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History Department Highlights

Suffrage Revisited

ECSU Career Fair

Look what our alumni are doing!

Congratulations to 2020 History scholarship and award winners

This year, the department handed out thirteen scholarships and awards to History majors to recognize their hard work.

Congratulations Graduating Seniors, and So Long

This year we had to forego cake and handshakes at our celebration of graduating History seniors, but that doesn't mean we didn't gather to send them off into the world.

What do historians do in historical times?

Dr. Kirchmann's spring class on Recent American History helps to document the experience of living through covid-19

History alumna curates an exhibit at the Mill Museum

Kira Holmes (HIS ‘12) and Chelsey Knyff curated an exhibit “Unlacing the Corset, Unleashing the Vote” at the Mill Museum in Willimantic, CT. The exhibit uses stories and fashion to explore experiences of Connecticut women since the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 until recent times.

Summer employment opportunity for History majors at the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine

Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine in East Granby is looking for volunteers and interns in the period between May and August 2020.

Summer employment opportunity for History majors at the New England Air Museum

The New England Air Museum is looking for Public Program Facilitators to help provide high quality experiences for summer visitors through hands-on, drop-in activities in exhibit hangars including demonstrations, tours, and activity stations and open cockpit experiences in their historic aircraft.

Allen Horn on the NEHA 2019 conference

Junior History Major Allen Horn attended the New England Historical Association's conference at Roger Williams University on October 26 of last year. Here he writes about his experience.

Farewell to Professor Meznar

The History department wishes a happy retirement to Dr. Joan Meznar, who is leaving after 20 years at Eastern.

Flash History: Iran with Dr. Kamola

In the first installment of the new Flash History lecture series, Dr. Kamola discussed recent events in Iran and Iraq and then walked backwards through time to provide the historical context that can help us make sense of them.

History students visit ECSU Arboretum, meet textbook author

Students in Prof. Balcerski’s Environmental History class had a busy week. As part of their assigned reading of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, they went on a field trip to the ECSU Arboretum, a 20-acre natural area extending from the northwest corner of campus.

History alum Cody Guarnieri inducted into Eastern Fellows Program

Cody Guarnieri, a History and Social Science major from the Eastern class of 2009, was recently inducted into the Eastern Fellows Program, which was started during his senior year to recognize distinguished alumni. Cody now works as a trial lawyer at Brown, Paindiris & Scott.

 Richard Lenzi

History Students meet with alum and local author Richard Lenzi

On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, the History Department had the distinct pleasure of hosting alumnus Richard Lenzi, author of an acclaimed book on Italian anarchists in New London, published recently with SUNY Press.

Dr. Davis to talk about elephants at Yale

This Friday, Dr. Bradley Davis will present at the Yale Program in Agrarian Studies on the topic, “Marks of the beast: Animals and Ethne in the Vietnamese agrarian empire.” This is part of a new book project, an environmental history of imperial Vietnam that considers various attempts to control life (flora, fauna, human) before French colonial rule.

Dr. Kamola’s book released by Edinburgh University Press

In keeping with the theme of history faculty publishing books with British presses, this week brings news of Dr. Stefan Kamola’s first book, Making Mongol History: Rashid al-Din and the Jami` al-Tawarikh.

Dr. Balcerski’s book released by Oxford University Press

Dr. Thomas Balcerski’s new book, Bosom Friends: the Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King, was released this summer by Oxford University Press.

Doug Craig, Eastern alum, history teacher, super sleuth

Earlier this summer, we reported on Doug Craig, an Eastern History major who was named Griswold Teacher of the Year in May. Since then, the Hartford Courant has published a feature article on Doug, describing how he engages his students with the past by turning it into a detective story, or putting them in the hot seat facing crucial decisions that helped shape the course of history.

Doctor Balcerski in the news

Assistant Professor of History Tom Balcerski (shown above, on the left) has been in the news recently. Dr. Balcerski’s first book, Bosom Friends: the Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King, will be released by Oxford University Press later this summer.

