Advisement and Change to Summer 2017 courses

Advisement for seniors starts March 6, with other classes to register thereafter. Be sure to make an appointment with your advisor to discuss your future.

Important modification for Summer course meeting times: The two summer courses will be offered at times different from what is listed in the Advisement newsletter. The correct meeting times are:

  • Carenen’s HIS 362 Hot Wars in the Cold War meets July 3-August 5 on TR from 8:00-12:15.
  • Davis’ HIS 116 Intro to Modern World History meets July 31-August 18 on MTWR from 12:00-3:20.

You should have already received a copy of the History department newsletter, but in case you didn’t, here it is in all its full-color glory:

Fall 2017 History Newsletter_Page_1Fall 2017 History Newsletter_Page_2



Public Policy in your future?

Passing on news of another graduate school opportunity:

Thinking about entering public office? Want to be a stakeholder in influencing public policy?

For those interested, you can earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration, Public Policy, or Survey Research with UConn’s Department of Public Policy. We offer 3 Master programs and 4 Graduate Certificates in Leadership & Public Management, Public Financial Management, Nonprofit Management, and Survey Research.

For more information please visit our main website: – read on student, faculty, and alumni spotlights. Check out our curriculum and the Internship & Professional Practice (IPP) program where 2nd year MPA or MPP students are eligible for a full-tuition scholarship!

Eastern History Department remembers one of its own

The Eastern History department is sad to learn of the passing of Thomas P. Anderson, a former History faculty member, who taught here from 1969-1994. Early on, he served in the U.S. Navy, and then got his Ph.D. from Loyola University in Chicago. He published multiple books and articles on 20th century Central American history, testifying at multiple congressional panels on his topic of human rights violations in El Salvador. At Eastern, he also served as chair of the department, was selected a CSU Professor in 1990, and received emeritus status after his retirement.

Our condolences to his family and friends.

Are you a good student? Do you want to go to New York City?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to both of these questions, you might be eligible to apply for the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s History Scholar Award.

To quote from their website:

Each year, the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s History Scholar Award honors college juniors and seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence in American history or American studies.

History Scholars spend a week in New York City, where they attend lectures by eminent historians, go behind the scenes at The Gilder Lehrman Collection, and take historical walking tours.

Interested in applying for the History Scholar Award or know an outstanding college junior or senior? Please visit

For details, check out Application deadline is March 30.

Dude, this sounds like a great class

Two, in fact.

The History department is offering two summer courses for 2017, for those of you looking for some extra credits on an interesting topic:

Dr. Carenen is offering HIS 362: Hot Wars in the Cold War, offered from 31 July-18 August on MWF from 9:00-4:15 PM:
After World War II, two great superpowers emerged that would challenge each other for total global domination. Despite a massive arms race and the introduction of nuclear weapons, the United States and the U.S.S.R. never entered into direct armed confrontation. They almost did, though. And they used other nations as proxies in their colossal struggle against each other, particularly in Asia. In the half-century that marked the Cold War, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. engaged in warm and hot wars that affected millions of people around the globe and altered all aspects of life for the citizens of many nations, including their own. This course will briefly examine the origins of the Cold War, the nearly hot interruption of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the hot wars of Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. Counts as a History elective or LAC Tier 2 Individuals and Societies.

Dr. Davis is offering HIS 116: Intro to Modern World History, meeting 5-17 June, MTWR from 12:00-3:20 PM:
An intensive version of HIS116, this course introduces students to the major themes and problems of world history since 1500, with an emphasis in interconnection, global exchange, and long term environmental and human change in the non-US Americas, Eurasia, and the African continent. Topics include the world silver trade, European imperialism, Islamic empires, revolutionary socialism, nationalism, and the global history of products such as rubber, coffee, opium during the nineteenth century. We will also consider the changing role of world history for historians. Readings include Roberts Marks’ Origins of the Modern World and multiple primary sources. Students will be evaluated through essays, short quizzes, and class participation. Satisfies a Tier I LAC requirement


Like to argue about foreign policy?

Then perhaps you’ll want to become a founding member of Eastern’s Model United Nations Club. They are holding an initial meeting this Tuesday (1/31) at 7:00pm in Webb Hall 110 for any interested students. At this meeting, they will be electing officers, approving a draft constitution, and discussing their goals for the Model UN chapter.

interest_meeting_posterContact Harrison William Brooks (President of SGA) with any questions.

So be there – there might be a State Department position in your future.

Eastern Historians report on the AHA


Three members of the Eastern History Department attended the recent annual meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA) in Denver over January 5-8, 2017. Professor Thomas Balcerski chaired and commented on a panel, Professor Caitlin Carenen presented a paper as part of a panel, and Dr. Anna Kirchmann participated in a panel honoring her recently published books.


On Thursday, January 5, Prof. Balcerski presided over the panel, “A Question of Intent: Alcoholic Insanity, Violence, and the Law in 19th-Century America.” The panel was sponsored by the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, an affiliate society of the AHA, and the Coordinating Council for Women in History. A theme of the panel was the efforts of professionals in defining the meaning of such existential categories as murder and suicide. Read more about all the ADHS panels at their web site:

The City of Denver played host to the 131st annual meeting of the American Historical Association.

The City of Denver played host to the 131st annual meeting of the American Historical Association.

