Democracy in Troubled Times: The League of Nations Invents Childhood, 1924

By James Marten

This year’s Historians@Work will feature a number of blogs engaging the theme  “Democracy in Troubled Times.”  That is the focus of the 2018–2019 Marquette Forum, which, according to its website, will offer “events focusing on civic dialogue and the state of democracies across the world. The Forum will engage students, faculty, staff and the communities making up greater Milwaukee in conversations around crucial questions including: Is democracy in crisis? Who gets to participate in a democracy? What are the rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship? What does democracy demand of its citizens? What are the opportunities and responsibilities for non-citizens within a democratic system? How would the “Founding Fathers” have envisioned civic engagement in the 21st-century? How can Catholic social teachings contribute to democratic dialogues?”

 Our blogs will look at some of these questions in the contexts of specific moments in time, and suggest how those moments—some of which ended with the expansion of freedom, some of which did not—can help us understand the nature of Democracy through the ages and today.

The League of Nations invented childhood on September 26, 1924, when it adopted the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child.”  Of course, there have always been children, but in less than 200 words the Declaration laid out the principles of a modern childhood as a series of rights reminiscent of other declarations of rights that are often hallmarks of democratic societies.  It stated simply that “mankind owes to the Child the best that it has to give,” and listed five basic “rights” that civilized societies were obligated to provide for children (Eglantyne Jebb, the founder of Save the Children, provided much of the inspiration and rhetoric for the Declaration):

Article 1: The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually.

Article 2: The child that is hungry must be fed; the child that is sick must be nursed; the child that is backward must be helped; the delinquent child must be reclaimed; and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succored.

Picture1Article 3: The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.

Article 4: The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.

Article 5: The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of fellow men.

Reformers had been campaigning for the rights and welfare of children for several decades.  In addition to basic humanitarianism, reformers urgently believed that the future of democracy depended on the proper raising and education of children.  This had been a hallmark of childrearing theories in western Europe and the United States since the 1830s.

One of the remarkable things about the document—other than its extraordinary ambition—is that it was conceived during one of the most troubled times in modern world history. Even as Europe picked up the pieces after the Great War, many of the seeds of the Second World War were being sown. Fascism—with all it meant for children on both sides of the Aryan divide—had begun to sprout in Italy and Germany; China was descending into political chaos and violence with the collapse of the Qing dynasty; the Soviet Union had just come out of its civil war, which left millions dead and perhaps 7,000,000 homeless children. Hundreds of thousands of children had perished between 1914 and 1918, and millions more would die—as victims not only of bombings, starvation, and death camps, but also as soldiers and partisans—during the Second World War. Add to that the great influenza epidemic that had just ended and the worldwide depression that would descend within a few years, and it is hard to imagine a worse time in the modern era for the world’s children.

Yet that moment in the autumn of 1924 set a precedent that would become a beacon for future generations despite the grim decades that followed.  The League’s successor, the United Nations, would pass much-expanded statements on children’s rights in 1959 and again in 1989. And the assumptions that the Declaration articulated would shape the way childhood was “supposed” to be (although many states struggled to live up to them).

One of the first historians of childhood, Joe Hawes, declared some years ago that “Childhood is where you catch a culture in high relief.”  In other words, a society’s values and beliefs can and should be measured by how they affect children.  Similarly, the policy-makers and activists who composed the Declaration of the Rights of the Child believed that democracies had a responsibility not only to provide for the basic needs of their children, but also to nurture in them the principles and ideals that are the building blocks of democracy.

For further reading:

Sarah Fieldston, Raising the World: Child Welfare in the American Century (Harvard University Press, 2015).

Linda Mahood, Feminism and Voluntary Action: Eglantyne Jebb and Save the Children, 1876-1928 (Palgrave, 2009).

James Marten, ed., Children and War: A Historical Anthology (New York University Press, 2002).

Heidi Morrison, eds., The Global History of Childhood Reader (Routledge, 2012).

Nicholas Stargardt, Witnesses of War: Children’s Lives Under the Nazis (Knopf, 2005).

James Marten is professor and chair of the MU history department.  His most recent book is The History of Childhood: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2018).

