Statue of Robert Frost, Dartmouth College
The summer provides scholars with opportunities to get together and workshop their research at institutes, seminars, and symposia intended to foster group discussions on discrete topics like theory and methodology. For students of American History, one of the best opportunities to meet and discuss their work is the Futures of American Studies Summer Institute. This year, students and faculty from Fordham were invited to apply to participate in the Dartmouth institute with support from the Fordham Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Among the community of Fordham Americanists who participated was Glenn Hendler, Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department, who gave a talk entitled ““The Civil War and the Ends of the State.” Also among the Fordham delegation was History PhD student Stephen Leccese, who presented work in progress on nineteenth-century mass consumption and economic thought. Stephen sent us this postcard with details of his experience at the institute.
The best part was workshopping a paper at the Institute. We broke into seminar sessions of about 10 people each in the afternoons. Each day 2 or 3 people read a paper they were working on- it could have been a dissertation chapter, an article proposal, or anything else. I read “Nineteenth-Century Economic Thought and New Perspectives on the Rise of Mass Consumption,” a slight revision of the paper I worked on during our Research Colloquium. I got some very interesting feedback from people outside my field, since about 95% of the seminar participants were from English or Literary Studies departments. While I was skeptical about how helpful their comments would be, I was surprised at how interested they were in a work of history. They provided some great suggestions that I will certainly be adding into my paper as I work on it further.
The Dartmouth campus at night
Overall it was a very welcoming environment. Highly accomplished scholars, early career academics, advanced and early PhD students all interacted together without any sort of hierarchy. Even though I was in a different discipline than most other participants and was also much earlier in my PhD work (most were several years in and working on their dissertations), all expressed legitimate interest in what I was working on.
Although there wasn’t much down time (we attended about 40 talks throughout the week, plus meeting with our seminars every afternoon), I did have a very nice dinner out with my seminar group after our last meeting. It was a chance to be much more casual around everyone after a week of pretty serious scholarly discussion. I plan on maintaining contact with several members of that seminar, both as colleagues and friends.
It was an educational experience because I’ve only studied history since I started college. There were very clear methodological differences between myself and the rest of the participants. Though I don’t agree with all of the methodologies from Literary Criticism, I very much appreciated the chance to see these scholars in action. It gave me a view of something I’d never seen before.
The History Department was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our former colleague, ormer Magis Distinguished Professor Christopher Schmidt-Nowara. Chris passed away suddenly on June 27, 2015 after a sudden illness, while visiting his daughter in Paris, France. He was 48-years old and held the Prince of Asturias Chair in Spanish Culture and Civilization at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. A graduate of Kenyon College, earning his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Schmidt-Nowara was a beloved professor at Fordham University for more than a decade. A memorial will be held at Fordham University in the fall. We have collected some reminiscences from members of the department. The first comes from Chris’s colleague Professor Sarah Elizabeth Penry and the second from Chris’s doctoral student Louie Dean Valencia-Garcia. Continue reading
View from the Edinburgh University Library special collections reading room
Many people unfamiliar with the world of scholarship assume that the summer break between the Spring and Fall semesters is a time for holidays and relaxation. But for historians, the respite from teaching and classes means that summer is often the time when research, writing, conference going, and travel to archives, kicks into high gear.
Our first postcard this summer comes from PhD student Salvatore Cipriano. Supported by a Fordham GSAS Research Support Grant and a Graduate Student Association Professional Development Grant, Sal has been in Scotland since June 1.
On July 2 Professor Silvana Patriarca will be delivering one of two keynote lectures at a conference in Cagliari, Sardinia. The conference, which is sponsored by SISSCO (the Italian Society for Contemporary History), deals with Italy’s colonial inheritance. The title of Patriarca’s talk will be “Dopoguerra in bianco e nero: ‘razza’ e Chiesa cattolica nell’Italia postfascista” (” Postwar in Black and White: ‘Race’ and the Catholic Church in Postfascist Italy”).
Megan Monahan, PhD with her mentor Professor Kirsten Swinth
The Fordham History Department congratulates the Class of 2015. Fordham History Faculty were present at graduation to witness the degree ceremony for our graduates from the undergraduate colleges of Rose Hill and Lincoln Center and to participate in the special ceremony for the conferral of MA and PhD degrees in History. Keep reading for some photographic highlights.
