Visit to Shanghai

Last June, I visited Asia for the first time, traveling to Shanghai, China, to present a paper at the biennial Alcohol and Drugs History Conference, which was hosted by Shanghai University.  Shanghai hosted the 1909 International Opium Commission, which led to tougher restrictions on opium production and distribution in many nations, and was an important precursor of the first major U.S. legislative regulation of narcotics, the Harrison Narcotic Tax Act of 1914.  The conference went exceedingly well, due both the caliber of papers presented by a talented group of international scholars, and the warm hospitality of our colleagues at Shanghai University.  Papers and panels on the history of opium regulation, international drug markets, and Chinese approaches to suppressing illegal drug use provided new insights and stimulating conversation with historians from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia.  Meeting and conversing with Chinese colleagues who taught and conducted research in a very different system of higher education than that of the United States highlighted both differences in academic cultures and similarities in the interests, concerns, and methods of historians on the both sides of the world.


While in Shanghai, I took the opportunity to explore the city, taking in some historical attractions and experiencing the city’s vibrant urban culture.  The Huangpu River runs through the city center, and on each bank, elaborate, coordinated light shows from Shanghai’s many historic and modern buildings give the area a striking appearance, both beautiful and modern.  By way of comparison, imagine Las Vegas, but tasteful and elegant.  I also visited three museums:  the Shanghai History/Shanghai Revolution Museum, with a special exhibit commemorating the 70th anniversary of the People’s Army driving Kuomintang forces from the city; the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, with an excellent exhibition of graffiti and street art; and the Chinese Wu Shu museum, which chronicles China’s martial arts history.  All three offered valuable perspectives on Chinese society, culture, and politics.


By far, though, my favorite experience was visiting the People’s Park, a green oasis in the middle of Shanghai’s bustling center city.  The park offered a variety of leisure options, including walkways sheltered from the city’s skyscrapers by trees and huge bamboo plants, a beautiful pond with seating and viewpoints all around it, benches and tables where men played cards and talked, open spaces in which groups of middle-aged couples staged impromptu ballroom dancing, and a collection of carnival rides for children.  The park also harbored a large number of people sitting behind open umbrellas that lined the paths and walkways.  At first I had no idea of why they were there, but I learned that this was Shanghai’s marriage market.  Parents and grandparents of 20-something children sat on chairs behind the umbrellas, which had information sheets about their adult children and grandchildren.  They hoped to generate potential mates their young relatives in an urban, educational, and professional culture that complicated spontaneous socializing by men and women of marriageable age.  I learned a great deal at the academic conference, but considerably more about urban culture, approaches to leisure, and social customs in the People’s Park.


Alcohol and Drugs History Society Conference, Shanghai University

Marriage Market in the People’s Park, Shanghai

Shanghai by Night

Study Abroad Opportunity in Costa Rica

Aerial view of Cartago, Costa Rica

Dr. Scott Martin and Dr. Lara Martin Lengel are leading a Study Abroad trip to Costa Rica during the Winter Session of 2020. Both have been traveling to Costa Rica since 2011, and have plenty of experience exploring the country. Undergraduate Student Mary Wires asked some questions of Dr. Scott Martin about the themes and goals for the Study Abroad. Here are his answers: Continue reading

2018 Graduate Dylan Emahiser answers “Where can history take you?”

Being a student of the past has had a funny way of defining my present and future.

Dylan Emahiser in Aikido Uniform

My name is Dylan Emahiser, a recent graduate of BGSU. As you might imagine, I spent my time there focused on history. I still focus on history but am now nearly as far away from BGSU as one can geographically get. Continue reading

A Serendipitous Inspiration of Undergraduate Research



By Andrew M. Schocket

When I replied “No” to Kinzey’s question, and to Colin’s follow-up, I was pretty sure of my answer.
I was wrong. The resulting historical adventure began with a lively class discussion, continued through an independent study, and eventually resulted in an article that undergraduates Kinzey McLaren-Czerr, Colin Spicer and I wrote together. Continue reading

Undergraduate Article Published in Journal of the American Revolution

Students Kinzey M. McLaren-Czerr and Colin J. Spicer, along with Professor Andrew M. Schocket, are published in the Journal of the American Revolution. Titled “The Constitution Counted Free Women and Children – And it Mattered,” the article tackles the importance of counting women and children in the population count of a state.

Congratulations to Kinzey, Colin, and Prof. Andrew!

To check out the article, click here or the link below.

The Constitution Counted Free Women and Children—And It Mattered


The Lunar Landing at 50: Prestige in History and Memory

by Dr. Benjamin Greene

I recently had an opportunity to contribute to the “First on the Moon” series of events sponsored by Auglaize County Historical Societyand the Armstrong Air and Space Museum that commemorate this year’s 50thanniversary of the moon landing.  My discussion at St. Mary’s Community Public Library cautioned that our commemoration of the moon landing must firmly situate this episode in the tumultuous context of 1969.  Although the lunar landing garnered immediate international admiration and adulation, its benefits were frustratingly fleeting, as other events at home and abroad continued to diminish America’s international prestige and moral authority. Continue reading

Professor Grunden obtains SOKENDAI grant in Japan

Professor Walter Grunden has been invited to the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (Sōgō kenkyū daigakuin daigaku, or SOKENDAI) in Hayama, Japan, to participate in a collaborative research project examining science policy under the Allied Occupation (1945-1952). Funded by an internal grant awarded to principal investigator Professor Kenji Ito (SOKENDAI), Grunden, Ito, and Professor Takashi Nishiyama (State University of New York, Brockport) will travel extensively throughout Japan this summer to conduct research in government and university archives and will begin collaboration on a book-length monograph. Their project will examine the links between occupation-era reconstruction and postwar remilitarization and economic recovery, with a particular focus on how science policy both contributed to and obstructed these processes. Grunden’s primary interest in the project is to illustrate how the Cold War era imperative to contain the spread of communism in East Asia directly informed policy decisions affecting the reformation of science institutions and the reintegration of Japanese scientists into the global scientific community even well after the occupation ended. Grunden’s preliminary findings on this subject were presented in the article, “Physicists and ‘Fellow Travelers’: Nuclear Fear, the Red Scare, and Science Policy in Occupied Japan,” published in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations (2018). The collaborative book-length project with Ito and Nishiyama will expand this study beyond physics and into the fields of aeronautics, engineering, and medicine. Continue reading

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