Frank Costigliola’s New George Kennan Biography Garners Praise

Frank Costigliola, professor of history, UConn

University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History, Frank Costigliola‘s recently published biography Kennan: A Life between Worlds. His work offers a new picture of historian and diplomat George Kennan, whose foreign policy of containment of the Soviet Union fueled the Cold War, but who later would spend the next fifty years trying to end it.

Read about it in Michael Hirsh’s Foreign Policy piece, “Is Cold War Inevitable?” and also in Foreign Affairs, “George Kennan’s Warning on Ukraine.”

Visit KPFA to watch his interview with Mitch Jeserich on Letters and Politics, “George Kennan: The Cold War Architect Who Opposed the War.”

Or check out the video below.

Jeffrey Ogbar Participates in NYT ad “Protect Black Art”

UConn History Professor and founding director of the Center for the Study of Popular Music, Jeffrey Ogbar participated in a two page ad that appeared in both the New Jeffrey Ogbar HeadshotYork Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution titled “Protect Black Art.” The ad calls for restrictions on artists’ lyrics and other forms of creative expression including visual arts, film, writing, etc. from being used against defendants in courtroom and emphasizes their right to creative freedom and expression. Prof. Ogbar joins artists, scholars, organizations and companies in the call for protective legislation that allows artists to express their creativity without the threat of it being used against them in the courtroom. The ad was published in the New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on November 1, 2022.

Prof. Ogbar’s scholarship focuses on 20th century African American history in the United States with a focus on Black nationalism and social movements. He has written on varied subjects including the New Negro Renaissance, mass incarceration, civil rights struggles, and hip-hop.

 

Brendan Kane Receives Erasmus + ICM Award

UConn History Professor, Brendan Kane and University College Dublin Professor, Marc Caball haBrendan Kane, Associate Professor of History and Associate Director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticutve been awarded funding through Erasmus + International Credit Mobility (a global scholarship and exchange program financed by the European Union and administered in Ireland by the Higher Education Authority) for their proposal entitled, “Digital Early Modern Ireland.” According to a post by University College Dublin, Brendan Kane and Marc Caball will each spend time at each other’s respective institutions to both develop and implement a digital strategy “for early modern Irish research centered on Léamh.org (a digital humanities project enabling engagement with early modern texts in the Irish language).” 

Brendan Kane is a co-director of the digital humanities project Léamh.org and director of the Democracy and Dialogues Initiative at the UConn Human Rights Institute.

With American Democracy at Stake, Manisha Sinha Provides Hope

Manisha Sinha, professor of historyUConn 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.

 

Graduate Students Present at Stony Brook University Conference

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).

Brendan Kane Presents Kelleher Lecture at Harvard

This Thursday Professor Brendan Kane will be giving the 18th John V. Kelleher Lecture in Celtic Studies at Harvard University, on the topic of “Paleography and Power: Irish Political Thought in a Multi-Lingual Archive.”  There is an associated display of the Irish manuscripts held by Houghton Library which have been key to his research. Congratulations to Professor Kane on this latest achievement in his broader efforts to recast our understanding of early modern Irish and English history based on the close reading of long-undervalued Irish-language sources.

Micki McElya Dissects Positive Psychology for The Boston Review

Micki McElya, professor of history, UConnIn light of loosened Covid-19 restrictions, UConn Professor of History Micki McElya wanted to understand the changing gendered significance of masking through the lens of Positive Psychology. In an article for The Boston Review “Just Wear Your Smile,” McElya explains that the gender politics of Positive Psychology (the idea that happiness is tied to individual behavior) and its glorification of the nuclear family and heterosexual monogamy. “Positive Psychology embraces a neoliberal logic that shifts the onus of unhappiness and inequality away from larger systems onto individual behavior,” McElya emphasizes. Read the full article in The Boston Review.

Professor McElya is currently at work on No More Miss America! How Protesting the 1968 Pageant Changed a Nation where she explores similar themes.

Alexis Dudden Contributes to the History in Focus Podcast

In a recent podcast episode from the American Historical Review series, “History in Focus,” UConn History Professor Alexis Dudden looks to soil of Okinawa, Japan as a site of memory, struggle, and persistence. Professor Dudden joins graphic artist Kim Inthavong to tell a visual story of the politics of ecology and military intervention. You can listen to the full episode on the American History Review website.

Stay tuned for more information about a September 27 event on Okinawa.

 

Alexis Dudden Featured in The New Yorker

The July 8, 2022 tragic assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe sent shockwaves throughout the world. UConn History Professor Alexis Dudden reflected on the life and legacy of Shinzo Abe, whose tenure in office transformed the role of East Asia in international politics. In one of the first interviews about the impact of Shinzo Abe, Prof. Dudden reveals to journalist Isaac Chotiner that:

“It is the irony overlaying his career because, at its fundamental core, making Japan “beautiful” is quite anti-American. And yet, on the surface, he’s seen as the person who tried so hard to make Japan’s alliance promises to the United States stronger. But these are solely in security terms, and have led to greater insecurity in the region. The standoff with Korea, the increasingly frozen ties with China are a result of Abe’s determination to make Japan great again. And it therefore really comes down to: What is the meaning of “great” for Abe, and for the legacy of Abe? Because, again, most Japanese have come to have a different understanding.”

Below are several articles in which Prof. Dudden has continued to explain the influence of Shinzo Abe on history and diplomacy:

UConn Today has also highlighted the contributions that Prof. Dudden has made to news coverage on Shinzo Abe. For more on Shinzo Abe, Japanese politics, and national identity, please browse the work of Prof. Dudden throughout these news outlets.

 

Manisha Sinha Honored with Pennington Award

Manisha Sinha, professor of historyProfessor Manisha Sinha is a 2021 awardee of the James C. Pennington Award, which will be formerly bestowed upon her during the 2022 award ceremony, taking place on June 1, 2022.  The James C. Pennington Award, awarded by Heidelberg University’s Heidelberg Center for American Studies and Faculty of Theology, remembers James Pennington, a formerly enslaved pastor from the United States who received an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg University, the first known person of African descent to earn one from a European institution. Sinha, a scholar of abolition, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, receives this award alongside Dr. Carol Anderson, a historian of 20th century Black freedom struggles.

The award ceremony will be marked by a discussion with the two fellows on “The Unfinished Work of Reconstruction: The Long and Ongoing Civil Rights Struggle in the United States.” The ceremony will be live tweeted from the Heidelberg Center for American Studies account. More information is available on the Heidelberg University website. Congratulations!