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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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: https://medievallondon.ace.fordham.edu/exhibits/show/medieval-london-objects-3/quern
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.
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
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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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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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.
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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History major Katherine DeFonzo in the Archives Center at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Earlier this summer, History major Katherine DeFonzo reached out to faculty member Christopher Dietrich about the work she was doing at her internship at the Archives Center at the American Museum of National History (a part of the Smithsonian Institution). Katherine wrote: Continue reading →
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“Created by the Department of History to identify particularly impressive history majors and offer them an intensive introduction to research and writing history papers,” the History Department’s Mannion Society invites students to join in their sophomore or junior year. By their senior year, therefore, Mannion Society members have had extensive training and supervision assisting them with their final projects. We reached out to graduating members of the Society to ask them about their projects. Here’s what they said:
My project explored the ramifications of the introduction of the Stinger missile by the United States government to the mujahidin during the Soviet-Afghan War. During the war, the United States ran the largest covert operation in history, supplying the mujahidin with weapons with which to fight the Soviets. I argue that the introduction of the Stinger missile was the turning point in the war, as it had a great impact militarily, psychologically, and diplomatically. The Stinger allowed the mujahidin to effectively counter Soviet aerial attacks, punctured the Soviet aura of invincibility, and, most importantly, ended American plausible deniability. The Stinger proved American involvement in the war, which could have provoked an extreme Soviet response. The Stinger missile changed the course of the war, and marked a departure from conventional Cold War tactics regarding plausible deniability.
My research seeks to understand how the AFL-CIO’s power in Congress diminished during the Nixon administration. I explore this question by examining the differences between the union’s successful lobbying campaign against the Supreme Court nominations of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell Court in 1969 and 1970 and the organization’s failure to block the nomination of William Rehnquist in 1971. I contend that the Rehnquist proceedings reflect larger social changes that split the AFL-CIO from its allies and discredited the organization’s testimony against Rehnquist. While the AFL-CIO criticized the conservative stances of Haynsworth, Carswell, and Rehnquist on civil rights, its opposition to the Philadelphia Plan and its failure to address affiliates’ discriminatory practices undermined the AFL-CIO’s relationship with the NAACP. Further, the apparent contradiction between the organization’s avowed stances and its own pervasive discrimination opened the organization’s testimony to criticisms, which the union could not deflect without NAACP support. In addition, the law and order issue, largely absent in the Haynsworth and Carswell hearings, predominated the Rehnquist proceedings. The AFL-CIO condemned Rehnquist’s conservative stances on such civil liberties issues as wiretapping and the right to protest. However, the union’s arguments seemed to contradict the average worker’s growing concerns about crime, particularly as Nixon deliberately tied the issue with the rise of the New Left to divide the working class from the Democrats. Meanwhile, as radical antiwar elements gained influence in the Democratic Party, the AFL-CIO chose to abandon the party rather than promote compromise reforms. AFL-CIO leaders thus became more closely tied to the Nixon administration and offered their full-fledged support for the president’s decision to invade Cambodia. During the Rehnquist proceedings, then, former allies such as Americans for Democratic Action lost credibility by adopting unpopular stances regarding civil liberties issues, while the AFL-CIO’s condemnation of Rehnquist’s law and order views and his support for expanded executive power were, like its civil rights testimony, dismissed as illegitimate.
“The Golden Apple: Pietro Andrea Mattioli’s Influence on the Usage of the Tomato in Renaissance Italy,” tells the story of the Sienese herbalist and physician, Pietro Andrea Mattioli. In 1544, Mattoli published his seminal work, I discorsi. This groundbreaking herbal included the first description of the tomato in European literature. Its subsequent editions (the 1554 updated edition in particular) included the first European name for the tomato, pomi d’oro, and a detailed illustration of the plant, which reflected its increased cultivated in the Italian peninsula in the decade between the initial publication and the updated edition. Mistakenly believed to be a relation of the controversial mandrake, the tomato was generally condemned or ignored by Europeans. An extended research project for the Mannion Society, this research demonstrates the mutability of culture and the invaluableness of Mattioli’s writing; it was this audacious herbalist who, against convention, encouraged the usage of the tomato as a culinary ingredient. As a result of Mattioli’s influence, European herbalists, botanists, and physicians from John Gerard to Rembert Dodoens echoed Mattioli’s observations that would dominate herbal literature in almost every major European language for centuries. As a result, the tomato’s association with Italians overshadowed the tomato’s true colonial origins, cementing the tomato’s exalted position in the Mediterranean diet and Italian cuisine.
Congratulations to our Seniors on their original and fascinating projects!
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