Spring 2018 History Department On-Campus Events

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Mark your calendars! Here are all the History Department On-Campus Events for the Spring 2018 semester.

Please note that date for the George M. Blackburn Lecture Series on American Civil War and Reconstruction History has changed. Dr. Edward Ayers' lecture "Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America" will now take place on Feb. 23, 2018 at 7:30 pm in the Park Library auditorium. 

All lectures are open to the public!

Marc Kleijwegt, “Documenting Slavery in Comparative Perspective”

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The Department of History is glad to welcome Marc Kleijwegt, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. On Thursday, January 18, at 5pm, Professor Kleijwegt will give a talk on “Documenting Slavery in Comparative Perspective: Evidence from the Ancient and the Transatlantic World.” Sponsored by the Department of History and featured as a part of the Critical Engagements series of the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, this is the sort of talk that features documents in context, including the ones provided in advance by Professor Kleijwegt.

WALLS: First Critical Engagement Event

Gregory Smith, chair of the Department of History, and Christi Brookes, chair of the world languages and cultures department, have launched the Criticial Engagements initiative at CMU to foster dialogue and learning around questions that matter. "The idea is to come together as a community of people pursuing all sorts of projects, research and teaching, and realizing how all of those can fit around a common theme and address today's most difficult issues," Smith said. "There comes a point when you realize we're all working on pieces of the same problem, from different but related perspectives. You realize we really are One CMU."

Over the course of the academic year, students, faculty, staff and residents will be able to participate in classroom conversations, projects, research, and special events around the theme "People on the Move: Borders, Boundaries and Migration."

The first Critical Engagements keynote event this fall is a presentation by Marcello Di Cintio on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7 pm in the Powers Ballroom. Di Cintio is a Canadian journalist who has traveled and lived along disputed borders in many parts of the world.

As noted in his biography, Di Cintio's "last project was a book about walls, fences and other ‘hard’ barriers – and the people who live in their shadows – called Walls; Travels Along the Barricades. For this book, [he] visited walls and fences in Algeria, Morocco, the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, Israel, Palestine, India, Cyprus, Montreal, Belfast and along the US-Mexico border. Walls won the 2013 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, among a few other awards, and has been published in Canada, the US, the UK and Bulgaria."

The presentation on Nov. 16 is free and open to the public.

See also CMU News.

SUSAN WARE: The Biographer's Craft: One Historian's Perspective

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Join us for the William T. Bulger Lecture in American Biography by Dr. Susan Ware who will present "The Biographer's Craft: One Historian's Perspective" on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 pm in the Park Library Auditorium. Open to all.

"A pioneer in the field of women’s history and a leading feminist biographer, Susan Ware is the author and editor of numerous books on twentieth-century U.S. history. Educated at Wellesley College and Harvard University, she has taught at New York University and Harvard, where she served as editor of the biographical dictionary Notable American Women: Completing the Twentieth Century (2004). Since 2012, she has served as the general editor of the American National Biography, published by Oxford University Press under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies. Ware has long been associated with the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and is currently writing a book of suffrage stories inspired by its collections. " For more, see her website.

Graduate students and Faculty are invited to a brunch with Dr. Ware on Friday, Nov. 3 from 10 - 11:30 am. 


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Dr. Ho will present "Unspeakable Sights: Violence, Visuality, and American Missionary Images of the Nanjing Massacre." We hope you join us for this event which is free and open to the public on Thursday, Oct. 19 from 7-8:15 pm in UC 307.

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Grad students, join us for this presentation and practice session all about the job market. Thurs. Oct. 19, PO 121 from 2-3:30 pm.

BOUNDARY VOICES: Snapshots of the Student Experience at CMU

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Join two of our deparment's faculty members, Jay Martin and Brittany Bayless Fremion, September 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the Park Library auditorium to open the Clarke Library’s new exhibit, “125 Years Through 125 Voices,” which celebrates CMU’s 125 anniversary.  Brittany and Jay’s topic, “Boundary Voices: Snapshots of the Student Experience at Central Michigan University,” will draw upon their extensive oral history project with CMU students.

A reception inside the Clarke Library, where you will also have an opportunity to view the exhibit, will follow the presentation.


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The history department is proud to again host the International Graduate Historical Studies Conference this spring. The theme: Real and Imagined Borders: People, Place, and Time encourages presenters to offer papers that are transnational and/or interdisciplinary, but all traditional submissions are welcome.

