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News 2014

Department News

Fall 2014

(updated November 1, 2014)


On Wednesday, Sept. 17 History professor Christoph Strobel participated in a panel discussion on the theme of “Native American History & the Question of Genocide,” together with Prof. Whitley Kaufman (Philosophy), Prof. John Kaag (Philosophy), and Prof. Scott L. Pratt (Philosophy, Univ. of Oregon). Also on Wednesday, Sept. 17, Prof. Herbin-Triant and Prof. Forrant spoke at a panel exploring recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri, entitled “Let’s Talk About It: Ferguson,” sponsored by the Department of Multicultural Affairs.

On Tuesday, Sept. 23 historian Joe Manning returned to UMass Lowell to discuss his Lewis Hine Project. Hine was a photographer who captured poignant and stirring images of Lowell’s child laborers in the mills; Manning has spent decades identifying those children and tracing their stories. Manning is also an author, a poet, a genealogist, a photographer, and a songwriter. For more information, contact Steven Courtemanche (Steven_Courtemanche1@uml).

On Thursday, Oct. 2 the History Dept. is co-sponsored a lecture by Kenneth David Jackson of Yale University: "A New Hybrid World: Crossing Cultures with the Portuguese in Asia, Africa, and the Americas."


At the Phi Alpha Theta Northeast Regional conference at Roger Williams University on November 15, 2014, Bernard Trubowitz presented a paper titled "Documented During Their Detention: Initial Findings and Research Opportunities Using the Lawrence History Center’s Essex County Jail Records," and Kimberly Mack presented a paper titled "Home Rule Would be Rome Rule: Ulster Protestants and the Catholic Threat.” Emily Jarmolowicz (History, ’14) completed a research project on the history of the New England Renaissance Conference in Spring 2014, which will contribute to a publication in the journal Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History. Emily will be pursuing graduate studies in Medieval History at UMass Amherst beginning in Fall 2014. Megan Shea (History, ’15) is conducting year-long research on the history of the non-profit Save Venice, Inc. with Prof. Christopher Carlsmith, through the Emerging Scholars program. Prof. Bob Forrant is also supervising a student, Political Science major Phillip Geoffroy, in the Emerging Scholars program for a project about the consequences to mid-size towns inside and outside of New England when factory jobs disappear. Janelle Bourgeois (History, ’13) contributed a chapter to a new book co-edited by Prof. Bob Forrant (see details below); she is pursuing an M.A. in modern American History at UMass Amherst beginning in Fall 2014.


Prof. Robert Forrant has co-edited a new book, "The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912: New Scholarship on the Bread & Roses Strike" (Baywood Publishing Co., 2014). The essays herein offer readers an exciting reexamination of just how powerful a united working class can be. The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912—the Bread and Roses Strike—was a public protest by 25,000 immigrant workers from several countries, prompted by a wage cut and horrible working and living conditions. Backed by skillful neighborhood organizing, supported by hundreds of acts of solidarity, and unified by a commitment to respect every striker’s nationality and language, the walkout spread across the city’s densely packed tenements. Prof. Lisa Edwards became Chair of the History Department on Sept. 1, 2014, replacing Prof. Joseph Lipchitz upon his retirement from the University after more than forty years of service. Prof. Paul Keen joins the Department as Assistant Professor, and will be teaching a variety of classes in ancient Greek and Roman history. Prof. Keen previously taught at Valparaiso University in Indiana. Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant joins the Department as a Visiting Assistant Professor for 2014-15, where she will teach courses in U.S. History and African-American History. She previously taught at St. John’s University in New York. Prof. Mairead Pratschke has recently signed a book contract with Peter Lang Publishing for a monograph that analyzes modern Irish film; it will be delivered in April 2015 with an anticipated publication date in the Fall of 2015. The series "Reimagining Ireland"interrogates Ireland’s past and present and suggests possibilities for the future by looking at Ireland’s literature, culture and history and subjecting them to the most up-to-date critical appraisals associated with sociology, literary theory, historiography, political science and theology. Prof. Patrick Young has a forthcoming book that will appear in print in Fall 2014, "Place and Locality in Modern France" (Bloomsbury, 2014). Co-edited with Philip Whalen, it analyzes the significance and changing constructions of local place in modern France. Drawing on the expertise of a range of scholars from around the world, the book provides a timely overview of the cross-disciplinary thinking that is currently taking place over a central issue in French history. During the summer of 2014, Prof. Young also gave a paper, “ Rethinking Cultural Festivity in Brittany and Beyond,” at the Society for French Studies annual meeting held at Aberdeen University in the UK. Prof. Shane Minkin has been named the modern Middle East editor for the journal History Compass, and in August 2014 she published a chapter entitled "Documenting Death: Inquests, Governance, and Belonging in 1890s Alexandria" in "The Long 1890s in Egypt: Colonial Quiescence, Subterranean Resistance," ed. Marilyn Booth and Anthony Gorman (Edinburgh University Press). Prof. Fletcher Smith has been appointed as the Freshman Advisor for the Department. In addition, he has joined the Navigator’s Club, dedicated to assisting non-traditional students.

