Dear Friends,

It’s been a very long year and, during COVID, our efforts at communicating with the broader public have been limited at best. As we start to move back toward something resembling normalcy, it seemed like the right time to provide some news.

The good news is: we made it through the academic year with most of our history classes meeting in person. Students, faculty, and staff were incredible: masking up, social-distancing, and ensuring that things continued on as normally as they possibly could.

While work of all sorts has been difficult, members of the history department (old and new alike) continue to flourish. Some recent highlights are included below:


Early in the spring, Professor Jon Huener published his new book, The Polish Catholic Church under German Occupation: The Reichsgau Wartheland, 1939-1945 (with Indiana University Press). For details see: https://iupress.org/9780253054043/the-polish-catholic-church-under-german-occupation/

Professor Sarah Osten’s article [“Out of the Shadows: Violence and State Consolidation in Postrevolutionary Mexico,” The Latin Americanist (Vol. 64, No. 2)] received an honorable mention for best article in the social sciences from the Latin American Studies Association, Mexico Section.

Professor Felicia Kornbluh received a Mellon-Schlesinger Summer Research Grant from the Schlesinger Library at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for her project, “How to Fight a War on Women: New York’s Abortion Decriminalization and the Rise of Reproductive Justice.”

Professor Paul Deslandes released a new Great Courses lecture series titled: Notorious London: A City Tour. For details see: https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/notorious-london-a-city-tour OR https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/notorious-london-a-city-tour


Professor Nicole Phelps’s research was recently highlighted in a podcast put out by the Roy Rosenzweig Center at George Mason University titled “Consolation Prize.” It focuses on her work on the US Consular Service. Her scholarship is featured in episode 1 and there is an interview with her in Bonus Episode 1. For details see: https://consolationprize.rrchnm.org/category/episodes/.

Professor Bogac Ergene was recently interviewed for an NBC news story on food prices during Ramadan. For details see: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/grocery-price-hikes-hit-muslims-during-ramadan-n1266501.


Professor Paul Deslandes was recently reappointed as Chief Reader for the College Board’s AP European History Program. He held this position from 2013-2018 and has been appointed to this role for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years. In this capacity, he oversees the scoring of some 100,000 student exams, plays a leading role in test development, and functions as a spokesperson for the program.


Ruby Daily (MA, 2014), who is now finishing a PhD at Northwestern University, recently had her research on letters from people in the British world to the American sex researcher Alfred Kinsey highlighted in an article in the Times (of London). For details see: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/sex-scouts-and-stutters-please-were-british-qmsnwnpx5.

Sarah Chute (MA, 2021) was admitted with full funding to the PhD program in history at the University of Toronto.

Alex Auman (BA, 2009) was recently sworn in as a US Foreign Service Officer.

Sara Corsetti (BA, 2020) will be attending NYU’s Global School of Public Health in the fall for graduate study.

And finally:

The History Review, our student-run and edited journal, recently received an honorable mention in the 2020 Gerald D. Nash competition for student publications that is run by the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society.

If readers have news they’d like to share, please e-mail the chair at paul.deslandes@uvm.edu or the department’s general e-mail address at history@uvm.edu.

Happy spring and enjoy the summer!

On Thursday, February 13th, history professors Sarah Osten and Nicole Phelps both gave excellent presentations on their new research at the UVM Alumni House. As Humanities Center Fellows, their work was featured as part of the Humanities Fellows Research Salon. Synopses of their projects are provided below.

Sarah Osten, “‘No One is Free Until We Are All Free:’ Mexican Solidarity with Central American Revolutions, 1970-1985”

This book project examines solidarity actions and movements in Mexico City in the 1970s and 1980s in support of Central American revolutions and their exiled representatives in Mexico. At a time when the semi-authoritarian Mexican state was actively repressing its own leftist activists, many of these were inspired by and found common cause with leftist revolutionaries from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, particularly as Mexico underwent its own protracted but largely nonviolent process of democratization.

Nicole Phelps, “Masters of the 187 Forms: US Consular Officials and the Uneven Projection of US Sovereignty Abroad, 1856-1924”

In the second half of the 19th century, the US Department of State deployed hundreds of consular officials around the globe to perform myriad tasks that were essential to the functioning of various parts of the federal government, from certifying the value of goods imported into the United States to collecting plant samples for the US Department of Agriculture to obtaining witness testimony to be used in American courtrooms. They were supposed to be able to accurately fill out forms for at least 187 separate tasks; none of the forms came with instructions, and more general training for consular officials was minimal. My research explores the pain and anguish that ensued.

We all look forward to seeing this work in published form.

History News

This Spring 2020 semester isn’t even a month old yet and there is lots to report from the history department.

Professor Jonathan Huener features prominently in a recently published article on the liberation of Auschwitz: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-happened-after-liberation-auschwitz-180974051/

We just published our first department newsletter. Take a look here: https://www.uvm.edu/sites/default/files/Department-of-History/History_Newsletter_Ed._1_2019-2020.pdf

Undergraduate major Cameron Carlin is interning in the Burlington office of Senator Patrick Leahy.

