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Founding director of National Museum of African American History and Culture presents lecture titled "The Challenge of Building a National Museum"; Talks with Department of History Graduate Students

Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of NMAAHC, presented a lecture on developing the Smithsonian's newest museum, race relations, and history during his visit to Penn State last Wednesday, November 1st. Dr. Bunch also visited with graduate students from the Department of History and the Department of African American Studies for more intimate discussion.


Students Celebrated at Spring Reception; Alumnus Ted Anthony Honored with Inaugural Award

On April 17th, Department of History faculty, staff, students and their families gathered for a reception at The Nittany Lion Inn to celebrate the accomplishments of undergraduate and graduate students who received awards this semester. Click here to view the program for the event.

The guest of honor was Ted Anthony, the director of Asia-Pacific news for The Associated Press, who was awarded with the Department of History’s inaugural Outstanding Alumni Award by Dean Susan Welch. He offered the following remarks about the great importance of understanding history as a journalist:

“Thank you, Dean Welch, for that far-too-flattering introduction and for this inaugural alumni award. I am honored to be here today.

You always hear a lot about journalism being “the first rough draft of history.” But I’d like to share with you a more complete rendition of the idea, which was said famously more than 50 years ago by Phil Graham, then the publisher of The Washington Post:

“… our inescapably impossible task of providing every week a first rough draft of a history that will never really be completed about a world we can never really understand.”

Those missing parts — pay attention to them for a moment. They are quite important. Let me repeat two of them for just a bit of extra emphasis. “Never really be completed.” “Never really understand.”

Now I’d like to pair that up with a quote I remember from the history professor who had the most profound influence on me during my time at Penn State — Jack Spielvogel, an unparalleled critical thinker and historian who helped me learn how to think critically about what history means. He said this (after 27 years, I’m obviously paraphrasing from memory):

“If you just got here, you probably don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I’m here to tell you that with journalism today, we simply can’t let that happen. It has never been more crucial for the media to know history. It’s our job to do more than simply arriving and looking around.

The media today is built on a bedrock of imagery and snack-sized nuggets that we consume continually, and even continuously. This is both positive and challenging.

These are exciting, nerve-wracking times for journalism. They are full of possibility, yes, and more people are consuming more journalism in more ways than ever before. But even in the best of circumstances, most of the time we construct a coherent and accurate mosaic of a moment in time — pieces, fragments, that if we’re fortunate form a recognizable picture at the end of the day.

Historical context we are less good at. Why things happen, how they happen, how they unfolded over time — much of that often can fall away as journalists try to do more than ever before on more platforms than ever before.

But more than ever, as the adage goes, we need to understand where we came from if we’re to understand where we’re going.

So I have a challenge that I want to issue today to all of you here — those in the discipline of history and, in fact, all of the liberal arts.

When it comes to history and context, I want you to demand more from your media. Call us to account. Help us understand the why and the how and all the things that caused, and led to, the news events we’re covering. Don’t let us get away with being shallow.

Often, when it comes to the news, Professor Spielvogel’s aphorism was absolutely right: We don’t know what we’re talking about when we first arrive. But it’s our job to learn, on your behalf, and you absolutely should expect it from us.

Because as any academic knows, even the first rough drafts had better stand up to some road testing.

I’m so glad I majored in history here at Penn State. As a journalist, I’d be crippled without it.”

Cecily Zander has piece published on Muster

Congratulations to Cecily Zander!  Cecily has had a piece published on Muster - the blog of the Journal of the Civil War Era

The piece can be found here:

Prof. Chuck Prebish's recent publications

“The Birth of Online Peer-Reviewed Journals in Buddhism: The Story of the
Journal of Buddhist Ethics and the Journal of Global Buddhism.” In Buddhism,
the Internet and Digital Media: The Pixel in the Lotus. Edited by Daniel
Veidlinger and Gregory Grieve. London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 79-92.

“When the Iron Bird Flies: Seeking Western Buddhism in the Classroom.” In
Teaching Buddhism. Edited by Gary DeAngelis and Todd Lewis. New York: Oxford
University Press, 2016, pp. 213-236.

"The Emergence of American Buddhism.” In The Buddhist World. Edited by John
Powers. London: Routledge 2016, pp. 399-416.

“The Buddhist Sangha: Buddhism’s Monastic and Lay Communities.” In The
Buddhist World. Edited by John Powers. London: Routledge, 2016, pp. 138-155.

Emily Seitz writes piece for the blog Nursing Clio

Congratulations to Emily Seitz! Emily has written a piece for the blog Nursing Clio.