We look forward to this event. Visit www.ighsc,info for more information or questions.


AHA has complied a list of resources, with links, on the Confederate monument debate: "In the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy, historians across the country provided important historical context and insight to the public. The AHA compiled statements that our members, fellow historical societies, AHA Council members, and staff have made in op-eds, interviews, and other media conversations about the importance of historical thinking and knowledge within the current debate. The AHA’s statement on how these issues relate to the discipline of history will be forthcoming."



CMU history professor John Robertson's work informed and was quoted by the New York Times Magazine. The article "The Living and the Dead" by James Verini details the October battle for Mosul and examines the conflict in the context of history. 

The reporter drew from Robertson's well-received Iraq: A History. From the editor: "In this unrivaled study, John Robertson details the greatness and grandeur of Iraq’s achievements, the brutality and magnificence of its ancient empires and its extraordinary contributions to the world. The only work in the English language to explore the history of the land of two rivers in its entirety, it takes readers from the seminal advances of its Neolithic inhabitants to the aftermath of the American and British-led invasion, the rise of Islamic State and Iraq today."


MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Speakers this Academic Year

The Department of History is looking forward to some exceptional speakers this coming year. Mark your calendars now so you don't miss the opportunity to hear from these renowned historians. Follow the blog for reminders and updated information as the dates approach.

For the William T. Bulger Lecture Series on American Biography, we are pleased to welcome Susan Ware on Nov. 2, 2017. Ware is the Honorary Women’s Suffrage Centennial Historian of the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a leading biographer of feminists. Her book on Amelia Earhart was the first to place the female pilot into our understanding of the advancement of feminism: Still Missing: Amelia Earhart and the Search for Modern Feminism (W.W. Norton, 1993). Her most recent monograph is Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women's Sports (University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

For the George M. Blackburn Lecture Series on American Civil War and Reconstruction History, we are honored to have Edward Ayers present "Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America." The lecture will take place on Feb. 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm in the Park Library auditorium. Ayers is the Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities at the University of Richmond, where he is President Emeritus. In 2013, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. He is an accomplished historian of the American South. His book The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American history and the Beveridge Prize for the best book in English on the history of the Americas since 1492.

For grad students, Ayers will also run a workshop on digital history called History Between the Lines. The workshop will take place 12:30-2:00 pm.

For the International Graduate Historical Studies Conference Keynote Address, we are pleased to have Alan Taylor present "Transforming North America: Empires and Republics in War and Peace, 1800-1850 on April 6, 2018. Taylor, a historian of colonial and early republic America, holds the Thomas Jefferson Chair in American History at the University of Virginia. Taylor has received many awards and prizes for his work including the Pulitzer Prize for American History for his book The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 (W. W. Norton, 2013). His most recent monograph is American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 (W. W. Norton, 2016).

Lectures are open to the public.

GAME OF PRIVILEGE: An African American History of Golf

CMU History professor Lane Demas's new book Game of Privilege will be released this September.

From the publisher, University of North Carolina Press: "This groundbreaking history of African Americans and golf explores the role of race, class, and public space in golf course development, the stories of individual black golfers during the age of segregation, the legal battle to integrate public golf courses, and the little-known history of the United Golfers Association (UGA)--a black golf tour that operated from 1925 to 1975. Lane Demas charts how African Americans nationwide organized social campaigns, filed lawsuits, and went to jail in order to desegregate courses; he also provides dramatic stories of golfers who boldly confronted wider segregation more broadly in their local communities. As national civil rights organizations debated golf’s symbolism and whether or not to pursue the game’s integration, black players and caddies took matters into their own hands and helped shape its subculture, while UGA participants forged one of the most durable black sporting organizations in American history as they fought to join the white Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA)."

Preorder on Amazon or other book retailers.


Martin Farr of Newcastle University will offer a presentation on Brexit and the General Election of 2017. British PM Theresa May just called for an election, so Farr is sure to offer interesting insight for us on this tumultuous period of British politics. Join us in Powers Hall 121, Monday, April 24, 12-1:30 pm.

