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.
Brandon K. Gauthier, Ph.D.
“A win for Kim,” Concord Monitor, June 15, 2018
“North Korea’s games,” Concord Monitor, June 4, 2018
“Why would anyone trust the US?” Concord Monitor, May 12, 2018
Category Archives: Alumni News
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
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
The History Department congratulates our 2017 graduates! We’re sad to see you go, but proud of all you have accomplished. Good luck historians!
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.
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!
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!
Fordham History Alum Darryl E. Brock Appointed Assistant Professor at CUNY’s Borough of Manhattan Community College
Fordham History Ph.D. graduate Darryl E. Brock (2014) has been appointed an Assistant Professor of Latino Studies starting fall semester 2016 at CUNY’s Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). He will work in the Center for Ethnic Studies, a program that focus on Latino, African-American and Asian studies. At Fordham his primary advisor was the late Dr. Christopher Schmidt-Nowara with his dissertation committee also containing Drs. Hector Lindo-Fuentes and Asif Siddiqi. Darryl’s dissertation is under contract with the University of Alabama Press for publication in 2017 as Botanical Monroe Doctrine and American Empire: The Scientific Survey of Puerto Rico. At BMCC he looks forward to working with study abroad programs and undergraduate research, including expansion of his research program to look at how Puerto Ricans mediated U.S. colonial science into broader Latin America.
Since graduating from Fordham, Darryl has received the Taiwan Fellowship which entailed his spending five months last year researching under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Taiwan’s public diplomacy in Latin America. That work led to publications in Eurasia News and the Taiwan Review. Since then, he has received a Fulbright Scholar Award to teach at the National University of Singapore (NUS) during Spring Semester of 2017. As an NUS Senior Visiting Fellow, Darryl will teach two courses of his creation, “Science, Technology and Imperialism in Global History,” and “May Fourth to Mao: Science in Modern China.” The latter course, in large part, will be based on his co-edited work Mr. Science and Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution (Lexington, 2013).
Many congratulations Darryl, we are all very proud of you!
Congratulations to Laurence Jurdem, who received his PhD in History at Fordham, for publishing an article in the National Review.