Chair's Corner - Letter from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends, 

The History Department celebrated many milestones during AY 2009-2010. Our esteemed colleague Thomas S. Burns, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History, retired in August, while the prior spring we had hired Judith Evans Grubbs to fill the new Betty Gage Holland Chair in Roman history. Brian Vick, Assistant Professor of nineteenth-century German history, was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and John Juricek, our specialist in colonial American history, became a Full Professor. The month of May saw the graduation of 82 History majors and joint-majors, and during the year 15 graduate students completed their Ph.Ds.  Outstanding accomplishments of our undergraduate and graduate students are reported in other sections of this newsletter.

Our remarkable faculty continued to publish path-breaking research, including  the following books: William Beik (Emeritus), A Social and Cultural History of Early Modern France (Cambridge University Press), Fraser Harbutt, Yalta, 1945: Europe and America at the Crossroads (Cambridge University Press), Jeffrey Lesser (Celia Sakurai, co-author), Kasato Maru ¿ uma viagem pela  história da imigração (Imprensa Oficial), and Sharon Strocchia, Nuns and Nunneries in Renaissance Florence (Johns Hopkins University Press). Moreover, Marina Rustow won the Salo Wittmayer Baron Prize (American Academy for Jewish Research). And Yanna Yannakakis received the Howard Francis Cline Prize (Conference on Latin American History) for The Art of Being In-Between:  Native Intermediaries, Indian Identity, and Local Rule in Colonial Oaxaca (Duke University Press, 2008). Patrick Allitt, Eric Goldstein, and Leslie Harris were named Distinguished Lecturers by the Organization of American Historians. Collectively, our faculty won seventeen prestigious external fellowships, including from the American Academy of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the American Academy of Berlin, the Korea Foundation, the Fulbright Fellowship Program, the Seslowe Charitable Foundation, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin.

Within Emory, History faculty led several important interdisciplinary programs, such as The Tam Institute of Jewish Studies (Jeffrey Lesser), the Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies (Matt Payne), the Transforming Community Project (Leslie Harris), and the Race and Difference Strategic Initiative (Leslie Harris). Beyond our university, Jeffrey Lesser served as Past-President of the Conference on Latin American History and Jamie Melton as Vice-President (President-Elect) of the Conference Group for Central European History. Eric Goldstein continues as Editor of American Jewish History, and Doug Unfug (Emeritus) received the Enno E. Krache Distinguished Service Award, given by the European History Section of the Southern Historical Association.

Much of the department¿s collective work this year centered on revising our undergraduate curriculum following a major reform in the College¿s General Education Requirements. The work led to the creation of a number of new thematically-focused introductory courses, such as ¿The Silk Road,¿ ¿Ancient Greek Medicine,¿ ¿Jane Austen¿s World,¿ ¿Travel and European Identity,¿ and ¿The Cold War.¿ It also resulted in the addition of two thematic concentrations within our major. In addition to focusing on the study of U.S., European, or World History, undergraduates can now pursue a concentration on ¿Empires, Nations, and Citizenship¿ or ¿Women, Gender, and Sexuality.¿

This year the department also implemented a major reform in our field system for graduate students. We have repositioned our Ph.D. program to encompass both the study of certain geographic and chronological areas and an emphasis on particular cross-cutting comparative, thematic, and interdisciplinary branches of study, which are identified on our website. This reform was driven by changes in the composition of our faculty and by our belief that it will better prepare students for productive careers as scholars and teachers.

We in the History Department at Emory remain ever mindful of our enduring connections to our many alumni and friends. We thank you for your interest in our activities, and we invite you to tell us about yours. To facilitate the latter, we have created a new Alumni Page on our website, which we urge you to visit. When you are next on campus or in Atlanta, please stop by to say ¿Hello.¿ Please also watch our website for special events we have begun sponsoring for our alumni and friends.

With best wishes,

Kristin Mann, Professor and Chair