Tag Archives: American history

Graduate Student Publications

Christine Kelly, a PhD candidate in History, recently published an article titled “Folk as the Sound of Self-Liberation: The Career and Performance Identity of Odetta,” based on her dissertation research. Christine shared with us the abstract for the article:

 

Odetta Felious Gordon Holmes – commonly known by her stage name, “Odetta” – played an instrumental role in the rise of American folk music as a mouthpiece for dissent during the social movements of the post-war era. She abandoned a life she planned in opera and oratorio for a career as an interpreter of African American slave songs and spirituals, material originally recorded by song collectors John and Alan Lomax in travels through the Mississippi Delta region. Odetta has claimed that while a life in oratorio would have enriched her vocally, its musical lineage had “nothing to do” with her experience. In contrast, a new repertoire of songs she gathered – songs derived from slave laborers, prison chain gangs, longshoremen, and church congregations – allowed her to shape her identity as a performing artist in crucial ways throughout her fifty year career. As a folk singer, Odetta co-constructed a cultural movement which drew inspiration from song writers of the past – composers of “freedom hymns” – to seek liberation in the present. For Odetta, such liberation was, at first, primarily for herself. As an African American woman who suffered the indignities of segregation, she felt she carried a “dragon” inside, one that hated herself and others. With a broad, black body of which she was ashamed, on stage Odetta tried to conceal and neutralize herself as a racial and gendered subject as she donned long, dark clothing, and threw herself fully into the material she performed. Through an act of self-abnegation, she performed the music, often of black men, who insisted on affirming their existence, the validity of their subjectivity, despite the oppressions that came with circumstances they faced involving humiliation and forced confinement. As an arbiter of the folk tradition, Odetta offered her body as bridge to connect a new generation of listeners with marginalized experiences of the past. As such, Odetta became a cultural broker of a folk tradition of dissent. She relied on a common method among performing artists – benefit concerts – to raise substantial funds for civil rights causes. Odetta’s life in music became a site of self-emancipation as she transformed from a suffering artist who often behaved subserviently to one who invented an identity which insisted on her own personal dignity. Furthermore, the exposure she gave her listeners to a nearly forgotten black cultural heritage enabled them to empathize with the experience of past singer-songwriters, seeing injustice in the present as more pressing than before. Odetta’s appeal to the idiom of folk and the benefit concerts she held directly supported the civil rights movement and related social mobilizations through the 1960s and 1970s as she helped to inspire not only political and legal change, but freedom in the arena of culture and emotion.

 

 

 

Comments Off on Graduate Student Publications

Filed under Grad Student News, Publications

Congrats to Alumnus Dr. Noël Wolfe

Dr. Noël Wolfe (PhD, Fordham, 2015)  recently accepted a tenure-track position at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York as an Assistant Professor of History and the Program Director for the Legal Studies Program. Dr. Wolfe completed her dissertation, “A Community at War: the Bronx and Crack Cocaine” in 2015.

For the past two years, Dr. Wolfe has been the Helen and Agnes Ainsworth Visiting Assistant Professor of American Culture at Randolph College. In this position, she designed a 12-credit semester-long experiential program that examines the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class and law through the lens of drug cultures in America. Through course work, discussion, travel and guest lectures, students explored the racialization and ethnicization of narcotics in the U.S. and investigated how racial and ethnic bias influenced popular opinion and drug-related public policy and law. You can find more information about Dr. Wolfe’s program at https://rcamericancultureprogram.wordpress.com. Dr. Wolfe also taught courses on incarceration, African-American history, and law while at Randolph.

Dr. Wolfe is very excited to begin her new position at Nazareth College, which will allow her to explore her research and teaching interests in history and law, as well as put to use her practical experience as a trial attorney. At Nazareth, Dr. Wolfe will teach courses in U.S. and African-American history, as well as courses on law, drugs, and incarceration.

Comments Off on Congrats to Alumnus Dr. Noël Wolfe

Filed under Grad Student News

O’Connell Initiative Event!

Comments Off on O’Connell Initiative Event!

