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Department of History Celebrates Student Achievements at Annual Awards Ceremony

Graduate Student News - June 13, 2017

The Department of History celebrated the recipients of almost $200,000 in departmental scholarships and prizes at its annual awards ceremony held on May 10, 2017. Twenty-nine undergraduate and four graduate students were recognized for their scholarship, teaching and service to the field. The event is one of the highlights of the departmental calendar and showcases both student achievement and the generous support of donors.

Read more about the honorees below.

The Pressly Prize for Excellence in Secondary Education

The Pressly Prize, named after University of Washington emeritus professor of History Thomas Pressly and his wife, Cameron, recognizes outstanding teaching of history at the high school level in the state of Washington. In order to award this prize, each year the Department of History solicits nominations from undergraduate and graduate students, who submit short essays describing the talents of their favorite high school history teacher. The Director of Undergraduate Studies then interviews principals at the schools where finalists for the prize teach. This year the Undergraduate Studies Committee selected Sarah Fisher of Central Kitsap High School for the award.

Fisher teaches a variety of classes, including Social Studies, Advanced Placement World History, Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Advanced Placement Comparative Government. She received her BA in History from the University of Washington.

Current history major Benjamin Green told the Committee that Ms. Fisher “loves teaching and she loves her students – and this admiration is reciprocated in her students' love for her and her classroom.”

An aspiring teacher herself, UW student and history minor Sarah Maxwell wrote that “Ms. Fisher’s commitment towards educating her students on important world issues in her AP World History class and inspiring them to be informed about the world’s various systems of government in her AP Government class results in students who are willing and able to actively engage in the world they live in… She wholly believes that knowledge is power as she encourages her students to understand cultural and political spheres different than their own.”

Undergraduate Awards

Dr. Frances K. Millican Fund for Undergraduate Research Projects in History

This fund supports multiple stipends to undergraduate history majors interested in pursuing multi-quarter, sustained, and in-depth research and writing projects. It is intended to help defray the costs of such expenses as traveling to conduct research in archival collections, photocopying documentary materials, and making copies of illustrations for projects.

This year, Kathe Tallmadge received funds to cover travel expenses associated with her attendance at the Twelfth Annual Northwest Undergraduate Conference on the Ancient World. Held in April at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, Tallmadge presented a paper entitled “Emperor Nero and the Inversion of Social Order through Dining.” She was accompanied by her faculty mentor, Dr. Mira Green.

Bicknell Fund for Academic Travel

Established by Professor Emeritus Daniel C. Waugh, this fund provides travel aid for students who intend to study the languages and cultures of Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Near and Middle East, and North Africa.

This year Cleone Abrams received the award to support her upcoming study with the Comparative History of Ideas program in Prague, Czech Republic.

Filerotas Fotas Award for Study at Cardiff University

This award is presented to a student or students accepted to study at Cardiff University in the capitol of Wales, UK. The scholarship alternates each academic year between inbound & outbound students.

This year Tamara Major, Benjamin Reid, and Olivia Zoe Scuderi received the award. They will be studying in Cardiff during Autumn 2017.

Denison-Kernaghan Endowed Scholarship

This award celebrates a friendship of more than 20 years between Mark Kernaghan and Virginia Brandeberry Denison. It is the donor's hope that this endowment fund will be an enduring legacy to help students gain rich experiences through their education.

This year’s recipient is Eleanor Kahn.

Meder-Montgomery Family Endowed Student Support Fund in History

This award was established by Marilyn Montgomery, an alumnus of the UW Department of History, to be used to support undergraduate history majors and their studies.

Grazyna Rae Utterback is this year’s recipient.

Bryan Phillips Scholarship

This scholarship is offered in memory of Bryan Phillips, a student who died in March 2001 of complications from muscular dystrophy after having received his History degree from the University of Washington. Established by his parents, this award provides up to three quarters of resident or non-resident tuition.

This year’s recipient is Cameron Snyder.

Otis Pease Scholarship

The Otis Pease Scholarship is named after longtime UW History professor Otis Pease. It supports the activities of undergraduate history majors with an interest in US history.

This year’s recipient is Olivia Zoe Scuderi.

E.J. Roberts Scholarship

This scholarship is intended to engage history majors in research opportunities.

This year’s recipients are Griffin Hoo and Hannah Steinman.

Faye Wilson Award

The Faye Wilson scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Faye Wilson, who directed that a portion of her estate be used by the University of Washington Department of History to assist outstanding undergraduates with tuition costs. It is awarded on the basis of academic excellence, among other criteria.

This year’s recipients are Cheyenne Huffman, Morgan Lantz, Andrea Lewis, Kathryn Placer, Cameron Snyder and Arthur Walker.

Schwartz Award

The Schwartz scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Maurice and Lois Schwartz, who endowed a scholarship fund in 1977 to support the study of non-western history at the University of Washington. It is awarded on the basis of academic excellence and commitment to the study of non-western history.

This year’s recipients are Olivia Corti, Zhiqin Gao and Hannah Russ.

Corkery Scholarship

The Corkery Scholarship is made possible through the generosity of donors who wished to support undergraduate history majors with an interest in ancient history.

This year’s recipients are Sarah Barsion and Tamara Major.

Sleizer Award

The Sleizer scholarship was made possible by the generosity of Herman and Rose Sleizer, who endowed a fund in 1989 in honor of their late son, Larry Lee Sleizer. It is awarded on the basis of academic excellence and commitment to the study of history.

This years recipients are Cleone Abrams, Lucas Audette, Sarah Barsion, Jesse Brown, Britt Carlson, Olivia Corti, Nicole Engelhardt, Rachel Jecker, Eleanor Kahn, Jonathan Pry, Hannah Russ, Olivia Scuderi, Kathe Tallmadge, Grazyna Rae Utterback, Alexander Van De Poel, and Arthur Walker

Freedman Remak Award

This scholarship, named for Nancy Freedman and Ben Remak, both of whom are here today, was created to support history majors who face the high costs of non-resident tuition. Nancy Freedman herself had been an out-of-state student at the University and knows first-hand the financial burden such students face. At a time when non-resident tuition runs in excess of $33,000, I think it is safe to say this fund is more valuable than ever. The scholarship is awarded on the basis of non‐resident status and academic excellence.

This year’s recipients are Cleone Abrams and Arthur Walker.

Power Prize

This award, named in memory of a former history major at the University of Washington, is given to undergraduates who have produced truly outstanding research papers in a University of Washington History course.

This year it is awarded to the the following students: Hannah Russ (first place) -- “’It Must be Odd to be a Minority’: Multiracial Japanese Americans, Racial Segregation, and the U.S. Empire”

Gordon Shelton-Jenck (honorable mention) -- “’It’s Time for Teacher’s Lib!’ Washington’s Teachers at the Crossroads of Gender and Class Struggles”

Power Prize for Outstanding Graduating Senior

This award is named in memory of the same former history major at the University of Washington, and it recognizes the outstanding work of undergraduates who are completing the major in our Department and graduating this year.

This years recipients are Kelsie Haakenson and Isabel Martin.

An extraordinary student, Haakenson has a 3.98 History GPA. She has excelled in her coursework and thrived in the History Honors program, where she completed a superb thesis on the formidable topic of the political uses of World War II memory in French debates about the Algerian War, focusing specifically on the writings and speeches of intellectuals Jacques Soustelle and Jean-Paul Sartre. Her Honors faculty mentor, Professor Ray Jonas, described her thesis as “rich both in sources and in analysis, a combination that one might expect to encounter in an advanced graduate research seminar or even a professional conference. Her work is that good.” The Departement also nominated Haakenson to be Dean’s Medalist for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Martin is a student of tremendous intellectual ability and unwavering commitment to the department and the university. She earned Honors in History with a 3.87 history GPA and completed a fascinating project exploring the cultural history of blackwork embroidery on Tudor undergarments. Her research mentor, Dr. Charity Urbanski, stated that Isabel “required minimal oversight, and is one of those rare, self-directed students who possess a clear sense of their own research interests and an exceptional level of personal accountability.” Further, in the classroom she stands out “among my students for her level of preparation, and her exceptional contributions to class discussions. She regularly asks perceptive questions and offers thoughtful analysis.” Martin was also the Department’s nominee to be the College of Arts & Sciences Banner Carrier at graduation.

Friends of History Prize for Outstanding Student Leader

Given to a graduating History major or a History graduate student, this award recognizes her or his outstanding work to integrate the study of history with community and public engagement. As such, it builds on the department's sense that many of our students are drawing on their studies to do important work beyond the classroom.

Gordon Shelton-Jenck received this year’s award. Shelton-Jenck is a History major with minors in Germanics and Labor Studies. Gordon has distinguished himself as a leader in research and activism related to labor rights and history. His Honors in History thesis, already announced as Honorable Mention for the Power Paper Prize, was described by his thesis advisor, Professor Jim Gregory, as “excellent.”

The instructor for his Honors in History seminar, Professor Ileana Rodriguez-Silva, has said that “Gordon is just bright, with an unstoppable inquisitive mind, and with a keen sense about the workings of power. He has all the right academic skills--writing, research, analysis, diligence, initiative, self-direction--but it is his critical stance and serious commitment to social justice in his approach [that] always got me smiling in satisfaction. I was also impressed by his collaborative spirit in seminar. He is well read and always on top of workload but in class he was deeply interested in dialogue and thinking out loud with others in the group in a way that made it a [true] learning community.” Gordon has brought this spirit of knowledge seeking and team building to his work with United Students Against Sweatshops and to his internship with Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.

Graduate Awards

Thomas M. Power Endowed Prize Fund for Excellence in History

This year’s Winner of the Graduate Power Paper Prize is Adrian Kane. Kane’s paper is entitled “Atrocities Brought to Light:  Sex, Space and State Power in the British Empire, 1858-1885.” This thoroughly researched and theoretically sophisticated paper was the immediate and enthusiastic choice of the Power Prize judges.  In it, Kane examines state attitudes towards the policing of queer or gender variant sexuality in the British Empire of the late 19th century. This outstanding paper brings together recent scholarship on Victorian sexuality, the relations between center and metropole, and the state regulation of space in fruitful and fascinating ways.

Our Power Prize for honorable mention graduate paper goes to Jorge Bayona, for his paper entitled, “Subaltern conquest by proxy: possibilities and limitations in Southeast Asia (Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies, 1904-1905).” This fascinating study deepens our understanding of the inner workings of colonialism and, specifically, the deliberate and self-interested role played by native elites in the extension of imperial rule.  Through a thorough examination of the native press in the Philippines and in the Dutch-ruled East Indies, Jorge Bayona traces the process by which elites in both areas, seemingly paradoxically, worked in support of the ongoing conquests of their American and European colonizers, advocating the forceful repression of, for example, moritos in the southern reaches of the Philippines or rebellious subjects in the Sulawesi island Kingdom of Bone.

Power Prize for Outstanding Teaching Assistant in the Department of History

Josue Estrada is this year’s recipient of the Power Prize for an Outstanding Teaching Assistant in the Department of History. Showing his true strengths as a teaching assistant, Estrada was also nominated for this award last year. As John Findlay, one of the instructors for whom Estrada served as a teaching assistant stated, “Josue was wonderfully supportive in my History of American Citizenship course this fall. He was reliable, effective in the classroom, spot-on with grading. But what particularly stands out to me is his offering to assist the other TA... I commented on his generosity and collegiality, while Josue stayed silent when thinking about his own load of studies, exams and family. ‘I try to help out when I can,’ he said with typical modesty. Josue is a remarkable person who contributes to the department in multiple ways. I have been fortunate to have him assigned to my Citizenship course twice, and it was wonderful twice. I am contemplating how to put up roadblocks to his dissertation so that we can keep him around indefinitely!”

