Tomorrow, our colleague Robert Gross, Draper Chair of Early American History Emeritus, is publishing with Farrar, Straus & Giroux his long-awaited history of Emerson, Thoreau and their circle in Concord: The Transcendentalists and Their World. A lovely first review came out in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago, with many more surely on the way.
There will also be many talks about the book in the coming weeks, starting with a book launch at the Boston Public Library on November 9. A list follows below.
The New York Times has once again turned to UConn History Professor Micki McElya for her insights into the national politics of mourning, memorials, and memory. In a recent piece on The Tomb of the Unknowns–scheduled for public opening for the first time in 73 years this week–Prof. McElya indicates that “Arlington became a site that every single American can claim a relationship to,” in large part because of the tomb. In the article, Prof. McElya details the debates about veteran burial and remembrance, culminating in this tomb functioning as a political symbol imbued with ever-changing meanings about military service and leadership. Read more in the excellent NYT article and consider taking a look at Prof. McElya’s award-winning book, The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery.
UConn History Professor Fiona Vernal delivered a talk on Shade Tobacco Stories: Land, Labor, and Immigration in the CT Tobacco Valley. As a part of Capitol Community College’s virtual history heritage series, Prof. Vernal gives us a deeper appreciation of the local histories that go forgotten between the larger national stories that influence yet take center stage in the narratives we tell about the past. She illustrates the connections and collaborations that people of West Indian, Caribbean, and African descent fostered as they labored and organized to create political communities and social networks. The making of tobacco culture in CT is one that Prof. Vernal details with passion and dedication.
Listen to her talk on the CT Old State House page and read this Hartford Courant article that chronicles the work of historians throughout the region laboring to bring the history of Hartford and its surrounding areas to the fore. The whole series is on the CT Old State House page!
A recently published CityLab article asks the question, “where did all the public bathrooms go?” The author, Elizabeth Yuko, turned to UConn History professor Peter Baldwin to delve into this inquiry. For Professor Baldwin, public bathrooms reveal the intersections of public health, class, and gender, each intimately connected to early twentieth century concerns around privacy and government intervention. The absence of public bathrooms, Professor Baldwin argues, reveals that “we do not care about anyone who doesn’t have money, which I think encapsulates where American politics has been going since 1980.” For more insights into toilets, culture, and politics, check out the CityLab article!
UConn History Professor Fiona Vernal has received one of the annual Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Community Engaged Scholarship. This prestigious award is bestowed upon several faculty, staff, and students who have worked to create local, regional/state, national, and global projects that further sustainability and the public good. Professor Fiona Vernal has collaborated with various partners to amplify the stories and histories of housing, labor, and migration in the greater Hartford community. Her projects have contributed to the launch of the History Department’s Engaged, Public, Oral, and Community Histories (EPOCH) initiative. Her work bridges public history and mentorship to chart new paths in scholarship about race, community, and belonging. Professor Vernal’s community-engaged scholarship, alongside the work of many amazing staff, students, and faculty, has been profiled in UConn Today.
The New York Times has turned to UConn History Professor Alexis Dudden for her insights into the overlooked stories of “comfort women, ” as apart of their series on unreported death in The Times. Having interviewed survivors of state-sponsored sexual slavery during WWII era Japan, Alexis Dudden reflects on the life on Kim Hak-soon, who was detained by Japanese soldiers while living in China in 1941. As Prof. Dudden explains in the Times article, Kim-Hak-soon “remains one of the bravest people of the 20th century,” who was around 15 when she was taken. In 1991, Kim Hak-soon first publicly shared her story and later recorded her testimony in the 1993 book, The Korean Comfort Women Who Were Coercively Dragged Away for the Military, Vol. 1. For more about the life of Kim Hak-soon, her activism, and the sexual slavery sponsored by the Japanese state, please read the Times article, “Overlooked No More: Kim Hak-soon, Who Broke the Silence for Comfort Women.”
UConn History Professor Jeffrey Ogbar is one of two recipients of the 2021 Provost’s Outstanding Service Award. Since joining the UConn community in 1997, Professor Ogbar has worked as scholar, advisor, and director across the institution. He has been a “tireless advocate and mentor for students of color and first-generation students in a variety of capacities, formal and informal,” and for faculty of color, according to UConn Today. The UConn Today profile covers just how expansive and wide-reaching Professor Ogbar’s service has been and will continue to be. Congratulations! What a tremendous honor. We are grateful for your passion in building up the UConn community.