Filed under Department Events, Events, O'Connell Initiative

Student Perspectives: Second Annual Women’s Liberation Teach-In

On November 7, 2017, Fordham students gathered for the second annual women’s liberation teach-in at Rodrigue’s Coffee House, on the Rose Hill campus. Part of Professor Kirsten Swinth’s Modern U.S. Women’s History, students in the teach-in emulated women’s liberation groups of the 1960s and 1970s. The teach-in is a valuable tool Dr. Swinth has used to move students from the pages of their textbooks into the lived experience of the subjects they study. Here’s what some of the students had to say about that experience. Continue reading

Comments Off on Student Perspectives: Second Annual Women’s Liberation Teach-In

Filed under Courses, Events, Public History

The Professor and the Process: Dr. Steven Stoll and Ramp Hollow

The History Department blog recently caught up with Dr. Steven Stoll to discuss his newest book, Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia (Hill and Wang, 2017). The book illuminates how the persistent poverty and pejorative perceptions associated with Appalachia are a result of the industrial powers that utilized the people to strip the land of its natural resources.

History Department: So how did the entire project begin?

Steven Stoll:  I originally set out to write a book about the collision between agrarian people (peasants, settlers, campesinos) in the Western Hemisphere. I then decided Continue reading

Comments Off on The Professor and the Process: Dr. Steven Stoll and Ramp Hollow

Filed under Faculty News, Publications

Dr. Kirsten Swinth Discusses “Having It All”

Dr. Kirsten Swinth enjoyed a packed crowd earlier this month as she spoke about her upcoming book, “Having it All:” Feminist Struggles over Work and Family, 1963 – 1978 (Harvard University Press, 2018). The book comments on the challenges that working professionals have faced as they have sought to build a career while raising a family from the 1970s through the present. She also discussed Continue reading

Comments Off on Dr. Kirsten Swinth Discusses “Having It All”

Filed under Department Events, Events, Faculty News, Publications

History Major Katherine DeFonzo on Her Internship at the Smithsonian

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

Comments Off on History Major Katherine DeFonzo on Her Internship at the Smithsonian

Filed under Postcards, Public History, Undergrad News, Undergraduate Research

Grad Student Publications, A Summer Series: Pt. 1 Stephen Leccese

PhD student Stephen Leccese, who recently published two journal articles.

Students in Fordham’s MA and PhD programs produce original research of the highest quality, and are encouraged to publish this work when and where it is appropriate during their time in the program. The academic year 2016-2017 saw the appearance of articles by a number of our students in different peer-reviewed volumes and journals. We asked our students who published their work to tell us a little bit about the articles and the writing process and we’ll feature these students and their publications in a short blog series.

First up is Stephen Leccese, an American historian in the PhD program working with Professor Christopher Dietrich. Leccese has achieved the remarkable feat of publishing two journal articles virtually simultaneously. He wrote to tell us about both:

“John D. Rockefeller, Standard Oil, and the Rise of Corporate Public Relations in Progressive America, 1902-1908,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 16.3 (July 2017): 245-63.

This article is a shortened version of my Master’s research paper, which Prof. Chris Dietrich advised. I became interested in progressivism in Prof. Dietrich’s American Political and Intellectual History since 1877 class, particularly on how the “robber barons” defended themselves against attacks from progressive muckrakers who exposed businessmen’s unethical practices. For a case study, it was natural to look at the Standard Oil Company, the most visible of the great trusts and the subject of muckraker Ida Tarbell’s classic The History of the Standard Oil Company. Since the Supreme Court successfully dissolved Standard Oil in 1911, historians have exclusively considered the company’s response to Ida Tarbell insufficient from a public relations perspective. Yet from what I saw, no historians had actually examined what the company did do. That was how I found my historiographical gap. I decided to go into the archives and tell the story of how Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller attempted to recover their reputations with public statements, official histories, and some of the first professional PR agents in American history. When placed in historical context, this response was groundbreaking – the field of PR was in its infancy, so Standard Oil agents were largely making this up as they went along. Going further, I tied this small study to the Progressive Movement at large. In the Standard Oil case, progressives attacked a corporation, and that corporation defended itself by developing the PR field. This started a trend of other businesses following suit, and by the 1920s the modern public relations field was largely established. Therefore, I argue that the anti-business activities of the progressives inadvertently helped big business establish itself. The editor of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era liked this provocative argument about progressivism, and it definitely helped get this article published.

