Brendan Kane Mentioned in RTE Article on Irish Language Learning

Brendan Kane, Associate Professor of History and Associate Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of ConnecticutUConn History Professor Brendan Kane’s work to make learning early modern Irish accessible has been featured in RTÉ Brainstorm, a segment of the Irish public press that highlights academic research that contributes to broader discussions about Ireland and Irish culture. Instead of making a New Year’s Resolution to “run a marathon” or “master sourdough,” the article encourages readers to learn Irish as a part of their “new year, new me” goals.  Brendan Kane’s  collaborative initiative, the Léamh project, offers tools to make reading early modern Irish fun, innovative, and equitable. For more, check out “Learn a new language for 2022, how about Early Modern Irish?” on the RTÉ website. Congratulations to Prof. Kane!

History Professors Testify about Connecticut’s Colonial Past

On Thursday, November 18, 2021–the Thursday before Thanksgiving–State Historian and UConn Professor Walt Woodward and Professor Manisha Sinha gave testimony before the Connecticut state legislature on the John Mason statue at the State Capitol. John Mason, considered a founder of the Connecticut colony, set fire to a Pequot community in 1637, claiming the lives of at least 400 people. Anthropologists, members of the Mohegan, Eastern Pequot, Mashantucket tribes, and a descendant of  John Mason convened for over 2 hours to discuss the removal of his statue. This discussion examined  the complexities of history, memory, symbolism, and the violence integral to the story of the making of the United States.  Professor Woodward and Professor Sinha grappled with the meaning of the statues t for the teaching and remembering of  history. Both are cited in this excellent CT Mirror article that recaps the state session. Prof. Walt Woodward is also quoted in the December 11 issue of The Economist, in the article “How the culture wars can show what’s right with America.”


New Book: The Transcendentalists and Their World


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.

Nov. 9, 2021: Boston Public Library: https://bpl.bibliocommons.com/events/6144be5d257a2d290006efd1

Nov. 10, 2021: Concord Museum: https://concordmuseum.org/events/transcendentalists-and-their-world-with-robert-gross/cover-the-transcendentalists-and-their-world/

Nov. 30, 2021: Harvard Bookstore: https://www.harvard.com/event/virtual_event_robert_gross/

Dec. 2 and 9, 2021: 92 Street Y: https://www.92y.org/class/robert-a-gross

Dec. 5, 2021: Thoreau Society/Thoreau Farm: https://www.thoreausociety.org/event/author-talk-robert-gross

Dec. 13, 2021: Massachusetts Historical Society: http://www.masshist.org/calendar/event?event=3573

Dec. 15, 2021: Salem Athenaeum: https://salemathenaeum.net/event/robert-gross-the-transcendentalists-and-their-world/

Jan. 13, 2022: Massachusetts Historical Society: https://www.colonialsociety.org/calendar

We hope to have Professor Gross back to campus sometime in the spring to talk about the book as well.  Congratulations!

Prof. Micki McElya Contributes to NYT Article

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.

Prof. Fiona Vernal Participates in Hartford Heritage Series

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!


New 2021 Faculty Books

We celebrate the 2021 UConn faculty books!


New 2020 Faculty Books

We celebrate the 2020 publications from UConn faculty!

2019 Faculty Books

We celebrate the 2019 publications from UConn faculty!



Prof. Peter Baldwin Discusses Bathrooms with Bloomberg CityLab

Prof. Peter Baldwin of the UConn History Dept. Photo by Mark Mirko, Hartford Courant newspaper.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!

Prof. Fiona Vernal Receives Distinguished Faculty Award

Fiona Vernal, Assistant Professor of History at the University of ConnecticutUConn 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.

Congratulations! A job well done!