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Intersecting Trails: History, Lovecraft and Epoch-Driven Fiction

By Sean Malone

In November 2016, during a stretch of those gray and windy evenings typical of Wisconsin’s fall season, I wrote a short story about a search for Haunchyville—an obscure piece of folklore about a mythical village near the Waukesha area. Over the next year and a half, I returned to it with ramping frequency, encountering new ideas, locations, or confluences that expanded the story and cast of characters. By early 2018 I had something of a short novel and decided to pursue publication. Upon receiving the acceptance letter from my publisher, the experience resonated to the coursework completed and skills instilled during my studies at Marquette. The process was flowing and organic, yet measured and checked by consulting maps, articles, and sources. The craft of the historian was in play in an unconventional sense.

I wondered who the book’s audience would be. Historians are accustomed to preparing thoroughly researched monographs or surveys intended for an academic community. I wanted to share a spirit that I believe defined the twilight of the long-gone Fountain Spring House in Waukesha, and conversely, the emerging grandeur of new construction such as St. Josaphat’s Basillica, which remains a distnctive landmark of Milwaukee’s south side to this day. A poignant reminder was given of the transience of such monuments in the sudden blaze that consumed Trinity Lutheran Church Milwaukee this past May. Whereas time or reconstruction may alter the original state of these structures, something of their interesting pasts may be shared with wider audiences through the art of storytelling.  In the journey of writing the book, these locales became connected in an unexpected but satisfying way that hearkened back to the prologue’s search for elusive Haunchyville. The novel planted one foot in the camp of historical fiction, and the other in the opaque suspense and period pulp of Lovecraftian fiction.

P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) placed his short stories and novellas in both real and fictitious locations in his native New England, and largely set them contemporary to his own times. In the loosely-defined genre of cosmic horror, successive authors have been inexorably drawn to his model. Concurrent to Lovecraft and in the following decades, magazines such as Weird Talesand Fantastic Magazinemaintained the genre’s vitality with newcomers, and the marque artwork inspired the cover design of Spring City Terror. Non-coincidentally, new genre entries persist in favoring the period that corresponds to Lovecraft’s life, which spanned the Edwardian period/Progressive era through the waning of the Interwar Years. It is a well-suited timeline for the genre; the ever-present subtext presents humanity’s budding hubris from early 20th-century scientific and societal achievements checked by inexplicable human conflicts and terrifying astral entities. Lovecraft imbued such entities with abstract, inter-dimensional and impossibly ancient characteristics — directly confronting the progress represented by astrophysicss and other observational sciences of his time. The essence of this theme is communicated in this exceprt from Lovecraft’s most famous work, detailing the perspective of the protagonist:

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity . . . The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality . . . that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

Today, this setting imbues a charming, costumed filter to fans, and countless varieties of handsomely-packaged “complete editions” of Lovecraft’s works can be found in national bookstores. It is apparent that Lovecraftian fiction has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. I recalled a design depicting the titular Cthulhu winning the Raynor Library pumpkin-carving contest on campus in 2015. Its influence also permeates some of the nations’ largest pop-culture conventions; I conquered Lovecraft-themed escape rooms, mingled at the H.P. Lovecraft Historic Society’s booth, and enjoyed tabletop games and other related media at the 51st Gencon in Indianapolis this August. Being drawn to the classics alongside this new wave, I perceived an opportunity to represent elements of Wisconsin folklore in a supernatural lens with care to establish a setting grounded in the period’s identity.

Spring City Terror 1903 is a new entry respecting the tradition of Lovecraftian fiction, but with more emphasis on world-building that stems from the habits, skills, and craft that SpringCityTerror_front (1).jpghistorians apply to their impassioned interests. The book brings a Chicago Tribune reporter to Waukesha as he investigates the reasons for the decline of the regional tourist hub–the Fountain Spring House. As the title suggests, the book applies a filter of suspense and horror-fantasy to fictional and historic characters and settings, ranging from obscure Chicago Cubs players to prominent local clergyman. From the lead character’s exploration of the area, Wisconsinite readers will be familiar with many of the references embedded in the story, which may also introduce new bits of folklore or drafts of beer to wider audiences. It remains my hope that the process that guided this effort finds further fertile ground for future entries . . . from the earthquake-ravaged streets of San Francisco to delirious, snowblind visions of the Great Lakes Storm of 1913.

Spring City Terror 1903is set to release on October 17th.

Sean Malone currently resides in West Allis, Wisconsin, with his wife Athena. He is fortunate to maintain contact and friendships with many of his Marquette colleagues and professors. In addition to writing, he currently works at Summer Snow Art in Waukesha and as an adjunct professor of history at Marian University, Fond du Lac.

