The coronavirus pandemic and accompanying shutdown of schools, colleges and universities required a rapid transition of face-to-face courses to online offerings. History faculty adapted quickly and well, changing syllabi, assignments, and course activities. Here are some images of how History faculty and students adapted to unprecedented circumstances.Continue reading
The History Department is unveiling a new curriculum in Fall 2020. We have compiled a brief FAQ of questions students have raised regarding how they will be affected by the curriculum change.Continue reading
It is with great sadness that we learned that Dr. Ron Seavoy, emeritus professor of the Department of History, passed on March 25th. Ron retired in the early 1990s but was an active presence in our department until very recently. It was common to see Dr. Seavoy biking down the streets of Bowling Green to his retiree office in Williams Hall.Continue reading
We just received an email from our alum, Dr. Stephanie Gaskill, that warmed our hearts in this (not so cold, so far) January. Stephanie graduated from BGSU with a history major (2008) and M.A. in history (2010)/ She is now the education director of Operation Restoration, an organization that is bringing college to Louisiana prisons. Stephanie’s path illustrates the many ways in which historians change the world, for the public good, little by little. You can be part of her efforts by sending a copy of Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl or supporting the organization in other ways.Continue reading
History Professional Day is a workshop that offers area history and social studies teachers the opportunity to update their knowledge of history subject matter and recent historiographical trends in the profession. This year’s topic will be about World War II. It is scheduled on Nov. 8, from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.
At its September 20th conference at the U.S. Naval Academy, the Naval Historical Foundation awarded Dr. David Curtis Skaggs, professor emeritus of history at Bowling Green State University, its Commodore Dudley W. Knox Award for his significant contributions to naval history. Continue reading
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
1968 was an explosive year. In Chicago, the Democratic National Convention produced riots, police violence, and vehement protest against the Vietnam War. Student unrest and demonstrations in the United States, Mexico, France, and elsewhere rocked political and educational establishments around the world. A different type of explosion occurred that year in Costa Rica; one that would change the nation’s rural community culture, terrain, and environmental policy. To commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the explosion of Volcan Arenal, last month my spouse, Dr. Lara Martin Lengel, and I visited La Fortuna, a popular destination in the Zona Norte region, and the gateway to Volcan Arenal, the site of the massive 1968 eruption and lava flow. A steep trek up narrow, rocky paths to the top of the lava fields reveals a landscape changed by tons of lava, now cooled into extensive swathes of black, volcanic rock, interspersed here and there with lone orange or white orchids, and patches of ground covered in blue berries. At some points along the lava trail, one also finds magnificent views of Lake Arenal, Costa Rica’s largest body of fresh water. Continue reading
The Department of History at BGSU is delighted to announce that Professor Mary L. Dudziak, a leading U.S. legal historian and the 2017 President of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), will present this fall the 2018 Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy History on Monday, October 22ndat 4:00pmin the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Room 228.
Professor Dudziak’s lecture, tentatively entitled “The War Powers Pivot: How Congress Lost its Power in Korea,”will derive from the Korean War chapter in her forthcoming book, Going to War: An American History. Under contract with Oxford University Press, the book will present a revisionist account of the decline of political restraints on presidential war power. Her research on the topic has been influenced by Dr. Hess’s book, Presidential Decisions for War.We believe her discussion of the Korean conflict and presidential war powers will be particularly timely.
Professor Dudziak is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory University. Her recent and current research lies at the intersection of domestic law and U.S. international affairs, examining war and political accountability in American history. She is the author of War·Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2012); and editor of September 11 in History: A Watershed Moment? (Duke University Press, 2003); She founded the Legal History Blog and contributes to Balkinization, a group blog on constitutional law, theory, and politics. .
Many of us have admired Professor Dudziak’s scholarship since the appearance of her earlier work that examined the impact of Cold War foreign affairs on civil rights policy. She is the author of Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (Oxford University Press, 2008); Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2000) (2nd ed. 2011); and co-editor (with Leti Volpp) of Legal Borderlands: Law and the Construction of American Borders, a special issue of American Quarterly(September 2005), reissued by Johns Hopkins University Press in March 2006. Other works on civil rights history and 20th-century constitutional history have appeared in numerous law reviews and other journals.
