April 30, 2019 at 11:17 am

CHI Director’s Message | Looking Back on a Rewarding Year

Ingo Trauschweizer, portrait

Dr. Ingo Trauschweizer

By Dr. Ingo Trauschweizer
Associate Professor of History & Director of the Contemporary History Institute

2018-19 was a rewarding academic year for our students and faculty affiliates at the Contemporary History Institute. In addition to multiple students securing funding for thesis and dissertation research, several of our faculty affiliates published books or major articles. Recent graduates (Jack Marchbanks, Seth Givens, and Ken Ward) began new jobs in diverse careers, from teaching to government work. Two CHI alumni (Ricky Garlitz and Kirk Tyvela) published their first monographs.

2018-19 Graduates

CHI congratulates four History Ph.D.s and four History M.A.s.

Two Ph.D.s will graduate in May 2019:

  • Adam Givens defended his doctoral dissertation “The Business of Airmobility: U.S. Army Aviation, the Helicopter Industry, and Innovation during the Cold War” in March under my supervision. The committee members were John Brobst, Chester Pach (both History), and Matthew LeRiche (International Studies).
  • Phimmasone (Mike) Rattanasengchanh defended his doctoral dissertation “Thai Hearts and Minds: The Public Diplomacy and Public Relations Program of the United States Information Service and Thai Ministry of the Interior, 1957-1979” under the supervision of Chester Pach (History). The committee members were Alec Holcombe, Trauschweizer (both History), and Drew McDaniel (Media Arts and Studies).

We also congratulate Harrison Fender, who completed his M.A. in April with a thesis on “Admiral Roger Keyes and Naval Operations in the Littoral Zone” under the supervision of Brobst. The committee members were David Curp and Steven Miner (both History). Fender will join the Ph.D. program in History in August 2019.

Two Ph.D.s graduated in December 2018:

We also congratulate three new M.A.s who graduated in December 2018:

  • James Fisher (History)
    Thesis title: “An Intellectual History of Thomas Sankara”
    Committee Members: Assan Sarr (chair), Ziad Abu-Rish, and John Brobst
  • Matthew McGuire (History)
    Summer 2018, with examination fields in recent US and modern Latin American history
    Committee Members: Chester Pach (director) and Patrick Barr-Melej
  • Sana Saidykhan (History)
    Thesis title: “‘The Only Good Crocodile is a Dead One’: Contradictions in Conservation Policies and Agricultural Activities in the Gambia, 1938-1965”
    Committee Members: Assan Sarr (chair), Paul Milazzo, and Ziad Abu-Rish
    Saidykhan has joined the Ph.D. program in History.


A diverse group of outstanding scholars and professionals visited campus as part of CHI’s speaker series, including the current president of the American Historical Association (John R. McNeill), an Afghanistan War reporter and documentarian (Meg Prior), and some of our own alumni (Christian Peterson, William Knoblauch, and Joanna Tague).

Admiral (ret.) James Stavridis at the Baker Peace Conference

Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis delivers the Baker keynote address

Thanks to the continued growth of the Baker Peace Studies program, we celebrated the revival of the Elizabeth Evans Baker Lecture in Peace Studies and World Order and welcomed Amitav Acharya in November as the inaugural speaker in the new era. Of course, we also hosted our annual Baker Peace Conference in the spring, featuring a keynote address from Admiral (ret.) James Stavridis and panels of leading experts in international cooperation and security since 1945.

The stimulating “Coming Home from War” program, underwritten by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, allowed us  to present public events, such as a stage reading of Sophocles’ Ajax (thanks to Matthew Cornish and the Theater division in the College of Fine Arts) and a screening of an episode of the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary, The Vietnam War, that was followed by a panel discussion with two veterans (thanks to Dialogues of War grant graphic from the National Endowment for the HumanitiesDoug Greene, who served in Vietnam, and Rye Bennett, who served more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan).  The program culminated with a terrific campus visit and talk by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist David Finkel. In all, thirty area veterans participated in the “Coming Home from War” conversation groups. Ten students led the discussions while eight faculty members and two consultants helped us prepare these students for their tasks. Many others from Ohio University and the community attended the public events. Thanks to all for making the program a success.

We are looking forward to an equally engaging 2019-20, continuing CHI’s mission of providing a powerful analytical foundation for understanding the recent past and the issues that confront us today.

  • For more information on the Contemporary History Institute, including talks, events, and other CHI-related matters, visit the official Facebook and Twitter.


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