Congratulations to Dr. Aimee Loiselle (2019 PhD) for winning the Catherine Prelinger Award from The Coordinating Council for Women in History (CCWH).
Dr. Loiselle’s research endeavors and service to women, along with her personal story and non-traditional pathway to academia, embody the spirit of the Prelinger Award. The CCWH’s awards committee was particularly impressed by her commitment to mentoring and teaching immigrant women and her dedication to highlighting ordinary women’s voices and experiences. Expanding on her award-winning dissertation, the book project, Creating Norma Rae: Southern Labor Activists and Puerto Rican Needleworkers Lost in Reagan’s America, stood out as cutting-edge, comprehensive, and timely. Her book promises to be a major contribution to cultural history, labor history, oral history, women’s and gender history, and the history of capitalism and transnational political economies.
Congratulation, Aimee, on this incredible honor! This is the second award Aimee’s dissertation has received so far. Well done, Aimee, and keep making UConn History proud.
Congratulations to UConn History alum Orlando Deavila Pertuz (2019 PhD), whose dissertation, “The Battle for Paradise: Tourism Development, Race, and Popular Politics during the Remaking of Cartagena (Columbia), 1942-1984” received Honorable Mention in the Michael Katz Award for Best Dissertation in Urban History from the Urban History Association. Well done, Orlando, and keep up the great work!
A hearty congratulations to UConn History Ph.D. (’19) alum, Amy Sopcak-Joseph, for receiving the Zuckerman Dissertation Prize in American Studies from the McNeil Center for Early American History at the University of Pennsylvania. The Zuckerman prize is awarded to “the best dissertation connecting American history (in any period) with literature and/or art… evaluated for the seriousness and originality with which the dissertation engages relationships among history, art and/or literature, the significance of the treatment to scholarship in the field, and the overall quality of the writing.” Sopcak-Joseph’s dissertation, titled “Fashioning American Women: Godey’s Lady’s Book, Female Consumers, and Periodical Publishing in the Nineteenth Century,” wonderfully explored the production, dissemination, content, and reception of an exceptionally popular antebellum American periodical called Godey’s Lady’s Book.
On February 17, Matthew Guariglia contributed to Slate Magazine with an article titled “Facial Recognition Technology is the New Rogues’ Gallery.” Using his historical training and interest in surveillance in the United States, Guariglia considers the similarities between the current debate over privacy and the previous one from the turn of the twentieth century.
Matthew received his Ph.D. from UConn in 2019 with a dissertation that “explored how U.S. colonialism, immigration, migration, and demographic shifts in New York City changed the way the state learned about urban subjects, and triggered a shift in the way police understood their jobs.” Currently, he serves as a visiting scholar in the Department of History at the University of California-Berkeley, and as a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
On January 27th, Inside Higher Ed helped recognize the first year of Contingent Magazine, an online history publication written and edited by trained historians for the public, by publishing an article titled “1 Year Down“. The feature highlights the inspiration behind the creation of Contingent Magazine, the experience of its first year, and where the magazine is heading. As described by Inside Higher Ed, “Contingent Magazine had a lot of doubters when it debuted 12 months ago. But it’s still going strong and earning a reputation as a place where historians can engage the public with the ideas that have always interested them.”
The detailed feature includes interviews with UConn History Ph.D. Erin Bartram and Ph.D. Candidate Marc Reyes. Bartram serves as Contingent‘s co-founder and Reyes an editor. According to Bartram, an “advocate for the field she loves,” but not the larger structural problems, she asked herself in 2018: “‘What can I do? I can start a magazine with my friends and edit and pay scholars for their work… I don’t necessarily think it will change things structurally, but it matters to the people who get $250 per piece.”
According to Reyes, he is most “proud of the types and topics of the articles we have run so far, including features, photo essays, and a cartoon. Most recently, in parallel with the 2019 release Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Contingent released Star Wars-inspired features, “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Batuu” and “Sacred Objects,” which investigates how the medieval era inspired the Star Wars universe. In December, during the release of the Star Wars features, the website received 23,000 views. Funded entirely by its loyal readers through small donations, Contingent continually has provided enticing, intellectually provocative features and “postcards” from conferences.
To read more about Contingent Magazine and its successful first year, please click here.
Contingent Magazine recently featured Nick Hurley, UConn History B.A. ’13 and M.A. ’15, in his fascinating role as Curator at the New England Air Museum. As part of the magazine’s series on how trained historians “do history,” Nick shared what a “typical day” is like for him (hint: it varies greatly and can include inspecting donated aircraft) and shared how his family’s German origins sparked his interest in history.
Nick also shares how his historical training in Wood Hall and at the UConn Archives & Special Collections helped prepare him for this role. He says: “I knew very little about aircraft and aviation history before starting this job. What I did have, however, was a firm grasp on the fundamentals of historical research thanks to my work in graduate school, as well as an understanding of collections management, access, and care thanks to my time with UConn Archives & Special Collections. Put simply, I knew how to read, write, and speak effectively, and I could draw on my own experiences from both sides of the reference desk to help figure out what visitors (to both our research library and the museum itself) expected and wanted to see.”
On December 25, 2019, Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR) featured an interview with American Girls Podcast hosts (and UConn PhDs) Mary Mahoney and Allison Horrocks. The feature, titled “How The American Girl Dolls Inspired a Cult Podcast,” shares the history behind the podcast, the creation of the American Girl empire, and the large impact that the podcast is having on its loyal listeners. To read, or listen, to the feature, click here.
UConn History Ph.D. alums Mary Mahoney and Allison Horrocks were featured in the Hartford Courant with an article titled, “These two women developed their love of history while studying at Trinity and UConn. Now, they’re bringing it to life through a podcast about the American Girl dolls.” As the article explains, Mahoney and Horrocks’ love for history and interest in using it as a conduit to connect with others has led them to launching the “American Girls” podcast. The article shares the large interest that the podcast has garnered, especially since receiving a very complimentary NYT review, quotes from Mahoney and Horrocks, and the importance of friendship as an underlying theme for the episodes.
Although she is missed in Wood Hall, the UConn History Department is happy to share that Dr. Amy Sopcak-Joseph, who defended her dissertation in the spring of 2019, has settled well into her new home in the Global Cultures Department of Wilkes-Barre University. On September 24th, an interview with Professor Sopcak-Joseph was published in Wilkes-Barre’s The Beacon. To read about her first semester experience thus far, please click here.