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Spring 2019 Newsletter from the Department of History

April 10, 2019

Dear friends and alumni of the Department of History,
We have much to celebrate as the 2018-2019 academic year draws to a close. 

We welcomed our newest faculty member and environmental historian, Zozan Pehlivan, who joined the department in the fall. We have greatly enjoyed getting to know Zozan this year.

We held a search in the fall for a scholar in the field of Holocaust, genocide, and comparative human rights, with a focus on Europe. We were fortunate to hire Sheer Ganor, a historian who works on German history and the German-Jewish diaspora in the years following World War II. We were also fortunate to hire her partner, Aaron Hall, a legal historian and scholar of slavery. Both Ganor and Hall are completing their PhDs at UC Berkeley. They will join our faculty in fall 2020 after completing postdoctoral fellowships.

Our distinguished faculty continue to win major awards and recognitions.

  • Michael Lower won the Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education.
  • Sarah Chambers won the Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award, named in honor of Sara Evans, Regents Professor of History Emerita.
  • David Chang won another major book prize from the Modern Language Association for his book The World and All the Things Upon It: Native Hawaiian Geographies of Exploration.

Malinda Lindquist was part of a team awarded an Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop grant for public scholarship bridging boundaries between the University and the larger community, in collaboration with sociology and political science.

The project builds a partnership with three Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBUCs) to develop faculty and student pipelines among our institutions. This will be an exciting program, addressing interdisciplinary and intercollegiate work over the next two years, culminating in conferences that highlight how both scholars and our respective communities are engaging on these topics.

We have also been involved with History Day, one of our most important outreach programs. This year's 44 undergraduate History Day mentors each completed 100 hours of service working with students at over 40 middle and high schools across the Twin Cities. 

As part of the service-learning component of the mentor program, the mentors have been reflecting on how their understanding has been transformed by stepping into the role of educators and engaging the public in history. One mentor commented that, for him, "one of the most effective and respectful sessions I have observed occurred during moments when the class stopped thinking of themselves as 'outside' of history, and instead as a contributing member with personal involvement in the learning material." The mentors completed their service at this year's State History Day competition on May 4.  

Graduate students and graduate alumni have also had achievements of note. Five students won fellowships to study foreign languages, seven students completed their PhDs, and two completed MA degrees.

Among our recent PhDs, Bernadette Perez has been appointed to a tenure-track position at Berkeley, Jimmie Sweet has a tenure-track position at Rutgers, and Elizabeth Dillenburg has a tenure track position at Ohio State. John Little is the new director of the Indian University of North America at the Crazy Horse Memorial.
In fall 2019, we will be welcoming another splendid class of seventeen new graduate students.

Our undergraduate students have also achieved distinction. We are pleased to announce that we have awarded four Donovan awards to undergraduate history majors for independent research this summer. The Donovan, our most prestigious award, provides $8,000 to each winner to support their projects.

This year:

  • Benjamin Halom will be studying banditry in 19th-century California
  • Joselin Nararo Cano will be studying discrimination against Chicanx/Latinx identity in the US education system
  • Robert Moss is heading to Germany to examine civilian life under Allied air strikes during World War II
  • Shannon Delahanty is going to London to look at British imperial interactions with Arab and Turkish forces during World War I

One of our previous Donovan awardees, Sofia Logan, received the Class of 1889 Memorial Prize for her capstone paper on the history of samba in Brazil. Juliet Paulson won the first nonpaper prize for creating a replica of a Viking-era dress.

These are just a few of the awards and recognitions our faculty and students have garnered. We continue to engage the history community with lively workshops, events, lectures, and conferences. Please check our website and join us for events that interest you.

My term as chair will end in June, when Ann Waltner will take over. It has been a privilege to serve this department over the last three years. 

We all look forward to staying in touch.

Warm wishes,
Elaine Tyler May