And, Professor Sean Field has just been given the CARA Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Medieval Academy of America: https://www.medievalacademy.org/page/CARA_Award_Teaching

We hope to share more good news in the days, weeks, and months to come.

A new semester

The History Department is abuzz again with activity now that a new semester has begun. During the fall term, there was lots to celebrate. Two notable events were the launch of a book (written by affiliated faculty member Stephen Terry with research assistance by history major Louis Augeri on Senator George D. Aiken–Say We Won and Get Out: George D. Aiken and the Vietnam War) and a highly successful symposium titled “Interpreting the Book: Medieval Manuscripts at UVM.” The latter event was organized, in conjunction with Silver Special Collections, by Professors Charlie Briggs and Sean Field. A highlight of the symposium were presentations by undergraduate and graduate students in Charlies Briggs’ seminar “Books and Readers in Europe, 1250-1550.”

We also held some important events for students including our once-a- semester “meet and greet” for faculty and students and a seminar on career networking for history students. In the interest of helping our students prepare for life after UVM, we’ll be holding another career event in the spring that will feature a panel of history alums speaking on their experiences after UVM.

The spring term will also bring a celebration of faculty research, a series of lectures on a diverse array of topics, and a special event featuring UVM history alum (Class of 1974) and Associated Press journalist Terrence Petty who will discuss his recent book Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler and how his education as a history major at UVM prepared him for his career.

More details on these and many other events and developments will be posted on this blog and on our Facebook https://www.facebook.com/uvmhistory and Twitter http://@uvmhistory accounts.

The Department of History is seeking a Communications Intern for the Spring 2020 term. See details below:

Communications Intern— UVM Department of History

Job Description:

The Department of History is seeking a sophomore or first-semester junior History major as a Communications Intern. History minors and students from other departments may apply but, it should be noted, that preference will be given to history majors. The Communications Intern works with the department’s chair on alumni and student outreach, social media, the departmental newsletter, and website content (among other things). This is a paid internship but students who choose to can also receive academic credit for this position. The goal is to hire an intern who will work with the department over the next several semesters. During spring 2020, the new intern will be trained by the department’s current Communications Intern. 

Qualifications/Skills Necessary:

The successful applicant will:

  • Have knowledge about the discipline of history and the history department at UVM
  • Have excellent research and writing skills
  • Be able to work well independently
  • Be able to communicate effectively with staff and faculty in various capacities.


To apply, please submit:

  • A Resume
  • An Unofficial transcript
  • A writing sample (not more than 10 pages)
  • A brief, one paragraph statement about why you would like to pursue this internship

Applications are due by Friday, January 17th and should be submitted to Professor Paul Deslandes by e-mail (paul.deslandes@uvm.edu).

Interviews for the internship will be conducted during the week of January 20th, with a hope that the new Communications intern will be in place and ready to begin work by the end of January.

History Department News

Dear History Department Friends,

As always, the fall has been a busy term in the history department. We have hosted a number of lectures, held a career networking event for majors, and a sneak peek (on spring courses) event with students and faculty. Our communications intern, major Kaleigh Calvao, is hard at work on our first ever department newsletter for alums and we are looking forward to a busy and exciting spring semester.

Some recent news and events worth mentioning are included below:

This weekend, November 8th and 9th, the UVM Humanities Center and Silver Special Collections–along with the history department–are sponsoring a colloquium on “Interpreting the Handwritten Book:  Medieval Manuscripts at UVM.” Here’s the program: https://specialcollections.uvm.edu/events/colloquium. On Friday, Nov. 8th, 3:30-6:45, are student presentations from Professor Charlie Brigg’s HST 225 seminar.  Most of the presenters are History grad students and undergraduate majors.  On Saturday, November 9th from 9:00-5:00 invited speakers and UVM faculty will be delivering various talks on recent research on these topics. We hope that people who are interested will attend these events.

Professor Erik Esselstrom will be delivering his Full Professor Lecture on November 20th at 4:30 p.m. in Memorial Lounge in Waterman. The title for his talk is “In the Shadow of Mao’s Mushroom Clouds: Japanese Reactions to Chinese Nuclear Weapons in the 1960s.” The department would like to encourage all who can to attend.

Professor Nicole Phelps has been invited to become a commissioning editor for H-Diplo. H-Diplo is one of the largest H-Net networks, with several thousand subscribers around the world, and is particularly active in reviewing books and articles. Professor Phelps will be concentrating on expanding the network’s reviews of scholarship on the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries.

We will continue to share information through the remainder of the fall term. And, as always, we are willing to share relevant news.

UVM history faculty continue to be known for their expert teaching and their substantial contributions to knowledge, scholarship, and research. Fall 2019 is no different from other times in the history of our department:

In the realm of popular culture, Professor Paul Deslandes has been commenting recently on the new Downton Abbey film, offering some vital historical context to moviegoers. On September 18th, he introduced the film to a crowd of 100 gathered for a special premiere event (hosted by Vermont PBS) at the Majestic 10 Movie Complex in Williston, VT. He also offered commentary on the film for piece that Radio France did:  https://www.franceinter.fr/downton-abbey-comment-la-serie-a-montre-une-certaine-vision-de-l-aristocratie-et-la-domesticite 

Tonight (September 25th at 7:00 pm), Professor Alan Steinweis delivers a lecture (in Memorial Lounge) titled “`The Idea of Eliminating The Leadership Would Not Let Me Rest’: Georg Elser’s Attempted Assassination of Adolf Hitler in November 1939 and Its Aftermath.”

