History Matters.
Emily Bowlus-Peck presenting her thesis during the 3MT Competition at UB.

In this Issue:

Support your Department

With gifts from alumni and friends, we can access crucial resources to enhance our department and support students, research projects and new programs.

Emily Bowlus-Peck presenting her PhD dissertation research during the 3MT Competition at UB.

Letter from the Chair

Prof. Kristin Stapleton in Southampton, UK standing under a street sign.
Kristin Stapleton writes:

Dear Friends of UB History,

As I write this, I have served as History Department chair for two weeks and am just discovering some of the pleasures and difficulties I will experience over the next few years. I am thankful that colleagues across the university and beyond have offered their support and encouragement. I am particularly grateful for the generous help received from our previous chair, Erik Seeman, who worked tirelessly to bring the department through the pandemic as smoothly as possible under very difficult circumstances

Department News

Going Digital

Over the past 20 years, the field of Digital Humanities (DH- the intersection of computing and digital technologies with the study of the humanities) has made a significant impact on academic scholarship. UB’s Department of English recently launched a Minor in Digital Humanities, and students and faculty all over the College of Arts and Sciences utilize DH methodologies and tools. The Department of History also boasts a burgeoning band of digital historians.

Russel Bassarath presenting his award-winning History Honor’s Thesis.

Russel Bassarath presenting his award-winning History Honor’s Thesis.

Faculty News

Meet the New Faculty

The department is excited to introduce two new faculty members, Robin Mitchell, Distinguished Visiting Scholar, and Hani Khafipour, Assistant Teaching Professor.

Professor Susan Cahn Retires

Prof. David Herzberg

Susan Cahn retired last year and she is already missed.

Headshots of Robin Mitchell and Hani Khafipour.

Distinguished Visiting Scholar Robin Mitchell (left) and Clinical Assistant Professor Hani Khafipour (right).

Student News

History Dinner

In fall 2021, the Department of History kicked off a new initiative: once a semester, the chair and director of undergraduate studies will invite a group of up to ten students for an informal differ to chat, socialize, and enjoy our department’s community. The inaugural “History Dinner” took place on November 4, 2021, at Fuji Restaurant near campus. Participants included professors Andreas Daum, Erik Seeman, and Cari Casteel, and the participants in the HIS 497 “Honors Seminar”, including Russel Bassarath, Bradley Castiglia, William Gonzalez, Madelyn Micket, Danielle Redfield, Alexandra Rosenlund, Jyla Serfino, Connor Whitney, and Natalie Wittmeyer.

Students and faculty enjoying the annual History Dinner.

Alumni News

Two UB Alumni Honored at Mount Vernon Gala

Mark Boonshoft, BA 2010
David Head, MA 2002, PhD 2010

This past Spring two UB History alumni attended a black-tie gala at Mt. Vernon. Mark Boonshoft, PhD, and David Head, PhD, were honored as finalists for the George Washington Prize from the Washington Library. Mark was a finalist in 2021 for his book, Aristocratic Education and the Making of the American Republic. David was a finalist in 2020 for his book, A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution (due to Covid delays award winners and finalists from the past three years were in attendance).

This gala, however, was not the first time the two had met. In fact, they had met at UB in 2007 when David was a TA for a US History course Mark was taking as an undergraduate. Mark was again David’s student in a 2008 American Revolution seminar. David recalls, “It was a small seminar, with maybe 20 students, held in some windowless basement room somewhere. I remember Mark writing some very sharp papers that blended together the arguments of the books we were reading while also advancing ideas of his own. That’s not something you see every day.” Although David did not teach Mark again before the two both graduated from their respective programs in 2010, they kept in touch, often crossing paths at conferences and of course on Twitter.

Being chosen as a finalist for the George Washington Prize is a high honor itself, but the presence of two UB alumni at the same gala, particularly two alumni with their unique past, made the event all the more memorable. David said of the event, “I was so happy to share the event with Mark. I was thrilled to be honored myself, of course, but it was extra special to see Mark getting recognized for his achievement.” Mark expressed, “It made for a good story during cocktail hour! More importantly, it’s a testament to the strength of UB’s history department—and the power of public higher education—that two alums were among the finalists within such a short time span.”

This fall Mark will take up a position as an Associate Professor and Conrad M. Hall ’65 Chair in American Constitutional History at Virginia Military Institute. David is currently an Associate Lecturer of History at the University of Central Florida.

Alumni Updates

Civil War History Book.

In November 2021, the journal Civil War History published an article by Richard D. Deverell, PhD (’21). He originally wrote the article as a research paper for Prof. Thornton’s research seminar in 2017. In February 2022, New York History published a book review he wrote about a film history monograph. Since graduating, he has worked as a temporary remote administrative assistant for Dr. Helena Hansen at UCLA and currently divides his time as a clerk at Walworth-Seely Public Library and as a Circulation Supervisor at St. John Fisher University’s Lavery Library. He will begin an online library science degree through UB this autumn.

Thomas Behr, PhD (‘00), was promoted and appointed Chair of the History Department at the University of St. Thomas.

Shanleigh Corrallo, PhD (‘20), was named an Empire State Fellow for 2021-2023, and had her article “Building Support for the Fight: Local Black Power Organizing During the Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971” published in the July 2021 volume of Afro-Americans in New York Life and History.

The Communist Judicial System in China, 1927-1976: Building on Fear.

Qiang Fang, PhD (’06), was awarded the Chinese Historians in the United States’ 2022 Academic Excellence Award for his book The Communist Judicial System in China, 1927-1976: Building on Fear (Amsterdam University Press, April 2021).

Averill Earls, PhD (’16) was awarded the Judith R. Walkowitz Prize for Best Article in Gender & Sexuality History from the North American Conference on British Studies.

Jeannette Jones, PhD (’03), was a 2021-2022 UB Distinguished Visiting Professor. In September 2021 she presented on her current research, "Rethinking America in Africa: U.S. Expansion and the Scramble for Africa" to the department.

Alexandra Prince, PhD (‘20), published the article “‘Driven Insane by Eddyism’: Christian Science, Popular Psychopathology, and a Turn-of-the-Century Contest over Faith and Madness” in the November 2021 volume of Religion and American Culture.

Yuki Numata Resnick playing the violin at the 2022 Graduation and Awards Ceremony.

Rick Mikulski, PhD (’14), is now a History librarian at William and Mary.

Craig Miller, PhD (’11), has been appointed Chief Reader for AP World History. In that position he will oversee the whole world history test, and he will help design the rubrics.

Jake Newsome, PhD (’16), recently published his first book with Cornell University Press: Pink Triangle Legacies: Coming Out in the Shadow of the Holocaust (2022). Jake, who works at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, has also developed various educational resources that help to explore the lives of LGBTQ+ people in Nazi Germany.

Marissa Rhodes, PhD (’19), is now an Assistant Professor of History at Saint Leo University in Tampa, Florida, in the history and medical humanities programs.

Shuko Tamao, PhD (‘20), is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Museum of American History.

Give to the Department of History

Thank you for your support of the Department of History! With the support of alumni and friends, we can access vital resources to enhance our department and provide support for students, research projects, and programs. We are grateful for your generosity.

You can support your department and help to provide for our students by making a gift online.