Doctoral Student Wins Communal Studies Association Award

Doctoral student Erik Freeman has won the Communal Studies Association’s 2018 publications award for “Best Article.” His article, “‘True Christianity’: The Flowering and Fading of Mormonism and Romantic Socialism in Nineteenth-Century France” appeared in the April 2018 issue of The Journal of Mormon History. Erik’s work was praised for demonstrating “the groundbreaking connections between socialism and the LDS movement.” He will receive the award at the Association’s annual meeting in October. Congratulations, Erik!

National Humanities Alliance Article on “The Encounter Series”

The National Humanities Alliance showcases the range of work being done by higher education institutions through articles on their site “Humanities for All.” Recently they included an article on “The Encounter Series,” a collaboration between the UConn Humanities Institute and the Hartford Public Library, the Wadsworth Atheneum, and the Amistad Center for Art & Culture, coordinated by Brendan Kane:

“The Encounters Series grew out of a desire to build connections between a land-grant university and its state, Brendan Kane of UConn explains. “We wanted to move beyond the kind of typical mode of interaction, which is the lecture or the panel,” Kane says. “I love lectures and panels, but we wanted to do things that were more active. We wanted to get UConn faculty more out into the world, making a research university that’s state-supported more accessible to the people in the communities that we serve.” With this in mind, Kane began exploring models of conflict resolution and public conversations.”

To access the full article, visit:

In Memoriam: Dr. Emiliana Pasca Noether

Emiliana Pasca Noether 2017-2018
Emiliana Pasca Noether January 15, 1917 – March 24, 2018

Emiliana (Liliana to family) was a professor of Italian history, whose career paved a path for the recognition and promotion of future generations of female scholars. After receiving her Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1948, Professor Noether taught Italian history at New York University, Rutgers University, Regis College, Simmons College and the University of Connecticut, where the Emiliana Pasca Noether Chair in Modern Italian History was established in her honor upon her retirement in 1987. Following her retirement, she continued to share her learning by teaching in various elder education programs.

Professor Noether was appointed twice as a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar – in 1964-65 and in 1982 – to further her scholarship in Italian historical studies. She was among the first group of fellows at Radcliffe College’s Bunting Institute when it was founded in 1961 to promote women scholars, an experience that she described as “a second chance…after having been relegated to the professional dustbin” for taking time off to be a parent. She went on to serve as president of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and the New England Historical Association, and to chair the American Historical Association’s Committees on Italian-American Historical Relations and Women Historians. She authored nearly 100 professional articles and books on Italian history and cultural and intellectual ties between Italy and the English-speaking world, and mentored many graduate students – both women and men – over her long career.

Liliana was born in Naples, Italy and emigrated to the United States as a young child.  She grew up in New York City in a family of Italian musicians and teachers. In 1942, she married Gottfried (Friedel) E. Noether (1915-1991), a statistician and refugee from Nazi Germany, with whom she shared a passion for music, the arts, and worldwide travel. She is survived by her daughter, Monica Noether, and two grandchildren, Braden and Shannon Harvey.

History PhD Students Receive Humanities Institute Fellowships

We are delighted to report that the UConn Humanities Institute awarded three dissertation fellowships for 2018-19, two of which will go to graduate students in History: Aimee Loiselle and Amy Sopcack-Joseph.

Aimee Loiselle has been awarded a UCHI Fellowship for her project “Creating Norma Rae: The Erasure of Puerto Rican Needleworkers and Southern Labor Activists in the Making of a Neoliberal Icon.”


Amy Sopcak-Joseph, who will receive a UCHI-Draper Fellowship to work on “Fashioning American Women:  Godey’s Lady’s Book, Female Consumers, and Periodical Publishing in the Nineteenth Century.”

Speaker Spotlight: Julia Irwin by Shihan Zheng

On April 6, 2018, historian Julia Irwin will speak at the History Department as part of its Foreign Policy Seminar Series. 

