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Don’t Get Discouraged! A story of Perseverance, Success and Finding One’s Passion Post-Graduation

Dana Bogart Cress, M.A., Architectural Historian, BGSU History B.A. Alumna 2012

I was a junior at BGSU when I changed my major from Social Studies Education to History. My parents had the stereotypical worries about my majoring in History. An education degree has an obvious end goal of a teaching job, but the history field is an open ended path with a range of specialties. I was fortunate enough to sample several of these specialties through my undergraduate and graduate careers, and my career goals became more refined with each new experience.

“How a 1900s Black Detroit Community was Razed for a Freeway”, WDET Detroit Public Radio, 19 October 2015.

“How a 1900s Black Detroit Community was Razed for a Freeway”, WDET Detroit Public Radio, 19 October 2015.

Following graduation from my History M.A. program, I entered into two years of AmeriCorps service in the Ohio History Service Corps as a Community Surveyor. In this position, I completed comprehensive neighborhood architectural surveys and house histories for Piqua, Ohio. I was also introduced to the fields of historic preservation and cultural resource management (CRM). After what seemed like hundreds of resumes later (don’t get discouraged!), I obtained a career in cultural resource management at a consulting firm as an Architectural Historian.

Personally, I see CRM as the more corporate side of historic preservation. Historic preservation is typically focused on advocacy, while CRM concentrates on the permitting process within federal preservation legislation. In 1966, Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). This act mandated that anybody using federal funds for new construction must investigate the project’s potential the effects on historic sites. This legislation obviously came as a direct result of preservation activists in the 1960s reacting to Eisenhower’s Federal-Aid Highway Act. In order to construct these massive highways, city planners often targeted older sections of cities, which they viewed as “slums”, and demolished entire neighborhoods. The NHPA safeguards against widespread demolition of historic properties.

This movement to protect historic buildings culminates to my day-to-day job. Essentially, I work with clients who use federal funding in some capacity for development projects to ensure they follow federal preservation laws. These clients can range from energy companies, state transportation departments, and community development groups. My duties comprise of several stages of work to produce a report that is sent to the appropriate State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for review. I complete extensive background research on the project area to determine the unique historical narrative, as well as determine which structures may be historic by comparing modern aerials to historic maps. I then get to travel to the site and do an intensive walking survey of the area, photographing and documenting historic properties for National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) potential. To be NRHP-eligible, a property must have high architectural and historical integrity, so these are always exciting finds on my trips. My documentations and historic research are compiled in to official reports for the client and SHPO. If I determine any NRHP-eligible properties are in the project area, I have to evaluate the potential

Picture taken in Annapolis, MD while on a research trip to the Maryland State Archives.

Picture taken in Annapolis, MD while on a research trip to the Maryland State Archives.

adverse effects and include my recommendations in the report to the state and federal agencies involved. The clients use my reports to either revise their projects to avoid historic sites, or to identify appropriate mitigation measures.

The process seems very jargon-y. Despite this, I enjoy being an Architectural Historian consultant, knowing that I am applying preservation standards to projects not inherently preservation-minded, as well as identifying previously unrecorded historic sites that are eligible for the NRHP.

I know that sometimes majoring in something that seems as intangible as history can feel daunting, but keep in mind that there are several careers for aspiring historians. I recommend trying different subfields of history and taking advantage of internships to explore these possibilities. Volunteer positions and class projects can translate into experience that can be used to find a great start to a career path.

My Experience in New Orleans

By Dominique Seo, History Senior

 

Prior to coming back to school to begin the spring semester, I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans, LA to attend the Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention. While at the convention I listened to a variety of undergraduate paper presentations from colleges and universities across the nation.

 

My paper focused on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton. Throughout my paper, I argue that Hamilton is so popular because it is able to depict how the social and cultural issues, immigration, personal-political disputes, and political sex scandals that plague today’s society are the same issues that troubled society in the Revolutionary Era.

 

Since I was only in New Orleans for a short amount of time, I was not able to explore all of the city, but was able to visit the National WWII Museum, Bourbon Street, the Tulane Campus, and to look at the mansions on St. Charles Avenue. I was also able to sample some of the foods that NOLA is known for, such as Bananas Foster and Beignets.

