Department News, Fall 2013

Letter from the Chair
Department Spotlights
Department Announcements
Alumni News
Donor Recognition
Support the Department


Letter from the Chair


William Becker

Image Caption (Optional)

Welcome to the annual The George Washington University History Department Newsletter. Its appearance gives us the chance to share the current activities and impressive accomplishments of GW History department's faculty members, graduate students, and former undergraduate majors. I hope you enjoy this newsletter as much as the earlier ones and hope too that it will encourage you to stay in touch with the department.

We appreciate very much that many of you were inspired by previous newsletters and made gifts to the department. We've used these donations to fund travel, often to distant and remote locations, for research carried out by both our undergraduate and graduate students. If you are in a position to do so, I hope that you will consider making a donation. A gift of $1,000 can fund an important short research trip for a student writing a senior, M.A., or doctoral thesis. $2,500 can make possible a longer-term visit to a major archive. All gifts are most welcome, small or large. They have a real impact on our research and on the educational activities we are able to offer our students.

Donations are also used to bring renowned scholars to campus to meet our students and give public lectures to the GW community. The Kayser and the Jones-­Huffman lectures, which have been endowed by generous contributions, have become a regular part of the department’s intellectual life.

In 2013, the Kayser lecture was delivered by Jeffrey Eley of the University of Michigan on "Empire, Ideology, and the East: Thoughts on Nazism’s Spatial Imaginary." We also had a special lecture and seminar offered by Joan Wallach Scott, Center for Advanced Study at Princeton. Her topic was "Emancipation and Equality: A Genealogy." Her talk helped us to launch our new program in Gender and Women’s History.

The 2014 Kaiser Lecture on March 5, 2014 was presented by Professor James Oakes, Distinguished Professor of History and Graduate School Humanities Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His topic was "The Scorpion’s Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War." Professor Oakes is the author of The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics (2007) and more recently Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 (2012).

Funds from recent contributors have sponsored additional research seminars for students and faculty. We welcome your feedback. If you have questions or comments, or merely wish to reconnect with the department and GW, please contact me at [email protected], by phone at (202) 994-6052.

With best wishes,
William H. Becker


Department Spotlights

Headline (optional)

Albert H.Small

Albert H. Small

In early October, a symposium was held for philanthropist Albert H. Small in honor of his donation of his extensive collection of images and materials related to the history of the District of Columbia to the university. At the ceremony Professor William Becker, chair of the History Department, lauded Small’s gift, and Professor  Tyler Anbinder gave a presentation that analyzed pictures and maps from the Small collection related to the Civil War Mr. Small’s collection will be permanently displayed in the 156-year-old Woodhull House (formerly the location of the GW Police Department), now undergoing renovation. The museum will include galleries and space for academic and scholarly activity.

Also in October was the Kylan Jones-Huffman Lecture which is named in honor of a student who was admitted to GW’s PhD program in Middle Eastern history. Jones-Huffman was killed in 2003 with the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq. In his memory, family and friends contributed gifts to endow the Kylan and Heidi Jones-Huffman Fund, in support of graduate students in Middle Eastern history. The lecture is supported by the fund. Columbia University Professor Karen Barkey, a historical sociologist, was our 2012-2013 Memorial Lecturer. She spoke on “Choreographies of Sharing Sacred Sites among Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire.”

In February, as part of GW’s commemoration of Washington’s Birthday, Gordon Wood, the Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University, delivered a talk on “George Washington, Man and Legend,” to a large crowd in the Marvin Center’s Continental Ballroom. Professor Wood was welcomed to GW by President Steven Knapp. Professor Denver Brunsman of the History Department introduced Professor Wood. In his talk, Prof. Wood explained that George Washington occupies such an unassailable place in American history that he almost seems not human—“more a monument than a man,” but George Washington was human, and in his address Wood discussed some of the unique characteristics that shaped the man into a hero and influenced our emerging nation. 

Also in February Professor Joan Wallach Scott of the Institute for Advanced Study gave a lecture entitled “Emancipation and Equality: A Genealogy.” Professor Scott’s lecture was sponsored by the new Graduate Concentration in the History of Women and Gender in Global Perspective in the History Department. The concentration offers MA and PhD students the opportunity to study how gender has shaped and been shaped by historical processes around the world.

