Category Archives: Alumni News

Former Fordham History Professor Carina E. Ray published “Could the Police Kill Me, Too?’ My Young Son Asked Me” in The New York Times.

On June 20, 2020, former Fordham history Professor Carina Rey, now at Brandeis University, published an op-ed piece in The New York Times called, “”Could the Police Kill Me, Too?’” You can read the piece on this link: https://nyti.ms/2Bma1UL

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Graduate Student James Smith Becomes Dr. James Smith! Dr. Smith Defends, “A Clash of Ideals: Human Rights and Non-Intervention in U.S. Foreign Policy, 1977-1988.”

We would like to congratulate Dr. James Smith on passing his dissertation defense on April 29, 2020. He becomes only the second person in the history of the Fordham’s History Department to pass his dissertation virtually.

Dr. Smith’s dissertation is titled, “A Clash of Ideals: Human Rights and Non-Intervention in U.S. Foreign Policy, 1977-1988.”

Below is his dissertation abstract:

The dissertation argues that Carter, Reagan, and other domestic and international actors deployed the ideals of universal human rights and state sovereignty as a political language. The protean meanings they assigned to the terms of that language were contingent upon calculations of political and strategic interests. The discourse of rights and sovereignty in domestic and international politics served as a means to justify or check political change, rather than as nonideological, moral, and legal imperatives. In short, Carter, Reagan, and others used morality and law as political strategy. The study proceeds from an analysis of records from the Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan presidential libraries. The personal papers of Patricia Derian, Barry Goldwater, Henry “Scoop” Jackson, and Donald Fraser provide additional context for the political uses of rights and sovereignty. So too, the papers of William Casey, Warren Christopher, and many of their contemporaries archived at the Hoover Institute enriched this analysis. The author also analyzed digital and other published collections of primary documents, interviewed and corresponded with former public officials, and reviewed memoirs, diaries, interview transcripts, and Congressional hearings and reports. While the dissertation probes the official mind of Washington in the manner of traditional diplomatic history, it also broadens that perspective by assessing how competing domestic and international actors deployed the conflicting ideals of rights and sovereignty. The dissertation builds upon the secondary literature by examining how Carter and others deployed human rights and non-intervention in the 1970s and 1980s. It connects that discourse to the history of U.S. foreign relations, domestic politics, international law, and the movement for economic decolonization. Then, after examining Carter’s embrace of rights and non-intervention as a campaign strategy and the contentious transformation of that rhetoric into policy, the dissertation employs as case studies U.S. relations with Panama, Nicaragua, and Iran. Finally, the dissertation assesses continuity and change in Reagan’s use of the ideals of rights and sovereignty in a foreign policy marked by anti-communism and democracy promotion.

You can reach Dr. James Smith at jwalkersmith511@gmail.com if you are interested in learning more about this fabulous dissertation.

Dr. James Smith

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Former Graduate Student, Louie Valencia, nominated for European Studies Book Award

The content below has copied and pasted from the Council for European Studies website:

The European Studies Book Award shortlist has been announced and it includes many notable and exciting books. The award honors the work of talented scholars who have written their first book on any subject in European Studies published within a two-year period. A multi-disciplinary Book Award Committee appointed by the Council for European Studies’ Executive Committee will choose the winner. Listed below are the shortlisted books.

News from Germany: The Competition to Control World Communications, 1900-1945 by Heidi J. Tworek (Harvard University Press);

Organic Resistance: The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France by Venus Bivar (The University of North Carolina Press);

Antiauthoritarian Youth Culture in Francoist Spain by Louie Dean Valencia-García (Bloomsbury Academic);

To See Paris and Die: The Soviet Lives of Western Culture by Eleonory Gilburd (Harvard University Press);

The First Modern Risk: Workplace Accidents and the Origins of European Social States by Julia Moses (Cambridge University Press);

The Return of Alsace to France, 1918-1939 by Alison Carrol (Oxford University Press);

Political Survivors: The Resistance, the Cold War, and the Fight against Concentration Camps after 1945 by Emma Kuby (Cornell University Press);

The Growth of Shadow Banking: A Comparative Institutional Analysis by Matthias Thiemann (Cambridge University Press).

The winner will be announced by early April in the European Studies Newsletter as well as on EuropeNow Daily. The winning author will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

This year’s jury is made up of: Megan Brown, Lindsey Chappell, Jonah Levy, Brittany Murray, Thomas Nolden (Chair), and Mark Vail.

Past awardees of the prize include Max Bergholz for Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community, Francine Hirsch for Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union, Chip Gagnon for The Myth of Ethnic War: Serbia and Croatia in the 1990s, Todd Shepard for his book, The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (Cornell University Press), Mark I. Choate’s Emigrant Nation: The Making of Italy Abroad, Bonnie M. Meguid’s Party Competition between Unequals: Strategies and Electoral Fortunes in Western Europe, Paulina Bren for her book The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism after the 1968 Prague Spring, and Harris Mylonas for The Politics of Nation-Building: Making Co-Nationals, Refugees, and Minorities.”