At the annual Spring Party hosted by the Center for Medieval Studies, prizes were announced for the best essays written by graduate students in the past year. The judges of this year’s competition were visiting fellows David Wrisley, PhD of the American University in Beirut and Helen Birkett, PhD of the University of Exeter. They awarded the O’Callahan prize to Tobias Hrynick–his paper was detailed in an earlier post on this blog when it won the Loomie Prize from the History Department– and they awarded the First Year Essay Prize to Ruth Whaley. Ruth completed her MA in History at Fordham in August 2014, concentrating in Medieval History. The award winning essay “Story-Telling at Sea: Changes in the Crusade Chronicle”, compared two crusade chronicles written by crusaders who traveled by sea. These sea-borne narratives are, compared with what Whaley calls “terra-narratives”, little studied, and have notably evaded the attention of the recent literary-critical and narratologically-inflected studies of crusade chronicles. Whaley’s paper also introduced a novel methodology for reading and comparing the two texts- one based on the unique challenges and perspectives associated with the experiences of travelling by sea. This experiential approach highlights the unfamiliarity of most medieval Europeans with the sea and the extreme and transformative effect of sea travel among those unaccustomed to it.
Whaley currently lives in New York where she enjoys being a member of NYC Museum Educators Roundtable (NYCMER) and meeting lots of current educators and museum professionals. Since graduating in August 2o14 she has attended numerous events and conferences hosted by various NYC institutions as she pursues museum education and informal learning in cultural institutions more broadly. Congratulations Ruth!
Professor Alex Novikoff will be speaking at the Medieval Seminar Series at the University of Ghent’s Henri Pirenne Institute of Medieval Studies onTuesday, May 19. The Medieval Institute, named in honor of Belgium’s most famous historian of the Middle Ages, brings established international scholars and pairs their lecture with presentations from doctoral students from the University of Ghent. Dr. Novikoff’s talk, “The Ars Disputandi and the ‘Art’ of Disputation,” reprises a lecture delivered at Fordham’s Center for Medieval Studies in September and as plenary speaker at the University of California at Berkeley’s Medieval Studies Conference in April.
We reproduce here the obituary for the late Louis B. Pascoe, SJ written by his former students and friends Christopher M. Bellito and Daniel Marcel La Corte.
Dr. Johnathan Pettinato
Dr. Johnathan Pettinato, a May 2014 graduate of the Fordham History Department’s doctoral program, has recently accepted an appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor of British History at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. He will be teaching five courses over the next year. Three of these courses will be traditional lecture courses on western civilization, Tudor and Stuart Britain, and Modern Britain. The two remaining courses will be first-year, writing-intensive seminars on the British Empire. Every student at Wooster must take one of these seminars in which they initiate, develop, and complete an individualized research project. In addition to his teaching duties, he will mentor several seniors throughout the year as they write their theses. Each senior at Wooster must complete a thesis as part of the Independent Study Program. These theses are then presented at a day-long, college-wide research symposium at the end of the spring semester. He will also act as reader on other theses being mentored in the department. Following his graduation last May, Johnathan held two full-time appointments at Fordham University: as Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow in the History Department for Fall 2014 and as Lecturer in the English Department for Spring 2015.
Congratulations to Jake Penders, FCRH, on being selected for a prestigious Fulbright award. Jake is a History and Political Science double major and a Humanitarian Affairs minor. He is also the Treasurer on Phi Alpha Theta, as well as a member of Pi Sigma Alpha (the Political Science National Honor Society) and Phi Beta Kappa. He is also the Captain of the Fordham Men’s Rowing Team, a Eucharistic Minister, and an Eagle Scout. He has been selected for a 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to the Slovak Republic. While there, he will be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) for one year in a Slovakian secondary school teaching English and helping students develop conversational skills in English. Jake is teaching at Spojená skola Nováky, a secondary school located in
Nováky, Slovakia. His grant period is 10 months long and he will leave in late August and return in June.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States. Jake will be representing the United States as a cultural ambassador while he is overseas, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and the people in the Slovak Republic. He will be joining over 100,000 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni who have undertaken grants since the program began in 1948.
On behalf of the History Department and Phi Alpha Theta, well done Jake!