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

 

Needless to say, I had a wonderful time in New Orleans, although there was one minor issue that arose. When attending my first session, I was stunned to find that there was no use of PowerPoints or other technology used to present, which sent me into a small panic because I had prepared a PowerPoint presentation. Even though this was a setback, I was able to regroup and successfully present my paper. I was even able to receive valuable feedback from the moderator and my fellow presenting peers.

 

So, where do I go from here? This is not the end to my study on Alexander Hamilton. In the coming months, I plan to further research Hamilton by investigating how the same social and cultural issues discussed above are present in other eras of history. I will specifically be exploring the Jacksonian Era, as it is when formal immigration policy started to become present in American society- something I am keenly interested in studying. I hope to be able to present my findings at an additional conference by the end of my senior year.

 

Finally, I would like to thank the History Department and Dr. Ruth Herndon for supporting me throughout this process and making this trip possible.

Dr. Forsyth Presentation on February 7

Dr. Douglas J. Forsyth, BGSU Professor of History, will be presenting “The Catalan Crisis,” a tertulia on February 7, 4-6pm in the Pallister Room. See the official announcement and summary of the event below!
“The Catalan Crisis,” a tertulia (informal gathering of people to talk about public affairs).  A presentation by Douglas J. Forsyth, Associate Prof. of History, will be followed by comments by Nathan Richardson, Professor of Spanish, and an open discussion with the audience.  Place:  Pallister Room, Jerome Library.  Date and time:  Wednesday, 7 February, 4.00-6.00PM.
 
            Spain faces today its greatest political crisis since the transition to democracy in the late 1970s.  For several years, the autonomous region of Catalonia has been governed by parties advocating unilateral secession from Spain.  They organized a vote for independence on 1 October 2017, which was ruled illegal in advance by Spain’s Constitutional Tribune.  About forty-three percent of Catalan voters participated; about 90% of votes cast were in favor of independence.  On 27 October 2017 the Parliament of Catalonia, with most deputies supporting the constitution of Spain absent, approved a resolution creating an independent Republic unilaterally.  The government of Spain has since dismissed the Catalan government and arrested several secessionist politicians.  It is ruling the region directly from Madrid, under emergency provisions in the Spanish constitution.  It organized new elections on 21 December 2017, which produced a narrow majority, 70 out of 135 seats in the Catalan parliament, backed by 47.5% of the vote, for three secessionist parties.  The outlook is uncertain.

 

History is Active

Universities across the country, including here at BGSU, are increasingly hosting courses in active learning classrooms. As of 2018, these rooms are gaining traction nationally due to their immense resources, mobility, student engagement and positive reviews by professors. Within the last few semesters, the Department of History has taught multiple courses in these classrooms. Today, we are going to discuss our thoughts from the experiences.
But first, what exactly is an active learning classroom? In short, an active learning classroom is one that encourages active participation from the students and professor. Rather than having the professor’s desk up front and the students in rows facing towards the professor, desks in an active learning classroom are arranged adjacently and “scattered” with the teacher being able to walk around the room freely. There is no front of the room per say or one central location that students view, but rather multiple “hotspots” of activity that draw attention. Usually, there are multiple locations in the room that a professor can use as their teaching platform, encouraging movement and engagement, and multiple television screens allowing for active listening and eye movement.

classroom1-1

The Department of History, in our continuing effort to evaluate and provide exemplary course education to students, has recently been taking advantage of the various active learning classrooms across BGSU. So far, the results have been terrific. Dr. Rebecca Mancuso, who taught HIST 2050 with 83 students in Olscamp 225, an active learning classroom, during the Fall 2017 semester, said that she enjoyed how engaged it kept her students. Even if students are naturally hesitant to participate or engage actively, the classroom encourages engagement based solely on its layout. Dr. Mancuso even noticed a slight increase in attendance over her previous semesters of teaching the course in more traditional settings. She attributed this to the changing dynamic active learning classrooms provide- rather than the attention being solely on the professor, attention is more evenly spread throughout the classroom. Dr. Amilcar Challu, who has now taught two different courses (HIST 3790 and HIST 3380) in active learning classrooms, expanded upon this changing dynamic. “Quite often, we approach history solely as a lecture course…… this has advantages, but [active learning rooms] allows history to reach a different sector of students that we may not have been able to reach before.” Dr. Challu especially enjoyed that active learning classrooms help “break down the barriers of history,” including the cliché that history is an individual profession. Quite often, Dr. Challu and other historians actually work together on projects. He concluded his thoughts with with the following: “The nice thing about these classrooms is that they are adaptable. A professor can take advantage of its resources and encourage engagement while also lecturing, or they can simply lecture extensively if that is what they are comfortable/good at.” Active learning course rooms are not forcing a teaching style upon history professors- rather, they are designed to supplement preexisting techniques while exploring new methods of teaching.

