stories and narratives that shape the lives of humans in the past. Yet, a large part of being a historian lies precisely in reining in such passions so as to engage in rigorous analysis. As historians, we are taught to establish a critical distance with our object of study by faithfully interpreting our texts and materials, by carefully considering context, and by inquiring into the conditions that shaped historical agency and events in the past. Dispassionate analysis is the goal.

Thus, by definition, my passionate commitment to unraveling and probing this event in the Chinese past had now become a methodological challenge of the present. Indeed, if you think about the relationship between passions and history writing, things become quite complicated. The tension between subjective passions and critical objectivity was implicitly at the heart of some of the thorny theoretical and methodological debates that consumed academia in the 1990s during my graduate student days. Post-structuralism levied a serious critique of objectivity and empiricism. For many historians, this critique led to a reconsideration of some of the fundamentals of our discipline, which rest on the assumption that we are able to retrieve through empirical fact the objective truth regarding the past. Many were forced to think seriously about how our subjectivity and passions come into play when writing history. Questions swirled about how best to handle the need for dispassionate analysis in historical inquiry while recognizing our subjective perspectives as historically-situated subjects.

I do not profess that the writing of a history of passions has resolved this vexing issue for me. Yet, what has been made clear to me is that passions inevitably inform the endeavor of history writing and thus, matter in writing history. Passionate curiosities, for example, can help animate stories of yesteryear. Emotional investment in one’s historical topic can sustain what is a long, often grueling, process in writing and researching about that past. Thus, while unbridled passions certainly risk obfuscating the “objectivity” we historians should constantly strive to achieve, I want to take seriously something that I suggest in my book, namely, that passions are not necessarily mutually exclusive from critical inquiry, and under certain conditions, might even enable it. In other words, historians should add to their disciplinary tool kit the ability to acknowledge their passions and interests, and reflect seriously on how they shape our ways of knowing events of an earlier age. Only by doing so are we better equipped to take a step back, when necessary, and create the needed critical distance crucial for good history writing, all without sacrificing the affective element of the endeavor that often makes it all possible and indeed, worthwhile.

Quotes

By Eugenia Lean

  • What the study of the Shi Jianqiao affair suggests is that the very qualities of commercialism, sensation, and sentimentalism that Lin Yutang and others bemoan as evidence of political apathy were, in fact, prime conditions Public Passions JPG for the making of a critical public. It was precisely the sensationalism in Shi Jianqiao’s case that enabled accounts of her affair to fly undetected under the radar of state censorship, and thus provide a forum for the public airing of pressing social and political issues. Not subjected to the kind of control exercised over conventional venues of “serious” journalism, serialized fiction based on the case allowed the reading public to explore radically new gender norms during a period when calls for constraints on female morality were increasingly strident among Nationalist ideologues. Dramas inspired by the killing were also not strictly policed. By celebrating Shi Jianqiao as the female knight-errant antihero and a superior bearer of national justice, theatrical productions could articulate alternative forms of public justice that lay outside the official court system. [p. 75]. — Eugenia Lean in “Public Passions: the Trial of Shi Jianqiao and the Rise of Popular Sympathy in Republican China”

About Eugenia Lean

  • “What [Lean] finds is political debate but conducted in very different terms from that suggested by Jürgen Habermas and with very different implications. This is the world of the mass media; of politics as scandal, sensation, and entertainment; of popular political participation that is active indeed but focused around emotional involvement in stories told by the popular press rather than rational debate among bourgeois men. Lean makes us look again at the new, and conflicting, ways in which Chinese in the twentieth century were invited to participate in politics.” – Henrietta Harrison, author of “The Man Awakened from Dreams: One Man’s Life in a North China Village 1857-1942”
  • “This book is at the forefront of the next generation of scholarship on early-twentieth-century China. Lean makes a number of important claims about sentiment and modernity, puts forward broader claims that go beyond China studies, and poses stark questions about the place of ‘rationality’ in modernity that will compel others to defer to her study for many years to come.” – John Fitzgerald, author of “Awakening China: Politics, Culture, and Class in the Nationalist Revolution”
  • “This ingeniously crafted book provides intriguing ways of linking the past to the present, weaving debates that stretch as far back as the Qin with questions of contemporary Chinese culture and politics. Through exhaustive examinations of media, political, and judicial records, the author vividly shows how the debate on emotions that Shi’s case engendered was a manifestation of a ‘modern public’ in China.” – Ruth Rogaski, author of “Hygienic Modernity: Meanings of Health and Disease in Treaty-Port China”
  • “It is increasingly clear both that culture influences the perception and representation of emotions and that emotions play a great role in human behavior and in historical events. This book shows how dealing intelligently with passions can be extremely useful in writing history.” – Paolo Santangelo, author of “Sentimental Education in Chinese History”
  • “This fine study offers a new and promising direction for our thoughts on the forces that have shaped not only Republican and Communist China, but also Western Europe and the United States.” – Susan Glosser, author of “Chinese Visions of Family and State, 1915-1953”
  • “[A]s a corrective to an overproduction of scholarly efforts to apply Jürgen Habermas’s public sphere ideals to republican China – this book provides a welcome shift of focus in understanding the murky realm of the public.” – Bryna Goodman, author of “Native Place, City and Nation: Regional Networks and Identities in Shanghai, 1853-1937”

Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 at 2:33 AM

Top Young Historians: 93 – Randall J. Stephens

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

93: Randall J. Stephens, 9-15-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Eastern Nazarene College
Area of Research: American Religious History, United States South, American Popular Music, Historical Theology, Cultural History, Conservative Evangelicalism
Education: Ph.D., American History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 2003
Major Publications: Stephens is the author of The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South,Randall J. Stephens (Harvard University Press, 2008).  Stephens is working on The Anointed: American Evangelical Experts, with Karl Giberson (under contract, Harvard University Press); He is the editor of Recent Trends in American Religious History, part of the Historians in Conversation Series (under contract, University of South Carolina Press), and is the Bibliographic editor for The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History, edited by Paul Harvey and Edward Blum (under contract, Columbia University Press). Stephens is also working on these projects, editing A Primary Source Reader in American Religious History, and a new manuscript I Hate Rock and Roll: Anti-Rock and American Christianity, 1955-1975.

Stephens is also the author of the following peer-reviewed articles and book chapters; “The Holiness/Pentecostal/Charismatic Extension of the Wesleyan Tradition,” in The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley (under contract, Cambridge University Press); Sam Jones’ Own Book, 1886. With a New Introduction by Randall J. Stephens. Southern Classics Series (forthcoming, University of South Carolina Press); “‘Ohio villains’ and ‘pretenders to new revelations’: Wesleyan Abolitionists in North Carolina and Virginia, 1847-1857,” in Festschrift for Bertram Wyatt-Brown (forthcoming, University Press of Florida); “‘There is Magic in Print’: The Holiness Pentecostal Press and the Origins of Southern Pentecostalism,” in Southern Crossroads: Perspectives on Southern Religion and Culture, (University of Kentucky Press, 2008) and the Journal of Southern Religion 5 (2002); “Interpreting American Pentecostal Origins: Retrospect and Prospect” in Interpreting Denominational History: Perspectives on the Past, Prospects for the Future (University of Alabama Press, 2008), and “The Convergence of Populism, Religion, and the Holiness-Pentecostal Movements: A Review of the Historical Literature,” Fides et Historia 32, no. 1 (Winter/Spring 2000): 51-64.
Stephens has also authored numerous articles and interviews for The Journal of Southern Religion, Historically Speaking: The Bulletin of the Historical Society, and Books & Culture, Christianity Today.
Awards: Stephens is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
John Templeton Foundation grant for The Anointed: American Evangelical Experts, co-authored with Karl Giberson, 2008;
The Fire Spreads nominated by Harvard University Press for the Francis Parkman Prize and the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, 2008;
Young Scholars in American Religion Fellowship, Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis, 2007-2009, 2007;
Professional Achievement Award, Eastern Nazarene College, 2007;
Religion in American History, Cliopatria’s best new blog, 2007;
One of fifteen semifinalists for the Allan Nevins Prize for the best dissertation in American history, Society of American Historians, 2004;
The St. George Tucker Society’s M. E. Bradford Prize for best dissertation in southern studies, 2004;
Richard J. Milbauer Dissertation Prize for best dissertation in history, University of Florida, 2004;
Journal of Southern Religion’s Sam Hill Award, 2003;
History Department Nominee for University-Wide Graduate Teaching Award, University of Florida, 2003;
Dissertation Fellowship, Louisville Institute for the Study of Protestantism and American Culture (Funded by the Lilly Endowment), 2002-03;
Finalist, Newcombe Dissertation fellowship, Princeton University, 2001;
Participant in the Pew Younger Scholars Seminar on the Civil War and Reconstruction, University of Notre Dame, 2001;
Jack and Celia Proctor Award for best essay on Southern History, University of Florida, 2001;
Hanger Research Fellowship, University of Florida, 2001;
Graduate Student Travel Award, University of Florida, 2001;
Laurence C. Boylan Outstanding Masters Thesis Award, Emporia State University, 1998;
Art Student of the Year, Olivet Nazarene University, 1994-1995;
Elected to Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, 1994.
Additional Info:
Formerly Adjunct Professor University of Florida, (Fall 2003-Summer 2004).
Stephens has designed and maintained the following websites Eastern Nazarene College, Journal of Southern Religion, The Historical Society, History Department, Eastern Nazarene College, The Polkinghorne Society Open Theology and Science, British Abolitionism, Moral Progress, & Big Questions in History, A conference jointly funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the Historical Society, 26-28 April 2007, Crowne Plaza St. James, London, David Brion Davis, “Slavery, Emancipation and Human Progress,” a free public lecture, 26 April 2007, Central Hall Westminster, London, and Tidal Wave Magazine.
Stephens is an editor of the Journal of Southern Religion and an associate editor of the review of the Historical Society, Historically Speaking.
From 2001-2004 Stephens was the editor for Tidal Wave Magazine (a music, film, and indie-culture publication); and from 1998-2002 he was a music writer for Skyscraper Magazine (NY), Harp Magazine (MD), Satellite Magazine (FL), Tidal Wave Magazine (FL), and Ink19 (FL).
Since 1996 Stephens has been a member of indie rock outfit Jetenderpaul, which released three full length cds, one e.p., and two 7″ records on Velvet Blue Music (Huntington Beach, CA), Burnt Toast Vinyl (Philadelphia, PA), and Hype City Records (Norway).

Personal Anecdote

The Past as a Foreign Country or another Planet

I grew up in Olathe, Kansas. It’s a pretty typical, sprawling bedroom community outside of Kansas City. Thomas Frank summed up our county pretty well in What’s the Matter with Kansas?. He called it cupcake land, where McMansions come in beige, darker beige, and gray, and where the Republican Party has a lock on the citizenry. Olathe and its environs also have very little of what easterners, southerners, or Europeans would count as “history.” No Colonial Williamsburg or ancient Boston is this. Minus the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm there’s little in Olathe worth a historic marker. Sure, we had an Old Settler’s Day parade, but no Jebediah Springfield, and no sense of what was “old” about it. My English brother-in-law likes to joke with his mates who come over from the west country about this fact, which must seem so very odd to people who live a few miles from Stonehenge. “I can show you a strip mall that dates back to the early 1980s,” he tells them. I do recall a Baskin Robbins on the main drag that was built in the mid-1970s. My family did make the occasional trip to the coasts. I peered over the glass in D.C. to look at a yellowing constitution, took in the ambience of ghost towns in the West, and walked the cobblestone streets of Boston’s north end. But that was like going to Universal Studios. These places seemed like sets to me. Back home in Olathe—watching television or movies—history was almost indistinguishable from science fiction or fantasy. Ewoks or cowboys, Revolutionary War soldiers or Cylons, it was all Greek to me. Whenever I did encounter the gritty, dusty, frightening realities of the past, it drew me like a moth to a flame. One summer, while I was still a teenager, I decided to investigate an overgrown cemetery where settlers buried their dead along the Santa Fe Trail. The crumbling mid-19th century graves, victims of the elements and indifference, fascinated me. Later, in some strange adolescent macabre twist (I think I was listening to too much Love and Rockets, Smiths, and Cure), I made clay impressions of the tombstone engravings. I worked these into hand built ceramic boxes, which I gave to friends. “Our Beloved Infant Son. Died August 6, 1855.” Inspiring. In college, the South—with its ironies, conflicts, and tragedies—captivated me. In what other region has history seemed to come alive in all its grotesque and beautiful glory? Faulkner’s oft-quoted line about south’rin history bears repeating: “The past is never dead,” Gavin Stevens remarks in Requiem for a Nun (1951). “It’s not even past.” So I went full throttle into that never-forgotten, thick history by studying with Bert Wyatt-Brown, a student of C. Vann Woodward, and carrier of W. J. Cash’s torch into the 21st century. I did not focus on duels, eye-gougings, suicides, nose tweaking, and the like. Yet Bert’s work had a significant impact on my own. My book, The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South (Harvard University Press, 2008), helped me to recapture some of the foreignness and complexity of two eye-popping religious movements. I grew up in the holiness tradition. My grandpa was a fiery Wesleyan minister, who, like Robert Duvall in The Apostle, could thunder with the best of them. Yet the plush, carpeted, and extravagant mega-church of my youth was miles away from the sawdust trail and the moldy tents that shouting preachers once carted from one small town to another. Our domesticated Nazarene sanctuary was a sharp contrast to the “glory barns” and storefront tabernacles of one hundred years ago. That was a perfect problem for a historian to work with. As I made my way through the research and writing stages I wondered, How can I chart such changes over time? How do I recover and make sense of what’s been lost or altered? These and other questions have stayed with me on subsequent projects. My research took me into what Greil Marcus called the Old Weird America. White dirt farmers and small town merchants as well as black railroad porters and domestic servants came together in this new, rowdy religious movement. They brought with them their upcountry folkways, sacred harp songs, and Delta ballads. I poured over diaries, hymnals, and deteriorating newspapers that recounted wild and woolly scenes. In the holiness and pentecostal revivals of over 100 years ago initiates rolled on the floor, spoke in tongues, cast out demons, and banged away on upright pianos. That didn’t set well with many a southerner. I was most intrigued by the conflicts that enthusiasts rushed headlong into. Self-anointed street preachers squared off with their Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian cultured despisers. Pentecostals called attention to the boring meetings of the South’s frozen chosen. By contrast, pentecostal services were intense and emotional. Mill owners tried to shut down loud tent revivals that carried on into the night. And, occasionally, believers thumbed their noses at the local establishment by holding integrated services. Thanks to Harvard’s Widener Library and Proquest’s digitized newspaper collections, I stumbled onto some real gems. When the faithful held a mixed-race service in 1912 in the West End of Atlanta, the Atlanta Constitution headlined, “‘Rollers’ Have No Color Line.” It was scandalous: “white women mingled nightly until midnight with negroes in ‘Holy Roller’ meetings” and “joined the negroes in their wild demonstrations of ‘religious intoxication.'” Stalwarts retaliated to these and other challenges in their own way. They proclaimed that God was on their side whenever enemies fell dead in the middle of church services or were run over by freight trains. It’s enough to make even Flannery O’Connor blush. Sometimes I think it’s odd that I entered an area of history that is, in many ways, so incredibly removed from the manicured lawns and suburban calm of Olathe, KS. But like so much else in life, we’re often attracted to the things that are foreign/alien to our own experience.

Quotes

By Randall J. Stephens

  • The story of the origins of holiness theology and pentecostalism in the U.S. South from the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century remains untold, as does that of the larger significance of these movements in both the modern South and the nation as a whole. Yet they are hardly peripheral to modern American, and particularly southern, history. With millions of devotees in the South alone, holiness and pentecostalism now rank second only to Roman Catholicism among the world’s Christian denominations. Moreover, the U.S. South is home to the headquarters of fifty-seven different pentecostal churches and sects—including those of
    the Assemblies of The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American SouthGod, the Church of God in Christ, and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). These groups, and born-again Christians in general, have experienced phenomenal growth since the 1970s. Their numbers soared as liberal Protestantism in the South and elsewhere waned. Some observers have even called this upsurge in religious enthusiasm the Fourth Great Awakening. Moreover, the recent politicization of conservative evangelicals, of whom southern pentecostals make up a significant proportion, deserves special scrutiny.6 Believers are now more visible than ever before. Devout southern pentecostals and those with roots in the tradition—including former attorney general John Ashcroft, conservative religious spokesmen Jim Bakker and John Hagee, country singers Tammy Wynette and Johnny Cash, and rock and roll innovators Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley—are known throughout the world. — Randall J. Stephens in “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”

About Randall Stephens

  • In this careful and detailed study, Stephens chronicles the rise of Holiness and Pentecostal movements in the American South in the late 19th century, discusses their eventual split and quarrels about theology and culture, and then recounts the gradual mainstreaming of both movements in the late 20th century. — Publishers Weekly reviewing “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”
  • Boisterous Pentecostal worship has excited the scorn of skeptics, while apocalyptic Pentecostal theology has scandalized the orthodox. But Stephens limns a pattern of phenomenal growth for this revolutionary faith, now curiously central to the conservatism of the Religious Right. A balanced work of cultural scholarship. — Bryce Christensen, Booklist reviewing “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”
  • Stephens’s masterful account of how the South nurtured and altered a once-marginalized religious movement– and how that religion influenced the region–is the most fluent and authoritative synthesis of a complex and controversial subject. — The Atlantic reviewing “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”
  • This study is an important addition to the growing field of pentecostal studies. Stephens’s emphasis on regional identity complements the previous works of historians like Grant Wacker and Edith Blumhofer. His ability to make sense of the complex theological features of pentecostalism makes The Fire Spreads accessible to a wide audience composed of lay adult readers, college students, pentecostal practitioners, and professional historians. Furthermore, there is something to be said for a book that is both deeply intelligent and highly readable…Anyone interested in the history of religion in the United States—and specifically as it relates to region, race, and politics—must read Stephens’s The Fire Spreads.Michael Pasquier, H-Pentecostalism reviewing “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”
  • Crisply written, analytically clear, and full of colorful personalities, The Fire Spreads is the most significant study of Pentecostal origins since Grant Wacker‘s Heaven Below…Randall Stephens offers a rich portrait of Christians in the American South who embraced perfectionist teachings. Mining untapped pamphlets, periodicals, diaries, and church records, he presents a lucid chronological and regional study of the holiness and Pentecostal movements that eventually dominated the national perception of southern religion. Himself the grandson of a “barnstorming holiness preacher,” Stephens chronicles the many ironies that led to this unexpected triumph. — John G. Turner, Books & Culture reviewing “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”
  • Stephens reveals the pentecostal and holiness movement’s ‘restless visionaries’ to be complicated religious figures pressing at the margins of southern society, undeterred by frequent scandals and internecine disputes, traveling constantly, delighting in acts of persecution, and testing the boundaries of religious ecstasies. An essential book for anyone interested in twentieth-century religious history. — Paul Harvey, University of Colorado at Colorado Spring reviewing “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”
  • Randall Stephens’ book represents sedulous research, balanced judgment, and impressive imagination. It stands as a work of exceptional importance in the rapidly developing fields of holiness, pentecostal, and southern cultural and religious history. — Grant Wacker, Duke University reviewing “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”
  • One of the few essential books about American holiness and pentecostal religion. Randall Stephens explains the nineteenth-century northern roots of southern pentecostalism and displays the growth, creativity, and arguments of the various pentecostal groups in the twentieth-century south. — Ted Ownby, University of Mississippi reviewing “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”
  • A classic study of the first region in the world where Pentecostalism took root as a mass movement. Excellent and readable. I highly recommend it. — Vinson Synan, author of “The Holiness/Pentecostal Movement in the United States” reviewing “The Fire Spreads Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South”
  • When he was in graduate school, I considered him the ablest in my many years of teaching on the graduate level. Needless to say, he was the recipient of the best scholarship, the Richard J. Milbauer fellowship, that the department could offer. His dissertation, now an acclaimed book,”The Fire Spreads: The Origins of Southern Pentecostalism,” takes him into the twentieth century but covers the period back to the beginnings of the 19th Century. The topic has been recently treated in a book by Grant Wacker of Duke University’s Religion Department and with whom we had arranged to serve on Randall Stephens’s Ph.D. committee. At the conference call oral exam, Wacker remarked that Randall’s dissertation was the best he had ever read. Wacker’s _Heavens Below_ is largely theological, whereas Randall is taking a more historical approach, tracing the Pentecostal movement back to the Arminian Sanctification in the Present Life and the Holiness doctrines of the antebellum period. There are approximately 400 million Pentecostals in the world, but the movement, never studied on a regional basis before, was and remains especially strong in the Southern states. Very little has ever appeared in academic literature on the Pentecostals. Randall demonstrates in his Harvard publication that he has a firm grasp of how to organize and write in a fluent and persuasive style.This young man is a very accomplished instructor, who has very much impressed his colleagues and administration authorities with his abilities. I believe as a result has a lower teaching load at ENC so that he can pursue his research interests. When in graduate school at Florida, he wisely turned down an opportunity to teach at the Associate level, an honor in itself, in order to speed his progress toward the dissertation’s completion. He was awarded a Lilly Foundation Fellowship which of course precluded this instructional opportunity and was a most significant honor and acknowledgment of the importance and quality of his project. At that time his student evaluations had matched and overmatched those of other TAs, with high ratings on “Enthusiasm for the Subject” (4.59), “Respect and Concern for Students” (4.71), and “Stimulation of Interest in Course” (4.71). Some of the students wrote out their assessments in this fashion, “Seems very interested in the topic, which helps. He cares about if we are learning (if the class isn’t participating he’ll prompt us with questions). Accepts everyone’s opinion, whether he agrees” with it or not…. In fact, he evaluations ere an incredible 4.90, a positive reading that few of us in the profession reach.There is no question that in the Southern history field and the realm of American Religious History, he is fast becoming one of the leading authorities. He easily deserves this recognition of his talents and his continuing promise. — Berthram Wyatt Brown, Chaired Stephens’ Dissertation committee at the University of Florida

Posted on Sunday, September 14, 2008 at 10:50 PM

Top Young Historians: 92 – Kevin Mattson

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

92: Kevin Mattson, 5-27-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History, Ohio University
Area of Research: Modern American History, American Social and Cultural History, American Social Thought, American Political History and Thought
Education: Ph.D., Department of History, University of Rochester, 1994
Major Publications: Mattson is the author of the forthcoming Malaise: How Jimmy Carter Defined a Decade in a Speech that Should Have Changed America, (Bloomsbury USA, 2009); Rebels All!: A Brief and Critical History of the Postwar Conservative Mind, Kevin Mattson (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming, 2008); Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century, (Wiley, 2006); When America Was Great: The Fighting Faith of Liberalism in Post-War America, (Routledge, 2004; reissued as 2nd edition paperback with new preface in 2006); Engaging Youth: Combating the Apathy of Young Americans toward Politics, (Century Foundation, 2003); Intellectuals in Action: The Origins of the New Left and Radical Liberalism, 1945-70, (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002); Creating a Democratic Public: The Struggle for Urban Participatory Democracy During the Progressive Era, (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998).
He is the editor of Liberalism for a New Century, co-edited with Neil Jumonville, (University of California Press, 2007); Steal This University!: The Rise of the Corporate University and the Academic Labor Movement, co-edited with Benjamin Johnson and Patrick Kavanagh, (Routledge, 2003); Democracy’s Moment: Reforming the American Political System for the 21st Century, co-edited with Ronald Hayduk (Rowman and Littlefield, 2002), and An Introduction to Mary Parker Follett’s The New State, with prefaces by Benjamin Barber and Jane Mansbridge, (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998).
Mattson is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “The Rise of Postmodern Conservatism,” in American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century, ed. Martin Halliwell (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming). “What’s to Fear: the American Right, Anti-Intellectualism, and the Academic Bill of Rights,” in Stephen Aby, ed., The Academic Bill of Rights Debate, (Praeger, 2007); “Liberalism and Democracy: A Troubled Marriage,” in Liberalism for a New Century (2007). “John Kenneth Galbraith and Post-War Liberalism in America,” in Capitalism and its Culture, Edited by Nelson Lichtenstein (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006); “Why We Should Be Reading Reinhold Niebuhr Now More than Ever: Liberalism and the Future of American Political Thought,” The Good Society, Volume 14, 2005; “Christopher Lasch and the Perilous Travels of American Liberalism,” Polity, April 2004. “The Challenges of Democracy: James Harvey Robinson, the New History, and Adult Education for Citizenship,” the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Winter, 2003; “The Historian as a Social Critic: Christopher Lasch and the Uses of History,” The History Teacher, Winter, 2003: “Between Despair and Hope: Revisiting Studies on the Left,” in You Didn’t Have to Be There: The New Left Reappraised, edited by Paul Buhle and John McMillian (Temple University Press, 2003).
He has written for the New York Times Book Review, the Nation, the American Prospect, Commonweal, the Baffler, the Common Review, the Washington Post Book World, Academe, and other publications.
Awards: Mattson is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Affiliated Scholar, Center for American Progress, Summer, 2006-Present;
Rush Rhees Fellowship, University of Rochester, 1990-1994: Tuition and full-time stipend for graduate studies.
Additional Info:
Formerly Associate Director, The Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), 1995-2001; Professor of American History for the Clemente Course in the Humanities, Bard College (New Brunswick, NJ), 1998-2001; Adjunct Professor and Advisor of Liberal Arts, Rutgers University, 1998-2001, and Part-Time History Professor at University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Monroe Community College (Rochester, NY), 1994-5.
Mattson has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, including NPR (Chicago, Boston, and Wisconsin); Public Television; Canadian Broadcasting; Fox News; German Television; Nation Radio; Tony Trupiano Show; New York Times, plus newspapers and magazines, both American and international.
Mattson was also a Consultant and Interviewed for “The Progressive Era,” a “Bill Moyers’ Journal” Show on PBS, 2007-8; Consultant, “A Time For Greatness” (about the 1960 Presidential Election) , 2005-Present; Consultant, Carnegie Corporation of New York: Wrote report on youth and political participation and then assessed proposals for projects in this area (2000-2001); Consultant, Open Society Institute (OSI), 1998, reviewed programs dedicated to American political reform and campaign finance.

Personal Anecdote

I’ll admit it: I didn’t always want to be a historian. In fact, I’m not sure when the idea of becoming one crossed my mind. Neither of my parents were historians or academics. I hated high school so much I thought I’d never go to college and didn’t go immediately. And still to this day when college students tell me that they want to become historians, I get suspicious and uneasy (OK, part of that’s because I know the realities of the job market).

In fact, I started life as a “citizen,” or more accurately, as a political activist, and I still think that’s a part of who I am. In high school, I helped form a student organization called the Student Union to Promote Awareness (which had the clumsy acronym, SUPA). That’s where I got most of my education on a variety of political issues (we organized after-school forums) and where I learned how to write (newsletters, flyers, the usual stuff an activist writes). I continued with that work after high school, forming a city-based youth organization that worked on a variety of political issues and that eventually had other chapters across the nation. Pretty soon, though, I realized that I didn’t know that much about American politics or how we became the country that we did.

Still, when I eventually attended college, I didn’t major in history but in social and political thought with a minor in historical studies. But I was trending towards history. And when I had to decide on graduate school, I thought history was the freest and most open of the academic disciplines. For what is not history?

When I finally got out of college, I was still teetering between activism and graduate studies in history. I threw in my applications and got accepted at the University of Rochester. But before packing my bags, I took a job as a community organizer.

Here’s where things turned really strange. The first day I worked for this organization, I was taken out for training by a young woman who seemed wired with energy. She took me into one of the worst housing projects in Brooklyn. There she proceeded to walk me through her rounds, carrying with her a clipboard and literature. At one point, she kicked in a door to the stairway of a particularly nasty building. “Gotta do that,” she said to me, “because sometimes there’s a drug deal going on and you don’t want to be shot so you have to give warning.” People wouldn’t open doors for her, so she had to shout into their apartments. And when we got to the highlight of the evening – a meeting organized to discuss what needed to be done to improve the elevators in the building – I looked around a big room with only four people there, including myself and this young activist, plus two residents who weren’t sure why they were there. Afterwards, she told me that she thought it would be good if an act of violence was taken against her so that she could learn the realities of what it meant to be poor and a victim. I was stunned.

The weirdest part was this: This young activist had just dropped out of the same history program I had just applied to. This too: her advisor would become my advisor.

I knew at that moment my mind was made up: I was going to graduate school and study to become a historian. But I was still animated by the world of activism and politics that I left behind and that I still remained engaged in. And I think that my writing still revolves around the questions I learned to ask as an activist. I’m reminded of George Orwell’s classic essay on “Why I Write.” He included in his list of reasons “political purpose – using the world ‘political’ in the widest possible sense.” I think that way too, as I think all of my work centers around broad political questions about democracy, citizenship, political philosophy, and how these themes intersect with American history.

Quotes

By Kevin Mattson

  • “We are the party of ideas.” – President George W. BushThese words rolled off the lips of a man who calls himself a “gut player.” A man who when asked by the Rebels All!: A Short History of the Conservative Mind in Postwar America JPG
    conservative journalist Tucker Carlson back in 1999 to name a weakness said, “Sitting down and reading a 500-page book on public policy or philosophy or something.” A man who later shocked people and made headline news by reading a book by French existentialist Albert Camus. A man who toned down his prep school roots and campaigned as a Texas populist and who, in the words of one journalist, “has been quick about cracks about intellectuals and criticisms of institutions like his own alma mater, Yale University.” A man whose own speechwriter called him “uncurious and as a result ill-informed.” A man famous for mispronouncing words and looking flummoxed when off-script at press conferences. This president – a man who many describe as the most anti-intellectual president in postwar America – said he led a party of ideas.

    Odd? Not necessarily.