Burke Prize

This award is named after former Pacific Northwest historian and University of Washington Department of History faculty member, Robert Burke. The prize is given to the graduate student deemed to have amassed the most meritorious record during the year he or she completes the MA in US history. This year we are very pleased to award this prize to Joshua Polansky. Polansky completed his MA in American history with John Findlay and Sasha Harmon, focusing on his interest in the territorial period of Oregon Country and the transformation of indigenous homelands into American property. He wrote his seminar paper on white and Native expectations during treaty negotiations in mid-nineteenth century Washington territory. His chair, John described him as “a good and thoughtful student, who has done well in courses and is a strong departmental citizen.” Polansky pursued his M.A. while working full- time as the Director of the Visual Resources Collection for the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments. His duties have recently been expanded to include supervising student services in that College.

UW Grad Student Teaches in Washington’s University Beyond Bars Program

Graduate Student News - March 26, 2016

At the Monroe Correctional Complex, PhD Candidate Katja Schatte has been teaching world history as part of the University Beyond Bars program. With this program, students from Monroe’s Correctional facility can pursue degrees in history and look toward a more secure future. According to recent studies, participants in these education programs are 43 percent less likely to reoffend. Katja Schatte’s courses tackles issues ranging from criminal justice reform to the Black Lives Matter movement to the need for educational reform. The Associated Press did an article on the University Beyond Bars Program. In the article, Schatte was quoted saying “People should be thinking about how do we keep people out of prisons in the first place and education is the answer.” For more on this innovative program, follow this link to the original article from the Associated Press: University Beyond Bars.

Read more about Katja Schatte

New book by graduate student Ross Coen on history of Japan's balloon bomb attack on America

Graduate Student News - October 18, 2014

Congratulations to UW History graduate student Ross Coen, whose new book Fu-Go: The Curious History of Japan's Balloon Bomb Attack on America has just be published by University of Nebraska Press.

The timing of Ross's book is impeccable: earlier this month, one of these Japanese balloons (with intact bomb) was found in rural British Columbia. This was the first discovery anywhere in North America since the 1960s.

Ross's book is published as part of the "Studies in War, Society, and the Military Series," edited by Peter Maslowski, David Graff, and Reina Pennington. Below is the publisher's description of Fu-Go:

Near the end of World War II, in an attempt to attack the United States mainland, Japan launched its fu-go campaign, deploying thousands of high-altitude hydrogen balloons armed with incendiary and high-explosive bombs designed to follow the westerly winds of the upper atmosphere and drift to the west coast of North America. After reaching the mainland, these fu-go, the Japanese hoped, would terrorize American citizens and ignite devastating forest fires across the western states, ultimately causing the United States to divert wartime resources to deal with the domestic crisis. While the fu-go offensive proved to be a complete tactical failure, six Americans lost their lives when a discovered balloon exploded.

Ross Coen provides a fascinating look into the obscure history of the fu-go campaign, from the Japanese schoolgirls who manufactured the balloons by hand to the generals in the U.S. War Department who developed defense procedures. The book delves into panic, propaganda, and media censorship in wartime. Fu-go is a compelling story of a little-known episode in our national history that unfolded virtually unseen.

As a graduate student in the Department of History, Coen specializes in the History of the American West, Environmental History, History of Science and Technology, and U.S. Political History. His previous book, Breaking Ice for Arctic Oil: The Epic Voyage of the SS Manhattan through the Northwest Passage was published by the University of Alaska Press in 2012.

Read more about Ross Coen

New History Dissertations Completed in 2013-2014

Graduate Student News - May 20, 2014

The Department of History is proud to congratulate those who have completed their doctoral dissertations in the past year. Our graduate students research is diverse in both time period and geographic focus. The graduate students listed below completed their doctoral thesis defense between Summer 2013 and Spring 2014. Find out more about our current graduate students and additional recent dissertations.

Recent Dissertations (Summer 2013 - Spring 2014)

Chong Eun Ahn, From Chaoxian ren to Chaoxian zu: Korean Identity under the Japanese Empire and Chinese Nation-State, Chair: Madeleine Dong

Joseph Bernardo, From ‘Little Brown Brothers’ to ‘Forgotten Asian Americans’:  Race, Space, and Empire in Filipino Los Angeles, Chair: Moon-Ho Jung

Xi Chen, The Making of John B. Gough (1817-1886): Temperance Celebrity, Evangelical Pageantry, and the Conservatism of Popular Reform in Victorian Society, Chair: William Rorabaugh

Jeong Won Hyun, Gift Exchange among States in East Asia during the Eleventh Century, Chair: Patricia Ebrey

Jessie Kindig, PhD, after passing her dissertation defense. With her are members of her dissertation committee: Moon-Ho Jung, James Gregory, and Vincente RafaelJessie Kindig, War for Peace: Race, Empire and the Korean War, Chairs: James Gregory and Moon-Ho Jung

Devon McCurdy, Upstream Influence: The Economy, the State, and Oregon's Landscape, 1860-2000, Chair: John Findlay

Monica Meadows, The Horse: Conspicuous Consumption of Embodied Masculinity in South Asia, 1600-1850, Chair: Joel Walker

Marty Manor Mullins, Slovakia’s Second City in Times of Turbulence: Košice and its Hungarians, Eastern Rite Catholics and Steelworkers in 1948, 1968, and 1989, Chair: James Felak

Nathan Roberts, U.S. Forestry in the Philippines: Environment, Nationhood, and Empire, 1900-1937, Chair: Linda Nash

Congratulations to History Graduate Student Mira Green

Graduate Student News - January 13, 2014

Congratulations to UW History Department graduate student Mira Green who recently received two national awards at the American Philological Association General Meetings in Chicago for her paper, "Witnesses and Participants in the Shadows: The Sexual Lives of Enslaved Women and Boys in Ancient Rome."  The awards are the Lambda Classical Caucus 2014 Best Graduate Paper and the Women's Classical Caucus Best Paper (Pre-PhD) in Women's and Gender Studies in Antiquity.

Read more about F. Mira Green

Congratulations to History Graduate Student Micaela Campbell

Graduate Student News - September 18, 2013

Congratulations to History graduate student Micaela Campbell, who was awarded a Fulbright-Hays grant for her research in Java, Indonesia. She is also the receipient of a Blakemore Advanced Language Study grant and plans to leave this month to begin that work. The Fulbright allows her additional time in Java and, significantly, at least 3 months in Holland for archival research.

Jessie Kindig selected as the Alvord Fellow in the Humanities for 2013-14

Graduate Student News - July 5, 2013

Jessie Kindig (U.S. History) was selected as the Alvord Fellow in the Humanities for 2013-14. The Alvord Fellowship is the University of Washington College of Arts & Sciences's most prestigious graduate student award in the Humanities.

Maria Quintana receives a 2013 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

Graduate Student News - July 5, 2013

Maria Quintana received a 2013 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for her dissertation Be Our Guest (Worker): Making Meaning out of Race, Labor and Empire during the U.S. Emergency Labor Programs, 1942-1964. The Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship is one of the most competitive dissertation fellowship competitions in the country, selecting only the top 5% of applicants to become Fellows.

Antony Adler awarded a Dissertation Improvement Grant from the NSF

Graduate Student News - July 5, 2013

Antony Adler is the recipient of a highly competitive Dissertation Improvement Grant from theNational Science Foundation (NSF) for his project, "The Ocean Laboratory." Tony's dissertation looks at the development of ship-based oceanographic research in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with special attention to the problems of representing the results of research at sea as analogous to work in laboratories on land, and to the role of science in defining a Pacific World. Tony is also the winner of the American Geophysical Union's annual prize for dissertations in the history of geophysics.

Roneva Keel awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship

Graduate Student News - July 5, 2013

Roneva Keel was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship from the Southeast Asia Center of the Jackson School of International Studies to study Tagalog and pursue coursework in Southeast Asian area studies.

Stefan Kamola accepts three-year post-doc with Princeton Society of Fellows

Graduate Student News - July 5, 2013

Stefan Kamola has accepted a three-year post-doc with the Princeton Society of Fellows; and Allan Lumba has accepted a two-year Global American Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University's Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History.

New Course on Indiana Jones and Archaeology in the Mediterranean World Offered This Summer

News - June 12, 2017

This summer, PhD Candidate Arna Elezovic will be offering a new course HSTCMP 290 "Indiana Jones and Archaeology in the Mediterranean World." The course is Elezovic’s way of blending two of her favorite areas of study: the ancient Mediterranean world and modern Europe. Classes that cover two such disparate eras are few and far between, so this is a great opportunity to learn about each region and period in history.

How did Elezovic become interested in this topic? In her words, "I have family in Croatia and lived there for a time, where Roman ruins are everywhere. Plus, my first PhD field was on the history of archaeology, meaning I have read far too much theory! So designing this class was a fun project for me, because it is a series of case studies where I'm using an idea (from one scholar I admire) that material and archaeological remains are "archives of memory.'" 

Assignments for the course are quite varied and include: a 3-page book review essay, an exam, a 5-page essay with a historical fiction option, and a presentation with creative options. There will also be a visit with an Egyptologist/digital historian.

Elezovic’s own research is also quite interesting. It focuses on the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, who discovered a "lost" civilization on the island of Crete, which he dated from about 3,000-1,500 BCE and named after the mythical King Minos. Evans, who excavated at Knossos from 1900-1931, owned the land outright and reconstructed the site in 1920s Art Deco style. So using Evans's work as a frame or lens, Elezovic will “examine the idea of ‘imagined pasts.’” She also hopes to connect his more widely known career as an archaeologist with his lesser known work as a journalist in the Slavic Balkans.

As to the title of the course and its emphasis on the fictional figure of Indiana Jones, Elezovic explains that, “we'll be analyzing clips from the films to get at the themes of imperialism, appropriation of ancient past for Western European national agendas, and sometimes just outright theft or destruction of priceless cultural artifacts. In fact, the issue of whether or not Western European museums should return objects to their countries of origin remains a subject of heated debate.”

So, if a course that examines Antiquity, Empires, Artifacts, and Archaeologists sounds appealing, check out HSTCMP 290 this summer!

Image:  PhD Candidate Arna Elezovic on a recent visit to Croatia.

Faculty, Graduate Students Win Fellowships to Attend Digital Humanities Summer Institute

News - April 20, 2017

Held annually in early summer at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) is one of the most significant gatherings of digital humanists in the world. It brings together scholars from across more than a dozen disciplines to address the most pressing theoretical and practical issues facing the field. 

During a five-day period of intensive workshops, seminars, and lectures, participants share ideas and methods, and develop expertise in using advanced technologies. The Institute brings together faculty, staff, and students from the arts, humanities, library, and archives communities as well as independent scholars and participants from industry and government sectors. Eleanor Mahoney, a History graduate student who participated in the 2015 DHSI, called it a truly unique experience," citing both the diversity of participants and the breadth of courses offered. 

