Monthly Archives: October 2015

Last Day to Register: O’Connell Initiative Inaugural Event- Sven Beckert on Global History of Capitalism

Just a reminder that today is the last day to register for next Thursday’s major event inaugurating the O’Connell Initiative, Sven Beckert’s talk on “Tracking the Global History of Capitalism”. The talk is at 6PM at the Lincoln Center Campus and a reception will follow. Come along and hear one of this country’s most exciting historians talk about the importance of the global historical perspective! You can register for the talk here.

Screenshot 2015-10-28 11.12.03

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Filed under Department Events, O'Connell Initiative

Building A Digital History Archive: A Year With The Bronx African American History Project

BAAHP celebrating uploading of interviews to Digital Commons with professors, students, and members of the community (l-r Morgan Mungerson, Eddie Mikus, Andrea Benintendi, Danielle Rowe, Dr. Jane Edward, Dr. Mark Naison, Robert Gumbs, and Damien Strecker)

BAAHP celebrating uploading of interviews to Digital Commons with professors, students, and members of the community (l-r Morgan Mungerson, Eddie Mikus, Andrea Benintendi, Danielle Rowe, Dr. Jane Edward, Dr. Mark Naison, Robert Gumbs, and Damien Strecker)

As a follow up to the launch of the Bronx African American History Project’s archive of digital recordings, we asked Damien Strecker, a PhD student in History at Fordham, to tell us more about the project. He writes:

Last fall, I began my journey towards a PhD in History under the helpful guidance of Professor Mark Naison. Dr. Naison’s Communists in Harlem During the Great Depression greatly influenced my Master’s research on the nationalist activity of Harry Haywood, an active member of the Communist Party USA during the interwar period. My initial meeting with Dr. Naison to discuss my research assistantship with the Bronx African American History Project (BAAHP) provided a window into my new work environment. He passionately described to me the history of the project and the goals for the academic year—and then proceeded to crank up the bass on a Redman hip hop track he told me I had to hear. Entering my second year working on the project, the music is still playing and the important historical work continues to march forward.

Last year, I worked to accomplish a number of goals: 1) organize, label, and safely store the hard copies of all BAAHP files 2) digitize and safely store electronically as many files as possible 3) finish transcribing and summarizing old interviews. With the help of five undergraduate workers, we succeeded in transferring the physical materials of the project to Fordham’s Rare Books and Special Collection, digitizing the interview audio, and finishing nearly all of the transcriptions and summaries.

While the tasks seem straightforward, each week provided new and unforeseen challenges, especially in regards to file formatting. Where on campus can I find a mini-DV player? What audio and video formats are the most common and universal now? Do we format our files for Apples or PCs? The BAAHP began over a decade ago and the archive reflects the monumental changes in technology over that time period. The BAAHP collection includes VHS, DVD, analog audio cassettes, Mini-DVs, and CDs as well as a number of different antiquated electronic file formats. The general trend within history to digitize primary sources is a fantastic development that will bring the tools of history to anyone with internet access. However, the rapidly changing pace of file formats may complicate things as technology changes over time. One can envision a future historian in 20 years trying to unearth Windows Media Player software or QuickTime to read an important file. Despite possible technical difficulties, the digitization of historical archives is an exciting development that will make materials much more accessible to everyone. Don’t throw away your white gloves and microfilm reader just yet, but digitization is happening rapidly and the BAAHP is proud to be a part of this movement.

With the task of general organization and file format uniformity secured last year, we quickly accomplished the long held goal of making the interviews accessible electronically via Fordham’s Digital Commons. Now that the public can access the interview files via the internet, we can concentrate efforts on publicizing the archive’s content. People from 5 different continents accessed the files within the first week of going public. People from all over the world will get to access files covering topics ranging from early jazz, church activism, hip hop, education, and African immigration. Dr. Jane Edward of the African American Studies Department initiated the important work of chronicling the story of recent African immigrants in the Bronx.

The global reach of the BAAHP is promising, but ultimately, it is about the Bronx. In an effort to engage the community, the BAAHP will be creating curriculum materials that local educators can use in their classrooms. As a former middle school and high school social studies teacher, I know the actual process of interpreting and writing history can be intimidating for students and teachers alike. Starting next semester, we will begin giving presentations in local schools about Bronx history, oral history, and the BAAHP collection. Also, we will be disseminating a 3 day model mini unit for teachers. They can use it to get students excited about writing histories of local relevance and familiarity.

In the world of graduate school and academia, it is easy to get lost in our own worlds, reading, teaching, and researching.   In the end, we all should desire to share what we have learned with the world—not just those privileged enough to scan their ID onto campus. I’m proud to work with BAAHP in their efforts to preserve and share the rich cultural history of the borough Fordham calls home. The cultural contours of the Bronx continue to change and the BAAHP will be there to make sure the people’s stories will not be forgotten.

