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Department ofHistory


Faculty Updates Winter 2022

Catch up with what history faculty have done Winter 2022

In the last year, Michael Brillman has designed, developed, and taught a new class called Global 1968, which has turned out to be a popular course. Michael has been very active on the publication front, too. His monograph, Bengal Tiger, Celtic Tiger, Governing the Empire: Sir Antony MacDonnell, the Raj, and Irish Home Rule (Brighton: Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd., 2022), is a biography of a most accomplished civil servant in India and Ireland and will be out this year. He is also very grateful for his reception of The Provosts’ Publication Grant, which funded this project.

Steven Gelber was interviewed for an article by Julie Beck, “How Hobbies Infiltrated American Life,” in The Atlantic, January 4, 2022. Steven’s historical view of Americans’ love for “productive leisure” helps the author to interpret why Americans took up hobbies so actively during the pandemic.

The students in Meg Gudgeirsson’s Digital History Course produced excellent group projects in seven different broad areas: Marginalized Peoples in California, the Cold War, the Great Depression, Mexican Immigration to the US, Women’s History in the US, Women in the Civil War, and World War II. Students in each group dug deeply into specific topics within these areas. Meg found their work impressive!

Marwan Hanania recently joined the History Department at Santa Clara as an Adjunct Lecturer. Despite having lived in the Bay Area before, he reports that his only prior connection to SCU was playing a couple of tennis tournaments here many years ago. He recalled how beautiful the campus seemed at the time and it still is. Marwan is now teaching courses on migration and on the Middle East. Aside from teaching, he continues to play tennis in his spare time and is finalizing his book manuscript on the social and political history of Amman.

Alexandro Jara

Alexandro Jara, a graduate of the History Department, is now an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department. He recently defended his dissertation, with distinction, and will graduate with his Ph.D. this spring from the University of New Mexico. His dissertation, "'Do You Know the Way to San Jose?': Ethnic Mexicans, Urbanism, Culture, and Politics in the Emerging Silicon Valley, 1940-1980," examines the ways Latinos in San Jose utilized culture to create space for themselves in the city's downtown and peripheral "Eastside" that ultimately served as a tool to make inroads in local politics. More broadly, his research highlights the ways Latinos, and other immigrant groups, contributed to revitalizing city life through social, cultural, economic, and political activities, while connecting with their mother countries that help establish transnational spaces. His work looks to challenge narratives of urban decline and encourage scholars to view the United States from a more multiracial lens than the traditional Black-white paradigm.

In the fall, Alex Jara presented a chapter from his dissertation entitled "Addressing Inequality in the Emerging Silicon Valley: Radical Activism and Conservative Civic Engagement in San Jose’s Chicano Movement, 1969-1980” at the annual meeting of the Western Historical Association. This past winter he presented a summary piece of his dissertation, “From Downtown to Eastside: Ethnic Mexicans, Transnational Urbanism, and Making Postwar San Jose” at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte Graduate Student Association Conference. Alex is a member of the newly formed Diversity Advisory Committee for the Los Altos Historical Museum. Next fall he will participate as a panelist at the Martin Luther King Library at San Jose State University as part of an exhibit emphasizing Latino social, cultural, and political activities in and contributions to the building of San Jose.

The History Department offers our congratulations to our colleague, Art Liebscher, S.J., who has been honored with the title Professor Emeritus of History. Art has served as a bedrock of our department for decades, offering countless courses in Latin American History, including many in his special area of expertise, Argentina.  He advised our students and served as our chair.  The Department owes Art a huge debt of gratitude.

Paul Mariani, S.J., presented a lecture on March 16 on “The Rise of China and What it Means for the Church.” As part of the “Exploring Christianity and Culture in China: Today and Yesterday” series hosted by the US-China Catholic Association, ChinaSource, and the China Academic Consortium, the lecture was co-sponsored by the History and Sociology Departments. It raised a series of thoughtful issues, as noted by the sponsors: That is, “China's transformation since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 has been dramatic. What have been the implications of this transformation for the Church in China? How has this affected relations with the Vatican and the wider Christian community?”

Barbara Molony has been continuing her work as co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of East Asian Gender History (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). She has two publications in press: “Rice Paddles and Pink Helmets: Framing Gendered Resistance in Twentieth-Century Japan,” in International Quarterly for Asian Studies (published in Germany); and a review of Coed Revolution: The Female Student in the Japanese New Left, in Journal of Contemporary History (published in the UK). She gave a paper on “Across the Pacific: The Japanese-American Suffrage Nexus” at the meeting of the Organization of American Historians in Boston on March 31, 2022. 

Barbara is also co-president of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and is bringing the next meeting of this international organization to Santa Clara University in June 2023—more information about that will follow in the next “Primary Sources.”

Outside of O’Connor Hall, Barbara is still singing with the Symphony San Jose Chorale.

Matthew Newsom Kerr has been awarded a Hackworth Grant for his project "Pro-Vaccine Ethics: Lessons from History."

Matt’s students in HIST 12H (Medicine, Health and the Body) created digital projects on a variety of challenging topics in medical ethics: The Pernkopf Atlas; Leni Riefenstahl, Olympia (1938); Ich Klage An (1941); Concentration Camp Insignias; and Erbkrank (1936).

