Established in 1977, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) is an association of scholars dedicated to exploring the events and the meaning of United States history between 1776 and 1861. SHEAR’s mission is to foster the study of the early republican period among professional historians, students, and the general public. It upholds the highest intellectual standards of the historical profession and encourages the broad diffusion of historical insights through all appropriate channels, including schools, museums, libraries, electronic media, public programming, archives, and publications. SHEAR cherishes a democratic ethos in scholarship and cultivates close, respectful, and productive exchanges between serious scholars at every level of experience and recognition. SHEAR membership is open to all; most members are professional historians employed in colleges, universities, museums, and historical parks and agencies, as well as independent scholars and graduate students.
Elected to the Nominating Committee for 2024-2026 were two department alumni: Antwain K. Hunter, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MA ‘09) and Jessica C. Linker, Northeastern University (PhD ’17).
Congratulations to everyone!
Congratulations to the Mansfield Historical Society and Museum Director, Ann Galonska for receiving the Employer Career Advocate of the Year from UConn’s Center for Career Development!
We celebrate several years of successful internship placement with MHS and greatly appreciate Ms. Galonska’s outstanding mentorship of our students.
Join us in congratulating our past and present UConn History graduate students on their wonderful achievements!
Former graduate student and current New England Air Museum Curator Nick Hurley (MA ’15) has been named the 2023 U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH) Scholar in Residence. This program is a professional development opportunity established in 2021 for Army National Guard and Reserve officers possessing advanced degrees in history. Participants spend one year on the rotating faculty of the Department of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point and another as a member of the CMH staff in Washington, D.C.
UConn History and Africana Studies Professor, Fiona Vernal was awarded a $200,000 Partnership Grant from Connecticut Humanities for the expansion of her public history program, “An Integrated Framework for Engaged, Public, Oral, and Community Histories” (or EPOCH), she founded in 2015. EPOCH fosters collaboration between UConn undergraduates and faculty, as well as community organizations and archivists to highlight both Connecticut and global histories. Past projects include child labor exploitation in global chocolate production and an 80-year history of housing discrimination in Hartford. This recent partnership with Connecticut Humanities will allow EPOCH to collect community histories across Connecticut beginning with Bloomfield, Windsor, and Enfield. Prof. Vernal’s work and new partnership with Connecticut Humanities are featured in the UConn Today article, “EPOCH Shares Community Histories, From Connecticut to Côte d’Ivoire.”
UConn History Alum Kate Aguilar, now an Assistant Professor in History at Gustavus Adolphus College, contributed a thought-provoking piece to the Washington Post about race and football ahead of the first contest between two Black quarterbacks in the Super Bowl, “It took until 2023 for two Black QBs to start in a Super Bowl. Here’s why.” The article explores how narratives about Black people during slavery “being athletically superior but intellectually inferior” have impacted where white owners and white coaches have allowed Black players to participate on the football field. Her hope is that the attention to this historic moment will draw attention to the barriers placed on Black athletes historically and in the present, which will “help fans better understand how slavery — and the noxious, racist ideas that came with it — still affect how we see race, sports and leadership in the 21st century.”
Kate Aguilar’s research focuses on the intersection of Black student activism and the Black athlete at the University of Miami (Fla.)
UConn History Professor Manisha Sinha draws connections between the conditions leading up to the 1866 midterm election and the 2022 midterm elections in her piece for CNN, “Why I hope 2022 will be another 1866,” to provide both context and hope when American democracy is at stake. Prof. Sinha explores similar themes between the 1866 and upcoming midterms including a rise in armed paramilitary groups, racial violence, and the dangerous attempts at power grabs. It is her hope that 2022 will be another 1866 and that Americans will rise to defend democracy as they had in 1866. Read the full article on CNN.
On September 29th and 30th, four UConn graduate students presented their research at the Sixth Annual Stony Brook University Graduate History Conference. The presenters included three history graduate students –David Evans, Lincoln Hirn, and Rachel Hendrick– and ELIN graduate student Juan Macias-Diaz.
David Evans presented his paper, “Eradicating Hunger: The World Food Crisis and Anti-Hunger Activism in the 1970s.” This project explores how state and non-state actors reacted to global food insecurity during the 1970s. It highlights the significance of human rights and neoliberal economic approaches to solving the food problem, and the degree to which they intersected U.S. foreign and domestic politics. His dissertation in progress, “Hunger for Rights: The Human Right to Food in the Post-War Era, explores similar themes.
Lincoln Hirn presented his paper, “Dynamic Stories: The Changing Role of the Slave Narrative in Postbellum America,” which discusses how the slave-narrative genre of autobiography changed between 1865 and 1915. It also looks at how formerly enslaved autobiographers adapted to the changing ways that the American public viewed and remembered slavery, enslavers, and the Civil War.
Rachel Hendrick presented her paper, “Benjamin Franklin and the Business of Paper,” which lays out a methodology for combining evidence from Franklin’s business ledgers and from the paper he used to print the Pennsylvania Gazette to show that Franklin had far different paper buying habits than his contemporaries. She argued that Franklin was buying printing paper in the late 1730s to ingratiate himself with his fellow Philadelphia merchants. Her research shows that these purchases later translated into donations of time and money for Franklin’s improvement projects in the 1740s and 1750s.
Juan Macias-Diaz presented his paper, “An Indigenous Kingdom: Indigenous Anticolonial Projects of the Comunero Revolt (1781),” an exploration of the surprising echoes of the Túpac Amaru Rebellion among indigenous and criollo communities in New Granada (Colombia).
From February 4 – February 27, the Stonington Historical Society will debut new and permanent exhibition on slavery. Thanks to the dedicated research of two members of the UConn History community, Professor Nancy Steenburg and former graduate student Liz Kading, the story of Venture Smith will shed light on the multifaceted landscapes of slavery and freedom in 18th century New England. The exhibition, entitled, “My Freedom is a Privilege that Nothing Else Can Equal,” will mark the re-opening of the Lighthouse Museum. Admission will be free throughout the month. For more information:
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.”