May 6, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Message from the Chair | History Spring Newsletter

Dr. Katherine Jellison

Dr. Katherine Jellison

By Katherine Jellison
Professor & Chair of History
History Department June 2017 eNewsletter

The History Department’s theme for academic year 2016-17 has been “Outreach,” as we have worked diligently to extend our educational mission beyond the formal classroom setting.

August 2016 saw the launch of a new department-sponsored symposia series titled “History on the Move,” in which faculty travel to address public audiences in the locations where history took place. Our first event in the series, the “Ohio Civil War Symposium,” took place at the William Tecumseh Sherman House in Lancaster, Ohio, where a capacity audience learned about the experiences of Ohioans on the home front, on the battlefield, and in state politics during the War Between the States. Our second event in the series, the “First Ladies Symposium,” took place on April 1, 2017, at the Ross County Historical Society, in Chillicothe, Ohio, the home town of First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes. Once again, it was a capacity audience for presentations about the nation’s First Ladies from the Early Republic period to the present. The department looks forward to sponsoring additional “History on the Move” events in the future and welcomes suggestions from alumni about possible topics and locations for 2017-18.

In addition to “History on the Move” symposia, the department also sponsored numerous public events on the Athens campus. In fall semester 2016, a large audience of Ohio University students, faculty, and Athens community members attended the department’s annual Costa Lecture. The speaker was Professor Jeffrey Lesser of Emory University, who delivered a fascinating lecture titled “How Arabs became Jews and Jews became Japanese: Immigration and the Invention of National Identities in Latin America.” Following the U.S. presidential election, a panel of History Department faculty presented national and international perspectives on the election to a standing-room-only crowd of students, faculty, and community members. The fall semester also featured a well-attended presentation by history alum James Byers, a long-time employee of both the National Archives and the Smithsonian Institution, who provided advice to students and community members interested in pursuing “Careers in Museum Studies and Archives.”

Archives were also the focus of former Library of Congress employee John Earl Haynes in his public keynote address for the department’s 12th annual History Graduate Student Conference. Titled “Documents that Fall Out of the Sky: A Story of Luck, Accidents, and Opportunities in Historical Research,” Haynes’s lecture was just one of many highlights of the March 2017 conference. Another spring semester event that drew a large audience of faculty, students, and community members was the department’s annual Lazaroff Lecture, delivered this year by Professor Marion Kaplan of New York University. Her remarks, titled “Portugal, ‘Forced Paradise’: The Daily Lives and Feelings of Jewish Refugees in Occupied Europe,” continued the long tradition of impressive lectures featured in our Lazaroff Jewish history series.

Throughout the year, our faculty and students continued to excel in their professional and academic trajectories. The shear volume of publications, teaching awards, research grants, and scholarships is a testament to the high caliber and standards that the department continues to uphold. This is equally reflected in the happenings and accomplishments of our alumni.

As another academic year ends, the Department of History looks forward to serving both the university and the general public for many years to come. We hope that alumni will be able to attend some of our sponsored events in 2017-18. We look forward to seeing you!

One Comment

  1. David Gibson says:

    Congratulations on your outreach efforts and focus on the rich history of Ohio. Not long ago I finished David McCullough’s “The Wright Brothers” and I was reminded how a couple of Dayton bicycle mechanics changed the world.

    I credit the OU history professors of the early 70s with giving me a solid understanding of past world events. That background has served me well even into my sixth decade.

    My history with OU:

    My grandmother received training at OU in the summer of 1914 that enabled her to become a one-room school teacher in Madison County, Ohio.

    My tenure at OU included the closing of the university in 1970 (due to rioting) in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings. I went on to teach history in public schools but spent most of my career in the field of educational technology.

    I now live in SW Florida. Please keep me on your contact list.

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