SHPR Digest – May 2013


Nichols2Christopher McKnight Nichols has had a banner month starting with the American Military and Diplomatic History Conference that was held on campus May 7th to celebrate the launch of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Military and Diplomatic History  – a massive two volume reference work he co-edited with David Milne and Timothy Lynch.   CSPAN was on hand to film the event which is slated to air later this month!

The History News Network also ran a great piece on The Limits of American Power by Nichols.

And, as if that was not enough, his prior work, Promise and Peril:  America at the Dawn of a Global Age continues to get international publicity and glowing reviews – this time in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.  (12:2 Apr. 2013, p. 260-268)

“…Nichols adeptly traces the transformations within isolationist thought
while challenging simplistic characterizations of the policy…”


smith_freedom“Although California was distant from the battlefields of the Civil War, the state endured its own struggle over freedom that paralleled that of the North and the South.”  

Also big congratulations to Stacey Smith who’s first blog post for the New York Times came out this month exploring Native American involuntary servitude in California during the Civil War era.    Much of this research has grown from her forthcoming book Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction which comes out this August.

You can read her full NYT article here!


weaponized_weatherThere has also been fantastic press this month for Jake Hamblin‘s new book  “Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism”  as Salon excerpts a chapter!

“Cold War secrets: Melting polar ice cap with nukes, changing the sea level, even LSD weapons were all on the table…”

You can read the Salon excerpt here or get your own copy here!


strA hearty congratulations to Stuart Sarbacker who received the Hundere Publishing Fellowship to assist in the completion of his forthcoming book, Tracing the Path of Yoga, under contract with SUNY Press.   His most recent article “Herbs (ausadhi) as a Means to Spiritual Accomplishments (siddhi) in Patañjali’s Yogasutra” was also published this month in the International Journal of Hindu Studies.

Sarbackers’ popular yoga course was featured in a recent OSU video.


avahelenMina Carson presented a lecture on Ava Helen Pauling at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland on Thursday, May 9th to a wildly enthusiastic audience.   Her talk Ava Helen Pauling: Wife, Mother, Gadfly, Activist presented research and insights gained writing her biography of Ava Helen that was released on OSU Press this month.


CampbellThe Spring 2013 issue of Oregon Humanities magazine featured an article by Courtney Campbell entitled Fearful Beauty:  Embracing Both the Wonder and Terror of Awe.

“In a postmodern world where the gods may be silent and spectacles are packaged and commodified for our consumerist lusts, we do well to follow Einstein’s admonition to not close our eyes to the awe and wonder that pervade our experience.”


Jon Butler Conf.Amy Koehlinger visited Yale University last month as co-organizer and presenter at Historiographical Heresy:  A Conference on the Legacy of Jon Butler.   Dr. Koehlinger presented a paper entitled “Questioning ‘The Catholic Imaginary’: Catholic Exceptionalism in the Historical Imagination”

You can read more about this excellent conference @ the Religion in American History blog under “An Olympics of Intellectual Takedowns.”

Koehlinger was also awarded a Hundere Teaching Fellowship to assist in the development of her new course, “Religion in the American West” to add to the curricular offerings of the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion in the field of religious studies!


Miles and Piatt 2013 Debate PosterThe Socratic Club @ OSU, helmed by Gary Ferngren, continues to bring thought provoking debates to campus.   This month featured a debate asking if the concept of hell and the concept of a loving God are incompatible.

For more information about the Socratic Club @ OSU, visit their website at

You can watch this and more than 20 of their previous debates online at:

Ferngren’s 2009 book Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity was also extensively quoted this month by ABC Australia in an article entitled “The roots of benevolence: Christian ideals and social benefit.


Glaubenssysteme BeliefDavid Luft was recently in Canada to give a presentation at the Glaubenssysteme Belief-Systems Conference at the University of Waterloo.

He spoke on “Resisting Belief-Systems in Austria” and also served as moderator for the Austria & It’s History panel.


Black Urban Atlantic CoverCongratulations go out to Nicole von Germeten who contributed a chapter, “Black Brotherhoods in Mexico City” to the recently released book The Black Urban Atlantic in the Age of the Slave Trade  Edited by Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, Matt D. Childs, and James Sidbury on University of Pennsylvania Press.

You may remember Dr. Cañizares-Esguerra from earlier this year as he gave the 2013 Carson Lecture “Silencing the Past: On Imperious Historical Categories.”   His lecture is still one of the top three viewed videos on our YouTube channel.