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Filed under Digital Resources, Grad Student News

Talking Through the Issues: A Podcast Series on the Crusader States

Screenshot 2015-10-19 20.52.34A new conversation has started within the History Department at Fordham. Under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Paul, graduate students in his Crusader States class are developing podcasts as a means to initiate discussion. The course, “charts the social, political, and cultural history of the feudal principalities (sometimes called “Crusader States” “the Latin East” or the ‘Frankish Levant”) that were established by Latin Christians in the Eastern Mediterranean in the wake of the First Crusade.” The podcasts, in turn, each focus on a specific theme within the current scholarship, from the background to the First Crusade in the Eastern Mediterranean, to the relationships between Latin Europeans and eastern Christians and Muslims, through the cultural, social, and political development of the Crusader States themselves

What are the advantages of the podcast format? Tom Schellhammer, a student in the course, commented that, “Historical scholarship must also embrace the current trend towards technological interaction,” as “Technology allows us to reach a wide audience, and this idea is a fantastic intro to anyone interested in learning more about the Crusader States. A podcast can build interest by succinctly covering the important discussion points on any one topic, and highlighting the importance of the topic and asking intriguing questions that spark even more debate and scholarship.”

For Tom, and all of the students in The Crusader States, further and broader discussion about the aftermath of the First Crusade is the ultimate goal, and they believe that using podcasts promotes that within and beyond their seminar. Tom says, “I think that as a class we have come up with some thought provoking questions which might benefit a larger community studying the Crusader States.   I find the material challenging and want to hear outside comments upon the work that we are doing, so I appreciate the opportunity to be heard and receive feedback on our discussions. On a topic that has interest in such widespread and diverse communities,  the podcasts truly help reach outside thoughts and opinions and ignite those same thoughts to be shared here at Fordham.”

Check out all the podcasts and listen to Tom address issues faced by the Crusader military and debate whether the creation of new states was inevitable in the aftermath of the First Crusade. History is about so much more than the sources analyzed and papers written– it is about sharing what we learn with others in hopes of creating an atmosphere of inquiry, debate, and ultimately, understanding.




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Filed under Courses, Digital Resources, Grad Student News

Sven Beckert’s “Empire of Cotton”: A Conversation

1922 Alexandria docks

Dockworkers load cotton in the port of Alexandria, Egypt, 1921

Faculty and students in the History Department are getting extremely excited about the upcoming November 5 event to launch the O’Connell Initiative in the Global History of Capitalism. The event, which  will feature a talk by Harvard University’s Sven Beckert on “Tracking the Global History of Capitalism,” is particularly exciting for the faculty who have read and been inspired by Beckert’s  award-winning 2014 book Empire of Cotton: A Global History. We asked two members of our faculty, David Hamlin and Christopher Dietrich, to sit down and share their thoughts on the book. Their conversation is transcribed below, and it represents both a wonderful entry point into the book’s larger themes and a meditation on the value of studying capitalism from a global perspective. Continue reading

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Filed under Department Events, Faculty Profiles

Historians Recognized at Graduate School Awards Ceremony

Annual Awards booklet

Graduate students in the History Department collected over a dozen awards at this year’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Awards Ceremony. There was a great turnout as historians came to be recognized and to join in the well-earned celebration.


(l-r) Salvatore Cipriano, Jr., Stephen Leccese, Brandon Gauthier, Louisa Foroughi, Jeffrey Doolittle, Christine Kelly, Alisa Beer, Louie Valencia-Garcia, Tobias Hrynick


The full list of students receiving awards in 2015

Melissa Arredia, Senior Teaching Fellowship

Edoardo Marcello Barsotti, GSAS Summer Fellowship

Alisa Beer, Senior Teaching Fellowship

Salvatore Cipriano, Jr., Archival Research Assistantship, Research Support Grant, Professional Development Grant

Stephanie DePaola, Research Fellowship

Jeffrey Doolittle, Senior Teaching Fellowship

Louisa Foroughi, GSAS Summer Fellowship

Brandon Gauthier, Alumni Dissertation Fellowship

Tobias Hrynick, HASTAC Fellowship, Loomie Prize

Christine Kelly, American Studies Summer Institute Fellowship

Stephen Leccese, American Studies Summer Institute Fellowship

Christopher Rose, Paul A. Levack Award

Louie Valencia, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow

Pedro Cameselle, Research Support Grant

Laurence Jurdem, Research Support Grant

Joseph Passaro, Research Support Grant

Alessandro Saluppo, Professional Development Grant



Congratulations, everyone!

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Filed under Grad Student News, Student Awards

Bronx African American Oral History Collection Now Online!


