News 2012-2013

Fall 2013

(updated 9/5/2013)

Prof. Carlsmith gives lectures in Boston and Newport 
On Friday, Sept. 27, Christopher Carlsmith will speak about his recent research on the wall murals of the Ames-Webster house in Boston’s Back Bay to the Newport County Preservation Society. His talk is part of a larger Study Day that examines Venetian influence in the grand Gilded Age homes of Newport, Rhode Island. On Thursday, Oct. 3, Carlsmith will give a lecture at MIT in Italian to the Circolo Italiano of Boston. The subject will be the history of schooling during the Renaissance in the northern Italian city of Bergamo.

Prof. Chandler speaks at two conferences in New England 
Abby Chandler will be co-presenting a panel called “"Sexual Misconduct and Blasphemy in a Changing Massachusetts Society" as part of the Boston Charter Day Celebration on Sept. 30. And she will be giving a paper called “An Odd Adventure: Variations on the New England Captivity Narrative Tradition” at the Seventeenth Century Warfare, Diplomacy & Society in the American Northeast Conference in Mashantucket, Connecticut on October 19.

Mairèad Pratschke joins the History Department 
The History Department is delighted to welcome Dr. Mairèad Pratschke to UMass Lowell as a full-time Visiting Lecturer. Pratschke earned a Ph.D. in modern British and Irish history from McMaster University in 2005. Prior to that, she earned an M.A. in European Studies from the University of Leuven (Belgium), and an Honors undergraduate degree from the University of Guelph. She brings deep expertise in Irish/Celtic film studies and a broad understanding of Canadian and European affairs. She will teach a variety of courses in modern European history, both online and in person. Dr. Pratschke also expects to help current members of the Department to transition an increasing number of courses to an online platform. She has taught at the University of Guelph, Mount Royal University, and University of Toronto. 

Prof. Young promoted to Associate Professor 
The University has granted tenure to Patrick Young, and promoted him to the position of Associate Professor. Congratulations!

Prof. Pierson to chair Search Committee for an Ancient Historian 
Michael Pierson will head up a job search in 2013-14 for an Assistant Professor of Ancient History. The job posting and other details will be posted on the UML HR website during the Fall semester. The appointment will begin on Sept. 1, 2014.

Prof. Edwards speaks at Catholic University and in Burlington VT in October 
Lisa Edwards will give a paper at a conference in mid-October 2013 hosted by Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The conference examines the theme of “Catholic Activism in the Americas, 1891-1962: New Comparative and Transnational Approaches." Drawing upon her research in Chile and in the Vatican archives, Prof. Edwards will speak about “The View From Rome." 

Also in October, Prof. Edwards, together with Prof. Christoph Strobel, will speak at a roundtable discussion on “The Challenges of Teaching the Western Hemisphere in World History” at the New England Regional World History Association fall symposium in Burlington, VT.

Prof. Minkin and Prof. Edwards on leave in Fall 2013 
Shane Minkin and Lisa Edwards are on parental leave during the fall 2013 semester. The Department congratulates Prof. Minkin and Prof. Edwards as they begin training future historians!

Summer 2013 

(revised 7/2/2013)

Joshua Catanzaro selected for Washington Center internship in D.C. 
Joshua Catanzaro of Revere, MA, has been accepted to The Washington Center Internship and Academic Seminar program to study International Affairs for the Fall Semester of 2013. During his stay in Washington D.C., he will be discovering new methods of diplomacy as well as increasing his understanding of a wide variety of political and social issues. He hopes to gain an experience that will make him ready for real world challenges to come.

Christopher Carlsmith speaks at Oxford University 
In early June 2013, Christopher Carlsmith gave a paper on the 16th-century Italian schoolmaster Nicolò Cologno of Bergamo to the "Early Modern Catholicism Seminar" at Oxford University. In the audience was UMass Lowell History alumnus Andrew Drenas ('05), who is finishing a Ph.D. at Oxford in History in 2013. Carlsmith also conducted research at the Bodleian Library, and visited colleagues at the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick.  

George Deak visits Russia with Students
Faculty member George Deak is currently planning a trip to Russia in summer 2014 as part of his Special Topics course on "Russia in Books". For details, see the brochure on the History Dept. Bulletin Board.

Spring 2013

(Updated 4/16/2013) 

Mary-Kate Hazel Chosen as 2013 Commencement Speaker

UMass Lowell History major Mary-Kate Hazel has been selected as the student speaker for the University's undergraduate commencement exercises on Saturday, May 18, 2013. Chosen from among four finalists, among whom was also Kate Di Tullio, another senior History major, Hazel was selected on the basis of her academic achievement, poise, and the subject of her speech.

