UConn History Faculty and Student Win Humanities Institute Fellowships

It’s that time again: the announcement of the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute (UCHI) Fellows.

Once again, UConn History is well represented. Please join us in congratulating Professor Micki McElya, Associate Professor Fiona Vernal, and PhD candidate Erik Freeman for receiving 2021-2022 UCHI Fellowships. As a UCHI Fellow, Professor McElya will work on the project, “No More Miss America! How Protesting the 1968 Pageant Changed a Nation.” For Professor Vernal, her UCHI Fellowship means working on “Hartford Bound: Mobility, Race, and Identity in the Post-World War II Era (1940-2020).” And as a Draper Dissertation Fellow, Freeman will work towards the completion of his doctoral dissertation, “The Mormon International: Communitarian Politics and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1830-1890.”

Well done, folks, and we look forward to seeing and hearing more about these exciting projects.

Sergio Luzzatto Delivers Talk as Part of Distinguished Speaker Series

Luzzatto Profile PicWhat an incredible first year for UConn History Professor Sergio Luzzatto.

Since joining the department in spring 2020, besides teaching his courses, and doing so virtually, he also inaugurated a new speaker’s series, the Noether Dialogues in Italian & Modern History. Professor Luzzatto organized and moderated four panels this past year (fall 2020-spring 2021) with speakers from all around the world. And on top of those accomplishments, he just delivered a talk for the University of Connecticut Provost’s Distinguished Speaker Series. Professor Luzzatto’s talk, “Looking into a Name: The Emiliana Pasca Noether Chair and World History,” focused on the personal and intellectual history of Emilia Pasca Noether and her family, the namesake and supporters of his academic chair and speaker series.

Well done, Professor Luzzatto, on an excellent first year as part of the UConn History family. Here’s to an even more amazing year two!

Jason Chang Featured on WNYC’s On The Media

On March 16th, in Atlanta, eight people were shot and killed, six of whom were Asian women. The past year has seen a dramatic increase in anti-Asian harassment and violence. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there have been nearly 3,800 assaults and other forms of harassment of Asians and Asian Americans in the United States.

But anti-Asian discrimination and violence is not new and has a long history in the US. Along with University of Minnesota Professor Erika Lee, UConn History own’s Professor Jason Chang appeared on WNYC’s On The Media to discuss “how the model minority myth has cloaked patterns of brutality against Asian-Americans, and the bloody events that have been wiped from public memory.” It’s a gripping conversation that provides much needed insights into last week’s horrific shooting. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen, it’s very much worth your time.

Alexis Dudden Interviewed by UConn Today and UConn 360

Dr. Alexis Dudden, professor of history, University of ConnecticutWhen an international controversy arose over a Harvard Law Professor’s claims that “comfort women” – Korean and other women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops – numerous news sites, including the publication UConn Today and podcast UConn 360, turned to the best possible source to make sense of the issue: UConn History Professor Alexis Dudden. Read or listen to Professor Dudden explain the matters at hand and the Harvard Law Professor’s recent attempts in the past years to deny the existence and suffering of comfort women.

Since the shocking, and long-debunked, claim appeared late last year, Professor Dudden has been at the forefront of an international movement of scholars challenging the claim and ensuring that the comfort women who suffered, some of whom she has met and profiled, are treated with dignity and respect.

Do yourself a favor and read or listen to Professor Dudden explain it all. If you prefer to hear Professor Dudden in podcast-form, here is the link to the latest episode of UConn 360. Enjoy!

Jason Chang and Dexter Gabriel Interviewed About Anti-Racist Research

Anti-Asian sentiment and plantation workers. The Jim Crow South and KKK members possessed by demons.

These diverse topics are fueling the anti-racist research and writing being done by UConn History Professors, Jason Chang and Dexter Gabriel. As part of a new series examining emerging research areas, UConn Today spoke with Professors Chang and Gabriel, along with their colleague in UConn’s Human Development and Family Studies department Jolaade Kalinowski, about their exciting work.

