Eastern History Club Visits New England Civil War Museum

On Sunday, November 13, 2016, eleven students from Prof. Balcerski’s HIS 307: Civil War & Reconstruction class traveled to the New England Civil War Museum in Vernon, CT.  They were met by Matthew Reardon, Executive Director of the museum (former Eastern History major and member of the History club), and Hank Cullinane, Treasurer of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Alden Skinner Camp #45 (and proud father of a current Eastern student).

Students in HIS 307: Civil War and Reconstruction pose with Prof. Balcerski and staff members outside the New England Civil War Museum in Vernon, CT, including Executive Director Matthew Reardon

Students in HIS 307: Civil War and Reconstruction pose with Prof. Balcerski and staff members outside the New England Civil War Museum in Vernon, CT, including Executive Director Matthew Reardon

Hank Cullinane began the tour with an overview of the numerous architectural features of the exterior of the building, which today houses not only the museum but the municipal offices of the municipality of Rockville.  In short order, students were mustered into service by Frank Niederwerfer, Senior Vice Commander of Alden Skinner Camp #45, proudly wearing his replica Union army uniform.  So long as they passed the single requirement of possessing two front teeth, the enlistees were then given their bonus pay of $13.  The new soldiers were further educated about food and religion during the Civil War by members of the camp (also wearing full uniform).  It’s off to war they go!

Students muster (in order of height) under the tutelage of Frank Niederwerfer, Senior Vice Commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Alden Skinner Camp #45, Vernon, CT—two front teeth required!

Students muster (in order of height) under the tutelage of Frank Niederwerfer, Senior Vice Commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Alden Skinner Camp #45, Vernon, CT—two front teeth required!

History major Adrianna Mihalek is all smiles after enlisting and receiving her muster pay of $13.00.

History major Adrianna Mihalek is all smiles after enlisting and receiving her muster pay of $13.00.

After wrapping up at the museum, the students, faculty, and staff headed over to the nearby Grove Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of 137 Union veterans.  Walking along the peaceful grounds of the cemetery, Matthew Reardon told the group many stories of the individual soldiers buried there.  Everyone left with a much better appreciation of the sacrifice rendered by the “Boys from Rockville” and of the Union Army more generally.

Attendees included:
Miguel A. Barrientos
Shayla J. Beausoleil
Joseph V. DeMarco
Jonathon L. Gallo
Leonel A. Hyatt
Hugh E. Lindo
Katiana N. Mendez
Adrianna Mihalek,
Alexa E. Potter
Ronald W. Robillard
Caitlin M. Shroyer

Students, faculty, and museum staff pose for the camera in front of the memorial chapel at Grove Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of 137 Union Army veterans.

Students, faculty, and museum staff pose for the camera in front of the memorial chapel at Grove Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of 137 Union Army veterans.

Many thanks to the staff of the New England Civil War Museum and the Alden Skinner Camp #45 for volunteering their time and expertise to the students and faculty.  Learn more about the museum and camp at their website: http://www.newenglandcivilwarmuseum.com.

The Renaissance (probably more medieval, really) Faire 2016

Recently, History Club members attended the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. There was all sorts of entertainment, jousting, damsels-in-distress, and the like. But all they sent us was this group photo. So if you want to know what happens at the Renaissance Faire, I guess you’ll have to go there for yourself.

What happens at the Renaissance Faire stays at the Renaissance Faire

What happens at the Renaissance Faire stays at the Renaissance Faire

Human Rights in Ethiopia

The History Department, Political Science, Philosophy and Geography Department are co-sponsoring a University Hour event on Wednesday, November 16th at 3pm in the Student Theater.  The speaker is Dr. Semahagn Abebe, a scholar in residence at UConn’s Human Rights Institute. Eastern is a member of the Scholars-at-Risk international organization that supports scholars around the world who have been exiled or persecuted by their home governments by providing residential opportunities at various universities and financial support for their residences.

Dr.Abebe will discuss the Ethiopian government’s stifling of freedom of expression and academic freedom in the country. The lecture provides background analysis on the Ethiopian political structure, human rights violations, challenges of academic freedom and the role of the international community to reverse political repression in Ethiopia.