Prior to joining Emory Law in 2012, she was the Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and Political Science at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law; she also held joint appointments in USC’s departments of history and political science. Prior to joining USC Law, she was a law clerk for Judge Sam J. Ervin, III, of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and a professor of law and history at the University of Iowa. Prof. Dudziak served as the John Hope Franklin Visiting Professor of American Legal History at Duke Law School and as the William Nelson Cromwell Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She has also been a Distinguished Visitor at the University of Maryland School of Law.
Professor Dudziak earned JD, MA, MPhil and PhD degrees from Yale University and an AB from the University of California, Berkeley.
Established by Dr. Hess’s former students to recognize his forty-five years of service to the department, BGSU, and the profession, Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy Historyis an annual distinguished lecture invites a senior scholar in the field of foreign relations or military history to present a public lecture on a topic in their field of expertise.
Past presenters of the Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy History:
2017 “ The Paradox of Wilsonianism: World War I and American Internationalism”
Lloyd Ambrosius, University of Nebraska
2016 “A Grain of SALT: Arms Control, the Soviet Threat, and the War on the CIA”
Richard Immerman, Temple University
2015 “Mission Accomplished or Mission Failure? The United States and Iraq since 1990”
Peter L. Hahn, Ohio State University
2014 “The Atomic Bombings Reconsidered”
Barton J. Bernstein, Stanford University
2013 “Are Indians Part of Diplomatic History?”
Walter L. Hixson, University of Akron
2011 “Analogies at War: The Use and Misuse of History in Foreign Policy Decision-Making”
George Herring, University of Kentucky
Nathan Boyle, recently named the Director of Project Management at the Thread Marketing Group, has had a successful business career as a consultant in marketing and e-commerce. Despite this, his collegiate career didn’t start with a business degree; instead, he graduated BGSU with a degree in history. The path may seem odd, but not for Nathan, who credits his training in historical skills as a major boost for his career. Dr. Amílcar Challú and I interviewed Nathan about his views about the importance of college-level historical training in launching a career.
It did not take much prodding to get to Nathan’s opinion about why studying history matters: “[It] developed certain skills that set me apart from traditional business applicants” in my first job, he said. “Critical thinking skills are the most important characteristic a person can have in any field. Unfortunately, the skill is not taught in grade school and many college programs do not teach it either.” History programs, on the other hand, teach and develop critical thinkers, which set historians apart. From understanding historical significance, to interpreting the past from varied and potentially biased evidence, historians are expected to think critically about everything. Expanding on the advantages critical thinking and other historical skills such as analysis, organization and perspective provided him, Nathan states that his history degree allowed him to pursue any career he wanted post-university life. “History afforded me a virtual blank check. I could go to law school. Business school. Become a doctor. Go to history graduate school. Get a job. Do whatever I wanted.” History degrees do not all go on to become professors or get a PhD. Many go into business, become museum professionals, work for the government, go to law school, etc. Historians and their skills are universal across the world.
Can you give an advice to current history students? Education itself is the most important aspect of going to college, not having a set-in career path. “Educating yourself is the most important thing as it develops responsible societal citizens who can make a better world. You do not need a set career in place. I didn’t! No matter what you do, no one can take your education from you.” He urges students to take your time, enjoy the ride, and develop the skills necessary to succeed later in life. As Nathan so eloquently stated, “You can make your career later,” especially with a liberal arts degree in history. Asked for final comments related to the question of if he had any regrets studying history instead of business or other, more “practical” degrees, he laughed simply yet stated emphatically “none”.
Next time somebody asks you what you can do with a history degree, simply say “whatever I want.” Because, as Nathan Boyle pointed out and proves, you truly can go anywhere and do anything, especially when accompanied by universal skills honed by the historical process.
John Stawicki. John Stawicki is a recent History alum. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in history as well as a CPA.