    The book goes on to describe why this is not so strange as it might seem – why conservative ideas are charged with a certain anti-intellectual tinge. — Kevin Mattson in “Rebels All!: A Short History of the Conservative Mind in Postwar America”

About Kevin Mattson

  • “Ultimately Mattson challenges readers to reconsider contemporary conceptions of democracy that view citizens as consumers, and he contributes to contemporary discussions of ways to invigorate democratic practice. Highly recommended for all readership levels.” — Choice reviewing “Creating a Democratic Public The Struggle for Urban Participatory Democracy during the Progressive Era”
  • “In an era of quickening concern about citizenship and community in contemporary America, we have a lot to learn from the community-building activities of Progressive Era reformers. Kevin Mattson’s instructive account of their successes and failures is a timely contribution.” — Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University reviewing “Creating a Democratic Public The Struggle for Urban Participatory Democracy during the Progressive Era”
  • “The Progressive Era was filled with the rhetoric of democracy, but in recent years historians have found the meaning of progressivism rather in various hierarchies of power. Kevin Mattson’s considerable accomplishment in this fine book is to recover the era’s emergent democratic public and its localized activities, from adult education to political meetings. Mattson’s openly committed history is important for its more complicated rendering of progressive democracy, for its elaboration of a lively public culture, and for the encouragement it offers to the project of participatory democracy.” — Thomas Bender, New York University reviewing “Creating a Democratic Public The Struggle for Urban Participatory Democracy during the Progressive Era”
  • “Kevin Mattson’s book recovers one of the most important moments in the history of genuinely democratic reform in American history. A major contribution to the rethinking of progressivism, this book also offers a usable past to those struggling in the present to render our politics and culture more democratic.” — Robert Westbrook, University of Rochester reviewing “Creating a Democratic Public The Struggle for Urban Participatory Democracy during the Progressive Era”
  • “Kevin Mattson’s book will be welcomed by historians for the complications it introduces into our understanding of an important period of dissent and reform and by those who continue to struggle for a more democratic America for its unsentimental account of their inheritance.” — Robert Westbrook, University of Rochester reviewing “Intellectuals in Action The Origins of the New Left and Radical Liberalism, 1945-1970”
  • “By recovering the political ideas and commitments of this important group of left intellectuals working as intellectuals, he invites contemporary intellectuals into a workshop of political change. At a moment when liberalism again seems exhausted, it is a timely and important book.” — Thomas Bender, New York University reviewing “Intellectuals in Action The Origins of the New Left and Radical Liberalism, 1945-1970”
  • “A novel and revealing view of the early New Left as democratic intellectuals in search of a public.” — Leon Fink, University of Illinois at Chicago reviewing “Intellectuals in Action The Origins of the New Left and Radical Liberalism, 1945-1970”
  • “Kevin Mattson’s new book is a superb and inspiring account of the sixties as a moment of public intellectual engagement. Mattson interprets New Left debates as continuous with earlier debates about the meaning of American democracy and the possibilities of a radical liberalism. His book is more than a history. For it seeks to remind us of the strengths and limits of New Left discourse so as to inform our own democratic engagements in the present.” — Jeffrey C. Isaac, Indiana University reviewing “Intellectuals in Action The Origins of the New Left and Radical Liberalism, 1945-1970”

Posted on Monday, May 26, 2008 at 12:20 AM

Top Young Historians: 91 – Micki McElya

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

91: Micki McElya, 5-13-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor of History, University of Connecticut, August 2008 –
Assistant Professor of American Studies, University of Alabama, August 2003 – August 2008
Area of Research: 20th Century U.S., History of Women and Gender, History of Sexuality, Cultural History, Race and Representation, the U.S. South, Visual Culture, Memory, Feminist and Queer Theories
Education: Ph.D., Department of History, New York University, 2003
Major Publications: McElya is the author of Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007) winner of the 2007 Myers Center Outstanding Book Award, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. She is currently working on “Flesh Trades: Capitalism,
Prostitution, Micki McElya JPGand Anti-Slavery Politics, 1820 to the Present.”
McElya is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Painter of the Right: Thomas Kinkade’s Political Art” in Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall, Alexis L. Boylan, ed. (Durham: Duke University Press, forthcoming); “Commemorating the Color Line: The National Mammy Monument Controversy of the 1920s,” in Monuments to the Lost Cause: Women, Art and the Landscape of Southern Memory, Cynthia Mills and Pamela Simpson, eds. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2003); “Trashing the Presidency: Race, Class and the Clinton-Lewinsky Affair,” in Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and the Public Interest, Lauren Berlant and Lisa Duggan, eds. (New York: NYU Press, 2001).
Awards: McElya is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
2007 Myers Center Outstanding Book Award for Clinging to Mammy, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, Boston, MA;
Newberry Library Short-Term Resident Fellowship for Individual Research, Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois, Summer 2005;
Univeristy of Alabama: Research Advisory Council Grant, Summer 2006;
Faculty Development Grant, Spring 2005;
New York University: Prize Teaching Fellow, Department of History, 2002-03;
Warren Dean Dissertation Fellow, Dept. of History, Spring 2002;
Penfield Fellowship, Department of History, Fall 2001;
Margaret Brown Fellowship, Department of History, 2000-01 Summer Predoctoral Fellowship, Graduate School of A & S, 2000;
Summer Research Grant, Department of History, 1998.

Personal Anecdote

I was a pretty awful student in college. I skipped a bunch of classes and toured through several majors, eventually declaring in History because I had taken more courses in the subject than any other and I wanted to graduate on time. In the fall of my senior year, I took the required, but dreaded, methodologies course that had a reputation for being both difficult and boring. Yet at midterm, with the jolting suddenness and impact of a body blow, I realized that I had to become a historian when we read Said’s Orientalism and then the first volume of Foucault’s History of Sexuality. I can recall that class and those few weeks with great clarity, for it was the moment everything— everything—changed for me. It was no longer possible to see the world in the same way, to take school and my privilege for granted, or to understand the archives, history, and history-making as anything less than deeply political. With this new understanding of power and the transformative possibilities of engaged scholarship, I was drawn not only to graduate but on to graduate school and to work on identity, political culture, and memory.

My first book began as a dissertation on the attempt by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to erect a memorial to “the faithful colored mammies of the South” in Washington, D.C., in 1923 and the furious controversy that ultimately (and thankfully) stopped it. This history is included in the book, which is a wider examination of the incredible hold the idea of the mammy has had on American culture, politics, and imaginations across the twentieth century to the present day. It explores why this particular story about slavery, the South, gender, race, and sexuality has been so durable and what this has meant for women in the U.S. and for national and local politics, what it says about historical memory and its effects, and the scope of resistance to these images within black freedom struggles.

My continued interest in the way the U.S. has, or has not, reckoned with the history of slavery and its impacts upon contemporary experience and political economies threads through my current research. My next book is a study of the rhetorics of slavery and abolition in American anti-prostitution campaigns from the antebellum period to the dawn of the twenty-first century. With a focus on politics and popular culture and organized around three historical moments—antebellum reform and abolitionism, the Progressive-Era “white slavery” panic, and current activism to end global sex trafficking—I hope this book will make important contributions to the histories of feminism, prostitution, capitalism, and racial formation.

A required course changed my life. As a teacher now, my primary aim is to disrupt tendencies toward passive learning, jar students’ assumptions about their environments and historical knowledge, and to ignite their critical vision and sense of the moral urgency of studying U.S. history and culture. I believe the ability to historicize— meaning not only to contextualize and assess development over time, but also to recognize dominant narratives and the workings of power—is a necessary skill for leading a thoughtful and engaged life, in and out of the classroom.

Quotes

By Micki McElya

  • The myth of the faithful slave lingers because so many white Americans have wished to live in a world in which African Americans are not angry over past and present injustices, a world in which white people were and are not complicit, in which the injustices themselves—of slavery, Jim Crow, and ongoing structural racism—seem not to exist at all. The mammy figure affirmed their wishes. The narrative of the faithful slave is deeply rooted in the American racial imagination. It is a story of our national past and political future that blurs the lines between myth and memory, guilt and justice, stereotype and individuality, commodity and humanity…. Clinging to Mammy The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America JPG W.E.B Du Bois famously predicted in 1903 that the twentieth century would be defined by “the problem of the color line.” This book examines how that line was drawn and violently maintained through stories of interracial affection and faithful slavery, and how it was given shape in fantasies about black women who crossed it. It also explores the diversity of black activisms that have challenged, and at times, strategically affirmed this version of black womanhood and history, and to what ends. The problem of the color line, with its animating faithful slave narratives, has persisted into the twenty-first century. If we are to reckon honestly with the history and continued legacies of slavery in the United States, we must confront the terrible depths of desire for the black mammy and the way it still drags at struggles for real democracy and social justice. — Micki McElya in “Clinging to Mammy The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America “

About Micki McElya

  • Few American icons have been as comforting or as destructive as the black mammy. If lynching was the brutal face of white supremacy, Aunt Jemima and her ilk were the face of the white fantasy of harmonious race relations. With exceptional scholarly craft, McElya reveals the distortions, hardships, and tragedy that the smiling face and jovial demeanor of the mythic black mammy were intended to obscure. This book signals the arrival of a talented new historian. — W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author of “The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory” reviewing “Clinging to Mammy The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America “
  • Americans loved Aunt Jemima and their mammies. There is no more powerful and damaging popular symbol in American culture than the faithful slave in all its manifestations. McElya’s sensitive, surprising, and enlightening book will make readers wonder at how desperate white America was to believe that slaves were loyal and content. This book is painfully marvelous scholarship that should reach a broad readership. — David Blight, author of “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory” reviewing “Clinging to Mammy The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America “
  • McElya’s powerful blend of cultural and political history illuminates the ways twentieth-century white Southerners tried to maintain their historic privilege while denying the violence of their past. Following the trajectory from Aunt Jemima to Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen,” Clinging to Mammy traces white Americans’ efforts to define, coerce and reap the benefits of African American women’s labor while maintaining a firm grip on political power. — Jane Dailey, author of “Before Jim Crow: The Politics of Race in Postemancipation Virginia” reviewing “Clinging to Mammy The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America “
  • McElya shows vividly how “mammy” serves as a perfect archetype for analyzing cultural politics of race and gender, and how they changed. She gives us parlor theatrics, courtroom drama, legislative debate, and movement politics. This is a wonderfully expansive book. — Scott A Sandage, author of “Born Losers: A History of Failure in America” reviewing “Clinging to Mammy The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America “
  • “If only every tacher was like her.”… “Always willing to meet with students, very understanding, makes material intersting. Overall, my favorite instructor in my 3 years at UA.”… “She is an excellent professor ,and willing to take time with her students to help them better understand what she is teaching.”…” Dr. McElya is one of the few teachers at the University who genuinely cares about her students’ progress in the class. Very honest and understanding person.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Monday, May 12, 2008 at 12:08 AM

Top Young Historians: 90 – Michael S. Neiberg

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

90: Michael S. Neiberg, 4-25-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Professor of History and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, the University of Southern Mississippi, 2005-present
Area of Research: Military history, Nineteenth century, World War I, American Military history
Education: Ph.D., History, Carnegie Mellon University, 1996
Major Publications: Neiberg is the author of The Second Battle of the Marne, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008); Soldiers’ Lives Through History: Volume 4, The Nineteenth Century, (Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2006); Fighting the Great War: A Global History, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005), available in a Spanish Michael Neiberg JPGtranslation, La Gran Guerra,
(Barcelona: Libros Paidós, 2006), and was the Winner of Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award, 2006; Warfare and Society in Europe, 1898 to the Present, (London: Routledge Press, 2004); Foch: Supreme Allied Commander in the Great War, (Dulles, Va.: Brassey’s Press, 2003); Warfare in World History, (London: Routledge Press, 2001); Making Citizen-Soldiers: ROTC and the Ideology of American Military Service, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), finalist for the Thomas J. Wilson Prize, named as an Association of American University Presses “Book for Understanding our Times.”
Neiberg is the editor of The Great War Reader, (New York: New York University Press, 2006); editor, International Library of Political History: Fascism, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), International Library of Political History series, Jeremy Black, general editor; editor, International Library of Military History: World War I, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), International Library of Military History series, Jeremy Black, general editor. Neiberg is also the author with Steven Schlossman of The Unwelcome Decline of Molly Marine: Historical Perspectives on Women in the American Military, 1994, prepared under the direction of Dr. Bernard Rostker for the RAND Corporation’s National Defense Research Institute.
Neiberg is currently working on War and Peace in the Modern World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, under contract).
Neiberg is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Civilian Daily Lives in European Warfare, 1815-1900” in Linda Frey, ed. European Civilians in Time of War, (Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2007), 175-218; “Civilians Daily Lives during World War I,” in Jeanne T. Heidler and David S. Heidler, eds. The United States from the Age of Imperialism to the War on Terror, (Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2007), 35-66. “War and Society” in Matthew Hughes and William Philpott, eds. The Palgrave Guide to Modern Military History, (London: Palgrave, 2006), 42-60; “Revisiting the Myths: New Approaches to the Great War,” Contemporary European History 13, 4 (November, 2004), 505-515, and “Cromwell on the Bed Stand: Allied Civil-Military Relations in World War I” in Jenny MacLeod and Pierre Pursiegle, eds. Uncovered Fields: New Approaches In First World War Studies, (Amsterdam: Brill Publishers, 2003), 61-78.
Awards: Neiberg is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Innovation and Basic Research Award, University of Southern Mississippi, 2008;
Selected Participant, Philip Merrill Center, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University Workshop, 2006;
USAFA International Programs Committee Faculty Development Grant, 2003;
Finalist, Heiser Award for Teaching Excellence, United States Air Force Academy, 2000, 2001, and 2005;
Dean’s Fund to Promote Academic Excellence Grant, United States Air Force Academy, 2001;
Stephen L. Orrison Award for Excellence in Mentoring, United States Air Force Academy, 2000;
Outstanding Academy Educator Award, United States Air Force Academy, 1999;
Spencer Foundation Research Grant, 1997-1998;
United States Army Center of Military History Dissertation Fellowship, 1995-1996;
Mark Stevens Research Travel Grant, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, 1995;
Finalist, Graduate Student Teaching Award, Carnegie Mellon University, 1994;
Goldman Award for Teaching Excellence, Carnegie Mellon University, 1993-1994.
Additional Info:
Formerly Professor of History, United States Air Force Academy. Neiberg was the Guest Editor, Organization of American Historians Magazine of History: World War I 17, 1 (October, 2002). Neiberg was a Consultant, Lucas Films, The Young Indiana Jones DVD Collectionl; Guest of the French Government, Ceremonies Marking the 250th Anniversary of the Birth of the Marquis de Lafayette, Paris, December 12-14, 2007. He made a number of radio/interview appearances including; La Première, RTBF, Belgian National Radio; Larry Mantle, Air Talk, KPCC FM, Los Angeles, California; Warren Olney, To the Point, KCRW FM, Santa Monica, California, and Deutsche Welle Radio, Germany. Neiberg has written newspaper articles for the Los Angeles Times and New York Newsday, and has been interviewed for in the Kansas City Star, the Wall Street Journal; the New York Times, and the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

Personal Anecdote

“Mike, any idiot can get a Ph.D.”

Such was the advice I got shortly after I had begun graduate school. I was visiting with a high school friend of mine whose mother had been a dean of a college of social work. She had asked me about my first reactions to entering a doctoral program. I told her that I was concerned that most of the people in my cohort seemed a good deal smarter than I was. At first I was taken aback by her response, but she soon explained what she meant. Being smart was, in her opinion, no guarantee of success in graduate school. The key, she told me, was to work hard and be creative.

Of course, I didn’t fully understand what she was trying to tell me any more than I understood the advice of one of my undergraduate mentors that “Professors aren’t what you think they are.” Nevertheless, both comments stuck in my head and wouldn’t leave me alone. But as I completed course work and prepared a dissertation topic, I began to understand at least the first comment. What I needed to do was take a subject that seemed banal or prosaic and make people see its importance. Better still, I might take a subject people thought they understood and make them see it in an entirely new light.

Along the way I realized another aspect of the historian’s mind. We all have a time and place that interests us and draws our attention, such as Antebellum America or Third Republic France. But we also have a set of questions that we seek answers to, even if, in my case, it took me years to figure out what those questions were. I finally concluded that my core interests revolved around warfare and the impacts it has on both societies and individuals.

Eventually that path has led me to an intensive study of the First World War. I think I have been drawn to the 1914-1918 period because the causes of the war have always struck me as so disproportionate to its effects. Currently, I am examining the process by which the lives of millions of Europeans were forever altered by a chain of events begun by the assassination of little-known and less-admired Austrian Archduke. I am interested less in understanding how the war began than in understanding how the war that followed was possible. This project is informed by recent trends in transnational history, an exciting and potentially fruitful method for answering the questions I am posing.

For the past 15 years, I have kept the sage words of my friend’s mother at heart. I am still not sure if she meant them literally or facetiously, although I have always hoped it was the latter. It has taken me a long time to figure out what those words mean, but now I think I have it. They have turned out to be the best words of wisdom I ever received.

Quotes

By Michael Neiberg

  • As important as the war is to European, American, and world history, teaching the First World War can be a difficult endeavor. In contrast to the Second World War, the First lacks a clear master narrative of good versus evil. The even greater destruction of the Second World War contributes to an understandable yet misleading image of the First as a senseless waste, the ultimate expression of a wrong war fought for the wrong reasons. Because the war produced relatively few heroes or even few villains, it also lacks a clear and easy identification with well-known people. As a result, the war becomes reduced to simplistic and familiar themes, especially when the teacher is short on time. These well-worn themes include the stupidity of generals, the innocence of soldiers, and the overall waste of the war. Like all simplifications, these tropes are based in an element of reality, but they disguise a tremendous level of complexity. — Michael Neiberg in “The World War I Reader” (New York: NYU Press, 2007), p. 3.
  • By the end of 1917, however, that learning curve was nearly complete. France, Britain, and the United States had developed industrial, political, and military structures that saw them through the crisis of 1918. Victory resulted from a combination of improved Fighting the Great War A Global History JPGmilitary prowess and the evolution of an administrative, economic, and social support system that drove battlefield success. Both nations had come far from August 1914, when British General Henry Wilson observed the meeting at which Britain’s senior leadership had decided upon war. He described it as a “historic meeting of men mostly entirely ignorant of their subject.”6 By 1917–1918 his description no longer fit the senior civilian and military leaders of the Allied powers. They oversaw massive military machines with the infrastructure to support them. Because of the allied creation of a joint civil-military system, French Marshal Ferdinand Foch directed representatives of the new German government to a forest clearing near Compiègne in November 1918. In a railway car in that clearing, the German government surrendered, thereby ending the war that they had played such a large role in beginning. — Michael Neiberg in “Fighting the Great War A Global History”

About Michael Neiberg

  • “In recounting the events of WWI with skill and clarity, Neiberg does not break new ground for serious students of the conflict but achieves a fine balance of narrative and analyses – no easy feat in a one-volume study. And Neiberg also goes considerably further afield than do many one-volume accounts. A larger-than-usual share of responsibility is laid on the Germans, particularly for their diplomacy before the war and in its opening stages. Neiberg’s analyses of military incompetence do not bog down (along with the armies) on the Western Front – the Italian campaign is noted, where the Italian army distinguished itself in spite of being nearly extinguished. Even in the battle narratives, one finds choice revelations, such as how the French African troops’ khaki uniforms (which were designed for warfare in dusty Africa) helped the French to abandon their conspicuous prewar garb. The illustrations (89 duotones and 10 maps) are particularly well chosen. Compare this book with Hew Strachan’s The First World War; it ranks above entries by Martin Gilbert and John Keegan in readability and value for a wider audience.” — Publishers Weekly reviewing “Fighting the Great War”
  • “An interpretive narrator of World War I, Neiberg develops military explanations for its continuation in the face of apparent futility, a theme worked out in its political dimension by David Stevenson in Cataclysm (2004). The initial reason the war went on after 1914 was the failure of every prewar campaign plan, and Neiberg describes the battles (the Marne and Tannenberg) in which paper war met real war. The underlying military problem confronting generals was defensive firepower, and as time elapsed, they tried different methods to neutralize it: titanic artillery barrages, poison gas, tanks, and intentional attrition at Verdun. Resisting the temptation to condemn the generals (with the exception of Italian Luigi Cadorna, “one of the worst senior commanders of the twentieth century”), Neiberg shows how leaders drew hope from incremental technical improvements in weapons and tactics that the next offensive would break the enemy. A well-judged chronicle that compares favorably to the excellent The First World War, by Hew Strachan (2004), Neiberg’s survey supplies a solid foundation in the facts and controversies of WWI’s military course. — Gilbert Taylor in “Booklist” reviewing “Fighting the Great War”
  • Michael Neiberg dissects the resulting carnage on both sides with chilling precision. — Tony Maniaty in “The Australian” reviewing “Fighting the Great War”
  • An authoritative, compelling, and brief narrative of World War I in its military and political aspects. To provide a comprehensive account of the battles and leaders of World War I in a book fewer than four hundred pages is a major achievement. Michael S. Neiberg has accomplished that feat in a lucid, fast-paced treatment of the conflagration that raged across the entire world from 1914 to 1918 in Fighting the Great War: A Global History… Neiberg has a good eye for the relevant anecdote and offers fresh judgments about many of the key figures in this great conflict, such as Erich Ludendorff and Douglas Haig. He is also adept at explaining battles and their significance. There are few better introductions to the complex issues and enduring historical problems that grew out of the war than Neiberg’s book. Balanced in its judgments, crisp in its prose, and powerful in its evocation of a formative moment in world civilization, Fighting the Great War is a significant scholarly contribution. — Lewis L. Gould in “Magill Book Reviews” reviewing “Fighting the Great War”
  • “Who is in charge of our military? Where did they come from? While these questions may not press daily on the minds of most Americans, Making Citizen-Soldiers does not merely ask and answer them–it convinces us that these questions are critical to American democracy. In a focused, well-researched history of the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC), Michael Neiberg discusses the development of this program from 1950 to 1980. More importantly, he sets forth a convincing argument that ROTC, which populates the officer ranks of the military with graduates of civilian colleges, brings to fruition some of the most cherished ideas Americans have about how their military ought to be… So bravo to Neiberg for his success. I do hope a sequel is forthcoming, for he ended his study too soon. As it stands, Making Citizen-Soldiers is not only a well-written history of an important program, it is also a revealing exposition of bedrock American ideals. Like all good historical works, Making Citizen-Soldiers is insightful and important. — David Maier in the “Boston Book Review” reviewing “Making Citizen-Soldiers”
  • “Neiberg provides an absorbing examination of U.S. higher education’s changing relationship with Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs, from their inception in 1916 to 1980…This thoughtful book will interest audiences concerned about American culture and history. — Steven Puro in “Library Journal” reviewing “Making Citizen-Soldiers”
  • Neiberg’s extensive archival research reveals the many conflicts among and within universities over the intellectual validity of ROTC…Neiberg does a commendable job of providing an institutional and social history of ROTC from 1950 through 1980. — — Michael P. Noonan in “Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs” reviewing “Making Citizen-Soldiers”
  • “I met Dr. Michael Neiberg in the spring of 2005, shortly after he joined the faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi. In the past three years I have come to know Dr. Neiberg as an enthusiastic and dedicated professor, encouraging my own interest in history through two undergraduate courses and a senior thesis project. My respect for his knowledge and contribution to his field is surpassed only by my appreciation for his continuous guidance, good humor, and honest advice. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had to learn from such a gifted teacher and mentor.” — Kristin Cabana Fitzgerald, former student and PhD student at Vanderbilt (Fall 2008)
  • “Incredible Teacher! He knows his material cold and has the intelligence to back it up. Regardless of what course he’s teaching, take one of his classes.”… “Is there something he doesn’t know about history?”… “Real approachable, very good lecturer, good teacher.”… “I LOVE him. He is truly amazing, and USM is lucky to have someone of his knowledge level be part of their History department.”… “He is an amazing professor and very knowledgeable about the subject matter. As a person, he is wonderful. He is always willing to answer questions and clarify his lectures. His class is very challenging, like college courses are supposed to be. He gives you the grade you deserve and does not sugar coat it. A great guy!” — Anonymous Students
  • “I felt honored to be in this class. Dr. Neiberg is the best instructor I have had in 3 years at USM.”… “The best organized and taught history class I have had at USM.”… “My favorite History class. Not only was it interesting, it was also challenging.”… “I loved this class. I’ve never even had an interest in history before, but Dr. Neiberg is an outstanding instructor. He made this my favorite course of the semester.”… “World War I has never been a subject that I had any interest in and now I do. This is all due to Dr Neiberg’s enthusiasm and his class preparation.”… “This was my favorite and my most challenging class.”… “I really enjoyed this class and it was definitely a challenge for me. But I feel like I was encouraged to improve. Thanks.”… “I loved this class. I have never enjoyed attending a lecture this much. I learned a lot and had a great time. Thanks!”… “Wonderful class. People that are excited about the subject they teach always make for better instructors.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Thursday, April 24, 2008 at 8:45 PM

Top Young Historians: 89 – Samuel Truett

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

89: Samuel Truett, 4-7-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, University of New Mexico
Area of Research: borderlands history, environmental history, U.S. West and Mexico, U.S. culture and empire, family and migration history, transnational history, comparative frontiers and borderlands
Education: Ph.D. Yale University, Department of History, 1997
Major Publications: Truett is the author of Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Yale, 2006), selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2007 by Choice Magazine; and co-editor (with Elliott Young) ofSamuel Truett JPG  Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History (Duke, 2004). He is currently working on two new book projects, Old New Worlds: Ruins, Borderlands, and Empire in America, and A Cossack on the U.S.-Mexico Frontier: The Transnational Life and Times of Emilio Kosterlitzky.
Truett is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and reviews including among others: “Epics of Greater America: Herbert Eugene Bolton’s Quest for a Transnational American History,” in Interpreting Spanish Colonialism: Empires, Nations, and Legends, ed. Christopher Schmidt-Nowara and John Nieto-Phillips (University of New Mexico, 2005), winner of the 2006 Bolton-Kinnaird Award in Borderlands History; “The Ghosts of Frontiers Past: Making and Unmaking Space in the Borderlands,” Journal of the Southwest 46 (Summer 2004), 309-50; “Making Transnational History: Nations, Regions, and Borderlands” (co-authored with Elliott Young), and “Transnational Warrior: Emilio Kosterlitzky and the Transformation of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” in Continental Crossroads, ed. Truett and Young (Duke, 2004); and “Neighbors by Nature: Rethinking Region, Nation, and Environmental History in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” Environmental History 2 (April 1997), 160-78.
Awards: Truett is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Lloyd Lewis Fellowship in American History, The Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, 2008-2009; Center for New World Comparative Studies Fellowship, The John Carter Brown Library, Providence, RI, 2008; Feminist Research Institute Research Grant, University of New Mexico, 2007; College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Grant, University of New Mexico, for pilot Arizona-New Mexico borderlands/environmental history field institute, 2007; Shoemaker Endowed Fellowship, Department of History, University of New Mexico, 2007; Bolton-Kinnaird Award in Borderlands History, Western History Association, for best article on borderlands history, 2006; Research Allocations Committee Grant, University of New Mexico, 2006; Mellon Fellowship, The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 2004-2005; Snead-Wertheim Endowed Lectureship in Anthropology and History, University of New Mexico, 2001-2002; J. William Fulbright Lectureship, University of Tampere, Finland, 2000-2001; Research Allocations Committee Grant, University of New Mexico, 1999; Latin American and Iberian Institute Field Research Grant, University of New Mexico, 1999; William P. Clements Research Fellowship in Southwest Studies, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, 1997-1998; Frederick W. Beinecke Dissertation Prize, Yale University, 1998; Mrs. Giles P. Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, Yale University, 1995-1996; Yale Center for International and Area Studies Doctoral Research Grant, Yale University, 1994-1995; Yale Council on Latin American Studies Pre-Dissertation Grant, Yale University, 1993; Ralph H. Gabriel Fellowship in History, Yale University, 1992-93; Yale University Graduate Fellowship, Yale University, 1991-1995.
Additional Info:
Visiting Lecturer in History, California Institute of Technology; while on a Mellon Fellowship at the Huntington Library, taught undergraduate class in borderlands history, 2005, and J. William Fulbright Lecturer in North American Studies, The University of Tampere, Finland; taught classes in western U.S., environmental, and borderlands history, 2000-2001, and William P. Clements Fellow in Southwest Studies, at Southern Methodist University, 1997-1998.
Co-organized in 2007, with Katherine Morrissey (University of Arizona), Paul Hirt (Arizona State University), and Marsha Weisiger (New Mexico State University) a pilot summer field institute in borderlands and environmental history, based in ranchlands and mining landscapes in New Mexico, Sonora (Mexico), and Arizona; have since applied for funding for future regional field institutes based on the same model.
Co-organized in 2006, with Ann Massmann, Center for Southwest Research (University of New Mexico) a pilot History Department-Zimmerman Library undergraduate seminar based on “total immersion” in the rare book collections and archives.

Personal Anecdote

I avoided history for years—perhaps because I found it hard enough to keep up with the present. As a child and then a teenager, I was in constant motion, following my wildlife biologist father all across the western U.S. and Canada. As he was chasing and counting critters between Tucson and Yellowknife, my brother and I became experts in the human species (always new kids on the playground, always trying to stay alive). It’s a kind of childhood that prepares one well for anthropology (which I studied as an undergraduate), but it took me a while to parlay this into an appreciation of the past.

History came soon after college. After finishing at the University of Arizona, I spent $99 on a one-way Greyhound ticket to see the wild east, and began to work at a Xerox shop in Cambridge. I warmed up the equipment each morning at 5:30, and by 2:30 I was free for the day. I would take the T to the Boston Public Library, browse the stacks, take as many books as I could to the Arnold Arboretum and read until dark. It was a liberating year: I had time to read anything I wanted (and not just what I had to read for exams or papers), so each day I chose something different: astronomy or literary criticism or paleozoology or geography or modernist fiction.

I knew I wanted to go on to graduate school—I liked the idea of thinking and writing and teaching for a living—but I’d grown lukewarm on anthropology. I wanted to write about people, but in a more humanistic way. I also wanted to learn more about how people and the natural world had changed in tandem, perhaps because I’d been raised by an ecologist who taught me to read history in landscapes and not just in books. And mostly I wanted to preserve that feeling of wonder and serendipity that came from moving freely through the library. I worried that I’d eventually have to abandon my wandering ways, and settle on a single letter of the Library of Congress alphabet. I tried them out for size—the C’s, the F’s, the G’s, and the Q’s—and then one day I took a left instead of a right into one of the stacks, and stumbled across the field of environmental history.

The rest is history, as they say. Environmental history was just the beginning. It opened my eyes to the importance of staying in motion, of moving across the borders we draw to distinguish ourselves from other scholars, of seeing what things look like from the other side. To understand relationships between human and non-human worlds, environmental historians have learned to speak to geologists, ecologists, literary scholars, geographers, and so on: they’ve learned to browse the G’s, the Q’s, the P’s. Similar nomadic, border-crossing habits underpin my interests in borderlands history. To understand how the U.S. changed in tandem with the world across its borders, I often find myself on the road: in other nations’ archives, reading other languages, taking an outsider view. Environmental and borderlands histories are about place and rootedness— but they’re also histories of the world at large, and the ways people and things and ideas move.

Perhaps it’s due simply to my peripatetic upbringing and serendipitous turns of fate down dusty library stacks, but I’m increasingly convinced that historians can benefit from a life in motion. By keeping our minds moving across disciplinary, geographical, and temporal registers, we may be in the ideal position to keep our eyes on that fugitive subject we call the American past.

