Dexter Gabriel’s Novel Selected by NPR as Part of Their Best Books of 2020

Dexter Gabriel, History Department, University of ConnecticutCongratulations to UConn History Professor Dexter Gabriel (under his nom de plume P. Djéli Clark) whose novel, Ring Shout, was selected by National Public Radio (NPR) to appear on their Best Books of 2020 list.

NPR Books editor, Petra Mayer, wrote:

“In P. Djéli Clark’s version of the Jim Crow South, The Birth of a Nation wasn’t just a movie – it was a summoning spell that brought the pointy headed, pale-skinned demons called Ku Kluxes to Earth to feed off the hatred of human Klansmen. Standing against the Klan are demon-hunters Maryse, Sadie and Chef, backed by the power of the ring shouts, chants led by the old Gullah woman Nana Jean. But hatred goes both ways, and Maryse must learn how to use her own before the demons do. Ring Shout is a novella, but it packs cinematic excitement, shuddering body horror, real history and wrenching emotion into its short length.”

This book sounds incredible and a must-read. Well done, Professor Gabriel, and again, congrats on this incredible honor!

PhD Alum Aimee Loiselle’s Work Honored

Aimee Loiselle, Doctoral Student, History Department, University of ConnecticutCongratulations to Dr. Aimee Loiselle (2019 PhD) for winning the Catherine Prelinger Award from The Coordinating Council for Women in History (CCWH).

Dr. Loiselle’s research endeavors and service to women, along with her personal story and non-traditional pathway to academia, embody the spirit of the Prelinger Award. The CCWH’s awards committee was particularly impressed by her commitment to mentoring and teaching immigrant women and her dedication to highlighting ordinary women’s voices and experiences. Expanding on her award-winning dissertation, the book project, Creating Norma Rae: Southern Labor Activists and Puerto Rican Needleworkers Lost in Reagan’s America, stood out as cutting-edge, comprehensive, and timely. Her book promises to be a major contribution to cultural history, labor history, oral history, women’s and gender history, and the history of capitalism and transnational political economies.

Congratulation, Aimee, on this incredible honor! This is the second award Aimee’s dissertation has received so far. Well done, Aimee, and keep making UConn History proud.

Manisha Sinha’s CNN Op-Ed About 2020 Election

Professor Manisha Sinha, History Department, University of Connecticut

An op-ed by James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History Professor Manisha Sinha is prominently featured on The essay notes similarities and differences between the 1860 and 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections.

As Professor Sinha writes, “The one underlying commonality that binds these two historic presidential elections is the conviction that it is American democracy — rather than just opposing presidential candidates — that is on the ballot.”

Do give this excellent article a read. To read the op-ed, click the link. If you enjoy the op-ed, please share.


Brendan Kane Receives Grant to Foster Democracy & Dialogue Initiative

Brendan Kane, Associate Professor of History and Associate Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut

UConn History Professor Brendan Kane, working with Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Education Glenn Mitoma, aided CT Humanities in winning a $50,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Kane and Mitoma are co-directors of the Democracy & Dialogues Initiative (D&DI) and this Mellon grant will fund further D&DI programming. The initiative presents programming designed to provide frameworks for meaningful discussion around often difficult and divisive topics, instruction on civic processes and participation, and avenues that ensure access for all citizens to value and participate fully in our democracy.

Congratulations, Professor Kane on this incredible news. For more information about this latest honor for Professor Kane, please click the following link. 

Fakhreddin Azimi’s Work Recognized by Influential Journal

In these days when conversations across political and disciplinary borders can be difficult, it is a delight to report that the summer 2020 issue of the influential Iranian socio-cultural journal Negah-e Nou featured an extensive appreciation of the work of our colleague, Fakhreddin Azimi.

In eight essays, scholars and intellectuals from Tehran, Paris, Frankfurt, and elsewhere offer assessments of his intellectual trajectory, close reviews of some of his key works, and an extended interview with him by the editor-in-chief of the journal, Ali Mirzaie. Dr. Mohammad Ali Movahhed, a member of the Iranian Academy of Language and Literature, describes Azimi as “one of the most outstandingly capable and authoritative Iranian historians since the mid-20th century.”

