Andreas Daum received the Humboldt Research Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in recognition of his scholarly oeuvre. He is spending his prize-year at the Ludwig-Maximilians- University Munich, Germany, researching the life and work of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), naturalist, traveler and globalizer. In 2019, his brief biography, Alexander von Humboldt, appeared with Beck Publishers. The Journal of Modern History published his article “Social Relations, Shared Practices, and Emotions: Alexander von Humboldt’s Excursion into Literary Classicism and the Challenges to Science around 1800.” Various German-language essays appeared over the course of 2019, in addition to two interviews in the Vienna newspaper Standard and the Berlin-based Humboldt Heute. Daum has given lectures in Stuttgart and at the Siemens Foundation and the Deutsches Museum, Munich. His chapter “German Naturalists in the Pacific around 1800: Entanglement, Autonomy, and a Transnational Culture of Expertise,” was published in Explorations and Entanglements: Germans in Pacific Worlds from the Early Modern Period to World War I (Berghahn Books, 2019).
Carole Emberton received a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to complete her book, The Emancipation of Priscilla Joyner. Emberton also joined the Student Success Committee, which looks at improving UB’s first-year retention rate, and became a part of a new initiative to support First Generation college students at UB.
Sarah Handley-Cousins participated in a Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Disability and the Holocaust. She published Bodies in Blue: Disability in the Civil War North in July 2019. Handley-Cousins visited the College of Charleston, the Citadel, and Virginia Tech to speak, and also gave a talk at the annual National Museum of Civil War Medicine conference. She further traveled to talk on her digital project, Dig: A History Podcast. She was invited to Louisiana Tech in March 2019 to talk about podcasting and digital humanities, and participated in the Sound Education conference on educational podcasting at Harvard.
Hal Langfur delivered the keynote address at the International Meeting of Colonial Historians in Natal, Brazil, comparing Brazilian and US frontier and borderlands scholarship. Langfur also contributed chapters to several edited collections published in the United States, Brazil, and Portugal over the past year, focusing on various aspects of his research on colonial Brazil and the South Atlantic world.
Yan Liu presented four chapters of his upcoming book at the Humanities Institute at UB, Johns Hopkins University, and the Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference at Denver. In early March 2019, he attended an ACLS sponsored reading workshop on Chinese alchemy at the University of Hawaii. In addition, Liu’s article “Words, Demons, and Vermin: Incantatory Healing in Medieval China” was published by Asian Medicine.
Ndubueze Mbah received a Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and has also been named an “ACLS Centennial Fellow in the Dynamics of Place” for his second book project, Rebellious Migrants: Forging Cosmopolitan Identity and Postcolonial Spaces in the Bight of Biafra and West Africa, 1840- 1960. His work examines how the social mobility and reintegration politics of nineteenth-century Biafran recaptives, particularly the Liberated Africans that returned from Sierra Leone to Calabar, facilitated postcolonial forms of ethnogeneses in West African territories including Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.
Patrick McDevitt served as Fulbright advisor for the university and this year oversaw a university-record number of applicants and semi-finalists. As of this writing, UB has already won two Fulbrights, to India and Malaysia. He spent the spring semester on sabbatical writing his book The Great Irish Famine: A Global History due out in 2021 with Oxford University Press.
Sasha Pack published his second book The Deepest Border: The Strait of Gibraltar and the Making of the Modern Hispano-African Borderland (Stanford University Press, 2019). He also began a three-year term as the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of History.
Michael Rembis was awarded a Faculty Fellowship at the UB Humanities Institute for the 2019-2020 school year.
Claire S. Schen finished a term serving as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office in August 2019. She is Co-PI of a $1.9 million National Science Foundation grant, “A Community-driven Approach to Sociotechnical Chemical Engineering Education,” focused on meaningful elaboration of humanistic and socio-cultural themes in sciencefocused higher education. In June, she gave a paper entitled “The Penitent Apostate: Preachers, Congregations, and the Problem of Conversion” as part of a section on Entanglements in the Early Modern Mediterranean Conference at the Summer Symposium for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in St. Louis, MO.
Erik Seeman published two articles in June 2019: “The Presence of the Dead among U.S. Protestants, 1800-1848” in Church History, and “Death in Early America” in History Compass. In July he taught “Colonial North America” to sixty-seven students at Capital Normal University in Beijing. His students struggled somewhat with English, but not nearly as much as he struggled with Chinese! In November his book was published by University of Pennsylvania Press: Speaking with the Dead in Early America. He’s working on a new book called “The Pox of 1721: Boston’s Deadliest Epidemic.”
Kristin Stapleton wrapped up a five-year term as editor of the journal Twentieth- Century China; she continues to serve as chair of the editorial advisory board of Education About Asia. She completed a revision of A History of Asia, a textbook written by her late undergraduate adviser Rhoads Murphey. A Chinese language edition of her book Fact in Fiction was published in summer 2019, while she was doing research in China. She published “Liberation: A View from the Southwest” in the Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Revolution, and continues to push her research on Chinese cities into the 1950s. In fall 2019 she received UB’s award for outstanding contributions to international education.
Tamara Thornton served as a presenter at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) Biography Seminar, held in Cambridge, MA in July. She also began a three-year term as an elected member of the SHEAR Advisory Board. Thornton presented a paper, “The Non-Cartographic Uses of Globes in Early America,” at a conference sponsored by the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. She presented a talk, “Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers,” to the National Maritime Historical Society, in Montrose, NY. Thornton organized the Western and Central New York Phi Alpha Theta regional student research conference, held at UB in April. She was also interviewed on the history of handwriting on BBC Radio’s “Up All Night,” aired on April 18.
Victoria W. Wolcott published an article, “Radical Nonviolence, Interracial Utopias and the Congress of Racial Equality in the Early Civil Rights Movement” in The Journal of Civil and Human Rights. She also published “The Forgotten History of Segregated Swimming Pools” in The Conversation. Wolcott delivered an invited lecture on the Father Divine movement at the University of Delaware in October 2019 and a conference paper at the African American Intellectual History Society Conference in March 2019. She also won a Humanities Institute Fellowship for Spring 2020.