Dan Masters Bowling Green State University master’s student was awarded the Local History Publication Award for 2017 from the Center For Archival Collections presenting on his work on Shermans Praetorian Guard: Civil War Letters of John McIntrye Lemmon 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Masters created the book from of his work indexing the letters of American Civil War soldiers writing home to Northwest Ohio newspapers. Masters was drawn to the project after writing his first book No Greater Glory which examined the writing of the 144th Ohio Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. While researching the book he happened upon thousands of Civil War letters from soldiers from Northwest Ohio in local papers and wondered how much more of this material was there? Masters began to index the letters in collaboration with the Center for Archival Collections to create an index of the letters. Continue reading
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bowling Green State University
Head Librarian and University Archivist, Center for Archival Collections (CAC)
Reporting to the Chair of the Archival Collections and Branches Department, the Head Librarian and University Archivist will supervise and evaluate seven unit employees, lead the unit in establishing a forward-looking vision with an emphasis on achieving and assessing strategic initiatives for the unit, which includes collections related to Northwest Ohio history, Great Lakes, University Archives, Midwest literature, and student affairs, and services that include preservation, microfilming, records management, reference, and instruction. The successful candidate will teach one course a year in Public History or a related program. Minimum qualifications: ALA-accredited Master’s degree; minimum Master’s degree in history or related field. For detailed description & qualifications, visithttp://www.bgsu.edu/library/about/ULEmployment.html.
Minimum salary starting at $52,052 for a 12-month, tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor. This position is available beginning July 1, 2016. Print or electronic applications must be received or postmarked by March 18, 2016. Submit application letter, vitae, and name, address, contact information for minimum 3 references to: Head Librarian and University Archivist, (CAC) Search Committee. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Final candidate(s) are required to authorize & pass a background investigation prior to an offer of employment. BGSU is an AA/EO institution.
This is a re-posting of this position. Previous applicants need not reapply and are still part of the applicant pool.
Bowling Green State University will host “Borders, Boundaries and Contexts: Defining Spaces in the History of Alcohol and Drugs,” the eighth annual Alcohol and Drugs History Society Conference from Thursday, June 18-Sunday, June 21 in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Dr. Scott Martin, chair of the Department of History, serves as president of the society and is chair of the conference program.
The conference will present the research of scholars from 16 states and 15 countries across North America, Asia, Africa and Europe. Participants will seek to break down barriers in the historical study of drugs and alcohol, and encourage transnational approaches and methodologies that transcend the singular focus of alcohol or drugs. Topics include national Prohibition in the U.S.; drugs in North American borderlands; the evolution of concepts of addiction, alcohol and drugs policy in colonial contexts; and the national and international histories of regulating alcohol, coca, opium and psychedelic drugs.
The event is sponsored by: the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, BGSU Department of History, BGSU College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President at BGSU, and the BGSU Graduate College.
For more on Dr. Scott Martin’s research and teaching, visit his faculty page.
Dr. Walt Grunden recently presented at a conference commemorating the 100th anniversary of the use of chemical weapons in Belgium, conducted by the Max Planck Institute in Berlin. Grunden presented “No Retaliation in Kind: Japanese Chemical Weapons Policy in China and the Pacific,” on Japan’s use of chemical weapons against the Chinese in World War II. He examined interviews related to the Tokyo Trials of General Hideki Tojo and two other generals who had authorized widespread use primarily of “sneezing gas” similar to tear gas, plus mustard and other gases in Japan’s battles against the Chinese when the Chinese outnumbered or were beating them.
For more on Dr. Grunden’s presentation, and an interview conducted by the BGSU News, please visit: http://www.bgsu.edu/news/2015/06/chemical-weapons.html. For more on Dr. Grunden’s research and teaching, visit his faculty page.
Liz Adamo, Alex Sycher, and Joe Faykosh presented a panel at the Ohio Academy of History Annual Meeting at Ohio Northern University on Friday, March 27th. One of the few graduate panels accepted, they titled their panel “The Power (and Art) of Persuasion in the Early Twentieth Century,” and focused on personal motivations behind public pronouncements.
Liz Adamo presented “Complicity and Resistance in French Women’s Colonial Nonfiction.” Alex Sycher presented “War as Cinema: The German Soldier in Nazi-Era Film.” Joe Faykosh presented “The Turning Point: The Democratic Party and FDR’s Circular Letter of 1924.” Adamo and Sycher are both completing their Masters degrees, while Faykosh is writing his doctoral dissertation. The panel was chaired by Dr. Beth Griech-Polelle.
Phi Alpha Theta organizes many events for the Graduate Program in Policy History at BGSU, but among its most popular is its twice-monthly “P.A.T. Movie Nights.” Created by Joe Faykosh and Michael Carver, current and past presidents of Phi Alpha Theta’s Gamma Upsilon chapter, P.A.T. Movie Nights were conceived as a way to unwind after a busy week while also expanding the cultural IQ and cinematic horizons of our history graduate students. P.A.T. Movie Nights have been held in the History Conference Room every other week now for six years, with a wide array of movies having been screened by various participants. Current president, Joe Faykosh, has organized the last two years around broad themes: this summer, they watched a “Summer of Hitchcock,” with selections from Alfred Hitchcock’s ouvre, including his best-known works and some of his lesser known. Currently, the group is watching films around the theme of “Charismatic Criminals,” exploring crimes and criminals on film.
Participants in Phi Alpha Theta Movie Nights have come to expect a brief introduction to the film, a screening, and an involved discussion afterwards. All in the History Department and Phi Alpha Theta memberships are welcome to attend. The group and the History Department provide pizza and soda for the participants. Keep checking the Department of History Facebook page for more information about upcoming movie nights!
The Graduate Program in Policy History at BGSU welcomed a new cohort of Masters students into the department!
Students were presented University-mandated sessions on issues like disabilities, counseling services, training for teaching and research asssitantships. History Graduate Students had sessions on Academic Requirements and Time Management, Ethics and Professionalism, What to Expect in Assistantships, and Graduate Faculty and Graduate Student Roundtables. Students received information from Dr. Michael Brooks, Graduate Coordinator for the Department of History, as well as a roundtable with Dr. Nicole Jackson, Dr. Benjamin Greene and Dr. Scott Martin, Chair of the Department of History. Dr. Ruth Herndon provided materials in her absence on professionalism as graduate students. Rachel Pawlowicz, a returning Masters student, served as Department Leader for the week, and coordinated each session.
New Masters students participating in GSO week were: Alexandra Schmidt, Travis Snyder, Anthony Pearson, Liz Adamo, Lanna Demers, Hannah Caton, Aaron Lewis, Joe Lueck, Verena Holler, Victoria Harwood, Ashley Stevens, and Brian Yeager.