New England Historical Association Conference at Eastern

On Saturday, October, 2017, Eastern Connecticut State University hosted the 99th meeting of the New England Historical Association (NEHA) at the Student Center.

The NEHA conference at Eastern brought together undergraduates, graduate students, independent scholars, and faculty of all levels, from assistant professor to emeritus, in a collegial and welcoming environment.  The topics ranged temporally from colonial New England to the Falklands War and geographically from the history of Southeast Asia to the Balkans.  Several roundtables addressed best practices in historical research and teaching the history survey.

Eastern History faculty, alumni, and students were well-represented on the program (link: http://www.newenglandhistorians.org/conferences/2017-fall.  In the early morning panels (8:30-10:00am), Miles Wilkerson ’15 presented “The Moral Treatment: On the Institutionalization of People with Disabilities in the Anglophone Atlantic, 1660-1860,” while Dr. Barbara Tucker moderated a lively discussion for the panel “Liberty for Whom? Perspectives on Slavery and the American Civil War” and Dr. Jamel Ostwald commented on the session “Remembering Wars and Warriors.”

Dr. Tucker welcomes the audience to Session 3: “Liberty for Whom? Perspectives on Slavery and the American Civil War.”

Dr. Tucker welcomes the audience to Session 3: “Liberty for Whom? Perspectives on Slavery and the American Civil War.”

At the same time, Adam Murphy ’18 presented “A Professor’s Experience in Indonesia: Examining the Partnership Between University of Kentucky and Bogor Agricultural College, 1957-1966,” for which Dr. Joan Meznar chaired and commented on the overall panel, “The Influence of the West on the World, for Good and Ill.”

Adam Murphy presents at the NEHA conference on research conducted as part of History coursework at Eastern.

Adam Murphy presents at the NEHA conference on research conducted as part of History coursework at Eastern.

At the book exhibit, Eastern faculty were equally present in force, as the publications of Drs. Tucker, Ostwald, Kirchmann, Davis, and Carenen featured prominently.  In the second morning session, Eastern alumnus Jim Loughead ’04 of Mansfield Public Schools was a discussant at a Teaching Social Studies roundtable moderated by NEHA President Troy Paddock.

Eastern Faculty and Alumni presenters gather at the NEHA book exhibit. From right to left: Miles Wilkerson ’15, Dr. Anna Kirchmann, Dr. Jamel Ostwald, Dr. Joan Meznar, Dean Carmen Cid, Dr. Scott Moore, Dr. Caitlin Carenen, and Dr. Thomas Balcerski.

Eastern Faculty and Alumni presenters gather at the NEHA book exhibit. From right to left: Miles Wilkerson ’15, Dr. Anna Kirchmann, Dr. Jamel Ostwald, Dr. Joan Meznar, Dean Carmen Cid, Dr. Scott Moore, Dr. Caitlin Carenen, and Dr. Thomas Balcerski.

Over lunch, Dean Cid welcomed the participants.  She was very pleased to see Eastern join the list of host organizations that includes the region’s leading colleges and universities (link: http://www.newenglandhistorians.org/conferences/past-conferences).

At the lunch, NEHA President Troy Paddock presented the organization’s annual award for best book to the prize-winning historian Nathaniel Philbrick (http://www.nathanielphilbrick.com).

In the afternoon panel (1:45-3:15pm), Eastern faculty were particularly active.  Dr. Scott Moore presented “The Reluctant Warrior: War and Memory in Habsburg Austria,” along with Dr. Carenen’s “’Grants for Guerillas’: Americans and International Terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s,” in a fascinating panel on “Perceptions of War and Terror from Habsburg Austria to the United States in the Twentieth Century.”

Dr. Balcerski moderated a panel, “Far from Home: Adventure, Labor and Tragedy on the Seas and Across the Ice,” that featured the research of Dr. Tucker, “Ship’s Boys: Child Labor on the High Seas, 1800-1860.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Anna Kirchmann presented ““Don’t Tear Me Down: Urban Renewal in a New England Mill Town” on a panel dealing with “Development and Redevelopment in New England.”  Finally, Dr. Bradley Davis participated in a discussion on “The State of the Historical Survey.”

Dr. Anna Kirchmann presents her research on urban renewal in Willimantic, Connecticut.

Dr. Anna Kirchmann presents her research on urban renewal in Willimantic, Connecticut.

The NEHA meeting at Eastern was one for the history books.  According to Martin Menke, Executive Secretary of NEHA, approximately 115 people attended the twenty sessions of the conference, which places the fall 2017 conference on the high-end of historical attendance and scope of panels.

The leadership of NEHA were very appreciative of Eastern’s facilities and arrangements.  Erik Jensen, NEHA vice president, said, “I heard many compliments from our members and attendees on the quality of the ECSU facilities and the helpfulness of the student assistants. It was a pleasure to bring NEHA to Eastern.”

The students and faculty of the Eastern History Department truly stood out for the quality of their participation, whether presenting research or asking questions from the audience.  The NEHA conference was a banner day for History at Eastern.