Quanece Williams (’16) is going to Law School at Cornell

Quanece Williams, an Eastern alum, a double major in History and Political Science, and a Barnard Scholar, has just shared some great news with us: she had received a scholarship to and will attend Cornell’s J.D./LL.M. International and Comparative Law program starting this Fall.

Michael Theriault on his time as a history major at Eastern

Michael Theriault reflects on his time as a history major at Eastern.

History Grad Dana Meyer Accepts Digital History Fellowship at George Mason University

Manchester-native Dana Meyer ’19, a recent graduate of the history program at Eastern Connecticut State University, accepted a digital history fellowship at the George Mason University Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM).

Eastern Alumni Named Griswold Teacher of the Year

Douglas Craig earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Eastern Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in history from Trinity College. He is currently a social studies teacher at Griswold High School, where he has worked since 2007.

ECSU History Alumni Board

On May 11, 2019, the ECSU History Alumni Board held an event on campus to connect with other history alumni as well as current students (future alumni!).

History Alumni Board Meeting

The ECSU History Alumni board is hosting a networking event for alumni and current students who are looking for new ways to flex the skills they’ve gained as students of history.

Eastern History Students Attend Reconstruction Conference

Two history majors, Uriya Simeon and Allen Horn, along with Prof. Thomas Balcerski, attended the 2019 Draper Conference at the University of Connecticut.

Eastern Grad Lands Job at Connecticut Historical Society

Katerina Mazzacane, who recently graduated from Eastern with a major in History, has just accepted a job as Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs at the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS).

History Students Present at CREATE

Eastern History majors have multiple venues in which to show off their research chops. Just a few weeks after the CSU Making History conference, more History majors presented their papers and posters at Eastern’s annual CREATE conference.

Phi Alpha Theta Induction 2019

On April 4, Alpha Mu Alpha, Eastern’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the highly selective national history honors society, inducted 22 new members. This year represented the largest cohort to date, reflecting the strong academic performance of our history students.

Eastern Faculty and Students at 2019 Making History Conference

The annual Making History Conference, which brings together faculty and students from the History Departments at Eastern, Southern, Central, and Western Connecticut State Universities, took place Southern Connecticut State University last month. Professors Tom Balcerski and Joan Meznar joined several Eastern students on the program for this day-long academic event.

History Major Selected for Internship at Connecticut Historical Society

Eastern History major Jordan Butler has been selected for an internship at the Connecticut Historical Society.

Alumni Update: Richard Lenzi

Historian and Eastern graduate Richard Lenzi has just published his first book with SUNY Press, Facing Toward the Dawn: the Italian Anarchists of New London.

Alumni Update: LaToya Smith, '06

LaToya Smith, who graduated with a double major in History and Communication in 2006 and earned an MS in Print Journalism from Boston University in 2008, recently received two prestigious awards.

Alumni Update: Kristina Oschmann, '14

After graduating with dual BA (History) and BS (Psychology) degrees in 2014, Kristina Oschmann earned an MA in Public History at Central Connecticut State University. She also works as a Visitor Services Associate at the Connecticut Historical Society.

Eastern History at AHA 2019 Meeting in Chicago

The recent annual meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA), in Chicago over January 3-6, 2018, brought two firsts – for the first time, two students, Dana Meyer and Cassie Epes, presented posters at the Undergraduate Poster Session.

New Book by Catherine Lynch

Professor Emerita Katie Lynch, a long-time member of the Department of History and former Chair, passed away in 2015. This year her book on Liang Shuming appeared posthumously with Brill Publishing.

Department Co-Sponsors Talk on Forgotten Genocide in Bangladesh

The History department co-sponsored a talk, on November 12, 2018, by Mr. Mofidul Hoque, the founder of the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

History Major Writes Press Release on Frye Book Talk

Eastern History major Raven Dillon wrote a terrific press release about Professor Frye’s recent book talk. Raven has a special interest in Native American history and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in history after Eastern.