The Elmer Louis Kayser Lecture was given in March. The lectureship was endowed by members of the class of 1951, led by Thaddeus A. Lindner, CCAS BA ’51, HON ’94, Trustee Emeriti on GW’s Board of Trustees, in honor of their fiftieth reunion and GW's longtime professor of history and dean of students, Elmer L. Kayser. This year’s lecturer was Geoff Eley, Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan, who spoke on “Empire, Ideology, and the East: Thoughts on Nazism’s Spatial Imaginary.”


Department Announcements

In April, the University kicked off its involvement in the Civil War Project with “Acting & Re-enacting: A Civil War Performance Collage and Conversation” in the Betts Theater in Marvin Center. The Civil War Project is a multi-city, multi-year collaboration between four universities and five performing arts centers. The GW partner in the Project is the Arena Stage. “Acting & Re-enacting” included a conversation between History Professor Andrew Zimmerman and two history majors who are Civil War re-enactors—Jared Johnson (Class of 2013) and Andrew Kaiser (Class of 2014). 

Also in April, it was announced that Ben Vinson III will be the new Dean of GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Vinson was previously the Herbert Baxter Adams Professor of Latin American History at Johns Hopkins University. He will also hold a position in the GW History Department. Dean Vinson’s scholarship focuses on colonial Mexico, especially the African presence in Mexico. He has authored and co-authored several books and numerous articles on the military participation of blacks in militias, free black populations in Mexico, slavery in Latin America, and, more broadly, African American experiences in Mexico and Afro-Mexican experiences in the United States.

The International Graduate Student Conference on the Cold War is sponsored by The Center for Cold War Studies of the University of California at Santa Barbara, the George Washington University Cold War Group, and the Cold War Studies Programme of the London School of Economics and Political Science. The three centers jointly sponsor a conference each year, alternating among the three. The 2013 conference was at George Washington University in April. Charles Kraus (a PhD student studying with Professor Edward McCord) was awarded the Saki Ruth Dockrill Memorial Prize for best paper at the conference: “China’s Xinjiang Province: Sino-Soviet-American Relations in the Early Cold War.”

Among those commenting on the graduate papers at the conference were Professors James G. HershbergGregg BrazinskyHope Harrison, and Leo Ribuffo. Also serving as a commentator was James Person (PhD ’13) who is Senior Program Associate at the History and Public Policy Program and the coordinator for the North Korea International Documentation Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

At the end of April, Phi Alpha Theta (PAT)—the honor society for undergraduate majors—held its induction of new members. Professor C. Thomas Long presided at the ceremony in Post Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus. In addition to inducting new student members, PAT also inducted two honorary members: Albert H. Small and outgoing Columbian College Dean Peg Barratt. Mr. Small was honored for his support of undergraduate education in the History Department and for the Albert H. Small Student/Teacher Institute. Department Chair William Becker, in his remarks, praised Dean Barrett “for a job very well done,” a supporter of our efforts to build a better department” and ”an advocate for the students of Columbian College.”


The Saturday before graduation saw our traditional reception for graduating history majors and graduate students in the History Department conference room. At the reception, the undergraduate and graduate awards were announced:

Undergraduate Awards:

  • Gardiner G. Hubbard Memorial Prize (Excellence in US History): Gabriella Angeloni and Kevin Doré
  • Jesse Fant Evans Prize (Excellence in Contemporary History): Brandon Neuman, John Field Simms Stiff, and Nikolas Youngsmith
  • Charles Clinton Swisher Historical Club Prize (Best Essay on a topic in Medieval History): Katherine Bradshaw and Samuel Raymond Holloway
  • Carl Forman Scholarship of the Society of the Mayflower Descendants Prize: Cameron Neilley
  • Deixler/Swain Prize (Best Undergraduate Theses) Honors Thesis: Kevin Doré and Elizabeth Rosenwasser (US History); Michael Wang (Non-US History); Gabriella Angeloni, and Lauren Shenfeld (Runners Up) Senior Thesis: Sophia Panayotou and Komal Thakkar (US History); Christina Longofono (Non-US History)