 The traditional lecture hall will always have a place in history and at the university. In fact, lectures will likely remain the staple history course for many years. However, with new active learning classrooms being built up rapidly, some of which are replacing traditional rooms, lecture heavy courses may one day soon be entirely in active learning rooms.

*If you would like to learn more about actively engaging students, considering reading Perspectives on History, whose January edition is focused on increasing student participation in History courses.

URL: https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2018/the-mechanics-of-class-participation/never-too-far-away-tools-for-engaging-students-remotely

New BGSU Library Database!

Recently, Carol Singer and the BGSU Libraries have secured a deal to add a huge cache of primary source documents online via the library website! The database  is available via the American Antiquarian Society Periodicals. See the announcement below.

 

New Database: American Antiquarian Society Periodicals

The BGSU Libraries will soon provide access to the American Antiquarian Society Periodicals database of 50 themed collections. There are a total of 6500 periodicals in this collection of periodicals published between 1684 and 1912. The periodicals included in this database are not included in any other database, so this represents a huge increase in primary sources available to BGSU students and faculty.

Here are just a few of the collections:

American Political Periodicals 1715-1891
Canadian Periodicals 1790-1877jerome_library_720
Current Events and History Periodicals, 1691-1912
Hobbies, Socialization, and Sport Periodicals, 1775-1889
Periodicals of the British Empire and Its Colonies, 1702-1879
Slavery and Abolition, 1789-1887
Temperance Periodicals in America, 1826-1877
Women’s Periodicals of the Nineteenth Century, 1866-1891

For further information and a complete list of the 50 themed collections, see https://www.ebscohost.com/archives/aas-thematic-collection

If you have any questions, please contact Carol A. Singer, singerc@bgsu.edu

Tufts Historical Review- Calls for Submissions!

The following is an email from Tufts Historical Review, forwarded to the BGSU Department of History:

The Tufts Historical Review Editorial Board is delighted to announce a call for submissions to Volume XI of the Tufts Historical Review, an academic journal of global history that seeks both undergraduate and graduate papers of the highest caliber.

This year, the theme of our journal is Chaos. Before Gaia, Tartarus, or Nyx, Chaos (Χάος) ruled the universe. The ancient Greeks conceptualized Chaos as a gap or space between concrete worlds, ideas, or eras. However, chaos has not always been defined by an absence or lacking of elements, but also as a force of turmoil, pandemonium, or unpredictability.

From the religious upheaval stemming from the Protestant Reformation to the social confusion of the Sexual Revolution, chaos has fundamentally altered the cultural fabric of society. Similarly, the trauma of the Bubonic Plague and the tumult of Mao’s Great Leap Forward shook the foundations of the existing world orders. Beyond this, as Genghis Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte epitomized, the art of chaos has been integral in the conquest and subjugation of nations.

Throughout history, humanity has been defined by the balance between order and chaos. Inspired leaders and nations have created and overcome chaos to impose order. Peoples, empires, and ideas will rise and fall and, when they do, chaos will always reign supreme.

These are just a few examples. The Editorial Board seeks outstanding articles – between 2,500 and 8,000 words – that explore our theme from a diverse array of perspectives. Submissions are due by 31 January 2018, and should be submitted to tuftshistoricalreview@gmail.com. Please refer the following document for more information.

Tufts Historical Review Website- http://ase.tufts.edu/pandp/historicalreview/

 

Delving into Corporate History: An Internship Experience with Whirlpool Corporation

By Lindsey Bauman, recent History M.A. and B.A. alum

I entered graduate school in the fall of 2015 with a decent idea of where I wanted to end up in the field of history. Although academia interests me, interpreting and educating people in public forums, such as museums or park services, has always been my passion. But as the submission date for my thesis loomed c;oser, I faced the same challenge that every other graduate student experiences upon nearing graduation: actually finding a job that channeled that passion.