Quotes

By Samuel Truett

  • In the early twentieth century, Arizonans viewed their neighbors to the south as siblings in an interlocking family history of sorts, a history that began with shared struggles on the “wild” frontier and pointed towards a Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands JPG shared modern future. . . . One cannot study an early twentieth-century map of this region without seeing connections: railroad lines, like strands of a spider’s web, converge on, indeed, almost overwhelm the line between nations. . . . What follows is a history of this lost world, which became by the early twentieth century one of the most industrialized and urban places in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. People dreamed about this landscape in ways that may seem remarkably familiar to us today, in an age of globalization and NAFTA. They expected economic development to knit Mexico and the United States together and carry them as progressive partners into a modern future. This is the history of what actually happened. Corporations, states, and regional entrepreneurs hoped to domesticate and modernize a fugitive landscape–what they saw as a wild and barbaric frontier–but it continually slipped out of their control. Their reorganization of the borderlands remained tenuous, uneven, and incomplete. Over the short term they often made impressive gains, but in the long run, their dreams were dashed and their stories were forgotten. — Samuel Truett in “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands”

About Samuel Truett

  • “Truett has written one of the most compelling borderlands narratives to date. His beautifully written and efficiently organized history details the well-developed lines of economic, industrial, and personal connection that; have long linked the U.S. to its southern neighbor. . . . This book is a fine contribution to the fields of western, environmental, and Chicano/a history as well as the national histories of the U.S. and Mexico. Highly recommended.” — Choice Magazine Review of “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands”
  • “Truett’s book . . . reinforces what fiction by Carlos Fuentes and John Nichols and movies such as John Sayles’s Lone Star have said: the regions around borders defy the categorization governments wish to put on them. It’s a paradox: the divide both connects and separates.” —- Oscar Villalon, reviewing “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” in Virginia Quarterly Review
  • Samuel Truett provides a concrete example of what transnational history looks like and what it can reveal. Fugitive Landscapes puts into practice what many American historians urge, but rarely do themselves. — Richard White, Stanford University, writing on “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands”
  • “[A] rich and engaging regional historical narrative. . . . An important contribution to the borderland scholar’s library, but it also has lessons for other geographers who till the borderlands of regional cultural geography. On one hand, Fugitive Landscapes may be one of the best pieces of research and writing about the historical geography of any part of the Mexican borderlands, and on the other, it is a vibrant example, a model in the truest sense, of inspired historical regional geographic scholarship. — Daniel Arreola, reviewing Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands in Journal of Cultural Geography
  • In this richly textured history of the Arizona-Sonora borderlands, Samuel Truett deftly peels off layers of multiethnic, transnational history to reveal what he calls fugitive landscapes. . . . The author presents one of the most significant works on understanding the transnational process. . . . The study will serve as a model, offering new theoretical constructs without forcing the reader to navigate a tortuous treatise on the meaning of this important framework.-F. Arturo Rosales, reviewing Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands in American Historical Review
  • “A rich, vivid, and satisfying book. Scholars of northern Mexico, the American West, the borderlands, and, more broadly, of frontiers, international labor, and the Gilded Age will all find valuable insights in Truett’s work. The book’s attention to detail and to characters, its length, and the author’s lucid, engaging style make Fugitive Landscapes an excellent choice for graduate and undergraduate classes alike. — Brian Delay, reviewing “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” in Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas
  • “Truett’s writing style is economical and uncomplicated, in a manner expected by historians and welcomed by anthropologists. . . . Truett’s effort to move the border from the edge to the center of the historical narrative is a resounding success. It is recommended reading for any anthropologist working on transnational subjects, if only as inspiration to transcend the constraints imposed by political boundaries.” — Jeremy Kulisheck, reviewing “Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” in Journal of Anthropological Research
  • “In a brilliant introduction Samuel Truett and Elliott Young guide the reader through long-standing and current debates over the nature of frontiers, borders, and borderlands more generally. . . . This collection highlights some of the best writing in borderlands and Southwest studies and is suitable for classroom use. . . . Overall this fine collection of essays adds considerably to our understanding of this developing field and challenges historians to take seriously the ‘transnational historical terrain'” — Marc Simon Rodriguez, reviewing “Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History in The Journal of Southern History”
  • “While duly acknowledging the foundational work of earlier generations of border-crossing historians, Samuel Truett and Elliott Young and their gritty band of young collaborators bring into focus a more socially complex, multiracial, and multiethnic world of transnational players and history-makers. . . . They have thrown down the gauntlet; I suspect many more young scholars of the United States and the American West, of Latin America and Mexico, of Chicano/a and Ethnic Studies, will rush to join them because they sense that if they don’t, they risk becoming obsolete before they even begin their careers.” — Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Brown University, writing on “Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History”
  • “Truett and Young have produced a theoretically savvy anthology that will promote additional research and writing about the U.S.-Mexico border. Their edited volume will find an eager audience among college students and professional historians alike, especially since each contributor has shown how far we have come since the days of Herbert Eugene Bolton.” — Michael M. Brescia, reviewing “Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History” in History: Reviews of New Books
  • “[An] exceptional new anthology. . . . [A] set of insightful and nuanced contributions to borderlands history. . . . This is an important book that should be read both by scholars and students of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and by those who are interested in the relationships between nation building and identity formation.” — Eric V. Meeks, reviewing “Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History in The Americas”

Posted on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 11:06 PM

Top Young Historians: 88 – Judy Tzu-Chun Wu

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

88: Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, 3-17-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, History Department, Ohio State University, 2004-present
Area of Research: Modern U.S. history, Asian Americans, Women, Immigration, the American West, and the 1960s.
Education: Ph.D., U.S. History with secondary field in Chinese History, Stanford University, 1998
Major Publications: Wu is the author of Doctor ‘Mom’ Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity, (University of California Press, 2005). She is currently working on “Radicals on the Road: Third World Internationalism and American Orientalism during the Viet Nam Era,” book project (advanced contract from Cornell University Press for the U.S. and the World Series, Judy Tzu-Chun Wu JPGedited by Mark Bradley and Paul Kramer).
Wu is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Journeys for Peace and Liberation: Third World Internationalism and Radical Orientalism during the U.S. War in Viet Nam,” special issue on “Asian American History in Transnational Perspective,” Pacific Historical Review 76:4 (November 2007): 575-584; “From OSU to Amsterdam: Transformative Learning through Community-Based Multi-Media Research,” Talking about Teaching: Essays by Members of the Ohio State University Academy of Teaching (May 2007), pp. 44-48; “‘The Ministering Angel of Chinatown:’ Missionary Uplift, Modern Medicine, and Asian American Women’s Strategies of Liminality,” Asian/Pacific Islander American Women: A Historical Anthology, ed. by Shirley Hune and Gail Nomura, (New York University Press, 2003), pp. 155-171; “Was Mom Chung a ‘Sister Lesbian’?: Asian American Gender Experimentation and Interracial Homoeroticism,” Journal of Women’s History 13:1 (Spring 2001), pp. 58-82, honorable Mention for the 2000-2001 Audre Lorde Prize, given for an outstanding article on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, and/or queer history published in English, reprinted in American Dreaming, Global Realities: Rethinking U.S. Immigration History, ed. by Donna Gabaccia and Vicki L. Ruiz (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006), pp. 379-398, will be reprinted in Unequal Sisters, 4th edition, ed. by Vicki L. Ruiz (forthcoming); “‘Loveliest Daughter of Our Ancient Cathay!’: Representations of Ethnic and Gender Identity in the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Beauty Pageant,” Journal of Social History 31:1 (September 1997), pp. 5-31; reprinted in Business and Beauty: Commerce, Gender, and Culture in Modern America, ed. by Philip Scranton (Routledge Press, 2001), pp. 278-308, reprinted in Western Women’s Lives: Continuity and Change in the Twentieth Century, ed. by Sandra K. Schackel (University of New Mexico Press, 2003), pp. 389-426.
Awards: Wu is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Faculty Grant, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2007-2008;
Ohio State University Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award, 2007;
College of Humanities Research Enhancement Grant, Ohio State University, 2007-2008;
Emory University Short Term Fellowship, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta, Georgia, 2006-2007;
Schlesinger Library Research Support Grant, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Boston, Massachusetts, 2006-2007;
Coca-Cola CDW Faculty Research Grants, Women’s Studies Department, Ohio State University, 2006-2007;
Organization of Chinese Americans, Columbus Chapter, Special Recognitions Award for the OSU Asian American Studies Program for the Winter 2005 series of programs: “A Month of Remembrance: Japanese American Internment in Art and History,” 2006;
Technology Enhanced Learning and Research(TELR) Professional Development Grant, Ohio State University, 2006;
Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, University of Chicago, 2005-2006;
Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization Grant to Develop a Concentration in Asian American Studies, Ohio State University Curriculum Committee of the Council on Research on Research and Graduate Studies, 2005-2006 ;
TELR Research on Research: Student-Faculty ePartnerships Grant, Ohio State University: Genna Duberstein’s documentary and website on Japanese American internment originated as part of the Month of Remembrance/Japanese American Oral history Project, 2005;
Multicultural Center (MCC) Collaborative Programming Grant for the Month of Remembrance, Ohio State University, 2005 ;
Student Affairs Diversity Enhancement Grant for the Month of Remembrance, Ohio State University, 2005;
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2003;
College of Humanities Seed Grant, Ohio State University, 2002-2004;
Virginia Hull Research Award, Ohio State University, 2002-2003;
Ada Leeke Fellowship, the Margaret Chase Smith Library, 2002;
Audre Lorde Prize, Committee on Lesbian and Gay History, American Historical Association, Honorable Mention, 2002;
Ohio State University Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, 2002;
College of Humanities Diversity Enhancement Award, Ohio State University, Special Recognition, 2000-2001;
Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Arts and Sciences, Ohio State University, Finalist, 2000-2001;
Special Research Assignment, College of Humanities, Ohio State University, 2000, 2002;
Elizabeth D. Gee Fund for Research on Women, Ohio State University, 1999-2000;
Sidney Pressey Honors Course Enrichment Grant, Ohio State University Honors Center, 1999 and 2000 ;
University Seed Grant, Ohio State University, 1999;
Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Washington University, 1997-1998, Declined;
Graduate Dissertation Fellowship Award, 1997;
A. W. Mellon Foundation Dissertation Award, 1996-1997;
Albert J. Beveridge Grant, American Historical Association, 1996-1997;
Department Fellowship, Stanford University, 1992-1996;
Graduate Research Opportunity Funds, Stanford University, 1995-1996 ;

Additional Info:
Wu was Visiting Associate Professor, University of Chicago, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and History Department in 2005-2006.

Personal Anecdote

I became a historian because I got arrested in college. Or, perhaps I got arrested because I believed in the power of history.

I was born in Taipei, Taiwan and immigrated with my family to Spokane, Washington when I was six years old. I helped my family run a restaurant and then a convenience store until I left to attend college at Stanford University.

When I was a sophomore, I became involved in a campaign to lobby for ethnic studies and ethnic student services. There had been a racially motivated attack against the African American theme dorm at Stanford. I thought such behavior was inappropriate, and it reminded me of the harassment and discrimination that my family experienced in the predominantly white community of Spokane. In response, I became a student activist. I worked with people of varying backgrounds to advocate for more courses that examined race and inequality. We also called for more institutional support for ethnic student service centers so that students of color might feel more at home on the college campus. I believed that if all students were exposed to the diversity of American society, they might learn to treat each other with more respect. Through meetings, petitions, rallies and eventually a protest at the president’s office which led to our arrest, we succeeded in persuading the university administration to hire the first faculties in Asian American Studies, conduct a review of the African American Studies Program, provide more funding and a full-time dean for the Chicano Student Center, and reexamine the eligibility of Native Hawaiians for affirmative action programs. I subsequently decided to major in American Studies so that I might learn more about the history, politics, and culture of the U.S. After completing an honors thesis on the 1960s social movements in San Francisco Chinatown and working at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, I eventually enrolled in the History Ph.D. program at Stanford.

Although these events occurred almost half of my lifetime ago, they remain formative for my intellectual, political, and personal development. Both my research and teaching foreground the analysis of race, gender, class, and nationality in the study of American history. I am particularly interested how categories of social difference and inequality are constructed and intertwined. I also pay close attention to how individuals create meaningful identities and interact with their lived environments. Because my goal is to promote greater understanding of the diversity of American history, I encourage students to think about various ways to study the past and to think about the connections between knowledge gained in the classroom and their experiences in contemporary society.

My current research project is very much influenced by my background as a student activist. In “Radicals on the Road: Third World Internationalism and American Orientalism during the Vietnam Era,” I explore the travels of American peace activists who criticized the U.S. war in Viet Nam. I am particularly interested in how the experiences of being outside of the U.S. and meeting non-Americans shaped the identities and political beliefs of diverse American activists.

My first book, Doctor Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity (University of California Press, 2005) is a biography of a colorful yet largely unrecognized historical figure. Dr. Margaret Chung (1889-1959) was the first known American-born Chinese female physician. She established one of the earliest Western medical clinics in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1920s. She also became a prominent celebrity and behind-the-scenes political broker during Sino-Japanese and Second World Wars. During this period, her home was the place to be in San Francisco. Soldiers, movie stars, and politicians gathered there to socialize, to show their dedication to the Allied cause, and to express their affection for their “adopted” mother. Chung’s surrogate sons numbered in the thousands and included well-known figures such as actor Ronald Reagan, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, and musician Andre Kostelanetz. Chung even used her fictive kinship network to recruit pilots for the Flying Tigers and lobby for the creation of WAVES, the U.S. women’s naval reserve. Because she never married and could not provide a “legitimate” father figure, her “sons” became known as the “Fair-Haired Bastards.” Although Chung publicly adopted a maternal identity, she experimented with her gender presentation and developed romantic relationships with other women, such as writer Elsa Gidlow and entertainer Sophie Tucker. My book capitalizes on Chung’s uniqueness to examine how American race relations, gender roles, and sexual norms shifted over the course of her lifetime.

Quotes

By Judy Tzu-Chun Wu

  • During World War II, Mom Chung’s was the place to be in San Francisco. Soldiers preparing for departure to the Pacific arena of war or on leave from their duties went to eat good comfort food there. They consumed
    vast quantities of BBQ ribs, red beans, and chocolate cake, making up for the dreariness of military fare. They swapped stories with each other over drinks at the bar. They also caught glimpses of and actually talked with some of the foremost celebrities of their time: John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Tennessee Williams, Helen Hayes, Sophie Tucker, Tallulah Bankhead, and many others. At Mom Chung’s, they met prominent politicians and military leaders like Kentucky Senator and future commissioner of baseball “Happy” Chandler and Fleet Admiral of the U.S. Navy Chester W. Nimitz. — Judy Tzu-Chun Wu in “Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity”

About Judy Tzu-Chun Wu

  • “Engaging and easy to read, the work effectively creates an interesting and accessible narrative of Margaret Chung’s life from extensive research. While Wu successfully excavates Margaret’s life within a larger historical context, Mom Chung herself may have remained the victor in keeping her most intimate thoughts a secret…. Wu’s work makes important contributions in the four fields of Chinese-American, queer, military, and women’s history…. Still, as a comprehensive and nuanced first book on Margaret Chung, Judy Wu’s Doctor Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards undoubtedly lays invaluable groundwork for future scholars who might hope to look even more rigorously at Mom Chung’s intriguing life and her social significance. — Amy Sueyoshi, San Francisco State University reviewing “Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity” in the “Journal of American Ethnic History”
  • “Interweaving her remarkable life story with broader historical events, historian Judy Wu narrates a fascinating history of Chung’s meteoric rise from her humble origins as the eldest child of a poor and large Chinese Christian family to her successful career as a surgeon with Hollywood celebrity clients….. The book none the less succeeds because of Wu’s ability to bring together the broader social and cultural histories of Chinese Americans and women in the United States with significant changing local and national events. In particular, Wu’s narration brings new insights into the histories of the Protestant missionary movement, the medical profession and Progressive urban reform by simultaneously applying the analytical lenses of gender, race and sexuality in her reworking of these histories. More importantly, though, the recovery of the remarkable life history of Margaret Chung provides readers with a glimpse into the varied gender, racial and sexual experimentations available to Chinese American women in that period. The chapters dealing with Margaret Chung’s sexual persona and same-sex female relationships particularly offer exciting new scholarship for the fields of the history of sexuality and Asian American studies. — Mary Ting Yi Lui Yale University, reviewing “Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity” in
  • “This is a superb study of the life of a remarkable person, Margaret Chung, who was the first female professor and chair of obstetrics in a coeducational medical school and the first woman ever to give a paper at the International Congress of Medicine. She was also one of the first Chinese American women to rise to prominence, socially and politically, in mainstream America. Thanks to recent scholarship, we now know a great deal about the history of Chinese Americans during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. But past historical studies tend to seek to capture the collective profiles of Chinese Americans. Judy Tzu-Chun Wu’s biographical study, therefore, marks a welcome contribution to Chinese American history…. Wu has made an enormously fruitful effort in uncovering and gathering data from a wide range of sources, such as government and nongovernment agencies, archives, and private collection across the nations as well as a long list of oral interviews, many of which were conducted by the author herself. Based on such rich and diverse data, Wu’s book not only gives us a fascinating and detailed account of Chung’s life story but also uncovers critical aspects of her family history. More important, it constitutes an important social and political history, offering important perspectives through which to understand vital issues such as race, gender, and Americanization during the first half of the twentieth century…. Overall, however, this richly contextualized, well-researched, and well-written biography offers not only a multiperspective portrait of the complex experiences of a remarkable Chinese American woman but also valuable insights into early twentieth-century American society. 6 — Yong Chen, University of California, Irvine reviewing “Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity” in “The American Historical Review”
  • “Using autobiographical materials and other unpublished papers belonging to Dr. Margaret Chung (1889–1959), correspondence from admirers and friends, and oral histories, and supplementing these with published and archival materials, Judy Wu has done an outstanding job in describing and analyzing the life and times of this unusual woman who is the first known American-born Chinese female physician…. Her “adopted” children brought her fame and prestige, and because of them and Wu, this unusual female professional will not be forgotten. — Sue Fawn Chung, University of Nevada, Las Vegas reviewing “Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity” in “The Western Historical Quarterly”
  • “The most socially conscious, rigorously researched celebrity biography to be published by a university press in a long while. Wu’s book transcends the university-syllabi pigeonhole because her scholarship equals the task of essaying its broader topic: the culture of celebrity.” — East Bay Express review of “Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity”

Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 7:26 PM

Top Young Historians: 87 – Doug Rossinow

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

87: Doug Rossinow, 3-10-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor of History, Metropolitan State University, 2002-present
Area of Research: Modern U.S. History, Political History, Intellectual History, Religious History
Education: Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, Department of History, June 1994
Major Publications: Rossinow is the author of Visions of Progress: The Left-Liberal Tradition in America, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008, released December 2007). Nominated for the Merle Curti Prize of the Organization of American Historians, the Ellis Hawley Prize of the Organization of American Historians, and the Bancroft PrizeDoug Rossinow JPG  in American History. The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity, and the New Left in America, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998; paper ed., 1999). Rossinow is the co-editor with Rebecca S. Lowen of The United States Since 1945: Historical Interpretations, (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006.
Rossinow is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “The Radicalization of the Social Gospel: Harry F. Ward and the Search for a New Order, 1898-1936,” Religion and American Culture, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Jan. 2005); “‘The Model of a Model Fellow Traveler’: Harry F. Ward, the American League for Peace and Democracy, and the ‘Russian Question’ in American Politics, 1933-1956,” Peace and Change, Vol. 29, No. 2 (April 2004). Winner of the Peace History Society’s Charles DeBenedetti Prize for Best Article in Peace Studies for 2003 and 2004; “The New Left in the Counterculture: Hypotheses and Evidence,” Radical History Review, No. 67 (Win. 1997); “‘The Break-through to New Life’: Christianity and the Emergence of the New Left in Austin, Texas, 1956-1964,” American Quarterly Vol. 46, No. 3 (Sept. 1994); reprinted in American Radicalism, ed. Daniel Pope (Blackwell, 2001); “Letting Go: Revisiting the New Left’s Demise,” in Paul Buhle and John C. McMillian, eds., The New Left Revisited, (Temple University Press, 2003); “Mario Savio and the Politics of Authenticity,” in Robert Cohen and Reginald E. Zelnik, eds., The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s, (University of California Press, 2002); “The New Left: Democratic Reformers or Left-Wing Revolutionaries?” in David Farber and Beth Bailey, eds., The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s, (Columbia University Press, 2001); “The Revolution Is about Our Lives: The New Left’s Counterculture,” in Peter Braunstein and Michael William Doyle, eds., Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s,(Routledge, 2001).
Awards: Rossinow is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Charles DeBenedetti Prize for Best Article in Peace Studies, Peace History Society, 2003-2004;
Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award, Metropolitan State University, 2003-2004;
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Summer Stipend, 2003;
Pew Program in Religion and American History, Yale University, Faculty Fellowship, 1995-1996;
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Predoctoral Fellowship, 1991-1992;
Butler Prize for best research paper by a first-year graduate student, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University, 1990;
Philip Washburn Prize for best undergraduate history thesis, Harvard University, 1988.
Additional Info:
Formerly Chair, Department of History, Religious & Women’s Studies, Metropolitan State University, 2000-2003, and Visiting Assistant Professor of History, The Johns Hopkins University, 1994-1996.
Rossinow has appeared numerous times as a guest on public radio stations discussing the following topics: the Christian left in America, perfectionism in U.S. history, 1960s radicalism, and Ronald Reagan and America in the 1980s. He has written numerous opinion pieces in a variety of newspapers on topics including: Ronald Reagan and popular memory, the red scare of the 1950s, and the historical lessons of the 2004 presidential campaign.

Personal Anecdote

Years ago, when I was a fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, at work on a dissertation on 1960s radicalism, I heavily taxed the interlibrary loan services of the library there. One of the librarians told me at one point, in a confidential tone, that she had been wondering why I was ordering books that could be found only at places like Liberty University-the Lynchburg, Virginia institution founded and led by the Reverend Jerry Falwell.

I’m an historian of American politics. I never expected to be an historian of religion.

Actually, I never really did become an historian of religion, in any conventional sense. But I did acquire a lasting interest in the intersection of religion and political dissent-a connection I might have expected to encounter if I had undertaken a study of political radicalism in eighteenth- or nineteenth-century America, but one I did not anticipate exploring so deeply while investigating the political left in post-1945 America. Eventually I managed to compress about one-hundred pages on Christian existentialism down to a single chapter. I decided that was about what the topic deserved in the context of a study of white youth radicalism in Austin, Texas, which eventually took the form of a book, The Politics of Authenticity. However, religion is something that pops up in unexpected places when studying American history. I have continued to explore what I call the prophetic dimension of American political radicalism in twentieth-century America-radical politics typically directed toward very nonreligious ends. And I still teach a course on religion and politics in American history.

In my new book, Visions of Progress: The Left-Liberal Tradition in America, I’ve moved (for now) away from monographic research and toward a synthetic perspective. One of the things I learned in researching my first book is that radical and reform politics in U.S. history have sometimes had more in common than is usually recalled. The left and liberalism are neither mutually exclusive categories nor (as a Fox News viewer might think) identical categories; they are overlapping categories. I emphasize that American radicals, between 1880 and the present, frequently have done the work of liberalism, trying to realize the liberal ideals of constitutional government, natural rights, and other things, while, during at least some of that period, plenty of liberal reformers took a more critical stance toward American capitalism than recent history would lead us to believe. The prophetic stance is visible, too, but in ironic fashion: consciously religious social criticism was pervasive within American reform as well as among radicals in the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, and even later; but it became the more exclusive province of radicals during the cold war and after, even though recent American radicals have usually been ardently secular people. Go figure.

I recently got a message from a student at a seminary in Austin, saying that some folks there are interested in establishing an intentional religious study community. He had read about another such community in the 1950s in The Politics of Authenticity, and wondered if I could send him some documents I had cited in my book. Now I’m glad I held onto those dissertation research files.

Quotes

By Doug Rossinow

  • “Liberalism and the left, for all their differences, sprang from common Enlightenment sources, and this ensured that conflicts between liberal reformers and leftist radicals tended to take on a distinctively Visions of Progress The Left-Liberal Tradition in America JPG intimate quality. In fact, from the nineteenth century to the present, although American radicals and reformers criticized each other harshly, their disputes were often-although not always-bounded by bedrock liberal assumptions about the nature of a good society. Left-wing radicals were those who placed extremely high value on equality and who subjected capitalism to severe moral criticism over its allegedly exploitative and dehumanizing aspect. A leftist was not necessarily a socialist. Liberals’ essential commitments were to individual freedom, natural rights, constitutional government, and the sovereignty of ‘the people’-concepts that, not only in the United States but also in world history, linked the anti-government liberalism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the welfare-state liberalism of the twentieth century and beyond. As these definitions suggest, the line separating leftists from liberals often was smudged or downright invisible, no matter how often people to either side tried to mark it clearly and impassably….Many of the dissenting forces in American politics were inhabitants of a deep liberal near-consensus-one also broad enough to include many conservative opponents of twentieth-century liberalism and the left.” — Doug Rossinow in “Visions of Progress The Left-Liberal Tradition in America”

About Doug Rossinow

  • “Rossinow represents a new generation of historians that offers a fresh perspective on this controversial era. His book is an intricately interwoven tapestry of regional case study, cultural analysis and a rather deft handling of New Left politics that traces the emergence, development, and decline of left-wing radicalism. It is thorough, insightful, and well-written.” — Robert H. Craig, on “The Politics of Authenticity”
  • “A beautifully, elegantly written work, which will change the writing of U.S. history textbooks and the content of lectures in the U.S. history surveys.” — Daniel Horowitz, on “The Politics of Authenticity”
  • “Brilliant….The most persuasive interpretation yet of this particular vision of authenticity, democracy, and individual freedom.” — Sara Evans, on “The Politics of Authenticity”
  • “A search for authenticity in industrial American life”–that’s what historian Rossinow (history, The Politics of Authenticity JPGMetropolitan State Univ.) has identified as the main thrust of the New Left movement that powered the youth-driven political and social revolutions of the 1960s. He argues that the New Left resulted from a reaction to traditional American liberalism, which was seen by New Leftists as “elite-based,” and from the influence of Christian existentialism, which redefined “sin” as “alienation” and “salvation” as “authenticity.” Rossinow meticulously analyzes the interplay of academic politics and Texas state politics on the campus of the University of Texas, Austin, and shows how the New Left formed its organizational structure and ideological basis. This is a carefully researched, creative, and intriguing reinterpretation of American history. — Jack Forman, Mesa Coll. Lib., San Diego
  • “Visions of Progress is an ambitious and brilliant book. Doug Rossinow interprets a broad swath of political and intellectual history in a wonderfully provocative fashion. The book should inspire debates among activists and politicians, as well as among his fellow historians. — Michael Kazin, on “Visions of Progress”
  • “A fresh and highly learned examination of an essential part of U.S. political history; one that offers illuminating insights for students into the important but frequently neglected topic of liberals, leftists, and the tortured relations between the two.” — Eric Alterman, author of “What Liberal Media? and When Presidents Lie,” on “Visions of Progress”
  • “Visions of Progress is a forceful, deeply informed account of left-liberal political thought since the 1880s written from a fresh, appreciative perspective. Tracing his subjects’ common belief in the progressive transformation of capitalist society and the shifting nomenclature of “liberal,” “progressive,” “radical,” and “left” that marked their differences, Rossinow gives us a new map of how liberal and left reformers came together through the 1940s and moved apart thereafter. He makes a persuasive case that the American reform tradition owed its vitality to the cooperation and synergy between its liberal and left wings.” — Dorothy Ross, on “Visions of Progress”
  • “”This instructor epitomized what a good teacher is. He focuses his teaching on the encouragement of critical thinking….He is very respectful of his students and…very humble.”… “The instructor helped you learn and was very passionate about the subject. Mr. Rossinow made you learn, I don’t think anyone could fail with his teaching methods.”… “Doug Rossinow is a master at his subject….He stimulated the class by providing thought provoking questions. His perceptions and thought on this class caused a personal awakening in me and helped me to ‘open’ some of the lost memories transpiring during this important period of history. I respect and admire his opinions regarding the period.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 11:46 PM

Top Young Historians: 86 – Lisa Forman Cody

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

86: Lisa Forman Cody, 2-26-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, and Associate Dean of the Faculty (as of July 1), Claremont McKenna College
Area of Research: Britain, 1500-1945; France, 1700-1945; Visual Culture; Women, Gender, and Sex Roles; Medicine and Science
Education: Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, History, 1993.
Major Publications: Cody is the author of Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of Eighteenth-Century Britons, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005; paperback, summer 2008). Winner of the Berkshire Conference Best First Book Prize, 2006; the Frances Richardson Keller-Sierra Prize, 2006; the Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Prize, 2005, shortlist for the Whitfield Prize, the Royal Historical Society, 2006. She is also currently working onLisa Forman Cody JPG  The Castrato’s Son and other Tales of Intimacy and Intrigue, and Imaginary Values: Health, Wealth, and Human Labor in the British Imperial Imagination
Cody is the editor of Writings on Medicine, 1660-1700, in the series The Early Modern Englishwoman, A Facsimile Library of Essential Works, 1500-1750 (London: Ashgate Press, 2001).
Cody is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “The Secret History of Imagination,” as part of a forum with Rachel Weil, John Smail, Richard Conners, and Michael McKeon on Michael McKeon’s Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private, and the Division of Knowledge (2008), “Public and Private England, 1600-1800,” Histoire sociale/Social History 40.80 (Nov. 2007); “Living and Dying in Georgian London’s Lying-in Hospitals,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 78.2 (Summer 2004): pp. 309-48. Winner of the Walter D. Love Prize, North American Conference on British Studies, 2005 and the Judith Lee Ridge Article Prize, Western Association of Women Historians, 2005; “‘Every Lane Teems with Instruction, Every Alley is Big with Erudition’: Graffiti in Eighteenth-Century London,” in The Streets of London, 1660-1870, ed. Tim Hitchcock and Heather Shore (London: Rivers Oram Press, 2003), pp. 92-111; “Sex, Civility, and the Self: Eighteenth-Century Conceptions of Gendered, National, and Psychological Identity,” in a Forum on Nina Gelbart’s The King’s Midwife and Gary Kates’s Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman, French Historical Studies, 24:3 (Summer 2001), pp. 379-409; “The Politics of Illegitimacy in an Age of Reform: Gender, Reproduction and Political Economy in England’s New Poor Law of 1834,” Journal of Women’s History 11.4 (Winter 2000), pp. 131-156. Winner of the Judith Lee Ridge Article Prize, Western Association of Women Historians, 2002.
Awards: Cody is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Millicent C. McIntosh Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (2003-05);
Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Fellowship, top teacher in a west-coast liberal arts college (2000);
Bernadote E. Schmitt Grant, American Historical Association (1999-2000);
Ahmanson-Getty Fellowship, Clark Library and Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies, UCLA (2000), declined;
Clark Library and Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies, UCLA, Short Fellowship (2000);
Benjamin Gould Humanities Center, Claremont McKenna College, Summer Fellowship (2000, 2001, 2003);
Helen L. Bing Fellowship; Mayers Fellowship, Henry E. Huntington Library (1999);
Claremont McKenna College, Dean’s Summer Research Grant (1997-2003);
Whitney Humanities Center Junior Faculty Fellowship, Yale University (1995-96), declined;
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, Stanford University (1993-95);
Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship, Henry E. Huntington Library (1994);
UC Regents Traveling Fellowship (1990-91);
UC Humanities Graduate Research Grant (1989, 1991);
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor, UC Berkeley (1990);
George H. Guttridge Prize in British History, UC Berkeley History Department (1989-90);
Beatrice M. Bain Prize for Outstanding Graduate Essay in Gender Studies, UC Berkeley (1989);
UC Berkeley History Department Fellowship (1987-88);
Isobelle Briggs Alumna Fellowship for Graduate Studies, Radcliffe College (1987-88);
John Harvard (1986-87); Harvard College (1984-87); Agassiz Awards (1984-87); Oliver Dabney Fellowship in History (1986-87); Josephine Murray, Radcliffe College Summer Fellowship (1986); Center for European Studies, Harvard, Summer Fellowships (1986).
Additional Info:
Cody formerly was Assistant Professor, Department of History, Denison University, (1995-96), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, and Visiting Assistant Professor in History, Stanford University, (1993-95). and Instructor in History, Women’s and Interdisciplinary Studies, U.C. Berkeley, (1989-93).