In 2017, two teams with History Department representation will attend. The groups won fellowships from the UW's Simpson Center for the Humanities, a sponsor of the Institute. Graduate students Madison Heslop, Taylor Soja, and Rachel Taylor applied with the goal of investigating "Digital Teaching in Environmental Humanities," while Professor Anand Yang, graduate student Jessica Bachman, and UW Reference Librarian/South Asian Studies librarian Deepa Banjeree will be focused on "Online Exhibit Building & Digital Archiving."

In addition, Roneva Keel, a History graduate student, will serve as the Simpson Center's representative at the event.   

History Major Awarded Bonderman Travel Fellowship

News - April 11, 2017

Brendan McGovern, a double major in History and Music (Jazz Studies) has been awarded a 2017 Bonderman Travel Fellowship. Bonderman Fellowships offer a unique opportunity for University of Washington graduate, professional, and undergraduate students to engage in independent exploration and travel abroad. Created in 1995 through a gift from David Bonderman, who earned his undergraduate degree in Russian from the University of Washington in 1963, the program aims to introduce students to cultures, peoples, and areas of the world with which they are not familiar.

According to the Bonderman program website, "Music has always been an integral part of Brendan’s life. Whether playing saxophone, clarinet, or flute in solitary meditation, or actively interacting with different musical communities, Brendan will use music as a guide during his Bonderman Fellowship. He seeks to understand its role in different societies, and how this is reflected in the cultures, religions, politics, and laws of each place he visits. Ultimately, he hopes that his journey will show him how music can promote positive social change and inspire people. Brendan’s travels will take him to Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil, Argentina, Ghana, South Africa, and Indonesia."


Excavating Seattle’s Past: 2016 History Lecture Series in Retrospect

News - March 26, 2016

Turning from the 2015 Lecture Series’ focus on the First World War, the 2016 History Lecture Series looked to the University’s immediate environs: Seattle. Drs. John Findlay, Quintard Taylor, Linda Nash, and James Gregory examined Seattle’s history through the lens of political, environmental, demographic, and radical history. Ranging from an introduction to the origins of Seattle’s founders to an examination of Seattle’s incredible growth, from its relatively homogenous early years to its increasingly diverse modern makeup, “Excavating Seattle’s Histories: People, Politics, Place” offered new perspectives on Seattle’s history. The Series challenged assumptions on what makes Seattle the city it is today and pointed to the many different possible futures. To watch videos of this year’s lectures, follow the link: History Lecture Series 2016.

Sarah Zaides named 2015-16 Newcombe Fellow

News - October 21, 2015

The department is proud to congratulate PhD candidate Sarah Zaides on being named a 2015-16 Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellow for her dissertation project "Tevye’s Ottoman Daughter: Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews in the Shatterzones of Empires, 1882-1923."

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in Religion & Ethics, granted by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, supports original and significant study of ethical and religious values, and is one of the most selective and prestigious national awards for doctoral reserach. This year Sarah was one of only 22 recipients of the fellowship, across the entire country and all the disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

Great job Sarah!

The Department Recognizes Glenna Roderick for Excellence in Secondary Education

News - October 13, 2015

The UW Department of History knows how to appreciate quality teaching—and with the help of our donors, we are happy to give it the recognition it deserves. At last spring’s History awards ceremony, the department was pleased to confer the Pressly Prize for Excellence in Secondary Education to Glenna Roderick of Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way. Named for University of Washington emeritus professor of History Thomas Pressly and his wife, Cameron, the prize is awarded annually to the outstanding teacher of history at the high school level in the state of Washington. 

The love of history runs deep in Washington, and this year’s group of candidates was very strong. But Glenna Roderick stood out from the crowd, helped along by the fact that no fewer than eight of her former students nominated her for the award. Ms. Roderick teaches AP US History and ASB Leadership at Todd Beamer High. In the past she has taught a variety of other topics as well, including Government, standard US History and Language Arts. According to her principal, Joni Hall, Ms. Roderick is "a fantastic teacher" who consistently shows herself to be deeply invested in every student’s learning. As a result, she has a large and devoted student following. Perhaps equally importantly, she has been instrumental in dramatically increasing the number of students taking AP US History and passing the AP US History exam at Todd Beamer, where the course recently went from being an opt-in course to an opt-out one for qualified students. 

Praise for Ms. Roderick is no less enthusiastic among her former students, many of whom credit her with instilling in them a love of history and providing them with the skills to thrive in college. According to one of her former students, Olivia Rao, "She taught us to be civically engaged and aware of the world around us. Coming from a school where it was not the norm to achieve scholastically, she made it all attainable as long as we worked hard... She is the reason I am succeeding in college today." Another student, Ula Jun, echoed these thoughts, noting that that Ms. Roderick remains her favorite teacher to this day, and adding that "Her ability to drive her students to excellence while also providing the utmost support and positivity has been unparalleled."

The department salutes Ms. Roderick for her dedication to her students and to the larger school community, and for her brilliance as a teacher of history. We are grateful for the many well-prepared and inspired students that she sends on to the University of Washington.

Congratulations to Cathleen Buzan for Harry W. Fritz Award!

News - October 13, 2015

The department was pleased to congratulate Cathleen Buzan, a recent History Honors graduate, for being presented with the Harry W. Fritz Award for Outstanding Paper of the 2015 Phi Alpha Theta Regional Meeting in Chelan. Her work, entitled "All the President’s Women: Barbara Hackman Franklin’s Womanpower in the Nixon White House, 1971-1973," was chosen as the best paper of the entire conference. Nearly 100 papers were submitted, by graduate students as well as undergraduates, so this was quite an accomplishment for Cathleen!

Sara Leonetti awarded UW President's Medal

News - May 20, 2015

The department congratulates history undergraduate Sara Leonetti, who was named as a 2015 recipient of the highly prestigious University of Washington's President's Medal.

This award recognizes the two graduating seniors who have achieved the most distinguished academic records at the university - one who earned the bulk of his or her degree at UW, and one who completed at UW after transferring from a Washington community college.

Leonetti is completing her undergraduate career with degrees in history and philosophy. Her love of history was invigorated by her experiences at UW. "Initially I was interested in journalism. But that first year I took a course on the history of the Medieval World, and that was the class that made me want to jump out of bed in the morning. As I started to focus more on a career in the law, it became clear that a history degree was the right choice for me. The skills I was learning in my history courses were great preparation for law school, and at the same time I could major in something I love."

Leonetti's enthusiasim for history has shone through in the leading role she has taken in departmental activities. This year she participated in the History Honors and the History Fellows programs, as well as serving as president of the UW chapter of the national Phi Alpha Theta honors society. 

Leonetti plans to take a year abroad to teach English in Asia, before starting law school in 2016. The department wishes her all the best!

UW History Student Selected for Fulbright Scholarship

News - May 15, 2015

The department is pleased to congratulate undergraduate Richard Ruoff, who was selected for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2015-16.

Richard is a student in the History and Near Eastern Studies departments. Coming off a year studying abroad at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Richard hoped to continue his language and cultural studies in the Anatolian heartland, far away from the cosmopolitan metropolis of Istanbul. In applying to the Fulbright Program, he sought to work in a newly-established university in a provincial locale, where he will be able to absorb the language in less urbanized and more traditional parts of Turkish society.

While Richard looks forward to living and learning in a region where English is virtually unknown, he also intends to help his host community take a step toward changing the status quo. Having accepted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistanceship, he looks forward to providing his future students with prolonged exposure and access to a native English speaker, which Richard knows can be a rare sight outside of Turkey's main tourist cities. He hopes it will be a relationship of great mutual benefit

Richard's work in Turkey will prepare him to continue his education in a graduate program specializing in Ottoman studies, laying the foundation for a successful career in academia.

Read more about Richard's experiences in Turkey here, and more about the award here.

James Gregory wins Barclay Simpson Prize

News - April 27, 2015

The department congratulates professor James Gregory for winning the inaugural Barclay Simpson Prize for Scholarship in Public! 

This prize, awarded by the University of Washington's Simpson Center for the Humanities, honors one of Barclay Simpson's key convictions: to foster scholarship in the humanities as a public good. Gregory received the award in recognition of his tremendous work establishing and developing the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project and the Labor Archives of Washington. 

For more information, see:


Conference Honoring the Work of Stephanie Camp: May 7 & 8

News - April 17, 2015

The Department of History would like to announce a special event in memory of our esteemed colleague, Stephanie Camp. The conference, “Ever Closer to Freedom: The Work and Legacies of Stephanie M. H. Camp,” will take place on May 7th and 8th. The conference is co-organized by the UW Department of History, Edward E. Baptist (Cornell University), and Barbara Krauthamer (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). 

For more information, the event program and to RSVP see the conference page:


Quintard Taylor Named Washington State Jefferson Award Grand Winner

News - April 14, 2015

The Department of History congratulates Professor Quintard Taylor, chosen as grand winner among the five Washington State Jefferson Award recipients for 2015. Taylor will go on to represent Washington in the national competition later this year.

The Jefferson Awards, established in 1972, are among the most prestigious prizes awarded for public service in the United States. The award aims to recognize acts of volunteerism and public spirit which make our communities, our nation and our world better places to live.

Taylor was celebrated for his work establishing and developing the comprehensive African American and African history site, Launched in 2007, is designed to take the knowledge and resources of the university, and make them available on every computer screen. The site currently offers 10,000 pages of information, documents and resources, and draws an average of 20,000 users every day. 

For more information, see the Washington State Jefferson Awards website:



In Remembrance: Ivan Doig, 1939-2015

News - April 13, 2015

The department mourns the loss of Seattle author and UW history alumnus, Ivan Doig, who passed away April 9th.

Doig was best known for his award-winning novels set in the American West. One of the things that set his work apart was its deep grounding in historical research. This was no accident, for Doig augmented his natural skills with graduate training at the University of Washington, earning a Ph.D. in American history here in 1969. The author would go on to put this education to good use, displaying a rare capacity to interweave fictional characters and plotlines with a meticulous respect for the realities of the past.

Ivan Doig will be missed by many friends in the department and at the university, as well as by his countless avid readers around the world.

Please see here his obituary from the Seattle Times

Department Announces Three New Faculty Members

News - March 28, 2015

The Department of History is pleased to announce three new faculty members for the 2015-2016 academic year. Please join us in welcoming these three distinguished scholars to the department!

Josh Reid will take up the position of associate professor of Native American history of the Pacific Northwest. Born and raised in Washington State, Reid is currently assistant professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He also directs the university’s program in Native American and indigenous studies. His first monograph, The Sea Is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs, will be released this spring. He currently sits on the editorial advisory board of Pacific Northwest Quarterly and on the American Historical Association Council.



Matthew Mosca has accepted the position of assistant professor specializing in the history of Imperial China. Matthew Mosca is currently assistant professor of Chinese history at the College of William & Mary. He previously held research fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Hong Kong, and the Institute for Advanced Study. His first book, From Frontier Policy to Foreign Policy: The Question of India and the Transformation of Geopolitics in Qing China, was published in 2013.



Daniel Sheffield will be joining the department as assistant professor for the history of the Islamic world before 1850. He is currently a Link-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Princeton University Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. He received a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from Harvard University in 2012. He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Cosmopolitan Zarathustras: Religion, Translation, and Prophethood in Iran and South Asia. He also maintains a robust online presence at




Life Outside the Ivied Walls: History Alumni Return to Share Their Experiences

News - February 10, 2015

On Tuesday, February 10th, the department was proud to welcome back several past MA and PhD recipients for a workshop on the topic of “Careers Outside Academia.” Organized by professor Jordanna Bailkin as part of the department’s professionalization program for graduate students, the workshop featured three UW History graduate alumni: Sarah Lindsley, with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Matthew Ouimet, with the U.S. State Department, and Kayla Schott-Bresler, with the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle.