Dr. Nader Entekhabi writes from Paris that “Azimi is a rare figure in our modern historiography as he combines deep theoretical knowledge of different social and human science disciplines with methodical exploration of various archival and other primary sources to furnish a multi-faceted and robust account of political life in modern Iran.” Entekhabi goes on to highlight how Azimi’s writing reflects his “full immersion in classical Persian culture and literature, a reality fully discernible in every line of his magnificent prose.” As the title of Arman Nehchiri’s essay puts it, Azimi has been “Holding a Mirror in the Alley of the Wakeful” with his “subtle” analysis and his “mastery of Persian prose and distinctive style that clearly distinguish him from his peers.”

Congratulations, Professor Azimi, it is an honor to have you as a colleague. And if propriety and intellectual property allow, perhaps we someday soon might even be able to publish that interview on your path from student movements at Tehran University to teaching at the University of Connecticut.

Orlando Deavila Pertuz’s Dissertation Honored

Congratulations to UConn History alum Orlando Deavila Pertuz (2019 PhD), whose dissertation, “The Battle for Paradise: Tourism Development, Race, and Popular Politics during the Remaking of Cartagena (Columbia), 1942-1984” received Honorable Mention in the Michael Katz Award for Best Dissertation in Urban History from the Urban History Association. Well done, Orlando, and keep up the great work!

UConn History Faculty Win SCHARP Development Awards

Three UConn History faculty members – Associate Professor and Department Chair Mark Healey, Assistant Professor Ariel Lambe and Assistant Professor Sara Silverstein – received Scholarship and Collaboration in Humanities and Arts Research (SCHARP) Development Awards from the UConn Office of the Vice President for Research. These awards aim to support innovative works of scholarship and creative activities in the arts and humanities that have the potential to transform a field of study, impact the common good, or chart a new direction in scholarly, creative, or artistic development.

Congratulations to all those involved! For more information about this honor, please click the link.

Brendan Kane Named HRALC Faculty Director

Brendan Kane, Associate Professor of History and Associate Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of ConnecticutThis fall, UConn History Professor Brendan Kane became Faculty Director of the University of Connecticut’s Human Rights & Action Learning Community (HRALC). As Faculty Director, he will work with the students of HRALC and in collaboration with Rachel Jackson and Anamaria Arteaga.

Congratulations Professor Kane and we wish you great success in this new leadership role. For more details about Professor Kane, and his appointment as HRALC Faculty Director, please consult this link.

In Memoriam: Christopher “Kit” Collier

Our colleague Christopher Collier, historian and author, passed away on March 6, 2020 at the age of 90.  He was a member of the UConn History Department from 1984 until 1999.  Kit, as he was known, was the official Connecticut State Historian and taught courses at UConn in early American history, Connecticut history, and Connecticut constitutional history. He was a founding member of the Connecticut Supreme Court Historical Society.

His research and writing broadened our understanding of the founding principles of American constitutional government, as well as the role of Connecticut in shaping those principles and their institutions. Among Kit’s publications are:  Roger Sherman’s Connecticut: Yankee Politics and the American RevolutionDecision in Philadelphia (with James Lincoln Collier);  and All Politics is Local: Family, Friends, and Provincial Interests in the Creation of the Constitution.  He was well-known as the author of eight historical novels for young adults (also with James), most notably, My Brother Sam is Dead, awarded a Newberry Medal by the American Library Association.


In Memoriam: Edmund Wehrle

Longtime UConn Professor Edmund Wehrle passed away on September 20, 2019. His obituary can be found here and a reflection from Frank Costigliola follows below.

We are sad to announce the passing of Ed Wehrle, a pillar of the UConn History Department for many years. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Ed taught international history, focusing on European imperialism in Asia. His first book, on Britain, China, and the anti-missionary protests of 1891-1900, was based on the archives of the British Foreign Office and those of missionary societies. His second book, on the Great Powers in Asia, was sweeping in its coverage and critical in perspective. He was working on a detailed, deeply researched study of the Marshall mission to China after World War II.

Ed is remembered by former graduate students as someone whose love of teaching and of his students was infectious. His excitement with learning and historical inquiry made him an invaluable presence and an influential role model. Thought-provoking and super enthusiastic, he was a truly terrific human being with a great sense of humor and recognition of the absurdities of life. He helped establish the Foreign Policy Seminar and remained a loyal supporter for many years, even after his retirement in 1997. Ed was loyal, caring, and devoted to his friends, students, colleagues, and family — a real stand-up guy right to the end.