Prof. McElya Contributes to WashPo on Mourning & COVID-19

Professor Micki McElya‘s latest op-ed adds a powerful voice to the pages of the Washington Post. Building off of her recently published book, The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, which was finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, McElya asks why there is no collective mourning for those Americans lost to Covid-19. She answers, “The reason is as simple as it is terrible: We share no understanding of these staggering losses as ours, as belonging to all Americans, as national.” McElya argues that a sense “national kinship” is lost as the pandemic’s victims are “disproportionately urban, people of color, immigrants, the undocumented, the incarcerated, the elderly in nursing homes and state care facilities, the poor, the uninsured, the chronically ill, service workers and delivery people.”

To read more of this timely op-ed, please click here. Or, find it in this Sunday’s print edition!

Efforts to Document the Pandemic Featured in UConn Today

In comparison to the little documentation of the 1918 flu pandemic’s impact on Storrs, the University is ensuring that the experience of COVID-19 will be remembered. Through an initiative launched by the University Archives & Special Collections (ASC) in the UConn Library, stories from the UConn community students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and other affiliated community members – are being collected by the ASC, preserved for posterity, and then made accessible for research and study in what will be known as the UConn COVID-19 Collection. Three classes this semester took part in the initiative, including two courses taught by History professors. Helen M. Rozwadowski, a professor of history and maritime studies at Avery Point and Sylvia Schafer, an associate professor of history at Storrs altered their writing assignments to offer students the opportunity to reflect on the effects of the pandemic.

UConn Covid-19

To read about more about the teaching experiences of Professor Rozwadowski and OSchafer, or the initiative launched by the ASC, click here.


Prof. Nu-Ahn Tran Discusses S. Vietnam Archives with UConn Today

Nu-Ahn Tran, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.In an article titled “UConn Historian: South Vietnam Archives Provide New Insights into War,” UConn Today interviews Associate Professor and UConn Humanities Institute Fellow Nu-Ahn Tran regarding the opening of South Vietnamese archives and it’s impact on her research. By utilizing official documents from the National Archives Center II in Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon), as well as newspapers, periodicals and other Vietnamese-language publications, Tran seeks to adjust our understanding of Vietnamese elite politics by introducing what she calls the development of “anticommunist nationalism.” Her forthcoming book, with the working title of “Disunion: Anticommunist Nationalism and the Making of the Republic of Vietnam, 1954-1963,” will explore the tenure of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and the debates surrounding how to govern the nation. 

To read the spotlight on Professor Tran’s excellent research, please click here.

UConn Receives NEH Grant for Digital Public History Minor

The Department is thrilled to announce that our grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to develop a new joint undergraduate minor with Digital Media & Design in Digital Public History has been funded.  This is a planning grant for $35,000, with the aim of applying for a larger implementation grant down the road. For NEH’s announcement, please click here.

Congratulations to co-Pis Fiona Vernal and Tom Scheinfeldt for all their hard work in bringing this together.  Alongside the DMD Department Head Heather Elliot-Famularo, our Department is looking forward to the wonderful courses and undergraduate projects we can build together!

History Department UCHI 2020-21 Fellows

The History Department is proud to announce that five members of Wood Hall will take part in the UConn Humanities Institute‘s (UCHI) 2020-21 cohort of fellows. Professors Melanie Newport, Helen Rozwadowski, and Sara Silverstein will serve as UCHI Faculty Fellows. Doctoral students Nicole Breault and Shaine Scarminach will join the cohort of UCHI Graduate Dissertation Fellows. Congratulations to you all!

