2021 News and Events

SpringSpring 2021

February 10 - The History Department resumed hosting History Hour this semester, which brings together History students and faculty on certain Wednesday afternoons from 12-1 p.m. to discuss an article or book chapter written by one of our faculty. Prof. Abby Chandler led the first meeting with a discussion of her article, "'Let us unanimously lay aside foreign Superfluities': Textile Production and British Colonial Identity in the 1760s." This talk considered our shifting understanding of the historical past by examining the ways historians respond when newly found documents seemingly counteract older scholarship. View the discussion of Prof. Chandler's article online. For questions about History Hour, contact Prof. Christopher Carlsmith, chair of the History Department, via email at Christopher_Carlsmith@uml.edu.

February 24 - As part of the Greeley Peace Scholar Series, Andrea Boyles (Tulane) and Felix Germain (University of Pittsburg) spoke on a panel called “From BLM to Génération Adama: Reflections on the Summer 2020 Anti-Racist Mobilization.” The event took place from 5-6:15 p.m. For questions, please contact Prof. Patrick Young, the event organizer, via email at Patrick_Young@uml.edu.

February 26 - From 3-4 p.m., interdisciplinary students Kristina Brendel, Sarah McDermott, and Jackie Chianca participated in a panel called "All the World’s a Stage: Theater History in Early Modern England."Prof. Lauren Fogle served as one of the moderators.

March 5 - From 10-11 a.m., Eyal Meyer (University of Haifa) spoke to Prof. Jane Sancinito's "Western Civilization I" students and other guests about "Alexander the Great in the Olympic Games: The Value of Historical Fiction." He used the "Alexander Romance," a largely fictional biography of the historical king and general, as a means to explore why the Olympics had, and continue to have, such significance world-wide.

March 18 - From 9:30-10:45 a.m., Adam Domby (College of Charleston) spoke to Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant's "History of the U.S. South" students about “The False Cause: Fraud, Fabrication, and White Supremacy in Confederate Memory.”

March 23 - For this year's Zamanakos Lecture, Father John Chryssavgis, Archdeacon of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, gave a talk, "Climate Change as Moral Priority: The Green Patriarch," during which he explained Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's role in promoting environmental awareness among Eastern Orthodox Christians. The lecture began at 6 p.m. and lasted seventy-five minutes.

March 25 - From 12:30-1:45 p.m., Eric Kimball (University of Pittsburg-Greensburg) spoke about “The Historical Research Process" with Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant's "Historical Methods" students.

April 8 - From 9:30-10:45 a.m., Andy Horowitz (Tulane) spoke to Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant's "History of the U.S. South" students about “Katrina: A History, 1915-2015.”

April 20 - From 12:30-1:45 p.m., the History Department hosted via Zoom an Alumni Career Panel featuring two of its distinguished alumni who work in the field of education: Caitlin Pinkham ('13) and Jack Porell ('05).

  • Pinkham is currently a Management and Program Analyst for the U.S. Department of Education in Washington DC. She evaluates business decisions, policies, and operations. She is responsible for communicating information to a variety of stakeholders. Prior to her current position, she was a volunteer at the National Archives and Records Administration in Boston, an intern at the U.S. Presidential Museum in Worcester, and an intern with the National Park Service in Virginia. She also earned an M.A. in History from UMass Boston in 2015.

  • Porell is the chair of the Social Studies Department at Lowell Catholic High School, where he has been a teacher, advisor, and mentor for nearly fifteen years. He teaches a variety of courses, including "AP U.S. History," and has coordinated community service programs and internships, as well as working on professional development and curriculum planning. Prior to obtaining his History degree, Porell was a corrections officer for Massachusetts for two decades.

Summer 2021

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded the Tsongas Industrial History Center (TIHC) funding to lead four virtual week-long worskhops for 125 educators from across the United States. The first two weeks of workshops, "Labor and Landscape: Lowell as Nineteenth-Century Crucible," built content knowledge and pedagogical skills through a study of Lowell as an environmental “crucible.” Those participating in the second set of workshops, "Social Movements and Reform in Industrializing America: The Lowell Experience,"investigated Lowell’s textile industry as a case study of early nineteenth-century industrialization and reform. Participants also visited virtually Lowell National Historical Park sites, Lowell neighborhoods, Walden Pond, and Old Sturbridge Village. Prof. Chad Montrie was the lead scholar for each grant. University Prof. Bob Forrant and Profs. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant and Christoph Strobel also contributed.

Fall 2021

November 5 - From 1-2:45 p.m., Prof. Babette Bohn (Texas Christian University) gave a lecture called "'More Perfect and Excellent than Men': The Women Artists of Bologna." This event was hosted by the National Gallery of Art, and was virtual. However, a group of up to forty-five people in Coburn 110 was able to watch and listen to the lecture, and the Q & A time that followed, via Zoom.