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.”

In the Trump era, supporting our immigrant and international students is critical work

By Alison Clark Efford

We’re featuring a blog by Associate Professor Alison Clark Efford, who writes and teaches on immigration history and on the Gilded Age.  Alison wrote this blog for the website of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, which she serves as editor of the society’s newsletter.  It’s a timely and interesting take on one of the most controversial issues facing the United States today.

You can read Alison’s blog at: https://iehs.org/supporting-our-immigrant-students-is-critical-work/.

Center for Urban Research, Teaching, and Outreach: Year One

By Rob Smith, Director

Alumni mag photoAcademic years fly by. Nine months is indeed a long haul, yet it seems there is never enough time to complete all those well laid plans. Here are a few highlights from the inaugural year of the Center for Urban Research, Teaching & Outreach (CURTO), with some thoughts on what’s next for CURTO.

Key CURTO accomplishments during AY 2017-18?

Our most significant accomplishment has been securing the support, confidence and input of our campus and community stakeholders. CURTO did so through a series of meetings and visioning sessions that gave us insight into how our various stakeholders imagined CURTO’s success. Based on these insights, the following roles and objectives now guide CURTO’s emerging vision.

  • Supporting Faculty & Student Research
  • Serving as a Hub for Interdisciplinary Collaborations
  • Role Modeling Engaged Scholarship in our Research and Outreach Agendas
  • Fully Integrate Community Voices
  • Champion Engaged Scholarship in the Promotion/Tenure Process
  • Anchor a Physical Presence within Milwaukee Communities

 

Another key accomplishment is the cultivation of a robust partnership with Marquette’s Haggerty Art Museum. Because the issues our stakeholders tackle in their scholarship and grassroots activism are varied and complex, in some ways seemingly intractable, engaging the arts gives CURTO stakeholders an important pathway to creative inspiration steeped in mental and emotional wellness. James Baldwin’s comments on The Creative Processsays this with more intellectual force:

The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.

CURTO’s outreach efforts and our partnership with Neighborhood News Service(NNS), an award-winning grassroots media outlet, made invaluable contributions to the community-wide celebration of the 50thAnniversary of the Open Housing Marches, named 200 Nights of Freedom. Most demonstrably, CURTO, NNS, along with the Office of Community Engagement(OCE) collaborated on the publication of The Long March to Freedom, a booklet and multimedia series chronicling the March on Milwaukee and its long-march-to-freedom-900x0legacies a half-century later (it’s available as an ebook here). CURTO also partnered with several organizations on the following programming inspired by the 50thAnniversary. Lessons from the Long Black Freedom Struggle, a half-day workshop on related histories on African American resistance movements. The Voice and Vision of James Baldwin, a public workshop on the famed author’s teachings and his role with the Long Black Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 8.17.21 AMFreedom Struggle. And,A Community Discussion: Civil Rights in Milwaukee Since the Time of Dr. King, featuring local leaders at the forefront of rights-based movements in the city. More broadly, CURTO’s outreach efforts include ongoing support to the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, and supporting interns who created the “Protests@MU: Dissent on the Marquette Campus” website and another team of interns developing pilot digital archives for community organizations as part of the Near West Side Archive Project.

CURTO is also excited to announce that the Future Milwaukee Community Leadership Program is now housed within the Center.  The connections between this 40-year program and CURTO are numerous – both working to enhance collaborative linkages within our broader community and to build the capacity of leaders to sustain those relationships.  Even before Future Milwaukee joined CURTO, Future Milwaukee participants this year were collaborating with MU, community leaders, and organizations on projects related to:

  • 50th Anniversary of the March on Milwaukee/200 Nights of Freedom (two projects)
  • James Cameron, the founder of America’s Black Holocaust Museum
  • Running Rebels youth-serving organization
  • Social Innovation and the 707 HUB
  • Sherman Park Asset Mapping

These project areas underscore the great synergy Future Milwaukee brings to CURTO – and the opportunity to broaden CURTO’s impact on developing leaders in our professional communities.

What’s next for CUTRO?

CURTO is noticeably lacking a digital presence. This was by design. CURTO will formally introduce itself to the Milwaukee community and the digital world early Fall 2018 once we have constructed a dynamic website and shaped the Center’s digital media strategy. CURTO is also shaping pilot research collaborations that will also be formally introduced Fall 2018. These research collaborations promote undergraduate and graduate student researchers and interns working in tandem with expert voices from campus and local communities.

