What We Did on Our Summer “Vacations”

I recently asked history faculty and PhD students to tell us what they did on their summer “vacations”—which, as we know, are not vacations at all.  Here’s what I learned.  Jim Marten, Department Chair

PS: Those of you who did not receive the 2018 electronic newsletter from the department can read it here. You should also check out our newly designed website.

Faculty Members:

Steve Avella continued researching his next big book: a history of Catholicism in the West. He reports that “I spent four productive days in the archives of Santa Clara University researching the life of Msgr. Thomas John Capel (+1911), an English ex-patriate who died in “exile” in Sacramento. Capel was a renowned apologist, lecturer, and sought-after preacher in Victorian London. He got himself into a huge financial scrape trying to start a Catholic university in Kensington and then was subject to a host of very embarrassing accusations. I discovered the complaints against him in huge files in Rome last summer. At the Santa Clara archives I discovered a packet of letters, clippings, and writings that had been sent to the Jesuits in San Francisco. These were materials further illuminated portions of his career that seemed confusing. The letters were in his own hand and the press accounts were of his speaking engagements in the US. Capel was suspended from priestly ministry for 20 years–but was restored at the end of his life. When he died, thousands turned out for his funeral in Sacramento.”

Alan Ball: I devoted most of the summer to preparing my new Engaging Social Systems Values course (most history faculty will be teaching new courses in the recently adopted Marquette Core Curriculum—mine is called”Russian and Soviet Images of America”).  Regarding the SCOWstats blog, the most important undertaking was a set of reflections Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 9.33.15 AMon the 2017-18 term, but some time was also required for the stretch run of the fantasy-league season and compilation/editing of readers’ “nominations” of unusual and/or humorous opinions by the seven justices (a new category for the blog).

Alison Clark Efford and Viktorija Bilic of UWM, her co-editor/translator, traveled to Europe to do research on Mathilde Franziska Anneke, whose letters they are turning into a book to be published by the University of Georgia Press. As Alison wrote on Facebook, “MFA’s life was far too complicated to sum up easily in a FB post, but she was a feminist and abolitionist who had to flee Prussia after the failed German Revolutions of 1848-1849. After arriving in the US, she lived in Milwaukee on and off until she died in 1884.

Our letters cover the years 1859 to 1865, when Anneke:
– established a passionate partnership with Anglo-American abolitionist Mary Booth,
– supported Booth through the trial of her husband for “seducing” a fourteen year old and, separately, violating the Fugitive Slave Act,
– moved to Switzerland with Booth and most of their children for about four years,
– published antislavery articles and stories,
– and followed the rocky military career of her own husband back in the United States.”

Sergio González: After defending his dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May, our newest colleague took a quick breather before getting back to work on researching Latinx communities and religious spaces in the U.S. Midwest. As part of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Humanities Without Walls consortium-funded project called “Building Sustainable Worlds: Latinx Placemaking in the Midwest,”he joined Latinx scholars from across the region for a writing conference at the University of Iowa in August. The collaborative will be publishing an anthology about Midwestern Latinx placemaking next year. In the meantime, take a look at their appearance on Iowa City public televisionto learn more about the team’s research!

Lezlie Knox: “My summer was occupied with teaching 18 students in the online medieval survey; organizing the Midwest Medieval History conference, which will meet at Marquette over Fall Break; working on an edited collection of papers from the “Franciscan Women: Medieval and Beyond Conference,” working on articles, and organizing notes from the manuscript work in Italy from the fall.”

9780190681388Jim Marten finished up a five-year term as editor of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, published the Oxford Very Short Introduction to the History of Childhood(too short to be a tome, too long to be a pamphlet), rounded up authors for two edited projects—one the Oxford Handbook of the History of Youth Cultureand one (co-edited with Caroline E. Janney from UVA) on “Buying and Selling the Civil War,” and launched a travel/history blog called Proceed to the Route.

Timothy McMahon spent part of the spring and summer in Ireland, where he researched his project on the emergence of two distinct national identities in Ireland between 1910 and 1930, attended several conferences and delivered a number of public lectures, and, along the way, met the president of Ireland, Michael Higgins (see below).tim

Daniel Meissner: Before finishing up his Fulbright year in China, Dan dug through Hong Kong archives and libraries for information on George Seward and 19th century American political/economic interests in China.

Patrick Mullins: ” I continued my research on how eighteenth-century Americans interpreted and commemorated the civil war, regicide, and republic of seventeenth-century England, and how this contested historical memory shaped colonial responses to British Crown policy in the 1760s and 1770s. In addition to reading published primary and secondary sources, I examined material commemorations, from English ceramics honoring Charles II’s narrow escape from Cromwellian capture (at the Chipstone Foundation in Fox Point) to Benjamin West’s epic painting celebrating the Stuart Restoration (at the Milwaukee Art Museum).  I also provided testimony to a Milwaukee County task force in favor of preservation of the Mitchell Park Domes and worked to advance that cause with the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance and the National Trust for History Preservation. If you’d like to learn more about this preservation effort, take a look at https://savingplaces.org/places/the-domes. Save Our Domes!”

