December 25, 2014

Why Study History?

Erika Lee - History Professor

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December 5, 2014

Isaacmans Receive Top Honors for "Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development"

Congratulations to Professor Allen and Barbara Isaacman! Their book "Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development: Cahora Bassa and Its Legacies in Mozambique, 1965-2007" has recently been honored with two major book awards: ASA's Melville Herskovits Award, and AHA's Martin A. Klein Prize.

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December 4, 2014

American Indian History Lifetime Achievement Award to Jean O'Brien

Professor Jeani O'Brien (history and American Indian studies) has been awarded the American Indian History Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014 by the Western History Association.

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August 30, 2014

Jean O'Brien, 2014 Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award

Jean O'Brien has been awarded this year's Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award. Jean O'Brien joins Erika Lee (2012) as the second historian to receive Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award. Congratulations, Jeani!

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July 17, 2014

Department of History Newsletter BRIDGING

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April 30, 2014

Ann Waltner, 2014 President's Award for Outstanding Service

Congratulations to Ann Waltner, who is a 2014 recipient of the President's Award for Outstanding Service.

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March 31, 2014

Giancarlo Casale, Morse-Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education

Giancarlo Casale has been named winner of this year's Morse-Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education.

The department's nomination recognized his success in the classroom, his integration of language study and study abroad, his activity as a public intellectual, and his service as DUS.

Each year since 1965, the University of Minnesota has recognized a select group of faculty members for their outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. This honor is awarded to exceptional candidates nominated by colleges in their quest to identify excellence in undergraduate education.

Congratulations, Giancarlo!

January 23, 2014

GTMO in MSP, Exhibition and Programs: Feb 11-March 16

The Exhibition
February 11 - March 16, 2014
The Guantanamo Public Memory Project Exhibition

Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN

Since 2012, students at 11 universities around the country, including the University of Minnesota, asked: what can Guantanamo's (GTMO) history tell us about what's happening now - there, and here at home? They dug through historical and visual archives; talked to people who worked there, lived there, or were detained there; and explored how GTMO relates to issues, people, and places in their own communities. Each student team created a piece of the Project's first traveling exhibit, sharing their discoveries and the difficult questions they struggled with.

The exhibit explores GTMO's history from U.S. occupation in 1898 to today's debates and visions for its future, from a wide variety of perspectives. It includes video testimonies and a "Shape the Debate" text-message voting activity.

Learn more about the Guantanamo Public Memory Project.

February 11, 2014
Guantanamo Public Memory Project Community Open House

Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul MN
7:00 - 9:00 p.m., Free

Attend a community open house for the Guantanamo Public Memory Project exhibit. Meet the University of Minnesota undergraduate and graduate students who, along with students from eleven other American universities, created the exhibit as a way to examine the long history of the American naval station and military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Join them in exploring the historical and current connections between "Gitmo" and Minnesota.This program is made possible with support from the Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund, voted into law by the people of Minnesota in 2008.

Friday, February 28, 2014
The Origins and Development of Guantanamo's Legal Black Hole,
A Talk by Michael Strauss

Room 50, Walter F. Mondale Hall, 229 19th Ave, S., University of Minnesota
12:15 - 1:15 p.m., free
Co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota Legal History Workshop

In this presentation, Michael Strauss, professor of international relations at Paris' Ecole des Hautes Etudes Internationales, explains what the jurisdictional gap is, and how it emerged and evolved through a combination of things: the lease itself and how it has been interpreted; the US and Cuban legal systems; the application of the US constitution and laws on territory that is controlled by the US but is not US sovereign territory; and whether the conditions that gave rise to the "legal black hole" can be replicated elsewhere - or already are.

Friday, February 28, 2014
Refugee Rights and Rightlessness:
Haitian Refugees at Guantanamo in the 1990s

Andersen Library 120, University of Minnesota, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m., Free
Co-Sponsored by the Immigration History Research Center

In the early 1990s, over 32,000 refugees fled a military coup d'etat in Haiti. Their makeshift boats were intercepted by the US Coast Guard and brought to crowded detention camps at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. US courts declared that the Haitians had "no substantive rights." The camp became the world's first detention center for people with HIV/AIDS and marked the first time GTMO was used as anything other than a naval base. This panel of speakers will address the experiences of Haitian refugees at GTMO and connect this history with the major issues relevant to refugee rights in the present.

A. Naomi Paik is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Paik's work examines Japanese Americans interned during World War II, "enemy combatants" currently detained at GTMO, and Haitian refugees at GTMO in the 1990s and connects these disparate experiences through the concept of

Ninaj Raoul worked as a translator for Haitian refugees detained at GTMO in the 1990s. On her return to New York, Raoul co-founded Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees (HWHR), an organization intended to respond to the needs the refugees. Today, HWHR continues to be the only New York organization serving the working class Haitian community, through community organizing, outreach, and education.

Michele Garnett McKenzie works as Advocacy Director at The Advocates for Human Rights. As a staff attorney, she represents asylum seekers and immigration detainees. McKenzie is responsible for policy advocacy and community and coalition engagement around The Advocates' priority issues, including human trafficking, refugee
and immigrant rights, and diaspora community engagement.

