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
Visiting Instructor, Spring 2007
Interview by Lisa Ding ‘08
Growing up outside of Boston, Rob Karl spent plenty of time at Dartmouth in his childhood. Both of his parents attended Dartmouth—his father graduated Class of ’76, Tuck ’77, and his mother, Tuck ’78. Thus, coming to Dartmouth for his undergraduate education seemed a logical choice to Karl.
As a student at Dartmouth, Karl majored in History and wrote a senior Honors thesis titled “Under the Banner of Progress: Modernization and Counterinsurgency in Latin America, 1961-1963,” with Professor Navarro as his advisor (during his senior year, the door to Karl’s dorm room featured the accompanying poster). His freshman seminar with her had essentially been on the same topic. Karl quipped: “My freshman roommate joked that I’d been writing the same paper since freshman year, and it’s not entirely incorrect.”
When asked about his favorite class at Dartmouth, Karl replied that the one class that had had the most influence on his thinking was History 5.7, “Theories and Practice of Nationalism and Liberation,” with Professor Doug Haynes and the now-retired Professor Leo Spitzer.
A dedicated History major by his junior year, Karl also went on the History FSP. Out of his independent research experience in London, Karl produced a paper on “British Counterinsugency and Propaganda in Malaya, 1948-60.” Karl recalled: “While it wasn’t my first experience with primary research, it was certainly a substantial one,” and one that he believes played an important role in his decision to attend graduate school.
Karl graduated from Dartmouth in 2003, with a History major and double minors in LALACS and Spanish Literature. Afterwards, he went directly into the Ph.D. program in History at Harvard University. He jokingly described the transition as “Do not pass go, do not collect $200.” Going into his fifth year as a Ph.D. student, Karl predicted that he had two to three more years to go.
When given the opportunity to teach at Dartmouth, Karl jumped at the chance because it was “a dream come true.” Not only did he enjoy interacting with his students and learning with them, but Karl admitted: “it makes me happy on a fundamental level to turn around and see Baker Tower outside my window and hear the alma mater at 6 p.m.”
When asked about the biggest difference between being a student and a faculty member at Dartmouth, Karl replied with little pause: “you work harder as faculty.” Karl explained: “students underestimate how long it takes to grade papers.”
While he was a visiting instructor at Dartmouth, Karl was busy teaching two courses: History 5.6 (Pre-Colombian and Colonial Latin America) and History 83 (20th Century Latin America), a course he had taken with Professor Navarro six years earlier.
After his stint at Dartmouth, Karl was going back to Colombia on a Fulbright Fellowship to continue the research for his dissertation. In the Colombian National Archives in Bogotá, he planned to look through the papers of the Ministry of the Interior to find information dealing with the politics of violence in Colombia and the role the United States played, focusing on the period 1955-68.
Last Updated: 10/15/08