Dr. Julia Irwin earned her PhD degree from Yale University; she is now an associate professor in the University of South Florida. Receiving the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award of USF in 2015, Irwin teaches classes focused on the history of the United States and its foreign relations. Her research centers on the place of humanitarianism, health, and welfare in 20th century U.S. foreign relations. Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation’s Humanitarian Awakening is Irwin’s first book and was published in 2013 by Oxford University Press. Making the World Safe tells the story of U.S. relief and assistance for foreign civilians in the era of the First World War, and focuses on both the diplomatic and the cultural significance of humanitarian aid in these years. Based on the records of the American Red Cross and key personnel, Irwin’s research “examines the lives of a cosmopolitan cadre of American civic leaders, philanthropists, and medical and social scientific professionals—individuals who embraced foreign assistance as a new way to participate in the international community” (p. 2) However, Making the World Safe not only focuses on ARC leaders and staff, but also examines the American public in the importance of foreign aid to American foreign relations. Besides the monograph, Irwin also published many articles that examine American humanitarianism, health, and social welfare as a window into both U.S. domestic and international histories. Some of the topics that she wrote about are child health, nursing, and ethnic tensions. Currently, Irwin is writing her second monograph, Catastrophic Diplomacy: A History of U.S. Responses to Global Natural Disaster. Her current research is to examine how the United States government, American charities and relief organizations, and the U.S. public have responded to disasters caused by overseas tropical storms, earthquakes, floods, and other so-called “Acts of God” since the late 19th century.

In addition to researching and teaching achievements, Irwin also participates in several professional programs. She is currently council member for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and member for the Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize Committee. She is also the membership secretary of Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

Speaker Spotlight: Erez Manela by Philip Goduti

On March 23, 2018, historian Erez Manela will speak at the History Department as part of its Foreign Policy Seminar Series.


Erez Manela is a Professor of History at Harvard University, where he teaches international history and directs the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.  Most recently, Manela co-edited Empires at War, 1911-1923 (2014) with Robert Gerwath, which examines the outbreak of World War I as a “global war of empires” and expanded the time frame to include the Italian invasion of Libya in 1911 and conclude with the 1923 Lausanne Treaty. He is also currently a General Editor for the Global and International History series for Cambridge University Press.

Manela didn’t think he was going to study history.  Commenting in one interview with the Harvard Gazette he said “I didn’t yet conceive of it as something you could do as a profession, but rather something you might study to know more about the world.”  Originally from Haifa, Israel, Manela went to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and stated that his experience there shaped the path that he would take.  “I realized that in the modern period…there were really fascinating parallels between the history of the Ottoman Empire and the history of East Asia, particularly China,” Manela said in that same Gazette article.  He wanted to consider that story in a broader context moving forward.  This approach shaped his scholarship that followed.

In doctoral studies at Yale, Manela focused on international history with a transnational approach.  His dissertation was the basis for his first book titled The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (2007).  Examining how the United States had an impact on the colonial world in the wake of World War I, with a focus on Egypt, India, China, and Korea, The Wilsonian Moment was very successful. The book was a major contribution to the field and seen by many reviewers as a groundbreaking study in transnationalism.  Lloyd Ambrosius for the Journal of American History called the book “excellent” and went on saying “Manela’s thoroughly researched and clearly written book is a fine contribution to international and transnational history.” Another reviewer wrote that Manela “brilliantly reconstructs the story of the colonial world at the end of World War I and the impact of Wilson’s new ideas for world peace and justice on the anticolonial movement.” The London Review of Books said that Manela “has produced an immensely rich and important work of comparative politics centered on the ‘Wilsonian Moment.’”

Manela is a very prolific scholar.  In addition to the aforementioned books he co-edited The Shock of the Global: The 1970s in Perspective (2010), which explores the structural upheaval of the 1970s and how the international system was undergoing major transformations, and has articles in journals such as Diplomatic History, Reviews in American History, American Historical Review and Diplomacy & Statecraft.  Manela contributed a chapter on “The United States and the World,” which comments on the field’s methodology and historical questions, in American History Now (2011).

Manela’s ongoing research interest is to examine the World Health Organization’s Smallpox Eradication Program from 1965-1980.  This endeavor “seeks to cast new light on important aspects of post-WWII international history, including superpower relations, the evolution of international development, and the role of international organizations.” Manela’s article, “A Pox on Your Narrative: Writing Disease Control into Cold War History,” which was published in Diplomatic History, discusses some of his findings. Manela is also researching United States visions for the world order during World War II, paying close attention to Asia. He contributed a chapter titled “The Fourth Policeman: Franklin Roosevelt’s Vision for China’s Global Rule” in The Significance and Impact of the Cairo Declaration (2014), which highlights some of his preliminary research.

When Manela was appointed as full Professor in 2009, Harvard University’s History Department Chair Lizabeth Cohen said “[Manela’s] work is very important because he is part of a very small group of historians who are moving the traditional field of diplomatic history, which for a long time had been concerned with the foreign policies of the largest, often western nations, to a more international history.”