The gathering highlighted what many UW history graduates have long known: that academia is only one of many ways to make a living—and to make an impact in the world—with a degree in history. The panel showcased the accomplishments and diverse career paths achieved by the department’s former graduate students. Now these lessons are being passed on to a new generation of UW history students. The nearly twenty graduate students who attended were not only introduced to the range of career options available to them, but they also received practical advice about preparing for a job search in the public or private sector, developing a professional network, and using the university’s resources to expand one’s employment options.  

The Department of History believes in helping its graduate students thrive in a variety of professional contexts. The development of programs to further this goal represents an ongoing commitment. “The department can still do more in terms of supporting students in multiple career paths,” said Dr. Bailkin, “but the panel provided a useful starting point for students who are exploring ways to use their extensive research and teaching skills in more than one venue.”


Read more about Jordanna Bailkin

Fall 2014 History Lecture Series, "The Great War and the Modern World" Begins Nov 5th

News - September 12, 2014

To mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, the History Lecture Series returns this fall with presentations by four of our own faculty members on the topic “1914: The Great War and the Modern World.” The lectures will consider themes of domination, integration, and betrayal, the transition from empires to nation-states, the tension between “home fronts” and “battle fronts,” and the impact of the Great War on European intellectual traditions.

The lectures will be presented on Wednesdays, 7– 8:30pm, in Kane Hall 130 beginning on November 5, 2014 to coincide with Veterans Appreciation Week (November 3-11, 2014).

Fall 2014 Lecture Series Schedule

November 5, 2014, Raymond Jonas: Domination, Integration, and Betrayal

November 12, 2014, Devin Naar: From Empires to Nation-States

November 19, 2014, Jordanna Bailkin: Home Fronts and Battle Fronts

December 3, 2014, John Toews: Cultural Death and Radical Hope


For more information on the lecture topics, presenters, and to purchase tickets, please visit:


Read more about Raymond Jonas, Devin E. Naar, Jordanna Bailkin, John Toews

Two New Faculty Searches

News - September 9, 2014

We are pleased to announce that in 2014-15 we are conducting searches for two tenure-track assistant professors. Both positions are full-time, nine-month appointments and will begin September 2015.

The first position is in the History of the Islamic World before 1850. The second position is a joint appointment between the Department of History and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies in the History of Late Imperial China (1300-1864).

Applicants should have the Ph.D. degree or foreign equivalent by the start of the appointment. Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled, but preference will be given to applications received by November 1, 2014.

For more information or to apply, please visit

History Student Kathleen Noll Named 2014 Dean's Medalist in Social Sciences

News - June 27, 2014

Kathleen Noll, who recently completed her Bachelor's degree at the UW with a double major in History and Classics, has been named the 2014 Dean's Medalist in the Social Sciences. During her undergraduate career, Noll studied Latin, Modern French, Old French, Occitan, and German while focusing on Medieval History and Classical Studies. She completed two undergraduate thesis projects. History Professor Charity Urbanski, who oversaw Noll's history thesis, called Noll "one of the most driven and advanced undergraduates I have ever had the pleasure to teach, while remaining completely unpretentious and generous toward others.” Noll will continue her Medieval studies as a PhD student at Northwestern in the Autumn. Click here to the full article, featured in Perspectives newsletter.

Photo by Isaiah Brookshire.

History Department Celebrates Excellence, Awards $200,000 in Scholarships and Prizes

News - May 15, 2014

The Department of History celebrated the recipients of almost $200,000 in departmental scholarships and prizes at our annual awards ceremony on May 15th. Department Chair Lynn Thomas, welcomed attendees to what she described as “one of the true highlights of our departmental calendar” by acknowledging the family members and friends who have supported and nurtured our awardees over the years, as well as the generous donors that make the awards possible.

In supporting undergraduate and graduate study of history, these awards enable students to engage their deep curiosity about the world and to gain a fuller understanding of the diversity and ever-shifting nature of human existence. As historians we recognize that by studying the past, we gain knowledge and skills that contribute to a better future. Professor Thomas reflected, “Historical study teaches us to critically analyze diverse perspectives and sources, and to communicate – in both speech and print – our analyses in an effective and compelling manner.  Such skills are vitally needed in our increasingly inter-connected and complex world, and in our ever-changing workplaces.  Simply put, history makes us better thinkers, writers, and communicators.”

Director of Undergraduate Studies Professor Adam Warren, a specialist in Latin American history and chair of the committee that selected award winners, presented the awards for undergraduate students as well as an outstanding Washington high school history teacher.

The Pressly Prize for Excellence in Secondary Education

Pam Spitzer Olson (center), winner of the Pressly Prize for Excellence in Secondary Education with Principal James Hester (left) and UW History Professor Adam Warren (right).The Pressly Prize, named after University of Washington emeritus professor of History Thomas Pressly and his wife, Cameron, recognizes outstanding teaching of history at the high school level in the state of Washington. This year this prize was awarded to Pam Spitzer Olson, who has taught history and government at Washington High School in Tacoma for over thirty years. She was nominated by her former student, UW History major Sarah Kendall, who noted her dedication to the students in her district who face poverty and other hardships, despite having the opportunity to leave for wealthier school districts. Her principal and former student, James Hester, describes her as a brilliant teacher and a "warm demander," someone who is tough but widely loved, known for very high standards but also for her warmth, compassion, and caring. He praises credits her as being instrumental in recent successes the school has had with achieving higher graduation rates and higher reading levels than many of the wealthier schools in the Tacoma area, and receiving this year an award for progress from the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The University of Washington History Department is grateful for Ms. Olson’s commitment to teaching history at the secondary level and for sending her students our way.

Undergraduate Awards

Dr. Frances K. Millican Fund for Undergraduate Research Projects in History

This fund supports multiple stipends to undergraduate history majors interested in pursuing multi-quarter, sustained, and in-depth research and writing projects. It is intended to help defray the costs of such expenses as traveling to conduct research in archival collections, photocopying documentary materials, and making copies of illustrations for projects. This year research funds were awarded to Stephanie Jackson to cover travel to the Philadelphia Historical Society for research on an honors thesis on Acadian populations in Pennsylvania and to Tom Parkin to cover travel to University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, for research on an honors thesis entitled “The politics of evangelization, idolatry, and resistance among indigenous peoples and Spanish friars in seventeenth-century New Mexico.”

Bicknell Fund for Academic Travel

Established by Professor Emeritus Daniel C. Waugh, this fund provides travel aid for students who intend to study the languages and cultures of Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Near and Middle East, and North Africa. This year’s Bicknell funds were awarded to Kelsie Haakenson, to fund travel to Nantes, France; to Richard Ruoff, to travel to Istanbul, Turkey; and to Sierra Van Burkleo, to travel to Sochi, Russia.

Merrell "Head of Logos" International Study Grant

This award was created by Douglass Merrell, an alumnus of the UW Department of History, to help support students to study abroad on UW or affiliated programs. This year’s international study grants were awarded to Todd Albertson, to fund travel to Norway, and to Amanda Sendele, to fund travel to Iceland.

Denison-Kernaghan Textbook Scholarship

This award celebrates a friendship of more than 20 years between Mark Kernaghan and Virginia Brandeberry Denison. It is the donor's hope that this endowment fund will be an enduring legacy to help students gain rich experiences through their education. Nicole Dodge, Georgia Gilbert, and Zachariah Jett were all awarded Denison-Kernaghan textbook scholarships this year.

Meder-Montgomery Textbook Scholarship

This award was established by Marilyn Montgomery, an alumnus of the UW Department of History, to be used to support undergraduate history majors and their studies. Nora Gunning and Charles Parfet were awarded Meder-Montgomery textbook scholarships this year.

Faye Wilson Award

The Faye Wilson scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Faye Wilson, who directed that a portion of her estate be used by the University of Washington History Department to assist outstanding undergraduates with tuition costs. It is awarded on the basis of academic excellence, among other criteria. The outstanding undergraduate history majors who were awarded Faye Wilson Awards this year are: Max Churaisin, Sara Leonetti, Mayra Mendoza, Anna Nguyen, and Eleanor Young.

Schwartz Award

The Schwartz scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Maurice and Lois Schwartz, who endowed a scholarship fund in 1977 to support the study of non-western history at the University of Washington. It is awarded on the basis of academic excellence and commitment to the study of non-western history. This year’s award recipients are: Kelsie Haakenson, Sarah Johnson, Annmarie Morro, and Richard Ruoff.

Sleizer Award

The Sleizer scholarship was made possible by the generosity of Herman and Rose Sleizer, who endowed a fund in 1989 in honor of their late son, Larry Lee Sleizer. It is awarded on the basis of academic excellence and commitment to the study of history. This year’s awardees are: Dustin Abrahamson, Ruth Apahidean, Rebecca Flores, Georgia Gilbert, Kelsie Haakenson, Jim Maddock, Molly Malone, Annmarie Morro, Michael Moynihan, Josie Rollins, Richard Ruoff, Rhoya Selden, Lindsay Swick, Ericka Van Horne, and Lauren Wong.

Freedman Remak Award

This scholarship, named for Nancy Freedman and Ben Remak, was created to support history majors who face the high costs of out‐of‐state tuition. Nancy Freedman herself had been an out-of-state student at the University and knows first-hand the financial burden such students face. The scholarship is awarded on the basis of non‐resident status and academic excellence. This year Allison Roth and Cathleen Buzan received Freedman Remak awards.

Power Prize

This award, named in memory of a former history major at the University of Washington, is given to undergraduates who have produced truly outstanding research papers in a University of Washington History course. It includes a cash award in the amount of $750/$375. Ericka Van Horne was this year’s Power Prize winner for her essay, "An Examination of Widows' Status within the Orphan Chamber of New Amsterdam." Richard Ruoff received an honorable mention for his paper, "From the Alexiad to Akropolites: The Evolving Byzantine Perspective on the Struggle for Anatolia."

Power Prize for Outstanding Graduating Senior

This award is named in memory of the same former history major at the University of Washington, and it recognizes the outstanding work of undergraduates who are completing the major in our Department and graduating this year. It carries a cash award in the amount of $500. This year’s co-winners are Kathleen Noll and Kayhan Nejad.

Ms. Noll will graduate with a double major in History and Classics. She has completed the honors programs in both majors and completed an exemplary senior thesis in medieval history. In addition to excelling in numerous history courses, Kathleen has gained proficiency in French and Latin and has begun studying German, Old French, and Occitan. She has been a model citizen in the History Department, serving as a member of Phi Alpha Theta and participating in many events. She has been accepted for graduate study in medieval history at Northwestern University.

Mr. Nejad's work is likewise nothing short of amazing. He is keenly interested in Middle Eastern and Near Eastern history, especially the history of contact and interaction between imperial Russia and Qajar Iran. He has studied Persian, Arabic, and Kazak. In addition to these specific interests, he has taken a wide range of courses, including graduate courses, and read voraciously on the histories of many other parts of the world. Like Ms. Noll, Mr. Nejad will also graduate with honors in History. He will begin graduate study in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge next fall.