Blewett Prize and Carroll Award winners announced for 2013

The History Department is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012-2013 Blewett Research Prize and of the Carroll Service Award. The Blewett Research Prize is awarded in honor of Prof. Mary Blewett, a retired member of the faculty who performed path-breaking research on the industrial history of Lowell and of New England, for the best undergraduate student essay. The Carroll Service Award is given in honor of Charles Carroll, who served as Department Chair and as Dean of the College of FAHSS; it recognizes an undergraduate student for selfless service on behalf of the Department and its students.

Blewett Research Prize

Winner: Christopher Lynch, "River Gone to Waste: The Public Good, the Environment and Government in Lawrence, MA." 

Lynch’s paper examines the tangled history of the Merrimack River in Lawrence from the mid-19th century to the present. The committee praised his deft interweaving of Lockean philosophy, environmental history, and public policy; he demonstrates clearly why it is so important to understand the past as we make decisions about the future.

Honorable Mention: Kate DiTullio, "Hunters, Diplomats, and Warriors: Continuity of Male Mohican Societal Roles from 1609 to 1796" 

DiTullio’s paper explores the fascinating history of the Mohican tribe in Stockbridge, MA in the 17th and 18th centuries; her essay demonstrates how to blend historiography, primary source research, and great narrative to tell a compelling story.

Carroll Service Award

Winner: Mary-Kate Hazel.

Hazel has served as President of the History Club and as an active member of Phi Alpha Theta.

UMass Lowell History Department is a pioneer with the Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an important new national initiative aimed at bringing together a massive amount of useful information under one virtual roof. First conceived in October 2010 at Harvard, this project aims to create a national digital library. It aims to provide books, images, and audio-visual materials on a systematic and accessible basis. The grand unveiling of this project will occur at the Boston Public Library on April 18th. UMass Lowell will be among the very first History Departments in the country to contribute new content to this project, based upon the prize-winning work on the Bread & Roses strike of Prof. Robert Forrant (on which, see below). Stay tuned for more details on this initiative.

Mary-Kate Hazel wins 2013 Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award  

UMass Lowell History major Mary-Kate Hazel has been selected as one of just fifteen Gilder Lehrman History Scholars in a nationwide competition. The award allows her to spend a weekend in New York City where she will participate in a program of special presentations, including meetings with eminent scholars and a behind-the-scenes tour of historic archives. She will also be honored at a formal dinner. The award recognizes outstanding graduating college seniors who have demonstrated academic and extracurricular excellence in American history as well as a commitment to public service and community involvement. 

Historical Exhibition on Lawrence Mills at O'Leary Library

Professor Robert Forrant and some of the students from his Lawrence seminar have contributed to a breathtaking series of fourteen large panels now on display in the lobby of O'Leary Library. Entitled "The Lewis Hine Project: Stories of the Lawrence Children" and curated by Joe Manning, these panels tell the story in both text and image of a dozen individual children from the Lawrence Mills in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Based upon the haunting portraits of Lewis Hine, and augmented by hundreds of hours of historical and biographical research by Joe Manning, these panels also include research by UMass Lowell History majors, professors, and archivists (see related story below). 

UMass Lowell Students Invited to Participate in New England Historical Association annual conference

Five University of Massachusetts Lowell undergraduate History majors have been invited to present their research at the annual meeting of the New England Historical Association (NEHA) on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Westfield State University. Ashley Long, Mary-Kate Hazel, and Katherine DiTullio will present papers based on research completed about Native American tribal identity under the direction of Prof. Chandler in Fall 2012. Derek Winslow and Meghan Chapman will present papers based on research completed about the history of the New England Renaissance Conference under the direction of Prof. Carlsmith.

Phi Alpha Theta Sponsors History Research Symposium

On Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 3:30 p.m., the UMass Lowell chapter of Phi Alpha Theta will sponsor a History Research Symposium in Coburn Hall 307. The events is free and open to the public; please contact Prof. Abigail Chandler for more information. Five members of Phi Alpha Theta will present their current research on historical topics, including:

Mary-Kate Hazel: "Autonomy, Identity, and English-French-Native Relations in the Captivity Narrative of Eunice Williams."