March 1, 2014
Inside Guantanamo, Past and Present

Minnesota History Center, 345 West Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul MN
2:00 p.m., Free
Today, Guantanamo Bay makes headlines as the U.S. detention facility for alleged enemy combatants. What many Americans don't realize is that "Gitmo" was built over a century ago as the United States' first foreign military installation, and that it served many purposes before 2002 when it became a military prison for the "War on Terror." Join the conversation and the debate about Guantanamo with international experts Liz Sevcenko, Founding Director of the Guantanamo Bay Public Memory Project, Michael Strauss, professor of international relations at Paris' École des Hautes Etudes Internationales, and Omar Farah, Staff Attorney, Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative, as they explore Guantánamo Bay's little-known past and the historical, legal and human rights implications of its present use for the U.S. and the world.

This program is made possible with support from the Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund, voted into law by the people of Minnesota in 2008.

Saturday, March 1, 2014
Surveillance and Detention in the Twin Cities: A public forum

5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Brian Coyle Center, 420 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455

This forum explores how nationality/ethnicity-based suspicion, surveillance, detention and other practices that are often associated with the prison camp at Guantanamo and U.S. "counterterrorism" policies abroad also operate within the Minneapolis/St Paul (MSP) region. It includes a presentation by University of Minnesota students on their multimedia project "GTMO in MSP" as well as comments by Omar Farah, Staff Attorney, Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative of the Center for Constitutional Rights, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, and other community leaders. There will be ample time for open discussion.

Key questions addressed include:
• How have practices of nationality/ethnicity-based suspicion, surveillance and detention impacted people in the Twin Cities region?
• How has the longer history of US intervention in East Africa, and important site of migration to MSP, shaped these practices?
• How does surveillance and suspicion impact the ability of people to move money and other resources across national boundaries?

GTMO in MSP events have been made possible through the generous support of: The
Minnesota Historical Society, University of Minnesota Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, The Heritage and Public History Collaborative of the University of Minnesota, The Immigration History Research Center of the University of Minnesota, and the Departments of History and American Studies at the University of Minnesota

GTMO in MSP Event Program.Revised.2.17.2014.pdf

January 17, 2014

Jean O'Brien Named to Cobell Scholarships Board of Trustees

Jean O'Brien has been named to the Board of Trustees for the Cobell Education Scholarship Fund, a fund created by the Cobell Settlement to create opportunities for Native students to pursue education. She will be one of five trustees overseeing this fund of up to $60 million. Congratulations, Jeani!

December 13, 2013

Digital Research Projects by HIST 3959 Students

In Fall 2013, HIST 3959 - How to Do History was taught by Prof. Donna Gabaccia with a focus on digital history research projects. One additional feature of HIST 3959 this fall was that six graduate students earned graduate credit by working with the undergraduate groups as "project managers."

Here is a sample of innovative projects from class:

The Pacific Railroad Surveyors
Jewish Life in 1930s/40s Minneapolis
Why Public Education?
Rustication in the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Early Scandinavian Cartography
Korea, Forgotten War?
Political Leadership and Masculinity

December 6, 2013

Austin Mason, 2013 CGS/Proquest Distinguished Dissertation Award

Austin Mason was awarded the Best Dissertation Award in the Humanities by the Council of Graduate Schools. Runner-up was our PhD alumna, Caley Horan (2012), now a lecturer at Princeton. Congratulations, Austin and Caley!

December 4, 2013

JB Shank, CLA Receives Mellon Grant for Premodern Studies

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the College of Liberal Arts a $600,000 start-up grant to develop the conceptual and programmatic foundations for a new Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World.

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November 29, 2013

Allen Isaacman receives Distinguished Africanist Award

Professor Allen Isaacman has been named the 2013 Distinguished Africanist Award from the African Studies Association. The award was created to recognize and honor individuals who have contributed a lifetime of outstanding scholarship in African Studies combined with service to the Africanist community. Congratulations, Allen!

September 3, 2013

Steve Ruggles Chosen to Lead Population Association of America (PAA)

Steve Ruggles has been chosen president-elect of the Population Association of America (PAA) He will be the first historian ever to lead that organization (more typically its presidents have been sociologists or economists). Steve will serve as PAA president-elect in 2014 and president in 2015.

This honor is recognition of the great work that Steve has done both in his own research and in supporting the work of other scholars through his work with the Minnesota Population Center. Congratulations, Prof. Ruggles!

Learn more about the Population Association of America (PAA)

August 30, 2013

HIST 1909W Freshman Seminar Abroad: Understanding New Zealand: Re-imagining Kiwi Culture



The Department of History, the Learning Abroad Center, and Professor Evan Roberts are proud to offer a freshmen-only Fall semester/Winter break study abroad opportunity to learn about and visit New Zealand.

Attend class on the UMN campus beginning on September 30, 2013, and visit beautiful Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand from January 3-18, 2014. In New Zealand:

  • Explore Auckland, a multicultural city overlooking sparkling waters and Wellington, a cosmopolitan urban jewel with a bustling waterfront
  • Wander amidst native plant and bird life while tracing the extraordinary history of Matiu Somes Island, located in Wellington's stunning harbor
  • Learn about Kiwi society by meeting with journalists from the New Zealand Herald and visiting the Parliament to discuss the unique political system

Please note you must apply for this seminar through the Learning Abroad Center first in order to obtain a permission number to register on OneStop. For more information, visit: or contact Sarah at Registration deadline is Sept 14. Financial aid and scholarships are available. FreshmanSeminar.StudyAbroad.HIST1909W.Fall2013.pdf