December 1 - From 3:30-5:30 p.m., Prof. Jane Sancinito and Prof. Daniel Arroyo-Rodriguez of the World Languages and Cultures Department hosted a mini-conference, "Bilingualism: Then and Now." This event brought together a range of scholars to discuss their research on, and experiences of, language acquisition, utilization, and preservation across a variety of times and cultures. The conference took place in Coburn 255, but was also able to be attended virtually via Zoom. 

Faculty News

On January 13, Age of Revolutions, a digital journal, published Prof. Abby Chandler's article"Loyalists and the Birth of Libraries in New England: The Marriage of Martin and Abigail Howard." It is part of the 2020 Selected Papers of the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era.

Prof.Jane Sancinito was interviewed on January 28 regarding her research on Roman socioeconomic history and her involvement in the FLAME (Framing the Late Antique and early Medieval Economy) Project, which dates back to FLAME's inception in 2012. The next phase of FLAME's digital platform will be going live this spring, and so those involved have been considering their progress and discussing future goals. The Fireside Chat with Jane Sancinito is accessible online.

On February 10, the Agricultural History Society published online an interview considering the politics of white supremacy in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Prof. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, who has thought about the issue of white supremacy at length in her own research, was one of the three historians to contribute to the interview.  

The Library of New England Immigration, the fruit of the research and efforts of University Prof. Bob Forrant and his students, was featured on Digital Commonwealth's website on February 25. This invaluable resource provides short student-friendly clips telling the stories of nearly a dozen ethnic groups that immigrated to Lowell over the last four centuries.

For this year's Boston Labor Conference (held virtually), Prof. Chad Montrie spoke at a forum called "Labor, Climate Change, and Political Power." It met on Friday, March 5, from 3-5 p.m. 

From 10-11 a.m. on March 19, Prof. Andrew Drenas gave a Zoom lecture to the students of Prof. Matthew Spencer's Christian Greek and Latin school, based in Brechin, Scotland. In this talk, called "'Sancta Sudariola!' ['Holy Handkerchiefs!']: A Study of St Lawrence of Brindisi’s Eucharistic Spirituality and Mass Handkerchiefs; And What Can We Learn about Them through His Latin Writings?", Prof. Drenas explained the extravagant Eucharistic spirituality of this early modern Capuchin figure, and how his Masses became a source of a cult of relics in seventeenth-century Italy. Since he was speaking to students of Latin, Prof. Drenas emphasized the Latin primary source documents he used for his research.

Prof. Chad Montrie was among those speaking at this year's American Society for Environmental History Conference. He participated in the "Teaching the Energy Transition" panel that started at 5:30 P.M. EST on Thursday, April 29. It considered how teachers (and prospective teachers) can use historical sources to teach about this subject that has such urgent contemporary ramifications. The panel also introduced "Energy History Online," a new and free educational website serving teachers and students of United States and global energy history. 

During the week of May 3, NBC 10  in Boston visited Lowell. University Prof. Bob Forrant was featured in the first installment on May 3, and spoke from inside the Boott Cotton Mill about the Lowell mill girls' contributions to shaping the city's legacy. One can watch this first installment on NBC 10's website.

On Tuesday, May 4, Adjunct Prof. Shawn Driscoll appeared in an episode of WCVB's news program, called Chronicle. The episode featured stories about Worcester, Massachusetts, and examined the creation and publication of a book co-created by Prof. Driscoll and historian Linda Hixon. The book, The Grip: The 1918 Pandemic and a City Under Siege, explores how the 1918-19 influenza pandemic brought both tragedy and strength to the City of Worcester and its citizens. The book features exploration into several aspects of the pandemic, including journalism, nursing, decedent affairs, the social and cultural impact, and effects on immigrant communities. Prof. Driscoll worked with nearly twenty high-school students in Worcester (Worcester Academy and Worcester public schools) on special chapters dedicated to providing biographical entries on those citizens that perished from the pandemic. One can watch this episode of Chronicle on the WCVB website and on WCVB's YouTube channel.

On Thursday, May 13, Prof. Chad Montriewas interviewed for "Eastern Standard," a weekly radio magazine from 88.9 WEKU. He spoke with Stephanie Lang, editor of the register of the Kentucky Historical Society, about research into coalfields activism. The interview is available on WEKU's website.

On Tuesday, June 15, Prof. Christoph Strobeland his book Native Americans of New England were featured in an article inThe Christian Science Monitor that considers Abenaki historical sites in New Hampshire.

University Prof. Bob Forrant was interviewed for an article that appeared in the June 25 Lowell Sun E-Edition about the history of abolition in Lowell. In June, the Lowell City Council passed a motion calling for the Lowell National Historical Park, UMass Lowell, and nonprofit organizations to begin exploring the placement of permanent signs around the city to mark its historical sites connected to the abolitionist movement. Given his knowledge of this subject, Prof. Forrant was able to speak to this endeavor in the article. He noted that the Center for Lowell History had already conducted much of the research needed for the signs. He also shared an excerpt from an 1859 article from the former Lowell Daily Citizen and News newspaper about a family of former slaves who were "kindly cared for" by Lowellians before making the last leg of their journey to freedom in Canada. Prof. Forrant observed: "This is a history of people in Lowell standing firm in defense of people's freedom, and we should be willing and happy to publicly tell the story in as many possible ways as we can".

