Category Archives: Undergrad News

Undergraduate Grace Rooney Presents Poster at the 136th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Philadelphia

Undergraduate Grace Rooney (Fordham class of 2023) presented her poster entitled “Lesbian Activity and Participation in the National Organization for Women in the 1980s” at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting in Philadelphia which took place 5-8 January 2023. Over 1,500 individuals participated in the event and Grace was one of 20 undergraduates to present a poster. Great work Grace!

To learn more about Grace’s research you can read her poster abstract below:

My research question revolved around how the National Organization for Women (NOW), as a mainstream feminist organization, advocated for and included lesbian members in the 1980s. Publications that I examined from the 1980s, including an annual Lesbian Rights Resource Kit, a Lesbian Rights Lobbying Kit, and a Lesbian Rights Conference. These sources are unique and distinct from the 1980s, and no such sources exist for the 1970s. This distinction shows the escalation of NOW’s work on lesbian rights, and more in-depth issue areas which targeted rising homophobia from the right, as well as defending the idea of lesbian rights as a women’s issue. Since lesbian rights had long been controversial in NOW, I also examined the resulting controversies within the organization over lesbian rights in the 1980s. One of the controversies within the organization was over how to respond to homophobic attacks from the right. There was a major debate within NOW at the time between members, who advocated for the organization to take a step away from gay rights work and advocate for feminism as a “pro-family” ideology in line with the rhetoric of the right-wing at the time, while leadership dismissed this view and increased their public-facing work in support of gay rights. Another controversy I examined was over the 1980 Resolution on Pornography, Sadomasochism, and Public Sex. This resolution stated that all of these sexual issues were exploitative of women and that any association with gay rights was entirely and always erroneous. Many lesbian members and outside organizations took issue with the authoritative and definitive tone of NOW when describing the relationship between feminism, gay rights, and sex. Overall, the 1980s presented a unique context of rising conservative power, as well as internal controversy over issues areas of feminism like sex and pornography. 

Grace also shared some thoughts on her experience:

I really enjoyed my experience at the AHA. One of the best parts of the conference was being able to meet other undergraduate students who were presenting their research from around the country, and who are going through similar experiences as me. The AHA felt intimidating at first as an undergraduate, but meeting other students who were doing the same thing, and talking about our research really helped. Also, they are all applying to graduate school and figuring out what they want to do with history as a career, so talking to them about that was also very helpful and encouraging. 

I was able to go to a variety of sessions, the first being the plenary session about the role of historians in teaching and examining through the lens of social justice. I found this panel very interesting, as those are questions I think about when considering the field as well. There were a lot of very interesting things that the panelists said, but I enjoyed their discussion of the idea that history and the history we study tend to be autobiographical, which I found resonated with a lot of scholars and made me think a little differently about the field. Also, I was able to attend two Fordham professor’s panels, Professor Huezo and Professor Miki. I found their panels to be very fascinating and also useful for me as their subject matter is fairly far away from my own, and they both came and listened to my poster as well, which was very nice to have a friendly face there as well. As far as panels in my field, I attended one on global feminism that I found to be particularly interesting, as well as one on Irish women’s communication networks which taught me a lot, and made me question similar topics in the United States and their relationship to Irish groups given how close the countries work in a lot of areas. 

Presenting the poster was definitely the highlight of the conference though. I was able to talk to a variety of professors, and undergraduate and graduate students. Discussing my research helped me a lot in how I could cohesively organize and present the information that I had found, which I had struggled with in writing the corresponding paper because I felt a little bit all over the place. I received a lot of good feedback on the poster, and I also was able to talk about graduate school and further my research with a variety of people, which was great. My major takeaways from the conference will be greater confidence in my research and its organization of it, as well as a wider understanding of the diversity of the field, and how more difficult questions within it can be answered. I also am very reaffirmed in my interest in research, and continuing that in my graduate school and career.

Grace Rooney stands in front of her poster “Lesbian Activity and Participation in the National Organization for Women in the 1980s” at the 136th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Philadelphia, which took place 5-8 January 2023.

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Filed under Conferences, Uncategorized, Undergrad News, Undergraduate Research

Former Fordham History student offered Harvard-Newcomen Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Former undergraduate student Melanie Sheehan (class of 2017) has been offered the Harvard-Newcomen Post-Doctoral Fellowship for the 2022-2023 academic year. She is a current PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Melanie Sheehan
(Rose Hill, class of 2017)

Melanie is currently finishing her dissertation, titled “Opportunities Foregone: US Industrial Unions and the Politics of International Economic Policy, 1949-1983,” which demonstrates the critical but underexplored role of trade union leaders in shaping US international trade and investment policy. The project draws on research from business archives at Hagley Museum and Library and labor archives at the Walter P. Reuther Library, the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive, Penn State University, and the International Institute of Social History, as well as several presidential libraries.
Congratulations, Melanie!

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Filed under Alumni Awards, Alumni News, Fellowships, Undergrad News

Graduate Student Lisa Betty is Featured in the Fordham Ram, discussing Veganism, and White Supremacy.

Fordham University undergraduate Abby Delk wrote the featured piece. Delk writes in part: “Lisa Betty, a Ph.D. candidate and teaching fellow in Fordham’s history department, has put a great deal of time and energy into her research on modern health and wellness movements and their ties to colonialism and white supremacy. Much of her research focuses on critiquing the modern veganism movement for its inherent racism.”

You can find Lisa Betty’s full article in the Medium here.

