Author Archives: Aurora Pfefferkorn

2016 Phi Alpha Theta Inductions

 

PAT induction

On May 4, 2016 the Fordham University chapter of  Phi Alpha Theta inducted sixteen new members: Alexander B. Simeone,Christina M. Storino, Caitlin Hufnagle, Matthew McCormack,Sarah Homer, Ahmad Awad, Mary Ryan, Ariana Bottalico, Andrew O. Kayaian, Allison Burns, Patrick Nolan, Joseph O’Brien, Amy Palen, Alison Blitz, Kyle Stelzer, and Olivia Balsamo.

 

This year Phi Alpha Theta sponsored, a lecture  by Fordham faculty member Alex Novikoff, “Medievalism in the Modern World” and planned a panel discussion–in conjunction with the Urban Studies Department and the Dorothy Day Center– called  “Robert Moses: Master Builder or Great Destroyer”, featuring Fordham faculty members Rober, Panetta, Rosemary Wakeman, Chris Rhomber, and Steven Stoll.

Congratulations to all the new inductees, and to out-going Phi Alpha Theta President, History major Priscilla Consolo, who will be attending NYU law school next year on a full scholarship! 

IMG_0747IMG_0749 IMG_0744

Comments Off on 2016 Phi Alpha Theta Inductions

Filed under Uncategorized

Challenging Assumptions: A Conversation with Steven Stoll

Profesor Steven Stoll

Professor Steven Stoll

Steven Stoll became a member of the Fordham History Department in 2008.  His classes and research focus on the history of capitalism and environmental history and more specifically how these two topics intersect. Stoll’s work is extremely relevant today as politicians and scientists debate climate change; activists and industry clash over fracking; California struggles through drought; and farmers raise ethical concerns about GMOs. But what is environmental history? For Stoll, environmental history is the story of how humans have changed the planet, how societies have lived well (or not so well) with the environment, and how different societies at different points in time have thought about ‘nature’.  He explained that people’s ideas about the Earth and the environment have changed drastically over the last 400 years. Stoll said, “Students, and a lot of other people, look at New York City and how we live today—the kinds of houses we live in, the kinds of energies and conveniences we have—and though they know it hasn’t always been this way, they assume that all of this is normal, that things are supposed to be this way.. I try to show them that our way of life has existed for an astonishingly short period of time. To me, the most exciting use of history is to take ideas that people think are universal or derived from ‘nature’ and reveal their recent origins.”  

 

Steven Stoll giving a lecture at Yale University entitled "The Captured Garden: Substance Under Capitalism" in 2013. The lecture is available as a video on the Yale University Website.

Steven Stoll giving a lecture at Yale University entitled “The Captured Garden: Substance Under Capitalism” in 2013. The lecture is available as a video on the Yale University Website.

                   Professor Stoll questions the notion of progress, his views are in direct opposition to what most of his students and readers learned growing-up in Western society. Walt Disney World’s Carousel of Progress celebrates progress without any critical examination and perpetuates the idea that each new technological advancement is an inevitable improvement to society.  However, Stoll argues that there is no “spirit of progress embedded in human history” driving technological change. He explains that technological progress “occurs for very specific reasons, but always because someone invents something that fulfills a social goal.” What constitutes progress depends on who benefits from technological change, he says. Stoll encourages his students and readers to step outside of their lives and experiences to critically examine the world.  

 

                   He laughed good naturedly while saying, “My courses are about how everything we know comes out of the past, just like any other historian.” His course on North American environmental history is not just abstract topics (like the nature of progress) but covers people, inventions, and events like the Erie Canal, the construction of American railroads, the fate of the passenger pigeon, the Ice-Age migration of American-Indians, and the history of industrialization. He explores the interaction between capitalism and the environment in his two books The Fruits of Natural Advantage: Making the Industrial Countryside in California and Larding the Lean Earth: Soil and Society in Nineteenth- Century America.