Graduate Awards

Director of Graduate Studies Margaret O’Mara presented the awards for History graduate students.

Power Paper Prize - Graduate

The Thomas Power Prize is given to a graduate research paper written during the 2013–2014 academic year or spring quarter 2013. First prize carries an award of $750; honorable mention carries $375. This year’s winner is Patrick Lozar, for his paper, “ ‘And the line may be said to cut the tribe in two’: Indigenous Plateau People and the US-Canadian Border, 1870s-1890s.” Additionally, two honorable mentions were awarded to Britta Anson, for her paper “The Heterotopic Union-Castle Steamship: Conducting the Conduct of South African Settlement, 1871-1902,” and to Rachel Taylor, for her paper, “The Bureaucratic Tipping Point: The Bonneville Power Administration and the Northwest Power Act of 1980.”

York-Mason Award

This award is given to the best graduate research paper or project on a topic in the History of African Americans in the American West. The winner receives a $1000 cash prize. The York-Mason award is named in honor of two African Americans, both of whom contributed significantly to the History of the American West. York (c. 1770 – c. 1832), the slave of Captain William Clark, accompanied Lewis and Clark in 1804-06 as they became the first United States explorers to journey overland from St. Louis to the Pacific coast. He served as a hunter, explorer, trader and scout, and frequently bartered with Native Americans for the expedition’s food and supplies and voted on crucial decisions such as the site of the winter camp when the party reached the Pacific Ocean. 

Bridget “Biddy” Mason (born August 1818), was a single mother of three daughters who arrived in one of the earliest groups of Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake Valley.  The slave of Robert Marion Smith, Mason was responsible for herding the livestock of the Smith-led emigrant part from Mississippi to Utah.  Four years later Smith brought Mason and her family to settle in San Bernardino, California.  Here Mason began a four-year campaign to gain freedom for herself and her family. Supported by local abolitionists, Mason’s petition for freedom was heard by Los Angeles District Court Judge Benjamin Hayes who ruled in her favor in January, 1856.  Ten years later Mason purchased a family homestead between Spring Street and Broadway (in what is now downtown Los Angeles).  The value of her property grew with the population of the young city and Mason became wealthy by the 1880s.  In 1872 she founded First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest African American church in the city, and by the 1880s established one of the first homes for orphans and deserted children. 

This year’s York-Mason prize was awarded to Quin'nita Cobbins, for her paper, “Black Emeralds: African American Women’s Activism and Leadership in Postwar Seattle, 1960-2000.”

Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant

The award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant is presented annually to one graduate student TA who is nominated by a faculty member and selected by the Undergraduate Studies Committee. It comes with a cash prize of $600. This year's recipient is Emma Hinchliffe.

Read more about Lynn M. Thomas, Adam Warren, Margaret O'Mara, Patrick Lozar, Britta Anson, Rachel Lanier Taylor

Calling all History Majors! Applications for History Fellowships, Scholarships, and Prizes are Due March 14, 2014.

News - February 7, 2014

In the Spring of 2013 the History Department honored several undergraduate history majors with fellowships, scholarships, and prizes at an awards ceremony and reception.

The 2014 scholarship competition is now open. The deadline to apply is March 14, 2014.

This year the Department of History will be accepting applications for the following scholarships and prizes for undergraduate history majors:

  • Faye Wilson Scholarship for Undergraduate Tuition
    The Faye Wilson Scholarship Fund makes possible multiple awards annually to undergraduate History majors. Wilson Scholarships vary in value at the discretion of the selection committee, ranging from one quarter of resident or non-resident tuition up to a full three quarters of resident or non-resident tuition plus a quarterly stipend of as much as $3,000. The awards are based on academic excellence and financial need, with preference given to students with a demonstrable interest in United States history. Applicants must be enrolled students in good standing at the University of Washington and declared History majors. Former recipients are eligible to apply.
  • Lois and Maurice Schwartz Fellowship for Non-Western History
    The Schwartz Fellowship Fund makes possible multiple awards annually to History majors with a serious interest in the study of non-Western civilizations (interpreted to include Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East but not the former Soviet Union). Schwartz Fellowships vary in value at the discretion of the selection committee, ranging from one quarter of resident or non-resident tuition up to a full three quarters of resident or non-resident tuition. The awards are based on demonstrated interest in non-western history and academic excellence. At the request of the donor, preference will be given to students studying the Middle East and Asia. Applicants must be enrolled students in good standing at the University of Washington and declared History majors. Former recipients are eligible to apply.
  • Sleizer Scholarship for Undergraduate Tuition
    The Sleizer Scholarship Fund makes possible multiple awards annually to undergraduate history majors to assist them with their tuition and other academic-related expenses, such as books and fees. Sleizer Scholarships vary in value at the discretion of the selection committee, ranging from one quarter up to a full three quarters of resident tuition plus a quarterly stipend. This scholarship will be awarded annually to History majors on the basis of academic merit as the sole criterion. Applicants for this scholarship must be enrolled in good standing at the University of Washington and declared History majors.
  • Freedman Remak Family Scholarship for Non-Resident Tuition
    The Freedman-Remak Family Scholarship, named for Nancy Freedman and Ben Remak, was created to support History majors who face the high costs of out-of-state tuition. The Freedman-Remak Family Scholarships vary in value at the discretion of the selection committee but may range as high as $10,000. This scholarship will be awarded annually to non-resident History majors with selection based primarily on academic merit; financial need may also be considered. Applicants for this scholarship must be out-of-state students, enrolled in good standing at the University of Washington and declared History majors.
  • Bryan Phillips Scholarship for Students with Disabilities
    This scholarship is offered in memory of Bryan Phillips, a UW student who graduated with a history degree in December 2000. Bryan had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); he passed away soon after earning his degree. This award provides up to three quarters of resident or non-resident tuition to a physically disabled student. The awards will be based on academic merit. In accordance with the donors' wishes, preference will be given to students with mobility-related disabilities. Applicants must be enrolled students in good standing at the University of Washington and declared History majors.
  • Bicknell Fund for Academic Travel
    The Bicknell Fund, established by Professor Emeritus Daniel C. Waugh and administered by the History Department, provides travel aid for students who intend to study the languages and cultures of Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia. Preference is given to students who are enrolled in formal language study programs, but under rare circumstances students with other travel plans may be considered. Upon return, the student will be required to provide documentation on their course of study, i.e. a certificate of completion from the language program, as well as a short (1-3 page) description of their experience.
  • The Douglass W. Merrell ‘Head of Logos’ International Study Grant
    The Head of Logos Grant is a study abroad award to be used for UW History majors participating in an approved study abroad program. The award can be used to help pay costs such as tuition, fees, airfare, room, and board associated with a study abroad program. The award will be determined based on merit and given to History majors enrolling in a study abroad program that earns UW credits.
  • The Denison-Kernaghan Award
    The Denison-Kernaghan provides multiple awards to history majors studying European Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation, and Early Modern History to help with costs of books and coursepacks for UW classes.  Awards are merit-based to students with a demonstrated interest in these fields.
  • The Meder-Montgomery Award
    The Meder-Montgomery Award is a textbook scholarship for history majors without preference to field of study. Multiple awards will be given based on merit to help history majors purchase books and coursepacks for UW classes.
  • Thomas Power Prize for History Research Papers
    The Thomas Power Prize is given to an undergraduate research paper written in a University of Washington History course. Applications are generally accepted in the late Winter. First prize carries an award of $300; honorable mention carries $150. Applicants must be enrolled students in good standing at the University of Washington and declared History majors.
  • York-Mason Award for Research Projects About African Americans in the American West
    The York-Mason Award is given to the best undergraduate research paper or project (including but not limited to scripts, photo essays, radio productions, television or film documentaries, or oral histories) on a topic in the History of African Americans in the American West, broadly defined as any of the states from North Dakota to Texas and west to the Pacific Ocean including Alaska and Hawaii, over the chronological period extending from 1528 to the present. Papers on western Canada or northern Mexico will also be considered. A review committee for the Department will select the best paper or project on the basis of the significance of the work, its style of presentation, and its contribution to the study of History. The award carries $500. Applicants must be enrolled students in good standing at the University of Washington and declared History majors.

Visit the Fellowships, Scholarships, and Awards webpage for information on how to apply.

Afsaneh Najmabadi to Present Public Stice Lecture on Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran

News - December 21, 2013

Public Lecture: "Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran" - January 15, 2014

Professor Afsaneh Najmabadi will present a public lecture on transsexuality in Iran on Wednesday, January 15th at 7:00 pm in Smith 205. This lecture, hosted by the Department of History, is part of the Earl & Edna Stice Memorial Lectureship in the Social Sciences.

Professor Najmabadi is the Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. She has recently completed Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (Duke University Press, 2013).

Since the mid-1980s, the Islamic Republic of Iran has permitted, and partially subsidized, sex reassignment surgery. In Professing Selves, Afsaneh Najmabadi explores the meaning of transsexuality in contemporary Iran. Combining historical and ethnographic research, she describes how, in the postrevolutionary era, the domains of law, psychology and psychiatry, Islamic jurisprudence, and biomedicine became invested in distinguishing between the acceptable "true" transsexual and other categories of identification, notably the "true" homosexual, an unacceptable category of existence in Iran. Najmabadi argues that this collaboration among medical authorities, specialized clerics, and state officials—which made transsexuality a legally tolerated, if not exactly celebrated, category of being—grew out of Iran's particular experience of Islamicized modernity. Paradoxically, state regulation has produced new spaces for non-normative living in Iran, since determining who is genuinely "trans" depends largely on the stories that people choose to tell, on the selves that they profess.

Download the lecture poster here.

Professor Najmabadi’s last book, Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), received the 2005 Joan Kelly Memorial Prize from the American Historical Association.

In addition, Professor Najmabadi leads a digital archive and website on Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran. The project was recently awarded its second two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and was recognized by the White House Office of Public Engagement in May of 2012.


History Department Colloquium: “Writing History in a Digital Age” - January 14, 2014 (for UW faculty and graduate students)

In addition to her public lecture, Professor Najmabadi’s visit will include a colloquium for faculty and graduate students on women in Qajar Iran and the digital humanities. The departmental colloquium, entitled “Writing History in a Digital Age,” will take place on Tuesday, January 14th, at 2:30 pm in Smith 306 with a reception to follow.

Download the colloquium poster here.

UW Today on the History Lecture Series

News - September 26, 2013

UW Today has an article on the upcoming History Lecture Series, Slavery and Freedom in the Making of America

Turkiya Lowe Named Chief Historian of the National Park Service

News -

UW History alumna Turkiya Lowe was recently named Chief Historian of the National Park Service. Lowe received her PhD from the department in 2010, with particular focus on the fields of African American History, Twentieth-Century U.S. History, and Women’s History. Previously, she served in a variety of roles in the National Park Service, both during and after her graduate studies--most recently as Chief Historian of the service’s Southeast Region, and before that in other positions in the Southeast Region, the Pacific West Region, and the Washington D.C. Support Office. She has also been a contributor to the award-winning UW-connected website on African American history,

In her new position, Lowe will be responsible for overall management of the Park Service’s history programs, including the coordination of historical studies at the national level and management of the administrative history program. In addition, she will provide national leadership and oversight in setting and implementing standards and guidelines relating to the documentation of historically significant sites.