For Professor Chang, his research is pushing people to reconsider ideas of plantation workers by focusing on Asian tobacco laborers working in New England in the 1940s and 1980s. With Professor Gabriel, it is his acclaimed 2020 novella, Ring Shout, which analyzes historical topics but also delves into body horror and produces, as one reviewer for National Public Radio wrote, “images and beasts Guillermo del Toro would fall all over himself to help create on screen.” 

For more about the exciting works of Professors Chang and Gabriel, as well as Professor Kalinowski, please check out the UConn Today article, “The Research of Difference: How UConn Researchers are Tackling Anti-Racism.”

Alexis Dudden Quoted in New York Times and New Yorker Articles

Dr. Alexis Dudden, professor of history, University of ConnecticutWhen a new academic journal article by a Harvard Law professor argued that “comfort women” – Korean and other women forced to serve Japan’s troops –  were prostitutes who had willingly entered into indenture contracts, an international network of scholars rose to challenge this claim, one not supported by extensive historical evidence.

UConn History Professor Alexis Dudden is at the forefront of this movement and when The New York Times and New Yorker wrote about the controversy, they both turned to Professor Dudden and her expertise. Not only has Professor Dudden researched and wrote about this topic, but she has interviewed the women who were forced into sexual slavery for the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Since the early 1990s, survivors’ voices have been a part of the discussion and influenced how scholars have written about the topic. But this new article, and the argument at the heart of it, is attempting to marginalize the survivors. As Professor Dudden put it, in the Times article, “This is so startling, 30 years later, to be dragged back, because in the meantime survivors from a wide range of countries found a voice.”

For more about the controversy, and Professor Dudden’s thoughts on the matters, as well as her advocacy for the voices of the women who experienced sexual trafficking and slavery, please give both articles a read.

Frank Costigliola Reflects on 75th Anniversary of Kennan’s Long Telegram

Frank Costigliola, Professor of History at the University of ConnecticutTo commemorate the 75th anniversary of diplomat George Kennan’s “Long Telegram,” the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program published an essay by UConn History’s own Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Frank Costigliola. Professor Costigliola edited 2014’s The Kennan Diaries and published articles and essays about Kennan’s decades-long relationship with Russia and the Soviet Union. His essay, “My Voice Now Carried”: George F. Kennan’s Long Telegram,” is an excerpt from Professor Costigliola’s forthcoming book on Kennan. You can find Professor Costigliola’s excellent essay at the Wilson Center’s Sources and Methods blog.

Nancy Shoemaker Profiled for Authors in Conversation Series

H-SHEAR (the network for historians studying the early American republic, during the period 1775 to 1860), in association with Cornell University Press, will hold a U.S. in the World Series Authors in Conversation event, “National Imaginaries and Identities in the Global 19th Century.” The event is a discussion of The Greek Fire: American-Ottoman Relations and Democratic Fervor in the Age of Revolutions, by Maureen Santelli, and Pursuing Respect in the Cannibal Isles: Americans in Nineteenth-Century Fiji, by UConn History’s own Professor Nancy Shoemaker. Santelli and Shoemaker will be joined by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu.

The conversation will happen on Friday, March at 12 PM EST. It will occur on Zoom and you must register to attend. You can do so here.

Manisha Sinha Articles Published by CNN and NY Review of Books

Professor Manisha Sinha, History Department, University of ConnecticutUConn History’s own Professor Manisha Sinha is no stranger to having her work appear in print and read by large audiences. But this week, Professor Sinha had articles published in not one, but two places: CNN and The New York Review of Books.

On Monday, February 1, CNN published Professor Sinha’s thoughts about Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem, “The Hill We Climb,” and how to her, it summoned the story of enslaved early American poet, Phillis Wheatley. Professor Sinha explored Wheatley’s remarkable story, criticisms Gorman and her poem have received, and the ugly history of denying Black women access to the mainstream literary canon. Professor Sinha explained this dark history but also revealed that Gorman and her work beautifully captured the unending yet hopeful Black struggle for acceptance in American democracy.

Then on Wednesday, February 3, The New York Review of Books published Sinha’s “The Case for a Third Reconstruction.” In her essay, Sinha argued that the American Republic is always in danger whenever white supremacist sedition and violence is not confronted and defeated.

We encourage you to read both of Professor Sinha’s articles and share with friends.