March 18, 2021 at 11:07 am

History Faculty Maintain Scholarly Engagement during Pandemic

In the past few months, members of the Ohio University History Department have participated in a number of online events, sharing their research and collaborating with an international community of scholars amidst a pandemic that caused the widespread cancelation of in-person events.

When the COVID pandemic caused shutdowns around the world, Ohio faculty had to suspend work on conference and colloquia papers and research collaborations. Recognizing that despite the pandemic the show had to go on, the academic community quickly adjusted and switched to online events. History faculty embraced opportunities to continue pursuing various scholarly activities by taking advantage of this virtual shift within the academic world.

Patrick Barr-Melej, portrait

Patrick Barr-Melej

In November 2020, Professor and Interim Executive Director of the Center for International Studies Dr. Patrick Barr-Melej participated in a colloquium organized by the Fundación Salvador Allende in Santiago, Chile, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Allende’s momentous electoral victory in 1970. Barr-Melej was invited by the foundation to share his thoughts on Allende’s Popular Unity government (1970-73) and was a roundtable discussant on the subject of culture, consumption, and everyday life.

“It was a great honor to join the Fundación Allende in reflecting on Allende’s project and its legacies,” Barr-Melej said. “The triumphs and tragedies of that era give us much to think about in our world today.”

Dr. Mariana Dantas, portrait

Dr. Mariana Dantas

Associate Professor Dr. Mariana Dantas shared her work on Black religious brotherhoods and urban development in the early modern Portuguese empire with colleagues in Brazil and Portugal in December 2020. Organized by the international research network Cidades e Impérios: dinâmicas locais, fluxos globais, her talk has had over 600 views so far. In March 2021, she also participated in the Race, Law, and Justice Symposia organized through the American University in Paris, where she shared her work on Black mothers and mixed-descending families in colonial Brazil.

“While the pandemic has interrupted travel and in-person events, I greatly appreciate the opportunity online events have created for me to share my research with colleagues around the world,” she commented.

Dr. Victoria Lee, portrait outdoors

Dr. Victoria Lee

Assistant Professor and 2020-21 fellow at the Institut D’Études Avancées de Paris, Dr. Victoria Lee has shared her research on the history of microbiology and fermentation and its modern and industrial applications at two international events in March 2021. At Kojicon 2021, a virtual gathering of mold-based fermentation experts, she gave a talk titled “Craft and Science.” “It has been an eye-opening experience to connect with hundreds of microbe enthusiasts around the world,” Lee said. Her presentation has had hundreds of views so far and been enthusiastically received among the wider community of fermentation enthusiasts. Lee also joined historian of microbiology Dr. Charles Kollmer in a live-broadcast conversation about wild fermentation hosted by the Los Angeles-based brewer of Korean alcohol Yong Ha Jeong.

The event, she says, gave her the chance to discuss her work “in a way that is relevant and meaningful to the wider Asian American community as well as to people broadly interested in food and culture.”

Dr. Jaclyn Maxwell at Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Dr. Jaclyn Maxwell at Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Associate Professor Dr. Jaclyn Maxwell also had the opportunity to share her most recent research at the 1st Online Edinburgh Byzantine Book Festival, hosted by the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in February, 2021. The three-day online event featured hour-long conversations about recent and upcoming books on late antique Byzantine studies. She discussed her new book, Simplicity and Humility in Late Antique Christian Thought, released in March by Cambridge University Press.

“It was definitely different from a normal conference,” she said, “but the online conference managed to bring together people from various countries and time zones.”

Dr. Miriam Shadis, portrait

Dr. Miriam Shadis

In April, Associate Professor Dr. Miriam Shadis is scheduled to deliver the paper “Countess and Queen: Teresa Fernández de Traba and the Sinews of Power in the 12th century Iberia” and participate in a roundtable discussion titled “What was Medieval Monarchy” at the Medieval Academy of America 2021 Annual Meeting.

Dr. Kevin Uhalde, in Iceland, which serves as one of the key filming areas for the series.

Dr. Kevin Uhalde, in Iceland, which serves as one of the key filming areas for the series.

Since last summer, Associate Professor Dr. Kevin Uhalde has been acting as a mentor in the inaugural Wallace Johnson First Book Program in Early Medieval Law. The program supports early-career scholars as they work toward publishing their first book. Originally conceived as a workshop to coincide with the International Congress on Medieval Studies, participants agreed to meet online in a series of summer workshops and several subsequent follow-up meetings. The program has fostered a highly productive intellectual exchange.

“I have to remind myself that I’ve never met any of the other participants in person,” Uhalde said. “I thought it worked really well.”

Virtual events will likely continue to be the norm in the coming months, as people wait for mass vaccination to make in-person gatherings safe again. In the meantime, History faculty will continue to share their research with the world in an online format.

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