Her appointment also maintains a connection between the top history job at the National Park Service and Washington State. Lowe’s predecessor in the position of NPS Chief Historian, Robert Sutton, received his PhD in history from Washington State University. 

More details on the appointment and Turkiya Lowe's career at the National Park Service can be found at the National Coalition for History.

Congratulations on this outstanding honor, Dr. Lowe! 


Adam Warren Receives ACLS Grant

News -

The department is happy to report that the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has awarded a collaborative research grant to Professor Adam Warren. Warren is joined on the project by Martha Few of Penn State and Zeb Tortorici of NYU. Their project is entitled "Postmortem Cesarean Operations and the Spread of Fetal Baptism in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires."

More details can be found at the Simpson Center for the Humanities

Well done Adam!


Slavery and Freedom in the Making of America Bookshelf

News -

As part of the fall 2013 History Lecture Series "Slavery and Freedom in the Making of America," four nationally-recognized historians considered the imagined roots of slavery in Greco-Roman antiquity, the origins and development of racial slavery across the Americas and its centrality to the creation of the United States, and the continued legacies of slavery in post-emancipation American life.

Interested in learning more? Dowload a PDF list of resources and key texts created by the speakers.


Class Taught by Professor Margaret O'Mara Featured on C-SPAN

Faculty News - May 16, 2017

A lecture by Professor Margaret O'Mara is currently being featured on C-SPAN. As part of its Lectures in History series, the network is highlighting a presentation by Professor O'Mara on the U.S. presidential election of 1968. A short portion of the lecture is available below. To see the full talk, follow this link. Professor O'Mara is the author of Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections That Shaped the Twentieth Century, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2015.

Read more about Margaret O'Mara

Professor Madeleine Yue Dong Awarded Vincent Y.C. Shih Endowed Professorship in China Studies

Faculty News - May 5, 2017

On April 19, the University of Washington China Studies Program held a reception to celebrate the inaugural granting of the Vincent Y.C. Shih Endowed Professorship in China Studies to Professor Madeleine Yue Dong. Professor Dong is the Chair of the China Studies Program.  Her work focuses on social/cultural history, urban history, and gender history in twentieth-century China. Dong is the author of Republican Beijing: The City and Its Histories, 1911-1937 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003)

Professor Shih taught at the University of Washington from 1945 until his retirement in 1973. He was born in the coastal city of Fuzhou, China in 1902. He attended Yin Wa College (Anglo-Chinese College), where he majored in philosophy, followed by an M.A. in Chinese Philosophy from Yenching University in 1930. Shih taught history, literature and philosophy at various universities in China before moving to the United States and enrolling at the University of Southern California in 1936. He would go on to earn a PhD from USC in 1939.

After the end of World War II, Shih, who had been teaching in China, returned to the United States and joined the faculty of the University of Washington as an Assistant Professor. He became an Associate Professor in 1950 and Full Professor in 1956. Shih retired in 1973. Learn more here.

One of Shih's best known works was The Taiping Ideology: Its Sources, Interpretations and Influences published in 1956 by the University of Washington. He also contributed many articles to the journal Philosophy East and West. Shih passed away in the early 2000s. 

Vincent Shih's son and daughter-in-law, Bill and Bernadette Shih, gave the generous endowment of the Vincent Y.C. Shih professorship. At the April 19 reception, Professor Dong thanked them for their generosity and also emphasized how Vincent Shih had been pivotal to turning the UW into a leading university for China Studies. “I believe that Professor Shih would have been pleased if he had learned how this university is touching, challenging and inspiring new generations of scholars and students as it had done for him,” said Dong.

Image: Mr. and Mrs. Shih with Vincent Y.C. Shih Professor of China Studies Madeleine Yue Dong and Professor Resat Kasaba, Director of the UW Jackson School of International Studies.

New Endowment for Graduate Research in Labor Studies

Faculty News - May 5, 2017

Taking advantage of a 50 percent match offered by the university for new endowments by current and retired UW faculty and staff, last December Charles Bergquist and Hwasook Nam established a $50,000 endowment to fund research in labor studies. Grants for research on labor issues, both historical and/or contemporary, international and/or domestic, are available to qualified graduate students from across the university and will be handled through the Bridges Center for Labor Studies. The endowment will be administered by the Chair of the History Department. 

Charles Bergquist served as the inaugural Bridges Chair from the History Department (1994-1996) and taught Latin American and comparative labor history in the department until his retirement in 2004. Hwasook Nam received her PhD from the department in 2003 and is currently James Palais Endowed Associate Professor of Korea Studies with a joint appointment in the Jackson School of International Studies and the History Department. She has taught Korean and comparative East Asian labor history since joining the UW faculty in 2007.

Professor Arbella Bet-Shlimon Honored with Distinguished Teaching Award

Faculty News - April 17, 2017

Each year the University of Washington (UW) honors a select group of faculty members for their work with undergraduate and graduate students. Nominees for the Distinguished Teaching Award are evaluated on several criteria including knowledge and mastery of subject matter, innovation in course and curriculum design, and ability to inspire students through independent and creative thinking. The award is the top teaching honor at the UW.

One of this year’s awardees, Dr. Arbella Bet-Shlimon, is a professor in the Department of History. She is the 13th History faculty member to receive the award, the most of any department on campus.  Bet-Shlimon holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in History from Harvard University. Her scholarship is focused on the politics, society and economy of twentieth-century Iraq and the broader Persian Gulf region, as well as Middle Eastern urban history.

Bet-Shlimon teaches a variety of courses at the UW, which range from a survey of modern Middle Eastern history at the 100 level to a more intense seminar version of that course for graduate students. She also offers a hybrid lecture-seminar for more advanced undergraduates and graduate students that is a survey of the modern history of the Persian Gulf region. In all of her classes, regardless of size, Bet-Shlimon aims to have a personal impact on each student’s education, emphasizing back-and-forth conversations, as well as questions and brainstorming.

Primary sources, such as novels, audio clips, political manifestos, visual sources and more, play a key role in her teaching. One course, for example, Identity and Politics in the Modern Middle East, is based entirely on primary source materials, offering students a unique opportunity not only to engage with the past, but also to do the work of historical interpretation themselves during each class session.

Current events, contextualized by weeks of historical study, also enter into readings and discussion. For example, in her 100-level survey offered during Winter 2017, Bet-Shlimon required her students to write a "Letter to the Editor" as their final writing assignment. As a first step, students had to find an article published within the last year in a major newspaper and then respond to it (in letter form) with citations of course materials. The goal of the project, according to Bet-Shlimon, was “to demonstrate how what they were reading in the news could be critiqued, affirmed, or supplemented with an understanding of modern Middle Eastern history.” 

Bet-Shlimon is currently completing a manuscript on the history of Kirkuk, a disputed, highly diverse, and multilingual city in northern Iraq that has long been a center of the country’s oil industry. In recent weeks, a controversy has raged over the raising of the Kurdish national flag in front of government buildings there, which, Bet-Shlimon explains, “has Kurdish nationalists emboldened and non-Kurdish Iraqis extremely angry. There have been dueling demonstrations and even clashes in the streets.” The goal of her research project, which covers more than a century, is, in her words, “to show how we got here, and what oil had to do with that process. I argue that British colonialism, oil urbanization, and Baghdad's exclusionary politics of integration created ethnic fragmentation."

Spending so much time immersed in a topic has influenced Bet-Shlimon’s approach to teaching. She cites her work on Kirkuk, for example, as one reason for using “urbanist lenses” as a way to explore topics ranging from the performance of politics in public spaces to nationalisms and questions of political identity. Kirkuk also serves as a vibrant illustration of how knowing the histories of a place and its residents is vital to understanding contemporary conflicts and power dynamics.

As lucky as the UW Department of History is to have Bet-Shlimon as a member of its faculty, her eventual decision to become a historian was, she explains, “the result of an accident." While completing her master’s degree in interdisciplinary Middle Eastern studies at the University of Michigan, Bet-Shlimon had a chance run-in with an advisor that changed her scholarly trajectory. "I had taken a very broad smorgasbord of classes and didn't have a clear self-identity as a researcher. I knew I wanted to research Iraq and that I was generally interested in issues related to oil and politics, so I decided to ask the University of Michigan's main specialist in Iraq, a history professor, to be my advisor. The first time I went to his office hours, he was in a hurry and mistook me for a history graduate student, and before I could clarify that I wasn't the person he was thinking of, he suggested some thesis topics that were historical in nature and ushered me out. That is how it happened, in all seriousness. Once I sat down with some of the microfilm reels he'd suggested and started hammering out my thesis topic, I realized that historical methods were the right approach for me as a scholar - capacious, contextualized, and interdisciplinary in their nature. In other words, the process of primary research made me a historian in a way that history classes had not.”

The Department of History congratulates Professor Bet-Shlimon on being honored with a Distinguished Teaching Award. 

Professor James Gregory Interviewed by KUOW

Faculty News - March 28, 2017

Public radio station KUOW recently interviewed UW History Professor James Gregory about the history of hate crimes in the Pacific Northwest. Professor Gregory compared the contemporary rise in hate crimes to historical antecedents, including violence directed against Asian immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. Follow this link to listen to the entire interview. 

Read more about James Gregory

Professor Joshua Reid Awarded Four Major Book Prizes

Faculty News - March 27, 2017

The Department of History congratulates Professor Joshua Reid on being awarded four major prizes for his book The Sea Is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs. These awards include the John C. Ewers Award for the Best Book in North American Indian ethnohistory, the Sally and Ken Owens Award given biennially for the best book on the history of the Pacific West, the John W. Caughey Book Prize given annually for the most distinguished book on the history of the American West and the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin prize from the American Society of Ethnohistory for the best book-length contribution to the field of ethnohistory. Professor Reid’s excellent book also received Honorable Mentions for the Frederick Jackson Turner Award and the John Lyman Book Award in U.S. Maritime History.

Reid is an Associate Professor of American Indian History and the North American West at the University of Washington. His research focuses on the cultural meanings of space and place, the American and Canadian Wests, the environment, and the indigenous Pacific. The Sea is my Country explores the history and identity of the Makah Nation who played a significant role in shaping the maritime economy of the Pacific Northwest. To read more about Professor Reid and his work visit his faculty page.