And, on October 2nd (at 5:00 pm in John Dewey Lounge), Professor Andy Buchanan will deliver a lecture titled “Why a Global History of World War II is Important Today”. This is open to the public and is also an opportunity to celebrate the publication of Professor Buchanan’s most recent book: World War II in Global Perspective, 1931-1953: A Short History https://www.wiley.com/en-us/World+War+II+in+Global+Perspective%2C+1931+1953%3A+A+Short+History-p-9781119366089

Dear History Readers,

We are delighted to be starting a new academic year. As always, our students and faculty have returned refreshed to campus, ready to undertake all sorts of new projects. Our faculty traveled the globe over the summer, conducting research, giving papers, and networking with fellow historians. Similarly, our students have returned to campus with a wealth of interesting experiences as interns and summer fellows at a variety of different organizations and institutions.

Aside from getting back to the serious business of teaching and learning, the department is continuing in its role as an intellectual center on campus. On September 17th, we will host Timothy Breen, James Marsh Professor-at-Large within the Department of History at UVM, who will deliver a lecture at 4:00 pm in Memorial Lounge in Waterman. The title of his talk is: “Ending the American Revolution: Reconciliation and Revenge.” This lecture coincides with the release of his new book “The Will of the People: The Revolutionary Birth of America,” which Harvard University Press will publish that very day.

We hope that all who can will attend. Be on the lookout for additional blog posts throughout the semester.

Best wishes,

Paul Deslandes (Chair, Department of History)

Dear Readers,

It’s been awhile since I posted on this blog. I’ve been on sabbatical (until July 1st) but have now returned to my role as Chair of the History Department at UVM and am eager to share some information. My time away was both restorative and productive and I am excited to be back in Wheeler House.

While it’s the summer and faculty and students are away from campus doing all sorts of exciting things, I did want to take this time to announce a few recent developments.

  1. Professor Bogac Ergene was recently announced as the winner of the Best Monograph Award for 2019 by the Association for the Study of Food and Society for his book (co-authored with Middlebury professor Febe Armanios) Halal Food: A History. For details on this prestigious prize, see p. 9 of the linked conference program: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XVmqm6WI3t4wBLxt7kI2z5S8E5XfwHTf/view
  2. James Marsh Professor-at-Large T. H. Breen recently offered his perspective on 4th of July celebrations in Washington, D.C. in a piece in the New York Times. See: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/03/opinion/july-4th-parade-trump.html?action=click

While this blog will remain relatively quiet through the rest of summer, the new term in the fall will bring a range of interesting posts.

I’d love to hear from fans or, especially, from alums of our program. We are interested in sharing your stories and getting the word out about how great the history department is at UVM.

Best wishes,

Paul Deslandes (Chair)

Dear History Blog Readers,

The fall semester ended successfully for the history department in December and we are now excited to begin a spring term.  I am taking a break from chair duties this spring as I take a long overdue sabbatical. During my time away, Professor Sean Stilwell will fill in (until I return in July). While I anticipate that the blog will lie dormant during this period, there may be some posts. Our social media presence on Twitter and Facebook will be maintained by the department’s social media intern, who will be overseen by Richard Watts and Sophia Trigg in the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office.

As we begin the new year, it is important to note that the history department remains a very busy place with lots of wonderful student work and impressive faculty research.

From the past few weeks, a couple of recent important developments are worth noting:

1) Professor Melanie Gustafson has published an impressive biographical article titled “Restless Lady: The Life and Writings of Frances Parkinson Keyes” in the online version of the New England Quarterly. What is important about this piece is that it was co-written with students who took her seminar on US Social History. The piece contains a prefatory essay on innovative teaching and showcases some of Professor Gustafson’s pedagogical skills. For more details, please follow this link:https://newenglandquarterly.org/2018/12/05/869/

2) Professor Alan Steinweis recently delivered the Ina Levine annual lecture at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In it, he discussed the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler by German cabinetmaker Georg Elser in 1939. Dr. Steinweis examined several aspects of Elser’s story: the background and motivation of the would-be assassin (including the question of whether objections to the persecution of Jews played a role); the Nazi regime’s responses to the assassination attempt; the debate in postwar Germany over the propriety of tyrannicide; and the relatively late emergence of a commemorative culture around Elser and his act. More details can be found here: https://www.ushmm.org/online-calendar/event/MALEVINELEC1218

Much more will be happening in the history department during the spring 2019 semester. Please keep on top of things by reviewing our website at: https://www.uvm.edu/cas/history

I wish you all well and urge you to continue to follow us in the months to come.

Best wishes and Happy New Year!

Paul Deslandes

Chair, Department of History

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