Stay tuned…

Rob Smith is associate professor of History and John Professor of Urban Studies. After a number of years of teaching and serving in a number of academic positions related to community outreach and diversity issues at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukeee, he took over CURTO in fall 2017.  Rob teaches courses on African American and urban history and is the author of Race, Labor & Civil Rights: Griggs v. Duke Power and the Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008).

Historians Working: Awards Season

Late winter and spring are often called “award season” by show-business types: the Golden Globes and Oscars, the Grammys and Tonys—the list goes on and on.

Spring is also award season for academics, and MU Historians have had a very good year! Here’s a list of the grants and awards our friends and colleagues in the history department have earned this year.  Scroll down and you’ll see more detailed descriptions of their projects.

Tim McMahon: Way Klingler Humanities Fellowship

Jenn Finn: Way Klingler Young Scholar Award; Scott R. Jacobs Fund Fellowship for Studies on Alexander the Great

Bryan Rindfleisch: Way Klingler Young Scholar Award; Bright InstituteFellow,Knox College

Kristen Foster: Summer Faculty Fellowship

Chima Korieh: Regular Research Grant/Summer Faculty Fellowship

Cory Haala: Schmitt Fellowship, MU;Paul Simon Congressional Papers Travel Stipend; Dirksen Congressional Research Grant

Lisa Lamson: Center for Transnational Justice Graduate Student Research Grant; Lord Baltimore Research Fellowship, Maryland Historical Society; MU Graduate School Dean’s Research Enhancement Award

Luke Greenwalt: Center for Transnational Justice Graduate Student Research Grant

Sam Harshner: Colonial Dames Research Fellowship

Ben Nestor: Funded Attendee: Teaching Anti-Semitism in the Twenty-First Century, York University (Canada)

Maggie Nettesheim-Hoffman: Travel grant from the Economic History Society at the London School of Economics; Tilly Award from the Social Science History Association.

Laura Matthew: Mellon Grant—“Remembering Madre Rosa: Oral Histories of a Marquette Doctor in Highland Guatemala, 1962-1992.”

Alison Efford: Mellon Grant—“HIST 4120 Collaboration with St. Rafael School to Research the Latino History of Milwaukee,”

Lezlie Knox: Mentor of the Year, Arts and Sciences

Jolene Kreisler: Outstanding Staff Member of the Year, Arts and Sciences

Major faculty research awards: The University makes several research awards funded by the Way Klingler fund each; the awards are made at the Distinguished Scholars Reception every March.  This year three historians were recognized for the past accomplishments and for their ongoing research.

Tim McMahon became the first member of the department to receive a Way Klingler Humanities Fellowship—only one is awarded each year, and it provides $20,000 in research funding for three years. Tim’s book focuses on a pivotal moment in modern British and Irish history—that is, the establishment of two separate states on the island of Ireland in 1921-22.  He seeks to understand the emergence of two distinct national identities in Ireland between 1910 and 1930, building on sociologist Rogers Brubaker’s insight that group identities are not static but occur as events in time that are changeable and analyzable. What makes the presence of the Irish border so important to understanding identity formation in the 1920s is that neither Irish nationalists nor unionists had proposed dividing the island in any serious way prior to 1918. Once the Tim acceptsboundary was in place, however, conflicting forces associated with state-formation on the one hand and civil society on the other created a new dynamic, as island-wide institutions (such as churches) and trade networks adapted to link people in new ways. Indeed, until late in 1925, many thought that the border might cease to exist because Irish and British negotiators had agreed to create a boundary commission to assess exchanging territory according to “the will of the people.” That phrase and the mechanism of a commission to assess the popular “will” came almost directly from the treaties written at the Versailles Conference of 1919, and in fact, staff who served on the Irish Boundary Commission had experience serving on similar commissions in central Europe after Versailles. Placing the Irish case into this context is, thus, critical to understanding what the state actors believed they were doing. But it goes only a limited way toward helping historians assess how the people of Ireland—and especially the people along the new border—saw themselves before the boundary existed, while its existence remained in doubt, or after the British and Irish governments suppressed the Commission’s recommendations. (The border remains intact to this day.) Tracking opinions about border identities before and after partition will enable Tim to move beyond the rhetoric of those claiming to speak on behalf of “Irish” nationalists or “British” unionists to assess the wider population’s own self-conceptions, pace Brubaker. Given the ongoing importance of partition in Ireland and elsewhere in the former British Empire, as well as the implications of the Brexit referendum, a detailed study of identity formation on this frontier has both historical and contemporary resonance.

