Nana Osei-Opare’s new article, “Uneasy Comrades: Postcolonial Statecraft, Race, and Citizenship, Ghana–Soviet Relations, 1957–1966,” is now out.

Osei-Opare’s article tells a new history of the Cold War, of Ghana’s early postcolonial foreign policy, and the formation of Ghana’s national identity through its diplomatic, economic, and migratory relationship with the USSR during Kwame Nkrumah’s government (1957–66). Through examining English and Russian sources from American, British, Ghanaian, and Russian archives, this article offers three arguments. First, by analyzing Soviet anxieties over its role in Ghanaian affairs, the article shows that Ghana significantly controlled the economic and diplomatic contours and pace of its relationship with the USSR. Second, that discourses of race and neocolonialism were more central to defining the terms of Ghana’s geopolitical positioning than the Cold War framework. Third, the virulent racism Ghanaians experienced in the United States and USSR helped forge a global Ghanaian national consciousness. The article illuminates an independent black state’s attempts to procure sovereignty against a white supremacist economic and political international order and calls for Cold War scholars to engage seriously with African archives alongside non-African ones to create more dynamic, representational historical accounts.

You can read the full article here.

You can follow him on Twitter at @NanaOseiOpare

Nana Osei-Opare

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Filed under Faculty News, Fordham News, Global History

What Is Global History at Fordham? (Part 4 – Prof. Westenley Alcenat)

This is part 4 of our new series, “What is Global History at Fordham?” Today, we hear from Professor Westenley Alcenat, a member of Fordham’s Global History consortium, on what global history means to him and how it shapes his work.

“Most historical tools of analysis we have at our disposal are inherited from the territorial logic of the late nineteenth century European academy. Now that we live in a time and place where the realities of a networked and globalized world disrupted this nation-state model, the pervasive tendency to conceive of national histories as the history of localized, discrete, self-contained spaces has to exist as only one among other analytical frameworks of historical methodology. Modernizing contemporary historical inquiry cannot operate outside of an understanding of systems of interactions, institutional patterns of connectedness, and historical complexes (race, class, gender, nations and nation-states, regional, geographical, etc.,). In other words, to ignore the global in the local, and vice versa, is to articulate an almost vacuous history.

As a historian of comparative Caribbean and American slavery and emancipation, I try to avoid that analytical trap by examining my sources, as well as approach my pedagogy, through the lens of comparative historical analysis. This means starting foremost by understanding global history as NOT a study of globalization; rather, globalization is the core of global history. And in order to get closer to the historical properties at that core, I encourage students to ask questions that place events and problems in their global context. Historians working within traditional national, transnational, or world-based historical approaches can situate their different conceptual frameworks within that globalized paradigm.”

Westenley Alcenat

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Filed under Faculty Profiles

Media Technology and the Dissemination of Hate

Prof. Magda Teter’s exhibit, “Media Technology and the Dissemination of Hate,” has appeared on Fordham News. Below is Tom Stoelker’s commentary on the exhibition.

“From chat rooms fostering hate speech to racist memes, there has been a notable uptick in anti-Semitic bullying online. Just this past June, the Council on Foreign Relations concluded that online hate speech has led to real-world violence. Now, an exhibit at the Walsh Library reveals that while the technology may be new, the abuse of it is not. Titled, ‘Media Technology and the Dissemination of Hate,’ the exhibit notes that from the invention of the printing press to the early days of radio, technological advances have been harnessed to spread derogatory images and stereotypes. The exhibit, curated by the Jewish Studies program, runs through May 31, 2020.”

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The Page 99 Test of Prof. Beth Penry’s New book, “The People Are King.”

The English Novelist and Critic Ford Madox Ford argued: “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.”

Prof. Penry conducted the page 99 test. Click on the links below to see the fascinating results.

Beth Penry

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Filed under Faculty News, Faculty Profiles, Fordham News, Global History, Publications

What is Global History at Fordham? (Part 3 – Prof. Samantha Iyer)

This is part 3 of our new series, “What is Global History at Fordham?” Today, we hear from Professor Samantha Iyer, a member of Fordham’s Global History consortium, on what global history means to her and how it shapes her work.

“Global history offers a perspective that is integral to my work as a historian of capitalism: a system for organizing life that has, since its beginnings, bound together continents and nations. It allows us to ask fundamental questions that tend to lie outside the purview of the national histories that have traditionally dominated the historical profession. For example: How did the work of enslaved people in the Americas since the sixteenth century affect economic institutions and everyday life in Europe? Why did the environmental catastrophe of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s United States have echoes in other parts of the world near the same time, such as South Africa and Australia? How have organizations like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Rockefeller Foundation influenced the economic systems of countries around the world? Global history encourages you to think critically about the geographic contours of the questions that most interest you.”

Samantha Iyer

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Filed under Faculty Profiles, Global History, Teaching, This week in Fordham History

Ph.D. Candidate Louisa Foroughi receives the National Conference of British Studies 2019 Dissertation Fellowship – Many Congratulations!

Louisa Foroughi, a Ph.D. candidate in medieval history, was awarded the 2019 Dissertation Fellowship by the National Conference of British Studies (NACBS), a competition open to all those doing dissertation research in the British Isles on any topic of British (including Scottish, Irish and Imperial) history or British Studies. Fordham University). The citation at the annual meeting of the NACBS in November 2019 in Vancouver reads as follows.

Foroughi’s dissertation, “What Makes a Yeoman? Status, Religion, and Material Culture in Later Medieval England,” examines the English yeomanry from the mid-fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries. Yeoman, she explains, occupied a middling rank in late-medieval England, above the peasantry but beneath the gentry, and its numbers and significance rose throughout the fifteenth century. Through the examination of court records, wills and testaments, and case studies, Foroughi reveals the role of both material culture and religious belief in the making of this social group previously more familiar to early modernists.

