Category Archives: Faculty Profiles

Professor Westenley Alcenat Featured in CBS News on “Did you learn about Juneteenth in school? Many American history lessons fall short on black history”

The content below is reproduced verbatim from Caitlin O’Kane’s June 19, 2020, story, “Did you learn about Juneteenth in school? Many American history lessons fall short on black history.”

Westenley Alcenat, an assistant professor of History, Urban & American Studies at Fordham University, says black history curriculums in all schools are either “inadequate, inaccurate, or simply non-existent.” 
 
“I went to high school in Minneapolis, actually, exactly in the same areas that were deeply affected by the George Floyd incident,” Alcenat told CBS News. “I can confidently tell you that much of what I know regarding American history within the context of what contributions or roles black people made to it… was not something that I really learned as much about in high school as something I learned in adulthood.” 
 
Alcenat said African American history is often sequestered from the larger narrative of American history. Instead, children at all education levels should be learning about the contributions African Americans made throughout history.
 
“We are not taught enough about how black men and women put their lives on the line to create what we know today as the multiracial vision of American democracy,” Alcenat said. 
 
“Given the type of society we’re striving towards, the type of society we’d like to be, let’s let our kids know very early on what [African Americans’] particular contributions really are,” he said. 
 
In the wake of nationwide protests against racial injustice, new efforts are being made by many American institutions to advance diversity and equality and address longstanding biases. Companies are suddenly recognizing the need to rebrand products like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s due to their racist imagery, the country band Lady Antebellum changed its name, and NASCAR banned the Confederate flag.

While these changes may be welcome, some believe real progress can only be made if a fuller version of history is taught in schools. 

“Without knowledge of history, how do you put together an empathetic, humane response to horrible situations like the George Floyd murder, which we know is a symptom of the larger historical forces of racism in this country?” Alcenat said. “It’s incredibly important that we try to provide a correctness to how it’s all being taught at the moment. Or else we risk not necessarily repeating history, we risk not knowing how to deal with ourselves when these moments of history come upon us.”

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Filed under Faculty Profiles, Faculty Profiles, Fordham News, Public History

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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Filed under Alumni News, Faculty News, Faculty Profiles, Fordham News

Professor Nana Osei-Opare published “Around the world, the U.S. has long been a symbol of anti-black racism” in The Washington Post.

On June 5, 2020, Professor Nana Osei-Opare published, “Around the world, the U.S. has long been a symbol of anti-black racism,” in The Washington Post. You can read it by clicking the link below: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/06/05/around-world-us-has-long-been-symbol-anti-black-racism/

You can follow him on Twitter @NanaOseiOpare.

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Filed under Faculty News, Faculty Profiles, Fordham News, Global History, Public History, Publications

Prof. S. Elizabeth Penry’s Book, “The People Are King: The Making of an Indigenous Andean Politics,” Awarded the 2020 Flora Tristán Prize

We are excited to announce that the Peru Section of the Latin American Studies Association has awarded Prof. S. Elizabeth Penry’s new book, The People Are King: The Making of an Indigenous Andean Politics (Oxford University Press, 2019), the 2020 Flora Tristán Prize for the best book on Peru published in the previous year.

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Filed under book history, Faculty Awards, Faculty News, Faculty Profiles

Professor Yuko Miki Receives Prestigious American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Award

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) announced that Prof. Yuko Miki is one of its 2020 cohort Fellows. The “ACLS Fellowship program honors scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who have the potential to make significant contributions to knowledge in their fields.”

Yuko Miki’s project is entitled, “Emancipation’s Shadow: Stories of Illegal Slavery.” This project is a narrative history of illegal slavery in the nineteenth-century Atlantic World. Through four intertwined stories, it investigates how illegal slavery thrived throughout the Atlantic World in general, and in Brazil in particular, in the very midst of the “Age of Emancipation.” Attention to the lived experiences of women, men, and children forced into, or who profited from, illegal slavery challenges the predominant history of the nineteenth-century as a period marked by the triumph of abolition and freedom. Drawing on literary analysis and archival ethnography, this project asks how illegal slavery can critique these liberal, modernizing narratives that have been foundational to the study of slavery and abolition, and Atlantic world history more broadly.