You can follow Lisa Betty on Twitter @almostdrlisabetty

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Filed under Grad Student News, Public History, Publications, Undergrad News

A Recap of History Day at Fordham

On Monday, February 10, 2020, Fordham’s History Department hosted its annual History Day celebration. The event brought together some fascinating research from Fordham undergraduate and graduate students and Fordham faculty. The day’s keynote speaker was Prof. Amanda Armstrong. Below is just a snippet of the fascinating work and images we heard from our participants. You will hear from Brian Chen, Hannah Gonzalez, Grace Campagna, Emma Budd, Christian Decker, and Kelli Finn.

Brian Chen discussed Henry Kissinger’s diplomacy during the South Asia Crisis of 1971. He argued that given the geopolitical constraints of the Cold War and the limits of U.S. influence in the region, his response to the genocide in East Pakistan was not unreasonable. Kissinger’s policy of “quiet diplomacy” improved the prospects of peace between the United States and the Communist world, while also providing necessary humanitarian relief to the Bengali people. 

Hannah Gonzalez’s paper, “Natives, Naturalists, and Negotiated Access: William Bartram’s Navigation of the Eighteenth-Century Southeast,” examined how the naturalist William Bartram negotiated access to native territories and knowledge while constrained by colonial politics and a climate of cross-cultural hostilities. This navigation of the Southeast involved the utilization of imperial and colonial structures, from treaties to white traders. As recorded in Travels, Bartram’s journey demonstrates how naturalists negotiated the cultural landscape on levels beyond the scientific.

You can follow her on Twitter @hannahegonzalez.

Grace Campagna’s presentation, “The Quern: The Biography of a Medieval Object,” traced the lifecycle of an artifact, including its production, operation, and repurposing, using both historical and archaeological methods. The quernstones that archaeologists discovered in the Thames river came from a quarry in Germany in order to undergo the final stages of manufacturing in a London workshop. The presentation examined how communities assign value to everyday items and addressed the challenges of analyzing objects for which there are few primary sources.  You can access the full link to her article here: 

Emma Budd’s presentation analyzed intersecting power dynamics in colonization, humanitarian intervention, and sexual assault. Through the lens of the Algerian War of Independence, she argued that the three aforementioned phenomena are intrinsically connected by their roots in a desire for power without concern for humanity. 

Christian Decker’s presentation talked about Polish immigrant networking from 1900 to 1945. It included discussion of family and labor networks, religious networks, all the way up to the formation of the Polish American Congress.

You can follow Christian Decker on Twitter @PCGamingFanatic

Kelli Finn’s presentation, “We survive. We’re Irish:” An Examination of Irish Immigration to the United States, 1840 -1890,” examined how the systemic poverty that Irish immigrants faced from the 1840s-1880s shaped their immigrant experience. It argued that the extreme poverty that the Irish faced lead to harsh stigmatism of Irish immigrants even in the workforce which in turn lead to poor living conditions for the Irish when they got to America and the highest mortality rates among immigrant groups at the time.

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Filed under Conferences, Department Events, Events, Faculty Profiles, Grad Student News, Undergrad News, Undergraduate Research

A Trip To Walsh Library: Introducing Undergraduates to Book History

Michael Sanders, professor and PhD student of the History Department, has written about his experience teaching undergraduates and the extraordinary  introductions he has given them to Walsh Library’s resources and staff. Read about them below:

Michael Sanders in Walsh Library, Rose Hill Campus

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Filed under book history, Postcards, Teaching, Undergrad News, Undergraduate Research

Class of 2018 History Students Win Awards

Four graduating seniors successfully completed the rigorous requirements for departmental Honors in History. In order to qualify for Honors in History, a student must maintain a 3.5 or better GPA in History, complete an Honors tutorial and thesis or a Mannion Society thesis, and successfully complete a 5000-level graduate course in History. The five students who met these requirements this year were: Agata Sobczak ( Mannion Society 2017), Elizabeth Doty (Mannion Society, 2018), Nicholas Guthammar (Mannion Society, 2017), Giulio Ricciardi (Mannion Society, 2017), and Justin Tramonti (Mannion Society, 2017). Continue reading

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History Undergrads Present Their Research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium

Three undergraduate History students were chosen to present their research at the 11th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 11. Dr. Elizabeth Penry, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in the History Department who moderated the panel, reported that the presentations were excellent and that all three were based on extensive original research in primary sources. Here are the abstracts of the papers presented by Josh Anthony, Katherine De Fonzo, and Elizabeth Doty. Continue reading

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Postcard from London: A Medieval Experience

History major and Mannion Society member Marisa Bohm is spending the spring semester in London. Marisa has written to us to share her experiences of her junior semester abroad:

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Filed under Postcards, Undergrad News, Undergraduate Research

History Day 2018 Recap

History Day of 2018 was a great success. Brought together to hear from a great group of undergraduates and faculty, the members of the Fordham community also had the pleasure of Dr. Samantha Iyer as the keynote speaker of this event, presenting her work, titled “The Paradox of Hunger in 1960’s America”. Below are  descriptions of all of the other talks from the day.

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Filed under Department Events, Events, Faculty News, Grad Student News, Undergrad News

The Students of The Mannion Society

The Mannion Society was established by the History Department to encourage outstanding students’ development as researchers. The students are given a chance to work more closely with a member of the faculty in cultivating their research and formulating a well written argument. These students have entered the program with a topic of interest in mind and, while a majority of the research and planning is done independently, they have the guidance and support of Dr. Steven Stoll, the students’ professor of history. The students in this year’s program have written to tell us about their original work. Continue reading

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