Genocide and Gender in the twentieth century book cover

Amy Randall’s edited collection, Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey (Bloomsbury Academic Press), was published as a second edition in January 2022. Click here to get a copy, please refer to the ordering information.

The 2nd edition features a new extended introduction and five new chapters (including one by Amy titled “Imperialism, Race Thinking, Gender, and Genocide”), historiographical and bibliographical updates throughout, and a key primary document. Focusing on events in Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia as well as the Holocaust, Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century investigates how historically and culturally specific ideas contributed to genocidal sexual violence, including mass rape. Expert contributors also consider how these ideas, in conjunction with issues relating to femininity, masculinity, and understandings of gendered identities, contributed to perpetrators' tools and strategies for ethnic cleansing and genocide, as well as victims' experiences of these processes.

On March 29, 2022, Amy participated in a Center for Arts and Humanities “Urgency of Now” panel discussion, “Propaganda, Disinformation, and the War in Ukraine” with Rohit Chopra (Communication) and Laura Robinson (Sociology). Watch this recording. On February 28, 2022, she participated in another SCU panel discussion, "Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: What Happened and Why It Matters," along with Professors Jane Curry (Political Science) and David Sloss (School of Law). Watch this recording.

Amy Randall figures prominently in this BBC Brazil story on "How Putin Converted Russia into a 'World Male Power' and Inspired Leaders Like Trump and Bolsonaro." The article notes Amy's expertise, citing her editorship of the special issue "Soviet Masculinities," appearing in the academic journal Russian Studies in History. Among other things, Amy observes, "Under Putin's leadership, Russia has established itself as a world male power, displaying its political virility, its economic independence, and its technological and military might. Putin owes his popularity - and his ability to remain in power for so long - to mechanisms such as its [his] masculinized nationalism, its [his] ambition to make Russia great again, its [his] use of patriarchal ideals and the notion of differences in social roles between genders, in addition to open homophobia."

The Atlantic Realists book cover

In February 2022, Matthew Specter, who also recently joined the History Department at Santa Clara as an Adjunct Lecturer, published the results of a decade of research and writing, The Atlantic Realists: Empire and International Political Thought Between Germany and the United States, with Stanford UP. (Click here for more ordering information). Since January he has been presenting the work widely over Zoom and in-person, including at the Institute for European Studies, UC Berkeley, the International History Workshop, Columbia University, the Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University, the International Theory and Research Seminar (GUITARS) and Political Theory Seminar (joint meeting) at Georgetown, the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy at Temple University (CENFAD), and the Modern Europe History Workshop, Brown University. CENFAD, Princeton, Columbia, and Berkeley are all recorded and available on YouTube. Events at Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Bochum, Bonn, and Heidelberg are scheduled for May and June. After being reviewed in The New Statesman, and in his substack, Chartbook (#86) by Columbia historian Adam Tooze, Matthew has seen interest in the book grow considerably, and he will be recording podcasts with a number of interviewers about it soon. Next month, he will present new research on Margaret Tuttle Sprout, an important thinker in, and beyond the Atlantic realist tradition, to a large conference at the London School of Economics on May 5-6 on "Women in International Thought," with keynotes from Glenda Sluga and Barbara Savage.

Thomas Turley continues his research on the origins of the secularist theories of the early fourteenth-century political writer Marsilius of Padua. He is currently working on an article exploring the inadvertent inspiration the works of contemporary defenders of papal political authority provided, particularly their manipulation of the traditional historical sources on church order and practice.

Political cartoons of the long gilded age and progressive era

Nancy Unger has published several works and given several talks in diverse areas since the last edition of Primary Sources.

Her article “Russel Nye and the Unending Struggle to Keep Government Representative” was published in Middle West Review 8, no. 1 (Fall 2021): 145-150.  It was part of a symposium to which Nancy contributed that evaluated Russell Nye’s Midwestern Progressive Politics: A Historical Study of Its Origins and Development, 1870-1950, a book that was considered groundbreaking in the field of Progressive Era history sixty years ago. To see her article, go to this website and click on “download.”

Nancy contributed—on International Women’s Day, March 8—a timely piece on “How Women’s Leadership Has Uniquely Shaped the Environmental Movement” in the New Security Beat, the blog of the Environmental Change and Security Program of the influential Wilson Center. 

This piece followed two presentations: “Political Cartoons of the Long Gilded Age and Progressive Era,” presented as a member of a panel on Gilded Age art and culture for the United States Capitol Historical Society on November 9, 2021, Gilded Age Symposium: American Arts and Culture; and “Long Journey to Stonewall: An Illustrated History of LGBTQ America,” a Continuing Education presentation to the San Luis Obispo Women Lawyers Association, on March 2, 2022. Nancy was also featured in a piece by Jessica Pearce Rotundi, “Why Did the Gilded Age End?”, The History Channel, January 18, 2022.

Greg Wigmore has been preparing a paper, "Slavery and Power in Upper Canada," to be presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Historical Association on May 16.  More information to follow in the next Primary Sources.