Personal Anecdote

When asked as a girl what I would someday be, I never said a historian. Instead, I first said Frank Lloyd Wright, then around third grade, a suffragette, and then as a teenager, either Mary Cassatt or Elizabeth Blackwell. Given my particular talents, I knew I should want to be a doctor or an illustrator, but I did not yet realize that I could only envision myself in those occupations in the context of another age-the world of Beatrice Potter or Florence Nightingale.

I grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado in the 1970s, but refused to admit that basic fact. My absence was reaffirmed each Sunday at 9 p.m., Mountain Standard Time. My parents were huge Masterpiece Theatre buffs, and so I, the dutiful oldest daughter, watched alongside them imagining myself into the past. In second grade, my friend Margaret and I had feuding crushes on Tom Brown and his nemesis Flashman. After school, we pretended that even though we were girls, we went to Rugby too and rescued poor Tom Brown and Cuthbertson from their miserable School Days.

It should have been obvious where things here were inevitably headed, as I lived through Upstairs, Downstairs, Shoulder to Shoulder, and countless other BBC dramas. But when I went off to Harvard, I made a list of what I would absolutely not major in: physics, engineering, and of course history. I thus decided to kill my core requirement in history immediately with “London and Paris in the Nineteenth Century.” That I sat in the front row eagerly (a.k.a. nerdily) laughing and clapping at the divine Patrice Higgonet and (the late) divine John Clive should have tipped me off right from the first seven minutes. Instead it took two weeks. When Professor Clive read Thomas Gray’s Elegy in a Country Churchyard, I responded as many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century readers had: I wept. (Melodramatic? Yes. Surprising? No. Consider this: in first grade, my best friend Margaret and I had an ongoing debate about what would make either one of us the luckiest girl in the world. Having recently watched The Six Wives of Henry VIII, the answer was obvious: to have Henry VIII’s casketed, dead body in my living room. Sure, this was macabre, but at the time, it seemed hard to imagine that a trip to Disneyland or a pony could top this as the best birthday present ever. I never got the pony either-stuffed or otherwise.)

Gray’s Elegy transported me to mid-eighteenth-century England, which ultimately is where I have lived imaginarily for two decades as I dig through archives at the nearby Huntington Library and when in Britain, and as I now think about the next research project while shuttling my children to school and the dinosaur museum and the grocery store. Yet Gray’s poem also made me appreciate how being a historian can verge on the uncanny act of channeling the dead-which perhaps is what I had been trying to do all along. Clearly, with my childhood desire to keep Tudor corpses in the living room and my adolescent penchant (I confess) for obsessive Ouija board sessions, I had been trying to do so mostly in the dubious spirit of Madame Blavatsky. Thankfully, though, I soon tripped upon the archives instead, which has allowed me to raise the dead in ways that are considered slightly more acceptable, if not as remunerative as reading palms or transfiguring the departed.

I trained at Berkeley with Tom Laqueur and other marvelous scholars at an exciting time in the late 1980s and 1990s when theory was big and invariably had an impact on the nature of my scholarship. Yet despite that training, a perhaps slightly old-fashioned search for spirits haunts much of my research. And no spirit more so than an eighteenth-century midwife, Elizabeth Nihell, who has enjoyed an iconic status among feminists for her exuberant attack on male obstetricians in the 1760s.

Capturing ghosts is notoriously elusive. A summer research trip to Paris, for instance, revealed nothing of Nihell’s life at all, even after plowing through thousands of pages at the Archives de l’Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris in hope of finding her at the Hôtel Dieu where she had had trained as a midwife. I could not find her that summer, but she led me through a rich summer of French research that illuminated unexpected connections between nationalism, religion, and reproduction-insights that fundamentally transformed my book manuscript, Birthing the Nation. A huge analytical payoff, certainly, but I still felt crushed that Nihell herself had no surviving records-and, worst of all, there had been records until the cataclysms of the nineteenth century. I discovered that in 1869, Monsieur Brièle, head of the Hôtel Dieu archives, fastidiously recorded each scrap in his collection, including liasse 1395, a massive file containing every midwife-pupil’s testimonials and birth and marriage certificates for the previous two centuries. Earlier nineteenth-century sources indicated that Nihell was included in this file. In 1870, however, Brièle was forced to choose the saved versus sacrificed as the city fell. He rescued many documents about topics which have since made other historians’ careers-say, on the subject of sewage-but he let liasse 1395 and scores of midwives burn.

In spite of the nineteenth-century flames which licked up her maiden name and much more, I did find a small piece of Mrs. Nihell in the London archives. Another summer, on a hunch, I refused to believe the eighteenth-century parish indices and decided to read through hundreds of files myself, just to double check, just in case. Every weeknight, after the British Library and other archives closed, I crossed Trafalgar Square and walked down Whitehall towards the Westminster City Archives, which stayed open late. It took a summer, pregnant with my first son (i.e. one of my last “real” research trip now that I have three of them), to find my midwife-ghost who had been, it turns out, misfiled for over two centuries. I found her in, of all places, the (poorly alphabetized) affidavits for the St. Martin’s workhouse as a ward of the parish. Her detailed pauper affidavit revealed that she was a Catholic married in Paris in 1740 to an Irish Catholic surgeon around age eighteen who abandoned her in 1775. She never left the workhouse. In May of 1776, she died there and was buried for 2 shillings, 6 pence.

Elizabeth Nihell, a learned, published, proud author, and inspiration to Mary Daly and other modern feminists, was buried in a parish pauper pit. This grave would have been roughly under what is now a Trafalgar Square traffic island with a statue dedicated to a feminist nurse and national martyr of World War One: Edith Cavell. A fittingly ironic monument, to be sure, but a tragic plot for another feminist health practitioner whose 1760 treatise sold for twice the price of her burial. I felt disconcerted as the documents fell together and realized that my historical muse had once been placed six feet under an intersection that I have crossed hundreds of times since the age of eleven when my Masterpiece Theatre obsessed family took a sabbatical to London. I was already fully immersed in the past as I pretended to be a Pankhurst toppling the staid Edwardian world in sixth grade, but I of course had no idea that such an ordinary spot on Charing Cross Road would someday become my imaginary touchstone.

As jubilant as I was to find Nihell, I was also saddened by this enterprise, where so much of what we find hinges on little more than “the short and simple annals of the Poor.” As a historian attracted to theory, analysis, and arguments, Nihell’s ghost reminds me that I nevertheless became a historian thanks to Thomas Gray’s sentimental words and a recognition that I had long felt compelled to channel the dead so as to convey “Their homely joys, and destiny obscure.” Corny, melodramatic, perhaps unsophisticated, but listening to the dead is a precious aspect of our profession, and one that exists in few others.

Quotes

By Lisa Forman Cody

  • “Birthing the Nation explores what relationships existed between corporate and individual identities in the British Isles from the 1660s to the 1830s by examining the emergence of men, rather than midwives, as pre-eminent authorities over sex and birth…Male experts transformed what hadBirthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons JPG once been the private, feminine domain of birth and midwifery into topics of public importance and universal interest…. This is the first book to place the eighteenth-century shift… in a larger cultural and political context. It illuminates how eighteenth-century Britons understood and symbolized political, national, and religious affiliation through the experiences of the body, sex, and birth…. Political arguments of the age were not always made on disembodied, rational terms, but instead referenced deep cultural beliefs about gender, reproduction, and the family….Through reproductive signs and stories, Britons could describe themselves and others, as individuals, as types, as members of different corporate bodies, including nations, and these comparisons helped to establish the seemingly natural facts of community and otherness.” — Lisa Forman Cody in “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons”

About Lisa Forman Cody

  • “BIRTHING THE NATION brings a fresh perspective to an old feminist problem: the triumph of male doctors over the traditional, female midwife. Unlike previous studies, BIRTHING THE NATION takes a broad view and argues that the ownership of conception and birth, not just midwifery, was the real issue. Georgian England, Cody argues, was obsessed with birth….” “Notable for its extensive use of images and its ability to marry social history with the history of science, BIRTHING THE NATION is a wide-ranging study which gives us insight into the strengthening of patriarchy, the dissemination of natural philosophy, the creation of national identity and the birth of racism. Cody’s most important achievement is to show that birth is a tool for historical analysis, a tool which brings to light struggles over issues as key as gender relations, national identity, racism and the growth of the modern state.” — Committee for the 2005 First Book Prize of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians for “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • This often engaging, lucidly written study is supported by over fifty black-and-white reproductions of contemporary scientific illustrations, caricatures, and satirical prints, many of which are subjected to close analysis in the narrative. Birthing the Nation offers a convincing account of how an emergent male culture of obstetric practise and reproductive theory informed populist political language and iconography and as such will be of interest not only to medical historians but also a broad range of scholars and students concerned with the language of science as it relates to issues of gender, race, and national identity in post-Restoration and Georgian Britain. — David E. Shuttleton, University of Wales reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” in Metascience
  • This is an ambitious and exciting work which brings together a plethora of fascinating material, weaves unexpected and provocative connections, and provides us with new insights into issues of gender, race, and nationality as they developed along new pathways during the course of the “long eighteenth century.” It is full of good and astonishing things.” — Lesley A. Hall, Wellcome Library, London reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” in H-Albion
  • Birthing the Nation breaks ground in its interdisciplinary reach. Jettisoning sweeping notions of gender and power in favor of fresh insight, Cody’s study is the first to account fully for the political and social circumstances that produced male-midwifery as well as for its manifold historical ramifications; the “birth” it gave to defining aspects of British science, nationalism, and a unique sense of the social. The book also excels in its employment of images. Cody highlights the corporality of reproductive knowledge embedded in prints and caricatures and the capacity of visual representations to generate distinct sets of meanings. In a segment that is particularly timely, she shows how men-midwives contributed to the creation of the modern subject position of the fetus by, among other means, commissioning highly sentimental detailed illustrations of the fetus-as-child resting in utero. — Oz Frankel, New School for Social Research reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” in ILWCH
  • “Birthing the Nation is impressive in its coverage. It succeeds in placing reproduction at the heart of many of the key debates about change, modernity, and the eighteenth century.” — Karen Harvey, University of Sheffield reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons”
  • “In this thoroughly researched, exquisitely illustrated book, historian Cody convincingly demonstrates that matters of sexuality and reproduction were central to the understanding of social, cultural, political, and economic life in 18th-century Britain….Her insightful analyses coalesce to form a remarkably nuanced and highly readable account of the role played by science and reproduction in forging a national identity at this critical juncture in British History. Highly recommended.” — S. L. Hoglund, SUNY at Stony Brook reviewing “Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of the Eighteenth-Century Britons” in CHOICE
  • “I have known Lisa for three years now as a professor, academic advisor, and as an extraordinary historian. It was Professor Cody who first inspired me to become a history major. She fostered my desire to develop, understand and explore my passions about the history of the Catholic Church in England. As an academic advisor, she was always very accessible and approachable and always encouraging, understanding and helpful. As a professor, she pushed me to exceed my expectations and helped me to become a thoughtful, inquisitive and enthusiastic historian. As my thesis reader, she not only bent over backward to help me realize my passions, but she also pushed me forward to realize them in study and writing. She gives each of her students an individual attention that cannot be expected of most professors.Lisa Cody is much more than I could hope for in a professor – she is a friend who shares her interests until her overwhelming enthusiasm makes them your interests. She has contributed so much to my college years; the lessons I have learned from her will stay with me always. She sets high standards for her students and a coach there every step of the way encouraging and aiding their success.I am pleased to see that she has been given this award and confident that no one deserves it more. She should be recognized everyday for her accomplishments both as an academic and as a mother. — Annastacia Jimenez, Claremont McKenna College
  • “I have never had the honor of being taught by a professor as knowledgeable and inspiring as professor Cody. She has taught me more than the incredible material she covers in her classes. She changed the way I approached writing, reading and learning. She not only cares about her students but fosters a higher level of education and participation in her students. I only wish I could have her as a professor and advisor for the rest of my academic career. I would be happy to answer any questions or elaborate on the ways professor Cody has changed me as a student. What I have said does not do her justice. I cannot say enough about her knowledge, wisdom and inspiration. She has changed me as a student and advisee for the better and I am grateful for all her academic inspiration and for the privilege of learning from a professor as wise and caring. She continues to bring out the best in me and I have rarely felt a connection as strong as I do with professor Cody. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or for any other comments about how she has affected me. — Ilana Lustbader
  • “My name is Bouree Kim and I had the pleasure of working closely with Lisa for three years as an undergraduate at Claremont McKenna College (CMC). The fact that I can comfortably refer to her by her first name already shows the type of rapport she creates with her students!Although I was a literature major, Lisa came highly recommended to me by several students and thus I enrolled in her “Women, Family and Social Change” class. The texts were difficult, the discussions challenging. I was grateful for Lisa’s constant enthusiasm for the topic at hand and most importantly, her commitment to engage her students in the learning process. I was always excited to attend her class because I was eager to hear her thoughts about the text we had read. She had the ability to turn a book, perhaps one that I did not particularly enjoy, into one that seemed brilliant because of her insightful comments and perspective. Lisa was available for questions both in and out of the classroom. Responses to emails arrived very quickly and it was easy to set up a time outside of office hours to meet. Her accessibility as a professor showed me that my education was just as important to her as other research and administrative duties for which she was responsible.After being more than satisfied with her class, the following semester I enrolled in her “19th Century London and Paris” class. This class ultimately became one of my favorite classes at CMC. Lisa always chose the best texts to read for her classes and discussions about the relationship between sewers, prostitution, and the rise of industrial London in the 19th Century remains a vivid memory even though two years has passed since the class. Lisa always encouraged student feedback about the texts she assigned and promoted student-led discussions. The opportunity to pose analytical questions and learn from my peers proved to be invaluable to my development as a successful student. I learned through Lisa’s history classes how literature (among many subjects) and history intersect constantly. It was clear that though she was a history professor, her knowledge about other subjects (literature, science, art, areas of history outside her primary interest) only enhanced her knowledge about history.

    I had the pleasure of working with Lisa on my senior thesis that focused on Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. It was clear that Lisa’s passion for history was contagious; I had wanted to study a novel that would allow me to learn more about literature while having the opportunity to research one of my favorite historical time periods: 19th Century France. (I also wanted an excuse to work with Lisa so I figured I should choose a book with which she could be of help).

    What excited me the most about Lisa’s classes and working with her on my thesis is that she helped me realize that in order to understand our lives today, it is important to learn history. Lisa taught me that contemporary understandings of topics such as gender, war, and changes in technology are based on historical events that had the power to change nations and social ideas. She taught me the usefulness of knowing, questioning, and learning history, which all led me to think differently about the world we create and live in today.

    I could rave on about Lisa for pages! I envy all the students and faculty that will be able to continue working with her in the future. Her generosity to her students and commitment to teaching are unparalleled. I continue to recommend her classes to students, convincing them that they, too, will think about life differently after every class. I am thrilled that she will be acknowledged as a Top Young Historian. The honor is well deserved. — Bouree Kim

  • “I’m writing to share my enthusiasm for Lisa Cody as a HNN Top Young Historian. Lisa is one of the most engaging professors that I have ever met. She combines a staggering command of the subject matter with humor, accessibility, and a relentless passion for her work and her students. Taking a class from a professor of her caliber was a high point of my academic career.” — Cameron Blevins
  • “I graduated in May from Claremont McKenna College, where Lisa was my professor for two courses last year (a survey of modern British history and a history of London and Paris in the 19th century)and my thesis adviser. I also worked closely with her when applying for a Marshall Scholarship and while serving on faculty search panels for a new ancient history professor and professor of Korean history. As a result of these interactions, I came to know Professor Cody extremely well and she easily became my favorite professor.Professor Cody was able to keep class interesting by varying her method of instruction considerably. Class was always a refreshing blend of lecture, discussion, small group work, and individual presentations. Additionally, the assigned readings were a nice mix of primary sources, secondary scholarship, and salient works of fiction. As a result of this variety, class was never dull and I really felt engaged with the subject matter.While Professor Cody’s classes were always enjoyable, I think what really set her apart from other professors was her accessibility outside of classes. She was always so sincerely interested in helping you, that I felt comfortable asking for her advice on a wide range of issues. For example, she provided great support not only for matters relating to class and as my thesis reader, but she also provided great consul as I went through the law school application process. I considered Lisa not only my professor, but also a mentor and a friend.

    I’m so happy that she is being recognized for being the great historian that she is.” — Ryan Fant, Stanford Law School, Class of 2010

  • “Lisa Cody is a wonderful professor and advisor. She is an incredibly inspirational and creative thinker, always pushing her students to take their arguments to the next level. I owe my decision to become a history major to her, which is why I also had to have her as my thesis advisor. She’s wonderful at presenting alternative understandings of gender and social history, and always encourages her students to speak their opinions and discuss their ideas. I’m so glad that she’s being recognized for her outstanding work; she is truly one of the most intelligent and interesting people I have ever met.” — Annelise Reynolds
  • “Lisa changed and bettered my entire college experience. I took her intro to british history class in the beginning of my sophomore year and I immediately switched my literature major to a history major because of her class. Her enthusiasm, passion, and intelligence surrounding issues of gender greatly intrigued me and in turn I then added a Gender Studies minor. I took three classes with Lisa and she was also my thesis reader. not only did she influence my areas of concentration throughout my college career, but she impacted the way I look at and perceive the world. She is an amazing thinker, writer, and teacher. I have been incredibly fortunate to have been able to learn some of what she has to teach. — Allison Pratt

Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 at 10:47 PM

Top Young Historians: 85 – Jeffrey Sklansky

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

85: Jeffrey Sklansky, 2-18-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, Oregon State University, 2003-
Area of Research: American intellectual and cultural history, particularly the history of political and economic thought.
Education: Ph.D., History, Columbia University, 1996
Major Publications: Sklansky is the author of The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920, (University of North Carolina Press, 2002), winner of the 2004 Cheiron Book Prize, Cheiron, the Jeffrey Sklansky JPGInternational Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Sklansky is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Corporate Property and Social Psychology: Thomas M. Cooley, Charles H. Cooley, and the Ideological Origins of the Social Self,” Radical History Review 76 (Winter 2000): 90-114
“Pauperism and Poverty: Henry George, William Graham Sumner, and the Ideological Origins of Modern American Social Science,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 35:2 (Spring 1999): 111-138; “Rock, Reservation and Prison: The Native American Occupation of Alcatraz Island,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 13:2 (1989): 29-68; “Das Gilded Age als Reifeprüfung: G. Stanley Halls Psychologie der Industrialisierung” (“The Gilded Coming-of-Age: G. Stanley Hall’s Psychology of Industrialization”) in Philipp Löser and Christoph Strupp, eds., Universität der Gelehrten-Universität der Experten: Adaptionen Deutscher Wissenschaft in den USA des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2005; Transatlantische Historische Studien, Bd. 24): 89-103.
Sklansky is currently working on The Money Question: Currency in American Political Thought, 1700-1900. Book project on the rise and fall of the 200-year struggle over what should serve as money, who should control its creation and circulation, and according to what rules.
Awards: Sklansky is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
American Council of Learned Societies Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, American Antiquarian Society, 2006-2007;
Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History Fellowship, Harvard University, 2005- 2006;
Cheiron Book Prize, for The Soul’s Economy, awarded by Cheiron, the International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 2004 (for an outstanding monograph in the history of the social/behavioral/human sciences published between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2003);
National Endowment for the Humanities-Newberry Library Fellowship, Chicago, 2003-2004;
Researcher of the Year, College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University, 2003;
Research Office Released Time Grant, Oregon State University, 2002;
L. L. Stewart Faculty Development Award, Oregon State University, 2000;
Research Office Released Time Grant, Oregon State University, 1999;
Humanities Resident Research Fellowship, Center for the Humanities, Oregon State University, 1998-1999;
Frederic Bancroft Dissertation Award, Columbia University, 1998 (for an outstanding dissertation in American history);
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia University, 1996-1998 (Declined);
Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Science, Northwestern University, 1996-1997;
Nominated for the Allan Nevins Dissertation Prize of the Society of American Historians, Columbia University, 1996;
Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities, Columbia University, 1995-1996;
Richard Hofstadter Fellowship in History, Columbia University, 1989-1994;
Highest Distinction in General Scholarship, University of California at Berkeley, 1988;
Phi Beta Kappa, University of California at Berkeley, 1987.
Additional Info:
Sklansky is the Series Editor for the book series “New Studies in American Intellectual and Cultural History,” Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007-.
Sklansky was also a Postdoctoral Fellow, Science in Human Culture Program, Northwestern University, 1996-1997, and an Instructor in the Department of History at Columbia University during 1993-1994.

Personal Anecdote

At the heart of my first book is the relationship between the personal and the political, or between the intimate ways in which we come to think, feel, and relate to one another and the societal structure of power and property, rights and resources. Looking back, I think that underlying question, derived from the New Left, brought me to the historical profession in the first place.

When I was in middle school, my mother went into private practice as a psychotherapist. We had a growing library of professional and popular psychology at home, and we talked a lot about our feelings, which was a blessing even if I didn’t always appreciate it. Around the same time, I got interested in politics; I became an avid reader of The Progressive magazine, wrote a politically oriented column for the school paper, and volunteered for Barry Commoner’s presidential campaign. Proposition 13, Three Mile Island, SALT II, Camp David, the Iranian revolution- the political tumult of the late ’70s made a deep and lasting impression on me.

In high school, I joined the debate team and advocated things like school busing, marijuana legalization, and an end to U.S. aid for the occupation of East Timor. My political interests supplied an antidote to alienation, as did part-time reporting for the local weekly and daily newspapers. Much of the appeal was that the politics and journalism were about something bigger and more compelling than my own adolescent angst. They allowed me to define what I was about in terms of something other than personal anxieties, aptitudes, and ambitions, something irreducible to my need or desire for it, as high-flown as that may sound.

Journalism and politics came together for me more powerfully at U.C. Berkeley, where I covered rent control issues, urban development, and the burgeoning anti-apartheid/divestment movement on campus for the Daily Cal. I straddled the line between participant and observer, drawn to political action but rarely joining in fully. Maybe more comfortable in the classroom, I was enthralled by the heady mixture of political engagement and intellectual depth and breadth I encountered in my history teachers and texts. For $1,200 a year in tuition, I gained an incalculable state-funded inheritance-much as my father, from a very poor family, had received a first-rate public education at CCNY, a life-changing legacy of the New Deal order.

My love of history and politics drew me to graduate school shortly after college, hardly realizing how fragile and contingent was the political promise of higher education itself. Having worked some more as a newspaper reporter, I was struck by the widening divide between the academic culture of the liberal arts and the neoconservative discourse of the drug war, homelessness, and the dismantling of the welfare state in the early ’90s. On the one hand, I struggled to make sense of my own experience in the impersonal language of class and capitalism I learned from social history-“Do you feel oppressed?” one skeptical professor asked me. On the other hand, I was troubled by the psychological rhetoric of addiction and dependency that framed public discussion of social issues-“Who can better help our city recover than someone who has gone through recovery?” as Marion Barry said while running for mayor of Washington, D.C. Such concerns framed my dissertation on what I came to see as the ascendance of modern “social psychology” over classical “political economy,” which became my first book.

Quotes

By Jeffrey Sklansky

  • Since the Revolutionary War, democratic thinkers had commonly identified republican rule with a broad distribution of the means of subsistence. . . . But as the corporation finally replaced the household as the The Soul's Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920 JPG main owner of productive resources, a rising generation of Progressive social scientists declared the once revolutionary ideals of self-ownership and self-rule retrograde if not obsolete. Born of the new research university, the modern disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, and economics together reconceived market society as a fast-moving mainstream of culturally created desires, habits, and mores . . . [R]eformist academics happily hailed the death of “economic man” and the birth of a new “social self” in his place. Their vision of an increasingly “interdependent” society, in which each shared in the rising prosperity of all while the means of production remained under corporate control, provided the point of departure for later generations of progressive thinkers from the New Deal to the Great Society. — Jeffrey Sklansky in “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920”

About Jeffrey Sklansky

  • “The Soul’s Economy is an important contribution to both American intellectual history and our understanding of the ideological roots of the modern social sciences. Deeply researched, imaginatively structured, and superbly argued, Sklansky’s book is noteworthy for the timeliness of its subject matter but even more so for the sensitive and innovative way it intertwines the history of the social/behavioral/human sciences with cultural, political, and labor history.” — From the 2004 Cheiron Book Prize Citation from Cheiron, The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • “In this spirited and ambitious book, Jeffrey Sklansky argues that the American thinkers who traded class analysis for social psychology made possible a cultural accommodation with capitalism that resulted in grinding poverty for the many and unprecedented wealth for a few. Even readers put off by Sklansky’s forthright embrace of class analysis will be rewarded by his subtle arguments, fine prose, and meticulous scholarship.” — James T. Kloppenberg, Journal of American History reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920”
  • “[T]his is a path-breaking contribution to the new history of social science.” — Mary O. Furner, Florida Historical Quarterly reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920”
  • “Jeffrey Sklansky has produced a learned and carefully crafted work that . . . carries a sting in its elegant tail.”– Dennis Smith, American Journal of Sociology reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920”
  • “We tend to associate the soul with higher-order matters of the spirit, the economy with baser needs and strategies. In an age of Enron and tax cuts for the wealthy, one might well wonder how the two could possibly mix company in the same monograph. Jeffrey Sklansky’s marvelous accomplishment in this fine book is not only to make clear the links between souls and economies-or at least ideals of personhood and the material structures within which they are expressed-but also to historicize the very division of these two realms in American social thought.” — Sarah E. Igo, Reviews in American History reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920”
  • “Jeffrey Sklansky has written an ambitious, tightly argued, sometimes dense, but finally rich and rewarding book about how social scientists and other intellectuals rethought the nature of selfhood and the self’s relation to society during the hundred-year rise and consolidation of industrial capitalism.” — Mark Pittenger, Business History Review reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920”
  • “Jeffrey Sklansky’s The Soul’s Economy persuasively documents a shift in American social science from political economy’s sovereign individual, his will grounded in reason and labor, to social psychology’s socialized self, a product of instinct, habit, and desire. Along the way, Sklansky gives us illuminating rereadings of many major figures in a century of social thought. This is an original and important book, with implications for both the history of American social science and the welfare-state liberalism it helped to sustain.” — Dorothy Ross, Johns Hopkins University reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920”
  • “Did twentieth-century notions of ‘social selfhood’ represent an unambiguous improvement upon the ‘outdated ideals’ of the nineteenth century? In this exemplary study, Sklansky provides us a fresh perspective on this familiar theme. His book is a valuable act of historical recovery which will also greatly enrich our present- day debates about self and society.” — Wilfred M. McClay, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga reviewing “The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920”

Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 10:39 PM

Top Young Historians: 84 – Joseph Crespino

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

84: Joseph Crespino, 2-11-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 2003-present
Area of Research: Political culture of twentieth century America, in particular, the American South in the second half of the century.
Education: Ph.D., Department of History, Stanford University, 2002
Major Publications: Crespino is the author of In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution, (Princeton University Press, 2007). He is currently working on The End of Southern History? (edited with Matthew Lassiter). An edited collection of essays by a range of modern American historians
that seeks to integrateJoseph Crespino JPGthe histories of the modern South and the nation. He is also working on the manuscript American Kulturkampf: Private Schools and Modern Conservatism This book will examine conflicts over private school education since the Brown decision as a way of framing a broad and diverse set of debates over race, religion and citizenship in modern America.
Crespino is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Civil Rights Versus the Religious Right: Desegregation, Christians Schools, and Religious Freedom in the 1970s” in Julian Zelizer and Bruce Schulman, eds., Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s, (Harvard University Press, Spring 2008); “Civility and Civil Rights In Mississippi,” in Ted Ownby, ed., Manners and Southern History, (University Press of Mississippi, 2007); “The Best Defense Is A Good Offense: The Stennis Amendment and the Fracturing of Liberal School Desegregation Policy, 1964-1972,” The Journal of Policy History 18, no. 3 (2006): 304-25; “The Strange Career of Atticus Finch,” Southern Cultures 6, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 9-29 “Ronald Reagan’s South: The Tangled Roots of Modern Southern Conservatism,” in Vincent Cannato and Gil Troy, eds., The 1980s: Gilded Age or Golden Age (forthcoming, Oxford University Press). He is also working on the book chapter “Mississippi as Metaphor: State, Region and Nation in the Historical Imagination,” in Joseph Crespino and Matthew Lassiter, eds., The End of Southern History?.
Awards: Crespino is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation 2006-2007;
Postdoctoral Fellowship J.N.G. Finley Postdoctoral Fellow in American History, 2002-2003 George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia;
Dissertation Award, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, 2003 Richmond University;
Dissertation Fellowship, Miller Center of Public Affairs, 2001-2002 University of Virginia;
Theodore C. Sorenson Research Fellowship, 2001 John F. Kennedy Library Foundation;
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2000-2001 Stanford University;
Research grant, Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation 2000;
Stanford University Department of History Full Fellowship 1996-2000;
S.T.A.R. Teacher Award, Mississippi Economic Council, 1996 Gentry High School;
Phi Beta Kappa, Northwestern University 1994.
Additional Info:
Crespin’s reviews or editorials have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post Book World, Commonweal, and also the Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.).
He was formerly Social Studies Teacher, Gentry High School, Indianola 1994-1996, School District, Indianola, Mississippi.

Personal Anecdote

It’s a bit of a cliché I know, but my first book had a lot to do with where I grew up.