Steve Molvarec: “I was in the UK for the annual International Medieval Congress at Leeds University.  The thematic strand for this year’s conference was Memory and I spoke on a panel about remembering and forgetting of founders of monastic orders.  Afterwards, I had the opportunity to work with some fourteenth-century manuscripts at the British Library—all texts associated with the Carthusian monastery in London, which is the subject of my current research.”

Phil Naylor co-hosted the World History Association Meeting in Milwaukee; continued working on his co-edited Milwaukee Rock, 1950-2000: A Reflective History (which is nearing completion completion); revised and rewrote and added a new chapter to France and Algeria: A History of Decolonization and Transformation; and continued work on Malik Bennabi’s life, which will be the major project during his upcoming sabbatical.

Bryan Rindfleisch had a typically busy summer: “I presented papers at two conferences, published one article, worked on two article manuscripts that are in press now, completed drafts of the manuscript, participated in the two-week Bright Institute seminar, was the referee for three article manuscripts, and was interviewed for a July 4th radio interview.  The Bright Institute cohort (14 professors that ranged from adjunct faculty to full professors) read the latest scholarship in Early American history and provided a new diagnosis or “state” of the field. In addition, we shared our own research work and teaching strategies, we developed syllabi and assignment activities, and we together built a new community dedicated to inclusive researching and teaching of Early America (which will continue to meet officially for the next two years). It was an overall invaluable and humbling experience, as the friendships and professional contacts that came out of the Bright Institute was unlike anything that I have ever experienced.”

Peter Staudenmaier continued working on his sabbatical project—a book on Fascist environmental policies—but he reports that “my best tidbit is probably organizing a panel submission for next year’s annual conference of the American Society for Environmental History, the first time I have taken the initiative with a conference panel. I wanted to pull together something that would reflect current research on the history of organic agriculture in an international context, which has become a lively topic the past couple years.  I contacted eight different scholars initially (mostly in history but also sociology and environmental studies, etc.), none of whom I knew personally. Several declined but gave me contact information for further possible participants. I eventually got a group of four presenters, two women and two men, from a range of institutions and fields, plus a panel chair. We settled on the panel title “International Perspectives on Alternative Agriculture and Natural Foods in the Twentieth Century.” My own paper will be “The Politics of Organic Agriculture in Interwar Germany: From Nature to Nation.” The conference takes place next April at Ohio State.

PhD Students:

Cory Haala: “With the assistance of an Everett Dirksen Congressional Research Grant and a State Historical Society of Iowa Research Grant, I spent summer doing research in cities including Cedar Falls, IA (Iowa State Rep. Don Avenson); Madison, WI (the Wisconsin Farm Unity Alliance and Sen. Gaylord Nelson); and Stevens Point, WI (Rep. Dave Obey). In May and June I presented papers on NAFTA and Midwestern farm protests at the Agricultural History Society Annual Meeting in St. Petersburg, FL, and the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team’s 1985 “America Needs Farmers” campaign at Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 10.07.45 AMthe Midwestern History Association in Grand Rapids, MI. Finally, my chapter on Tom Daschle and populist politics in the South Dakota Democratic Party will be published in the South Dakota Historical Society Press’s The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture, vol. 3 (which will be published this month). I write about my travels (though I haven’t lately—working on it!) at coryhaala.org.”

Lisa Lamson: “I went to Annapolis and Baltimore for a month (spent two weeks in each place), a few days in DC, and then was in Cambridge/London for twelve days. While I was in London, I presented a paper at the UK Childhood Society Conference at the University of Greenwich. When I was back in Milwaukee, I worked on writing center outreach for Upward Bound students for college personal statements and as a summer intern for CURTO compiling a 40th anniversary history of Future Milwaukee.”

Ben Nestor: “After passing my doctoral qualifying exams in mid-May, I presented a paper at the George and Irina Schaeffer Center For the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention in Paris, France. Shortly after, I spent June and early July researching in Washington D.C. at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’ archives through the department’s generous Casper Dissertation Research Fellowship. In mid-July I was in Toronto as a seminar fellow at a week-long workshop titled “Teaching about Antisemitism in the Twenty-First Century: Questions, Dilemmas, Strategies.” The interdisciplinary workshop was convened by scholars from The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University, the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto and the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University. It was an intensive week of discussions on new approaches to researching and teaching antisemitism, racism, and Islamophobia.”

Maggie Nettesheim-Hoffman: “I wrote a chapter prospectus for a larger book proposal entitled “New Directions in American Philanthropy” for Indiana University Press. Ben Offiler, the convener of last year’s conference in England of the same name, asked me to contribute a chapter for this book. My chapter will be based on the presentation I delivered at the conference last September.  I also assisted in planning the Humanities Without Walls career diversity symposium that will be held at Marquette on September 14 as a part of my new assistantship with the Graduate School and the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities.”


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