This week, the Bronx African American History Project of Fordham celebrates a major milestone with the uploading of more than 200 of its oral history interviews to the BAAHP’s Digital Research Site at Fordham libraries, making them available to scholars around the nation and around the world. More than twelve years in the making, this collection represents an unparalleled resources for scholars in African American and Urban History. Keep reading for further details of the project provided by Professor Mark Naison.

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Filed under Digital Resources, Faculty News, Grad Student News, Publications

“Footnoting History” Ranked In Top Ten Podcasts

Christine Caccipuoti, Fordham MA and History Podcaster

Christine Caccipuoti, Fordham History MA and Internationally Recognized History Podcaster

Footnoting History, your band of merry podcasters comprised of many alums and current graduate students of Fordham’s history department, are pleased to announce that one of our recent episodes has been singled out by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s CBC Radio as a history podcast “you need to hear”!

In “The Royal Teeth of Louis XIV,” Christine explains how King Louis XIV of France may be known as the “Sun King” but not everything about his life was bright and splendid. In this episode she discusses the crippling dental difficulties that plagued Louis and possibly increase your appreciation of modern anesthesia.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider subscribing on iTunes, liking us on facebook, and following us on Twitter!

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Filed under Alumni News, Grad Student News, Publications

Recovering Our Byzantine Inheritance

Pantocrator Face

“Byzantium” is surely a word to conjure with. For some it evokes a romantic “holy city” with its lords and ladies, drowsy Emperor, and Grecian goldsmiths of W. B. Yeats’ poem “Sailing to Byzantium”. For others, the forbidding and enormous complexity of the pejorative adjective “byzantine” might come to mind. What the terms “Byzantium” and “Byzantine” really represent, however, are modern attempts to define and come to terms with the epic, millennium-long story of the eastern Roman empire’s tumultuous journey through the Middle Ages. Until the middle decades of the fifteenth century, when their civilization and their capital city of Constantinople was finally absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, these people thought of themselves as “Romans” and, as the successors to Constantine, the true defenders of Christian orthodoxy.


Protopresbyter John Meyendorff, Professor of Byzantine History at Fordham University (1967-1992)

Byzantine studies first came to Fordham in 1967, when Protopresbyter John Meyendorff, a theologian of the Orthodox church arrived to become Professor of Byzantine History. Meyendorff, the scion of a noble Russian émigré family who was born and educated in France, had already been a professor at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Harvard University, and at Dumbarton Oaks before joining Fordham’s faculty.

Although Meyendorff left Fordham in 1984 and died in 1992, we think he would have been particularly

Professor George Demacopoulos, John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Studies at Fordham University

Professor George Demacopoulos, John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Studies at Fordham University

proud to know about the exciting events of this month, which mark a true renaissance for Byzantine studies at Fordham. Monday, October 5, sees Fordham Theology faculty member Professor George Demacopoulos installed as the Father John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies. Professor Demacopoulos’s talk, entitled “War, Violence, and the Feast of the Holy Cross in Byzantium” will take place at 5:30PM in the 1st Floor Auditorium of Keating Hall.

This happy event will be followed, on October 22-25, by the annual Byzantine Studies Association of North America Conference, hosted jointly by Columbia University, the CUNY Graduate Center, and Fordham. A link to the program can be found here, note that Friday’s sessions will be held at CUNY, Saturday and Sunday’s at Fordham (Thursday evening’s plenary is at Casa Italiana, Columbia).

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Filed under Events

Lectures in Honor of Chris Schmidt-Nowara (1966-2015) Pioneer of Transatlantic and Antislavery Hispanic Caribbean Studies

Please join the Fordham History Department as it celebrates the life and work of Chris Schmidt-Nowara with a series of lectures, panels, and discussions on the fascinating variety of topics to which he dedicated his career. The first event will be held Monday, October 5, at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, 2nd Floor – Costantino Room (Fordham Law School). In collaboration with the United Nations, the Burial Database Project of Enslaved Americans and LALSI present Truth: Women, Creativity and the Memory of Slavery, with distinguished women artists and scholars from the Americas. The panel will discuss the representation of  slavery by women artists of African descent throughout the Americas.  Participating artists and scholars include:Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro
Novelist, Poet & Short-Story Writer

Aimee Meredith Cox, Cultural Anthropologist
Associate Chair, Depart. of African & African Amer. Studies, Fordham University

Nicole Fleetwood, Associate Professor
American Studies, Rutgers University

Yuko Miki, Assistant Professor
Iberian Atlantic History

Iyunolu Osagie, Associate Professor
English, Penn State

Gabriela Salgado, African & Latin American Contemporary Art Curator
London, UK

Deborah Willis, Photographer
Chair, Depart. of Photography & Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU

Read on to find out about further events this semester…

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Filed under Department Events, Events, Faculty News, In Memoriam