U.S. Historian Mary Renda continually pushes the boundaries of her discipline through her focus on the role of women and gender, the multicultural nature of U.S. history, and the international contexts in which that history has taken shape. In addition to her course offerings in U.S. women's history, U.S. imperialism, and other areas of United States history, Renda teaches interdisciplinary women's studies courses. It's not a vacation from her area of specialty, however. "When I teach women's studies," says Renda, "it brings into sharper relief the importance of history."
Richard Chu's research focuses on the history of the Chinese and Chinese mestizos in the Philippines and the different Chinese diasporic communities in the world, centering on issues of ethnicity, gender, and nationalism.
Deeply engaged in bringing history to wider audiences beyond the academy, Daniel Czitrom served as the historical advisor for Copper, an original dramatic series set in Civil War-era New York City (BBC America, 2011-13). He has also appeared as on-camera commentator for several documentaries, including The Rise and Fall of Penn Station (PBS, 2014) and New York: A Documentary Film (PBS,1999). Czitrom is the author most recently New York Exposed: The Gilded Age Police Scandal that launched the Progressive Era (2016), as well as Media and the American Mind (1982), and Rediscovering Jacob Riis (2008).
Kavita Datla’s research focuses on colonial Hyderabad and explores what the histories of South Asia might tell us about larger shared experiences, be they colonialism, secularization, or democracy. In her writing and teaching, Datla examines the emergence of new political forms in the modern British Empire and hopes to animate the discussions and debates that have characterized South Asian publics. She is the author of The Language of Secular Islam: Urdu Nationalism and Colonial India (2013).
Christine DeLucia specializes in the indigenous and colonial histories of North America, particularly in the Northeast/New England. Researching in an interdisciplinary manner, she works extensively with local, regional, and transatlantic archives and museums, as well as with material and visual culture, archaeological sources, oral history, and the land itself. She has published on topics of memorialization, environmental history, and indigenous literary networks. In all her work she examines enduring connections between past and present, and how the places we inhabit can convey alternative narratives about diverse peoples.
Desmond Fitz-Gibbon is a cultural historian of modern Britain and western Europe, with thematic interests in cultural economy and comparative urban history. His own research concerns the integration of land and house property into the market culture of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. Curious about the history of many things, however, his teaching covers a range of topics, from ancient money and histories of energy to Victorian murder and, of course, real estate agents.
Lowell Gudmundson focuses on coffee, Central America, and Afro-Latin America. His students have earned graduate and professional degrees in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. They have turned their own research interests, as diverse as history, immigration, ethnomusicology, health care, and food studies, into career paths in politics, publishing, medicine, public health, urban planning or ecotourism. Gudmundson maintains close ties and joint research projects with Costa Rica’s public universities where he began his career.
Holly Hanson is a social historian of Africa whose research and publications focus on Uganda. Her interests include the history of democracy and political accountability in East Africa over the last five hundred years, land tenure, the role of farming in building prosperous communities, and economic history. Many of her classes incorporate community-based learning opportunities with recently resettled African immigrant in the area and "Education and Capacity in African History includes a collaboration with the Springfield Renaissance School.
Jeremy King studied Soviet history in college, but then fell prisoner to the tragedies and charms of Central Europe. Trained at Columbia University as a historian of Austria-Hungary and its successor states, he lived for several years in Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, and a few other cities in the region. King teaches courses on Central Europe since about 1800. Themes and nodal points include nationalism, the state (liberal, democratic, fascist, and communist), "race," law, the Holocaust, public policy, and post-communism.
Lynda Morgan's research interests center around 19th century African-American history, including slavery, the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. As a social historian, she places the experiences of groups of people at center stage, linked to political and economic history. Recently Morgan became interested in the reparations movement and its history, which has taken her into the 20th and 21st centuries. She is also interested in the free African-American population in the antebellum North, the history of segregation, the role of violence against African-Americans, and the abolition movement.
In addition to teaching Greek and Latin language and literature at all levels, Paula Debnar offers a variety of courses on the ancient Mediterranean taught in English, including "Gods and Mortals: Myth in Ancient Art and Literature," "Athenian Democracy," and writing intensive first-year seminars on the ancient Greek world, such as "Homer's Iliad: A Big Fat Ancient Greek War?" and "Socratic Questions."
Stan Rachootin teaches what evolved (Introductory Biology, Terrestrial Arthropods, Invertebrate Zoology), how evolution might work (Evolution, Macroevolution), and how evolution evolved (Darwin). He has advised theses on how flatfish evolved from round fish, why a tiny fly preserved in amber made eye lenses on its wings, and what the differences in shapes of closely related snails teach us about metaphor in statistics. Each project takes a new problem, though most find that development can help disentangle an evolutionary mystery.
A writer, photographer, pilot, and Earth historian, Lauret Savoy is also a woman of mixed African American, Native American, and Euro-American heritage. Her work explores the complex intertwinings of natural and cultural histories. She writes about the stories we tell of the American landscape's origins and the stories we tell of ourselves in this land. Each of her courses challenges students to examine their assumptions about the world.
Geoffrey Sumi teaches Greek and Latin at all levels, while his interest in the political and social history of the ancient world is reflected in the courses he teaches in translation: The Roman Empire; Sport, Society, and Politics in the Roman World; and From Hoplites to Legions: Warfare in the Greek and Roman World.
Robert Schwartz is a European historian keenly interested in the history of environmental change and public health. In his course,`Research Methods in History, Environmental Change and Public Health`, students explore how industrialization and the growth of cities in Victorian Britain affected infant mortality and the spread of infectious diseases; how the state, local governments, and medical professionals responded to these problems in public health; and how the history of environmental change and public health inform policy and practice today.
Holly J. Sharac
Holly Sharac is the Academic Department Coordinator for the History Department and the Program in Africana Studies. She is in charge of daily operations on the third floor of Skinner and organizes the annual Lax Memorial Lecture, puts together course schedules, prepares on-line catalog copy, as well as, the student award applications, and thesis submissions.