Yuko Miki – Photograph credit to Margarita Corporan Photography

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Filed under Faculty Awards, Faculty News, Faculty Profiles, Global History

Prof. Sarah Elizabeth Penry’s forthcoming Book Talk, “From Resettlement to Revolution: The Comuneros of Peru,” at Livingston Campus (Rutgers University)

From Resettlement to Revolution: The Comuneros of Peru
Thursday, March 26, 3:20-4:40 TIL-246 Livingston Campus (Rutgers University)

In the sixteenth century, indigenous Andeans in the Viceroyalty of Peru were forcibly removed from their villages by Spanish colonizers and resettled in planned, self-governing towns. Rather than conforming to Spanish cultural and political norms, indigenous Andeans adopted and gradually refashioned the religious practices dedicated to Christian saints and the civil institutions imposed on them, in the process producing a new kind of civil society that merged their traditional understanding of collective life (the ayllu) with the Spanish notion of the común to demand participatory democracy. This hybrid concept of self-rule spurred the indigenous rebellions that erupted across the Andes against Spanish rulers and native hereditary nobility. Re-examining the era of the Great Rebellion through the letters and documents of the Andean people themselves, while eschewing a focus on well-known leaders such as Tupac Amaru, this presentation examines the community-based democracy that played a central role in the Age of Atlantic Revolutions and continues to galvanize indigenous movements in Bolivia today.

Sarah Elizabeth Penry, Assistant Professor of History and Latin American and Latinx Studies, Fordham University

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Filed under Events, Faculty News, Faculty Profiles, Publications, Workshop

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:  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.

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

“Unsettled Feeling & Critical Insight”! Graduate Class on Race and Gender

A group of graduate students studying at Fordham University has come together to analyze and provide insight into complex issues of both race and gender. Graduate students, in a course entitled, “Race and Gender” in the fall of 2019, led by Professor Kirsten Swinth, discussed race and gender in modern America.

As a final project, they each wrote several blogs, original pieces, and a comprehensive lesson plan that discusses a specific issue related to race and gender and/or a key historical insight that they obtained after completing the course.

Their publications are available on their student-designed public website (https://ufci2019.ace.fordham.edu ). Each blog post (written by one of the class members) tackles either race or gender through the incorporation of both secondary and primary sources.

It was their mission to use the knowledge obtained through spending a semester studying these social constructions in great detail to provide valuable insight into each discussion. In each blog post or lesson plan, the students selected a particular topic and offered their research and insights based on the knowledge they had accumulated over the course of the semester.

Students of all levels of higher education, professors, and history enthusiasts are welcome to interact with the information presented within each post. They are invited to consider questions that arise in handling these topics, and consider how their own insights could expand upon these ideas.

List of Contributors:

William Hogue 

William Hogue is a PhD student in History at Fordham University interested in the international intellectual and political history of US imperialism and its relationship to American Christianity. His research examines the history of multinational organizations, religious institutions and policy institutes, the politics of international order, and the connections between foreign and domestic policy. In particular, he focuses on the influence of liberation theology in Latin American revolutions and the US domestic human rights reaction to US foreign policy in Central America. 

Benjamin Van Dyne 

Benjamin Van Dyne is a PhD student in theology at Fordham University, where his work focuses on white and Christian supremacy and social solidarity in the face of violence and suffering. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and worked as a community organizer in Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, New York City and Long Island before attending Union Theological Seminary, where he graduated in with his Master of Divinity. He lives in the Bronx with his two children.

Katie Shine 

Katie Shine is a first-year doctoral candidate in modern history at Fordham University. Her academic interests include the First and Second World Wars, 20th century Italy, U.S.-Italy foreign relations, memory studies, race and nationalism, and Fascist society in western Europe. Having previously worked in higher education, tutoring, and program management in the career development and financial services spaces, she has had many valuable (and treasured) learning and teaching moments.

Grace Campagna 

Grace Campagna is an undergraduate Senior at Fordham University studying History, Anthropology, and Medieval Studies. She will graduate in May 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in History. Her academic interests include medieval England and women’s history. She has enjoyed tackling new topics and time periods during this course on Race and Gender in Modern America.

David Marchionni 

David Marchionni will complete his Masters’ degree in History from Fordham University in August 2020. His MA Thesis will focus on the Stonewall Riots, and its impact upon lesbian and gender non-conforming people of color.