Most importantly, Foroughi has developed a series of questions – and ways to go about answering them – that recover the role of women and gender in the yeomanry’s making – something that was not high on the list of historians’ priorities in 1942, the last time the yeomanry figured as the subject of a comparable monograph. Yet the yeomanry’s position, Foroughi shows, was only made possible through the dowries brought by wives and daughters, the values transmitted from mothers to children, and the maintenance of households that partly depended upon women’s labor. To recover these aspects of late medieval and early modern social history, Foroughi’s dissertation ingeniously draws upon literary studies, religious studies, and anthropology, in order to make visible the role of women and of gender in the making of the English yeoman class.  

Louisa Foroughi

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Filed under Grad Student News, Student Awards

Fordham History Prof. Kirsten Swinth Featured in The Washington Post.

Fordham Historian Prof. Kirsten Swinth is quoted in a The Washington Post article entitled, “Jane Fonda spent a night in jail in 1970. Her mug shot defined feminist rebellion.” Swinth states: “At the time, there was this expectation that the only way a woman could be in public was to present herself in full makeup, respectably dressed, a skirt, a well-controlled girdle,” said Kirsten Swinth, a Fordham University professor who studies U.S. women’s history. The mug shot “says you can be something different than what society has told you you can be.”

You can follow Prof. Kirsten Swinth on Twitter at @kswinth.

You can also read the full article below:

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Filed under Faculty News, Fordham News, Public History

Don’t Embrace Originalism to Defend Trump’s Impeachment, argues Fordham Historian Prof. Saul Cornell.

In The New Republic, Fordham Historian Prof. Saul Cornell argues that “Liberal legal scholars are at risk of falling into a right-wing trap.” Cornell continues to argue: “In the pending congressional impeachment inquiry, the House Judiciary Committee is charged with (among other things) taking up the question of what the constitutional process of impeachment means. To aid them in this solemn task, committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and his colleagues on Wednesday summoned an impressive list of constitutional scholars to offer authoritative interpretations of the Constitution’s impeachment clauses.”

He continues: “The present debate over Donald Trump’s impeachment has largely been framed in originalist terms. But for all of this doctrine’s supposed appeal as a settled form of legal interpretation, it would be prudent to recognize that originalism now comes in about as many flavors as the Ben and Jerry’s product line. The dominant model, for the moment, is what’s known as public meaning originalism. Champions of this approach contend that the goal of interpreting the Constitution is to identify what a competent and reasonably well-informed speaker of American English in 1788 would have thought the words of the text meant. For Republicans and many movement conservatives, public meaning originalism is the default mode of inquiry for virtually every constitutional question. The Federalist Society, the influential right-wing legal group that now effectively issues the union card for entry into right-wing politics and law, has made public meaning originalism its unofficial philosophy, arguing in essence that originalism is not simply the best, but is indeed the only legitimate mode of interpreting the Constitution.”

You can read more at https://newrepublic.com/article/155891/dont-embrace-originalism-defend-trumps-impeachment

Saul Cornell

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Filed under Faculty News, Publications

What is Global History at Fordham? (Part 2 – Prof. Chris Dietrich)

This is part of 2 of our new series, “What is Global History at Fordham?” Today, we hear from Professor Chris Dietrich, a member of Fordham’s Global History consortium, on what global history means to him and how it shapes his work.

“As a historian of U.S. foreign relations, the perspectives offered by a Global History methodology are invaluable to my research and writing on oil and decolonization.  It is impossible to understand the major questions faced by U.S. leaders without understanding the different contexts from which those questions arose.  In my own work, it has been fascinating to see how ideas and policies crossed traditional boundaries through international institutions like the Arab League, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the United Nations.  Opportunities abound in New York City, which is a wonderful place to conduct this sort of work for all sorts of reasons, but especially because of the proximity of crucial archives for understanding the place of the United States in the world.”

You can follow Prof. Chris Dietrich on Twitter @CRWDietrich

Chris Dietrich

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Filed under Faculty News, Faculty Profiles, Global History, On this Day at Fordham

Creating an Antiracist, Inclusive, and Transformative Classroom Environment

On November, 5th, 2019, History’s Technology and Pedagogy (TAP) hosted a workshop facilitated by Lisa Betty (Teaching Fellow, History). The session, entitled Creating an Antiracist, Inclusive, and Transformative Classroom Environment, demonstrated how to actively incorporate antiracist pedagogy in the classroom through language-use and writing. With inspiration from bell hooks’ engaged pedagogy and Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy, graduate students discussed strategies for decolonizing language and writing in the classroom through the use of collaborative group work sessions and compulsory critical thinking. Lisa, Amanda, Patrick, and Toby would like this session to be the first of a larger workshop that aims to support GSAS Teaching Fellows in creating and implementing similar antiracist pedagogical strategies within the classroom and their teaching practice.


The History Department sponsored graduate group Technology and Pedagogy (TAP) meets weekly on Thursdays to discuss ways to incorporate technology in the classroom. Please contact Patrick, Toby, or Amanda for more information.


The History Department sponsored graduate group Technology and Pedagogy (TAP) meets weekly on Thursdays to discuss ways to incorporate technology in the classroom. Please contact Patrick, Toby, or Amanda for more information.

(Left to Right) David Howes, Tanner Smoot, Lisa Betty, and Amanda Racine

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Filed under Digital Resources, Grad Student News, Teaching, Workshop