2023 News and Events
This semester, the History Department welcomes Prof. Joshua Morrison as a visiting lecturer. He received his doctorate from the University of Virginia in 2021. Before coming to UMass Lowell, he served as a postdoc at Columbia University. At both universities, he worked on larger research projects investigating the institutions’ historical ties to slavery as well as the central role of racism in the development of American higher education - work that he hopes to continue at UMass Lowell. His individual research focuses on American trade in the Western Indian Ocean, examining how overlapping commercial, diplomatic, and personal relationships between American merchants and their foreign counterparts contributed to globalization during the nineteenth century. This fall, Prof. Morrison will be teaching “U.S. History to 1877” as well as “America and the World.”
Prof. Andrew Drenas, who has severed as a visiting lecturer in the History Department since fall 2015, begins as an assistant professor this semester. He will continue to do research and writing on Reformation history - principally Capuchin Franciscan history - and teaching world civilization and religious history courses.
On August 10, Prof. Daniel Broyld visited his native city of Rochester, New York, to give a presentation on his book "Borderland Blacks: Two Cities in the Niagara Region During the Final Decades of Slavery," which examines the role that Rochester and St. Catharines, Canada, played as the last stops on the Niagara branch of the Underground Railroad. This event, "An Unforgettable Evening with Dann Broyld," was hosted by the Lower Falls Foundation at Rochester's Kodak Center, and began with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by Prof. Broyld's talk at 6 p.m. It was also the subject of an article, "Rochester Native to Discuss His Latest Book on the City’s Role in Underground Railroad," published online in the "Rochester Business Journal."
History Camp Boston 2023 took place on Saturday, August 12, at Suffolk University Law School. The camp sessions began at 9 a.m. and continued through 5:30 p.m. Prof. Abby Chandler presented a session titled “Curs’d Prudence and Designing Politicians': The Stamp Act Crisis in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina," which considers the role that pre-existing political systems played in shaping responses to the Stamp Act in these colonies.
In summer 2022, National History Day (NHD) began its program to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with a live teacher institute in Providence, Rhode Island. Its focus was "Revolutionary Ideals," and it explored the ideals of the time and considered how they were (or were not) practiced or applied fully. Thirty teachers attended. Together, they created lesson plans relating to the founding ideals of the Revolutionary era. NHD released online the first of these lesson plans on August 12, and will continue to release them through October 31. Prof. Abby Chandler attended the institute as a scholar of the Revolutionary era who worked with the teachers as they developed their lesson plans. NHD asked Prof. Chandler to write an essay examining the evolving historiography of the American Revolution from the late eighteenth century to the present to accompany the lesson plans. Her article, "Revolutionary Ideals and the Study of American History," will be released on September 27.
On August 22, Prof. Elizabeth Williams published a new book: "States of Cultivation:Imperial Transition and Scientific Agriculture in the Eastern Mediterranean." It considers the processes and effects of agrarian transformation over more than a century as officials of the Ottoman Empire and the French mandates in Syria and Lebanon grappled with new technologies, although with different priorities, policies, and goals. Prof. Williams's book offers the first comprehensive account of the shared technocratic ideals that animated these policies and the divergent imperial goals that reshaped the region's agrarian institutions and produced representations of the region with repercussions well beyond the French mandate's end.
On January 20, "The Boston Globe" published an article for which Prof. Shawn Driscoll was interviewed in: "A Night at the Resurrected ManRay, 18 Years after the Counterculture Club Closed". Prof. Driscoll was sought out because, after two years of research and conducting interviews about the club, he published an oral history on it called "We Are But Your Children".
On January 26, Prof. Shawn Driscoll participated in an episode of the "Archipiélago Histórico" podcast hosted by a former student of his, UMass Lowell History concentrator Ramón González-Arango López. They discussed the Caribbean during the 1960s and its relationship with the United States, specifically during the Kennedy years.
In January, History alum Neil Oliveria ('19) began working full-time at Lawrence High School, where he teaches eleventh-graders "US History II." One of the subjects he has explored with them is the Civil Rights Movement. Before being hired full-time at Lawrence High, Neil worked as an "English as a Second Language" (ESL) teacher for tenth-grade students, due to a shortage of licensed ESL teachers.
During the evening of Friday, February 3, Prof. Christopher Carlsmith and Prof. Jane Sancinito brought a group of thirty-two students taking History classes to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. They spent most of their time viewing the Greek and Roman exhibits.
On February 6, Prof. Abby Chandler was appointed as a review editor for H-Early America, an international scholarly online network on early American history and culture. In this role, she will be commissioning scholars to review books on the broader early American field; these reviews will be published on the network. She will serve in this role for two years.
The History Department co-sponsored "Woman, Life, Freedom: Talks and Discussion on the Women's Uprising and Contemporary Art in Iran" on Wednesday, March 15, from 3:30 - 5 p.m. in O'Leary 222. The guest speakers were Pamela Karimi (UMass Dartmouth) and Neda Moridpour (Tufts).
Prof. Jane Sancinito and Prof. Daniel Broyld, together with Gender Studies, the Center for Women and Work, and O'Leary library, led a Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Thursday, March 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the O'Leary Mezzanine. They and the more than twenty students who participated focused on the pages of historical women of color, adding new resources and information to their sites and linking pages to boost their visibility. The group edited more than forty pages, including those of Mary Ellen Pleasant (a nineteenth-century African American millionaire who helped to fund John Brown's Raid) and Sophonisba (a third-century BCE Numidian queen).
In honor of Black History Month, Prof. Daniel Broyld gave a lecture on “Afro-Futurism and the Underground Railroad” on March 21 at 6:30 p.m. in Coburn 275. Pizza and refreshments were served.