Larding the Lean Earth by Steven Stoll published in 2002

Larding the Lean Earth by Steven Stoll published in 2002

 Stoll is currently working on his fifth book, which focuses geographically on the Appalachian Mountains. “At first, I didn’t really know what I wanted to say about it, honestly. It’s a big and complicated place. But I knew I wanted write about how the people who lived in the mountains lost their land, how mountain people who lived in log cabins became coal miners, not necessarily by choice, but how the industry and the state transformed their environment and forced them into wage work as the only way to make a living.” In his book on Appalachia, Stoll examines how ‘mountain people’ lived independently with their own system and means of survival and the factors led to the destruction of this way of life. He also explores aspects of mountain society itself, like population growth and environmental erosion, and also how society changed when “capital came into the mountains.” The book covers Appalachia between the Whiskey Rebellion and the Great Depression.

            Long after speaking with Dr. Stoll my brain was stuck on the slice of avocado I had with my lunch. Who grew this avocado? Who owned the land it was grown on? Who, if anyone, owned the genetic code in the seeds? Who picked and packaged this fruit? What are the conditions under which they work? If it was a California avocado, how much water did it take to grow this fruit? Who has the ‘right’ to water during a shortage,? It was just an avocado, which I had eaten so many                                                                            times before but now it was so much more than that.

 

If you’re interested in Steven Stoll’s work you can read his article “No Man’s Land” published online in the Orion Magazine, as well as his two books The Fruits of Natural Advantage: Making the Industrial Country Side in California and Larding the Lean Earth: Soil and Society in Nineteenth-Century America. And, of course, be on the look-out for his upcoming monograph on Appalachia.

Comments Off on Challenging Assumptions: A Conversation with Steven Stoll

Filed under Faculty News, Faculty Profiles, O'Connell Initiative

Unique Museums in New York City

Who doesn’t love the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters, or the Morgan Library and Museum? However sometimes it’s exciting to visit new places, see new exhibits and access different scholarship. With that in mind we offer up some of the best lesser known museums in New York City, that academic and hobbyist historians alike will enjoy!

Continue reading

Comments Off on Unique Museums in New York City

Filed under Historical Sites and Museums

4/12/16 “The Legacy of Jane Jacobs” with distinguished visitors Greg Lindsay and William Easterly

Jane Jacobs event

Comments Off on 4/12/16 “The Legacy of Jane Jacobs” with distinguished visitors Greg Lindsay and William Easterly

Filed under Events

For Passover and Easter: Teter Organizes Events and Exhibits Related to Christian-Jewish Relations

The St. Louis Bible from the Leach Collection. To learn more about this collection read about it on here on the Medieval Studies blog

The St. Louis Bible from the Leach Collection. To learn more about this collection read about it here on the Medieval Studies blog

 

“Passover and Easter: A Polemical Encounter” is an exhibit currently open at Walsh Library in the O’Hare Special Collection room, mounted by Dr. Magda Teter Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies and Professor of History. This exhibit explores the history of Easter and Passover through manuscripts, books, and ephemera, with a particular emphasis on the biblical texts related to the holidays and several Haggadot, the sacred text read during the Passover Seder.  Among the items on display are engravings from two editions of the famous 15th century world chronicle that portray the bleeding of a child, with images of Jews as grotesque characters, the Easter issue of an Italian magazine, La difesa della razza (The Defense of Race), from 1940 that once again return to the theme of blood libel; German currency from 1922 that celebrates burning Jews, and an 1884 parody of the Haggadah by German artist Carl Maria Seyppel.  Tom Stoelker wrote an in depth article about the exhibit which can be read by following this link to the Center of Medieval Studies Venerable Blog. 

 

 

 

Dr. Magda Teter

Dr. Magda Teter

A Dramatic Reading of  Burning Words: A History Play by Peter Wortsman 

Dr. Magda Teter will be involved in Burning Words: A History Play, offering scholarly commentary during the multimedia reading. The play is about about zealotry, censorship, and religious tolerance, and recounts the moment in history when  “Johannes Reuchlin, a humanist Christian jurist, clashed with Johannes Pfefferkorn, a Jewish butcher converted to Christianity and a willing tool of the Dominican Order in their quest to burn Jewish books. ” Dr. Teter recently gave a lecture entitled “From Friendship to Hatred: The Catholic Church and the Jews” at the University of New Mexico as part of  the AJS Distinguished Lecture Series.