Graduate Awards

  • Elmer Louis Kayser Prize for the best history thesis submitted by a candidate for the degree of Master of Arts: Stefan Hock, student of Prof. Dina Khoury, for “’Do You Know What It Means To Be a Woman?’: Negotiating Kemalism and State Feminism During the Transition to a Multi-Party Republic in Turkey,” and Christine Kelly, student of Prof. Ed Berkowitz, for “’Wasn’t that a Time:’ Pete Seeger and Folk Song Activism in the Cold War Era, 1948 – 1972.”
  • Howard M. Sachar Prize for the best history research paper: Charles Kraus, student of Prof. Ed McCord, nominated by Prof. Daqing Yang, for his paper: “Nation, Ethnicity, and the Post-Manchukuo Order in the Sino-Korean Border Region.”
  • Charles Herber Teaching Prize for the department’s best Graduate Teaching Assistant: Alexander Lovelace, nominated by Prof. C. Thomas Long.

The Phi Alpha Theta calendar of events included a trip to Valley Forge Historical Park for a special tour, presentation of papers by six members at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference at Shepherd University, and a visit to the USS Constellation and Fort McHenry in Baltimore. The organization also sponsored an undergraduate symposium in which students presented their research papers to an audience of other students and faculty.

A number of our majors served as interns, conducting research on items from the Albert H. Small Collection. The results of their research will be included in the museum’s catalogue. Gabriella Angeloni and Andrew Kaiser discussed their research at the George Washington University Washingtoniana Symposium.

Several of our students were honored with grants to assist their research. Andrew Kaiser spent much of the summer doing research in Vienna to learn about the Austrian Army’s use of dogs during World War I. Gabriella Angeloni traveled to England to continue her study of the last royal governor of South Carolina. During the Columbian College’s Research Days celebration, Hope McCaffrey and Gabriella Angeloni won Humanities Research Day Prizes.

A group of 13 students participated in the inaugural offering of a new course by the History Department. They studied the conduct and consequences of conflict by doing research into D-Day and the Normandy Campaign of 1944. Each student researched a soldier from his or her home town who was killed in the campaign and is buried in the American Cemetery in Normandy. Then, over spring break, they visited the Normandy Battlefields in person to present a eulogy at the soldier’s grave side. When the worst storm since World War II made it impossible to visit the cemetery, the students gave their eulogies at Washington’s World War II memorial. Their work had a lasting impact on the students. They came to realize that the individuals who had only been names in a book were really young men and women much like themselves. Several students have stayed in contact with their soldiers’ families.

Stefan Hock (MA ’13) won the Sydney F. Fisher Graduate Student Paper Prize for the best paper in Turkish or Ottoman studies written by a graduate student during the preceding academic year. It was awarded by the Turkish Studies Association for his MA thesis, “'Do You Know What It Means to Be a Woman?': Negotiating Kemalism and State Feminism During the Transition to a Multi-Party Republic in Turkey.” In September 2013, Stefan joined the doctoral program in history at Georgetown University. We wish him luck and success!

Charles Kraus, a PhD candidate working with Edward A. McCord, was awarded the Saki Dockrill Memorial Prize, for the best paper at the annual LSE-GWU-UCSB International Graduate Student Conference on the Cold War in 2013. The winner's paper is published in Cold War History.

Julia Sittman, a Professor Dina Khoury student in the history of the Middle East, has received a three-year dissertation fellowship (2010-13) from the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Culture et la Société.

Qingfei Yin is a doctoral candidate in Southeast Asian History studying with Professor Gregg Brazinsky. She was awarded the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute Tuition Scholarship, for the intensive study of Vietnamese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Faculty News

In addition to teaching courses to both graduate and undergraduate students, our faculty compiled a strong record of scholarly achievement in the 2012-2013 academic year, publishing numerous books and articles, and delivering scholarly papers. Because of our Washington, D.C., location, department members are often invited to do interviews, give talks, and write articles for non-scholarly journals. From this impressive total, here are some highlights.

