Department News

Department News

Spring 2016


On Thursday Feb. 18, from 12:30-2 p.m. in O’Leary 222, the History Department was pleased to welcome Ethan Michaeli for a talk entitled “How Frederick Douglass Went to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and Inspired a Generation of Civil Rights Leaders”. This event was part of Black History Month, and drew from Michaeli’s recent book The Defender: How Chicago’s Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America. For more information, contact

On Saturday, Feb. 20, from 1-3 p.m. at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center, 246 Market St, there was a discussion of slavery, the slave trade, and its deep roots in New England through a film screen and discussion of “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North”, led by Kristin Gallas, Project Manager at the Tsongas Industrial History Center. Furthermore, there was a discussion of the vibrant anti-slavery movement in Lowell, MA in the shadow of the mills in the city that relied every day on slave-produced balers of cotton, led by History Professor Robert Forrant.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, cartographer Chet Van Duzer gave a pair of talks about Renaissance maps. From 12:30-1:45 p.m. he spoke in Dugan 204 to Prof. Carlsmith’s Renaissance-Reformation class about the 1551 map made by French mapmaker Pierre Desceliers. From 2:30-3:30 p.m. in Dugan 208 on the same day, he gave another talk about the 1491 map of German mapmaker Henricus Marcellus and the influence that this map may have had on Columbus’ view of the world. For more information, contact

On Wednesday, March 30, historian Daria Foner, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, gave a talk about her research on images of children/childhood in Renaissance Florence. From 12:30-1:45 p.m. she spoke in Dugan 208 to Prof. Carlsmith’s Renaissance-Reformation class about her dissertation research and discussed representative paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. For more information, contact

On Thursday, March 31, the History Department and the Hellenic Studies Program at UML welcomed Haverford professor Alexander Kitroeff for the 2016 annual Zamanakos Lecture at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. The topic was “Greek Orthodoxy & the Challenges of Americanization: Archbishop Iakovos’ Last Decade 1986-1996”. Iakovos was ordained as a Greek priest in Lowell in 1940, and later became the “undisputed leader” of the Greek Orthodox church in the Americas by the time of his retirement in 1996 at age 85. For more details see the article in the Lowell Sun:, or contact

On Monday and Tuesday, April 3-4, the History Department hosted its bi-annual Course Faire in Dugan 106 (History Department lobby). Flyers describing upper-level courses for Fall 2016 were available, as were various faculty to provide insight to the courses, in anticipation of the faculty advising period. 

Student News

Several History majors are working with Mehmed Ali, Ph.D., in the UMass Lowell Library to digitize historical documents and to create electronic Library Guides (LibGuides) for different collections within the library. These include:

  • Lindy Reed is currently managing the Greek Immigration Documents Project where she digitized over 2500 original documents which were originally in the attic of Lowell City Hall. Lindy is now developing a website which will offer an overview of the local Greek community and migration issues while also allowing researchers the ability to review all the scanned documents. 
  • Zachary Najarian-Najafi is spearheading the Remembering Little Canada Initiative in preparation for the Lawrence History Center and UMass Lowell's Reclaiming Urban Renewal symposium where Zachary will be presenting his research. The Little Canada Initiative is bringing together, in digital form, a synthesis of urban planning documents, photographs, and even home movies which tell the story of the 1960s demolition of one of Lowell's vibrant neighborhoods. 
  • Jon Garniss is part of a team working to digitize and make discoverable two major video collections - the Page One Collection and the Media Center Archives. Working with old analog tapes dating from the 1980s and 1990s, Jon has been organizing the collections and transferring them into new formats which will be available on the Library's website. 
  • Seamus Pugh is currently undertaking two digital humanities projects which are bringing to light two recently accessioned collections at the University - the Courier Corporation Archives and the Gerry Dubois Photograph Collection. Seamus' work can be previewed online. Seamus is also working to create a LibGuide for the documents of the archive that houses the New England Renaissance Conference (NERC) from 1939-present.
  • Noah Thompson is working with Prof. Carlsmith to identify, catalog, and digitize documents from the archive of Save Venice, Inc., a non-profit founded in Boston in 1970 to raise funds for the preservation of art, architecture, and cultural artifacts from Venice, Italy.

On Thursday, Feb. 18 from 9:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. in O’Leary 222 (South Campus), UMass Lowell hosted its annual Gender Studies Conference, including panels on “Gender and Literature”, “Gendered Experiences”, and other topics. History major Gina Cesati spoke on wartime sexual violence, memory, and narration, the fruit of her Directed Study with Prof. Patrick Young in Fall 2015. More information can be found on the Gender Studies website, or by contacting:

Faculty News

Prof. Abigail Chandler’s book Law and Sexual Misconduct in New England, 1650-1750: Steering Toward England (Ashgate Press) was published in late Fall 2015; she also has a pair of forthcoming articles in April 2016: “’Unawed by the Laws of their Country’: Finding Legal and Political Legitimacy in North Carolina’s Regulator Rebellion”, North Carolina Historical Review; and “Dressing for History: Teaching in Eighteenth-Century Clothing” in Commonplace: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life. 

