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Department News

News by Year



Spring 2020
  • February 4 - Rashauna Johnson of Dartmouth College was on campus to give a talk, “Slave Spaces: New Orleans and the Atlantic Geographies of Bondage," in Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant's African-American History class (Coburn G70 from 9:30-10:45 a.m.). For more information, please email Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant:
  • February 11 - Hannah Marcus of Harvard gave a lecture pertinent to her research, "Censoring Medicine in the Age of Galileo," both to Prof. Christopher Carlsmith's "Renaissance and Reformation" class in Dugan 211 and then at a public lecture for History and Medieval-Renaissance students from 3:30-4:30 p.m in the O'Leary Mezzanine (OLE 270). Prof. Marcus's lecture is available online. For any questions, please email Prof. Christopher Carlsmith:
  • March 17 - Chet van Duzer of Brown University was scheduled to be on campus to speak about Renaissance cartography/map-making. Like on-campus classes and other activities, this event had to be canceled due to concerns related to the coronavirus. Updates will be provided when we have them.
  • April 9 - For this year's Zamanakos Lecture, Father John Chryssavgis, archedeacon of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, was scheduled to give a talk, "Climate Change as Moral Priority: The Green Patriarch," during which he would have explained Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's role in promoting environmental awareness among Eastern Orthodox Christians. Like on-campus classes and other activities, this event had to be canceled due to concerns related to the coronavirus. Updates will be provided when we have them. For questions, please contact Prof. Andrew Drenas via email:
  • April 29 (Virtual) - Rui Tavares, Spring 2020 Gulbenkian/Saab Visiting Professor in Portuguese Studies at UMass Lowell, gave a virtual lecture, "Utopia’s Generation: Thomas More, Erasmus, Damião de Góis and the End of a World." He told the story of Damião de Góis, the young Portuguese humanist, diplomat, and businessman who encountered Erasmus of Rotterdam, "the Prince of Humanists," during the Renaissance. The lecture considered De Góis's career from 1535, the year of the death of the renowned English humanist Sir Thomas More, to his imprisonment by the Portuguese Inquisition in the 1570s. This talk shed light on how an intellectual world ended by the middle of the sixteenth century and yet bequeathed to us a certain idea of Europe and even globalization. The lecture began at 11 a.m. 
Fall 2020
  • This fall, the History Department is introducing a new initiative, "History Hour." This event, projected to happen on a Wednesday afternoon once a month, will bring together History students and faculty to discuss an article or book chapter written by a History faculty member. The article will be distributed a few days in advance; everyone will be encouraged to read it. After a faculty member has introduced their article and reflected on how they conducted their research, most of the session will be devoted to questions and answers about the research process and issues raised by the publication. "History Hour" will provide our academic community with more opportunities for critical thinking about history as well as a sense of community. Those who wish to participate can obtain the Zoom address upon contacting the chair of the History Department, Christopher Carlsmith, via email:
    • The first "History Hour" will take place on Wednesday, September 30, from noon - 1 p.m. Chad Montrie will discuss his article, "'That Very Northern City': Recovering a Forgotten Struggle for Racial Integration in Duluth," which examines twentieth-century racial discrimination in Minnesota.
    • The second meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 21, from noon - 1 p.m. Jane Sancinito will reflect on her article, “Like a Bad Penny: Ancient Numismatics in the Modern World,” which considers the history of coins.

  • October 8 (Virtual) - Beginning at 11 a.m., artist Steve Locke, whose work is engaged with forms of public memory, will give a talk, "Memory and the Built Form," in which he will discuss how our memorials and public spaces should reflect on the history of slavery and racial violence. His lecture will be followed by a discussion to be moderated by Prof. Michael Pierson. The History Department is cosponsoring this event with Art & Design and Art History.  To attend, one must register through the UMass Lowell Zoom site. For questions, please contact Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant via email at
  • October 22 (Virtual) - From 11 a.m. to noon, Frederick Harris of Columbia University will discuss the history of voter suppression and the movements for voting rights in a lecture, "Voter Suppression Then and Now: How Did We Get Here and What Can Be Done." The History Department is cosponsoring this event with the Political Science Department, the Peace & Conflict Studies Program, and the Center for Public Opinion. For any questions, please contact Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant via email at
  • November 18 (Virtual) - Emily Neumeier of Temple University will give a virtual lecture addressing the history of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the significance of its recent reconversion to a mosque. This talk, "The Hagia Sophia Building: Past and Present," will last from 5:30-6:30 p.m. For any questions, please contact Prof. Jane Sancinito via email:
Summer 2021
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded the Tsongas Industrial History Center a grant for two summer 2021, one-week workshops. (There will be two next year because the one scheduled for this summer had to be postponed). These "landmarks workshops" on the history of reform movements in Lowell are intended for the benefit of 72 school teachers. Chad Montrie is the lead scholar for each grant. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, Christoph Strobel, and Bob Forrant will also contribute.