Melanie Newport, Assistant Professor of History, University of ConnecticutMelanie Newport

Department of History

Project Title: This is My Jail:  Reform and Mass Incarceration in Chicago and Cook County

Helen Rozwadowski, associate professor of history, UConn

Helen Rozwadowski

Department of History – Avery Point

Project Title: Science as Frontier: History Hidden in Plain Sight

Sara SilversteinSara Silverstein

Department of History & Human Rights Institute

Project Title: Toward Global Health: A History of International Collaboration


Nicole Breault, doctoral student, History Department, UConnNicole Breault

History Department – Draper Dissertation Fellow

Project Title: The Night Watch of Boston: Law and Governance in Eighteenth-Century British America

Shaine Scarminach, doctoral student, History Department, UConnShaine Scarminach

History Department

Project Title: Lost at Sea: The United States and the Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans

“Fulbright Contributes to Dynamic Irish Program at UConn”

Did you know that UConn is one of the few institutions in the US where students can study Old, Early Modern, and Modern Irish language and culture? Or that, thanks to the hard work of Professor Brendan Kane, UConn is leading a multi-institutional and international initiative to recover and codify the Irish language through the website Léamh.org

On February 12th, CLAS’ Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (LCL) Department blog featured the exciting initiatives that are being undertaken by UConn to keep traditional Irish language and culture alive. The well-detailed post features the work of Professor Brendan Kane (Department of History and LCL) and Professor Mary Burke (Department of English), as well as the involvement of students, such as History graduate student Emmet de Barra, in Léamh and campus organizations. 


Brendan Kane, Associate Professor of History and Associate Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut
Brendan Kane, Associate Professor of History
Emmet de Barra profile pic
Emmet de Barra, History MA Student


To read LCL’s excellent summary, please click here!

Prof. Rozwadowski Honored with Henrietta Harvey Distinguished Lecture

Helen Rozwadowski, associate professor of history, UConn
Photo by Gail Cypherd.

On February 12th, Professor Helen Rozwadowski will be taking the podium at Memorial University to deliver the Henrietta Harvey Distinguished Lecture. Established in 1964, the lecture series invitees “highly-regarded scholars” to deliver a lecture, and spend time with faculty, students, and staff through panels and discussion. Sponsored by the Department of Sociology, the Department of Classics, the Department of History, and the Maritime Studies Research Unit, Professor Rozwadowski’s is titled “Writing Ocean Histories”.

For an interview between Prof. Rozwadowski and Memorial University’s Gazette, please click here.

Rozwadowski Memorial Univ Lecture


Prof. Sinha Contributes to Discussions of Impeachment

Professor Manisha Sinha, History Department, University of ConnecticutThe Senate’s acquittal of President Trump kept media outlets, and Professor Manisha Sinha, busy during the week of February 5th. TIME Magazine‘s article, “Where Trump’s Acquittal Fits Into the History of Impeachment, According to Historians,” features Professor Sinha’s view of the Senate vote, its place in American history, and the future of the Republican Party. Democracy Now! also interviewed Professor Sinha for the second time this year to receive her follow-up remarks on the impeachment process.

Professor Sinha is the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair of American History at the University of Connecticut. She currently is on leave as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

For the article, click here.

For the TV interview by Democracy Now!, click here.

Prof. Jason Chang Interviewed for Slate Article on Coronavirus

Jason Chang, associate professor of History, University of CTOn February 4th, Jane C. Hu published an article titled “The Panic Over Chinese People Doesn’t Come From Coronavirus” in Slate. The article includes thoughts from Professor Jason Oliver Chang on the history behind the racialized thinking of Asians as disease carriers. Professor Chang is an Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies, and Director of UConn’s Asian and Asian American Institute. To read the article, click here.

Prof. McKenzie Presents Talk for World Fish Migration Day

Matt McKenzie, associate professor of historyMatthew McKenzie, Professor of History at UConn-Avery Point, recently presented as a speaker in the World Fish Migration Day Lecture Series (sponsored by The Wildlands Trust) in Pembroke, Massachusetts. Professor McKenzie’s talk was titled “Old Friends in a New World: Early English Settlers’ Annual Calendars of New England Fish Arrivals.” Although World Fish Migration Day is not until May 16th, there is no question that Professor McKenzie’s lecture and research helped kick off the celebrations!

A video recording of his lecture can be found here.