  • Ashley Long: "Captors and Captives in the Ohio Country"
  • Kate DiTullio: "Warrior-Diplomats: Mohicans in the American Revolution"
  • Janelle Bourgeois: "'The union is the place of combat; the cooperative must be a financial and moral support': Franco-Belgian Immigrants in the Textile Industry 1900-1912"
  • Caitlin Pinkham: "Seeking Security and Hope in the Mill City: How Lowell, Massachusetts Experienced the First Few Years of the Great Depression"

Chad Montrie Wins Grant to Make Documentary About Lowell Textile Bridge  

The Lowell Cultural Council has awarded Prof. Chad Montrie $3,000 to make a short documentary film about the history of the Textile Memorial Bridge in Lowell. Montrie was one of 26 recipients this year, and one of only 7 to receive the maximum amount. Montrie has recently completed other documentary films, including River Cycle: The Concord in Lowell (2010) and Tough Love: A Meditation on Dominance and Dogs (2012).  Tough Love is his first feature-length film and traces the  history of the "alpha dog" concept from its origins in 1940s wolf studies to its current popularity among dog owners.  He has upcoming screenings for that movie in Maine, New York City, Colorado, Bermuda, and Texas.  Montrie teaches courses in the history and production of documentary films at UMass Lowell. 

UMass Lowell Students and Faculty Explore Local History in Bread & Roses Strike Centennial 
History professor Robert Forrant spearheaded an interdisciplinary initiative to consider the history of labor and of popular protest by focusing on the 1912 Bread & Roses strike in Lawrence. Recognized by the Zinn Educational Foundation for excellence, this effort involved students and faculty from multiple departments. Please read the full story in the UMass Lowell News, including some exceptional posters. For additional information about a poetry review dedicated to this same topic you can read the online journal The Bridge Review: Merrimack Valley Culture, which includes writing, art, music, video clips, and other creative and scholarly work. 

Spring 2012

Student Scholarship Winners

The History Department congratulates the student winners of the following scholarships, to be used during the 2012-13 academic year:

  • DeMaille Family Scholarship - Janelle Bourgeois
  • O'Leary History Scholarship - Mary-Kathryn Hazel
  • O'Leary History Scholarship - Meghan A. Chapman
  • D. & R. Goodwin Scholarship - Mark E. McEntee
  • Zamanakos Scholarship - Gina Marie Ippolito
  • Zamanakos Scholarship - Simon M. Paonessa
  • Zamanakos Scholarship - Derek B. Winslow

Student Awards

The History Department is pleased to announce that the following students have been selected to receive book awards, based upon their exceptional academic merit and service:
  • Holly Louise Bowers, "Excellence in History" award for highest G.P.A.
  • Lauren Jean, "Mary Blewett Award for Research"
  • Ashley Jean, "Charles Carroll Award for Service"

History Symposium of Phi Alpha Theta

The UMass Lowell chapter of the History honor society, Phi Alpha Theta, held a student symposium on Wednesday May 2, 2012, in Coburn 205 from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. Five students presented the results of their research, and engaged in dialogue with faculty, family, and friends.
  • Jonathan Zlotnik:  “Actors at the End of a Bad Play: Polish National Armies from the Kosciuszko Uprising (1794) to WWII
  • Lauren Jean: ‘The Death of Cu Chulainn: Ancient Celtic Pagan Imagery and the 1916 Easter Rising’
  • Mary-Kate Hazel:’ The Political Activism of African-American Female Freedom Narrative Authors, Civil War-1910’
  • Alexandra Hurtubise: ‘The Baltimore Affair: Analysis of a Crisis’
  • Daniela Nedbalek: ‘Nationalism, Identity and Gallic Culture in Modern France’

New President of Phi Alpha Theta

Lauren Merrill has been elected as President of the UMass Lowell chapter of the History honor society, Phi Alpha Theta, for the 2012-2013 academic year!

New President of UMass Lowell History Club

Mary-Kathyrn Hazel has been elected as President of the UMass Lowell History Club for the 2012-2013 academic year!

Teaching Award for 2011-2012

Ethan Spanier, in his first year at UMass Lowell, has been nominated for the Department Teaching Award for 2011-12. Dr. Spanier teaches a range of classes in Ancient History; his students rave about his vast knowledge, his multilingual skills, and his interest in helping undergraduates to explore the ancient world. In June 2012 Dr. Spanier will lead a group of UMass Lowell students on a study trip to Greece.

Student Mary-Kate Hazel wins the prestigious Laska Award 

Junior History major Mary-Kate Hazel has been awarded the Vera and Andrew J. Laska Award by the New England History Teachers’ Association (NEHTA) for 2012. This competitive award consists of a cash prize of $2000 and a certificate confirming the award. The money will be used to further Mary-Kate Hazel’s study of United States History during her senior year at UMass Lowell and to support her eventual attendance at graduate school. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in nineteenth-century U.S. History, with a particular concentration in African-American, women’s, and Southern history in the post-Civil War period. Her prize-winning essay discussed the importance of studying History as a means to understanding the present.

