LECTURE: Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Profess or History and Professor of African-American Studies, Harvard University
Tacky's Revolt and the Coromantee Archipelago A New Cartography of Slave Revolt"
Thursday, January 30th, 4.15 PM, L01 Carson Hall
By David Lagomarsino
Charles Hansen Professor
History hasn’t stood still since our last newsletter, and neither has the History Department.
Several outstanding visitors have enriched our lives. Montgomery Fellow Romila Thapar (Jawaharlal Nehru University) came to us during the Fall of 2006 to teach a course on Perceptions of the Past in Early India. We also hosted two scholars from German universities under the generous auspices of the Harris German-Dartmouth Distinguished Visiting Professorship. Hartmut Lehman (Göttingen University) visited with us in the Summer of 2006 to teach Modern Germany, 1800-1945. In the Spring of 2007, Suraiya Faroqhi (Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich) taught a course on The Ottoman Empire and the Mediterranean: The Sultans and their European Neighbors, 1400-1774. Our distinguished guests presented seminars to the department about their research and provided advice and inspiration to our students over the course of their stay.
A feature of the Honors Seminar each year is the Allabough Lecture, which invites a historian of national or international renown to deliver a public lecture and meet over dinner for intensive discussion with our Honors students. Recent Allabough lecturers include: Benjamin Elman (2007) and Felipe Fernández-Armesto (2006). For a list of what some of our best students have been working on, see Honors Theses, 2006-07.
It has been a special pleasure to welcome back to campus two of our alumni as visiting faculty. Rob Karl ’03, a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard, visited in Spring 2007 to teach courses on Latin America, filling in for Professors Navarro and Padillla, who were on leave. Christopher Schmidt ‘96 crowned his Harvard Ph.D. in History (2004) with a J.D. from Harvard Law School (2007). He visited during the Summer terms of 2006 and 2007 to offer his course on the Constitutional History of the United States. Readers of this newsletter may recall that in prior summers he taught his very popular Baseball in American Society.
The department has begun to prepare for an External Review, which will take place in the Spring of 2008—our first since 1993. Through the preparation of our own Self-Study Report and the recommendations of the outside committee, this review will offer the department an opportunity to examine its operations and consider ways of strengthening and enriching our curriculum. One of the things we looked at in preparing our Self-Study were the career outcomes of our majors. See the summary of our findings at "What Can I Do With My History Major?"
A generous gift from the family of our much-missed late colleague, Professor Charles Wood, has established the Charles T. Wood Prize for the best thesis in inter-regional or comparative history. The first Wood Prize was awarded to Jeremy Schneider ’07 for his outstanding thesis on “Discourses in Capitalism: Ovaltine Advertisements in the British Empire During the Interwar Period.” It also went on to win the Peter J. Reichard 1966 Memorial Research Award as the best History thesis in the Class of 2007. For a list of all the deserving prize recipients, see Student Prizes, 2006-07.
Our thesis prizes—whether newly established, like the gift from the Wood Family, or relatively ancient, like the one created by the Class of 1859 recognizing the best thesis in European history—represent one of the ways in which our alumni and friends enrich the possibilities of what we are able to do. Besides prizes, departmental endowments enhance and sustain the History Department’s curricular and co-curricular activities. Thanks to their existence, members of the department can invite guest speakers into their classes, arrange field trips, and support student research in archives and libraries. For instance, Professor Faroqhi was able to take the students in her Ottoman history course to New York to visit the Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum—an unforgettable opportunity to see these collections in the company of one of the world’s leading Ottoman scholars. Endowments also helped offset some of the high out-of-pocket expenses borne by students on our London FSP and made the program even more successful. See what our students were working on at London FSP Independent Study Projects.
In the bittersweet news department, I would like to recognize three departing colleagues. After sixteen years in our department, Judith Byfield ’80 has left to explore new opportunities at Cornell, where we wish her all the best. And we also bid a fond farewell to Leo Spitzer, who retired after forty years at Dartmouth. A special conference entitled Histories in Between was held at the College in Professor Spitzer's honor in June 2007 to celebrate his many contributions to the growth of interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching at Dartmouth. It brought to campus not only senior scholars in the fields of Latin American and African History, but also a group of his former students who are beginning to make names for themselves as historians—Kim Porteus ’86, Lillian Guerra ’92, Ben Vinson ’92, and Natasha Zaretsky ’97. Searches are currently under way to fill the positions vacated by Professors Byfield and Spitzer. Finally, after twenty-four years of teaching his History through Film course in our London FSP, Nigel Mace is retiring to spend time between his homes in Scotland and Italy. We will miss him as a film scholar, friend, bon vivant, and excellent Churchill impersonator. On behalf of their colleagues and students I thank Professors Mace, Spitzer and Byfield for all they have contributed to the History Department and the College.
Please stay in touch, and drop by to see us the next time you are in the neighborhood.
Last Updated: 10/15/08