On Monday, September 27, Prof. Abby Chandler was officially sworn in to be on the Special Commission Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution. She will serve as one of the commission's two scholars with expertise in colonial history, revolutionary history, or American civics. The commission will consist of forty members led by State Representative Carole Fiola (D-Fall River) and State Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Lowell).  Besides identifying opportunities for individuals and municipalities across the state to participate in the anniversary celebrations and recognize the particular history of their geographical areas, the commission will also investigate and promote under-represented voices in the American Revolution, including women, native peoples, and persons of color. The commission will file a report providing an overview of Massachusetts’ role in the American Revolution, and will highlight the notable battles, events and figures of the era.

The newsmagazine Perspectives on History published an article by Evan Jewell on September 28 called "The Classicists in the History Department: Do We Face a Post-Classics Future?" Prof. Jane Sancinito was featured in this online article considering the future of Classics departments at universities.

On Wednesday, September 29, The Patriot Ledger published an article online regarding theCommonwealth of Massachusetts's reconsideration of the state flag's seal and the questionable legacy of Myles Standish of Plymouth and his encounter with the Native Americans of Squantum 400 years ago. Prof. Christoph Strobel contributed to the article in the Patriot Ledger: 400 years after Standish landed in Squantum, Massachusetts rethinks its flag, his legacy.

Prof. Christoph Strobel gave a public lecture, "Native Americans of New England: History,Colonial Legacies, and Survival,” twice this semester. He spoke first at Ashland Public Library (Ashland, Mass.) on Tuesday, October 26, starting at 7 p.m., and then spoke at Northfield Public Library (Northfield, Mass.) on Thursday, November 18, starting at 6 p.m.

Prof. Christoph Strobel gave another lecture, “Legacies of 1620: Native Americans of New England,” twice this semester. He spoke first at Athol Public Library (Athol, Mass.) on Wednesday, October 20, starting at 6:30 p.m.; this was a public talk. Then, on Thursday November 4, starting at 7 p.m., he delivered this same lecture virtually for the Chelmsford Public Library (Chelmsford, Mass.)

On Thursday, November 4, Prof. Elizabeth Williams gave a paper, "The 'Science' of Dry-Farming: The Emergence of a Concept in Global Perspective," for the Massachusetts Historical Society. The event was hosted virtually via Zoom from 5:15-6:30 p.m. One must register through the Massachusetts Historical Society website to attend.

Prof. Christoph Strobel served as this year's Heyburn Lecturer of Native American History at Milton Academy in Milton, Mass. He spoke on this subject on Tuesday, November 16. Past recipients of this award have included Nell Irvin Painter (Princeton), Daniel Immerwahr (Northwestern), and Jill Lepore (Harvard/New Yorker), and Ray Suarez (formerly PBS Newshour).

Prof. Christoph Strobel's monographNative Americans of New England was named one of Choice’s Outstanding Academic titles for 2021. Choice is the review publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries division of the American Library Association. Every December they select those titles that they deem the best of the books they’ve reviewed each year. 

On Wednesday, December 22, Prof. Christoph Strobel published an article online with The Conversation: "The Massachusetts flag glorifies the violence committed by colonizers – Native Americans want it changed.” In this article, he reminds readers of the history of the commonwealth's state seal and reiterates that Native Americans long to see it changed.

Student News

On Wednesday, April 28, from 5-6:30 p.m. EST, the History Department hosted via Zoom a graduation party for the nineteen History students graduating this spring. They were Sun-Hei Bamfo, Spencer Benoit, Ryan Bowen, Peter Capone, Jackie Chianca, Robert Connors, Ellie DiMauro, Jinette Galarza, Nicholas Gostanian, Daniel Mandel, Austin O’Leary, Sage Paolillo, Daniel Renfro, Connor Stack, Axel Torres, Odalys Torres, Ty Tumpney, Serena Tyrie, and Markus Vilhjalmsson. During this special event, student scholarship awards were announced and Jackie Chianca, Austin O'Leary, and Ellie DiMauro spoke to reflect on their experiences as History students at UMass Lowell.

This spring, alumna Meagan Timmins ('20) secured a six-month internship serving as an Architectural Conservation Steward with Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. This summer and fall, she will be occupied working on sculptural and stone conservation. She is becoming an intern at a very exciting time for Arlington, since this year marks the centennial of the famous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Alumna Sophie Combs ('20) published an article in The Yale Historical Review (Spring 2021): "The Franco-American Orphanage: Immigrant Community and the Development of the Modern Welfare State, 1908-1932." It is a revised version of the essay she originally wrote for her "Research Seminar" with University Prof. Bob Forrant, in which they focused on orphanages in Lowell and Lawrence. To complete this project, she relied on archival materials at the Center of Lowell History as well as Massachusetts legislative documents of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.