The award, which has been distributed since 2005, is named for the late well known History Professor, Dr. Vera Laska, a NEHTA Kidger prize winner, and her husband Andrew J. Laska, who was a successful businessman. Dr. Laska, a native of Czechoslovakia, received her Ph.D. in American History from the University of Chicago. She taught at the University of Illinois, Roosevelt University in Chicago, and for many years at Regis College, where she chaired the Department of History, and the Division of Social Sciences. She was the author of over 300 articles and reviews, and seven books. Andrew J. Laska, who served with the anti-Nazi resistance during WW II, was instrumental in founding branches of the Kendall Company in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and retired as a director of marketing for the company's International Division.

The New England History Teachers' Association (NEHTA) was founded in 1897 and is the United States’ oldest association of teachers of history and social studies. It promotes discussion of teaching in the field amongst teachers, students and academics. The NEHTA sponsors meetings each year dealing with topics of special interest to its constituency and joins with other associations and groups in promoting those interests. Currently, The New England Journal of History (until 1988, The New England Social Studies Bulletin) is published twice annually and offers historical research, reviews, and methodological articles. The NEHTA also publishes The NEHTA Newsletter and Forum (formerly The NEHTA Newsletter). It offers short articles of current concern, information on the NEHTA and resources for those involved in teaching history. Annually, the NEHTA presents the Kidger Award for outstanding contributions to research, teaching, or service to the profession, and the Laska Award for undergraduate research.


On Wednesday, February 22, 2012 from 3:30-5 p.m. in Dugan 204, Prof. Abby Chandler will lead a workshop for History students on how to prepare a conference proposal.

On Wednesday, February 28, 2012 from 3:30-5 p.m. in Dugan 204, Prof. Chandler will lead a second workshop for History students on how to write the actual conference paper.

Prof. Ethan Spanier, in his capacity as Director of the new UMass Lowell Hellenic Center, has organized the inaugural Zamanakos Endowed Lectureship on Thursday, March 1, 2012 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. with lecture to follow, at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. Entitled “Constructing Motherhood: the Cult of the Virgin in Byzantine Culture”, the lecture will be given by the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine Art History at Harvard University, Prof. Ioli Kalaverezou.

The History Department is currently conducting a search for an Assistant Professor of Islamic World History, to begin September 2012. Prof. Christoph Strobel and Prof. Lisa Edwards are co-chairing the search, which will bring 3 finalists to campus in early February to meet with students and members of the department. 

Faculty News

Prof. Abby Chandler presented her work to the UMass Lowell Faculty Research Series on Scholarship in the Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, on Wednesday, February 1 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in O’Leary 478 conference room. The title of her presentation was “’Always Ready and Willing to do for them what lay in her Power’” The Legal Role of the Essex County Midwife”.

Prof. Christopher Carlsmith will present aspects of his work to the UMass Lowell Faculty Research and Publishing Forum, a monthly gathering of FAHSS faculty to critique each other’s work. Carlsmith will discuss a chapter from his current work on student colleges in early modern Bologna; this one focuses in particular upon student health, student diet, and other aspects of daily living.

Prof. Lisa Edwards presented aspects of her current research to the Faculty Research and Publishing Forum on November 16, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. in O’Leary 478 conference room. The title of her workshop was “Demanding Democracy: Electoral Conflicts in Chile, 1869-1891", which is part of a broader project about political history in modern Chile.

Prof. Michael Pierson led a group of students and faculty in an animated discussion of Civil War Literature on the evening of January 24, 2011 in O’Leary library. The group expects to meet once per month for two hours, beginning with small-group discussion and then moving to a larger conversation. The readings for January’s discussion included the historical fiction novel “March” by Geraldine Brooks, and the first section of “America’s War’, a compilation of writings from the Civil War. Prof. Pierson noted that the group had two goals: “One of them is to have a place where people can come and sharpen their knowledge and ideas. Secondly, and probably a bigger goal, is to let people know that they can have a place where they can come and discuss intriguing history.”

Prof. Shehong Chen is conducting research in China while on a one-semester sabbatical.

Prof. Robert Forrant is deeply involved in efforts to commemorate the centennial of the Bread & Roses Strike in Lawrence, MA. This dramatic event had a profound history upon the labor history of the state, and indeed of the country; it is being marked by a series of lectures, conferences, and public events.