ShaVonte Mills wins Archie K. Davis Fellowship

Congratulations to ShaVonte’ Mills!  ShaVonte has won an Archie K. Davis Fellowship from the North Caroliniana Society.  The fellowship will offset research expenses as she travels to North Carolina to conduct research for one of her master's papers. 

Lior Sternfeld has received the 2016 (CGS) Career Development Award

Congratulations to Lior Sternfeld! Lior has received the 2016 Center for Global Studies (CGS) Career Development Award for your project “Integrated After All: Iranian Jews in the 20th Century.”

The Leverhulme Trust has awarded Sophie de Schaepdrijver grant

Congratulations to Sophie de Schaepdrijver! The Leverhulme Trust has awarded her a Visiting Professor grant for the coming academic year. This grant was applied for on her behalf, by the History Department of the University of Kent. She will give a series of public Leverhulme Lectures, give masterclasses, organize an international colloquium, present papers, curate an exhibition, and connect with First World War research institutes in France, Germany, and Belgium.

Jonathan Brockopp receives a Digital Humanities Grant

Congratulations to Jonathan Brockopp!  Jonathan has received a Digital Humanities Grant from Penn State's Center for Humanities and Information. He will use this grant, along with a course release from the Associate Dean's office, to explore major funding to preserve and digitize an important collection of Arabic manuscripts in Kairouan, Tunisia.

Chris Valesey receives FLAS Fellowship from Vanderbilt University

Congratulations to Chris Valesey!  Chris received a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship from Vanderbilt University to participate in the Intermediate-level Nahuatl program at Yale University this summer.

Megan McDonie receives two Fellowships

Congratulations to Megan McDonie McDonie!  Megan received a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship from Tulane University to participate in Tulane's Intermediate-level Kaqchikel Maya program in Antigua, Guatemala this summer.  Megan has also received the SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship.

Sara Kern receives travel grant

Congratulations to Sara Kern!  Sara received a travel grant for Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library's History of Medicine Collection.

Tatiana Seijas awarded a Newberry Library Fellowship

Congratulations to Tatiana Seijas!  Tatiana was awarded a Newberry Library Fellowship (one-year) and also a Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship (academic year).

Ronnie Hsia's book published

Congratulations to Ronnie Hsia!  Ronnie has published a new book: Matteo Ricci and the Catholic Mission to China. A Short History with Documents (Hackett, 2016). A Czech translation of his Trent 1475, a German translation of his The Countess and the Jesuits, and a Chinese translation of his World of Catholic Renewal have also been published in the past months.

Greg Eghigian interviewed in The Atlantic

Congratulations to Greg Eghigian!  Greg is interviewed on his work in The Atlantic.

Read more:

Sophie DeSchaepdrijver named a Fellow of the Free, University of Brussels

Congratulations to Sophie DeSchaepdrijver!  Sophie has been named a Fellow of the Free University of Brussels, and will be giving a keynote talk on March 23 in the Senate of Belgium on the commemoration of resistance in the First World War.

Evan Rothera has received a Lawrence Gelfand - Armin Rappaport - Walter LaFeber Dissertation Fellowship from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Congratulations to Evan Rothera!  Evan has received a Lawrence Gelfand - Armin Rappaport - Walter LaFeber Dissertation Fellowship from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Courtney Rong Fu accepted as the Humanities Without Walls (HWW) Pre-Doctoral Fellow for 2016 Summer Workshop in Chicago.

Congratulations to Courtney Rong Fu!  Courtney was accepted as the Humanities Without Walls (HWW) Pre-Doctoral Fellow for 2016 Summer Workshop in Chicago.

Bill Cossen presented paper "When Al Smith is President': The Protestant Other and the Politics of Anti-Catholicism in the 1928 Presidential Election"

Congratulations to Bill Cossen! Bill presented a paper titled "'When Al Smith is President': The Protestant Other and the Politics of Anti-Catholicism in the 1928 Presidential Election" at the annual meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 10, 2016.  The paper was part of a panel that he organized, which was titled "The Politics of Anti-Catholicism in the 20th Century."

Bill Blair's essay and book chapter published

Congratulations to Bill Blair!  Bill’s essay, “Finding the Ending of America’s Civil War” appeared in a special roundtable on ending civil wars in the December 2015 issue of the American Historical Review. Also, his book chapter on “Military Interference in Elections as an Influence on Abolition” has been published in Rethinking Emancipation: Legacies of Slavery and the Quest for Black Freedom, with Cambridge University Press.

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