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News 2017



  • November 30 - As part of Prof. Chad Montrie's "Malcolm X" class, Garrett Felber, Ph.D., visiting Scholar in the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard, and co-author of The Portable Malcolm X Reader (2013), offered remarks on "'You're Brutalized Because You're Black': Malcolm X and Police Brutality in the Civil Rights Era."
  • November 15 - October 31, 2017, marked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's publication of his "Ninety-five Theses" (1517), thereby (inadvertently) launching the Protestant Reformation. To commemorate this event, the History Department and the Medieval-Renaissance Studies Program co-sponsored a lecture, "Martin Luther Five Hundred Years Later: Reflections on the Protestant Reformation," given by Gordon Isaac, Ph.D. of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA). Following that, the University Choir sang two Lutheran hymns. This event scheduled for Wednesday, November 15, began at 3 p.m. in O'Leary 222 on South Campus. For more information, please contact Prof. Andrew Drenas.
  • October 26 - Beginning at 11 a.m., Prof. Meriem Pagès of the English Department at Keene State College spoke on the image of Muslims in medieval literature and contemporary film. This event was co-sponsored by Medieval & Renaissance Studies and the History Department.
  • October 23 - On this Monday, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in O'Leary 478, a panel titled "Why Southern Studies Matters Today" met for discussion. Among those participating was Prof. Betsy Herbin-Triant, the History Department's expert in African-American history and the U.S. South. Prof. Herbin-Triant and the others involved discussed how they came to study the U.S. South, why they consider the field important, and where the scholarship on the field is going. This event was co-sponsored by the History and English Departments and the American Studies program.
  • October 12 - The 2017 Ellen Swallow Richards lecture, "Neighborhood Effects on Health: Can Healthy, Equitable Development Improve Residents' Wellbeing?," was given by Dr. Mariana Arcaya, assistant professor of urban planning and public health in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. This annual lecture is named in honor of the first female student and teacher at MIT (during the 1870s). During the 1890s, Richards worked at the Lawrence Experiment Station, where she oversaw pioneering tests for water filtration. In light of her work, in 1907 Lawrence became the first city in the country to filter its water supply in order to prevent disease. Dr. Arcaya's talk began at 6 p.m. at the Youth Development Organization in Lawrence (Everett Mill, 15 Union Street, # 563). For more information, please contact Prof. Chad Montrie.
  • October 4 - History alumna Leslie Ward ('07), Emerging Technologies Librarian and Assistant Professor at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York, was on campus. From 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. that Wednesday, she spoke in Prof. Elizabeth Williams's "Historical Methods" class in Coburn 304. She was also be available that afternoon, by appointment, to meet with and advise students.
  • March 30 - Ambassador Raymond C. Ewing, the former U.S. ambassador to Cyprus, gave this year's Zamanakos Lecture, "The United States and Cyprus: A Personal Odyssey," on Thursday, March 30. This event that was free and open to the public began at 7 p.m. that evening at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center (50 Warren Street). For any questions, please contact Prof. Paul Keen. The History Department co-sponsored the lecture with the Dean's Office of the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Political Science Department, and the Global Studies Program.
  • March 29 - Prof. Bob Forrant gave the Distinguished University Professor Lecture, "The Role of the Public University in the 21st Century," to an audience of UMass Lowell students and faculty. It took place on Wednesday, March 29, from 4-6 p.m., in the Lower Locks Room at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center (50 Warren Street).
  • February 21 - February is Black History Month. Prof. Chad Williams of Brandeis University gave a lecture on teaching African-American history during this turbulent time in American history on Tuesday, February 21, starting at 5 p.m. in O'Leary 222. All students and faculty were welcome. The History Department co-sponsored this event with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Working Group on Race & Ethnicity.