Bryan Rindfleisch and Jenn Finn became the third and fourth historians to receive Way Klingler Young Scholar Awards(their awards also mark the first time two members of a humanities department have earned the awards in the same year). The awards provide a semester sabbatical and $2000 of research funding.

Bryan acceptsBryan’s first book, George Galphin’s Intimate Empire: Intercultural Family, Trade, & Colonialism in Early America, will be published by the University of Alabama Press in 2019. His new project, for which he was named a Way Klingler Young Scholar, is tentatively called From Creek (Mvskoke) to Cherokee (Tsalagi):The Entangled Histories of Native America, 1600-1800. Bryan’s ambitious goalis to change the ways in which historians understand and articulate the history of Native America by demonstrating the complex and multi-dimensional inter-connections of Indigenous societies in Early America.  His topic will be the intertwined histories of the Creek and Cherokee tribes in the eighteenth century southeast, who through intermarriage and other connections came to share territory and to live in shaed communities.  This led a younger generation of Creeks and Cherokees assert their own political interests separate from that of the traditional structures of authority in their societies. “This,” as Bryan says, “only scratches the surface of many such intersections between Native groups in Early America.”

            Jenn published her first book,Much Ado about Marduk: Questioning Discourses of Royalty in First Millennium Mesopotamian Literature, a year ago. Her Way Klingler Young Scholar award will further her work on a second book, History Rewritten: Revisionism in/on the Age of Alexander the Great,will focus on specific—though not mutually exclusive—ways in which history was represented both during and after Alexander’s Jenn acceptsreign. She will accomplish this through a series of case studies that examine the ways in which Alexander himself—as well as those who recorded his history many centuries later—manipulated received narratives of Mediterranean history to create something entirely new in their own period. In addition to helping  us understanding the phenomenon of historical revisionism, a major goal of the book is to make ancient history accessible to a wider audience of scholars in the Humanities.

Bryan received another honor this spring: he is one of fourteen members of the first cohort of fourteen fellows in the newly established Bright Institute at Knox College, a program for professors who teach early American history at liberal arts colleges. They will attend a two-week, in-residence summer seminar for three years on the Knox campus. Each year’s seminar will be co-hosted by an eminent professor of American history before 1848 and a pedagogical consultant who will help participants turn their research into incisive classroom opportunities.

Read more about this exciting program at https://www.knox.edu/news/bright-institute-announces-first-cohort-of-scholars.

Jenn also received a $2500 research grant from the Scott R. Jacobs Fund Fellowship for Studies on Alexander the Great; it will help fund a research trip to Greece late in the summer.

The Committee on Research offers a number of Summer Faculty Fellowships (SFF) every year, along with Regular Research Grants (RRG). The former pays for two months of time to write or do research; the latter provides funding for travel to archives and other research costs.  This year, two history faculty received grants this year.

Kristin Foster also received an SFF for “Finding Cato Adams,” which is part of a larger book manuscript entitled Haiti’s Mirror: Reflections of Race, Revolution, and Equality in Early Americathat sets American ideas about equality in the context of the revolutionary Atlantic World. “Finding Cato Adams” seeks to recover the lives of free black citizens in Foster01the early Mid-Atlantic. To date, scholars have argued that the founding generation did not support racial equality in early America. This project questions and complicates this argument by asserting that the first generation of Americans shaped a republic of propertied citizens, only moving to a white man’s republic after the violence of the Haitian Revolution. While the voices of Cato Adams and hundreds of free black heads of households in the 1790 census have been hushed by time and distance, their lives are significant as testimonies of black citizenship in revolutionary-era America.

Chima Korieh received a Regular Research Grant and a Summer Faculty Fellowship for Chima-Korieha project tentatively called “The Genuine Farmer: Gender and the Dynamics of Agricultural Change in Colonial Southeastern Nigeria,” which will be a history of the gendered nature of colonial agricultural planning and their impact on agricultural transformation in southeastern Nigeria from 1900 to 1960. Chima will explore the specific circumstances under which rural farmers produced, how colonial planners ignored women, and their effects on rural life. He hopes to show that changing gender relations, local perspectives, ecological and demographic variables, and local responses, offer a better understanding of agricultural policies and agricultural transformation during this crucial period in Nigeria’s history.