 

“Economic Inequality and the New School of American Economics,” Special Issue – Growing Apart: Religious Reflection on the Rise of Economic Inequality, Religions 8.6 (2017): 99-110.

This article began life as my first-year PhD research paper, where I examined how a new generation of American economists argued that consumer spending was key to economic growth, breaking from previous classical economics. After some revising, I presented the paper at the Growing Apart: The Implications of Economic Inequality Interdisciplinary Conference at Boston College in March, 2016. After the conference, the organizers contacted me and said that my paper was among a group that they would like to publish in a special issue of the journal Religions (the conference sponsor was the BC theology department, hence the journal choice). I accepted and expanded the paper into a peer-reviewed piece. In the article, I examine how the various crises of the late nineteenth century – namely economic depression and increasing labor unrest – showed a group of younger economists that economic inequality was harmful to the social fabric. They argued that greater equality would create a working class that had increased spending power, which would lead to economic growth and more stable class relations. My main sources were numerous economic publications and several archival collections that these economists left behind. After establishing this new theory of consumption, I trace how the New Economists tried to put their ideas into practice. Importantly, they formed the American Economic Association in 1885 with the intention of spreading their message among the economic community. I conclude briefly by showing that by the 1890s, the New Economists were influencing public policy by working with politicians – particularly, several directly advised Theodore Roosevelt, first when he was governor of New York and later when he was president. The overall claim is that mass consumption was an aspect of social reform, something that is typically not considered in histories of consumerism.

 

Thanks Stephen, and congratulations on your two articles!

 

Comments Off on Grad Student Publications, A Summer Series: Pt. 1 Stephen Leccese

Filed under Grad Student News, Publications

History Colloquium Conference: Tuesday May 16 4PM McNally Amphitheater, Lincoln Center Campus

The History Department is Proud to Announce our 2017 History Colloquium Conference, to be held on Tuesday May 16  from 4-8PM in the McNally Amphitheater, Lincoln Center Campus.

The schedule will be as follows:

Panel 1: Twentieth Century Transnational Human Rights & Migration (4:00-5:00)

Lisa Betty, “‘Jamaiquinos en Cuba’: The Transregional Migration of Jamaicans to Cuba in the 20th Century”

William Hogue, “Proxy-Wars of Religion: US Neoliberal Theology and Central American Revolutions”

Nicholas DeAntonis, “The International Struggle to End the Saudi Arabian Slave Trade: The British Anti-Slavery Society, the United Nations, and the African-American Press, 1953-1960”

 

Panel II: Culture and Politics in Twentieth Century New York (5:00-5:45)

Jordyn May, “Votes for Women: The Visual Culture of the Suffrage Movement in New York”

Nicole Siegel, “God of Vengeance: Indecent?”

 

Break: 5:45-6:00

 

Panel III: State & Society (6:00-7:00)

Thomas Schellhammer, “The Evolution of the Third Republic and its Army: French Military Reforms and Society, 1871-1914”

Patrick Nolan, “Crimes and Punishments: Hanjian Trials After the Second Sino-Japanese War.”

Scott Brevda, “In the Eyes of My Father: Germany, Armenia, and the Morgenthau Plan”

 

Panel IV: Eighteenth-Century Politics and Culture (7:00:7:45)

Micheal Wootton, “French Perceptions of the American Revolution and Early Republic.”

Glauco Schettini, “Between Reform and Revolution: Jews, Public Utility, and National Belonging in Late Eighteenth-Century Italy.”

 

Reception to follow.

Comments Off on History Colloquium Conference: Tuesday May 16 4PM McNally Amphitheater, Lincoln Center Campus

Filed under Department Events, Grad Student News

WEDNESDAY: Dr. Kirsten Swinth Discusses the History of Sexual Assault in America

Comments Off on WEDNESDAY: Dr. Kirsten Swinth Discusses the History of Sexual Assault in America

Filed under Department Events, Events, Faculty News