Megan Stevens 
Owen Griffis Clow

Owen Griffis Clow is a doctoral student in the Fordham University Department of History. He researches modern American history with a focus on the late twentieth century (1970-2000), violence, and the American South. He is a graduate of Lawrence University (B.A.) and Columbia University (M.A.).

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Filed under Courses, Faculty Profiles, Public History, Teaching

Professor Magda Teter Receives NEH Senior Scholar Fellowship at the Center for Jewish History

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Fordham historian Magda Teter is a recipient of the 2020-2021 NEH Senior Scholar Fellowship at the Center for Jewish History. 

Below is a description of her fascinating project.

Magda Teter

Project Title: “The Dissemination and Uses of the Jewish Past: The Role of The Present in The Production and Politics of History.”  

Project Description: As historian Michel-Rolph Trouillot noted in his groundbreaking book on the production of history, Silencing the Past, “history is always produced in a specific historical context.” Trouillot’s work distinguished between “what happened”—the historical events, and “what is said to have happened”—how historians, professional or not, recount historical events. Thus, not just the context of the historical events matters, but also the historical context of the time in which historians do their work. The overarching questions that loom over my project concern the impact of the present on the study of the past and the compounding effects on the shaping of the field—beyond the known connections with political emancipation, i.e., the acquisition of equal rights by Jews, religious reform, and nationalism that played an important role in shaping the works of Jewish history. When Jewish Studies emerged in the nineteenth century, the field and its scholars were excluded from the academy, but they formed scholarly societies and institutes, published scholarly books and journals. The topics that interested these early scholars were inflected by their own personal interests related to the social and political position of Jews in Europe. They were concerned with current events. Many journals related to Jewish Studies, in fact, devoted a separate section to contemporary events, and allowed for a more rapid response to the current events by publishing not only studies but also primary sources from the archives. These primary sources, in turn, influenced generations of scholars and scholarly projects. And yet, modern scholars have sometimes used these sources uncritically, neglecting to examine how these primary texts and images entered circulation, what might be missing, and of what conversation these sources were a part. My project will explore that.

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Filed under Faculty Awards, Faculty News, Faculty Profiles

Two History Faculty Members Awarded The Prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Fordham historians Scott Bruce and Yuko Miki are recipients of the 2020-2021 NEH fellowship. Below is a description of their fascinating projects.

Scott Bruce’s project is entitled, The Lost Patriarchs Project: Recovering the Greek Fathers in the Medieval Latin Tradition. Yuko Miki’s project is entitled, Brazilian Atlantic: Archives and Stories of Illegal Slavery.

The Lost Patriarchs Project: The influence of Greek patristics on western European thought and culture remains an important, but largely overlooked, aspect of the history of medieval Latin literature. The goal of my project is the creation of an instrument of reference called The Lost Patriarchs: A Survey of the Greek Fathers in the Medieval Latin Tradition.  This book will present a catalogue of the deep, largely untouched, reservoir of medieval Latin texts that have Greek Christian origins, both those known directly from surviving manuscript copies and those known indirectly from medieval library catalogues. It will provide an alphabetically arranged handbook that presents a series of concise accounts (500 to 10,000 words) of the manuscript tradition and transmission of Greek Christian literature in the medieval Latin tradition.  A reference tool of this kind would gather all this is known about these texts in current scholarship, allowing future researchers to begin the work of charting their influence in western Christian doctrine and devotional practices.

Brazilian Atlantic: This project is a narrative history of illegal slavery in the nineteenth-century Atlantic World. Through four intertwined stories about a slave ship and its captives, two West African men, a financier, and a Kongolese prince, it investigates how illegal slavery thrived throughout the Atlantic World in general, and in Brazil in particular, in the very midst of the “Age of Emancipation.” In paying attention to the lived experiences of women, men, and children forced into, or who profited from, illegal slavery, this project challenges the predominant, sweeping narratives of the nineteenth-century as the triumph of abolition, free trade, and liberal freedom. Through an ethnographic reading of the archives of illegal slavery, this project weaves together the past and present, historical characters and archival encounters to propose a new way of writing about the ambiguous histories of slavery and freedom that centers the suffering and afterlives of the enslaved.

** Yuko Miki’s photo was taken by Margarita Corporan Photography **

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by | January 16, 2020 · 2:41 am