  • On February 24, Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant published an op-ed on the Columbia University Press website, "Becoming Stuck: Residential Segregation and Upward Mobility." It discusses Michelle Obama's experience of living through white flight, how neighborhoods become segregated, and why it is often so difficult for people who grow up in so-called ghettos to experience upward mobility.
  • On March 4, Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant facilitated a discussion on Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. Rothstein's book demonstrates that American cities became racially divided not through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions; rather, discriminatory patterns were promoted through laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments. This event was free and open to the public, and began at 7 p.m. at the Andover Memorial Library.
  • In March, Prof. Christoph Strobel published a new book, Native Americans of New England. It examines the history of the indigenous peoples who lived in what would become the New England states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. It is based on biographies, stories, case studies, anecdotes, and the earliest available archaeological evidence. It emphasizes the continued Native American presence in the region.
  • Prof. Chad Montrie was scheduled to be among the speakers at this year's Boston Labor Conference (March 28), whose focus would have been "Labor, Climate Change, and Political Power." Due to concerns related to the coronavirus, the conference has been postponed until the fall. Updates will be provided when we have them. For more details about the conference, please visit the UMass Boston Labor Resource Center's website.
  • This spring, Prof. Christoph Strobel was scheduled to speak at length about his research on Native American history. But due to concerns related to the coronavirus,his lectures at Groton Public Library (April 5), Chelmsford Public Library (April 16), the Salem Athenaeum in Salem, Massachusetts (May 20), and Northfield Public Library (May 26) have all been postponed. Updates will be provided when we have them.
  • On April 21, a "Legislating the Environment: Teaching Environmental History and Civics" workshop was scheduled to be offered at the Tsongas Industrial History Center in Lowell. Prof. Chad Montrie would have been present to provide an overview to the study of environmental history, particularly as it relates to New England industry. Due to concerns related to the coronavirus, this event has been postponed to November 7. For more information, please visit the Massachusetts Historical Society's website.
  • From 4-5 p.m. on June 4, University Prof. Bob Forrant gave a talk, "The University and the City: Regrowing Lowell Together." He discussed UMass Lowell's early mission and then discussed the role it and the public university and college system can play in social and economic development post-COVID-19.
  • Prof. Elizabeth Williams was the recipient of a Kluge Fellowship to spend nearly a year (February 2021 through the end of 2021) doing research at the Library of Congress. There, she'll finish writing her first book, which is about the transformation of rural life from the late nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire through the transition of French rule after World War I. She will also be able to start to do the research for her second book, which will examine how the Aleppo region was affected by its division between Turkey and Syria in the early 1920s.
  • On July 29, Prof. Chad Montrie gave a talk on the research he did for his recently published article, "'That Very Northern City': Recovering a Forgotten Struggle for Racial Integration in Duluth." The talk took place from 7-7:30 p.m. CDT and is available through the Minnesota Historical Society's Facebook Page.
  • Joining the History Department in fall 2020 is Prof. Jane Sancinito, an ancient historian specializing in the social and economic history of the Roman Empire. Her research interests are in merchants, artisans, and transporters - and especially in the ways that those people fought stereotypes, built and maintained relationships with their communities, and ran businesses in the uncertain and risky Mediterranean world. In her current book project, The Reputation of the Roman Merchant, she is focusing on how having a good (or bad) reputation shaped how people made deals and worked the Roman system to get ahead. Recently, she has published on a range of topics, from innkeepers in Sasanian Persia to the coins used by the Visigoths. She is currently planning articles on merchants in the New Testament and on commercial curse tablets from classical Athens. At Lowell, Dr. Sancinito is looking forward to running a series of ancient surveys of Greece and Rome, including a new course “From Alexander the Great to Cleopatra,” to teaching on the work of women in antiquity, and especially to reviving her course on ancient piracy.
  • On Tuesday, September 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Cary Memorial Library (Lexington, Mass.) hosted a virtual talk given by Prof. Christoph Strobel. In this lecture, "Legacies of 1620 and the Mayflower: Native Americans of New England," Prof. Strobel shared some of what we know about the stories of Native American people who lived in New England and the impact that colonization had on their lives after the foundation of Plymouth in 1620.
  • On Thursday, September 24, from 7-8 p.m., University Prof. Bob Forrant gave a virtual lecture: "The Contradiction on the Merrimack: Cotton Mills and Anti-Slavery in Lowell." It explored how Lowell's industrial economy benefited from slave labor, yet the city was also home to a vibrant antislavery movement. 
  • Prof. Christoph Strobel will again share his lecture on Native American history, "Legacies of 1620 and the Mayflower: Native Americans of New England," on Tuesday, October 13, from 7-8:30 p.m. He will give his talk virtually in coordination with the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy. For more details on the event and how to attend, please visit the Thomas Crane Public Library website.  
  • This fall, Prof. Chad Montrie will participate in an environmental history seminar: "'Not to Us Chained': Nature and the Radicalism of Sacco and Vanzetti." This virtual event will take place on Tuesday, November 10, from 5:15-6:30 p.m. One must register through the Massachusetts Historical Society's website to attend.
  • Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant is the coordinator for the Massachusetts Historical Society's African American History Seminar. For the remainder of 2020, virtual seminars on "Success to the Literary Society! Black Male Youth Organizing in Early Nineteenth-Century Boston" (Thursday, November 5, 5:15-6:30 p.m.) and "Emancipation In America, Seen Through One Man's Dreadlocks" (Thursday, December 3, 5:15-6:30 p.m.) are scheduled to take place. For more information and/or to register, please visit the Massachusetts Historical Society's website.


  • Alan Mendieta Rivadeneyra is the recipient of a major scholarship allowing him to study Archives Management in Simmons College’s Library and Information Science program. He begins this fall. This concentration focuses on learning the skills to preserve and manage historical sources. Alan chose this program because he wanted to work firsthand with primary documents and to research them. He hopes to pursue a career as an archivist in a museum or national historical park. His education at UMass Lowell helped prepare him for all this. His introduction to archival processing came freshman year, while serving as an archival assistant in the library. In that role, he studied property records from nineteenth-century Lowell. His interest was piqued further last year as he researched the Ladd and Whitney Memorial in Lowell for a seminar with University Professor Bob Forrant. For his honors thesis, Alan is due to complete a study of the Korean War Memorial in Worcester, for which he has drawn from the archives of the Worcester Historical Society.