The play will take place on April 3, 2016 at 2:30 pm at The Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th Street New York, New York 10011)

Ticket Info: $15 general; $10 Leo Baeck Institute / Center for Jewish History members

We encourage members of the Fordham community to attend and support Dr. Teter  during this exciting innovative performance. More information about The Center for Jewish History and the play can be found on the center’s website. 

 Both of these events are excellent opportunities for students studying Christian-Jewish relations, like those currently taking Dr. Alex Novikoff’s Medieval Interfaith Relations graduate seminar.

 

Comments Off on For Passover and Easter: Teter Organizes Events and Exhibits Related to Christian-Jewish Relations

Filed under Events, Faculty News, Faculty Profiles

Professor Silvana Patriarca’s Research on Race and Nation in Post World War II Italy

Dr. Silvana Patriarca

Dr. Silvana Patriarca

Professor Silvana Patriarca is a faculty member in the Fordham University History department and specializes in modern Italian history. She is currently exploring the interaction between ideas of nation and “race” and working on a book about the history of racism in post-World War II Italy. Her new book will focus on “mixed-race” children born in Italy during the Allied occupation. These children were born to Italian mothers and non-white Allied soldiers, and were highly racialized in the post-war period.

Dr. Patriarca had initially started her research with a different topic in mind, but became interested in the post-war period when she discovered a lack of scholarship about race and racism in Italy after 1945. She began to focus on the experiences of mix-raced Italian children when she came across a 1961 Italian anthropometric study of a group of mixed-race children born during and right after WWII. T​he children ​ had been measured in all sorts of invasive way ​to determine ​the physical, intellectual, and psychological traits ​that distinguished them, as if they were a group apart from a racial standpoint. “I ​found the book offensive and asked myself​ what do we know about the experiences of these children? I wondered what happened to them ​at that time and ​after [these studies were finished]?” Dr. Patriarca said. She saw these racial studies as​ linked to the large issue of Italian identity, the war experience, and the trauma of defeat. Fascist and racist​ ideas still circulated throughout Italy after World War II and permeated the scientific community especially. “Of course mentalities are slow to change,” Dr. Patriarca explained “It was troubling that many historians could still not see the intersection of nation and race in the postwar period and the lingering effects of fascism​ and racism on national identity.”

Dr. Patriarca has been working on and off this project for three years now, and took a full year away from Fordham University to conduct research in Italy​. While there is very little secondary scholarship regarding this issue, there is no shortage of primary sources. Dr. Patriarca has found a plethora of diverse sources to work with including cinema, newspapers, scientific literature, and psychological studies. Along with these sources Dr. Patriarca is also using oral histor​y​ in her new book.  Although she has used oral histories in previous publications, she said interviewing people who have been racially stigmatized has been a challenging “learning experience.” Dr. Patriarca explained that collecting the stories of people who have experienced indignities, who have been discriminated against and racialized has been difficult and “emotionally intense,” but also​ rewarding from a human standpoint.

She intends to incorporate these interviews in the form of a dialogue. She explained she sees herself more as an “interview partner” than a formal interviewer. While the book focuses on the experiences and stories of these mixed-race individuals, it is at the same time a story that sheds light on the identity formation of contemporary Italians and thus involves her personally. To that point, she hopes to write a ​book that will be accessible to a larger audience while still ​being academically rigorous​. Dr. Patriarca said, “Historians should be encouraged to be more ​present in​ the public debate.”

You can read the first results of her research in her recently published article “Fear of Small Numbers: ‘Brown Babies’ in Postwar Italy,” Contemporanea. Rivista di storia dell’800 e del ‘900 18:4 (Oct-Dec.2015).​ If you’re interested in finding more about​ Dr. Patriarca’s ​previous ​work be sure to read her book​: Italian Vices. Nation and Character from the Risorgimento to the Republic (Cambridge University Press, 2010); Ital. transl.: Italianità. La costruzione del carattere nazionale (Laterza, 2010)

Comments Off on Professor Silvana Patriarca’s Research on Race and Nation in Post World War II Italy

Filed under Faculty Profiles

This Week in Fordham History

Happy Spring Break! We’re  looking back at moments in 1911, 1934, 1935, 1937 and 1945!  March historically was an exciting month for Fordham University! Read on to find out about women’s enrollment at Fordham, what exciting historical artifact Fordham acquired in 1935, and Dean James Walsh’s feelings on commercialism.