History Major Lands Job as Naval Historian

Eastern History major Gerry Denardi has secured a position as a historian with the United States Department of the Navy, which he will begin upon graduating Eastern in May.

History Students Travel to Gettysburg National Military Park

Over November 10-11, 2018, students and faculty from the History Department traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to visit the national military park. The students, enrolled in either Dr. Tucker’s Civil War & Reconstruction class or Dr. Balcerski’s Antebellum America, left Eastern in two Student Government vans at 7am and arrived in Gettysburg by 1:45pm.

History Majors at the AHA

Two current Eastern History majors, Cassie Epes and Dana Meyer, are on the program for the 2019 annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Chicago in January.

The Digital History Lab: Local Museums Meet with History Faculty

On October 24, 2018, the History faculty met with representatives of the three local museums: Mark Granville, President of the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum, Dr. Jamie Eves, Executive Director of the Mill Museum and Town Historian, Paula Sullivan, Board Member from the Mill Museum, and Dr. Bob Horrocks, President of the Windham Historical Society from the Jillson House Museum.

HIS 200 Students Visit Old Willimantic Cemetary

On September 20, 2018, students from Dr. Balcerski’s and Dr. Meznar’s sections of HIS 200 paid a visit to the Old Willimantic Cemetery. Using tombstones as primary sources, this excursion was the first step in a genealogical history project that also included research in the Connecticut Studies Archive.

Eastern Student Presents Research at NEHA

On Saturday, October 27, Dana Meyer ’19 presented a paper titled “Digital History and the Historian: Connecticut Revolutionary War Deserters,” at the Autumn 2018 meeting of the New England Historical Association at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus.

Dr. Kirchmann’s seminar students at Windham Textile and History Museum

Dr. Kirchmann’s American history seminar class visited the Windham Textile and History Museum (the Mill Museum) on September 13.

Curating the Past with Dr. Eves

As part of a project on designing their own museum exhibits, HIS 200 students toured the Windham Textile and History Museum. On a rainy October day, Dr. Jamie Eves, director of the museum, explained the challenges faced and opportunities provided by these local institutions.

Book Launch: Professor David Frye

The response to Professor Frye’s timely tome on how walls shaped the history of civilization has been impressive. It was chosen as a Main Selection for the History Book Club, has already been featured on two syndicated public radio shows, and is receiving rave reviews

Alumni Update: Adam Murphy, '18

History and Political Science double major Adam Murphy recently returned from his second consecutive summer in Indonesia. While he makes plan for future travel and study, he took some time to reflect on his experiences, which took him from Eastern to Southeast Asia.

Congratulations to our New Honors Students

The History department once again recognized our outstanding majors by awarding them membership in a select group: Phi Alpha Theta, class of 2018.

Summer conference on Fields of Conflict

The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center here in Mashantucket, CT will be hosting the upcoming International Fields of Conflict Conference taking place the week of September 26-30, 2018.

CSU History Conference at Western

In what has become an annual affair, the History Departments at Southern, Central, Eastern, and Western gathered for a now annual conference of students and faculty.

Digital History Lab now operational

It's taken a few years, but Eastern's History department is proud to finally have our very own Digital History Lab. What's a Digital History Lab, you ask? It's a room with computers and specialized software reserved for History faculty and majors, it's located in Webb 408, and it will be the ce...

Eastern students visit Amistad Center in Hartford

On Sunday, 12 November 2017, students from Dr. Balcerski's HIS 322: African-American History from 1877 visited the Amistad Center for Arts and Culture in Hartford.

Congratulations to Phi Alpha Theta Presenters

Over the winter break two senior history majors attended the 2018 Biennial Convention for Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, in the beautiful city of New Orleans. Both students, Alexa Potter and Adam Murphy, presented individual research projects.