History Department

HISTORY FACULTY WORKS AND ACHIEVEMENTS:

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The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life will host a series of three panels in February and March on the refugee crisis. All events will take place in PAC 001.  Read More ...

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Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock on the History of the Russian New Year’s Tree

Victoria-Smolkin-Rothrock

              Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock

A hundred years ago, Christmas in Russia looked a lot like Christmas in America, with trees, presents and twinkling lights. All that changed with the Russian revolution, Assistant Professor of History Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock told NPR in an interview about the history of the Yolka, or New Year’s tree.  Read more ...

Jennifer Tucker Talks Gun Control in Boston Globe op-ed, on WNPR’s ‘Scramble’

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          Jennifer Tucker

Associate Professor of History Jennifer Tucker is the co-author of an op-ed in the Boston Globe titled, “What the Clean Air Act can teach us about reducing gun violence.” Tucker and co-author Matthew Miller of Northeastern University write, “The recent scandal over Volkswagen’s polluting engines vividly illustrates the contrast between the way Americans, and in particular elected officials, treat guns and the way we (and our elected officials) treat cars — both of which kill approximately 32,000 Americans every year.”  Read more ...

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In continuation of our alumni interview series, we talked with Title VIII-supported Research Scholar Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock to hear her reflections on her fellowship. Dr. Smolkin-Rothrock, Assistant Professor of Russian History at Wesleyan University, is writing a book about the confrontation between scientific atheism and lived religion in the Soviet Union. See the discussion below on religious policy and atheism throughout Soviet history.  Read more ...
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NEH Supports Research, Writing Projects by Tucker, Curran

Two Wesleyan faculty received NEH Public Scholarships to encourage new research and support their upcoming publications. Only 36 writers in the country received the award.

The Public Scholar program, a major new initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is designed to promote the publication of scholarly nonfiction books for a general audience. On July 29, the NEH awarded a total of $1.7 million to 36 writers including Wesleyan’s Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history, and Andrew Curran, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities and professor of French.  Read more ...

Jennifer Tucker

            Jennifer Tucker

For more information and to see the list of all grant recipients, see this Washington Post article.

Grimmer-Solem’s Research Leads Germany to Order Base Re-Named

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. His research has made national news in Germany, where the government is now responding to revelations about the General's legacy.

           Erik Grimmer-Solem

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. His research has made national news in Germany, where the government is now responding to revelations about the General’s legacy.  Read more ...

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Smolkin-Rothrock Receives Honorable Mention for Distinguished Article Prize

Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock

   Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock

An article by Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock received honorable mention for the Distinguished Article Prize from the Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture. Smolkin-Rothrock is assistant professor of history, assistant professor of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian studies and tutor in the College of Social Studies.

Her article, titled “The Ticket to the Soviet Soul: Science, Religion and the Spiritual Crisis of Late Soviet Atheism,” appeared in Volume 73, Issue 2 of The Russian Review and was selected from among 22 entries. The honor comes with a $200 award.

Smolkin-Rothrock’s article examines the confrontation of Soviet scientific atheism with religion as it played out on the pages and in the editorial rooms of the country’s primary atheist periodical, Nauka i religiia (Science and Religion). It follows a story that begins in the 1960s, when the journal tried to change its title to Mir cheloveka (The World of Man) to reorient itself from the battle against religion towards the battle for Soviet (and therefore atheist) spiritual life. Smolkin-Rothrock argues that while the Khrushchev era is the point of origin for much of late Soviet policy on religion and atheism, it is only with the Brezhnev era that we see understandings of religion move beyond ideological stereotypes. New conceptions of religion, however, forced atheists to consider Communist ideology in unexpected ways, and led to revealing discussions the Soviet state’s role in providing spiritual fullness. The story of Nauka i religiia is a microcosm of Soviet ideology in that it reveals the boundaries and contradictions of the material and the spiritual in the Soviet project.