133941011 As my submission deadline approached, my thesis advisor, Dr. Rebecca Mancuso, reached out to me about a potential internship with the Whirlpool Corporation in Clyde, Ohio. Looking to set up an exhibit focusing on the history of the plant, they had developed a project committee that included employees with different specialties and experience. Many of them had family working in the plant for two or three generations, which added a personal investment in the project. However, the committee wanted to include a few people that had a background in history. They had already brought in Dustin McLochlin, Curator at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums in Fremont, to help them understand the process of designing an exhibit. They also wanted to bring in an intern to help them sort through their archival materials and create an exhibit narrative.

Upon starting in July, I have spent quite a bit of time sifting through the company’s archives and constructing a catalog describing the materials. The amount of history contained within the walls of Clyde Division cannot be overstated. The facility was originally built in 1880 along a set of railroad tracks just to the northwest of Main Street.  Over the years, the plant has undergone several expansions and housed numerous manufacturers. This has included the Elmore Manufacturing Company, a bicycle-turned-automobile manufacturer that was quite prominent in the early 1900s before being bought out by General Motors. It was also the home of the Clydesdale Motor Truck Company, which was renowned in Europe during World War I for its excellent truck chassis, as well as Clyde Porcelain Steel Corporation, one of the largest manufacturers of porcelain-on-steel products in the United States during the 1940s. Clyde Porcelain Steel merged with Whirlpool Corporation in 1952 and the division has since become the largest manufacturer of washing machines in the world.

While I did not have much experience with corporate history prior to my internship, I am quickly developing an interest in it. While I enjoy learning about the manufacturers and the challenges they faced, the most rewarding moments of my experience so far have included employees of Whirlpool themselves. During my first week, I was working with another committee member in the archives and we stumbled across a photograph of his grandparents; his grandfather had worked with Clyde Porcelain Steel until 1962. Seeing just how important this project is to him, as well as other employees with personal, familial, and communal connections to it, has added a whole new level of meaning to the work we are doing. I am looking forward to continuing to analyze and interpret the archival materials while constructing an exhibit narrative that represents the historical importance of Whirlpool and manufacturing to Clyde and its residents.

The Origin of Thanksgiving

As we all ready to celebrate this time of giving and thanks, appropriately named Thanksgiving, it is important to remember the holiday’s origins- which is significantly different than many believe.

Thanksgiving-Brownscombe

The First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has evolved significantly since the Puritans landed in modern eastern United States and shared their infamous feast with the Natives. While many of us think of Thanksgiving as originating from the Puritans, that is only partially correct. While the Puritans did “days of Thanksgiving,” they were called infrequently by colony councils and governors during time of war. During times of success, the Puritans would pray to God and feast, as illustrated by this quote from a Council at Large meeting at Charlestown, Massachusetts, “The holy God having by a long and Continued Series of his Afflictive dispensations in & by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this Land…. The COUNCIL have thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this Instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his goodness and Favour.” During times of failure and losing battles, they believed they were being punished by God and therefore famine.

These “days of Thanksgiving” were, despite popular belief, irregular and exclusive to the New England Puritans. It was not until Abraham Lincoln, in an attempt to bring unity to the United States during the Civil War, did Thanksgiving, as is known today, become a national holiday. On October 3, 1963, Abraham Lincoln would proclaim in a proclamation that “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heaven.” Ever since, Thanksgiving has been treated as a day of feasts (including the infamous turkey, sweet potato, stuffing and cranberry sauce platter!) and special thanks, religion and otherwise, in the United States.

From us to you, have a happy Thanksgiving! Stay safe, eat well and remember everything you have to be thankful for.

Written by John Stawicki, History senior, with information provided by Dr. Ruth Wallis Herndon.

What Happened to Political History?

by Dr. Joe Faykosh, PhD. Bowling Green State University and Professor of History at Central Arizona College

We asked Dr. Joe Faykosh, alum of our History graduate program, to write a reflection on what the election of Donald Trump and his presidency so far means for political history.

16982804-Abstract-word-cloud-for-Political-history-with-related-tags-and-terms-Stock-Photo

In August 2016, Fredrik Logevall and Kenneth Osgood wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Why Did We Stop Teaching Political History?” Logevall and Osgood oriented the decline of the field in the 1960s and 1970s, as universities started to reject old-school approaches to recording history, interested in diversifying our field. I received that memo very late in the process: I was on the brink of defending my doctoral dissertation at BGSU and wading into the scary waters of the academic job market.