OH, THE THINGS YOU COULD DO! Alternative Careers for History PhDs

If you have wondered what options history PhDs have other than teaching at a college, join us Friday, April 28, for Maura Elizabeth Cunningham’s talk “Oh, the Things You Could Do! Alternative Careers for History PhDs.” Maura Elizabeth chose to take the non-academic route after obtaining her PhD from the University of California, Irvine. Currently, she is the Digital Media Manager at the Association for Asian Studies headquartered in Ann Arbor. Before that, she was a program assistant at the National Committee on US-China Relations. She is also a very active writer with two forthcoming books under contract with Oxford University Press. You can find out more about her by going to her blog: https://mauracunningham.org/

The lunch talk will be held from 12:30-2:00 on Friday, April 28 in Powers 121. Pizza will be served.

FOR LIBERTY AND EMPIRE: Remembering Sand Creek and Rethinking the Civil War

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Join us Friday, April 21 at 7:30 pm in the Park Library Auditorium for the a Blackburn Lecture Series Event. Ari Kelman, professor of History at UC-Davis will present For Liberty and Empire: Remembering Sand Creek and Rethinking the Civil War. A reception will follow the public lecture in the Terrace Room at the Bovee Center.

Review of A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek:

A Misplaced Massacre…recounts and analyses the ways in which generations of Americans, both white and Native American, have struggled—and as the book’s subtitle intimates, still struggle—to come to terms with the meaning of the attack. It is an important book, and its most brilliant chapter, which follows the order of events at the opening ceremonies, in April 2007, of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, shows that positions taken by the various speakers on that day still echoed the differing views expressed a hundred years earlier by Chivington, Soule and Bent… Kelman provides a nuanced and virtually complete account of each of the chronological phases and of the eddying currents of opinion in the movement towards the opening of the Historic Site… The book functions as an instructive lesson in public history, and Kelman shows how the massacre positively intersects with its legacy.”—Mick Gidley, The Times Literary Supplement


The Department of History is pleased to host an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecture by Daniel Fuller for the William T. Bulger Lecture in American Biography. The event will take place Monday, April 3 at 7 p.m. in the Park Library Auditorium.

This annual lecture series in the field of American biography is in honor of William T. Bulger, a long-time former member of the CMU history faculty.

Graduate students and faculty will have the opportunity to chat with Dr. Feller over coffee at 3 pm in the grad lounge. All are welcome.

MARTIN LUTHER KING'S: "Beyond Vietnam: Time to Break Silence"

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Join the Department of History and the Department of Political Science and Public Administration Tuesday, April 4, 2:30 pm, Park Library Auditorium.

On April 4, 1967 -- exactly a year before his assassination -- the Rev. Martin Luther King delivered the most controversial speech of his life. "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" publicly announced and explained King's opposition to the war in Vietnam. Other civil rights leaders condemned the speech, and President Lyndon Johnson withdrew and invitation to visit the White House.

In the 50 years since he delivered the speech at New York's Riverside Church, public observances of King's life and contributions to America have focused mainly on his most famous speech from the 1963 March on Washington. But "Beyond Vietnam" is essential to any understand of King's teachings on peace, justice and the moral dimensions of public policy.


Tuesday, March 28 the Clarke Historical Library in partnership with the CMU Foreign Languages Department will host "Children's Books from Around the World." As part of the event, CMU students from all over the world to read books from the Clarke's international children's book collection in their native language. This year, two of the readers are from our own history department - Sulaiman Albinhamad and Hugo Zayas. The event will be held in the Barber Room of the Park Library from 1-3 pm.


IGHSC: “Crossing Borders, Challenging Boundaries”

The International Graduate Historical Studies Conference The Central Michigan University Department of History is hosting the International Graduate Historical Studies Conference on March 31 and April 1 at the Bovee University Center. This year’s conference centers around “Crossing Borders, Challenging Boundaries,” and features scholars from across the nation and around the globe. Around 50 presenters are offering insight on a wide variety of topics. Presentations range from papers on witchcraft in the sixteenth century, graphic novels and the Great War, and the evolving architectural landscapes of Accra, Ghana. On Friday evening, at 7:30 pm, we are proud to have Dr. John Merriman, the Charles Seymour Professor of History Yale University, deliver the keynote address, “Against the State: Anarchist Violence in Paris duirng the Belle Epoque that Wasn't.” Please join us for this free public event, to be held in the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium. For more information, please call the History Department at CMU (989)774-3374 or e-mail histconf@cmich.edu.