 Graduate Student Awards and Fellowships:

Several graduate students also received research funding this spring.  Cory Haala s200_cory.haalareceived one of a handful of Schmitt Fellowships from MU’s graduate school. This provides a full year fellowship to complete research and begin writing his dissertation on “The Progressive Center: Midwestern Liberalism inn the Age of Reagan, 1978-1992.”

The MU Center for Transnational Justice awarded $2500 Graduate Student Research Grants to PhD candidate Lisa Lamson and MA student Luke Greenwalt.  Lisa’s grant will help fund research for her dissertation on “Black Girlhood and Education in Baltimore City, 1820-1890,” while Luke’s will help him complete research on “Patterns of Racism and Nationalism in post-WWII Germany.”

40030Lisa has also received a Lord Baltimore Research Fellowship from the Maryland Historical Society and a Graduate School Dean’s Research Enhancement Award. The former gives her expanded access to the Historical Society’s collection, give her the chance to present her research-in-progress in a brown-bag presentation, write a post for the library’s blog, and submit my finished work for possible publication for the Maryland Historical Magazine.  The latter provides a $5,000 stipend to allow her to prepare and write a major extramural research funding application.

HarshnerSam Harshner received a $4000 Colonial Dames Fellowship to help fund research on his dissertation, which is tentatively called “Pope’s Day and Masculinity: An Ideology of the American Revolution.”

Ben Nestor received full funding to attend a workshop on “Teaching Anti-Semitism in the Twenty-First Century,” at York University (Canada), which is Sponsored by the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University, the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto photo-ss-benjamin-nestorand the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University. This intensive summer institute is for advanced graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and early career scholars.

Maggie Nettesheim-Hoffman’s travel grant from the Economic History Society partially funded her travel to the New Directions in American Philanthropy Conference in Sheffield, England, where she delivered the paper, Maggie-Nettesheim“A Menace to the National Welfare: The Final Report of the United States Commission on Industrial Relations & The Progressive Era Critique of American Philanthropic Foundations.”  The Tilly Award from the Social Science History Association recognizes an outstanding graduate student paper at the SSHA’s annual conference (this year in Montreal, Canada); Maggie’s award-winning paper was on“The Philanthropic Factory: Capitalism, Corporate Charity, and Forging New Socio-Economic Worker Identities in Milwaukee,”

Mellon Grants

The College of Arts and Science’s Mellon fund provides funding for projects that enhance undergraduate education. The department has received a number of these grants over the years, many of which have funded public history programming. This year,  Laura Matthew received $13,000 for “Remembering Madre Rosa: Oral Histories of a Marquette Matthew-KS2A8144Doctor in Highland Guatemala, 1962-1992.” She is leading an undergraduate student research team to investigate the history of dozens of Maryknoll Sisters who studied at Marquette in the mid-20th century, then ran a rural regional hospital in the middle of the Guatemalan civil war. The Mellon grant will pay for Laura and the students to travel to Guatemala in the summer of 2018. The  team visited the archives of the Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining, NY, over spring break, with support from the Office of International Education.

alisonAlison Efford received nearly $1000 of Mellon funding forHIST 4120 Collaboration with St. Rafael School to Research the Latino History of Milwaukee,” which enables students from St. Rafael School on Milwaukee’s South Side to travel to campus several times during the course of a semester to work on Milwaukee Latino history projects with students in her immigration history class.  William Denzer, a graduate assistant, blogged about this project last spring at Historians@Work (https://marquettehistorians.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/marquette-history-students-collaborate-with-middle-schoolers-to-research-the-latino-history-of-milwaukee/).

Annual Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Awards

            Finally, although not directly related to research, two members of the department received prestigious awards at the annual Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Awards.

Lezlie Knox was named Mentor of the Year.  Honored chiefly for her work as Director of Graduate Studies for half a decade, Lezlie was described by one student supporter in this way:Without her counsel, I may have passed up a number of significant opportunities that proved to be key components in my journey as a scholar. She has a way of listening to her students and understanding the variety of individual strengths we bring to our studies, and makes individual recommendations for success based upon our unique talents. I owe much of my success as a graduate student and as an academic to Dr. Knox. My successes, however, are only one example. She is an advocate for all of her students and has guided many of my colleagues on to similar achievements.  We are stronger students and professional academics, and better prepared for the world outside Marquette University because of Dr. Knox’s work on our behalf.”