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Letter on Teaching, from one of our Recent Alumnus of History

History Department Friends,

On a rainy Friday afternoon in January 2017, I had quite the decision to make: to accept a position teaching Asian and European history at The Derryfield School (DS)—an independent college preparatory school in Manchester, New Hampshire—or fly to Florida (on Monday!) for a campus interview for an assistant professorship at a state college.  I chose Derryfield that evening and moved to Concord, NH with my family that summer.  A year and a half later, I cannot emphasize enough how excited I am about my decision. In this regard, I want to share my experience with the History Department and encourage current doctoral students who are falling in love with teaching to consider pursuing positions at both the prep school and university level.

Throughout the course of my time at Fordham, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach extensively at the Rose Hill and Westchester campuses.  In the process, I came to realize just how much I love being in the classroom and engaging with driven young people.  I felt gratified by my academic success in publishing peer-reviewed articles and giving talks on my scholarship (I am still proud of my presentation at The Korea Society!) But increasingly, what excited me the most was how I felt after leaving the classroom each day—the electric buzz of debates about ethical dilemmas in history, of competing views about the significance of personal subjectivity in analyzing ordinary and extraordinary times.

As I approached graduating with my Ph.D. in May 2016, this passion drove me to pursue positions at prep schools and colleges as I considered how to best make teaching the centerpiece of my academic career.

As I now teach at Derryfield, my days are filled with endless historical debates with thoughtful and enthusiastic young people.  The youth of high school students—quite different from teaching college juniors and seniors!—fosters an exciting classroom environment.  At the dawn of their formative years, my students prove unusually open to taking risks with their ideas; they lack an intellectual self-consciousness that sometimes constrains debates in higher education.  With this appreciation, I have found the energy of adolescents inspiring; the pot boils, so to speak.  I use diverse primary sources (period music, memoirs, films etc.) and frequent debates (mock U.S.-DPRK nuclear negotiations!) to encourage that vibrant environment.  I take pride as teenagers learn to think critically, but also to feel history and empathize with the humanity of individuals in the past and present.

In terms of scholarship, I am enjoying the opportunity this summer to read and write on topics related and unrelated to my area of expertise in US-DPRK relations.  I have, for example, been writing on US foreign policy with Iran and North Korea in my local newspaper, the Concord Monitor, in an effort to shape such conversations at a grassroots level.  (Links to my most recent pieces below.)  I have two forthcoming book reviews coming out with the Journal of American-East Asian Relations.  In addition, I am currently beginning a book project, focusing on key historical events in the early personal lives of deplorable dictators (See the short story “Genesis and Catastrophe: A True Story” by Roald Dahl, and you’ll understand).

Fordham and the History Department (as well as Beth Knobel in the communications department!) enabled me to gain indispensable teaching experience and allowed me to discover my passion for teaching.  I remain thankful, moreover, for having had the opportunity to learn from a master pedagogue like Elaine Crane.  (I’ll never forget Dr. Crane’s admonishment in the “Teaching History” course when I used the word “plethora.”  “Use straightforward language! No one is impressed with your GRE vocabulary!” Dr. Crane stated in her oh-so-gentle manner of speaking for which she is deservedly celebrated.)

As doctoral students move towards the completion of their programs and begin to pursue professorships at the university level, I strongly encourage them—if teaching is a true passion—to consider positions at the prep school level as well.  I would be happy to discuss such a path with anyone who is interested.

 

With appreciation,

Brandon K. Gauthier, Ph.D.

 

“A win for Kim,” Concord Monitor, June 15, 2018

http://www.concordmonitor.com/A-win-for-North-Korea-and-perhaps-peace-18192740

“North Korea’s games,” Concord Monitor, June 4, 2018

http://www.concordmonitor.com/US-and-North-Korea-17936206

“Why would anyone trust the US?” Concord Monitor, May 12, 2018

http://www.concordmonitor.com/Why-would-anyone-sign-a-deal-with-the-US-17447195

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Thinking About the History of the Digital Era at the Society for the History of Technology

Philadelphia was the location on the weekend of October 26-29 for the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). For the conference, Professor Asif Siddiqi organized a panel titled “Democratizing the Technologies of Pop Music: Songs in the Key of Gender, Fandom and Digital Sampling.” The panel forms the basis for a new book project by Professor Siddiqi, a collection of essays provisionally titled One Track Mind. The book will bring together academics and cultural critics to talk about Continue reading

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Dr. Laurence Jurdem (Ph.D, 2015): Trump, FDR, and The Washington Post