Professor Richard Johnson Retires

Faculty News - May 12, 2016

 This year, the Department of History is honoring Professor Richard Johnson, who is retiring after forty-four years at the University of Washington. One of our department’s many recipients of a Distinguished Teaching Award, Professor Johnson taught early American history. Professor Johnson spent his career focused on training students how to be historians. “I am interested in conveying history as a discipline, as a method of argument, not as a rote memorization of facts and dates,” he stated. When discussing why undergraduate education was so important, Professor Johnson pointed to a drawer filled to capacity with notecards. Each notecard represents a student who has passed through one of Professor Johnson’s seminars, a student to whom he taught critical thinking skills, which, he argues, are useful far beyond the boundaries of the. Also dedicated to graduate teaching, Professor Johnson is particularly proud that, during his tenure as department chair in the 1990s, he created the History 570-571 courses, in which graduate students learn to be good teachers and to prepare for a life in academics. The department recently honored Professor Johnson for his dedication with a tree planting ceremony, behind Smith Hall. A sequoia tree stands in honor of his numerous contributions to the university and greater community. Appropriately, this tree stands not far from that of Edmund Meany, a role model of his. Professor Johnson’s expertise and dedication will be sorely missed, and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

Professor John Toews Retires

Faculty News - May 12, 2016

 Professor of intellectual history and former director of the Comparative History of Ideas Program (CHID), Professor John Toews has been a crucial member of the College of Arts and Sciences for thirty-five years. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Giovanni Costigan Endowed Professorship in History, and the Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professorship in Western Civilization, John Toews has been a significant force in his field for decades. At the University of Washington, though, Professor Toews is best known for his contributions to the CHID Program. While Professor Toews’s role in developing the CHID Program was of great importance, for many of his former students, his ability to teach them how to think critically, his desire to give them agency both in the classroom and in their future careers, and his emphasis on public citizenship are more memorable than his role as a professor or as a program director. “A degree should not be about the potential return on investment,” he stated. “Students enter college to create their position in society, to build an identity. It’s not an easy thing to do these days.” In his recent course on the corporatization of higher education, Professor Toews noted that he learned a lot from his students about how they struggle to stake a claim on their own degrees while dealing with rising tuition costs and what they see as a lack of freedom to choose their own paths.” Professor Toews’s dedication to helping his students explore such difficult questions is legendary. Those same students recently honored John Toews with a humorous video called “The History of John Toews.” Professor Toews’s impact on his students is best summed up by a few lines from this video: “John is gifted at nurturing and championing others intellectually, artistically, and professionally. …John Toews has influenced a generation of the University of Washington’s leading intellectuals.” We wish him the best of luck in the future. 

Read more about John Toews

Reacting (Again) to the Past: Creating Innovative Curriculum at UW and in the Larger Community

Faculty News - March 26, 2016

During the 2015-2016 academic year, Dr. Robin Stacey introduced an inventive course, Reacting to the Past: Religion and Politics in Medieval Europe, which is based on a program originally developed at Barnard College. As part of this curriculum, students transform themselves into historical characters and, utilizing role play and strategy, immerse themselves in historical events which may or may not turn out the way that history claims they did. Dr. Stacey’s course has created such a dynamic environment that last year’s students have returned with enthusiasm to tell this year’s students about their experiences, including how the course created a friendship within the group that has expanded beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Former participant Josie Rollins, a recent graduate from UW’s History Department, continues to express her enthusiasm for Dr. Stacey’s course by trying to create a Reacting to the Past group at Cambridge, where she is currently pursuing a PhD. Speaking of the RTTP course, Rollins said “it was one of the most unconventional yet educationally rewarding classes I’ve ever taken because it required me to think so differently about history than I had up until that point.” Dr. Stacey, along with Dr. Mira Green, recently spoke at a conference for Washington Secondary educators about their experiences teaching innovative curriculum. Dr. Mira Green, a lecturer in Greek and Roman history, has created courses that turn the students into filmmakers to reenact key events in ancient history. For more on Reacting to the Past, see the article from last year’s course: Reacting to the Past.

Read more about Robin Chapman Stacey, F. Mira Green

New Course: The Holocaust and American Life

Faculty News - March 20, 2015

For History Professor Susan Glenn, it is not uncommon to encounter students who think of the Holocaust as a European event, bearing little relation to the history of the United States. Seeking to challenge this perspective, Glenn designed a course that focused on how events in Europe affected and were affected by developments in U.S. history.

In HSTAA337, “The Holocaust and American Life,” which she taught for the first time this winter, Glenn focused first on the period from 1933 to 1945, to show students how Americans depicted and understood the persecution of European Jews in the pre-war, wartime, and immediate post-war period. She then proceeded to explore the impact of the Holocaust on American society in the decades after 1945, revealing to students how the lens of the Holocaust has been has been used to examine a broad spectrum of social and political issues ranging from America’s treatment of its own minority groups to controversial aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

“The impact of the Holocaust in the United States has been extremely wide-ranging,” notes Professor Glenn. “It has been invoked in debates about the moral responsibility of individuals and nations, the nature of evil, and concepts of race and racism. And it has also been a subject of controversy in the U.S., regarding the preservation and ownership of Holocaust ‘memory.’” To explore the many ways that such debates have been articulated in American society, Professor Glenn guided her students through a range of different primary sources, including journalism, law, petitions, literary works, social-science research, diaries, poetry, films and more. 

Now, with the quarter wrapping up, Glenn had a chance to reflect on what her students had taken away from this course. One goal, she says, “was to give students a greater sense of the global dimensions of U.S. history,” while another was to reveal “the many paradoxes and contradictions” in that history. “I think we got there,” says Glenn, who looks forward to offering the course again next winter.


Read more about Susan A. Glenn

Prof. Ileana Rodríguez-Silva awarded 2014 Frank Bonilla Book Award

Faculty News - September 26, 2014

The Department of History congratulates Professor Ileana Rodríguez-Silva on being awarded the 2014 Frank Bonilla Book Award for her book Silencing Race: Disentangling Blackness, Colonialism, and National Identities in Puerto Rico. The Frank Bonilla award is the Puerto Rican Studies Association’s most prestigious book award.

Rodríguez-Silva is an assistant professor of Latin American and Caribbean history at the University of Washington-Seattle. Her research focuses on racial identity formation, post-emancipation racial politics, and comparative colonial arrangements in the configuration of empires. To read more about Professor Rodríguez-Silva and her work visit her faculty page.

Read more about Ileana Rodriguez-Silva

Professor Devin Naar is "almost single-handedly saving the Ladino language."

Faculty News - August 11, 2014

Professor Devin Naar continues to impress the Seattle community and global community of Jewish Studies scholars with his work preserving the Ladino language and the culture of Seattle's Sephardic Jewish community. His work and community engagement were recently highlighted in a story in Tablet Magazine as well as in a radio interview aired on KUOW.

Tablet Magazine Feature: "Seattle’s Sephardi Jews Brought Us Starbucks: Now They’re Trying To Bring Back Ladino"

A recent story in Tablet Magazine does not exaggerate when it observes that "at 31, Naar is almost single-handedly saving the Ladino language and the customs of Seattle’s Sephardi Jews from vanishing along with its aging community."

Naar... joined the University of Washington faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor of history and quickly emerged as a salvific figure. An expert in Salonika and the fate of that Greek community’s Jews during World War II, he is one of the few people in greater Seattle fluent in Ladino—also known as Judeo-Spanish, Judezmo, or any number of other names no one can quite agree on—a dialect that mixes Medieval Spanish with elements of Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, French, and Italian that Jews who were cast out of Spain into the Mediterranean world picked up in the 500 years following the Expulsion.

Perhaps the only person in Seattle who can read the ancient Hebrew-based Ladino script, Naar has spear-headed an effort to create a digital archive of local Ladino language books and artifacts. When he put out a call to the Seattle Sephardic Jewish community asking to borrow documents to add to his archive, the response was overwhelming.

“People came up with some of the most amazing things you could possibly imagine,” he said. “Books from the 1600s, 1700s, 1800s. All of these things having been preserved physically, but without necessarily a lot of knowledge about what the contents were, but a lot of wherewithal to know they were worth preserving.”

A resulting digital museum and archive, the Seattle Sephardic Treasures Initiative, will open this fall. It is expected to be the largest Ladino library in the United States.

In the two years since his initial solicitation, Naar has lured so many materials out of local attics, basements, and bookshelves that the collection will have more items of its kind than the Library of Congress, Harvard University, Hebrew University, Yeshiva University, YIVO, or the National Sephardic Library of the American Sephardi Federation.


KUOW Radio Interview with Devin Naar: "How Do You Save A Dying Language?"

In a recent KUOW radio interview, Professor Naar answers questions about the origins of Seattle's Sephardic Jewish community (the third largest in the U.S.) and the history of the Ladino language, the language of the Sephardic Jews he is fighting to save from extinction. Naar is one of the few people in Seattle able to read and write Ladino in Hebrew script. He discusses the implications of preserving the language for the fate of the stories and histories written in it. What began as a quest to reconstruct his own family's history, became a life's mission and academic career for Naar. In the interview Naar talks about the collection of Ladino records, and artifacts that he is busy collecting through the University of Washington, in conjunction with the Sephardic Studies Center of Seattle. Listen to the interview to find out more and to hear a sample of the Ladino language.


Image credit: Mary Levin

Read more about Devin E. Naar

Distinguished Lecturers

Faculty News - July 7, 2014

Professor Sasha Harmon (Indian Studies and Adjunt in History) has just been honored with an appointment to the Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lectureship Program. Serving concurrently as Distinguished Lecturers are UW History Professors Susan Glenn, James Gregory, and Margaret O'Mara. The OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program is a speakers bureau dedicated to American history. Its more than 400 participating historians have made major contributions to this popular field. OAH Distinguished Lecturers speak around the country every year. Each agrees to present one lecture on behalf of the organization each academic year and to donate his or her lecture fee to the organization.

Read more about Alexandra J Harmon, Susan A. Glenn, James Gregory, Margaret O'Mara

Op-Ed on the Fall of Kirkuk to Kurdish Forces

Faculty News - June 16, 2014

In this guest column published in the Seattle Times on June 16, Professor Arbella Bet-Shlimon, a specialist in the history of the Modern Middle East explains why, amid the current unrest in Iraq, it is vital for policy makers to pay attention to the situation in Kirkuk.


Read more about Arbella Bet-Shlimon

Professor Campbell Awarded Summer Research Grant

Faculty News - May 1, 2014

History Professor Elena Campbell has been awarded a research scholarship for June–August 2014 from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung to support the beginning phase of her research for a new book project tentatively titled: Creating the North: Modernization, Empire, and Environment in Late Imperial-Early Soviet Russia. During the summer, she will be conducting archival research in St. Petersburg and Arkhangel’sk.

Professor Campbell's teaching and research interests focus on the history of empire, nationalism, and religion in late tsarist Russia.

Read more about Elena I. Campbell

History Professor Margaret O'Mara Talks Tech on "GeekWire" Radio Show

Faculty News - April 4, 2014

History Professor Margaret O'Mara recently shared her expertise on the technology industry's impact on politics, culture and place in an interview with Todd Bishop and John Cook of the tech radio show GeekWire. O'Mara, whose research focuses on Silicon Valley, talked about place-making in the context of Seattle's innovation economy. The Seattle technology community thrives due to the presence of three requisite conditions. Innovation, explains O'Mara, is made possible by: 1) The presence of resources such as available investment capital; 2) Institutions (like the University of Washington) that serve as "sandboxes" for would-be innovators to get together and play around with new ideas; and 3) Quality of place--all of the things that make Seattle a great place to live and build community.

In Seattle "we're totally connected, and also separate" explains O'Mara, a unique combination of characteristics of place that makes the city a great incubator for innovation. From a historical perspective, O'Mara points out, although somewhat geographically isolated in the Pacific Northwest, the Puget Sound has long been a crossroads where different people and cultures come together and connect. This is the key to Seattle's potential for innovation says O'Mara --- "that's where new ideas come from... it's not from people from the same background saying the same thing."

Hear the full interview with Professor O'Mara here (interview begins at 08:30).

Margaret O'Mara is an Associate Professor in the Department of History. Her book Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley (Princeton, 2005) explores the rise of Silicon Valley in the context of the Cold War.