  • Tyler Anbinder’s article “Moving Beyond 'Rags to Riches': New York's Irish Famine Immigrants and their Surprising Savings Accounts" appeared in the prestigious Journal of American History 99 (December 2012).
  • Eric Arnesen was on Fox news to discuss the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report on union membership in January, 2013. He also moderated the Washington Seminar on History at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
  • Edward Berkowitz‘s latest book, coauthored with Larry DeWitt, examines the Supplemental Security Income program: The Other Welfare: Supplemental Security Income and U. S. Social Policy (Cornell University Press, 2013). He also did interviews on the Affordable Care Act for CNN, NBC, and Connecticut Public Radio.
  • Denver Brunsman was interviewed by C-SPAN about his new book The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World (University of Virginia Press, 2013).
  • Erin Chapman lectured on "Blues Bodies: New Negro Women and the Sex-Race Marketplace of the 1920s" at the University of Delaware.
  • Robert J. Cottrol’s comparative study, The Long, Lingering Shadow: Slavery, Race and Law in the American Hemisphere (University of Georgia Press, 2013), looks at the parallel legal histories of race relations in the United States, Brazil, and Spanish America.
  • Emeritus Professor Peter P. Hill’s study, Joel Barlow, American Diplomat and Nation Builder (Potomac Books, 2012), examines the life of American diplomats in the early national period. He remains an active and engaged scholar from his residence in Maine.
  • Benjamin Hopkins and Magnus Marsden of the University of Sussex have edited Beyond Swat: History, Society, and Economy Along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier (Columbia University Press, 2013).
  • Dane Kennedy served as president of the North American Conference of British Studies.
  • Emmet Kennedy, emeritus, had an article in Diplomatic History 39 (2012) entitled, "Ambassador Carlton J. H. Hayes's Wartime Diplomacy: Making Spain a Haven from Hitler."
  • Ed McCord presented a paper on “Residual Warlordism in the Nanjing Decade: He Jian in Hunan” at the International Conference on Modern Chinese Society in Global Perspective and on Chiang Kai-shek and Modern China, 1840-1919 in Hangzhou, China.
  • Shira Robinson authored Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel's Liberal Settler State (Stanford University Press, 2013).
  • Howard Sachar, emeritus, is finishing his fifteenth book, The Assassination of Europe: 1918-1942.
  • Daniel Schwartz lectured on "What's in a Name? The Ghetto Comes to America" at the Library of Congress.
  • Andrew Zimmerman gave the keynote lecture—“The German Empire and Atlantic Modernity: Reconsidering the Space and Time of Colonialism”—at the conference Globalising Germany: Exploration, Emigration and Empire, 1848-1918 at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia.

Faculty Profiles

Denver Brunsman

Denver Brunsman

Denver Brunsman writes and teaches on the politics and social history of the American Revolution, early American republic, and British Atlantic world. Since joining GW in Fall 2012, he has taught the “George Washington and His World” course at Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. His students have collaborated with Mount Vernon on a digital humanities project in which they research and write an entry for the Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington.

Dina Khoury

Dina Khoury

Dina Khoury joined the Department of History in 1991 and has taught Middle Eastern history since then. The research for her latest book Iraq in Wartime: Soldiering, Martyrdom and Remembrance (Cambridge University Press, 2013), was funded by a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. The book examines the impact of the Iran-Iraq and the First Gulf wars on Iraqi society.


Alumni News

Christopher Bright (PhD ’06) is a member of the GW Board of Trustees and analyzes foreign and defense policy issues for the House Committee on Armed Services. Bright served as master of ceremonies at GW's Annual Capitol Hill Alumni Reception, hosted by President Steven Knapp. Held in April 2013, the event drew more than 100 congressional staff members, elected officials, and other alumni working on the Hill to the Capitol Visitor Center. Bright’s dissertation was published as Continental Defense in the Eisenhower Era (Palgrave MacMillan, 2010).

Allida Black (PhD ’93) was the founding director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at George Washington University. In 2013, she co-founded and is currently chair of the organization Ready for Hillary, which The Washington Post described as “the quasi-official stand-in for potential 2016 presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Rebecca DeWolfe (BA ’08) is now a graduate student at American University and a recipient of the department’s Clendenen Dissertation Fellowship.