On Thursday, March 23, Elizabeth Meyer (University of Virginia) visited UMass Lowell to give this year's Zamanakos Lecture. Her talk was on "Slave Manumissions and Greek Sanctuaries." The lecture began at 6 p.m. at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. A reception followed at 7 p.m.
Prof. Christopher Carlsmith gave a series of book talks in California during the last week of March (March 26-31) about his Save Venice Inc. monograph. Stops included Pasadena, San Diego, San Francisco, and Portola Valley.
Prof. Elizabeth Williams was invited to give a lecture, "States of Cultivation: Imperial Transition and Scientific Agriculture in the Eastern Mediterranean," at Wake Forest University on Wednesday, March 29.
On Wednesday, March 29, Prof. Bob Forrant and his "Immigration History" students went to North Andover to screen part of the new Ken Burns documentary on the Holocaust for the residents of Edgewood Retirement Village. The trip allowed these students and the Edgewood residents to have an opportunity to dialog about a complex and powerful topic.
On Monday, April 3, Eric Dursteler (Brigham Young University) visited UMass Lowell to give a talk: ”Worse than a Public Brothel’: Sex & Diplomacy in Early Modern Istanbul.“ It took place from 2-3:15 p.m. in the Health & Social Sciences Building, room 120.
The annual Phi Alpha Theta induction ceremony took place on Tuesday, April 11, at 5 p.m. in Coburn 110. Prof. Jane Sancinito gave the keynote speech: "The Hunt for the Most Annoying Man in the Forum." Twelve students were inducted this year.
Prof. Michael Pierson published a new book in April: "The Wild Woman of Cincinnati: Gender and Politics on the Eve of the Civil War." On Wednesday, April 19, from 2-3 p.m. CDT, his publisher, Louisiana State University Press, hosted a "Wild Woman of Cincinnati" Facebook Live event during which Prof. Pierson spoke about his book. This monograph examines what happened when a man arrived in Cincinnati with a young woman he claimed to have captured while she was living feral beyond the frontier of the United States. As men gazed at this woman, they imagined different stories and fantasies about her, all of which tell us about political and sectional divisions in antebellum America.
On Thursday, April 20, Prof. Christopher Carlsmith led a field trip of thirteen students to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. With Curator Marietta Cambareri serving as their guide, they visited the medieval and Renaissance exhibits. One of the works of art they saw was the "Christ in Majesty" mural originally from the church of Santa María de Mur, Spain.
Four History students successfully defended their Honors theses this April: Deirdre Hutchison ("What Remains: Indigenous Legacy and Societal Perception in the Greater Lowell Area"), Jennilyn Ludescher ("Dress Your Wage: An Examination of 15th - 17th Century English Sumptuary Laws"), Kalvin Richard ("Same Façade Different Faces: An Analysis of Performative Right-Wing Populists"), and Camryn Skinner ("The Crime of Proximity to Power: Imperial Women, Motherhood, and Sex Work in Late Antiquity").
In April, History alum Sarah Leonhard ('21) began a full-time position working as Chief Operating Officer for Cambridge Historical Tours, a local non-profit company. She had previously been working there part-time. Now, besides answering phones and emails, booking groups, managing guides, and keeping track of calendars and invoices, she's much more involved in the planning process for new tours, branding, and social media.
Prof. Christoph Strobel's new book, 'War and Colonization in the Early American Northeast," appeared in print on Tuesday, April 25. This monograph takes a new approach by synthesizing the work of scholars of military and Indigenous history to provide the first chronologically ordered, region-wide, and long-term narrative history of conflict in the Early American Northeast.
On April 25, the Network in Canadian History & Environment published a blog post written by Prof. Chad Montrie that considers environmental and labor history in Canada: "A Half Century of 'Just Transition.'" It was named "editor's pick" for the month of May.
Prof. Jane Sancinito gave a talk at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 27: “Holding the (Money) Bag: Iconography, Merchants, and Coinage in Roman Gaul.” She spoke via Zoom for NUMISMA, the Australian Centre for Numismatic Studies.
On Wednesday, May 3, Prof. Christopher Carlsmithwas interviewed by Gayle Henny of HC Media in Haverhill, Mass. She interviews local authors for her cable access TV show, called “Write Now,” which encourages viewers to read local books. Henny spoke with Prof. Carlsmith about his recently published monograph, Save Venice Inc.: American Philanthropy and Art Conservation in Italy, 1966- 2021. They recorded two thirty-minute segments, which will air in June and September 2023, respectively. They discussed the research behind the book; the mission and achievements of Save Venice; the role that art conservation plays in Venetian art; and the challenges and benefits of doing contemporary history as opposed to early modern history.
Prof. Christoph Strobel gave two lectures in May relating to his research on Indigenous history. On Tuesday, May 9, he gave his “Native Americans in New England: History, Colonial Legacies and Survival” lecture at the Lancaster Public Library (Lancaster, MA). He gave the same talk on Wednesday, May 17, at the Tewksbury Public Library (Tewksbury, MA).
On Friday, May 12, two graduating students, Jenna Saade and Deirdre Hutchison, attended the Chancellor Award Ceremony, where they each received Chancellor Medals for Outstanding Achievement. Jenna was recognized for Student Service, chiefly for her work on behalf of first-generation students and Deirdre was recognized for Academic Achievement.
Prof. Christoph Strobel gave an online lecture, "Native Americans of New England: History, Colonial Legacies, and Survival," on Thursday, June 1, from 7-8 p.m., through the Tewksbury Public Library (Tewksbury, Mass.).