Press

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.”

 

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.