Prof. Andrew Drenas published his first article, “Lorenzo da Brinidisi’s ‘Commentariolum de Rebus Austriae et Bohemiae’: An introduction to, and translation of, the document in English”, in Collectanea Francescana 85 (2015): 595-629; it describes the missionary work of the foremost Franciscan preacher in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe, through his own autobiographical account.

On January 28, Prof. Robert Forrant was interviewed by Rich Austin on PRX about the Bread and Roses Strike (the interview is about 27 minutes long).

Dr. Mairéad Pratschke traveled to Dublin in March to be interviewed for Éire san Nuachtscannán (Ireland in the Newsreels), a 6-part television series exploring Ireland’s relationship with 20th century cinema newsreels focusing on British, American and indigenous production between the 1910s and the 1960s. The series is a production of TG4 (, Ireland’s Irish-language broadcaster. She was interviewed for her expertise on an Irish-language series produced in the 1950s and 60s – the subject of her book, Visions of Ireland: Gael Linn’s Amharc Éireann film series, 1956-64, published as part of Peter Lang’s 'Reimagining Ireland' series in 2015.

Dr. Pratschke also traveled to Notre Dame University in late March to present a paper on the Gaeltacht Civil Rights Movement, the subject of her latest research, to the annual meeting of the American Conference on Irish Studies (ACIS): The Worlding of Irish Studies (

Prof. Christopher Carlsmith presented his research on education in Renaissance Rome, and on the history of the New England Renaissance Conference (NERC), at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in Boston on 1-2 April. Carlsmith also chaired the Local Arrangements Committee. Most of the students in his ‘Renaissance-Reformation’ class also attended the conference where they listened to papers and met with top scholars in the field.

FALL 2015

(Updated October 19, 2015)


On Thursday, Sept. 24, the History Department hosted a Transfer Breakfast for all History majors who have transferred from other institutions. Muffins and coffee were available to all, as well as free advice and encouragement. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, the History Department sponsored a talk by Prof. Aviva Chomsky of Salem State University, on the topic of “Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal.” Based on her current book of the same title, this talk explored how Mexicans and other migrant worked have been systematically denied right long granted to European immigrants. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, actress and activist Lynne McKenney Lydick presented a one-woman play based on the life of Abby Kelley Foster, Worcester’s radical abolitionist and women’s rights activist.

On Thursday, Oct. 15, the Vietnamese-American author, philanthropist, and peace activist Le Ly Hayslip spoke about her own experiences and those of other Southeast Asian refugees, including the recent history of those groups in the United States.

On Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 26 - 27, the History Department will once again offer its semi-annual Course Faire, where students can talk to faculty, and pick up flyers, about the array of History courses to be offered in Spring 2016. The event will occur in Dugan Hall 106 (History Department Lobby) from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.;

On Friday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., students in various History classes will visit the exhibition “Knights!” at the Worcester Museum of Art for a guided tour. The event is free to all students; for more information, contact Prof. Christopher Carlsmith.

From November 2 - 6, the History Department is pleased to host Prof. Federico Paolini, an environmental historian visiting from the University of Naples. He will meet with faculty and students, visit several classes, and give a lecture entitled “’Up to Our Necks in Cars’: A Social Environmental History of Modern Italy” to the Honors College and the public, on Wed, Nov. 4 from 5-7 pm at Allen House. In Italy, as in other countries, the automobile has been both a means of transportation and an agent of social transformation. The automobile’s proliferation after World War II had profound environmental consequences as well, from increased petroleum demand to ever-worsening air quality. Dr. Paolini will discuss this history and consider how cars’ environmental effects as well as the current crisis of Italy’s auto industry are a metaphor for the country’s more general decline. For more information, please contact Prof. Chad Montrie. The History Department is on Facebook! Visiting Lecturer Andrew Drenas has created a new Facebook page for the History Department —come on over to visit and be among the first of projected millions to “like” us!.

Prof. Paul Keen is offering a three-week study abroad course (43.260, “Archaeology and the Idea of Greece”) in Summer 2016, from May 19-June 6. All classes will be taught on-site at museums and archaeological sites. For details, contact Prof. Keen. 

Faculty Prof. Paul Keen gave a paper in summer 2015 at the Association of Ancient Historians annual meeting in Santa Barbara, entitled “Epichoric Writing Systems and Political Power in Classical and Hellenistic Cyprus.” He has also spoken to the Lowell Hellenic Culture and Heritage Society at their annual meeting about Coinage, Culture, and Power in the Hellenistic World.” Prof. Abby Chandler’s book Sexual Misconduct in New England is to be published by Ashgate Press in Fall 2015. It includes analysis of hundreds of legal cases across Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and describes how different colonies followed (or rejected) English law—what Prof. Chandler terms “alternating Anglicization.” Sexual misconduct was a major concern for early modern leaders and lawyers. Prof. Mairéad Pratschke’s book Visions of Ireland: Gael Linn’s Amharc Éireann Film Series, 1956-1964 was published in early Fall 2015 as part of the Reimagining Ireland series from Peter Lang Publishers. The Amharc Éireann film series, the first and longest-running Irish-language documentary and news-film project, aimed to revitalize Irish language through the use of modern media and technology. It chronicles the dramatic transformation of Ireland from a rural, isolated nation to a modern member of Europe.