IMG_3781Jolene Kreisler was named Outstanding Staff Member. Jolene’s nomination declared thather enthusiastic kindness towards students and her commitment to fulfilling her duties  . . . contributes to the academic mission of the University. Jolene has definitely taken ownership of her position at MU, and considers herself a representative of the university when dealing with students, parents, and other members of the MU community.  She is very, very good at her job, but her demeanor, kindness, professionalism, and good cheer truly separate her from many other administrative assistants on campus.

Practical Magic: Taking “Witches, Magic, and Demons” Seriously

By Steve Molvarec, SJ

Steve Molvarec reflects on teaching an undergraduate reading seminar on “Witches, Magic, and Demons” in Fall 2017. In the end of the year evaluation of the course, students called it “an amazing adventure,” “exactly what I expect from a capstone course in the history department,” and “enthralling and fascinating and eloquently presented.”

All last semester colleagues, other Jesuits, and even some students would ask me: “How’s that ‘Defense against the Dark Arts’ course going?”  One Jesuit I live with was “convinced” that I was beginning a coven.  Teaching a course on magic and witchcraft is sometimes hazardous—at least to one’s reputation.  I tried to prevent some of this: on the first day that “Witches, Magic, and Demons” (a history department seminar) met for class, I explained to my students: “This course is not a practicum in magic.  It is a consideration of neglected strands of the Western intellectual and religious tradition—things that have often been understudied or ignored by scholars.  The people we’ll be reading and reading about have different worldviews and sets of experiences than we do. We don’t have to believe what they did.  We don’t have to experience what they did.  We will, however, respect their worldviews and beliefs.”

This made for some interesting intellectual navigation throughout the course.  I had to find ways to encourage students to check their biases, to encounter the authors we were studying.  Historians always have to do this while teaching.  In this case, however, there were some challenges that stemmed largely from the scientific perspective inherent in our worldview, a post-Enlightenment emptying of the spiritual and supernatural from our cosmos.  Students would sometimes ask during class if some experience that they were reading about (for instance, ceremonies that are said to allow conversation with one’s guardian angel) was “real.”  And while I assured them that our authors believed so, I would dodge questions as to the reality of magical or supernatural phenomenon.  Still, I would often edit the texts I gave them, especially ones that had practical aspects.  This was to make them unusable.  Students would tease me and say: “Why are there these red bars across parts of this diagram or magic circle?”

And people at Marquette not in the course would write me or find me to ask questions about demons, exorcism, magic, spirits, occultism, etc.  All of this was actually fascinating—to observe the ways that this interested people.  It was also interesting to put what my students expected they would be learning about next to what they were actually learning about. I was very interested in the experiences our authors were having, students were having, and various inquirers were having.  I even told my students that some of the texts we were reading together were designed to alter consciousness and so they shouldn’t be surprised if they began having dreams or nightmares.  And sometimes they did.

In an attempt to understand the experience of practicing ritual magicians while I was preparing the course during the summer, I began visiting some private libraries, archives, and repositories.  I was especially interested in the various 19th century magical and occult brotherhoods and societies.  From my perspective, these were a kind of culmination: they borrowed, stole, found, invented, and misunderstood all kinds of occult and esoteric texts from Antiquity and the Middle Ages.  And when these groups imploded in the early twentieth century, their materials became the seeds for the New Age, modern Satanism, various occult movements—all aspects of our own age that often receive only peripheral attention.  All of this borrowing, inventing, “finding,” creating, imploding, and transmitting were the dynamics that would be featured in my course. Students were often surprised and fascinated by the persons who were involved in such things:  W.B. Yeats, Florence Farr, Alan Moore, Jimmy Page, Grant Morrison, Prince Charles.

So I began tracking down artifacts from some of these groups.  I found the expected manuscripts with diagrams and accounts of ceremonies.  I found manuscripts and documents discussing theories of magic.  And I began finding objects that practitioners had made for various purposes: wands, swords, medallions, disks, chalices, models of ritual chambers.  These were fascinating:  texts are important, but holding objects that some of the authors my students would be reading had made and used was something else.  This was, well, cool.  Or hype. Or whatever people say these days.  I was sometimes allowed to photograph them for use in my course.  I wanted to bring as much of the experience of our authors as I could into the course.  A few of my students ended up working with some of these, especially an unpublished manuscript of a play from the late 19th century by a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn.