I’m from a tiny town in Mississippi, where my mother’s side of the family has lived since the 1830s. It was a place where the vestiges of Jim Crow segregation were very real. Local politics were intensely divided along racial lines. All the white children in the area attended a white-flight private academy. In a town where over sixty percent of the population was African American, I had incredibly little contact with black folks-at least African American children my age. Pickup basketball games in my driveway that happened to include a few black kids who wandered by were enough for neighbors to complain to my mother.

I was lucky to be able to attend high school and college outside of Mississippi, where I gained perspective on the unique aspects of my hometown and my childhood. My undergraduate years were critical in leading me to study history. I had great teachers who inspired me, but the most important experience came outside of the classroom. I went to Northwestern, where I got involved in a community organizing project in the Henry Horner Homes in Chicago. There I met so many residents who were part of the historic migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North. Volunteering in the Henry Horner Homes and seeing the intense poverty of residents and the neighborhood segregation in Chicago cast my childhood experiences in a new light.

I had always thought that the isolation, distrust and misunderstanding between blacks and whites in my hometown was part of Mississippi’s unique history. What I came to realize, of course, was that my own experience was just one part of a larger story.

That realization shaped the approach I took in my first book, which examines segregationist politics in Mississippi. Too often histories of civil rights struggles in the South treat white southerners as exceptional from other white Americans; their racism is seen as being different in both kind and degree from that of other white Americans. My personal experience and my research both confirmed and contradicted these accounts.

Certainly there were differences in the racism of whites in Mississippi and Chicago. Those Henry Horner residents who fled Jim Crow towns in Mississippi knew that better than anyone. And Mississippi really was the “belly of the beast” for civil rights activists who had the courage to confront the racial authoritarianism that existed in my home state.

Yet it is easy to overstate the differences between white Mississippians and other white Americans in a way that warps our understanding of racism in modern America. This is true in many different ways, but an important one is this: emphasizing the uniqueness of southern racism obscures how white southerners were able to reframe their opposition to the civil rights movement in ways that resonated with white Americans in other parts of the country.

That’s the heart of my first book-how white Mississippians contributed to a modern conservative countermovement against the historic changes of the 1960s. It’s a subject I learned a lot about in college and graduate school, but the most basic lesson I discovered in my own journey from Mississippi to Chicago.

Quotes

By Joseph Crespino

  • This book shows how, despite segregationists’ popular pledges that they would never submit to racial integration, white leaders in the state initiated a subtle and strategic accommodation to the demands of civil rights activists and the federal government, one In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution JPG that helped preserved the priorities of white elites and that put white Mississippians in a position to contribute to a broad conservative countermovement against the liberal triumphs of the 1960s. Whites in Mississippi rearticulated their resentment of the liberal social policies that allowed for black advancement in ways that would come to resonate with white Americans far outside of the Deep South. They conceived of their struggle against civil rights activists and federal officials not merely as a regional fight to preserve white supremacy, but as a national battle to preserve fundamental American freedoms. In doing so, they made common cause with a variety of conservative constituencies: with Cold Warriors concerned about an expansive federal state; with fundamentalist and evangelical Christians worried about liberalism “infecting” Protestant churches; and with parents opposed to federal school desegregation efforts, who wanted to determine where and with whom their children went to school. — Joseph Crespino in “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”

About Joseph Crespino

  • “In his study of Mississippi, Crespino provides a challenging, comprehensive examination of white southerners confronting the modern Civil Rights Movement. While focusing on the actions, strategies, and beliefs from the Brown v. Board of Education decision to the rise of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Crespino successfully reevaluates the perspective of southern whites beyond the Ku Klux Klan and those espousing virulent racism.” — J. Michael Bitzer, Choice reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
  • “In Search of Another Country is so rich in facts and details . . . that it immediately should become a cornerstone volume in understanding Mississippi’s convoluted political history.” — Bill Minor, Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.) reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
  • In Search of Another Country represents a major advance in our understanding of the conservative counterrevolution that remade the American political landscape after the sixties. This book is the best retort to those who still see the civil rights movement in triumphalist terms. Elegantly written and meticulously researched, it could only have been written by someone with enormous respect for the complexity of the people of Mississippi, irrespective of where they stood in the fray.” — Charles Payne, Duke University reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
  • “This is the most thoroughly researched and incisively interpreted account of one of the most complex social and political transitions ever to take place in any American state. No one is better equipped to write this book than this brilliant young historian, who out of his own personal observations growing up in Mississippi has captured with remarkable intuition and understanding the nuances of life in his native state. This is a must- read for anyone seeking a clearer understanding of the bitter struggles of the civil-rights movement and the political evolution that has followed.” — William Winter, former Governor of Mississippi reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
  • “Crespino’s study of the transformation of white Mississippi politics will instantly become the standard work in southern history and American political history in the late twentieth century because it does what many prominent southern historians have been calling for: it takes white opposition to the civil-rights movement seriously. Rather than viewing white Mississippians as an undifferentiated mass, Crespino shows divisions among segregationists based around competing strategies for preserving the racial order. For political historians who have sought to understand the rise of conservative Republicanism in the South, this book provides a thoroughly researched exploration of how the civil-rights struggle led whites to develop a nonracist discourse that sought to salvage what they could of white supremacy.” — Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
  • “Joe Crespino’s marvelous book asks how white southerners responded to the moral and political challenges of the civil-rights movement. It traces the successful accommodation conservative white Mississippians made to the new world precipitated by the campaign for black civil rights, and then shows how that accommodation affected conservative politics in the region and in the nation. Crespino helps define a recent arc of scholarship dedicated to understanding, and not simply vilifying, civil-rights opponents. This is an important book and Mississippi is the right place to anchor this story.” — Jane Dailey, coeditor of “Jumpin’ Jim Crow: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights” reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
  • “In this bold and thoughtful study, Joseph Crespino explains how the race-based Republican ‘southern strategy’ became part of a broader, truly ‘American’ appeal that swept across the nation in the aftermath of the civil rights movement.” — James C. Cobb, author of “Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity” reviewing “In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution”
  • “I have had many professors since I came to Emory, but Professor Crespino is the best professor I have had so far. He cares about his students and it shows.”… “I looked forward to coming to this class every day. It was the best American history course I’ve taken at Emory.”… “I took [the class] to fill a GER and get it out of the way, but it ended up being my favorite class. I enjoyed the books a lot and the classes were interesting and easy to follow.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 10:02 PM

Top Young Historians: 83 – Rhonda Y. Williams

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

83: Rhonda Y. Williams, 2-4-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, Case Western Reserve University, 2004-present.
Area of Research: African-American history, Black Women’s history, Urban history.
Education: Ph.D., History, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, May 1998.
Major Publications: Williams is the author of The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles Against Urban Inequality (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). Inaugural book in interdisciplinary series, Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities, with special co-editors Cathy Cohen and Fred Harris. She is the co-editor of Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement: Freedom’s Bittersweet Song with Julie Armstrong, Susan Hult, Houston Roberson (New York: Routledge), September 2002. Williams is also the co-editorRhonda Y. Williams JPGwith
Karen Sotiropoulos of Women, Transnationalism and Human Rights, Special Issue of the Radical History Review 101 (forthcoming, Spring 2008). Williams is currently working on the book manuscripts The Dope Wars: Street-Level Hustling and the Culture of Drugs in Post-1940s Urban America
Williams is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Nonviolence and Long Hot Summers: Welfare Rights Struggles in the 1960s,” Nonviolent Relationality: Rethinking Gandhi in the World for Orient Longman’s new series on “Gandhi Studies” (forthcoming); “Race, Dismantling the “Ghetto,” and Housing Mobility: Considering the Polikoff Proposal,” Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Summer 2006; “Black Women, Urban Politics, and Engendering Black Power,” The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era, edited by Peniel E. Joseph (New York, Routledge, 2006); “Nonviolence and Long Hot Summers: Welfare Rights Struggles in the 1960s” for Borderlands E-Journal, Vol 4, No. 3, 2005; “Raising the Curtain: Performance, History, and Pedagogy,” Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement; “We’re Tired of Being Treated Like Dogs: Poor Women and Power Politics,” The Black Scholar, Special Edition on Black Power Studies: A New Scholarship, Fall/Winter 2001, 31-41.
Awards: Williams is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Student Government’s Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award for the Arts and Humanities, CWRU, 2004;
Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship, American Association of University Women American Educational Foundation, July 2002-June 2003;
Nominee for the Carl F. Wittke Award, University-wide Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, Case Western Reserve University, Spring 2001 & Spring 2000;
W.P. Jones Presidential Faculty Development Fund Award, CWRU, supported research and travel, Fall 2000;
Nominee for the Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, Undergraduate Student Government, CWRU, Spring 1999;
Selected to appear in the Undergraduate Viewbook, featuring faculty and students. (Outstanding undergraduates nominated faculty members.) Undergraduate Admissions Office, CWRU, Summer 1999. Have appeared in each subsequent publication through 2002;
Glennan Teaching Fellowship, University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE), CWRU, 1999-2000;
Fellow, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University: National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, “Teaching the Southern Civil Rights Movement, 1865-1965,” Summer 1998. Invitation Accepted;
Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, 1996-1997;
Fontaine Fellowship, 1992-1996;
Graduate/Professional Student Outstanding Achievement Award, Women of Color Day, 1995;
Malcolm X Outstanding Service to the African-American Community, Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGAPSA), 1994;
Paul Robeson Academic Excellence and Leadership, BGAPSA, 1994;
Graduation Commencement Speaker, UMCP, First black speaker in the University’s history, 1989.
Additional Info:
Williams is also Program Faculty, Ethnic Studies Program, 2003-present, Steering Committee Member, 2003-2005, and Program Faculty, Women Studies, 2000 – present at Case Western University.

Personal Anecdote

In 1985, I headed off to college at the University of Maryland College Park without any idea that I would eventually earn a PhD. The daughter of federal government employees, I would be the first person in my immediate family to earn a bachelor’s degree. After my freshman year I knew I wanted to be a writer and somehow make a living doing it, and was fortunate to earn an internship at the Baltimore Evening Sun. I was supposed to be primarily an editor’s gopher, but thankfully I met newspaper reporters who mentored me. One gave me one of my first in-the-field assignments: I had to cover a story about a community program in the “projects” – residential places in inner cities held in disdain and fear. When I think back on that moment, I sometimes wonder whether I showed trepidation, or had the reporter simply felt the need to assure me (a young, green journalism student) that I would both be safe and do fine. Once we arrived at the public housing complex, I met black mothers, including teen parents, who were raising families with limited resources and navigating austere and neglected neighborhoods. This assignment eventually led to my visiting, and writing about, a neighborhood and church-based parenting enrichment program that served primarily black teen mothers and a few teen fathers.

Two more newspaper internships (including one with the New York Times) and three years later, I graduated UMCP as the first black undergraduate to receive its highest honor of salutatorian and commencement speaker in its 187-year history. That same year, 1989, I began my career as a night-time general assignment reporter. But I soon discovered, that overall, the daily new events I was assigned (including dog shows and numerous weather stories, not on the Hurricane Katrina level of importance) failed to elicit my excitement or fulfill my vision of engaging in useful intellectual inquiry. I had promised myself that in five years maximum I would go back to school, or if I did not like my job in two to three years. So in 1991 at the two-year mark, I decided to seek a PhD in History. After a couple years as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania and always a native daughter of Baltimore, I resolved to focus my research on housing policy and marginalized people’s struggles in my hometown, particularly those of poor African American women.

My first book, The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality, and many of my subsequent articles, owe themselves to that moment in 1986 – alongside, of course, other intervening experiences (for as historians know there are always multiple shaping influences) – that launched me on a compelling journey. It was, and still is, a historical (and, for me, professional and personal) journey that has exposed decades of entrenched and systemic race, gender, and economic inequality; institutional intransigence; misanthropy and societal disgust; human impotence, pain, and fortitude; and intense struggle and magnificent gumption. Listen to Goldie Baker, a public housing and welfare rights activist who died in 2006 after over 40 years of social struggle. She took seriously challenging those in power – no matter their race. And because of that “they thought I was one crazy nigger. They wasn’t used to that [laughs]. Oh, believe me, they wasn’t used to no nigger talking to them … like that”!

My next book project on street-level hustling, illicit narcotics, and urban culture after World War II is taking me on another overlapping journey – one where men and women found money, escape, pleasure, death, ‘freedom,’ and misery in a society that policed the boundaries of opportunity, morality, and belonging, in a society constituted by hierarchies and dreams of possibility. I don’t know where this particular scholarly journey ultimately will land me, but I do know (and am still discovering) the numerous places that the illicit (and licit) high has landed the many people that I’ve known personally and am now meeting historically.

Quotes

By Rhonda Y. Williams

  • Within a couple decades of moving into Lafayette Courts on December 10, 1955, Shirley Wise had married and separated from her children’s father, held several jobs, attended Cortez Peters Business School, The Politics of Public Housing Black Women's Struggles against Urban Inequality JPG and become a beautician. Possessing a sense of community belonging, she became active in the Parents-Teachers Association and Lafayette Courts Mothers’ Club. But Shirley Wise avoided controversy and “leadership” roles….Between 1955 and 1970, Shirley Wise shed her timidity as she learned more about her rights: her civil rights, legal rights, tenants’ rights. By the early 1970s, the petite Wise had made an unpaid career of advocating for the poor in her housing complex and citywide. Before her political awakening Shirley Wise often said, “[L]et somebody else take care of that…. Anything that was really rocking the boat, I wasn’t into that until I found out I had the legal right to do that – rock the boat.” Shirley Wise’s transformation—her heightened consciousness of power relations, inequality, and rights—mirrored that of other poor black women living in cities. As black freedom movements and anti-poverty programs grew in northern cities, rights, struggle, power, control, respect, and dignity became popular words – and goals. — Rhonda Williams in “The Politics of Public Housing Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”About Rhonda Y. Williams
  • “Well-researched, well-written…. Highly recommended.” — Choice review of “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
  • “There are far too few books from the perspective of poor black women, even fewer that give them the credit they deserve for pushing local, state, and federal governments to fulfill the promises of the New Deal and the War on Poverty. Rhonda Williams’ beautifully written and sweeping narrative makes fresh and important contributions to urban history, African-American women’s history, and the history of poverty policy in this country.” — Annelise Orleck reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
  • “A remarkable piece of work, doing for Baltimore what Making the Second Ghetto did for Chicago. Williams brings welcome new light to bear on the struggle of poor black women for respectability and inclusion, inclusion on their own terms. Drawing on a rich data set covering forty year, Williams renders vivid portraits of individuals while also conveying a clear conception of the changing societal trends and public policies with which they had to contend.” — Charles Payne reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
  • The Politics of Public Housing presents a new face and place of civil rights struggle—poor women in the Baltimore `projects’ and their mobilization for adequate housing, income, education, and dignity. Rhonda Williams has written an illuminating and provocative study of black women who waged their own war on poverty in the 1950s and 1960s.” — Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
  • “An innovative study of the history of the activist work of low-income black women. Deeply researched and eloquently rendered, this book provides a new model for understanding urban political history – not from the bottom up, but from the inside out.” — Barbara Dianne Savage reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
  • “Moving from the New Deal and World War II through the War on Poverty and the new social movements of the 1970s, The Politics of Public Housing illuminates the grassroots activism of poor black women for decent shelter and adequate income in fresh and surprising ways. After Williams, scholars will have to consider housing as a major domain of the welfare state. Hers is a most important study.” — Eileen Boris reviewing “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
  • “Williams has exquisitely and mercifully corrected the deeply etched image of public housing as an utter failure. Her carefully researched, well-written, and critically balanced study of public housing forces housers, historians, political scientists, and sociologists alike to reconsider the pall of negativism that at least since 1957 has beclouded all conversation about public housing and about the enduring need for government support for decent, low-income housing.” — Journal of American History review of “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
  • “Her carefully researched volume chronicles the personal lives and political activism of the low-income women who voiced their claims for ‘rights, respect, and representation’ in public housing and beyond. Using personal histories culled from more than 50 interviews, Williams vividly demonstrates these women’s setbacks and triumphs…. this is a valuable look at social welfare policy.” — Publishers Weekly review of “The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality”
  • “I have never learned as much as I have from this course [Introduction to American History]. The teacher, she is inspiring.”… “Dr. Williams is the most passionate scholar in the History Department whom I have worked with.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, February 3, 2008 at 10:56 PM

Top Young Historians: 82 – Matthew Connelly

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

82: Matthew Connelly, 1-28-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor of History, Columbia University.
Director, Columbia University and London School of Economics MA Program in International and World History
Area of Research: International and Global history.
Education: Ph.D., Department of History, Yale University, 1997
Major Publications: Connelly is the author of A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era (OUP, 2002) which won the 2002 American Historical Association George Louis Beer Prize andMatthew Connelly JPG the Paul Birdsall Prize in European military and strategic history, 2003 Bernath Prize of the Society for
Historians of American Foreign Relations, and was the co-winner of the 2003 Akira Iriye International History Book Award. His next book, Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population,” will be published by Harvard University Press in 2008.
Connelly is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews that have appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History, The International Journal of Middle East Studies, The American Historical Review, The Review fran çaise d’histoire d’ Outre-mer, and Past & Present. They include among others: “The Cold War and the Longue Durée: Global Migration, Public Health, and Population Control,” Cambridge History of the Cold War, ed. Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad (New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.); “AHR Conversation: On Transnational History,” The American Historical Review 111 (December 2006): 1440-1464; “Seeing Beyond the State: The Population Control Movement and the Problem of Sovereignty,” Past & Present 193 (December 2006); “Population Control in India: Prologue to the Emergency Period,” Population and Development Review 32 (November 2006); “To Inherit the Earth: Imagining World Population, from the Yellow Peril to the Population Bomb,” Journal of Global History 1 (November 2006); “Population Control is History: New Perspectives on the International Campaign to Limit Population Growth,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 45 (Winter 2003): 122-147, and “Rethinking the Cold War and Decolonization: The Grand Strategy of the Algerian War for Independence,” The International Journal of Middle East Studies 33 (May 2001): 221-245.
Awards: Connelly is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Sovern Fellowship, The American Academy in Rome, 2007;
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowship, 2006-2007;
Akira Iriye International History Book Award, Foundation for Pacific Quest, 2004;
Edgar S. Furniss Book Award in National and International Security, The Mershon Center, Ohio State University, 2004;
Guggenheim Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation, 2003-2004;
Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 2003;
George Louis Beer Book Prize for European international history since 1895, American Historical Association, 2003;
Paul Birdsall Book Prize for European military and strategic history since 1870, American Historical Association, 2003;
Institute for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2000-2001;
Ludolph Junior Faculty Development Award, University of Michigan, 1999, 2001;
Rackham Summer Grant and Fellowship, University of Michigan, 1998, 2001;
Honorable Mention for Bernath Article Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 2001;
Summer Stipend and Grant, Environmental Change and Security Project, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2000;
Arthur and Mary Wright Prize, Yale University, 1998;
Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, Yale University, 1996-1997;
Research Grant, MacArthur Foundation and International Security Studies (ISS), Yale University, 1996.
Additional Info:
Connelly has also published commentary on international affairs in The Atlantic Monthly and The National Interest. He is formerly Assistant Professor, Department of History and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, 1997-2001.

Personal Anecdote

Once, frustrated with a grant application, I turned to my roommate to complain that I could not possibly narrate in a thousand words how my “intellectual development” led me to my dissertation topic. I was living in France, in genteel poverty, convinced that I had just discovered that the Fifth Republic was the unintended consequence of a long-secret diplomatic crisis. But there had been a lot of false starts, digressions, and dead ends along the way. My friend sagely counseled that I should not be so literal-minded. After all, the night was young, and Paris beckoned. The readers did not expect introspection, even if their question appeared to demand it. The grant essay, he explained, was a “necessary fiction.”

I’ve described my work many times since then, and I’ve often recalled that phrase. As historians, we are not supposed to traffic in fiction. And yet we can scarcely survive if our stories do not seem compelling, especially the stories we tell about ourselves. The topics we take up are often a matter of happenstance – in my case, the fact that my first graduate research seminar was on the end of empires, and I had just seen a film called The Battle of Algiers. But over the years, after countless grant applications, I learned to call my decision to study national liberation movements in North Africa “strategic.” And rather than admit that I was as surprised as anyone at the way they foreshadowed contemporary “clashes of civilizations,” I decided that, all along, I had been exploring the origins of the post-Cold War era.

Of course, many explorers discover things by accident, whether or not they admit it. When they return people want them to provide maps, and not send them on the same misadventures. But I wonder whether, as professors, we lead our students astray when we present our life’s work as a series of “projects,” as if our lives depended on them. Is it not our life stories that often lead us to a particular subject, and personal idiosyncrasies that make us feel passionate about it? Why then have we come to expect that even those applying to start a graduate program in history should already have a “project” of their own?

In my own case, I was almost finished with my book about the Algerian War for Independence before I realized why, all along, I had an abiding affinity for the rebels. I was interviewing one of them when he started to tell me about how he and his compatriots had learned from the history of Ireland’s struggle against Britain. I recalled how, like many children of Irish immigrants, I had grown up listening to rebel songs and developed a romantic kind of nationalism, one that was uncomplicated by a deeper knowledge of the country and its history. If a student now came to me with a similar realization, I would be worried for them. But I have no doubt that my own inchoate and unacknowledged feelings helped me remain committed to pursuing my work wherever it led me – to Tunis, to Cairo, to Algiers – and making my readers care about it as much as I did.

These realizations seem self-evident in retrospect. But writing too many “necessary fictions” can make us forget our own life stories. When I set out to research my second book, a history of the population control movement, I was sure it was because it would help show how and why people divide the world between “us” and “them.” By the time I was done with it, I could argue that international and nongovernmental organizations had taken up the unfinished work of empires and created new forms of unaccountable power – in this case, controlling populations rather than territory. But when I presented this conclusion to audiences people would ask me, unbelieving, why I was so passionate about population control. As the youngest of eight children, part of a generation Paul Ehrlich called The Population Bomb, it was obvious why I might feel a personal stake in this history, even if it took me years to realize it.

Perhaps there is already too much navel-gazing among the professoriate. Self-important professors sometimes forget that, if we have an audience beyond academia, it is not for our life stories – everybody’s got one – it is because we claim to have something new and important to say. But for most of us, that is only because we have spent our lives thinking about it, driven in ways even we do not always understand. That is why those who would think to follow us really had better pursue their own passions.

Quotes

By Matthew Connelly

  • Some scientists argue that we should consider humanity like any other species, because natural selection and “selfish genes” provide the basis for human behavior, whether sexuality, or aggression, or altruism. History
    Fatal Misconception JPGwill eventually be revealed as nothing but a specialized branch of biology, explaining particular wars or sexual revolutions but not war or sexism as such. They even suggest that they might be able to apply their insights to mold human behavior for the better. In fact, such arguments only provide further proof that “sociobiologists” have it backwards: our biology is becoming a branch of history, subject to human will and human error. Whether we understand this history or choose to ignore it, especially eugenics and other attempts to improve human populations, will help determine how this happens. If humanity tries to remake itself once again, repeating the errors of the past will prove all the more unforgivable.
    (Reprinted electronically by permission of the publisher from the forthcoming title FATAL MISCONCEPTION: THE STRUGGLE TO CONTROL WORLD POPULATION by Matthew Connelly, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 2008 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.) Matthew Connelly in “Fatal Misconception The Struggle to Control World Population”

About Matthew Connelly

  • This is history written from the heart. The story it tells is of misplaced benevolence at best and biological totalitarianism at worst. Deeply researched and elegantly written, it is a disturbing, angry, combative, and important book, one which raises issues we ignore at our peril. — Jay Winter, Yale University reviewing “Fatal Misconception The Struggle to Control World Population”
  • Matthew Connelly bravely and eloquently explores the dark underside of world population policies. It is a clarion call to respect individuals’ freedom to make their own reproductive choices. — William Easterly, author of “The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good” reviewing “Fatal Misconception The Struggle to Control World Population”
  • One of the most gifted historians of his generation has given us an exciting and thought-provoking new way to understand the making of the ever-globalizing world of today. — Akira Iriye, author of “Global Community: The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World” reviewing “Fatal Misconception The Struggle to Control World Population”
  • Connelly raises the most profound political, social, and moral questions. His history reveals that the difference between population control and birth control is indeed that between coercion and choice. — Mahmood Mamdani, author of “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror” reviewing “Fatal Misconception The Struggle to Control World Population”
  • This is a superb global history. By focusing on NGOs and transnational networks, the United Nations and nation states, Connelly has given us an important new way of seeing world politics. — Emily Rosenberg, University of California, Irvine reviewing “Fatal Misconception The Struggle to Control World Population”
  • “A brilliant volume of analysis, careful research, elegant writing, and the sensitive inclusion of multiple source materials ranging from demographic statistics to propaganda films.” — International Journal of African Historical Studies review of “A Diplomatic Revolution Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era”
  • “A Diplomatic Revolution offers a fascinating argument based on a variety of multilingual and multi-archival sources that reflect the national discourse of the nations involved.” — African Studies Review review of “A Diplomatic Revolution Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era”
  • “An ambitious book that succeeds admirably in its argument…. In scope, and persuasiveness, A Diplomatic Revolution is unlikely to be surpassed as the best book about the Algerian revolution for many years to come.” — Journal of Cold War Studies review of “A Diplomatic Revolution Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era”
  • “A. J.P. Taylor observed that historians ‘talk so much about profound forces in order to avoid doing the detailed A Diplomatic Revolution JPGwork’ (p 141) Connelly is not one of them. His multiarchival research is impressive, especially his pioneering work in the recently available Algerian records. Above all, he has taken an innovative analytical approach, an engaging alternative to traditional diplomatic historiography.” — The International History Review review of “A Diplomatic Revolution Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era”
  • “In concentrating on the international dimension, Connelly weaves into his story the changing roles of the United States, Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia; the ebb and flow of FLN relations with the soviet bloc; and much more.” — Foreign Affairs review of “A Diplomatic Revolution Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era”
  • “Connelly’s book is not a comprehensive history of the Algerian war, but a meticulous reconstruction of the global environment in which it occurred. By recasting the Algerian revolution as a contest between competeing ‘transnational systems’ he has shined a welcome new light on a struggle that has long been treated, for practical purposes, as an episode in the history of Fance and its empire, without suficient reference to the rest of the world, whose interests were most decidedly in play.” — Strategic Insights review of “A Diplomatic Revolution Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era”
  • “This extensively researched study will provide extremely valuable information to scholars of decolonization, and represents a major contribution to the history of what one of the belligerent parties, France, only officially recognized as a war in October 1999.” — Journal of Military History review of “A Diplomatic Revolution Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era”

Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 10:50 PM

Top Young Historians: 81 – Eric Jennings

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

81: Eric Jennings, 1-21-08

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator Department of History, University of Toronto
Area of Research: Modern France, French colonialism, decolonization, and the francophone world.
Education: Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, 1998
Major Publications: Jennings is the author of Curing the Colonizers: Hydrotherapy, Climatology, and French Colonial Spas (Duke UP, 2006); Vichy in the Tropics: Pétain’s National Revolution in Madagascar, Guadeloupe and Indochina, 1940-1944 (Stanford UP, 2001), winner of the 2001 Alf Heggoy Prize for best book on French Colonial History from the French Colonial Historical Society. French translation: Vichy sous les Tropiques: La Révolution nationale à  Madagascar, en Guadeloupe, en Eric T. Jennings JPGIndochine, 1940-1944 (Paris: Grasset, 2004). Jennings is also the Editor of a reader entitled French Colonial Indochina (Forthcoming, Nebraska University Press), and Co-editor, with Jacques Cantier, of a collective volume entitled L’Empire colonial sous Vichy, (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2004). His next research project is entitled “Cloning France in Highland Indochina, Dalat 1880-1954”.
Jennings is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including: “Colons, colonisés, ou emigrés? Enjeux identitaires de l’émigration depuis Saint- Pierre et Miquelon, 1903-1939” the Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine 54:4 (October-December 2007). “Writing Madagascar back into the Madagascar Plan” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 21:2 (Fall 2007): 187-217; “Urban Planning, Architecture, and Zoning at Dalat, Indochina, 1900-1944” Historical Reflections (Summer 2007), special issue on French colonial urbanism; “Madagascar se souvient: les multiples visages du monument aux morts du Lac d’Anosy, Antananarivo” Outre-mers (formerly the “Revue d’histoire française d’histoire d’outre-mer”) 351 (2006), special issue on “Sites et moments de mémoire”: 123-140; “Conservative Confluences, ‘Nativist’ Synergy: Re-inscribing Vichy’s National Revolution in Indochina” French Historical Studies, special issue on “the New French Colonial History.” 27:3 (Summer 2004): 601-635; “Last Exit from Vichy France: The Martinique Escape Route and the Ambiguities of Emigration, 1940-1941” The Journal of Modern History 74 (June 2002): 289-324.
Awards: Jennings is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Canadian Institute for Health Research/ AMS/Hannah Grant in the History of Medicine (Priority Announcement), 2007-2008;
Joint Initiative in German and European Studies (University of Toronto) Faculty Research Award, 2006;
University of Toronto History Department SIG Grant, 2005;
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Standard Research Grant (including RTS), 2004-2007;
Associated Medical Services, Inc/ Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine, Research Grant, 2004;
Joint Initiative in German and European Studies (University of Toronto) Faculty Research Award. Project on European colonial medical networks- research in London, 2003;
Associated Medical Services, Inc/ Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine, Research Grant, 2003;
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Standard Research Grant, 1999-2003;
Declined: Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship, to have been held at Stanford; 1998-1999;
Mabelle McLeod Lewis Memorial Fund Fellowship Write-up fellowship for graduate students in the final year of their Ph.D., 1997-1998;
Franco-American Foundation Bicentennial Fellowship One of three fellowships awarded in North America for graduate students to undertake research in France, 1995-1996;
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, 1993-1995.
Additional Info:
In May 2006 Jennings was invited to lead an intensive graduate seminar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.
Jennings was interviewed on the “New French Colonial History” with France Culture’s program “La Fabrique de l’Histoire.” was interviewed on French-language television to introduce the historical drama “Stavisky” on TFO, first aired January 23, 2001.
He is also an Advisor for W. W. Norton Co. on revisions to undertake for a second edition of John Merriman’s History of Modern Europe.

Personal Anecdote

I too considered sharing my first experiences at the magnificent Eiffel-style French national library in Paris, at a time when it still hired someone to wake readers up from their slumber, and when it featured a special section known as “hell” – the repository for racy books. In the end, it seemed incompatible with my new role as “young historian,” given that several generations of truly young researchers have now been working at the ultra-modern, concrete Bibliothèque nationale. Instead, I have decided to recount aspects of my trips to Madagascar, a country that has twice captured my attention, once in a study on the impact of the Vichy regime there, and more recently for a history of its main spa, Antsirabe.