Open House and Majors/Minors Fair

Department faculty proudly promoted History at the October 8 Open House for prospective students and their families, and at the October 19 Majors/Minors Fair.

Questions? Ask a History faculty member.

Dr. Kirchmann baits the hook...

Dr. Kirchmann baits the hook…

 

Dr. Moore closes the deal...

Dr. Moore closes the deal…

 

Another happy customer!

Another happy customer!

AmeriCorps with Tenacity (Boston)

If you’re not sure what you want to do after you graduate, you might want to consider Tenacity (https://tenacity.org/). Tenacity works with AmeriCorps and is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support under-served Boston students to achieve post-secondary success through literacy, life skills, family engagement, and fitness – past graduates are enjoying their year as Tenacity Fellows. If you’re interested, feel free to contact:

TENACITY 38 Everett Street, Suite 50
Boston MA 02134
(Please use Allston MA in your GPS)
O 617.562.0900 F 617.562.0911

History Participates in Democracy at Work Events

Faculty and students from the History Department recently participated in the Democracy at Work events on campus.  Drs. Carenen and Balcerski offered open classrooms about the elections of 1800, 1896, and 1932, department faculty and students from History Club organized a Presidents and First Ladies trivia game, and department faculty and students attended events on campus.

Dr. Carenen’s open classroom examined the historical context of the 1896 and 1932 presidential elections and what they might tell us about the current presidential election. She argued that all three elections shared two things in common: the use of fear and scapegoating as a useful political tool and the idea of the political “outsider” as the new “insider.” William Jennings Bryan scapegoated Republican businessmen and Wall Street while the Populists sometimes scapegoated Jews; Franklin Delano Roosevelt engaged in little scapegoating but pointed to “fear itself” as America’s primary enemy, while the Republicans feared FDR’s inexperience and authoritative response to the depression. Donald Trump has scapegoated immigrants and has used fear of terrorism and crime to motivate Americans; while Clinton has argued that the only thing we have to fear is Trump himself.  Likewise, Bryan was a political outsider, while FDR claimed no economic expertise or knowledge, and both Trump and Bernie Sanders built their campaigns on being “outsiders” to a corrupt political system, embodied to many Americans by the ultimate political insider, Hillary Clinton.
Dr. Carenen at her open classroom on the elections of 1896 and 1932:CC DemWorks

Dr. Balcerski’s open classroom considered the pivotal presidential election year of 1800, when the Federalist incumbent President John Adams faced the Democratic-Republican challenger (and sitting Vice-President) in a rematch from the 1796 presidential election. Jefferson defeated Adams, but because of the ambiguous nature of the Constitution, a deadlock ensued between Jefferson and his presumed Vice-President, Aaron Burr (finally, Jefferson was elected President and Burr elected Vice-President, with the Twelfth Amendment subsequently passed to clarify the procedure). Called by historians the “Revolution of 1800” for its historic transfer of power from Adams to Jefferson, the election still offers us many lessons, most importantly, how Americans must always stand ready to safeguard our cherished democracy in times of turbulent transition. Students walked away better prepared to place the current election cycle in the long, often times divisive tradition of past event.
Dr. Balcerski at his open classroom on the election of 1800:

TB 1DemWorksIn addition, Dr. Balcerski organized a History game that was played by some 100 students, faculty, and administrators at the tent outside of Webb Hall (President Nuñez stopped by at one point).  The game tested knowledge of both the Presidents and the First Ladies in an interactive fashion: students placed the correct name to the portrait of the President or place the portrait of the President to the portrait of the First Lady.  Prizes of candy and presidential rulers were awarded for correct responses.  History faculty members Drs. Thomas Balcerski, Anna Kirchmann, and Scott Moore and majors Patrick Thomson, Claire Tensa, and Adrianna Mihalek from the History Club helped to run the event.
Students play the Presidential History game with History Club helping out:

DemWrks QuizStudents pose for the camera, all smiles while playing the First Ladies Puzzle:

DemWrks students

Finally, history majors attended the student presidential debate; the opening of the opening reception of the exhibit, “Visualizing Democracy: Political Cartoons of the 2016 Election,” and the public event, “The Immigrant Project: A Multi-media, Oral Story Telling Performance,” both at the Fine Arts Instructional Building; and various other open classrooms around campus.  It was a great week for U.S. History at Eastern.
History majors attend the opening reception for “Visualizing Democracy: Political Cartoons of the 2016 Election”:

DemWrks students1

Advisement Time Approaches

Make sure to sign up for a time to meet with your advisor to discuss Spring 2017 registration.