Dr. Laurence Jurdem (Ph.D, 2015) sat down recently with The Washington Post‘s podcast to discuss his July 2017 article, “Fighting his party in Congress didn’t work for FDR. It won’t work for Trump.”  Dr. Jurdem was motivated to write the article by the news of President Trump’s frustration with members of his own party and his efforts to recruit candidates to run in primaries in the hopes of defeating those members of the GOP who disagree with him. In his article, Dr. Jurdem argues that the current situation is similar to FDR’s attempts to encourage primary challenges to those southern Democrats in 1938 who were unhappy with the “New Deal” policies that Roosevelt was pursuing. With the podcast interview Dr. Jurdem provided context about how delicate the New Deal coalition was and how its complexities resemble the many parts of today’s Republican Party. It was the first podcast interview for Dr. Jurdem and he reports that he very much enjoyed it. To listen to the interview, click here. Continue reading

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Congratulations to Alumnus Dr. Pedro Cameselle

Congratulations to Pedro Cameselle who has recently accepted a position as Assistant Professor at Western Washington University! Dr. Cameselle completed his dissertation, “A Forgotten Neighbor: The Challenge of Uruguay-United States Relations during the Era of Franklin Roosevelt, 1929-1945” at Fordham in 2016. Continue reading

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Congratulations to our graduates!

The History Department congratulates our 2017 graduates! We’re sad to see you go, but proud of all you have accomplished. Good luck historians!

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Big News from History’s Own Dr. Louie Valencia-García (PhD ’16)

We’ve got lots of big news to announce from our recent alumnus, Dr. Louie Valencia-García! Louie wrote to let us know that he has just been appointed Assistant Professor of Digital History at Texas State University.  Texas State is located about 25 minutes south of Austin in San Marcos, Texas. He will be be teaching in the Department of History, and the Public History Program, teaching graduate students and undergraduates digital methodologies and European history.
For the past year, Louie has been a Lecturer on History of Literature for the Committee on Degrees on History and Literature, an Honors concentration at Harvard University. Louie writes
My time at Harvard has been absolutely fabulous. I have had the chance to work with amazing colleagues, students, and have taken advantage of all the resources available to faculty members. While the contract was renewable for up to three years, I decided to jump at the opportunity at Texas State.
My book, Antiauthoritarian Youth Culture: Clashing with Fascism, is under contract with Bloomsbury Academic, and will be published in 2018 (the cover of my book and a photo is here: http://scholar.harvard.edu/valencia/about). I’m particularly excited to start moving my own research to a focus on knowledge creation, youth culture, and activism in the digital age by researching HIV/AIDS research and knowledge distribution in Europe in the 1980s/90s.  Currently, I am also a Research Editor for the new monthly digital journal of the Council for European Studies at Columbia University, EuropeNow (europenowjournal.org). I am expecting articles to be published in Contemporary European History and European Comic Art, amongst others. I am also contributing an article to Asif Siddiqi and Simon Reynold’s upcoming volume, One-Track Mind.

Louie Valencia-García’s new book, forthcoming from Bloomsbury.

The new job means a lot to Louie: he graduated from Texas State University in 2007 with degrees in the European Studies and Spanish Literature, as well as minors in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and International Studies. He was the student commencement speaker, and he is “beyond excited to come home.” Of course we’re beyond excited too, and proud of our graduate. Way to go Louie!

 

 

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Congratulations to Dr. Ryan Keating (Ph.D ’13)

Congratulations to Fordham alumnus Dr. Ryan Keating for his recent award as “Outstanding Junior Faculty Member.” Dr. Keating received his Ph.D from Fordham in 2013 for his dissertation, “’Give Us War in Our Time’: America’s Irish Communities in the Civil War Era.” He is an assistant professor at California State University San Bernardino in sunny southern California where he received the annual award.

 

On top of showing his Fordham trained teaching chops, Dr. Keating has become an administrative asset for CSUSB. He was named Dean’s Fellow and charged with coordinating the college’s assessment policies. He also co-chairs the University’s Graduation Initiative.

 

This does little to detract form his own research it seems, as Dr. Keating has found time to publish two forthcoming books on top of his other projects. The first book, Shades of Green: Irish Reginments, American Soldiers, and Local Communities in the Civil War Era is a social history that traces the soldiers who served in three Irish regiments from Connecticut, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and moves the historical discussion of 19th century Irish immigration away from major urban centers to illustrate ways in which immigrants across the nation understood their place in 19th century America and the meaning of their service in the Civil War. His second book, The Greatest Trial I Ever Had: The Civil War Letters of Margaret and Thomas Cahill will be an edited collection of letters written by Thomas Cahill, Colonel of the 9th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, and his wife, Margaret, during the Civil War. This collection represents the largest corpus of letters written by an Irish-American woman during this period to ever be published. The collection also shows the unique perspective on the war from the 9th Connecticut, an Irish regiment that was stationed in the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana throughout the war, during occupational duty in the south. With these two soon-to-be-published works in his rearview mirror, Dr. Keating has focused on an upcoming study of 500 union veterans who relocated to southern California after their muster out of northern armies.

 

Once again, congratulations to Dr. Keating on his outstanding award and we will all be looking forward to his future publications!

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