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 York 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.
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.
In 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.
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.
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.
UConn Today featured double History and Political Science major Mehdi Namazi’22 in a recent issue. Feeling led toward activist work, Namazi found the blend of history and political science to serve his intellectual and professional interests. He has decided to pursue a career in advocacy or policy work and is open to wherever those paths may lead. , Namazi hopes that his passion for coffee shops will sustain him as he explores life post-graduation. Congratulations and we look forward to following your journey!
The full UConn Today profile reveals more about Mehdi Namazi’s UConn experiences–from extracurricular activities to advice for first-year students.
The University of Connecticut’s Office of Undergraduate Research celebrated Jason Chang, Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies, with the annual Mentorship Excellence Award. This award, based on undergraduate student nominations and a selection committee, recognizes the faculty who go above and beyond to support and encourage students in their academic journeys. According to Karen Lau’ 25, Professor Jason Chang inspired them to be “unafraid of the unknown, to dig deeper to learn about my home state’s impact on Asian Americans, and to be bolder in my advocacy in my education reform.” For a professor as committed and compassionate as Jason Chang, this award is well-deserved. We look forward to the continued work that you will do to show students the power of advocacy, representation, and visibility. Congratulations!
Professor Chang received this award alongside Sarah Knutie, Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Mia Kawaida, a Ph.D. student in Animal Science. Please read the full article that details the tremendous impact of these three educators.
On April 7, 2022, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced the 180 recipients of the Guggenheim Fellowship. Established in 1925, the Foundation intends to “further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions.” The Foundation honored UConn History Professor Manisha Sinha, the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History, as one the scholars whose work exemplifies this promise. We celebrate this momentous accomplishment! She is the fifth UConn History faculty member to receive the Guggenheim Fellowship, following Richard D. Brown in 1998, Frank Costigliola in 1995, Thomas G. Paterson in 1991, and Karen Spalding in 1988.
Professor Manisha Sinha is an expert on the history of slavery, abolition, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. She is currently working on a book on the “Greater Reconstruction” of U.S. democracy after the Civil War, a follow up to her previous award-winning works on slavery in South Carolina and the history of abolition.
We encourage you to read the full press release and list of new Fellows, which spans across 51 academic and artistic disciplines and 81 institutions. UConn Today profiles Professor Sinha, her research, and this fellowship in their latest issue.
Connecticut State Historian and UConn History Professor Walter Woodward announced his retirement last fall. As 1 of only 5 CT state historians, Woodward has contributed to a new history of how educators and students imagine, remember, and study the stories of the past. In a UConn Today article written by writer Kimberly Phillips, Woodward reflects on the immersion, creativity, and dedication that characterize the work of the State Historian. He describes his mission to “connect the people of Connecticut with the fascinating and fabulous history of this state in ways that don’t come naturally in our educational system.” He achieved this mission through podcasting, outreach initiatives, K-12 engagement–activities grounded in communication, collaboration, and commitment.
Woodward’s interview, titled “State Historian Walter Woodward Considers the Past as He Looks to the Future,” is insightful, enriching, and illuminating read.
UConn History PhD ’15 Erin Bartram founded Contingent Magazine with this vision: to broaden who does history, how they do it, and where they do it. Bartram, who is a historian of the 19th century United States and currently works as the School Programs Coordinator at The Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, CT, is an example of how to do history outside of tenure-track positions. As a part of Contingent Magazine’s “Doing History” series, Erin Bartram reveals what energizes her about her work, from the variety of programming to K-12 curriculum design. Bartram describes that through her work in public history, she is able to use her research in gender and family histories of New England to tell richer stories about the past. In the article, Bartram affirms that:
“Not only was UConn really the best place for me, I was fortunate enough to have an adviser who was endlessly curious and didn’t mind me roaming far afield. In a department with Dick Brown, Bob Gross, Chris Clark, Nina Dayton, Nancy Shoemaker, and Altina Waller–plus some Early America stars in other departments at the university–I could have only taken 18th and 19th century courses if I’d really wanted to. But I took all kinds of courses, and got really into histories and theories of colonialism. Oddly it was that stuff that led me into the topic I ended up researching.”
For more on Erin Bartram’s work, please read “How Erin Bartram Does History,”