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News 2012

Spring 2012


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


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"


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’


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!


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


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.


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.


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.