Marc Leepson (BA ’67, MA ’71) is a freelance writer. He has written for many magazines and newspapers and has published seven books, most recently Lafayette: Lessons in Leadership from the Idealist General (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Brooke Orr (PhD ’02) is an Associate Professor of History at Westfield University. She is the author of The ‘People’s Joan of Arc’: Mary Elizabeth Lease, Gendered Politics and Populist Party Politics in Gilded-Age America (Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2014).

Bhaskar Sunkara (BA ’11) is the founding editor of Jacobin, which according to a 2013 The New York Times profile, is “a magazine dedicated to bringing jargon-free, neo-Marxist thinking to the masses.” With a print run of 2,000 and 250,000 web hits, the iconoclastic magazine has become a hit with both the left and right.

Peter Veru (MA ’09) is a PhD student at the University of Colorado and told us he “is heading to Amsterdam for the next two to three years to do an extensive study on Dutch-American relations during the American Revolution.”


Recent Donors to the History Department


The Department of History would like to gratefully acknowledge the following generous donors who made a gift to the school from January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013.

HEI Charitable Foundation
Fidelity Investments Charitable
Gift Fund
Society of Mayflower Descendants
in D.C.
Cara E. Battistoni, PsyD  ’06
Russell David Battistoni, BA ’05
Mary Farrar Bonotto, BA ’54
Leonard Braitman*
Thomas E. Brinkman, Jr., BA ’79
Christopher R. Brooks, BA ’06, MS ‘11
Miki Y. Brooks, BA ’07
Amos J. Buhai, BA ’02
Jacqueline A. Burns, BA ’09
George A. Chadwick, III, MA ’67
Christopher T. Chaney, BA ’14
Malcolm C. Clark, AA ’50, BA ’53, MA ’59
Peter Lee Collins, MA ’81
Katherine R. Connors, BA ’10
Neil DeHaan, Jr., BA ’70
Bert Howard Deixler, BA ’73
Daniel J. Demers, BA ’70
Ronald J. Denham, BA ’67
Jill Diskan, BA ’64
Ilana R. Goldfus, BA ’10
Richard Perry Harland, MPhil ’78
Allen K. Harris, BA ’65
Charles J. Herber+
Joan Herber*
Peter Proal Hill, PhD ’66
Benjamin B. Klubes, BA ’87
Allan L. Kulikoff, BA ’69
Thaddeus A. Lindner, AA ’50, BA ’51, HON ’94
Joel A. Lipkin, BA ’74
Cynthia J. Little, BA ’67
Jerome S. Nadler, BA ’74
Judith Shasky Nadler, BA ’74
Brandon David Neuman, BA ’13
Elizabeth B. O'Donoghue*
Colin P. O'Neal**
Linda Levy Peck+
Lynn R. Perkins*
Ellyn Charlestein Phillips, BA ’72
Karen J. Reap, BA ’64
Christopher H. Ring, BA ’13
David S. Rosen, AA ’49, BA ’51
Lois Green Schwoerer, HON ’02
Barbara G. Selzer, BA ’75
Michael N. Shapiro, BA ’68
Lauren R. Shenfeld, BA ’13
Darina B. Sherwood*
John D. Sherwood, MPhil ’93, Ph.D. ’95
Martina Xiomara Spain, BA ’13
Helen N. Spencer, BA ’74, MA ’86
John G. Staudt, MPhil ’99, PhD ’05
Edward Swiderski, MS ’75, CERT ’78
Michael W. Weeks+
Rosa D. Wiener, AA ’54, BA ’56
Kasi R. Wilkerson, BA ’13
Christopher Engel Yorke, BA ’92

* Friend
** Student
+ Faculty/Staff


How Your Donation Can Help

Gifts to the Department of History allow us to provide support for faculty and student research and travel, graduate student fellowships, and academic enrichment activities including guest speakers, visiting faculty, and symposia. Each gift, no matter how large or small, makes a positive impact on our educational mission and furthers our standing as a vibrant department serving the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Elliott School of International Affairs, and the greater community of The George Washington University.

You can make your gift to the Department in a number of ways:

  • Securely online. Just choose "other" under designation and type in "History Department."
  • By mailing your check, made out to The George Washington University and with "History Department" in the memo line, to:

The George Washington University
2100 M Street NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20052

  • By phone. Call the GW Annual Fund at 1-800-789-2611