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History | 2009 News

Peter Kuznick was interviewed on November 20, 2009, by Daisy Alliance as one of the "people who make a difference in arms control."

Anna Nelson, Distinguished Historian in Residence, calls for more openness in government in a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Pennsylvania University Press has just announced the publication of Toussaint Louverture and the American Civil War: The Promise of a Second Haitian Revolution by AU history alum Matthew Clavin (PhD, 2005). Dr. Clavin is an assistant professor of history at the University of West Florida.

Congratulations to this year's 2009-10 History Department Undergraduate Award winners.

Film director Oliver Stone visited Peter Kuznick's class, "Oliver Stone's America." View video of the story from the local ABC affiliate.

AU faculty member Andrew Yarrow has an article in the current issue of the American Historical Association's Perspectives in History about teaching federal finances in his class on The United States since 1945.  He also has an article in the Journal of Cold War Studies, "Selling a New Vision of America: Changing Messages in Early Cold War Propaganda," portions of which will be incorporated into his forthcoming book, Measuring America (U. Mass. Press, 2010).  Professor Yarrow is Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of Public Agenda.

On November 17, 2009, PhD candidate Stephanie Jacobe, who holds a Senior Research Fellowship with The Center for the History of Collection in America of The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library, will deliver her fellows talk: "Thomas Fortune Ryan: Collecting and Patronage in New York and Virginia at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century."

Congratulations to Louie Milojevic, who has just been awarded Samuel Flagg Bemis Dissertation Research Grant by the Graduate Student Grants and Fellowship committee of the Society for the History of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR).

AU Alum Corky Mayo has retired from the National Park Service after an influential 41-year career in public history.

Stephen Nemeth (BA, '05) is pursuing a master's degree in Environmental Sustainability at the University of Leeds. He reports: "I had a very pleasant surprise when I got into my research methods class on the first day and they informed us of the requirements for our masters thesis. They're nearly identical to what we had to do for the senior thesis, albeit with a few additional pages. It's been a great comfort to know that at least I've done it before (hopefully I can do it again!)." You can follow Stephen's blog at:

Look at the October 2009 issue of CAS Connections to read more about Peter Muller (BA, '05) and his photography.

Senior history major Jonathan Terrell has been selected a George C. Marshall Undergraduate Scholar by the George C. Marshall Foundation. Jonathan, whose senior thesis is a study of allied deception during World War II and who has already begun his research at the National Archives, will visit the Marshall Library and utilize its large holdings to further develop his thesis.

Public History graduate student Olivia Meyer has helped plan and organize Beware of the Wawel Dragon as part of her internship at the Children's Museum.  Olivia will perform the "Wawel Dragon" (which is based on a traditional Polish folk tale) and lead the art activities connected with it on Oct. 31 and Nov. 7 at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. at the National Children’s Museum.  See the Washington Post article for more details.

Read about Brett Abrams's (PhD, '00) works of cultural history in his AU Alumni Success Story article.

Historian in Residence Melvin Urofsky's newest book, Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, was recently reviewed in the New York Times.  Dr. Urofsky will discuss his new book in the Battelle-Tompkins Atrium on the campus of American University on October 14, 2009 at 4:00 p.m.

Vincent Intondi (PhD, ’09) is Assistant Professor at Seminole State College, located in Central Florida. He will be leading a conversation on September 23, 2009, entitled, "A Constitution For the Few?"

Congratulations to Alan Kraut his appointment as University Professor, one of the highest recognitions American University awards its faculty. This is yet another wonderful recognition for Alan and for the Department of History.

Last year, AU History alum Francis (Frankie) Martin (2006) accompanied renowned Islamic Scholar Akbar Ahmed on a trip to explore the Muslim presence in America. A documentary film based on this trip, A Journey into America,  has just been released. An excerpt from an interview with Noam Chomsky featured in the film can also be found in Martin's recent article in The Guardian on American identity and the Fourth of July.

Congratulations to Eric Singer, whose book chapter entitled, "Rehearsing for Armageddon: Planners, Citizens and the Culture of Civil Defense in Baltimore, 1950-1954," was published in the 2009 book Angst im Kalten Kreig, or Fear in the Cold War.

Taunton Paine (History '09) has been admitted to the London School of Economics – Columbia University Double Degree in International and World History, a two year M.A. program. Students split their time between London and New York City.

Congratulations to Laura E. O'Friel, this year's winner of the Janet Oppenheim Prize for the department's best senior thesis.  Laura's thesis, "Answering the Pretender's Declaration: The Impact of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion on British Identity in Colonial Maryland and Pennsylvania," is a deeply researched, elegantly written, and beautifully argued study of shifting and often competing visions of identity in mid-eighteenth-century America.  Written under the direction of Professor Katharine Norris, it offers original perspective on the ways in which religious and political visions of Britishness intertwined in the lives of local communities and helped both to strengthen ties between the mid-Atlantic colonies and Great Britain and to craft an emerging American identity.  Laura, who will complete her M.A. degree in secondary-school teaching at AU this coming December, was one of the co-winners (with Alise Smith and Emily Feldstein) of this year's Dorothy Gondos Beers Scholarship; she graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with University Honors and plans to pursue a career as a high-school history teacher.