Spring 2014

(updated April 15, 2014)

Professor Chandler wins Archie K. Davis Fellowship & publishes in Perspectives

Professor Abby Chandler has been awarded the Archie K. Davis Fellowship for Spring 2015 by the North Caroliniana Society based in Chapel Hill, NC. This award will cover travel and subsistence expenses during Prof. Chandler's sabbatical research on the figure of Martin Howard, a Loyalist during the American Revolution who served as Chief Justice in North Carolina.

In April 2014, Prof. Chandler also published an article in Perspectives, the prestigious monthly newsletter of the American Historical Association, entitled "Teaching with a Tea Set: Using Objects in the U.S. History Survey".

Charles Carroll Service award winner announced

Senior Meghan Chapman has been awarded the Charles Carroll Service Award by the History Department faculty, for her extensive and valuable contributions the students and faculty in History. In 2013-14 Meghan has served as President of both the History Club and of Phi Alpha Theta, organizing a series of events all year long, including the Warrior's Feast, a History of Halloween, a Meet the Historian, and a Victorian Tea Party.

Blewett Essay Prize winners announced

The History Department congratulates this year's winners of the Blewett Essay Prize, awarded annually to the best undergraduate essay(s) in memory of Professor emerita Mary Blewett. The prize committee consisted of Patrick Young (Chair), Chad Montrie, and Abby Chandler. The winners for period including Fall 2013 and Spring 2013 are:

  • Victoria Crenshaw, "Blurring the Separate Spheres: Male Anxieties over Female Consumption in late 19th and early 20th century France."
  • Eric Hinds, "Africa Interrupted"

Symposium on the History of Post-WWII Immigration into Lawrence, MA

On 5 April at the Everett Mill in Lawrence, MA, the History Department co-sponsored a one-day symposium on the history of immigration to Lawrence during the period following World War II. Professor Shehong Chen of UMass Lowell spoke about the Chinese experience in Lawrence; UMass Lowell History major and Honors student student Fabiane Kelley spoke about her own experience coming from Brazil; Professor Jose Itzigsohn of Brown University gave the keynote address about the Dominican experience in another mill city, Providence, RI.

The True Cost of Coal: Labor, Environment, and Big Mining in Colombia

On Monday, 31 March from 1-2 p.m. at O'Leary 222, the History Department co-sponsored a talk by Fredy Lozano, a community leader, union activist, law student, and miner from Colombia, who spoke about his experience at Cerrejon, the largest open pit mine in Latin America. Prof. Chad Montrie was the lead organizer of this event.

Prof. Forrant publishes about Lawrence, MA

In the 9 March edition of the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, Prof. Robert Forrant wrote about Lawrence, MA as a "city of possibilities" in contrast to the lurid headline of a previous Boston Globe article that described Lowell's sister city as a "city of the damned". Forrant describes both Lawrence's important industrial past, and its successful achievements to re-invent itself in the 21st century. In Fall 2015 Prof. Forrant plans to teach a comparative seminar on the history of Lowell and Lawrence.