Antsirabe is many places wrapped in one. The city boasts several industries, including a beer plant, textile works, and naturally, a mineral-water bottling facility. But it is also a sleepy bourgeois town, developed by the French around the turn of the twentieth century to remind the colonizers of home. Villas still bear romantic French titles, such as flower names, or the more vacation-oriented “mon repos.” The grand Hôtel terminus, also known as the Hôtel des thermes, has aged. Still evoking on its exterior Antsirabe’s ambitions of grandeur, it was renovated on the interior, no doubt in the seventies, with the latest appointments and goldenish carpeting. The train station sits atop a disproportionately wide boulevard, along which the colonizers were once pulled in rickshaws. How, I wondered after weeks working through dossiers on the spa in Madagascar’s national archives, how would the town look today, and how had the Malagasy come to view this quintessentially colonial site long after independence? More importantly for my hydrotherapy project, how if at all, had the spa’s function and image changed?

In the colonial era, my files showed, Antsirabe was considered a panacea against the island’s ills: malaria and other tropical diseases. The spa’s waters were analyzed at length by French and even Norwegian scientists, who posited its resemblance to other waters known for their malaria-fighting virtues: Vichy’s. Thus, colonials and colonized had thronged to the spa to seek both preventative and post-contraction cures against malaria. As I entered the spa building for the first time, I pondered postcolonial ruptures and continuities. For one thing, the spa had emerged as a more egalitarian site. Gone, obviously, were the divides between baths for Europeans and Malagasy. But gone too was the colonial specialization. A bilingual sign on the wall announced as follows the spa’s curative coverage: “liver disease, gastric ailments, diabetes, colitis, respiratory diseases, rheumatism, dermatological, psychological and gynecological ills, sterility, low and high blood pressure.” What had happened? For one thing, Madagascar’s mainstream medical establishment is suffering, medical and social coverage are virtually unknown. Relatively inexpensive hydrotherapy has therefore been drawing Malagasy patients in droves. But might this also speak to pre and post-colonial continuities-to the Malagasy recovering precolonial water practices? This question led me to wade into deeper currents-and to explore precolonial uses of the waters, which in turn, profoundly marked my approach to Curing the Colonizers.

There were nonetheless many evident carry-overs from colonial times. For one thing, Antsirabe’s sparkling mineral water is still known and sold as “Rano-Visy,” meaning “Vichy water” in Malagasy. That connection remains strong. So too does the idea of Antsirabe as a small replica of France, one where local elites have replaced the old colonial ones. On a more recent trip to Madagascar in 2005, I shared a taxi in the capital Antananarivo with a Chinese businessman involved in textiles- a lucrative and increasingly common relocation since the passing in 2000 of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act. This globalization moment was soon followed by a colonial allusion. My interlocutor raved about a recent weekend in Antsirabe-the closest he would ever get to France, he assured me. Antsirabe, the “France clone” that I was studying, was displaying an enduring afterlife.

Quotes

By Eric T. Jennings

  • “In a volume published in Hanoi in 1941, prefaced by the Emperor of Annam, Bao Dai, an Indochinese journalist
    Vichy in the Tropics JPGbearing the royal name of Ton That Binh outlined the fundamental affinities between Confucianism and Pétainism. With syllogistic reasoning, he first established that “the Annamite [read Vietnamese] instinctively loves his Patrie,” then argued that Vichy in the Tropics JPG “the Annamite is profoundly attached to his Famille.” …. The finest example of Confucian-Pétainist parallelism, however, can be found in a 1942 text that presented side by side aphorisms and maxims from both philosophies. The book, Sentences parallèles franco-annamites bore on its cover the nationalist pseudonyms of Jean François (read Français), and Nguyen Viet-Nam (no translation necessary), and contained nearly one hundred pages of cultural similarities designed to startle, but that in reality sometimes amounted to universal truisms rather than truths. — Eric T. Jennings in “Vichy in the Tropics”

About Eric T. Jennings

  • “This well written, fast moving, and always intriguing book looks at the development of Vichy’s colonial policy and how it reflected its leaders’ deeply held values. Bringing together much previously unknown material, Jennings reveals the extent to which Vichy policy fostered and triggered nationalism in the French colonies.” —- William B. Cohen, Indiana University reviewing “Vichy in the Tropics”
  • “What Eric Jennings’ fine study provides is a look inside Vichy’s empire, exploring the ways in which Vichy’s ideology played out in three tropical settings.” -— H-France Book Reviews reviewing “Vichy in the Tropics”
  • “Jennings’s study is a first-rate, original contribution to the scholarship of the French empire. His style is clear and coherent, and his work is not ponderous nor slow. Although aimed at advanced students of both the Vichy period and French expansionism, Vichy in the Tropics is a work that will enlighten anyone with an interest in Europe during World War II.” —- History reviewing “Vichy in the Tropics”
  • “This excellent book . . . .opens up a field that has received scant attention even from French scholars of empire who tend to dismiss it, particularly in terms of its significance for any understanding of French decolonizati on.” -— American Historical Review reviewing “Vichy in the Tropics”
  • “This original, timely, and finely crafted comparative study of French colonial policies and ethnic relations during the second quarter of the twentieth century represents a significant contribution to colonial cultural history.” —- Journal of Interdiciplinary History
  • “In this interesting an innovative study, Eric Jennings makes an important contribution to the history of Vichy France that is at once original in subject matter, grounded in substantial archival research, and convincing in its key arguments.” —- Journal of Modern History reviewing “Vichy in the Tropics”
  • “Curing the Colonizers is a thoroughly original, fascinating study. It will complement and immediately stand among the very finest studies of colonialism/imperialism in the past decades.” —- John Merriman, author of “Police Stories: Building the French State, 1815-1851” reviewing “Curing the Colonizers”
  • “Eric T. Jennings’s ability to give an in-depth understanding of five very different regions, mastering the primary and secondary literature on all of them, is simply breathtaking. To my knowledge, no one else has managed to write this kind of colonial history, examining the imperial framework as a whole while at the same time giving detailed information about individual colonies.” — Tyler Stovall, coeditor of “The Color of Liberty: Histories of Race in France” reviewing “Curing the Colonizers”
  • “This is a very well constructed study, with the case studies rounded off by a measured conclusion. The main themes are clearly argued and demonstrated, the text nicely illustrated with postcards, advertisements and other illustrations. It is a very welcome addition to the growing literature on the spas.” — Alastair J. Durie, “French History” reviewing “Curing the Colonizers”

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 6:24 PM

Top Young Historians: 80 – Stephanie M. H. Camp

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

80: Stephanie M. H. Camp, 1-14-08

(Note: Stephanie Camp died of cancer on April 2, 2014 at 46)

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor of History, University of Washington, September 2004 to present, Core Faculty, Africa and Diaspora Studies, September 2003 to present, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Women Studies, Fall 2000 to present, Affiliate Faculty, Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, Fall 2002 to present.
Area of Research: African-American history, History of Slavery, American South
Education: Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, History, 1998
Major Publications: Camp is the author of Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South. (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004), Winner, 2005 Annual Lillian Smith Book Award for New Voices in Non Fiction, The Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries,
Honorable Mention, 2005Stephanie Camp JPG John Hope Franklin Prize, American Studies Association, Finalist, 2005 Washington State Book Award Washington, Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library, Included in the Gender and American Culture series. She is also the editor with Edward E. Baptist New Studies in the History of American Slavery (Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 2006). Camp is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Ar’n’t I a Woman? and the History of Race and Sex in the U.S.” Part of “The History of Woman and Slavery: Considering the Impact of Ar’n’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South on the Twentieth Anniversary of Its Publication” article by Daina Ramey Berry, Stephanie M.H. Camp, Leslie Harris, Barbara Krauthamer, Jessica Millward, Jennifer L. Morgan. Journal of Women’s History. 19, 2 (June 2007), Winner, 2007 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Prize for the best article on black women’s history; “I Could Not Stay There’: Enslaved Women, Truancy, and the Geography of Everyday Forms of Resistance in the Antebellum Plantation South.” Reprinted in Nancy Hewitt and Kirsten Delegard, eds., Women, Families and Communities: Readings in American History (1994; Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman/Little, Brown Higher Education, 2007); “I Could Not Stay There’: Enslaved Women, Truancy, and the Geography of Everyday Forms of Resistance in the Antebellum Plantation South,” Slavery and Abolition, 23, 3 (December 2002). (Peer-reviewed.); “The Pleasures of Resistance: Enslaved Women and Body Politics in the Plantation South, 1830-1861,” Journal of Southern History 68, 3 (August 2002). (Peer-reviewed.)
Awards: Camp is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Institute for Ethnic Studies in the United States grant, summer 2007;
Institute for Ethnic Studies in the United States grant, summer 2004;
Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 2000-2001;
Faculty Fellow, Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities Society of Scholars, University of Washington, Winter, 2001;
Associate Fellow, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, Yale Center for International and Area Studies, March 2001;
Royalty Research Fund Scholar, University of Washington, Summer 2000;
Sydney and Frances Lewis Fellowship for Research in Women’s History, Virginia Historical Society, 1999;
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia, Summer, 1998;
Huggins-Quarles Dissertation Award, Organization of American Historians, 1997;
Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow, Virginia Historical Society, 1997-98;
Minority Scholar in Residence, Vassar College, 1997-98;
Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship for Minorities, 1997-98. (Declined.);
Predoctoral Fellowship, Carter G. Woodson Institute, 1997-1998. (Declined.);
Department of History Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 1995-96;
Fontaine Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 1992-1995;
Yale University Fellowship, 1990-92.
Additional Info:
Formerly Scholar in Residence, Vassar College, 1997-98, and Instructor, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, 1997.
Camp served on the Board of Editors of the Journal of Southern History. She has been interviewed on NPR, NPR’s Seattle affiliateand Oregon Public Television; and she has have given public talks on black history in a variety of public settings including Seattle Arts and Lectures, the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas and Monroe Correctional Complex.

Personal Anecdote

Like virtually all historians, I have rehearsed repeatedly the intellectual forces that brought me to my first book, which was also my dissertation: the oversights in the historiography, the theoretical developments that informed my contribution to the field, the sources that deserved new analysis. What I have often wondered about, though, were the personal motivations for writing a dissertation and then a book on enslaved women’s resistance. Did I, as a young, black woman, identify with black women who were enslaved more than a century ago? Did I, so often charged with being unnaturally defiant, need to cathect that identification on resistance, and not subjugation? As I mature into an experienced teacher who has seen many of my students compelled to identify with the variety of characters we study, I find myself having the courage to admit that the answer to these questions is “yes.”

That this is a difficult admission needs no lengthy explanation. Professional historians know that “the past is another country,” as our historicist forefathers (sic) wrote to explain their breaking away from the generally acontextual, moralistic narratives that preceded them. Identification is but a way of obfuscating difference, a romantic fantasy of a sameness that does not exist. I have come to believe this basic tenet of our profession as much as anyone. But not, perhaps, as much as some.

From my students I have learned to give identification some credit. While their feelings of association with slaves, slaveholders, poor white southerners, abolitionists and others are often confusing and painful, students’ sense of connection with and investment in them is a powerful motivation for the hard work required to leap into the minds, lives and worlds of people who lived so far apart from us. For me, identification was precisely the spur that got me asking questions, even if I had to learn to dis-identify in order to hear properly the answers for what they were: the words of others.

Students’ sense of the connection between themselves and this country’s slave past is also right. That is, “the past is another country” is not exactly an accurate descriptor of the U.S.’s relationship to its slave past, or to any aspect of its past. The American economy, culture and politics were all shaped (some have argued they were made) by the institution of slavery. The same is true for the many past lives and lands consumed in the making of today’s United States. Where is the line dividing the country of the past from this one? When students see, for example, their high school experiences in the educational institutions available to freedpeople in the late nineteenth century, are they narcissistically shoe-horning the whole world into their own? Perhaps a bit. But I have come to think that they are also appreciating the organic nature of the life of a country. That (somewhat ahistorically self-centered) sense of connection is one I now embrace as a potentially radical first step, as it was for me, towards re-envisioning the U.S. as constituted in and still living with the legacy of, its histories of exploitation and subjugation-and resistance.

Quotes

By Stephanie M. H. Camp

  • By the antebellum period, laws, customs and ideals had come together into a systematic constriction of slave movement that helped establish slaveholders’ sense of mastery. Planters presided over controlled and controlling Closer to Freedom JPG landscapes dictating the movements of their slaves. Enslaved women and men alike were bound by this ‘geography of containment,’ but women in greater numbers and with greater consistency were confined to southern plantations; as a group they enjoyed much less mobility than did men.In violation of slaveholders’ orders and the state’s laws, though, enslaved people left the quarters; again and again enslaved people ran away and created other kinds of spaces that gave them room and time for their families, for rest from work, and for amusement; on occasion, women moved forbidden objects into their quarters to worrisome effect. In short, enslaved people created a ‘rival geography’-alternative ways of knowing and using southern space that conflicted with planters’ ideals and demands.” — Stephanie M. H. Camp in “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”About Stephanie M. H. Camp
  • “This slim volume makes a substantial and often ingenious contribution to slavery studies and to women’s and southern history. Taking pleasure seriously, studying space without getting trapped in the ‘public versus private’ debate, finding new information in much-mined sources, and complicating our knowledge of enslaved women’s resistance are valuable in themselves. They are also potent hints at what Camp and those who follow her lead will accomplish in the coming years.” — American Historical Review review of “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”
  • “Camp’s creative and elegant work reinforces the interconnectedness of North and South, slave and free, in the lives of enslaved people.” — Signs review of “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”
  • “Closer to Freedom is beautifully written, accessible, and truly enjoyable to read. It will make all readers rethink how we understand women’s lives under slavery, how we understand the historical significance of space, and how we conceptualize the process of slavery itself.” — The Journal of Southern History review of “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”
  • “Through the lens of geography, Camp successfully introduces a new language to describe and interpret everyday resistance among enslaved women and men. Scholars interested in a different approach to this important topic will find Closer to Freedom refreshing.” — Civil War History review of “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”
  • “This elegant and often profound monograph casts a fresh eye on the daily acts of self-preservation and disguised defiance that historians of slavery have called ‘everyday resistance.’ . . . Illuminating both the texture of enslaved women’s lives and the concept of everyday resistance, Closer to Freedom is both a welcome teaching text and an accessible study for general readers.” — North Carolina Historical Review review of “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”
  • “The book is well written throughout, and Camp really does seem to get inside the minds of enslaved women. . . . This is a promising first book and an interesting and innovative addition to the historiography of the lives of the enslaved.” — Georgia Historical Quarterly review of “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”
  • “Camp has written a provocative book full of astonishing, sometimes unforgettable moments. Moreover, she has raised important questions about the way slave women resisted their owners. Ultimately no one will be able to answer the questions that Camp asks without coming to grips with the world she describes.” — Virginia Magazine of History and Biography review of “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”
  • “Stephanie Camp’s brilliant study draws upon numerous fields of scholarship–feminist theory, anthropology, sociology–to produce an innovative reinterpretation of enslaved women in the plantation South. Sensitive, bold, and imaginative, Closer to Freedom is the first book to place black women at the center of everyday resistance to bondage.” — Douglas R. Egerton, Le Moyne College reviewing “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”
  • “The author’s attention to a ‘spatial history of American slavery’ reveals contests over physical space as a hitherto unappreciated dimension of the everyday politics of plantation life. This book skillfully brings into view clandestine pockets–ephemeral but resilient–in which slave women, in particular, struggled to sustain a ‘rival geography’ in which powers of mastery could be held at bay.” — Julie Saville, University of Chicago reviewing “Closer to Freedom Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South”

Posted on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 6:33 PM

Top Young Historians: 79 – Ted Widmer

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

79: Ted Widmer, 1-7-08

Basic Facts

Position: Beatrice and Julio Mario Santo Domingo Director and Librarian, John Carter Brown Library (July 2006 to present)
Area of Research: American history and politics
Education: Ph.D., History of American Civilization, Harvard University, 1993
Major Publications: Widmer is the author of Martin Van Buren (Henry F. Holt/Times Books, 2005); Campaigns: A Century of Presidential Races, co-authored with Alan Brinkley (DK Publishing, 2001);Edward L. Widmer JPG Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City (Oxford University Press, 1999); recipient of the 2001 Washington Irving Literary Medal. American Speeches, a two-volume definitive collection of political speeches from the American Revolution to the end of the 20th century, (Library of America, 2006). He is also the editor of The Harvard Lampoon, 1876-2001 (published privately, 2001).
Widmer is currently working on Ark of the Liberties: America and the World (a history of the idea that the United States is the world’s source of liberty); to be published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 2008.
Widmer is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews, and he is also a frequent contributor to a variety of text and online publications, including the New York Observer, New York Times, Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Salon, Slate, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times.
Awards: Widmer is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Fellow, New America Foundation (2007);
Gilder-Lehrman Fellowship (2005);
Washington Irving Literary Medal (2001, for Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City);
Fellow, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Studies, Harvard (1995-6);
Fellow, John Carter Brown Library (1994);
Stephen Botein Teaching Award, Harvard University (1994);
Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities.
Additional Info:
Widmer is formerly the inaugural Director, C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and Associate Professor of History, Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, 2001-2006.
Widmer was also Special Assistant to former President Clinton, and served in the Clinton White House as Senior Advisor to the President for Special Projects, as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and as Director for Speechwriting at the National Security Council.
Widmer was Contributing Editor, George (1996-1997), and is Contributing Editor, The American Scholar (2005-present).
Widmer was also a Lecturer on History and Literature, Harvard University, 1993-1997 (received 1994 Stephen Botein Prize for Teaching Excellence).
Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation (2007); Consultant to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2000-present); Board of Trustees, Harvard Lampoon (1996-present); Juror, Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize (2006); Advisory Board of the Lincoln Prize (for best book on the Civil War or Lincoln); Elected to Massachusetts Historical Society, 2002; Elected to American Antiquarian Society, 2006. He also discovered the earliest baseball box score (1845) featured on front page of New York Times (October 4, 1990).

Personal Anecdote

I have often wondered if it’s healthy to spend so much time living in the past. Is it not a little bit creepy to stalk people who lived so long ago, peering through windows into their private lives, extrapolating enormous conclusions about conditions we cannot possibly experience?

Of course, that has never stopped me for a second from doing all of those things. Nor you – for while else would you interrupt a perfectly productive day to read a gossipy anecdote about a random historian? Thank God HNN came along when it did to provide this long-overdue professional service.

For me, the past was always there, even in childhood, beckoning in the most subtle and alluring ways. It may have started with baseball cards. I remember learning that older ones were more valuable, so perhaps it was merely an economic calculation, but I don’t think so. Even as a kid, I remember thinking that the older cards were exotic; nothing was odder in Nixon-era America, with all of its facial hair, than to see those crewcuts peering out from a piece of cardboard printed two decades earlier. What civilization could have produced them?

Because I grew up in Providence, a city overflowing with the detritus of the Industrial Revolution, there were old things everywhere – old libraries, old diners, old people. It was wonderful, and I haunted thrift shops and Salvation Armies looking for outdated items to read, wear, or listen to. One day I came across Elvis Presley’s “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” (25¢) – perhaps an early signpost on the way to a history career?

In such an environment, liking history seemed a foregone conclusion. There is a rule in New England that all grade schools are required to take field trips to Plimoth Plantation and Sturbridge Village, where reenactors speak in fake English accents about crop rotation. In spite of that, I found the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries fascinating, and began what I suppose was my own form of reenactment, studying US history in school, college and beyond. Over time, I gradually began to like the 19th and 20th centuries too, and I now find myself in the frustrating position of finding everything that has ever happened to be of interest.

For that reason, it is satisfying to now be the director of a research institution, responding to eternally new and different requests from a global community of scholars. The JCB is unusually comprehensive in its scope, covering the entire hemisphere from Columbus to about 1825, so there is no shortage of topics to think about. While I’m glad to be back in my hometown, I’m also grateful that I was able to work at different times in completely different environments, including a huge university (Harvard), a tiny college (Washington College) and a place that was not either (the Clinton White House). But that’s quite a long anecdote in itself. Perhaps I’ll save that one for HNN’s feature on Old Historians – I’m getting close to eligibility.

Quotes

By Ted Widmer

  • “What exactly was Young America? I hope I have clarified a widely misunderstood phenomenon. Young America was several things at almost the same time; a literary clique in the 1840s, a political junto in the early 1850s, and an expansive attitude prevalent afterward. These manifestations were essentially distinct from one Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York Cityn JPG another, except for the ubiquitous presence of John O’Sullivan, always straining after novelty and excitement. If nothing else, I hope this study has reestablished the importance of this actor, both central and evanescent, in the cultural politics of the antebellum scene….John O’Sullivan discovered this pretended destiny, and then discovered more slowly the harsher destiny he had also ushered in. How could it be otherwise? No one of his generation had more invested in the outcome, and few paid as high a price for destiny’s manifestation. But for all his bombast and backsliding, his early idealism still holds out the possibility of something better for “the Great Nation of Futurity,” always just a little bit ahead of the present tense. It is difficult, then as now, to separate “America” from the United States, and one generation from another. Yet it is still exciting to strive for “new history,” as O’Sullivan did in 1837, and countless others have done since, knowing they will end up as old history when all is said and done. Edward L. Widmer in “Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City”
  • Martin Van Buren had always cared about the future – he boasted in his inaugural that he was the first president born after independence, and insisted that “I belong to a later age.” In certain ways, he had brought Martin Van Buren JPG the future into existence, removing the old-fashioned politicians who failed to get it, and helping America grow from infancy into something like adolescence – a perfect word to convey the turbulent mood swings, lingering pustules of animosity, and general bad hair of the Van Buren era.He deserves to be reconnected to that future – to us. Not falsely praised – he would not want that. Well, all right, he would. Rather, Van Buren’s life should be honestly reexamined for the truths of his own time and ours. A grand total of six American communities were named after him, presumably during his brief moment in the sun, in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, and Ohio [ck Iowa, Michigan, Tenn.]. Their combined population adds up to about 10,000 people, far more than have ever read a book about him. After all that he lived through, he deserves more. Perhaps this profile will begin the process of explaining him more fully, expanding upon the effort he began alongside the Adriatic, with the sirens singing their entreaties, and Clio whispering in his ear. – Edward L. Widmer in “Martin Van Buren”About Ted Widmer
  • Young America brings to life an unwritten chapter in post-Jacksonian America. Edward L. Widmer explores the fascinating area where politics, literature, and ideology conspire and collide, and he restores to their proper place a striking cast of writers, polemicists, and rogues. This is a book for all aficionados of American history.” — Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. reviewing “Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City”
  • Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City is an indispensable, masterful new contribution to nineteenth-century US historiography. By detailing the controversial role the manic rhetorician John O’Sullivan played in both launching the incomparable Democratic Review and promulgating the gospel of Manifest Destiny, Edward L. Widmer has recaptured the halcyon days of the Jackson era with vivid precision.” — Douglas Brinkley reviewing “Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City”
  • “Young America is an important, wide-ranging, and fascinating book. With wit, good sense, and lively prose, Edward L. Widmer recovers the social energy and cultural excitement of New York in the 1840s, when a generation of politico-literary intellectuals, as Emerson disdainfully called them, associated themselves with real politics and serious art. Held together by John O’Sullivan, the bigger-than-life editor of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review , Young America sustained a robust discussion of political and cultural democracy, at once nationalist and metropolitan, that gave intellectual significance to the Democratic Party even as it provided a sustaining and lively literary community for both canonical and forgotten writers. What Widmer describes is the first instance of a modern social type, the literary intellectual committed to democratic politics.” — Thomas Bender, Dean for the Humanities and Professor of History, New York University reviewing “Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City”
  • “Widmer’s book offers the finest account to date of the culture and politics of New York in the explosive 1830s and 1840s. With literary grace and analytical gusto, he guides us through the writings and relationships of the most important intellectuals of the day. Along the way we are compelled to rethink the meanings of democracy, both in that time and our own.”– Lou Masur, Professor of History, City College of New York reviewing “Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City”
  • “Edward L. Widmer has written a winning and utterly invigorating book that rescues Young America from its own self-destruction, brilliantly restoring its standing amid the pre-eminent political and cultural developments of the ante-bellum period….it is a rare author whose skill as a stylist so complements the able orators and writers he brings to light.” — Times Literary Supplement reviewing “Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City”
  • “Fortunately, this Rodney Dangerfield of presidents has landed a splendid biographer. In remarkably few pages, Ted Widmer, director of a research center at Washington College in Maryland, rescues Van Buren from what E. P. Thompson once termed ”the enormous condescension of posterity,” by subsuming a failed presidency within a more momentous career. Widmer deftly explains how the pioneering party boss built a formidable machine, using the trick bag of personal contacts and legislative reforms perfected by Lyndon Johnson over a century later. Van Buren grasped that the political future lay more with leaders from booming New York — the wealthiest, most populous, most ethnically diverse state in the nation — than with the grandees of Virginia and Massachusetts who had been in charge since the days of the Continental Congress…. Van Buren, as Widmer wisely concludes, was one of those “not-quite-heroic” figures without whom no democracy would operate for long. He didn’t achieve greatness, but he set a great insight in spin: without vibrant opposition parties, self-government becomes a mockery of its ideals. For that alone, Little Van deserves to be remembered as a big man indeed. — Michael Kazin reviewing “Martin Van Buren” in the NYT
  • “Clinton administration speechwriter Widmer sparks his assessment of the eighth president with the contemporary allusions, color, and humor of a good speech. Van Buren had a tough, undistinguished single term (1837-41). The first great U.S. depression hit days after he succeeded his mentor, Andrew Jackson, and he declined to deal with slavery, which became an elephant-in-the-bedroom issue during his administration. His finest achievements preceded and followed his presidency. After John Quincy Adams’ 1824 selection as president by the House of Representatives despite Jackson’s winning a plurality of the vote, Van Buren, a consummate schmoozer and deal maker, built the Democratic Party, mollifying the slave-holding South to do so. In 1848, however, he led the antislavery Free Soil ticket, at the risk of destroying the party he had created. Further endearing him, Van Buren was the first rags-to-riches president and the first (of two; the other is Kennedy) lacking Anglo-Saxon forebears. Contra Widmer, however, he didn’t enjoy the third-longest postpresidency, after Hoover and Carter, but the fifth, after Adams I and Ford, as well. — Ray Olson, American Library Association reviewing “Martin Van Buren”
  • “Great guy. Good teacher. Always interested in what we have you say.”… “Cool guy! I really enjoyed my American Studies course with him and having him as my thesis advisor. And he likes rock and roll!”… “Flexible teacher and very knowledgeable about American history. He’s a bit soft spoken, but he’s always got something good to say.”… “Widmer’s a great guy and was very passionate about 18th century America and George Washington.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 7:36 PM

Top Young Historians: 78 – Paul A. Kramer

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

78: Paul A. Kramer, 12-31-07

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, University of Iowa, August 2007-.
Area of Research: 20th century US history, the United States in the world, US empire, comparative imperial history, and the politics of race and gender.
Education: Ph. D. Princeton University, Department of History, January 1998.
Major Publications: Kramer is the author of The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006) [reprinted by Ateneo de Manila University Press,  Paul A. Kramer JPGQuezon City, 2006).] Winner of the 2007 Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and 2007 James A. Rawley Prize, Organization of American Historians. He is currently working on Imperial Reconstructions: Racial Regimes and U. S. Globality in the 20th Century.
Kramer is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including: “Race, Empire and Transnational History,” in Alfred McCoy, ed., Transitions in the Imperial State (forthcoming); “Race-Making and Colonial Violence in the U. S. Empire: The Philippine-American War as Race War,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 30, No. 2 (April 2006), 169-210; “Decolonizing the History of the Philippine-American War,” preface to Leon Wolff, Little Brown Brother: How the United States Purchased and Pacified the Philippine Islands at the Century’s Turn (New York: History Book Club, 2006), ix-xviii; “The Darkness that Enters the Home: The Politics of Prostitution during the Philippine-American War,” in Ann Stoler, ed., Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006), 366-404; “Empires, Exceptions and Anglo-Saxons: Race and Rule Between the British and U. S. Empires, 1880-1910,” Journal of American History, Vol. 88 (March 2002), pp. 1315-53. Republished in Julian Go and Anne Foster, eds., The U. S. Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives ( Durham: Duke University Press, 2003); “White Sales: The Racial Politics of Baltimore’s Jewish-Owned Department Stores, 1935-1965,” in Enterprising Emporiums: The Jewish Department Stores of Downtown Baltimore (Baltimore: Jewish Museum of Maryland, 2001), 37-66; ““Making Concessions: Race and Empire Revisited at the Philippine Exposition, St. Louis, 1901-1905,”” Radical History Review, Vol. 73 (Winter 1999), pp. 74-114.
Awards: Kramer is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Finalist, National Book Award, Social Sciences Category, Manila Critics Circle, Philippines, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines, 2007;
Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, 2007-8;
Fellowship, National Humanities Center, 2007-8 [declined];
Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 2007;
James A. Rawley Prize, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines, Organization of American Historians, 2007;
American Studies Association (ASA) Delegate to “Framing American Studies in a Trans-Pacific Context,” colloquium of the Japanese Association for American Studies (JAAS), Nagoya, Japan, June 2006;
Fellowship through Johns Hopkins University to attend the School of Criticism and Theory, Cornell University, ” Theories of Race and Resistance,” June-July 2003;
Sadie Feldman Lecturer, Jewish Museum of Maryland, December 2001;
Dean’s Summer Incentive Grant for research in the Philippines, Johns Hopkins University, July 2000;
Shriver Center Grant for Service Learning, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Summer 2000;
Bernath Article Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), March 2000;
Fulbright Research Grant on Philippine-American Relations, Spring 2000;
Kenan Grant for innovative teaching, Johns Hopkins University, Fall 1999;
Invited Faculty Instructor, Cuban-American History Seminar, “Raza, Nación y Ciudadanía en Cuba, 1860-1920,” Cienfuegos, Cuba, June 1999;
Dean’s Summer Incentive Grant for research in Spain, Johns Hopkins University, July 1999;
Andrew Mellon Fellowship, Princeton University, Summer-Fall 1997. Andrew Mellon Travel Grant, Princeton University, Summer 1996;
Short-Term Research Fellowship, Newberry Library, Spring 1996;
Finalist, Pelzer Prize Competition, Journal of American History, 1996, 1997;
Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship, 1995-6.
Additional Info:
Formerly Visiting Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, January 2006-May 2007; Associate Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, May 2004-July 2007; Assistant Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, September 1998 – May 2004; Lecturer, Princeton University, American Studies, Spring 1998.
Co-Editor, “The United States and the World: Transnational Histories, International Perspectives” series, Cornell University Press, 2005-present; Co-Editor, American Foreign Relations Since 1600: A Guide to the Literature (Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations), chapter on the Spanish-Cuban-American War, the Philippine- American War and U. S. Imperialism, 2004-present.

