Undergraduate Honors Thesis Spotlight: Michael Francomano

Image for Nuclear Weapons in Marshall IslandsUConn ’21 graduate Michael Francomano worked with UConn History Professor Alexis Dudden on their senior thesis that explores the legal discourses around nuclear weapons in the twentieth century. A job well done! 

Michael Francomano, “The Influence of the United States on Nuclear Laws”

Thesis Advisor: Alexis Dudden

The United States government has influenced the laws surrounding the use of nuclear weapons from the moment of their first use against a civilian population in 1945. These efforts include countless measures taken to absolve the United States from responsibility for their actions. This is especially seen in the Marshall Islands where US government efforts to abjure legal responsibility to help those directly impacted by radioactive fallout resulting from weapons testing between 1945 and 1962 abound as do efforts to attend the natives that were completely displaced from their home islands destroyed in the name of nuclear testing. These actions span to current day warfare. In so doing, the United States government defies international laws prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons in war in the form of armor piercing rounds of munitions made out of depleted uranium (used as recently as 2015 in Syria). The legality of these weapons is something that remains a gray area in international law, and a major contributor to that is the fact that the United States has used its power and history with nuclear weapons to influence the creation of new precedents and disregard the laws that have already been in place.

Undergraduate Honors Thesis Spotlight: Michael Fox

Image of Queen Elizabeth in Parliament

UConn ’21 graduate Michael Fox worked with UConn History Professor Meredith Rusoff on their senior thesis that explores  freedom of speech in early modern England. A job well done! 

Michael Fox, ““A Strange Thing for the Foot to Guide the Head”: Freedom of Speech in Elizabethan Parliaments

Thesis Advisor: Meredith Rusoff

Freedom of speech is a right that many in the United States, and the Western world, take for granted as something that is critical for any modern democratic society to function. However, this has not been the case for the vast majority of Western, and human, history. It is during the early-modern period, specifically the Enlightenment, that concepts such as freedom of speech were developed, and eventually became fully encoded in law. Britain, more specifically England, led the way in the development of freedom of speech within its Parliament, and the practice of common law. Similar to how the government itself evolved in England, so too did its concept of what rights and liberties could be exercised.

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!

 

Undergraduate Honors Thesis Spotlight: Elisabeth Bienvenue

Headshot of History Undergrad Alum Elisabeth BienvenueUConn ’21 graduate Elisabeth Bienvenue worked with UConn History Professor Nancy Shoemaker on their senior thesis that explored music and culture among New Englanders of Franco American descent. A job well done!

Elisabeth Bienvenue, “La Vie en Chant: The Role of Songbooks in Twentieth Century Franco-American Survivance”

Thesis Advisor: Nancy Shoemaker

The Chants Populaires des Franco-Américains were a collection of songbooks published by the Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Amérique in Woonsocket, Rhode Island from 1929-1962. These songbooks should be considered as part of “la survivance” (“the survival”), a mindset in which the Franco-Americans of New England sought to preserve the French language, Catholic faith, and cultural ties to Quebec and Acadia in future generations. This paper argues that survivance was both a political and cultural phenomenon and that while the politicized survivance movement fell out of favor after the divisive reform effort known as the Sentinelle Affair ended in 1928, the cultural aspects of survivance endured for several more decades. While the songbooks serve as a powerful example of the importance of music and culture among Franco-Americans of the twentieth century, the songbooks themselves did not survive in mass distribution, but they successfully contributed to the movement to create a cultural legacy among New Englanders of Franco-American descent.

11/11-11/12: Gender and History Series with Mariana P. Candido

November 2021 Gender and History FlyerBetween November 11-12, UConn History will host Emory Professor Mariana P. Candido as a part of the annual Gender & History Series. Professor Candido’s training is in African history, and her work explores gender, property, and land in Angola. Professor Candido will discuss her research in a public lecture and workshop:

Thursday, November 11

Public Lecture | Storrs Campus, Class of ’47 Room in Homer Babbidge Library | 4:30-6pm

“Wealth and Accumulation in Angola: A History of Dispossession and Inequality”

Friday, November 12

Workshop | Storrs Campus, Wood Hall Basement Lounge | 10-11:30am

“Gendered Strategies to Secure Property in 19th century Angola”

*(a pre-circulated paper is available – email Cornelia Dayton at cornelia.dayton@uconn.edu)

 

 

 

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!