People

Faculty

Desmond Fitz-Gibbon

Associate Professor of History; Chair of History

Desmond Fitz-Gibbon is a cultural historian of modern imperial Britain and western Europe, with thematic interests in urban history, science and technology studies and the history of economic life. His research examines the practice and meaning of markets and market culture through the history of real estate exchange in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. 

Desmond Fitz-Gibbon

Jeremy King

Professor of History; on leave 2021-2022

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.

Jeremy King

Richard Chu

Five College Associate Professor 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.

Richard Chu

Daniel Czitrom

Professor of History on the Ford Foundation; on leave Fall 2021

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).

Daniel Czitrom

Abhilash Medhi

Assistant Professor of History

Abhilash Medhi is a historian of modern South Asia, with interest in the comparative histories of 19th and 20th century colonialism. His work focuses on colonial governance and capitalist expansion in the two extremities of the Indian subcontinent, the Indo-Afghan borderlands and northeast India. Medhi has undertaken policy research in Afghanistan in a previous avatar and still maintains links with development organizations in the country. In the classroom, as in his research, he brings a political-economic perspective to the reading of social and cultural histories.

Abhilash Medhi

Elisa Prosperetti

Visiting Assistant Professor in History

Elisa Prosperetti is a historian of contemporary West Africa. She studies the aspirations that many people have held for formal schooling to open the door to “progress” in West Africa – whether those people are returned slaves, nationalist leaders, development economists or ordinary citizens. Focusing on Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, Prosperetti explores this question by combining dozens of on-the-ground oral histories with a global history approach. In her courses, Prosperetti invites students to critically examine narratives about the past and how they are connected to the historical contexts in which they are produced.

Elisa Prosperetti

Mary Renda

Professor of History

A historian who continually pushes the boundaries of her discipline, Mary Renda focuses her teaching and research on US empire, women and gender, racism, activism, and the transnational contexts in which histories of North America and the Caribbean have taken shape. In addition to her course offerings on U.S. women's history, African-American women, and histories of empire, Renda teaches interdisciplinary gender studies courses. It's not a vacation from her area of specialty, however. "When I teach gender studies," says Renda, "it brings into sharper relief the importance of history."

Mary Renda

Lan Wu

Assistant Professor of History

Lan Wu is a historian of early modern China with a focus on borderlands. She received her PhD in the History-East Asia Program from Columbia University in February 2016. Lan’s research focuses on the role of religion in imperial formation in China. Her current book project examines how marginal communities in inner Asia grew stronger, as China expanded its territory in the eighteenth century. 

Lan Wu

Affiliated Faculty

Paula Debnar

Professor of Classics on the Alumnae Foundation; on leave Fall 2021

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."

Paula Debnar

Lauret Savoy

David B. Truman Professor of Environmental Studies

A writer, teacher, photographer, and pilot, Lauret Savoy is also a woman of multiracial heritage. Her courses and writings explore the narratives we tell of the American land’s origins — and the narratives we tell of ourselves in this land, including the place of race. Winner of Mount Holyoke College’s Distinguished Teaching Award and an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, Lauret has also held fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution and Yale University. She is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. Senior classes have chosen her to be a Baccalaureate speaker and Last Lecturer.

Lauret Savoy, David B. Truman Professor of Environmental Studies; Co-Chair of Environmental Studies

Geoffrey S. Sumi

Professor of Classics; Chair of Classics and Italian

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.

Geoffrey S. Sumi

Staff

Holly J. Sharac

Academic Department Coordinator

Holly Sharac is a Francis Perkins graduate ('94), has been working at the College since 1988, and is the Academic Department Coordinator for both the History Department and the Africana Studies Program.

Holly J. Sharac