Personal Anecdote

When you work on long-suppressed histories of violence and disenfranchisement, it can be off-putting to see them resurface as somebody’s aspiration. I came to this realization very abruptly one October morning in 2003, as I sat down to rest beneath the clattering schedule board at Manhattan’s Penn Station, unburdening myself of a half-dozen overflowing bags from The Strand-maybe you know this particular relief?-and opening up the Sunday New York Times. There, right on the front page, George W. Bush had an outbreak of historiography. Speaking before the Philippine legislature at the start of a six-nation trip through Southeast Asia, Bush invoked a peculiar Philippine-American past. “America is proud of its part in the great story of the Filipino people,” he proclaimed. “Together our soldiers liberated the Philippines from colonial rule. Together we rescued the islands from invasion and occupation.”

Bush’s move here was familiar enough to any student of U. S. imperial history-writing: to smother into oblivion a brutal and protracted U. S. war against the Philippine Revolution (1899-1902) and 47 years of formal U. S. colonial rule by sandwiching them between two would-be liberatory bookends, the war against Spain (1898) and the war against Japan (1941-5). But if Bush’s strategy was recognizable, the use of this usable past was new: sanitized in this way, the Philippine-American past could help sanction a new imperial future in the shape of a global “war on terror.” Invoking José Rizal, the Philippines’ national martyr, at one moment, and Saddam Hussein in another, Bush hailed the universality of “freedom” (at least in its neo-conservative variety) and the need for nations to “earn” it in battle against “grave and gathering danger.” The historical success of the Philippine-American experiment in gun-point democratization vindicated the ongoing Iraq invasion, a project in which, in a neat symmetry, Philippine troops and medics now participated. In turn, the sinister invocation of Saddam’s “mass graves” and “torture rooms” contributed to a century’s work erasing those once operated by conquering U. S. troops in the Philippines itself.

What were the historian’s responsibilities at such a moment? The question had not presented itself so urgently when I set out in the mid-1990s to investigate the racial politics of early 20th century Philippine-American colonialism. Indeed, my chosen dissertation topic had earned me some gentle ribbing from grad-school colleagues: in a post-Cold War world, what was this particular past going to be useful for? At the same time, though, pioneering intellectual currents, crossed with ongoing U. S. interventions, were making U. S. imperial power more visible-and more richly legible-to a wider range of scholars than ever before: to American Studies scholars urged to build empire into their “domestic” critiques by scholars like Amy Kaplan; to diplomatic historians, guided towards cultural analysis by historians like Emily Rosenberg; to cultural historians inspired to see the politics of difference, and particularly structures of race and gender, through lenses provided by colonial and post-colonial studies. It was a fascinating crossroads of influences to set up shop at.

The question I found myself asking was how, in the early 20th century, at a moment when racial imaginaries saturated global politics, including U. S. international politics, Americans had come to terms with colonial rule over Filipinos, a people with whom they had had virtually no prior experience. Given my training in U. S. history, my initial hypothesis was predictably “Americanist”: that U. S. colonial officials, merchants, missionaries and journalists had “exported” prior racial understandings (of African-Americans, Native Americans and Asian-Americans, in particular) to comprehend the Philippines and its peoples. This interpretation, I now recognize, conveniently aligned the past I was studying with patterns that my largely nation-bound education had prepared me to recognize and, perhaps unconsciously, with the established job categories I imagined myself applying for. If Americans simply witnessed the “same difference” in the Philippines, it demonstrated that U. S. empire could be comprehended without intellectually departing from the conventional canons of U. S. historical understanding. Entirely legible within “national” terms, the world could be “annexed” to U. S. categories without fundamentally challenging them.

But the deeper I dove into the archival boxes, the less the world appeared to organize itself in this way. Far from tracking the seamless incorporation of the Philippines into older frameworks, I confronted profound arguments-among and between divergent groups of Americans and Filipinos-over the racial character of the Philippine population and the relevance of this question to matters of power and sovereignty. I witnessed new, imperial racial formations emerging from the specific, historical dynamics of colonial conquest and rule. As Americans engaged in heated debate amongst themselves-were Filipinos uniformly “savages” and in need of permanent, violent suppression, as the U. S. military held, or backward “children” in need of disciplinary “tutelage,” as civilian officials and missionaries believed-collaborating Filipino elites came to play a decisive role in framing the racial terms of Philippine-American colonial state-building. The result of this charged and uneven dialogue was a racial state whose principal dividing line was an essentially religious one, separating Hispanicized Catholics from “non-Christian” animists and Muslims. As I attempted to trace this race-making process across national histories, it became clear to me that it could not simply be “annexed”: embedded in both U. S. and Philippine pasts, it required me to find a way to narrate a history between them. It was going to involve learning Philippine history, with the help of a rich historiography and patient colleagues. And it was going to require paying careful attention to the varied and paradoxical ways that, as the U. S. rose as a world power in the 20th century, it became increasingly subject to the constraints and mandates of a global history. This would be the goal, however incompletely realized, of my first book.

But was my version of the U. S. imperial past obliged to answer George W. Bush’s? Historical training and years of scouring archives had made me-and continue to make me-suspicious of streamlined historical analogies and genealogies, even those that hope to connect a critical past to a contemporary politics that I support. Faced with the journalist’s question to historians-isn’t the past you study just like the present I’m writing about on deadline?-one becomes painfully aware of the price of shaving history’s ragged eccentricies down to “precedents,” “parallels” and, perhaps most dangerously, “lessons.” The Vietnam War, for example, had allowed the Philippine-American War to resurface in historical debate in the 1970s and 1980s and, in important ways, the earlier war would never again sink as far in the wells of American forgetting. But during both the Vietnam War and its aftermath, the search for analogies constrained as much as it enabled this scholarship, on both the right and left. In the face of the vast egotism of the present, the persistent but periodical assertion of a history’s “relevance” ultimately serves to deny it its own “weight.” Tethered to “exceptional” moments in the present, such histories are built to vanish.

As I revised my book and, in the post-9/11 period, became involved in the anti-war movement on my campus, and as Bush undertook his own effort at past-making, the question took shape with rising immediacy. What was I to do with McKinley’s and Roosevelt’s exceptionalist war waged in the name of “civilization”? With American publics learning their Southeast Asian cultural and religious anthropology by military means? How was I to make sense of extreme, racialized brutality by U. S. forces, including late-Victorian versions of “water-boarding”? How to read a refusal of Filipino self-government on the malleable grounds of intractable, racial-cultural failings, and a Philippine “nation-building” project characterized by an endless regress of “benchmarks”? How, ultimately, was I to interpret a denial of “empire” predicated on an occupation’s permanently temporary character?

Inevitably, struggles over the neo-imperial present were raising certain elements of the past into sharper relief for me. And I wanted my work, in whatever miniscule way, to contribute to those struggles. But I did not want to surrender to them or their terms, either. My answer-a highly imperfect one, worked out more in the practice of writing than as a set principle-was to acknowledge but also to resist the force of the present, to write both playfully and darkly in a critical counterpoint between past and present. This meant acknowledging the often eerie resemblances that I observed, but-backing away from rigid analogy or direct lineage-also respecting the history’s infinite distinctiveness. After all, it is from that limitless idiosyncrasy, the puzzling pasts that frustrate both the historian’s standard frames of reference and the journalist’s eternal present, that vital possibilities can emerge.

Quotes

By Paul A. Kramer

  • This book is about the articulation of race and empire in the making of Philippine-American colonial history. Like works that precede it, it argues that race as a mode of power and knowledge was a core element in the making of formal colonialism in the Philippines. But breaking from earlier accounts, it suggests that the intersections of race and empire were contingent, contested, and transnational in scope. Race was the site The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines JPG of intense struggle in Philippine-American colonial history, between Filipinos and Americans, between actors in metropole and colony, between actors inside and outside the colonial state. This struggle was, at its narrowest, transpacific in scope, involving participants not only in the United States and the Philippines but in Europe and its colonial outposts. These struggles were never detached from their political contexts: rather, the colonial racial-formation process was intimately tied to broader shifts in colonial politics, which it decisively shaped and by which it was shaped in turn. (pp. 4-5) Paul A. Kramer in “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”
  • “The Philippines and the United States were, prior to the late-nineteenth century, part of each other’s ‘boondocks.’ This term, originally bundok, a Tagalog word for mountain or remote area, was brought into U. S. consciousness by soldiers returning from guerrilla war, layered with connotations of bewilderment and confusion. The existence of this word-for a liminal, border region-tells us something about the history that followed. The word crossed over into American English at the very moment that Philippine and U. S. histories became inexorably internal to each other. Its very presence in English suggests, in brief, precisely why neither Philippine nor U. S. history can afford to conceive of the other as boondocks, as marginal to their core concerns. Historians are only now beginning to trade the myriad complex transits that surround this small linguistic crossing, by moving beyond the conventional conceptual borders of the Philippines and the United States, which for over a century have not captured their connected histories. This work will have succeeded if it points the way towards an elusive goal: a history without boondocks.” (pp. 33-4).” — Paul A. Kramer in “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”

About Paul A. Kramer

  • “This commendable transnational history should serve as a welcome invitation to both Americans and Filipinos to scale each other’s boondocks, so that in these ‘remote areas’ of misunderstanding, which have caused many wounds in the past, lasting healing may finally take place.” — Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era reviewing “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”
  • “The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines is richly illustrated, clearly written, and full of vivid conceptualized terms. . . . The skillful way in which Kramer interweaves cultural, social, military, and political narratives makes his book a standard-setter in international history. It is a must-read for historians interested in imperial culture, racial formation, comparative empires, and nationalism, as well as those with area-studies interests in Philippine and US history.” — International History Review reviewing “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”
  • “The Blood of Government is a very important work. . . . It [approaches] its subject in a fresh and provocative way.” — American Historical Review reviewing “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”
  • “Blood of Government does valuable work in laying out the intricacies of racial (re)formations in the service of and against colonialism. . . . This book has much to offer those interested in Phillipine-American relations as well as postcolonial studies, and, surprisingly, given its length, leaves one wishing for more.” — Journal of American History reviewing “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”
  • “At every stage of Kramer’s analysis, the reader is made aware of the Filipino side of the story of U.S.- Philippine relations. . . . Kramer delves deeply into the Filipino past in order to reconstruct how they (in particular, their elites, ilustrados, and the revolutionaries, the Katipunan) viewed themselves when they encountered Americans.” — Akira Iriye, Harvard University reviewing “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”
  • “The Blood of Government is a groundbreaking study of the complex history of American colonial rule in the Philippines. Kramer reinterprets the concept and practice of race as a rich and complex framework for political and cultural inquiry into the history of imperialism. He demonstrates persuasively how colonial relations were not a one-way imposition of power from metropolis to periphery, but consisted of genuine contacts and interactions, forged by violence, conflict, collision, and collaboration.” — Amy Kaplan, author of The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture reviewing “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”
  • “In The Blood of Government, Paul Kramer makes a compelling argument about the deep ties that bind imperial with domestic U.S. history on the one hand, and U.S. colonialism with Filipino nationalism on the other. Lucidly written and empirically grounded, Kramer’s book draws on both classic and more recent scholarship on the gendering and racialization of the modern state, applying these to a place that has often been bypassed by historians of comparative colonialism and nationalism. A much needed and innovative intervention into the scholarship on the American empire and the Philippine nation-state, it also marks a critical addition to the growing literature on the history of America’s current imperial moment.” — Vicente L. Rafael, University of Washington reviewing “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”
  • “This is an impressive book. Kramer takes his time, writes in an accessible but deeply learned manner, bringing to bear his expertise on the subject and perhaps staking a claim for the study of U. S. Empire as having a complexity, allure, and integrity that has only been granted to post-colonies of the former British Empire. In doing so, Kramer helps to anchor post-colonial studies of U. S. Empire in the Philippines. Of these, Kramer’s is thus far the most ambitious in scope and also the most transnational, examining developments in the United States metropole that put Philippine studies in dialogue with transnational American studies. These chapters are lively, entertaining even, no less for Kramer’s commitment to Filipino voices, largely nationalist writings and newspapers written in Spanish, which he himself translates and quotes in the text, as much as in-depth readings of archival sources on U. S. imperialists and anti-imperialists, U. S. colonial officials pro- and anti-Philippine independence, and U. S. periodical literature.” — Augusto Espiritu reviewing “The Blood of Government Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines”
  • The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Phillippines (The University of North Carolina Press, 2006) is a thorough and highly original dissection of the self-conscious construction of racial identities and ideologies within the context of the racial dynamics of imperialism and the impact on the construction and perpetuation of racism in America and around the globe. For his research, Kramer draws upon sources in the U.S. and the Philippines over a long period. This allows him to analyze the densely complex historical and ideological circumstances that converged to help transform racial identities within their specific social, cultural, political, and intellectual circumstances and constraints. Kramer thus contributes to our broader understanding how race works within an international context, far from America’s shores while at the same time helping us see the significance of race beyond Asian American history, or the traditional preoccupation with American blacks as the alpha and omega of discussions. His work has broad implications for understanding the repeated redefinition and refinement of racial identities and distinctions in the service of American imperialism and American society. — James A. Rawley Prize (OAH)
  • “The 2007 Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize is awarded to Paul A. Kramer’s The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines (North Carolina, 2006). Kramer’s study of race and empire in Philippine-American colonial encounters during the early twentieth century is impressive in both scope and theoretical sophistication. He complicates our understanding of race and racial ideology as it manifested itself in the global arena, showing the dynamic processes through which race became constantly re-configured in imperial encounters between metropole and colony. Kramer adds a new dimension to the historiography of race and foreign relations by showing that empire did not simply project western ideas of racism outward, but that through the process of empire-making race itself became reconfigured in the metropole. In addition, by drawing extensively on Spanish and Filipino sources, he is able to restore agency to the subjects of western imperialism. Employing these materials Kramer argues against the notion that Americans simply transferred domestic racial ideologies onto the Philippines, suggesting American ideas about how to govern Filipinos reflected a complex mix of domestic and transnational factors. Breaking out of U.S.-centered analyses, he shows that the Philippines was not a blank slate on which Americans imposed their vision of racial hierarchy. Instead, Filipino nationalists traveling between Manila and Madrid before 1898 established ideologies of race and nation that U.S. policymakers needed to accommodate. The challenges of governing a diverse archipelago further transformed U.S. race thinking. Turning back to the United States, he also demonstrates how these colonial experiences influenced concepts of race in U.S. politics and culture, leading by the 1930s to a growing movement for decolonization.
    Kramer’s supple and nuanced argument is transnational in scope, yet always keenly attuned to national variations and contexts. Provocative and deeply researched, Blood of Government makes a major contribution to the scholarship of U.S. imperialism. — Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize (SHAFR)
  • “Engaging lecturer and very helpful outside of class.”… “Smart, capable, easy-going. An excellent teacher.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 9:49 PM

Top Young Historians: 77 – Timothy J. Naftali

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

77: Timothy J. Naftali, 12-17-07

Basic Facts

Position: Director, Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives and Records Administration, July 2007- Current
Area of Research: American Government and Politics, Cold War, Foreign Policy, Intelligence and Espionage
Education: Ph.D., History, Harvard University, 1993
Major Publications: Naftali is the author of George H. W. Bush, (New York: Times Books, 2007); Khrushchev’s Cold War: The Inside Story of An American Adversary co-author with Aleksandr Fursenko, (New York: Norton, 2006); Timothy J. Naftali JPG Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism, (New York: Basic Books, 2005); US Intelligence and the Nazis co-author with Richard Breitman, Norman Goda, and Robert Wolfe, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005); US Intelligence and the Nazis co-author with Richard Breitman, Norman Goda, and Robert Wolfe, (Washington, DC: National Archives Trust Fund, 2004); The Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy, Volume 1, ed., (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001); Timothy J. Naftali JPG The Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy, Volume 2, ed., co-editor with Philip Zelikow, (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001; and “One Hell of a Gamble”: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-1964, co-author with Aleksandr Fursenko), New York: W.W. Norton, 1997.
Naftali is also the author of numerous articles, book chapters and reviews which have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Contemporary Austrian Studies, The Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Diplomatic History, Journal of American History, and the popular media including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, among others.
Awards: Naftali is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature (with Aleksandr Fursenko), 2007;
Principal Investigator, “Why Terrorists Stop,” Two-year grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation, 2006-Present;
Principal Investigator, Three-year grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, 2003-2006;
Sesquicentennial Fellowship, University of Virginia, 2003-2004;
Akira Iriye Prize for International History (with Aleksandr Fursenko), 1997-1998;
Olin Fellowship in National Security, International Security Studies, Yale University, 1996-1998;
Research Fellowship, Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1996;
Charles Warren Fellowship for Studies in American History, Harvard University, 1995;
Fellowship in National Security, John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University, 1991-1993;
National Intelligence Study Center Prize for best student paper, 1992;
Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Security, (3 Semesters), 1990-91;
John Addison Porter Prize for best essay in American History by an upperclassman, Yale 1983.
Additional Info:
Naftali is currently General Editor, Presidential Recordings Series, 2003 – Current;
Historical Consultant, Nazi War Crimes and Imperial Japanese Government Records Interagency Working Group, National Archives and U.S. Department of Justice, 1999- Current Naftali is formerly Director, Nixon Presidential Materials Project, National Archives and Records Administration, October 2006 – July 2007;
Associate Professor, General Faculty and the History Department, University of Virginia, 1998 – 2006;
Director, Presidential Recordings Program and Kremlin Decision-Making Project, The Miller Center of Public Affairs, 1999- 2006;
Instructor, Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI Centre), 2003 – 2006;
Historical Consultant, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (9/11 Commission), 2003-2004;
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History, Yale University, 1996-1998;
Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Hawai’i, 1993-97.

Personal Anecdote

Among my favorite anecdotes involves a weird and nerdy coincidence. In February 1984, not too long out of College, I made my first visit to what was then called the Public Record Office in Kew, outside London. As I awaited the train at the end of my day, I noticed that the evening newspapers carried the headline “Andropov dies.” The Soviet leadership had reached a point where it was as decrepit as the Soviet economy. Timothy J. Naftali JPG That was my last trip to the PRO for a little over a year.

My next visit came on March 10, 1985. Sure enough as I reached the train station to catch the tube home, I saw the headline of the newspaper lying on the platform: “Chernenko Dies.” I don’t know what possessed me, but I then burst into laughter that I know the other passengers found unsettling and distinctly disrespectful to the dead. Thereafter I used to kid that Gorbachev’s friends were asking me never to return to the PRO. It would be mischievous to now claim that because I never returned to the PRO, the Cold War ended and, well, you know the rest. But I did go back to the PRO plenty of times and, of course, and fortunately Mr. Gorbachev is still with us.

Quotes

By Timothy J. Naftali

  • After years of studying the intelligence and security world I have come to believe less in the efficiency of conspiracies than I do in the inefficiency of government. Most of the supposed conspiracies of modern American Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism JPG history dissolve when you examine them closely. The Roosevelt administration would have had advance warning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had not interservice rivalry and overclassification of intelligence led to a decision to focus on the wrong Japanese communication channel. Japanese diplomats had not been told about the attack; Japanese admirals, on the other hand, had been. Unfortunately, US intelligence had chosen to break the Japanese diplomatic cipher instead of that of the Japanese Admiralty. In 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald exploited a last-minute change by the US Secret Service in the route of the presidential motorcade through central Dallas. Oswald had delusions of grandeur and was looking to kill someone famous. A few weeks earlier he had shot at Edwin Walker, a prominent right-wing extremist. Now he would have a chance to use his marksmanship against an even more famous man, John F. Kennedy. Certainly there have been real conspiracies in US history — Watergate and Iran-Contra come to mind — but our society is open enough that we eventually hear about them. Someone is bound to leak to Bob Woodward. — Timothy J. Naftali in “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism”
  • “I’m not a veteran of the Nixon wars, I’m a Gen Xer. My passion is for history and getting the story out . . . . I’m a scholar. I want to see things released, and I want people to have a chance to use them…. That period was phenomenal in American history. You’ve got all the lunar landings. You’ve got the Miami Dolphins’ perfect season, you’ve got Ali versus Frazier. You’ve got some of the greatest movies ever made, you know, ‘Godfather’ I and II. It’s a great and interesting period in American culture and politics. And what an opportunity to be able to help make that public history come alive. That’s how I look at it.” — Timothy Naftali speaking to the Washington Post upon being named the first director of the Nixon Library

About Timothy J. Naftali

“Masterful…. Blind Spot is an excellent reminder of the value of unbiased scholarship in an environment of poisonous political partisanship.” — The New Republic review of “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism”

  • “Blind Spot is that rare phenomenon: a great work of original research on a subject of great importance that is also lucidly written.” — Wall Street Journal review of “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism”
  • “An engaging and impressively comprehensive history of American counterterrorism…. [It] should become essential reading as we chart our way forward.” — Commentary review of “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism”
  • “An engrossing narrative of mistakes, missed opportunities, and the occasional triumph, Blind Spot surprises and enlightens. Timothy Naftali’s provocative analysis of US counterterrorism should force a profound reappraisal of our current efforts. This important and fascinating work is necessary reading for policymakers and the public alike.” — Fareed Zakaria, author of “The Future of Freedom” reviewing “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism”
  • “You are going to want to read this book. With Blind Spot, Timothy Naftali has done everyone interested in the history of U.S. efforts to fight terrorism a great favor: he has combed through all the archives, interviewed all the key participants, and dug up a great many stories that have never seen the light of day before and put them all in one terrifically readable place. The result is a book that weaves the full tapestry of American efforts against the world’s worst terrors, illustrating both the revealing details as well as the larger image of America’s long unwillingness to take this threat seriously until the horror of 9/11 forced us to do so. Anyone who wants to understand that story will be well-rewarded by starting with this smart, splendid book.” — Kenneth M. Pollack, author of “The Threatening Storm,” former director for Persian Gulf Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council reviewing “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism”
  • “In this fascinating, well-researched, and important book, Timothy Naftali has done an excellent job of using the lessons to history to illuminate one of the central issues of our time.” — Michael Beschloss, author of “The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1941-1945” reviewing “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism”
  • “The best book yet on U.S. counterterrorism. America’s current problems can be properly understood only if they are put in long-tern perspective, and Tim Naftali does this brilliantly. Blind Spot is a must-read.” — Christopher Andrew, author of “The Sword and the Shield” reviewing “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism”
  • “The blind spot in Timothy Naftali’s important book was the inability of American presidents, despite frequent warning, to recognize the danger posed by Osama Bin Laden. That a huge failure occurred has been obvious since 9-11, but Naftali, a leading scholar of American intelligence organizations, has something bigger on his mind than the now-familiar missed clues and failures to communicate. In this deeply researched book certain to spark controversy, Naftali argues that successful intelligence campaigns against Nazi and Soviet spies prove the United States knows how to run counter-terror operations. But until 9-11 the blind spot kept American presidents and the American people alike from seeing that the time had come to make hard decisions to fight new enemies already gathering to strike.” — Thomas Powers, author of “Heisenberg’s War and The Man Who Kept Secrets” reviewing “Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism”
  • “The 41st president’s political persona was the stuff of greatness, argues this entry in the American Presidents series. Historian Naftali (Khrushchev’s Cold War) credits Bush less with principles than with George H. W. Bush: The American Presidents Series: The 41st President, 1989-1993 JPG “tendencies” toward flexibility, realism and a moderate Republican version of decency. In his foreign policy, these qualities helped him nudge communism toward a soft collapse and build an international alliance to eject Saddam Hussein from Kuwait; domestically they led him to a budget compromise with Democrats, in which he acquiesced to unpopular tax hikes for the good of the nation. Bush’s flexibility had a dark side, the author notes, that came out in his repeated tactical embrace of racial politics, from his opposition to civil rights legislation during his 1964 Senate run to the 1988 Willie Horton ads, and in his public support for Reaganomics despite deep private misgivings. Naftali forthrightly dissects Bush’s misdeeds-especially his role in the Iran-Contra scandal-but he’s less skeptical about the substance of Bush’s policies, which he pointedly contrasts with Bush Jr.’s failures; he credits Bush’s wars in Panama and Kuwait with helping America “overcome the burden of Vietnam,” without wondering whether this paved the way for the son’s misadventure in Iraq. Naftali’s is a brisk, useful, but not always penetrating overview of a pivotal presidency. — Publisher’s Weekly review of “George H. W. Bush: The American Presidents Series: The 41st President, 1989-1993”
  • “The Cuban missile crisis was the climax of the cold war’s truly perilous time, the years 1960 through 1962 when each superpower felt itself being relentlessly tested by the other … Until now, however, we haven’t had a good up-close look at large and vital parts of the drama: the thinking and motives of the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev; the interplay between Moscow and Havana; the degree of risk that the Kremlin was willing to run … This detailed account may not altogether fill the gap, but it comes fairly close. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.” — John Newhouse, The New York Times Book Review reviewing “One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964”
  • “A magnificent achievement. [“One Hell of a Gamble”] is scholarly without being pedantic, full of revelations, and frightening.” — Los Angeles Times review of “One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964”
  • An absorbing, at times riveting, inside tour of the highest echelons of three governments. — Philadelphia Inquirer review of “One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964”
  • “As the Nixon Library prepares to join the other 11 Presidential libraries that are part of the National Archives system, I am very pleased that Timothy Naftali has agreed to take on this important new position. Professor Naftali’s experience, energy, and vision will invigorate this new national resource and help the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum quickly become a major center for research and learning. As the representative of a younger generation of scholars, he will be able to set a new tone for a national center to study the Nixon era. With the eventual transfer of 44 million pages of textual records and the more than 3,000 hours of Presidential tape recordings of the Nixon Administration which are currently housed at the National Archives College Park facility, the Nixon library will prove to be a treasure trove for historians and the general public who are interested in the life, legacy and era of President Nixon.” — Allen Weinstein, the archivist of the United States
  • “Tim Naftali, (whom) everybody respects and who is a serious scholar and who is committed to openness and accuracy, will do his best to make sure the Nixon people deliver on their promises.” — David Greenberg, author of “Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image.”
  • “As a distinguished Cold War historian and an eloquent advocate of public history, Tim Naftali is an ideal choice as the first director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. We look forward to welcoming him and his colleagues to Yorba Linda, and we pledge to support his exciting ideas for programs and exhibits.” — John H. Taylor, executive director of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation, which opened the private Nixon Library in 1990.
  • “We are pleased that the National Archives has looked to the Miller Center for leadership of this important national assignment. Tim Naftali’s strong academic credentials, expertise on Cold War issues and guidance of the Presidential Tape Recordings program at the Miller Center provide unquestioned indicators of his energetic leadership of the nation’s newest presidential library. We congratulate Dr. Naftali and wish him well.” — Gerald Baliles, director of the Miller Center and former Governor of Virginia
  • “Tim Naftali is an excellent choice to head the Nixon Presidential library. In my association with Mr. Naftali, on the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group and the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, I found him to be an outstanding scholar and an energetic advocate for the people’s right to know. I congratulate Allen Weinstein on his choice.” — Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor
  • “Tim Naftali has been a great addition to the Miller Center. While we are sad to lose him, we are proud that this brilliant scholar will lead the Nixon Presidential Library when it becomes a part of the National Archives.” — former Governor of Virginia A. Linwood Holton, Jr. who was instrumental in the founding of the Miller Center
  • “Best lecturer I’ve ever had, awesome class, lectures are extremely well put together and engaging. Subject material is interesting enough on its own, but he really brings it to life”… “Great speaker. Also a very good writer; uses his books with the class and they are all good reads.”… “Great teacher . . . who is leaving UVA.” — Former Students

Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 at 9:08 PM

Top Young Historians: 76 – Amy S. Greenberg

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

76: Amy S. Greenberg, 12-10-07

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Professor of American History, joint appointment in the Women’s Studies program, The Pennsylvania State University (PSU)
Area of Research: The social, cultural, and political history of the United States, 1789-1865; gender history and constructions of masculinity; American territorial expansionism and Manifest Destiny, Latin America and the United States; urban history.
Education: Harvard University Ph.D. History 1995
Major Publications: Greenberg is the author of Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2005);Amy S. Greenberg JPG  Cause for Alarm: The Volunteer Fire Department in the Nineteenth-Century City (Princeton University Press, 1998) and is currently working on The U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848) in American Culture and Memory. Greenberg is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Domesticating the Border: Manifest Destiny and the Market in the United States-Mexico Border Region, 1848-1854,” in Disrupted Boundaries: Consumption in the United States-Mexico Borderlands, Alexis McCrossen, ed. (Forthcoming from Duke University Press, 2008); “Fayaway and Her Sisters: Gender, Popular Literature, and Manifest Destiny in the Pacific, 1848-1860” in “Whole Oceans Away”: Melville and the Pacific, Jill Barnum, Wyn Kelley and Christopher Sten, eds. (Kent State University Press, 2007); “Pirates, Patriots, and Public Meetings: Antebellum Expansionism and Urban Culture.” Journal of Urban History 31 (July 2005): 634-650. “The Origins of the American Municipal Fire Department: Nineteenth-Century Change from an International Perspective,” in Municipal Services and Employees in the Modern City: New Historic Approaches, Michèle Dagenais, Irene Maver, and Pierre-Yves Saunier, eds. (Ashgate Press, 2003), 47-65.
Awards: Greenberg is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
The Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1999. University award given to top instructors of undergraduates in the Pennsylvania State University System;
The Kent Forster Memorial Award for Excellence in Research and teaching, 1998, awarded by the Penn State History Department to an outstanding junior faculty member;
Junior Faculty Semester Research Leave, Fall 1998, awarded by the Dean of Liberal Arts;
Derek Bok Center Awards for Excellence in Teaching, Fall 1991, Spring 1992, Fall 1992, Harvard University awards based on student evaluations of teaching performance;
Gilder Lehrman fellowship at the New-York Historical Society, June 2005;
Archibald Hanna, Jr. Fellow, the Beinecke Library, Yale, May, 2003;
Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellow, the Huntington Library, July – August, 2002;
W. M. Keck Foundation Fellow, the Huntington Library, May, 2000;
Institute for Arts and Humanistic Studies, Research Grant, 1999, Penn State University;
Global Fund Grant for International Conference Travel, 1998, Penn State University;
Office of Research and Graduate Studies Faculty Support Grants for Research, Spring 1996, Spring 1997;
Eliot Fellowship for Dissertation Completion, 1995, awarded by Harvard University for exceptional dissertation progress;
Mellon Foundation, Graduate Society Fellowship finishing year dissertation grant, 1994-1995.
Additional Info:
Formerly Acting Director, Richards Civil War Era Center, PSU, 2005-2006, Visiting Scholar, Department of History, University of California at Berkeley, Fall 2002, and Co-Director, Program in American Studies, PSU, 1998-2000.