Continue reading

Comments Off on This Week in Fordham History

Filed under This week in Fordham History, Uncategorized

The Brief History of Spring Break

For some American college students spring break is a time to relax and travel. Florida remains the top destination for spring break, and during the 2014 ‘spring break season’ Florida had 26. 3 million out of state visitors.  The term ‘spring break’ has become synonymous in popular culture with partying and travel; this is partly because every year since 1986 MTV has aired a spring break special, with coverage of parties and concerts. But how did this tradition start?

Continue reading

Comments Off on The Brief History of Spring Break

Filed under Essays in History, Grad Student News, This week in Fordham History, Undergrad News

This Week in Fordham History

There is no better way to start the week than with a ‘blast from the past!’ Read on to find out why Fordham University appeared in the New York Times ninety-nine years ago this week!

Continue reading

Comments Off on This Week in Fordham History

Filed under This week in Fordham History

‘Footnoting History’ Goes from Strength to Strength

 

Footnoting History

We previously reported how The Canadian Broadcasting Company included the podcast “The Royal Teeth of Louis XIV“, an episode of Footnoting History by  Christine Caccipuoti, on their list of “10 History Podcasts You Need to Hear.”  The episode, produced by Fordham graduate alumna Christine Caccipuoti, went viral, and  was downloaded more than 8,000 times.   Right now, Footnoting History is the featured podcast on History Podcasts and on March 19, Footnoting History podcasters will be hosting an AMA (“Ask me Anything”) on Reddit.

Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge is a Fordham Doctoral candidate and producer of Footnoting History

Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge is a Fordham Doctoral candidate and producer of Footnoting History

Footnoting History was conceived of by Fordham Doctoral candidate Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge and the podcasts began in 2013. She told the Fordham News that “she started the series as a sort of “career plan B,” in case the coveted job of university professor eludes her upon graduation.”  New episodes are released biweekly, and the various speakers bring to life quirky and interesting aspects of history that are often over looked.  Some of their most recent episodes include: Apples in America, The Great Medieval Canon Law Forgery, and Sherlock Holmes in Popular Culture.

Footnoting History also offers five unique on-going ‘Special Series’. For those who love ‘man’s best friend’ you might enjoy the Doggy History series which includes episodes like Dogs: The Final Frontier and Mush! A Short History of Dog Sledding.  The on-going specials also include Film History (with episodes like The Birth of the Blockbuster)  Running History  (the third episode is titled The Origin of the Marathon: Linking Past to Present),  Revolutionary History (Empress Eugenie in Exile Part II: Life After Empire) and Medieval  Conspiracy Theories (which features episodes like The Husband Killing She-Wolf of Naples).

The image above is used for the the Mush! Short History of Dog Sledding episode.

The image above is used for the the Mush! Short History of Dog Sledding episode.

Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge told the Fordham News, “We see ourselves as everyone’s quirky friend who always has a historical anecdote/reference whenever out socializing.” She credits the success of Footnoting History with the podcasts friendly conversational tone. She explains the team strives “not to sound like teachers” and that podcasters speak  on a level that is understandable and yet not condescending to their audience.  History podcasts and blogs are now a popular source for information and entertainment for students in secondary school and hobbyist historians.

Footnoting History is an exciting example of  presents a unique and exciting opportunity for academic historians to share their love and passion for history with friends and family.

 

 

Congratulations to Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge,  Christine Caccipuoti and the entire Footnoting History team on a job well done. We certainly look forward to following their insightful podcasts.

Listen to Footnoting History here.

Click here to read the Fordham News article about Footnoting History 

 

Comments Off on ‘Footnoting History’ Goes from Strength to Strength

Filed under Alumni News, Grad Student News