On Friday, January 6, Prof. Carenen presented a paper as part of a panel entitled “For God and Country: Linking Faith Communities in the United States during World War I.” The panel was co-sponsored by the American Society of Church History. As a whole, the four papers looked at the influence of religion and different ethnic groups on patriotic wartime efforts in the United States during World War I. Carenen’s paper, entitled, “’We Jews Have Sold our Birthright’: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Struggle over Sectarian Relief Efforts in World War I,” discussed Jewish fundraising during the war for exclusively Jewish victims of the war. American Jews wanted to help Jews who were suffering in World War I and so they raised over seven million dollars in the U.S. to do so. But it wasn’t that simple. Many Jews wondered if they should accept money from non-Jews to help only Jews. Others wondered if it was wise to be an exclusively Jewish relief organization at a time when uber-Patriotism condemned “hyphenated” groups. Still others worried about abandoning a long history of self-help if they accepted Gentile money. Despite the fact that in the end, the relief organization did accept non-Jewish money, the discussion revealed the uncertain place American Jews felt they occupied in the United States during World War I. Read more about the American Society of Church History at their web site:

On Saturday, January 7, Prof. Kirchmann participated in a special panel organized by the Polish  American Historical Association, an affiliate of the AHA, titled “Author Meets Critics Session for The Polish Hearst: Ameryka-Echo and the Public Role of the Immigrant Press by Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann.”  In the panel, three noted historians from the fields of social history, and specifically the history of immigration and communication, commented on Prof. Kirchmann’s latest book.  In response, Prof. Kirchmann addressed her critics and broadly discissed her methods, evidence, and argument.  Read more about Prof. Kirchmann’s book at the University of Illinois Press web site: and about the Polish American Historical Association at their web site:


Congratulations to Dr. Bradley Davis for his book now out from the University of Washington press:DAVIMP

Dr. Davis will be giving a talk on his book this April 12, at 3 PM in Science 301.

Book description:

The Black Flags raided their way from southern China into northern Vietnam, competing during the second half of the nineteenth century against other armed migrants and uplands communities for the control of commerce, specifically opium, and natural resources, such as copper. At the edges of three empires (the Qing empire in China, the Vietnamese empire governed by the Nguyen dynasty, and, eventually, French Colonial Vietnam), the Black Flags and their rivals sustained networks of power and dominance through the framework of political regimes. This lively history demonstrates the plasticity of borderlines, the limits of imposed boundaries, and the flexible division between apolitical banditry and political rebellion in the borderlands of China and Vietnam.

Imperial Bandits contributes to the ongoing reassessment of borderland areas as frontiers for state expansion, showing that, as a setting for many forms of human activity, borderlands continue to exist well after the establishment of formal boundaries.

Modern Echoes

Modern Echoes

Is there anything Mark Twain doesn’t know?

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

~Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad

Lauren Grenier, a recent Eastern graduate with a dual degree in History and Political Science, reflects on her three-month volunteer experience working with orphans in Romania.

Understanding the history of Romania is vital in understanding to complex social issues that it is trying to combat. During the Cold War, Romania was imprisoned behind the iron curtain of communism and suffered greatly under the oppressive dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. Hoping to create a massive force of “work bees” for communism, Ceausescu outlawed all forms of birth control and even forced women to have children. His assassination on Christmas Day, 1989 is the day Romanians refer to the end of communism in their country. However, this day also signifies the start of a long journey of recovery. In the wake of economic disparity and political uncertainty, state orphanages were overwhelmed with abandoned children and lacked the resources to care for them adequately, resulting in many abandoned children growing up on the streets doing whatever necessary to survive, albeit stealing, selling drugs, and prostituting.

Lauren with some Innocents

Lauren Grenier with some Innocents

Nearly thirty years after the collapse of communism, Romania’s “orphan crisis” has become generational. The system in place often fails to provide those in the care of the state with the life skills necessary for life beyond the orphanage. Often, their eighteenth birthday present is day one on the streets. The chances are high that their children will end up under the care of the state, continuing the orphan cycle. SoarRomania and Beauty From Ashes are two nonprofits that work to assist and empower young women transitioning out of the orphanages and into adult life. SoarRomania empowers young moms by providing them with housing, childcare and emotional support while they attend school or search for employment. Their mission is that empowering young moms who grew up in the state system will produce one less orphan each time. Beauty From Ashes also provides housing and support for girls who would otherwise be on the streets. They teach important life skills such as cooking, healthy relationship boundaries, fiscal responsibility and jewelry making. In addition to these two ministries, I found myself having playdates one afternoon a week with school-aged orphans in a home just outside the city (pictured). This experience greatly increased my knowledge of Eastern European history and culture. I greatly encourage other students to consider spending time abroad to expand their knowledge of the world. Reading will never provide the same knowledge that experience will.

Potential internship – Make Mr. Rogers proud

If you’re looking for opportunities to proselytize history to the masses, maybe The Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT would put you on the right track.

The Trolley Museum is looking for docents for the summer, people who will be trained to provide walking tours and oral interpretations of displays and equipment. And, if you’re good, they’ll even let you operate the trolleys! Other possibilities include interns who would organize the museum’s library and archives.

Website at:

If interested, contact:
Larry Bryan
Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors
The Connecticut Electric Railway Assoc., Inc.
Dba The Connecticut Trolley Museum
A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Historical and Educational Organization