Faculty News

  • On September 25, David McLellan of the "Daily Hampshire Gazette" posted an article online about Distinguished University Prof. Bob Forrant's research on industrial history this past summer in Hatfield, MA. Starting in May, Prof. Forrant began analyzing the extensive business records of Hatfield's Porter & McLeod Machine Shop, with this material dating from the 1880s to the 1920s. Besides uncovering fascinating photographs from the nineteenth century related to the company, he also discovered that the Porter & McLeod Machine Shop in western Massachusetts was known throughout the world - even in the increasingly powerful Empire of Japan, which ordered lathes from it.  Mr. McLellan's article can be accessed online here.
  • On September 20, Prof. Chad Montrie's research and forthcoming article on racial exclusion in Edina, Minnesota (explained below) was referenced in Mike Mullen's article "Edina's Confused Racial History, from Utopian Village to Bleached Suburb," available online here at "City Pages."
  • After being on sabbatical during the spring 2017 semester, Prof. Chad Montrie is now back on campus. He will present at the European Labour History Network Conference at the end of November. His book, The Myth of Silent Spring: Rethinking the Origins of American Environmentalism, will be released by the University of California Press in February. His article on racial exclusion in Edina, Minnesota, "'A Bigoted, Prejudiced, Hateful Little Area': The Making of an All-White Suburb in the Deep North," will be published in the Journal of Urban History later in 2018. He is currently working on another book, Whiteness in Plain View: A History of Racial Exclusion in Minnesota.
  • On September 1, Prof. Chris Carlsmith began his term as chair of the History Department. He succeeded Prof. Lisa Edwards, who, after completing her three-year term as chair, resumes her regular teaching and research activities.
  • Joining the History Department this fall semester is Assistant Professor Elizabeth R. Williams. She comes as our new expert in the history of the Middle East. She earned her Ph.D. in History from Georgetown University in 2015, and recently completed her postdoc in International and Public Affairs at Brown. She is interested in modern Middle Eastern history, particularly in the late Ottoman and French mandate periods. In her research, she analyzes how agricultural technologies emerging during this time intersected with the development of new strategies of rule and conceptions of expertise. Thus far, her work has brought her to Ottoman and French archives, Lebanese sources, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization archives in Rome, and the national archives of the U.K. and the U.S.A. This fall, she will teach "Historical Methods" and "History of the Middle East and Islamic World."
  • Prof. Lauren Fogle, formerly senior adjunct faculty, joins the History Department full-time as a visiting lecturer during the 2017-18 academic year. This fall, she will teach "Western Civilization I" and "Europe in the Middle Ages."
  • This spring, Prof. Patrick Young presented papers at two academic conferences. At the American Society for Environmental History Conference, held in Chicago from March 29 to April 2, he organized the panel "Mobilities, Limitations and Adaptations of the Mediterranean Mountains," for which he delivered his paper entitled "Mobility, Environment and Indigeneity in the Middle Atlas." While attending the French Colonial History Society Conference in Aix-en-Provence in France (June 15-17), he presented his paper, “The Ethno-Environmental Ordering of Empire: Jean Célérier and the Institut des Hautes Études Marocaines,” for the “Decolonizing Knowledge and its Agents, 1920s-1970s” panel.
  • Prof. Bob Forrant published two online articles: "Brave Hearts: When Lowell Was a Sanctuary City - for Fugitive Slaves" (March 30) and "Still They Persisted: What a 105 Year Old Strike in Lawrence, MA Can Teach Us about Organization" (April 4).
  • Prof. Andrew Drenas published an article in Catholic Historical Review called "A 'Spiritual War of Words': Lorenzo da Brindisi and Capuchin Polemical Preaching in Early-Modern Prague." This study considers the preaching strategies of Lorenzo (a Capuchin missionary and doctor of the Roman Catholic Church, who lived from 1559 to 1619) while combating Protestantism in the religiously divided Kingdom of Bohemia during the early seventeenth century. The article makes up part of Drenas's revised doctoral dissertation that has been accepted for publication by Catholic University of America Press.
  • From January 9-20, Prof. Fletcher Smith attended the US Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, where he successfully completed their Military History Instructor Certification Course. As part of the program, he spent time at the location of the Battle of Westport (MO) during the Civil War (Oct. 1864). He also visited the National World War I Museum in Kansas City.
  • On Thursday, January 12, Prof. Abby Chandler gave a lecture on the life and times of Martin Howard. This mid-eighteenth-century resident of Newport, Rhode Island, was an outspoken supporter of British royal authority in the colonies who favored the customs duties of the Stamp Act (1765). He was consequently a target of the Sons of Liberty during their riots that year, and many today still might consider him a villain. However one may view him, his story sheds light on what it was like to be a loyalist in Rhode Island just before the American Revolution began. Prof. Chandler's talk took place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. that evening at the Newport Historical Society (82 Touro Street, Newport, RI). You can read more on the Newport History website or email: for more information.

Student News

  • On Tuesday, November 14, the new members of Phi Alpha Theta (the national honors society for history students) were inducted during a ceremony at the Allen House. Prof. Paul Keen gave the keynote speech: "The Advantages of Ambiguity." The following students were admitted into the society: Matthew Ahern, Caden Anderson, Anneliese Beaulieu, Katelyn Boyle, Patrick Clancy, Jonathan Garniss, Marcus Kuhs, Alexis Mason, Neil Oliveria, Matthew Peltier, Brendon Shirley, Christina Sirignano, and Emily Solano. Celebrating with the inductees were members of the department faculty as well as family and friends. 
  • Kady Phelps, a History graduate student, will be presenting a paper, "Anguish in Andersonville: How Diary Writing Served as a Coping Mechanism," on Thursday, November 9, starting at 2 p.m. in Coburn B7. She will share her research on Andersonville Prison during the American Civil War on campus then before she presents it at the Phi Alpha Theta conference in New Orleans. Refreshments will be served. Please contact Prof. Abby Chandler with questions.
  • The honors capstone project of one of the History Department's work-study students, journalism major Michaela Goss, was featured in the UMass Lowell "Honors Students Showcase" on October 18. This project, a blog called "Humans of UMass Lowell," can be accessed on the Humans of UMass Lowell Blog.
  • Over the course of the week of April 24, Katie Gilligan and Jacob Strout, two graduating seniors, successfully defended their honors theses. Katie defended hers, "Queen Elizabeth I's Foreign Relations with the Scandinavian Countries of Denmark and Sweden (1558-1588)," on Monday, April 24. She worked under the supervision of Profs. Chris Carlsmith and Lauren Fogle. Katie also gave a paper at the New England Historical Conference the weekend before her defense, on a similar subject: Elizabeth and the Seven Years War. Jacob's thesis, "Initial Augustan Sources and Their Reactions to Augustan-Era Rhetoric," is a historiographical study of the contrasting perceptions of Augustus Caesar in the writings of the Roman biographer Suetonius and the historian Tacitus. Jacob worked with Prof. Paul Keen on this project, and has his successful defense on Friday, April 28.
  • During the 2017 spring semester, Shania Bunbury '19 will be studying history and economics abroad in Rome at John Cabot University. She was able to accomplish this financially by winning two competitive scholarships, one for $12,000 (offered by Academic Programs International, the provider of this study-abroad opportunity), and the other for $2,500 (the Gilman Scholarship offered by the Department of Education). Besides visiting the many historical sites in Rome, she will also travel to other locations in Italy like Florence, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast and the Isle of Capri. While in Europe, she also plans to travel to Greece, France and Spain.