Personal Anecdote

Although in the abstract I agree with the premise that all writing is autobiographical, years of deep thought haven’t yet allowed me to make the link in the case of my own work. I seem to be drawn, in my historical writing, to violent young men with serious problems with authority and/or borderline sociopathic tendencies. Urban volunteer firemen who regularly get into street battles with gang members and other firemen, filibusters and their supporters who attempt to invade neighboring countries for fun and profit, Gold Rush travelers who raise the American flag in Panama in the 1850s, and now Mexican-American War soldiers. Not only do I not see myself in them, I wouldn’t even like to have them over for dinner (except to mine them for research purposes, of course).

While my work has focused on the evolution of masculine norms in antebellum America, it wasn’t my original intent to study gender. After my dissertation adviser died four months into my first year of graduate school, I stumbled through classes and comps, less focused on history than on my outsider status as a Southern Californian at Harvard, unable to accept the reality that winter boots, tights, and heavy overcoats were not optional in January. I started looking at urban volunteer firemen, a group of rowdy men who protected antebellum America’s cities from the constant threat of fire without pay, after reading an account of their working-class republican ethos. I must admit I was attracted to a group that proudly proclaimed their own social norms and found a way to command respect from the emerging middle class whose property their protected. After compiling a database of firemen and their occupations (like a good social historian), I was, I admit, shocked and dismayed to find that a substantial portion of these “working-class” firemen were actually merchants and clerks. This was when I began to play around with the idea that what bound these men together was not working-class ideology, but some vision of manhood that was, in its own way, equally radical and deviant and important to those who proclaimed it.

A number of San Francisco volunteer firemen left their firehouses in the 1850s to follow the adventurer William Walker, first to Sonora Mexico, and then to Nicaragua, so I followed them into the filibustering project. I found the same celebration of martial masculinity in the ports of Central America and at urban public meetings in support of filibusters like Walker and Narciso Lopez (who repeatedly tried to take over Cuba). Most of the filibusters got their initial taste for imperial adventuring in Mexico in 1847, so now I find myself in their company once again, reading letters from somewhat under-socialized men who have an investment in the physical domination of those they consider their inferiors. I find my undergraduates have less of a problem understanding these guys than I might have imagined before entering the world of Big Ten football.

Quotes

By Amy S. Greenberg

  • Manifest Destiny did not mean the same thing to all Americans. Some Americans, who supported a martial vision of masculinity, advocated an aggressive expansionism that supported territorial acquisitions Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire JPG through force of arms, and particularly through filibustering. Other Americans, advocates of a more restrained vision of manhood. . . . believed America’s Manifest Destiny would best be accomplished through the proliferation of her superior political and religious forms. . . . In other words, competing gender ideals at home shaped very different visions of American expansionism. Gendered visions of women and men abroad, from Latin America to the islands of the Pacific, justified and reinforced particular practices of manhood and womanhood in the United States. . . . Hegemonic American masculinity, this study will attempt to show, was actually made manifest through the process of antebellum territorial expansionism. — Amy S. Greenberg in “Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire”

About Amy S. Greenberg

  • “Amy Greenberg’s fascinating account casts new light on Manifest Destiny expansionism by showing how martial conceptions of manhood animated the enthusiasm for territorial annexation in the 1850s. Filibustering, she finds, stemmed not only from economic and political ambitions but from widespread male desires for adventure and romance. Although more restrained visions of manhood also influenced expansionist ambitions, particularly in Hawaii, Greenberg demonstrates that aggressive conceptions of manhood shaped foreign relations long before Theodore Roosevelt rallied the Rough Riders.” — Kristin Hoganson, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign reviewing “Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire”
  • “In this thoughtfully constructed and informative book, Greenberg develops a highly original thesis about American territorial expansionism and destroys the common wisdom that Manifest Destiny was in its death throes by the Civil War. Providing the most penetrating analysis, to date, of filibustering’s ramifications for U.S. culture, Greenberg convincingly highlights the significance of gendered images, arguments, and ambitions within imperialist and anti-imperialist discourse alike. This book, in engaging prose richly informed by theory but refreshingly free of jargon, makes use of a treasure of source material, especially travel accounts and magazine pieces and convincingly illuminates hitherto unexplored connections between filibustering abroad and urban life at home, while also connecting U.S. military aggression against Latin America with America’s imperial record in the Pacific. This is an insightful and provocative take on nineteenth-century American aggression overseas that has implications for the nation’s modern plight abroad.” — Robert May, Purdue University reviewing “Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire”
  • “Greenberg is a goddess- no doubt the best professor at Penn State! I have taken three of her courses and enjoyed pretty much all her lectures. She could probably make a course on garbage disposal worthwhile. I would actually take that course.”… “This is my favorite class! I think that Prof. Greenberg is awesome! She is very energetic when teaching the class and I would recommend anyone to take her class!”… “I loved the discussion section of the class. I always leave our Thursday meetings excited and feeling good and actually feeling like I’ve learned something. I really loved this class, I actually wanted to do the readings (at least most of them)!”… “Professor Greenberg is brilliant, funny, and a great lecturer. She really knows her stuff and cares if students learn. I didn’t think a course on the early American republic could be so interesting and make me think about the present in different way. Go volunteer firemen!” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, December 9, 2007 at 7:28 PM

Top Young Historians: 75 – Cemil Aydin

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

75: Cemil Aydin, 12-2-07

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Post-Doctoral Fellow, Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department (2007-2008); Assistant Professor of History, University of North Carolina-Charlotte (August 2004-Present).
Area of Research: Modern Middle Eastern History; Modern Japanese History; Alternative Visions of World Order in International History; Literature of World History
Education: Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, November 2002.
Major Publications: Aydin is the author of Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia: Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought (New York: Columbia University Press, Global and International History Series; 2007).
Cemil Aydin JPG Aydin is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including: “A Global anti-Western Moment? The Russo-Japanese War, Decolonization and Asian Modernity” in Sebastian Conrad/ Dominic Sachsenmaier, eds., Conceptions of World Order, ca. 1880-1935. Global Moments and Movements (New York City: Palgrave Transnational History Series, 2007): 213-236; “The ‘Question of the West’ and Alternative Visions of World Order in Interwar Era Japan and Turkey: What Does a Comparison Teach Us?” in Toshihiro Minohara and Kimura Masato, eds, Turbulent Decade: Japan’s Challenge to the International System of the 1930s (University of Toronto Press, Forthcoming in 2007); (co-authored with Juliane Hammer) “Introduction to the Special Issue on the Critiques of the ‘West’ in Iran, Turkey and Japan”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 26:3 (Fall 2006): 347-352; “Between Reverse Orientalism and the Global Left: Islamic Critiques of the West in Modern Turkey,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 26: 3 (Fall 2006): 446-461; “Beyond Civilization: Pan-Islamism, Pan-Asianism and the Revolt against the West,” Journal of Modern European History, Vol. 4:2 (Fall, 2006): 204-223; “Overcoming Eurocentrism? Japanese Orientalism on the Muslim World (1913-1945),” Princeton Papers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, (Fall, 2006): 139-164; “The Politics of Conceptualizing Islam and the West,” Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 19:1 (Winter 2005): 93-100.
Aydin’s works in progress include a book project on “From Arnold Toynbee to Ali Shariati: Islam and the West under the Shadow of the Cold War,” -Sponsored by a Fellowship from Princeton University Near Eastern Studies Department, and the “Selected Works of Ismail Kara” (Translation of eight selected articles by a leading historian of late Ottoman-Turkish intellectual history).
Awards: Aydin is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Princeton University, NES, Post-Doctoral Fellowship;
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Faculty Summer Research Grant, Summer 2006;
Symposium Grant, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, April 2005;
Academy Scholar, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, October 2002-December 2003;
Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Supplementary Dissertation Grant, September 2001-May 2002;
Graduate Student Associate at Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, September 2000-June 2002;
Harvard University GSAS Dissertation Grant, September 2000-May 2001;
Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Summer Research Grant, Summer 2000;
Toyota Foundation, Dissertation Research Grant, Fall 1999;
Japanese Education Ministry Fellow, September 1997-April 1999;
Middlebury College, Japanese Summer School, Language Study Grant, Summer 2006;
Mellon Foundation Grant for the Study of Arabic, Summer 1995;
Graduate Study Fellowship from Center for Islamic Studies, Istanbul, 1992-1996;
Fellow of International Institute of Islamic Thought & Civilization, Kuala Lumpur, 1991-1992;
NATO Student Workshop Fellow, Brussels, June 1991.
Additional Info:
Formerly Academy Scholar, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies (Oct.-2002-Dec-2004), and Assistant Professor of History, Department of History, Ohio State University (January 2004-July 2004).
Collaborative Research Projects include German Research Foundation (DFG), “Conceptions of World Orders in Global History,” June 2004-June 2007, and Shibusawa Foundation, “Turbulent Decade: Japan’s Challenge to the International System of the 1930s,” September 2003-June 2006.

Personal Anecdote

Growing up in Istanbul, I always found it awkward to read the “Welcome to Asia” and “Welcome to Europe” signs at the two ends of the less-than-a mile long suspension bridge over the Bosporus waters. These innocent looking continental demarcation signs meant very little to the millions of commuters, supposedly moving between continents every day. In high school, we were taught that Turkey is an important bridge between East and West, as well as Asia and Europe. I remember one time joking with friends that we needed to tidy up our ties and jackets while crossing the bridge from the Asian to the European side of the city, sarcastically reflecting predominant judgments associated with the two continents. I would have never predicted that I would later spend years during my graduate study examining the history and politics of the historical construct of Asia and Europe (or East and West) and its impact. And ironically, but not unsurprisingly, while I was trying to historicize these civilizational and continental categories, stereotyped civilizational identities (think clash of civilization thesis…) embellished with new political and cultural inflections gained popularity in public discourse.

My undergraduate years coincided with exciting debates on Eurocentrism and post-modernism in Istanbul college classrooms and coffeehouses. It was in a senior seminar paper on Jürgen Habermas’ critique of anti-modern thinking that I first remember arguing for a more global history of modernity and world order. My plan was to go either to China or Japan to have a non-Eurocentric comparative look at the question of the West and how Asian intellectuals have debated the universality of modernity in the last two centuries. But, to my frustration, the visiting Japanese professor whose guide to Istanbul I had become and who I hoped to study with in Japan told me not to come to the Far East, Tokyo, but to go to the Far West, to a university in America, if I was that interested in non-Eurocentric perspectives on global history.

Only after my first semester at Harvard did I realize the wisdom of his advice. History departments at many American research universities have experts covering all the regions of the world, with ideally half of the faculty teaching non-Western fields. This intellectual presence not only provides perspectives into the different regional histories, it also allows for important insights into world and global history. Of course, I also made it to Japan where I spent two years learning Japanese and searching archives and bookstores. Looking back, I had a wonderful time during the eight years of my graduate school education, having a chance not only to immerse myself in East Asian and Middle Eastern histories, but to learn a lot about the modern histories of Africa, the Americas and Europe. I became addicted to the 4 pm seminars, accompanied by coffee or tea and cookies, though I had to limit my attendance to 2 seminars a week to be able to finish my dissertation and keep my weight.

By the end of my graduate school years, I had become optimistic about the scholarly integrity and public mission of the historical profession. The events of and developments after September 11, 2001 did not change my confidence in my discipline. Yet, many of the achievements of my colleagues in dispelling historically rooted prejudices and misunderstandings among different societies were swept away by a flood of reasserted popular stereotypes about anti-Western Muslims and imperialist crusading Westerners. The ‘us vs. them’ dichotomy as well as the ‘what went wrong?’ and ‘why do they hate us?’ questions forced many in the academic community to take a stand. The increased public interest in answers, explanations and lessons from the past in order to understand the current situation better has affected my research as well as my teaching.

Last summer, a leading European politician sympathetic to Turkey’s potential membership in the European Union suggested that the Istanbul Municipality remove the “Welcome to Asia” sign on the bridge over the Bosporus, arguing that the sign and its implication of the “Asian” side of Turkey would weaken Turkey’s case in the European Union. Despite my awareness of the Eurocentric constructedness of these continental borders, I realized that I would not be happy to see the “Welcome to Asia” sign go away, at least not in this way. My admittedly idealist internationalism makes me want to hold on to this feeble continental tie between Istanbul, Calcutta and Tokyo. After all, our problem is not in the borders, or continental imaginations themselves, but in the value judgments and political projects vested in them. I could not help but smile when I saw the welcome signs on both sides of the Bosporus bridge during my last visit to Istanbul.

Quotes

By Cemil Aydin

  • The idea of the West was not first born in Europe and simply spread to other parts of the world. It was partly a product of reflection and rethinking by non-Western reformist intellectuals during the
    The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought JPGnineteenth century. While we are familiar with the grand theories on the civilization of the West formulated by Montesquieu and other European thinkers, we should recognize that non-Western intellectuals found these theories insufficient and noninclusive and insisted on a more universalist interpretation of the secrets of Europe’s progress. The result, as best seen in the writings of Fukuzawa Yukichi and Namik Kemal during the 1870s, was an optimist reformist ideology of progress and civilization that refuted any permanent association of universal civilization with climate, Christianity, race, or even imperialism. This global vision of non-Western intellectuals tied their reform projects to a fine formulation of the relationship between a vision of universal civilization and the historical experience of Europe that exhibited the culmination of this universal process of progress. Their vision of a universal West was closely linked with a desire to become equal members of the perceived civilized international society and to benefit from the security and prosperity this globalizing international society promised. — Cemil Aydin in “The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought “

About Cemil Aydin

  • “Cemil Aydin, The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia: Visions of the World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan Asian Thought (2007) locates itself at the conjunction of debates about modernity as a universal category of our time (that is, modernity as a periodizing device about the world we live in today) as opposed to modernity as a specific autochthonous quality that defines a certain civilization (the West) and is lacking in the others, who must learn it from the West. Focusing on the crucial formative period of modern nationalism (1880-1945), Aydin brings a transnational vantage point to a key question in the intellectual history of Japan and Turkey, and more broadly that of modern Asia and Europe, namely the genesis of civilizational identity politics. Particularly interested in the impact of Japanese Orientalism on Islamic Asia, the proliferation of Asianist ideologies and consolidation of global links between East Asia and West Asia in the inter-war years, this erudite work draws on a dazzling range of primary source materials in Japanese and Turkish to explore Pan Asianism-Pan Islamism that was articulated in a novel formulation of anti-Western internationalism. This is a singularly significant contribution to modern international intellectual history and salient global debates on race, empire, civilization and progress.” — Sucheta Mazumdar, Duke University, reviewing “The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought”
  • “Cemil Aydin’s book, The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia is a timely and significant contribution to our understanding of major intellectual forces that shape discourse about the West throughout the world. Focussing on the specific cases of Ottoman and Japanese imperial responses the the challenges posed by the West in the modern world, Aydin presents a carefully researched, historically grounded argument for the persistence of anti- Westernism in cultures that are otherwise socially and religiously quite distinct. One cannot read this stimulating work without re-thinking prevailing assumptions about what “the West” and “Asia” signify and why they still retain such popularity among many intellectuals today. — Kevin M Doak, Nippon Foundation Endowed Chair in Japanese Studies, Georgetown University reviewing “The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought”
  • “This volume is a rich intellectual history revealing the fascinating ways in which Pan-Islamism and Pan-Asianism were intertwined.” — Matthew Connelly, associate professor of history, Columbia University reviewing “The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought”
  • “Cemil Aydin has written a fascinating book of exceptional scholarly quality. It explores elegantly, with impressive learning, the responses of Japanese and Ottoman civilizations to the West in the period 1880 to 1945. This study in the history of ideas is surprisingly relevant to such current concerns as ‘the clash of civilizations’ and ‘the future of world order.'” — Richard A. Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, emeritus, and emeritus professor of politics and international affairs, Princeton University reviewing “The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought”
  • “Cemil Aydin presents a profound analysis of anti-Westernism that transcends simplistic polemics about ‘why they hate us’ and offers a significant contribution to understanding intercultural relations in the modern era. Combining expertise in Middle Eastern and Asian studies, Aydin joins a clear global perspective with an in-depth historical study. The result is a comprehensive understanding of one of the major themes of modern global affairs.” —John Voll, professor of Islamic history and associate director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University
  • “Cemil Aydin’s work brings fresh insight to Middle Eastern, Islamic, and world history. His Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia is a major, and highly original, contribution to all of these fields, and it will set the standard for comparative work in modern Islamic intellectual history. Aydin’s current project, on which he is working as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies, focuses on 20th century discourses on the idea of civilization. Influential Western as well as Muslim thinkers were among those contributing to this civilizational discourse before and during the Cold War, though its contexts and themes, as well as the ways in which these intellectuals interacted with and influenced one another, have not been much studied so far. Nor has the highly interesting question, at the forefront of Aydin’s work, of how this civilizational discourse may have shaped facets of Islamist (or fundamentalist) thought across Muslim societies. Like Aydin’s first book, this is an innovative project, and it is certain to contribute much to the study of religio-political trends in modern and contemporary Islam. — Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Niehaus Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Religion, Princeton University reviewing “The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought”
  • “Dr. Cemil Aydin is, as his new book The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia shows, an erudite scholar destined to continue to make significant contributions to field of global history in general and to Middle East and East Asian Studies in particular. He is also, however, an excellent teacher. Dr. Aydin, through the use of textual analysis and class discussion, forces his students to confront the stereotypes held by many Americans and, unfortunately, portrayed by mass media concerning the Middle East and Islam. Additionally, Dr. Aydin is one of the most approachable professors I have ever encountered. His door was quite literally always open to assist students. I was the beneficiary of much of this assistance while working toward my B.A. in History (2006) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It was Dr. Aydin’s classes and advice that helped me decide to pursue a graduate degree in Middle East Studies. I, unfortunately, held many negative stereotypes of the Middle East when I first entered Dr. Aydin’s survey of Middle East History. That class, however, avoided becoming what Roger Owen described as “another breathless account of battles, murders, and the rapid rise and fall of different dynasties” by engaging students with primary texts from the first day of class. It is virtually impossible to continue to view Islam or the Middle East as monolithic, unchanging, religiously fanatic entities, as the legacy of Orientalism has conditioned many students to do, when confronted with alternative methodologies of history that incorporate social, economic, and political factors often written by Middle Eastern scholars rather than Westerners. I am indebted to Dr. Aydin for opening my eyes to the more complex, but ultimately more accurate, history of the Middle East and I have no doubt that he will continue to be a positive influence on students and scholars alike for years to come. — Alan Bradley Campbell, M.A. Student in Middle Eastern History, NYU
  • “As a double-major in Political Science and History and a minor in Islamic Studies, I can confidently state that Dr. Aydin is undoubtedly one of the finest professors on campus. In addition to being an exceptional lecturer, he is also a phenomenal source of knowledge in Middle Eastern and Japanese studies. His unique approach in the classroom always stimulated meaningful discussions and encouraged students to actively engage the texts and concepts presented. Although I benefited greatly from the attentive structure of course content and the incorporation of a wide spectrum of reading selections, what I most appreciated about Professor Aydin’s courses was his ability to provoke original thought in his students. Professor Aydin’s genial demeanor and sense of humour has lent him a reputation of being approachable and won him high regard among students. He was consistently objective and never allowed his personal beliefs to hinder open discussion and a respectful atmosphere. Professor Aydin is truly a brilliant example for my generation’s young aspiring scholars.” — Narcisa Popovici, Senior Student, Major in History and Political Science, UNCC

Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2007 at 9:34 PM

Top Young Historians: 74 – John Wood Sweet

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

74: John Wood Sweet, 11-19-07

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Associate Professor, Department of History, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Area of Research: Early American history, the dynamics of colonialism and on the interplay of religious cultures
Education: Ph.D., History, Princeton University, 1995
Major Publications: Sweet is the author of Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830, “Early America: History, Context, Culture,”John Wood Sweet JPG series editors Jack P. Greene and J. R. Pole (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), whicg was a Finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, 2004. and the co-editor with Robert A. Appelbaum of Envisioning an English Empire: Jamestown and the Making of a North Atlantic World, “Early American Studies,” series editors Daniel K. Richter and Kathleen Brown (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).
Sweet is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including: “Venture Smith and Black Protest in the Early Republic,” in New England Slavery and the Slave Trade, ed. Ira Berlin and Joanne Melish (University of Virginia Press, forthcoming), and “More than Tears: The Ordeal of Abolition in Revolutionary New England,” Explorations in Early American History, vol. 5 (2001), 118-172.
Awards: Sweet is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Belk Fellow, Institute for Arts and Humanities, UNC Chapel Hill, Spring 2007;
National Endowment for the Humanities (6 months) and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral (4 months) Research Fellowships, The John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, 2003-2004 ;
Barra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 1999-2000;
Mellon Scholar in African-American Studies, Institute for Global Studies in Power, Culture, and History, The Johns Hopkins University. 1995-1996;
Research and Study Assignment, UNC Chapel Hill, Spring 2008;
Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, summer 2007;
Faculty Research Award, Center for African Studies, University of North Carolina, summer 2007;
University Research Council, Faculty Research Award, summer 2007 ($1,500);
Spray-Randleigh Summer Research Grant, UNC Chapel Hill, 2006 ;
. Finalist, Frederick Douglass Book Prize, Gilder-Lehrman Center, Yale University, for Bodies Politic. Junior Faculty Research Award, UNC, 2005;
Research Grant, University Research Council, UNC;
Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship, Massachusetts Historical Society (August 2003 and May 2005);
New Course Development Grant, Program in Sexuality Studies, UNC;
Colonial Society of Massachusetts Fellow, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, June-July 2003;
Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship in African American Maritime History, Munson Institute, Mystic Seaport, May 2003;
1996-2003 Faculty Grant-in-Aid, The Catholic University of America, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1998, 1996;
2002 Library Research Fellowship, American Philosophical Society, June 2002;
Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia, July 2002, June 1991;
First Prize for the Best Essay in Early American Studies published in 1999 or 2000, Colonial Society of Pennsylvania, 2001;
Littleton-Griswold Grant in Legal History, American Historical Association, 2001, 1996;
2000 Philips Fund Grant in Native American Ethnohistory, American Philosophical Society;
David Library of the American Revolution, research fellow, May 2000;
Research Fellowship, Ingenuity and Enterprise Center, R. I. Historical Society, 1996 ;
Visiting Fellowship, John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University; 1994-1995, also, summer 1996;
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Enrollment Fellowship, 1993-1994 ;
Princeton University Fellowship, 1988-1993;

Additional Info:
Formerly Assistant Professor, Department of History, The Catholic University of America (1996-2003), Visiting Instructor, Department of History, University of California, Davis, Summer 1998, and Lecturer, History Department, Princeton University, Spring 1995.
Sweet is also a member of the Editorial Board for Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (University of Pennsylvania Press).
Sweet was Project Director for “Complete Editions of the Rhode Island Censuses of 1774 and 1782: Letterpress and Electronic Versions,” R.I. Committee for the Humanities and the John Nicholas Brown Center, June-December 1996.

Personal Anecdote

Over the past several years, research for a book about the “lost worlds” of Venture Smith–an African-born man who spent most of his life in eighteenth-century New England–has taken me to a variety of strange and wonderful places. Attempting to expand my horizons as an Early American historian has led me into situations where I verge rapidly from awe and delight to utter disorientation–and worse. On my first trip to West Africa, I made a beeline for Anomabu, a small village on the coast of Ghana, which Smith describes in his Narrative as the place where his coffle arrived at the shore and where he was held for sale in a “castle.” I had visions of visiting the fort, breathing in the dark, damp air of the men’s dungeon, and stepping out through the Door of No Return into the blinding sun and crashing surf. Standing there, with the wet sand between my toes, halfway around the world from my home, I thought, would be about as close as I was ever likely to get to recreating a moment of Venture Smith’s experience.

So, when I arrived at my lodging about a mile from the village, I eagerly set out along the palm-fringed ribbon of white sand beach. As I got closer, children appeared, crying out cheerfully, some of them offering a few words of English, and one of them pausing to squat on the beach and take a dump. I walked on-now, minding my step-attempting to act friendly and not too grossed out by the shit-strewn beach. Soon, the eighteenth-century fort came into view, a grey stone hulk rising out of the haze and the waves, surrounded by busy fishermen working on their long, colorful canoes and hauling huge nets in from the sea. Trying not to get in the way, I stepped gingerly through the tangle of lines (and the chickens and goats) and then waded out onto some rocks in the surf to get a better view of the fort. I was attempting to balance on the wet rocks, keep my camera dry, and take in the view-when I noticed that the people on shore were hollering. At me. And not just the expected cries of obiri and “white man!” Something I was doing had them horrified. I put down the camera, but the clamor continued. As I waded back towards the fort, a young man explained–through a mixture of eloquent gestures and broken English-that I had been treading all over the village’s sacred rocks. Fortunately, it seemed likely that the spirits would be placated by a small offering. I wasn’t about to give up the expensive new sandals he was admiring, so I paid up in cash, put the matter behind me, and forged on to the fort. Soon, I actually was standing in the men’s dungeon, breathing in the dark, dank air, fingering the rusty bolt in the floor where chains were attached, and trying not to disrupt the bats dangling from the barrel-vaulted ceiling. I took in the romance of the moment, feeling that I had arrived somewhere important.

And yet, as I later learned, Venture Smith never did enter that dank dungeon, nor walk through those thick whitewashed walls into the crashing surf. The fort that now stands at Anomabu was built fifteen years after he commenced his middle passage-and the previous fort had been demolished ten years earlier. So, when Venture Smith passed through there was no “castle” there at all. This realization led to another kind of journey, a journey through archives on three continents that has revealed, among other things, that even when the fort wasn’t there, the sacred rocks had been: objects of recurrent tensions among English slave-traders, local leaders, and villagers. Indeed, those sacred rocks, which I didn’t recognize even when I was standing on top of them, have come to seem emblematic of the story I want to recover about colonialism and the nature of modern globalization. Thus, I’ve learned (once again!) that what turns out to be most revealing is often not what I expect to find, but what I stumble across along the way. Soon, I’ll be back in Anomabu. This time I’ll have a more meaningful offering for the rock spirits.

Quotes

By John Wood Sweet

  • “The American North emerged in the early years of the Republic as a region that would be free but not equal. In large part, the North came together in opposition to the South  JPG as the nation divided over the politics of slavery and western conquests. But this conflict has obscured underlying similarities that derived from a shared legacy of colonialism.”… “In many ways, America came to present itself as a white nation when it was, and had been from the start, diverse, hybrid, and multiracial. Behind the fantasy of America as a white nation is another set of agendas, assumptions, and struggles.”… “Resistance to missionary endeavors stemmed from one of the basic problems of imperial ideology, a paradox familiar from other times and places: the danger of the white men’s burden, or the mission civiliatrice, was that the process of civilizing colonized peoples might, in the end, succeed.” — John Wood Sweet in “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”

About John Wood Sweet

  • “Superb . . . A useful addition to the literature about people of color in [New England] . . . The major strength of Bodies Politic is that it is based on extensive archival research and a wide reading of secondary literature on Africans and Native Americans. It also presents a significant challenge to hegemonic interpretations that are finally beginning to be addressed by colonial historians . . . Sweet’s yeomanlike work should find a receptive audience among historians, graduate students, and intellectually sophisticated members of the reading public.” — Vernon J. Williams, Jr., History: Reviews of New Books reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “This superb study explores the origins of that ironic definition of democracy as ‘universal freedom and racial inequality’ . . . Sophisticated and engaging . . . Highly recommended.” — Choice reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “A fascinating picture of the interactions between English settlers, African slaves, and Native Americans in New England during the colonial era and early Republic.” — Catherine Molineux, Common-Place reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “It is difficult to imagine that anyone interested in the ways race was produced and articulated in early America and woven into every fiber of the national fabric would not depend upon and be grateful for Sweet’s work.” — Rebecca Blevins Faery, New England Quarterly reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “An ambitious and persuasive account of the ways that the political inclusion of some groups and not others connected the colonial era through the Revolution to the early American republic.” — Serena Zabin, Journal of American History reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “At once detailed and sweeping, social and political, archival and synthetic . . . This book is the best application yet to early American history of postcolonial theory.” — Bruce Dain, American Historical Review reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “Sweet’s brilliant micro-history of the tangled web of race relations in the North dynamically juxtaposes Native American, African American and Anglo-American experiences through a series of case studies.” — Alan Rice, Journal of American Studies reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “Sweet’s regional history points us away from northern exceptionalism and toward a more honest appraisal of colonialism and its legacies as a national phenomenon . . . Bodies Politic truly is the best ‘multicultural’ history of early New England yet to appear not least because of Sweet’s refusal to equate race and culture.” — David Waldstreicher, Reviews in American History reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “He emphasizes that the public was never simply Euro-American, and that categories for, and uses of, racial identity emerged out of complicated socio-cultural negotiations and changed with time and personal background. Bodies Politic is remarkably successful in grounding these assertions in detailed, well-told reconstructions of individual lives and community events.” — Joshua Piker, History Compass reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “Bodies Politic is brilliant and eloquent-a refreshingly original analysis of how the legacy of colonialism shaped the emergence of a democratic nation.” — Christine Leigh Heyrman University of Delaware and author of Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “This book recasts our vision of early New England. Informed by the insights of post-colonial theory and based on prodigious archival research, it offers a bracing challenge to the current historiography of early America. In the wake of Bodies Politic, it will be impossible to think of New England as a place unmarked by difference and exempt from the nation’s original sins of slavery and racism.” — Robert Gross, University of Connecticut reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “John Sweet presents New England as it was: a multiracial and thoroughly conflicted scene. Sex and humor play leading roles in this fine, fresh depiction of the most American of American regions.” — Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “In subtle and ingenious ways, Bodies Politic recovers the textures of real people doing real things-of African Americans, Native Americans, and Euro-Americans interacting to create the racial formation of the early nineteenth-century North.” — Daniel K. Richter, University of Pennsylvania reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “Ambitious, detailed, and provocative, this is the best multicultural history of early New England I have read.” — Joseph A. Conforti, University of Southern Maine reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”

“Sweet offers scholars a capacious history of race in the North and a primer for thinking about the relationship between ‘cultures’ and identities . . . Bodies Politic is deeply researched and richly detailed.” — Catherine Kelly, William and Mary Quarterly reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”

  • “Superb . . . A useful addition to the literature about people of color in [New England] . . . The major strength of Bodies Politic is that it is based on extensive archival research and a wide reading of secondary literature on Africans and Native Americans.” — History: Reviews of New Books reviewing “Bodies Politic Negotiating Race in the American North, 1730-1830”
  • “His classes are not easy but if you want to get better at writing & research he’s your best choice. You get what you put in if you show effort he will push you to get better. Overall he knows the subject & offers excellent feedback on your writing. He also has a good sense of humor and knows how to keep your attention.”… “Great Professor knows his subject, class was fun.” — Anonymous Students

Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 at 5:47 PM

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