Archive for June, 2016

A Year in the Life of the History Department

By Jim Marten, Department Chair

When we started this blog several years ago, we promised to explore the “journeys” we historians take—literally and figuratively—while doing our jobs. We’ve made a custom of posting a blopictureg at the end of the academic year that provides glimpses of the professional and personal expeditions that the faculty and students that make up our little community have undertaken during the last twelve months.  As always, it’s been a trip!

Every year sees life passages of our faculty and students. This year Julius Ruff announced his retirement (although we still have him part-time for three years), but we gained Patrick Mullins, a new faculty member who writes about colonial and revolutionary America and will, among other things, be responsible for our public history and internships.  Several PhD students have completed their dissertations and moved on to other places and jobs, while our MA students will go on to jobs or to PhD programs in Wisconsin, Washington, DC, New York, and California.

Faculty members have, over the last year (with a few more trips coming this summer), conducted research, given papers at conferences, gone on study trips, or attended workshops all over the world, including Ireland (Tim McMahon and Bryan Rindfleisch), Rome (both Julius Ruff and Lezlie Knox!), Munich (Peter Staudenmaier), England (Lezlie, again), El Salvador (Laura Matthew), France (Bryan, again), Panama (Mike Donoghue), and Kazakhstan (Dan Meissner). And Mike Wert will spend the entire fall 2016 semester researching in Japan.

Members of the undergraduate class of 2016 will, of course, head out on their own adventures; several will teach English—in Japan, China, Azerbaijan, and to a Native American tribe in Alaska. They will attend graduate school in Edinburgh, Scotland, Washington, DC, and Las Vegas. And at least one will serve his country as an officer in the US Navy.

Finally, visiting speakers brought the world to us, with a series of speakers examining the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, the Casper Lecturer exploring current events in Syria, and other speakers examining the opening of US/Cuban relations and the Hizmet movement in the Muslim world.

There’s much more in this year’s newsletter—research and publications, awards, among other things—which you can read at

Have a great summer!


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