I did not get into political history because I loved telling the stories of old white men, or because I wanted to defend the status quo. I got into the field because, very early on in my life, I fell in love with partisan politics, and stories of the individuals who were launched into political power.  I always tell students that I made a conscious decision very early on to separate the political theater from governing: I do not obsess over the minutiae of presidential administrations (at least, not in my research these days), but focus instead on the spectacle of convincing millions of Americans that often unqualified, ignorant, and psychologically damaged candidates have the best interests of the vast swath of the constituency at heart. We hear the same promises election after election and the fulfilment of those promises rarely staunch the attraction of the sideshow carnival.

The 2016 election was no different. In my dissertation, I made comparisons between the parties of the 1920s and today, and how both parties had serious restructuring on their horizons. More voters went to the polls to vote against a candidate than for one, and untold numbers were completely turned off by the spectacle and refused to participate. In the wake of Donald Trump’s shocking election, we have seen a resurgence of attention focused on the performance of the office, but I am, as always, fascinated by the promises made, and the crowds who still show up to be swayed.

George McGovern

George McGovern

My next project will use a part of my dissertation, A Party in Peril, to examine the efforts of Franklin Roosevelt and George McGovern to rebuild the Democratic Party after disastrous elections in 1924 and 1968. In both cases, the party leaders were interested in opening the party’s decision-making and allowing the party’s faithful greater access to choosing the nominee at the precise moment of a realignment election. If done properly, the historical comparison of these two leaders can illuminate what both parties face in terms of party restructuring.

I do have one last observation that I want to share: Judging from social media, you would believe, contrary to Logevall and Osgood, that political history was among the most accessible fields. Not everyone can explain global climate change, quantum physics, or the intricacies of the immigration laws, but somehow, nearly everyone feels that they can compare the current (and previous) administration and political figures to the two hundred years of American political history that precede us. They view politics as a giant version of the “clap-back”: X happens, so we compare it to Y, and make a joke about Z. We live in a society saturated by political content in cable news and accessible websites that cater to the most depraved excesses of the political extremes. Rather than helping us think better historically, we have retreated to our corners, brandishing history-as-silencers, useful only to obviate your opponent’s argument.

More than ever, we need to focus on the tools that historical inquiry provide us, and adhere to the process. History, political or otherwise, does not exist solely to serve as a referendum on the current situation, and should not be wielded as a weapon to silence opposition. Instead, history can provide insight into how we have dealt with political turbulence before. History can provide us with the lessons of marginalized and underrepresented groups who persevered in worse times. History can also be used to demonstrate the importance of having more than one viewpoint, more than one cache of evidence, and more than one conclusion to draw from the myriad names, dates, and figures who precede us. Historians are at our best when we are sharing the fruits of our labor, shining a spotlight on a forgotten or overlooked section of our past, providing some new way of looking at who we are and how we arrived at this moment. Every now and then, it offers us a way of dealing with the new reality, and, just maybe, a way out of the messes where we find ourselves.

Thoughts from a CCP History Teacher and History Certificate Recipient

A guest post by Casey Losey, a CCP teacher at New Riegel Schools and a grant participant in the History certificate program

I was fortunate enough to participate in the Falcon Grant from Spring Semester 2016 to Summer Semester 2017. During this time, I was challenged with graduate classes from the History Department. As a full time teacher, wife and mother of two, these classes made me push myself to prioritize my time and to keep my eyes on the prize.

Fortunately,  I never felt alone during the whole process because there was constant support from the BGSU faculty and staff, plus members of the History Cohort_FALCON GrantHistory cohort to answer questions and to offer suggestions. There was an invested interest in the success of all those involved and it motivated me to work harder.

Left: BGSU President Mazey with FALCON Grant participants at the July awards ceremony

Plus, when we were finished, BGSU made sure to acknowledge our hard work with a completion ceremony. It was at that time we received certificates, a great dinner reception and some kind words from the University president. What a great way to end our participation in the program.

Participating in this grant was one of the best professional decisions I’ve made!! Thank you BGSU!!

— Casey Losey, New Riegel Schools

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