Michelle Risinger ('07), who is completing her second tour as a Red Cross worker in Iraq, has received the Ernest L Ransome Scholarship for a one year Master's degree program at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.  Michelle recently presented an AU Flag to the army base where she has been serving.  For details, see

Watch/listen to Dr. April Shelford's January 2009 presentation in Paris, "Friendship in Erudition and Enlightenment," at the Ecole Normale Supérieure.  The presentation is delivered in English; choose "ecouter" for audio, or "visualier" for video.

Recent history graduate Pete Muller (BA, 2005) has been photographing and filming the dangerous work of landmine removal in northern Uganda.  National Geographic Glimpse has just released a video that features his work on mine clearance and Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) disposal in northern Uganda. You can see the video here. The Danish Demining Group, a subdivision of the Danish Refugee Council, has also posted two audio slide shows that he has created.  You can view them here. Peter can be contacted at

Congratulations to Amanda Harrison, who has just received a prestigious Scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to spend June and July in intensive language study at the Goethe Institut in Germany.  Amanda has earlier spent a year in Poland, pursuing studies in Polish, German and Eastern European Studies.

Professor Richard Breitman is the lead editor of the second volume of the James McDonald diaries, Refugees and Rescue: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1935-1945.  Read the review in the New York Times here and in USA Today here.

Congratulations to Rod Coeller, who has been awarded the Roger Brown Fellowship for 2009-10, and Alexandra Lohse, who has been awarded the Richard and Carol Breitman Fellowship for 2009-10. 

Congratulation to Professor Mustafa Aksakal, who has just received word that he has been awarded a John W. Kluge Fellowship for study at the Library of Congress during the coming academic year. His new project is entitled "The Ottomans in the Age of European Empire."

Congratulations to Bethany Power, whose paper, "Food Fight: Fighting for America through t he National School Lunch Program," was named the best paper by a Graduate Student an the Arts and Humanities at the 19th Annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference.

Read Professor Allan Lichtman's article, "Presidential Debates in Russia," as well as Professor James Percoco's article, "Doing What I Do," in the February 2009 OAH Newsletter. 

Congratulations to Sophomore William Zeman who has won a highly-competitive Critical Language Scholarship for Turkish language study this summer in Istanbul, Turkey. He will also be studying abroad in Turkey during the academic year 2009–10 at Koc University.

Congratulations to Professor Jim Percoco on winning the J. Owen Grundy Award from the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy for his book, Summers With Lincoln.

Congratulations to Congressman Jim McGovern, AU history alum, for winning the AU Alumni Association's 2008 Alumni Achievement Award.

Congratulations to student Stephanie Jacobe on receiving a junior fellowship from the Frick Collection to work at their museum in Manhattan this summer.

Congratulations to Alan Kraut on his election to the prestigious Society of American Historians; and to Allan Lichtman on his invitation to join PEN, the distinguished organization of writers.

Adjunct faculty Andrew Yarrow of Public Agenda wrote an editorial piece with Stephen B. Heintz for the Baltimore Sun, "Viewpoint: Public Engagement in the Obama Era."

Stephanie A.T. Jacobe has been awarded a research fellowship by the Gilder Lehrman Institue of American History to support research at the library of the New-York Historical Society for her dissertation, “Thomas Fortune Ryan: An American Catholic.”

Follow AU alum Michelle Risinger ('07) at her blog, Climb in Back, while she is in Tikrit, Iraq as the Assistant Station Manager for the Red Cross.

History alums talk about the value of internships at Career Night.

Dr. Mark P. Leone spoke on The Archaeology of Wye House, Maryland and Frederick Douglass at the Katzen Arts Center, American University on the evening of Thursday, February 19, 2009.

Congratulations to Professor Allan Lichtman on the nomination of his book, White Protestant Nation, as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

AU history professor Allan Kraut joined producer and author Lorie Conway to create the film, "Forgotten Ellis Island." It was shown on PBS stations all over the country on Monday, February 2. It will appear on WETA in March, 2009 in prime-time. You can view the trailer here.

Anna Nelson, Distinguished Historian in Residence, has been named recipient of the 2009 Troyer Steele Anderson Prize, given by the American Historical Association. The Anderson Prize is awarded to individuals who have made the most outstanding contribution to the advancement of the purposes of the association. Recent recipients include: Roy Rosenzweig of George Mason University (posthumously); Linda Shopes of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission; Stanley Katz of Princeton University; and AHA Legal Counsel (and AU Historian in Residence) Albert J. Beveridge III. (01/2009)