As I worked in such libraries, my attention was constantly called to how much was still hidden, how much was secret, what people had not written down, how many artifacts and documents had been lost or destroyed.  The history of magic is truly a history of silence and secrecy, a history of hiding.  Sometimes this was because of persecution (the practice of some forms of magic, after all, has been illegal in various times and places) or fear of what one’s neighbors might think. Sometimes there was secrecy because, as I concluded, being in the know can be a sort of drug for some people.  Occult groups flourished in the 19th century perhaps because of this.

13599_atlantis1Secrecy and hiding, however, make it difficult to look at the experience of groups of people.  I found that each time I was looking at documents or artifacts, a librarian or a curator would say to me: “Have you been to X library?” Or “Do you know Ms. Y?” Eventually, I found myself at Atlantis Books in London. Atlantis is a quiet, unassuming bookshop a few blocks from the British Museum. Despite its unassuming appearance (I had difficulty finding it the first time), it is perhaps one of the most important occult sites in London.  The bookshop has been on that site and in business since the early twentieth century and visitors to it read like a “Who’s Who” of twentieth century occultism.  I walked in out of curiosity.  And discovered that there was IMG_3006a collection of magical wands, swords, paintings, etc. on the back wall created by people I had been reading about.  So I asked the proprietor whether I could photograph them.  She said I could.  And I then struck up a conversation with Geraldine and explained why I had dropped in.  And we chatted for a few hours on a couple of occasions about all kinds of things.  It turned out that her family had been involved in various groups in the city of London and that her father had known Gerald Gardner, the father of modern IMG_6298 2Wicca.  She herself was active in such circles.  I asked if she would consider skyping into one of my class meetings when my students were reading about Wicca.  She agreed.

My students had been reading portions of Gardner’s High Magic’s Aid (1949).  And some scholarly articles on modern Wicca and its practices.  Sometimes they thought the texts were dull, but they came to class excited the day that Geraldine was skyping in.  In so many ways, often the course was not what they expected and that class session was no exception.  Geraldine is a woman in her 50s with purple hair.  She’s grandmotherly and English with a witty sense of humor.  Direct and open.  She was not at all what my students expected of a woman involved with Wicca and the esoteric.  And some of what they learned from her—about her experience as a practitioner and the historic figures that she and her father had known—was unexpected, too.  One student asked her about her first experiences of magic.  She replied, “My first experiences of magic were going to the movies as a child. I found that I was transported to another world.  Or taking penicillin to get well from an infection.”  As you might imagine, this was entirely unexpected–even by me, despite my various conversations with Geraldine and our correspondence.  Students were fascinated too by her matter-of-factness and the way that she considered her practices to be simply part of the fabric of her life, a “lifestyle” she said.  They asked her for an example. “I have rice every Monday,” she said, “because it’s white and Monday is the day of the moon.”  They asked her about various occult figures who had been in her shop or who figured prominently in certain groups and oral traditions.  She told them what she thought of Aleister Crowley—a prominent dark magician in the first half of the twentieth century, whose influence is still found in bands like Tool and the Beatles, groups like Scientology, and various artists and intellectuals, like Timothy Leary.

IMG_4396I had my students write briefly what they had learned after our chat with Geraldine, how it helped them understand the themes of the course and our discussions.  Here’s what one of them wrote: “… One being her opinion on secrecy, which I found to be very interesting. Many of our questions and struggles in class revolve around the fact that we do not know everything about these orders. Or about their practices and most importantly their experiences they often do not even write down. Instead of secrecy, Geraldine said discrete rather than secretive, which has a completely different meaning. One is much humbler less elitist in nature, where they don’t push people away or seek to be left alone but rather simply don’t want to push their thoughts on others or disturb people.”  In many ways, learning about Geraldine’s family history, as well as her own, helped my students to look more deeply at the experience of work with magic and secret orders.  The stories she told them are ones that give voice to lived experiences, ones like those of the dead authors they had been reading all semester.

Dr. Steve Molvarec, SJ, received his PhD in medieval history from the University of Notre Dame.  He is completing the second of a three-year Regency at Marquette, which is part of his training in the Society of Jesus.


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