Photo credit: Erynn Rose Photo

Read more about Margaret O'Mara

Three History Faculty Members to Receive Awards of Excellence

Faculty News - March 25, 2014

The Department of History is extremely proud to announce that three of our faculty have been honored with Awards of Excellence in 2014. Congratulations to Moon-Ho Jung, recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, to Margaret O'Mara, the inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award for Innovation with Technology, and to Jon Bridgman, recipient of the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award.

Distinguished Teaching Awardees are chosen based on a variety of criteria including mastery of the subject matter, ability to engage students both within and outside of the classroom, and innovations in course and curriculum design. The Distinguished Teaching Award for Innovation with Technology, created in 2013 by the Office of the Provost, recognizes a current faculty member for improving student learning or engagement through an approach that leverages technology. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor bestowed upon UW Alumni Association members and volunteers.

Professors Jung, O'Mara, and Bridgman and other winners will be honored 3:30-4:30 p.m. June 12 at a ceremony in Meany Hall for the campus and general public.


Read more about Moon-Ho Jung, Margaret O'Mara, Jon Bridgman

Prof. Margaret O'Mara Awarded Burkhardt Residential Fellowship

Faculty News - March 23, 2014

History professor Margaret O’Mara has been selected by the American Council of Learned Societies to be a Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellow next year. As a Burkhardt Fellow, Professor O'Mara will spend the 2014-2015 academic year in residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, where she will work on her project, “Silicon Age: High Technology and the Reinvention of the United States, 1970-2000" (abstract). O'Mara is an Associate Professor of History, specializing in American political history, urban history, and the history of capitalism and is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of History. She is the author of Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005).

Burkhardt Fellowships are "targeted interventions in the careers of exceptionally talented scholars." Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program supports scholars who are embarking on ambitious, large-scale research projects at critical stages in their academic careers. According to ACLS Program Officer Matthew Goldfeder, the year Burkhardt Fellows spend in residence at one of 13 national participating residential research centers allows them the opportunity to "engage in an extended exchange with other scholars from a variety of fields and backgrounds" and to "deepen and expand the significance of their research and its impact on the humanities and related social sciences.”

The Department of History congratulates Margaret O'Mara on this prestigious and well-deserved research opportunity!

Read more about Margaret O'Mara

Prof. Arbella Bet-Shlimon awarded best dissertation prize

Faculty News - March 10, 2014

Congratulations to UW History Department Assistant Professor Arbella Bet-Shlimon on receiving the American Academic Research Institute in Iraq's award for the best US dissertation in medieval or modern Iraqi studies for the biennium 2011-2013. The award was for her 2012 Harvard University dissertation, "Kirkuk, 1918-1968: Oil and the Politics of Identity in an Iraqi City." Professor Bet-Shlimon is currently teaching a undergraduate course on the modern middle east and will offer a graduate seminar on "Urban Histories of the Modern Middle East" in Spring 2014.

Read more about Arbella Bet-Shlimon

Prof. Laurie Sears Weighs in on Oscar-nominated Documentary "The Art of Killing"

Faculty News - March 10, 2014

Historian of Indonesia, Professor Laurie Sears recently participated in a Critical Asian Studies roundtable on debates surrounding the Oscar-nominated documentary The Act of Killing. The documentary follows Anwar Congo and other death squad leaders involved in the 1965 military overthrow of the Indonesian government. According to the official synopsis of the film:

They helped the army kill an estimated 1 million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals in less than a year. As the executioner for the most notorious death squad in his city, Anwar himself killed hundreds of people with his own hands. Today, Anwar is revered as a founding father of a right-wing paramilitary organization that grew out of the death squads. The organization is so powerful that its leaders include government ministers who happily boast about everything from corruption and election rigging to acts of genocide. The Act of Killing is about killers who have won, and the sort of society they have built. Unlike aging Nazis or Rwandan genocidaires, Anwar and his friends have not been forced by history to admit they participated in crimes against humanity. Instead, they have written their own triumphant history, becoming role models for millions of young paramilitaries. The Act of Killing is a journey into the memories and imaginations of the perpetrators, offering insight into the minds of mass killers.

In "Indonesia Roundtable: The Act of Killing" Professor Sears and other scholars take on different elements of the debates that have sprung up around this controversial film. Profesor Sears' article "HEROES AS KILLERS OR KILLERS AS HEROES?" as well as the other contributions listed below will be available online for free until the end of March 2014.

Read more about Laurie Sears

Professor James Gregory elected vice-president of the Labor and Working-Class History Association

Faculty News - February 18, 2014

Professor James Gregory has been elected vice-president of the Labor and Working Class History Association to be followed by a term as president. LAWCHA is an international association of historians and labor scholars with more than 900 members. It publishes the journal LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, the LAWCHA Newsletter, and Labor Online. Gregory is Professor of History at University of Washington and Harry Bridges Endowed Chair of Labor Studies (emeritus).

Read more about James Gregory

Patricia Ebrey honored by the American Historical Association with Award for Scholarly Distinction

Faculty News - January 30, 2014

The History Department congratulates professor Patricia Ebrey on her recent Award for Scholarly Distinction from the American Historical Association for her contributions as "the premier historian of Chinese women during the millennium-plus of the early and middle empire." The AHA explains, "due to Professor Ebrey's work, "various topics that were once 'unteachable' for lack of either sources or scholarship in English are now routinely covered. The past is a bigger and a less foreign country thanks to Pat Ebrey."

Professor Ebrey's latest book, Emperor Huizong (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014), about the Chinese emperor who lived from 1082 to 1135 and ruled for 26 years during China’s Song Dynasty, was recently selected as one of the "books of the year" by The Spectator writer Jonathan Mirsky. Mirsky praises the book as " a supreme example of meticulous scholarship and eloquence."

UW Today recently published an interview with Professor Ebrey in which she discusses the contents of book and her reasons for writing. In the interview she explains how the vehicle of biography can serve as an accessible entry point for readers who may be unfamiliar with a particular time and place. She explains "I did not write this book only for people who have already heard of Huizong. I think that viewing the world from one person’s perspective is an excellent way to get into an age and a place. To draw in readers relatively unfamiliar with Song China, I provide background on everything from political factionalism to poetry as an element of court culture." To read the full interview, click here.

Read more about Patricia Ebrey

Professor Vincente Rafael on rich history of Tacloban

Faculty News - November 15, 2013

Professor Vincente Rafael was featured in a story in The Wall Street Journal discussing the rich and complex history of the Phillipine city of Tacloban before Typhoon Haiyan.

Professor Vincente Rafael's Contracting Colonialism Honored with 25th Anniversary Celebration

Faculty News - November 12, 2013

On September 26, 2013, the Rizal Library of the Loyola Schools Ateneo de Manila University hosted a celebration, including an afternoon of lectures and reflections, to mark the 25th year in print of Professor Vicente Rafael’s Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society Under Early Spanish Rule. Originally published by Cornell University Press in 1988, Ateneo de Manila University Press has also published a Philippine edition of the book.

Jordanna Bailkin's The Afterlife of Empire Awarded Multiple Prizes

Faculty News - November 2, 2013

Professor Jordanna Bailkin has been selected as the winner of the 2013 Morris D. Forkosch Prize for her book The Afterlife of Empire (University of California Press, 2012). The Forkosch Prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA) in recognition of the best book in English in the field of British, British imperial, or British Commonwealth history since 1485. In addition, Professor Bailkin recently won the Stansky Book Prize awarded annually by the North American Conference on British Studies for the best book published anywhere by a North American scholar on any aspect of British studies since 1800. Most recently, the book has been awarded the Biennial Book Prize for 2013-2014 from the Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies.

The Afterlife of Empire investigates how decolonization transformed British society in the 1950s and 1960s. Although usually charted through its diplomatic details, the collapse of the British empire was also a deeply personal process that altered everyday life, restructuring routines, individual relationships, and social interactions. Learn more.

Read more about Jordanna Bailkin

Purnima Dhavan: Awarded an American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Fellowship

Faculty News - July 5, 2013

Purnima Dhavan has been awarded an American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Fellowship (funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities) to conduct archival research next year for her new book project, Brave New Worlds: Literary and Professional Networks in Late Mughal India.

Read more about Purnima Dhavan

"Cities are the Living Embodiments of Past Decisions"

Faculty News - April 22, 2013

Margaret O'Mara, recently interviewed by the on-line journal Crosscut, is bringing urban history to life in an innovative class project on the history of Seattle's dynamic South Lake Union neighborhood. Each student in the class examined a single city block of the area and used close observation, questioning,photography, and the study of public documents, to create a fascinating online portfolio of its micro-history. Read the full interview at History News Network (HNN), shorter version at Crosscut.

Read more about Margaret O'Mara

Professor Linda Nash Awarded NEH Grant

Faculty News -

The department is pleased to announce that Professor Linda Nash recently received a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research on her new project, "American Engineers and Hydroelectric Development Projects in the US and Afghanistan." With the help of this funding, Nash seeks to examine how Americans’ approach to postwar development was shaped by the nation’s abundant resources and its history of settler colonialism in the American West.

More details are available at the Simpson Center.

Congratulations Linda!


Professor Quintard Taylor Featured in Pacific NW Magazine

Faculty News -

Professor Emeritus Quintard Taylor--and, the award-winning African-American history website he founded--received star billing in The Seattle Times' Pacific NW Magazine last weekend. 

You can check out the full article here: "Righting history: Every month is Black History Month at" It contains details on Quintard's career, his current teaching and the history of, as well as sampling of the rich historical and biographical information available on that site. You won't want to miss it.

Congratulations on yet another well-deserved honor Quintard!

(Photo: Johnny Andrews / The Seattle Times)


Alum Dan Hue-Weller shares how skills learned in history can translate to business

Alumni News - January 30, 2014

Dan Hue-Weller, president of Orca Bay Capital, a private investment company in Seattle, recently had this to say about what he learned as a History major at the University of Washington:

"In a Russian History course I read 10 books from 10 different authors about the same subject matter...and they were completely different. What I learned was if I could find 10 completely different perspectives on a single period of history, maybe I ought to refresh my own perspective. Maybe I ought to ask somebody else their perspective and hit the same content from a different angle...I thought that was immensely helpful in learning how to think.”

His interview was part of an ongoing provost report series on trends and issues related to leading change in public higher education. Click here to read more information about the provost's report series and to get involved in the conversation.

History News Network Features UW Alum

Alumni News - October 29, 2013

The History News Network recently interviewed UW History alum Kate Brown about her new book Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press). In Plutopia, Brown draws on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the extraordinary stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia-the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias--communities of nuclear families living in highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities. Fully employed and medically monitored, the residents of Richland and Ozersk enjoyed all the pleasures of consumer society, while nearby, migrants, prisoners, and soldiers were banned from plutopia--they lived in temporary "staging grounds" and often performed the most dangerous work at the plant. An untold and profoundly important piece of Cold War history, Plutopia invites readers to consider the nuclear footprint left by the arms race and the enormous price of paying for it.

Everyone to Skis! Skiing in Russia and the Rise of Soviet Biathlon

Alumni News - August 29, 2013

William D. Frank, a 2011 Ph.D. from the Department, will read from his new book, Everyone to Skis!  Skiing in Russia and the Rise of Soviet Biathlon (Northern Illinois University Press, October 2013) at the University Bookstore on on Thursday, November 7, at 7 p.m. Dr. Frank was a candidate for the United States Olympic Team in biathlon for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York and competed in cross-country and biathlon national championships and team trial selections for world championships from 1979 to 1985.