Draper Workshop Series for Spring 2018

Announcing the Draper Workshop Series for Spring 2018:

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 4:00-6:00 pm
University of Connecticut, Storrs
Gentry 131
Reception to follow
This workshop will feature scholars of history and law, who will share their current research to demonstrate the value of interdisciplinary approaches to both areas of study. It will focus on how the law has helped construct and deconstruct notions of servitude, race, and citizenship in American history. The panel will speak on the following topics:

“Comparing Law, Slavery, Freedom and Race in the Americas.”
Ariella Gross, John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History, USC Gould School of Law

“Indentured Servitude, its impact and its legacy in North America”
Timothy Fisher, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law

“Why Prigg v. Pennsylvania was a Major Turning Point in Antebellum Politics and Law”
R. Kent Newmyer, Professor of Law and History, University of Connecticut School of Law

“Birthright Citizens: The Puzzle of Free African Americans in the Era of Dred Scott”
Martha S. Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History, The Johns Hopkins University

Moderator: Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History, University of Connecticut


If you cannot join us on campus, please join us on our livestream. For more information, contact

In Memory of Bruce Stave

Dear Colleagues and Friends of the Department of History,

I am very sorry indeed to have sad news to relate. Bruce Stave, Emeritus Professor and a former Head of the History Department, died early on Saturday morning, December 2.

Bruce was a longtime member of our department and a staunch servant of the University, a significant figure in American urban history, a pioneer in oral history, and in his long retirement the leading historian of the University itself. He and Sondra Stave have been stalwart friends of the department, supporting graduate students through a generous scholarship fund, and attending numerous departmental and public events over the years. He was a warm personal friend to many, and I was myself moved by and appreciative of the welcome, encouragement, and moral support he offered me, first as a newcomer to UConn and latterly as one of his successors as department head. I know I will not be alone in missing him.

A celebration of Bruce’s life will take place on Friday, April 20, 2018 at the Alumni Center from 4-6pm. For those who wish to send their thoughts to Sondra Stave and their son Channing, the address is 150 Grant Hill Road, Coventry, CT 06238.

A more extensive appreciation of his many contributions to the university, the profession, the community of Coventry and the state of Connecticut can be found in his obituary here

Christopher Clark

Professor Manisha Sinha Wins Frederick Douglass Book Prize

Manisha Sinha, the Draper Chair in American History, has been selected as the winner of the 2017 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for her book “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition” (Yale University Press). Established in 1999, the Douglass Prize is awarded annually by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the best book written in English on slavery or abolition. Sinha will receive the prize at a reception sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute in New York City on February 22, 2018. The latest of several awards, Dr. Sinha’s achievement is a source of great pride to all of her colleagues in the History Department and to the University of Connecticut at large.

To read the full press release from Yale University:

Speaker Spotlight: Draper Conference by Winifred Maloney

Nina Silber, David Blight, and W. Fitzhugh Brundage are all preeminent scholars of the Civil War and memory. They are three of many scholars who have entered the growing conversation regarding Confederate monuments and their place in our world. Silber, Blight, and Brundage have all contributed their thoughts on the matter to various publications, and will be continuing the conversation at the upcoming inaugural Draper Workshop Series event titled “Recasting the Confederacy: Monuments and Civil War Memory” on November 6.

Nina Silber, a professor of history and American Studies at Boston University, received her BA, MA, and Ph.D from UC Berkeley. She has published several books, including The Romance of Reunion: Northerners and the South, 1865-1900 (1993); Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War (1992); Daughters of the Union: Northern Women Fight the Civil War (2005); and Gender and the Sectional Conflict (2009). Silber is the president-elect of the Society of Civil War Historians. Her piece on Confederate monuments, “Worshipping the Confederacy is about white supremacy—even the Nazis thought so,” was featured by The Washington Post in August. Her current work focuses on Civil War memory during the Great Depression and the New Deal.

David Blight is the Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale as well as the Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. He received his Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and won the Bancroft prize for this book Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001). On October 23, Blight briefed Congress on the history of Civil War monuments. On the subject of Confederate monuments, Blight wrote “‘The Civil War lies on in us like a sleeping dragon’: America’s deadly divide—and why it has returned” for The Guardian in August. Blight is currently writing a biography of Frederick Douglass to be published in 2018.

W. Fitzhugh Brundage is the William B. Umstead Distinguished Professor and Department Chair in history at UNC Chapel Hill. Brundage received his MA and Ph.D from Harvard. He has written several books and edited numerous collections, including Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930 (2011). Brundage’s piece, “I’ve studied the history of Confederate memorials. Here’s what to do about them” was featured on Vox in August. Currently, he is working on a project tracing the history of torture in the United States.

“Recasting the Confederacy: Monuments and Civil War Memory” will be the first of many events in the Draper Workshop Series. Organized by Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History, the series promises to bring leading scholars to the University of Connecticut to engage in conversation surrounding various historical issues.