(updated 24 Feb. 2014)

History Department moves from Coburn to Dugan Hall

In early January, the History Department relocated from Coburn Hall to Dugan Hall 106. All fourteen full-time faculty, as well as adjunct faculty and administrative staff, now have offices within the Dugan 106 office suite. Telephone numbers remain the same; office numbers can be found on the “Faculty” web page or at the entrance to the department suite. Please come visit!

Student Dillon Mroz conducts research on Viking History

History major Dillon Mroz will be making a presentation to the Byfield/Newbury (MA) Historical Society in the Spring 2014 semester on the history of late medieval Vikings. Mroz conducted the research under the supervision of Prof. Lauren Fogle in a previous semester.

Prof. Chandler’s forthcoming work on colonial midwives

Abby Chandler will publish “From Birthing Chamber to Court Room: The Medical and Legal Communities of the Colonial Esseex Country Midwife” in the journal Early Modern Women in Fall 2014.

Prof. Young edits a volume on Modern France

Place and Locality in Modern France, 1750-Present, edited by Patrick Young and Philip Whalen, will appear in print in July 2014 with Bloomsbury Academic. The book assembles international scholars from multiple disciplines to elucidate the ways in which local connection has been reinvented and reinvested across Modern French History. Its chapters address topics such as the politics of administrative reform, regionalism and projects of decentralization; the role of commerce in engendering narratives and experience of local place; the importance of ethnic, class and gender distinctions to local identifications; and the generation and transmission of knowledge about local place and culture through academia, civic heritage and popular memory.

Prof. Carlsmith gives Two lectures in California

In mid-January Christopher Carlsmith gave a lecture to 100+ members of San Francisco Heritage, a historic preservation group based in San Francisco. The talk summarized his research on architect John Powers (1873-1936) and his contributions to San Francisco architecture; an article entitled “An Architect by the Bay: John H. Powers and the firm Powers & Ahnden of San Francisco” will appear in the journal Argonaut, published by San Francisco History Museum in February 2014. Carlsmith also gave a talk to members of the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Stanford University, about the pastoral and pedagogical activities of Italian schoolteacher Nicolò Cologno and bishop Cosimo Gheri during the 1530s. An article based upon that research is forthcoming in Catholic Historical Review.

Prof. Forrant investigates local history in Lawrence, MA

Robert Forrant has worked extensively on Lowell’s sister city, Lawrence, especially in commemoration of last year’s centennial of the important Bread & Roses strike of 1912. With Susan Grabski, he co-edited Lawrence, Massachusetts and the 1912 Bread & Roses Strike (Arcadia Publishing, Images of America Series, 2013), and they are planning a one-day symposium on 5 April 2014 on the history of the “new immigration” into Lawrence and similar communities; details at With Jurg Siegenthaler he has edited The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912: New Scholarship on the Bread & Roses Strike, (Baywood Publishing Work, Health and Environment Series, forthcoming, Spring 2014). Forrant was also co-curator of The Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History,” for the Digital Public Library of America,

Prof. Pratschke to speak at Columbia University and in Ireland at two international conferences

Mairéad Pratschke will present her research on the Gael-Linn Amharc Eireann (Look at Ireland) documentary and news film series to the Irish Studies seminar at Columbia University on Friday, March 7th

In June, she will travel to Ireland to speak at the ACIS (American Conference on Irish Studies) and CAIS (Canadian Association of Irish Studies) Joint Annual Meeting, Latitudes: Irish Studies in an international context, at University College Dublin in June 2014, where she will present a paper onIrish documentary films made during the Celtic Tiger era. Beyond My Shore (1998) and The Famine Ship (1999) addressthe quintessentially Irish experience of emigration, reminding viewers of the fabled Brendan voyage and the grim reality of the 19thcentury coffin ships that brought the Irish to America.

At theIreland and Ecocriticismconference at the University College Cork,she will present a paper exploring the environmental consequences of oil sands development in Canada from an Irish Studies perspective.Thepaper will discuss the work of Irish artist Pauline Cummins,' whose Water/Leopardperformance piece at the M:ST 6 Mountain Standard Time Festival of Performative Works invited viewers to explore the environmental consequences of oil sands exploration in Alberta.