The History department will continue to offer a variety of courses on U.S history, the Ancient world (Rome), Latin America (Drugs), Europe (including the “Old Regime Europe” course soon to be renamed “Enlightenment Europe”, as well as The Holocaust), and East Asia (China in Revolution). Seminars include “America and the Sea” and “Science and Technology in Asia.”

We also have brand new courses for those who want to go off the beaten path and explore the lands between East and West:
HIS 366 History of Islam to 1500
In this course, we will trace the development of Islam as a religious, political, and cultural system.  Beginning in the early seventh century, Muhammad’s radically new religious message found converts and political success as the empires of Byzantium and Persia collapsed.  As the new religion spread across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia, unique political and artistic movements developed that adapted Islam to local traditions.  At the same time, the universal nature of the religion created a shared cosmopolitan culture from Spain to China.  This class will explore Islam on both a universal and a local level to understand the role that the religion has played in shaping world history.

HIS 367 The Silk Road: Trade and Travel in Asia to 1500
Two thousand years ago, the writer Pliny the Elder complained about how much his fellow Romans loved to buy and wear silk.  This luxury item, he argued, weakened the Roman economy and threatened the morals of its people by making their bodies visible through nearly transparent clothes.  The trade networks that brought silk to Rome also carried Arabian incense, Siberian furs, African ivory, and Indian spices.  They also helped spread religions, languages, music, and cuisine as people from across Asia travelled, traded, and lived alongside one another.  This class will examine the many forms of culture that moved along the Silk Road from antiquity through the Mongol period.

The entire Advisement Newsletter can be found here.

Fun, (Historical) Facts, and Prizes!

The History Department and History Club will run the Presidential game under the tent during the Democracy at Work event on Eastern’s Campus! Look for us on Wednesday, October 5, 2-3 pm, and Thursday, October 6, 2-3 pm. Come challenge yourself – and others – to a game of historical presidential trivia and win prizes.

Dr. Balcerski directs the work on the game boards. From the left: Patrick Thomson, Claire Tensa, Dr. Moore, Dr. Balcerski, and Dr. Kamola.

Dr. Balcerski directs the work on the game boards. From the left: Patrick Thomson, Claire Tensa, Dr. Moore, Dr. Balcerski, and Dr. Kamola.

Want a job at the New England Air Museum?

Then dust off your resumé.

The New England Air Museum seeks outgoing individuals to join our team as Public Program Facilitators. This position plays an essential role in providing high quality experiences for our youth and family visitors. As such, Public Program Facilitators are responsible for engaging visitors through Build & Fly Challenges, interactive Flight Science demonstrations, children’s birthday parties, and open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft. Other duties include assisting with scout programs and special events as needed. Experience working with children in educational or youth development settings is required, as is an interest in the history of aviation. Some college coursework is required; a Bachelor’s degree in Education, History, Science, or a related field is preferred. This is a part-time, non-exempt position that pays $15 per hour and requires weekend availability. Some weekday availability is also required during school vacation weeks and the months of July and August. Standard hours are 10:00am-3:00pm, with some evenings as needed. Public Program Facilitators average between 4-6 shifts per month during the school year and up to 5 shifts per week during school vacation weeks and summer months. This position is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background check. Email cover letter and resume to Amanda Goodheart Parks, Director of Education, at agparks@neam.org by October 21, 2016. No phone calls please. The New England Air Museum is an equal opportunity employer. Click here for a complete job description: http://neam.org/images/education/Public%20Programs%20Team%20Job%20Description%20September%202016.pdf.