Fall 2012

History Alumnus Joseph Zlotnik Elected to Mass. State House 
Joseph Zlotnik, who received his B.A. in History in Spring 2012 from UMass Lowell, won a narrow race in the second Worcester District on November 6, 2012  and will serve in the Massachusetts State House. Zlotnik defeated incumbent Rich Bastien with 8,512 votes (51%) compared to Bastien's 8,181 votes. At just 22 years old, Zlotnik will be the youngest representative on Beacon Hill; he follows closely in the steps of another young UMass Lowell alumnus, Sean Garballey, who was elected to represent the 23rd Middlesex District in 2008 shortly after graduating in Political Science from UMass Lowell. Describing himself as a moderate progressive who campaigned in favor of increased funding for education, Zlotnik postponed attending law school in order to run for political office. He was buoyed by strong support in his hometown of Gardner, MA. 

Faculty Updates
The History Department is delighted to welcome Assistant Professor Shane Minkin-Reinhard to UMass Lowell. She earned an M.A. in Jewish history from Emory University (2000) and a Ph.D. from the Joint Program in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from NYU (2009), with a dissertation about 19th and 20th century Egypt. Prior to her arrival at UMass Lowell, Prof. Minkin-Reinhard taught at Swarthmore College for several years. She will teach courses in Islamic History, Middle Eastern History, Ottoman History, Colonialism and Nationalism in the Arab World, and Historical Methods.

The History Department is also pleased to welcome back Prof. Fletcher Smith to a second year as Visiting Assistant Professor; and to welcome long-time adjunct faculty member Diane Lewis as a Visiting Lecturer in 2012-13. New adjunct faculty include Cynthia Melendy and Kenneth Strauss.

In Fall 2012 Michael Pierson will be on sabbatical; in Spring 2013 Caryn Cossé Bell will be on sabbatical.

Patrick Young's new book, Enacting Brittany
In October 2012 Ashgate Press will publish Patrick Young’s first monograph, Enacting Brittany: Tourism and Culture in Provincial France, 1871-1939. It is a case study of some of the processes associated with the emergence of mass tourism, and the effects of this kind of tourism development on local populations. Efforts to package Breton cultural difference in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries marked a significant advance in heritage tourism, and a departure from what is commonly perceived to be a French intolerance of cultural diversity within its borders. This study explores the means by which key actors - middle class associations, businesses, governmental bodies, cultural intermediaries - pursued tourist development in the region and the effect this had on Breton cultural identification. Chapters are arranged thematically and consider the rise of rural tourism in France and the preservation, display, and enactment of Breton culture in its most visible locations: the natural landscape of Brittany, Breton dress, early heritage festivals and religious Pardons. The final chapter explores the staging of Breton culture at the Paris World's Fair of 1937 and the roots of state-sponsored mass tourism.

New Student Leaders in History
The History Club President in 2012-13 will be Mary-Kate Hazel. The President of Phi Alpha Theta in 2012-13 will be Lauren Merrill. Please see the respective web pages of the History Club and of Phi Alpha Theta for more details on their activities, club officers, and more.

New England Renaissance Conference
On Saturday, October 20, 2012, UMass Lowell will host the annual meeting of the New England Renaissance Conference (NERC) at the Inn & Conference Center downtown. Approximately 70 scholars and advanced graduate students will gather to discuss the latest in scholarship about the Renaissance and to listen to a keynote speech by Prof. James Hankins of Harvard University. For more details, please consult the NERC website or contact the conference organizer, Christopher Carlsmith.

Robert Forrant leads the Centennial of the Bread & Roses Strike of 1912
Prof. Robert Forrant has organized a series of exhibitions, lectures, and other events to mark the centenary of the Bread & Roses Strike in Lawrence, MA. He was assisted by a number of UMass Lowell students, including those in his seminar on the history of Lawrence in Fall 2011, who conducted historical research and prepared exhibition posters. One of those students was UMass Lowell alumna Emily Levine, now pursuing graduate work in History at Tufts University. For more information about the exhibit see: Bread and Roses Exhibit  For more information about the Bread & Roses centennial, please read the  August 30, 2012 article, For the Shame of Doing Right, in the Valley Advocate newspaper.

Lecture on the Bread & Roses Strike
On Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 6 p.m. in O’Leary 222, author Ardis Cameron will speak about her book Radicals of the Worst Sort: Laboring Women in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1860-1912. She will discuss the role that women played in the strike; in addition, her presentation will be integrated with student projects, a photo exhibition, and music.

Student trip to Greece in Summer 2012
Prof. Ethan Spanier led a three-week trip to Athens, Greece in June 2012 and taught a course on Greek history to UMass Lowell students. The group visited a series of important historical sites in Athens and elsewhere.  Prof. Spanier plans to return to Greece in summer 2013 for a five-week visit and to teach a course jointly with the American College of Greece.