History? It was made

A few years ago chairs of the History Departments at Eastern, Central, Southern, and Western decided to collaborate on organizing a joint conference, during which both history faculty and history students would present their research in order to increase our collaboration across campuses.

The collaborators (Department chairs Dr. Anna Kirchmann, Eastern; Dr. Troy Paddock, Southern; Dr. Katherine Hermes, Central)

The collaborators (Department chairs Dr. Anna Kirchmann, Eastern; Dr. Troy Paddock, Southern; Dr. Katherine Hermes, Central)

So far, such conferences were hosted by Southern (2015), and Central (2016), and were very successful. On March 24, 2017, Eastern welcomed the CSU Making History Conference on our campus. President Nuñez opened the conference and welcomed all the attendees to Eastern campus.

President Nuñez welcomes the attendees

President Nuñez welcomes the attendees

Attendees being welcomed

Attendees being welcomed

Close to 50 full time and part time faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students participated in the conference. The sessions took place in the Student Center and gathered a sizable, engaged audience.

Sizable engaged audience. How do we know they were engaged? Note the raised hands of both the speaker and the audience member front row.

Sizable, engaged audience. How do we know they were engaged? Notice that they are all looking at the front of the room, and note particularly the raised hands of both the speaker and the audience member front row.

Chair of the History Department Dr. Kirchmann commented, “All the presentations were well-researched and engaging. Faculty and students alike had a chance to network and to get to know their colleagues from other campuses. Everybody enjoyed talking history!”

And now for some posed and not-so-posed photos:

Eastern presenters: Top row from left: Dr. Stefan Kamola, Shayla Beausoleil, Jacqueline Ray,Abigail Allard, Alexa Potter, Gabrielle Archibald, Joseph White; bottom from left: Patrick Thompson, Joseph DeMarco, Hayden Judd, Rosie Welles, Dr. Scott Moore.

Eastern presenters: Top row from left: Dr. Stefan Kamola, Shayla Beausoleil, Jacqueline Ray, Abigail Allard, Alexa Potter, Gabrielle Archibald, Joseph White; Bottom from left: Patrick Thomson, Joseph DeMarco, Hayden Judd, Rosie Welles, Dr. Scott Moore.

Nametag? (Claire Tensa, Eastern)

Nametag? (Claire Tensa, Eastern)

Nationalism panel (From left: panel chair Dr. Bradley Camp Davis, Eastern; presenter Dr. Scott Moore, Eastern; presenter Joseph Demarco, Eastern; presenter Gabrielle Archibald, Eastern)

Nationalism panel (From left: panel chair Dr. Bradley Camp Davis, Eastern; Dr. Scott Moore, Eastern; Joseph DeMarco, Eastern; Gabrielle Archibald, Eastern)

Poster presentation: Alexa Potter, Eastern

Poster presentation: Alexa Potter, Eastern

Presenter Gabrielle Archibald, Eastern

Presenter Gabrielle Archibald, Eastern

Hand gestures make your point. Presenter Joseph White, Eastern

Hand gestures make your point. Presenter Joseph White, Eastern

Savages of the Sea poster, Eastern students

Savages of the Sea poster, Eastern students.

Presenter Rosie Welles, Eastern

Presenter Rosie Welles, Eastern

Poster: Patrick Thompson, Eastern

Poster: Patrick Thomson, Eastern

Dr. Stefan Kamola, Eastern; Dan Fischer, Southern

Dr. Stefan Kamola, Eastern; Dan Fischer, Southern; Emily Gebhardt, Southern

The next conference is planned to take place in the Spring 2018 at Western.

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.

Team History continues its domination

in the 2016 College Bowl competition. They’ve advanced from the first round after dispatching Biochemistry. Come watch them defeat Biology in the second round, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, at 5:00 pm in the Student Center Theatre.

Team History members Shawn Batchelder, Matt Putnam, Karolyn Rkarriganjobes, and Patrick Thomson listen intently as ECSU Quiz Bowl moderator and history professor David Frye asks a toss-up question during round 1 of play.

Team History members (L to R) Shawn Batchelder, Matt Putnam, Karolyn Rkarriganjobes, and Patrick Thomson listen intently as ECSU Quiz Bowl moderator and history professor David Frye asks a toss-up question during round 1 of play.

Team History coach professor Thomas Balcerski enjoys a lighthearted moment with Professor Frye and ECSU alumnus and official scorekeeper, ECSU alum and History major Asa O’Brien (2002), before the start of the competition

Team History coach professor Thomas Balcerski (L) enjoys a lighthearted moment with Professor Frye and ECSU alum and official scorekeeper, Asa O’Brien (History, 2002), before the start of the competition.

So what’s next?

On Wednesday, 7 May, the History department held its annual Seniors Graduation reception and Awards banquet. Full details on the award winners will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, we wish all our grads success in their next phase of life.

 

Where did the idea of fried mozzarella sticks come from?

The History club held another successful Trivia Night in the Student Center on Thursday, April 9, 2015. With roughly 30 people in attendance, challenging questions, and plenty of fried mozzarella sticks, a great time was had by all.

Not a mozzarella stick to be found

(Bonus trivia answer: the idea of fried cheese sticks dates back to c. 1400 France.)