Faculty

Micki McElya Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship

Sending a huge congratulations to UConn History professor, Micki McElya, on receiving a 2022-23 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholars Fellowship. This fellowship supports scholars in producing works that speak to broad audiences within and beyond the academy.

Professor McElya’s book, No More Miss America! How Protesting the 1968 Pageant Changed a Nation, fits within that goal of public scholarship. As a narrative and character-driven history, the book explores gender, race, and politics through the lens of the protests and participants in the 1968 pageant. Professor McElya is writing an intentional history that captures the complexities of the women involved in the protests and pageant by demonstrating just how beauty contests were sites of oppressive acts and liberating movements. In a fabulous UConn Today profile, Professor McElya describes that:

“The women who participate in these pageants are often written off in history books, their motivations are not made clear, and they’re even accused of potentially participating in their own oppression” and that “one purpose of this book is to show these women in the same fully-formed way, with clear motives and understandings, that the activists of the 1960s and 1970s get.”  

To find out more, read the full UConn Today article!

A job well done! We look forward to reading this exciting and groundbreaking work.  

Tokyo Olympics Q & A with Prof Alexis Dudden

Ask the Experts: Summer Olympic Socioeconomics

To get a better understanding of the Tokyo Games’ biggest storylines, WalletHub posed the following questions to a panel of experts in the fields of sociology, economics, public policy and more. You can check out their bios and responses through the link below.

  1. With COVID-19 safety concerns in mind, what safety tips do you have for US tourists that will attend the Tokyo Olympics?
  2. Given its current vaccination count, is Tokyo safe and ready for the Olympics?
  3. Do you think that the US Olympic team will take first place in the medal count?
  4. Will Simone Biles become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic championships in more than 50 years?
  5. What will be the impact of the Olympics on Tokyo’s economy?

For Professor Dudden’s replies to these questions, please check out WalletHub’s “Ask the Experts” feature.

History Welcomes Hana Maruyama to UConn

Assistant Professor Hana Maruyama image

We are thrilled to welcome Professor Hana Maruyama to UConn this fall as Assistant Professor of History jointly appointed with the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. A specialist in Digital Public History, she is part of this year’s exciting cluster hire in Anti-Racism and Anti-Bias. Professor Maruyama brings an impressive array of skills, strengths, and research and teaching interests which will advance the Department of History’s EPOCH program, the joint minor in Digital Public History being developed with Digital Media and Design, and the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute’s K-12 curriculum initiative and commitment to teaching anti-racism.

Hana C. Maruyama is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, with a graduate minor in Heritage Studies and Public History. This August she defends her dissertation, “AlienNation: The Role of Japanese American World War II Incarceration in Native Dispossession.” Her work on Japanese American World War II incarceration, how it relied on and reproduced settler colonial logics, and how it impacted American Indian and Alaska Native people. She is the co-creator/producer of Campu, a podcast created in partnership with the Japanese American oral history organization Densho. She formerly worked for American Public Media’s Order 9066, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center. She is yonsei (or fourth generation Japanese American) on her father’s side, with family incarcerated at Heart Mountain, Gila River, and Jerome.

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.