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History Faculty Participate in American Historical Association Meeting

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Four faculty from the History Department participated in the American Historical Association Meeting in New York City Jan. 2-5. The topic was “History and Other Disciplines.”  Read more ...

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Publications Smolkin-Rothrock on Russia’s National Unity Day

Writing in Open Democracy, Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, offers a historical explanation of Russia’s National Unity Day. Observed November 4, this holiday–based in what many consider “ancient history”–remains a point of confusion for the Russian public, writes Smolkin-Rothrock. Yet, “even if the holiday holds little significance for many Russians, it matters a great deal to Vladamir Putin and it should matter to those concerned with understanding his ideology.”  Read more ...

Interview, Paper by Smolkin-Rothrock, Fusso Focuses on Russian Atheist

Wesleyan faculty Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock and Susanne Fusso are the co-authors of “The Confession of an Atheist Who Became a Scholar of Religion,” published in Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Volume 15, Number 3, Summer 2014. The paper is based on an interview Smolkin-Rothrock completed on Russian atheist Nikolai Semenovich Gordienko.  Read more ...

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Johnston on Ebola’s Impact

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than one thousand people this summer, and captured the world’s attention. But Bill Johnston, professor of history, professor of East Asian Studies, professor of science in society, tells Voice of America that its impact pales in comparison to other diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis.

“Approximately 207 million cases with 627,000 deaths from malaria itself in 2012, tuberculosis, they counted 8.6 million new cases,” he said.

Watch the video report here.

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Grimmer-Solem’s Research Leads Germany to Order Base Re-Named

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. His research has made national news in Germany, where the government is now responding to revelations about the General's legacy.

             Erik Grimmer-Solem

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Read more ...

Grimmer-Solem’s Research Sheds New Light on Celebrated German General

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. His research has made national news in Germany, where the government is now responding to revelations about the General’s legacy.  Read more ...

Grimmer-Solem holding a photo of his grandfather, Dr. Odd Solem, and his father, Eivind Solem, taken in 1939, one year before the German invasion of Norway. Odd Solem, part of the Norwegian resistance movement, was arrested by the Gestapo and met General Hans von Sponeck in prison in 1942.

Erik Grimmer-Solem

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History and Theory.

 History and Theory

The National Library of Sweden has announced that the Wesleyan-published (in affiliation with Wiley-Blackwell Publishing) History and Theory: Studies in the Philosophy of History is its 10th most popular foreign e-journal.  Read more ...

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Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching

The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching was inaugurated in 1993 as an institutional recognition of outstanding faculty members. One to three Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching are presented each year. The standards and criteria for the annual prizes are excellence in teaching, as exemplified by commitment to the classroom and student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity, and passion.  Read more ...

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Erickson Co-Authors Book on Rationality during the Cold War

Paul Erickson, assistant professor of history, is the co-author of How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality,” published by the University of Chicago Press in 2013.  Read more ...

Paul Erikson

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In this video, Ethan Kleinberg, director of the Center for the Humanities, professor of letter, professor of history, talks with Hayden White, professor of comparative literature at Stanford University, about history, theory and the humanities. White is the former director of the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan. Watch this video and many more on the Video @ Wesleyan website.

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Ron Schatz, professor of history, tutor in the College of Social Studies, wrote an article on Middletown that was recently published in Past & Present, a prestigious English historical journal.  Read more ...

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The Public Affairs Center: PAC Research Networks

I am happy to announce the recipient of the 2013-2014 PAC Research Network Award, the African Studies PAC Research Network. This group builds on existing strengths in African Studies at Wesleyan. They will receive $2000 to hold salons for Wesleyan faculty to share their research and also to bring in outside speakers. The group brings together senior and junior scholars from six different departments with faculty both within and outside the PAC. Please join me in congratulating them!  African Studies Faculty: Professor Richard Elphick, History, and Assistant Professor Laura Ann Twagira, History.