Miner's DiggingPh.D. candidate Linda M. Richards, has done us proud again:  her article on uranium mining on Navajo land, entitled “On Poisoned Ground,” is the cover story in the latest issue of the magazine Chemical Heritage which is published by the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) in Philadelphia.  They’ve also put images from her article on the front page of both the hard copy magazine and their website.  If you are not familiar with the CHF, it is a major center of research in the history of chemistry (including the health and environmental dimensions).

Work like Linda’s is helping to make our School not only a center of excellence in history of science, but also in environmental, peace, and social justice issues.   This is a bumper academic year for Linda, who also recently published a refereed journal article about Linus Pauling’s “fallout suits” in the journal Peace and Change.  (Volume 38, Issue 1, pages 56–82, January 2013)


Hannah Mahoney

Hannah Mahoney interned in the OSU Multicultural Archives and organized an archival document set related to a really distinctive church founded by Caribbean immigrants in Portland in 1911. The Church (St. Philip the Deacon) recently donated its records to OSU Archives.

A big congratulations to History senior Hannah Mahoney was awarded the OSU Library Undergraduate Research Award in the humanities for 2013, for her paper “A Global Affair: Understanding 1960s Geopolitics through the New York World’s Fair”

Hannah was also featured in a recent
OSU Spotlight where she said,

“I didn’t choose Oregon State for history, but I probably am getting the better history degree I would have gotten anywhere else,” she says. “All the professors are great. They really love where they are and what they’re doing.”


Dr. Robert SelfOSU History (91′) alumnus Robert Self (now Professor of History at Brown University) returned to Oregon to speak at 3:30 pm on Thursday, May 9 at the University of Oregon (375 McKenzie Hall).

Dr. Self is a prominent scholar of twentieth century US history.  His first (award-winning) book, American Babylon, explored racial politics in Oakland, California in the postwar era.   He will be speaking about his new book, All in the Family, which has already received significant attention.


bildeThe Salem Statesman Journal ran a great article on OSU alumnus and former faculty member Willi Unsoeld.   “A graduate of Oregon State University, Willi Unsoeld later served on the faculty of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Oregon State before taking a leave of absence to join the Peace Corps and embarking upon his historic trek (as part of the first American expedition to climb Everest).   It was a quest that would cost Unsoeld nine of his toes from frostbite, but cement his reputation as one of the country’s greatest climbers and give birth to a legacy of adventure-seeking that today still thrives at Oregon State University.”

You can read the full article here!


Dr. Elizabeth Stillwagon SwanCongratulations go out to Dr. Elizabeth Stillwagon Swan, the Horning Fellow in History and Philosophy of Science for 2010-2011, who has been appointed assistant professor of philosophy at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA.

Dr. Swan taught science writing for the OSU Gradate Program in History and Philosophy of Science during her year at OSU’s Center for Humanities. At Mercyhurst professor Swan will be teaching courses in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science, and plans to collaborate with colleagues in the university’s programs in forensic science and intelligence studies. Her most recent book is Origins of Mind (Dordrecht: Springer, 2013).



And, finally…

Please join me in a School wide heartfelt congratulations to Heather and Caleb Stinger who welcomed their first baby, Taryn, this month.

We wish them the best of luck in the future and look forward to Heather’s return in June!


Upcoming Events

Teddy Roosevelt’s Oregon Roadshow
May 16, 2013 @ 6:30 pm
Benton County Historical Museum; Philomath,OR
(click here to learn more!)

(For those that saw Horning Visiting Scholar Robert Fox’s talks last week…,  this may be of interest!)
Human Curiosities: People on Display at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition

Lunchtime Lecture with Emily J. Trafford, Ph.D. candidate, University of Liverpool
Friday, May 17 at 12 PM
Oregon Historical Society Madison Room (Free with museum admission)

Organizers of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland, Oregon, chose to include displays of live humans, a practice that was common at the time but about which there are many questions today. Historian Emily J. Trafford will be working to answer those questions during four weeks of intense research into collections held by OHS, work supported by the Society’s Donald J. Sterling Research Fellowship. Join her for an illustrated update on what she has discovered in our archive and what she thinks it all means.   (Learn more here!)

The History Students Association Undergraduate Research Conference
Saturday, May 18, 2013 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Valley Library, Willamette East & West Room
(Please consider attending and lending your support to our young researchers!)

A Brief History of Extraterrestrial Communication
Tuesday, May 21, 4:00 PM-5:00 PM
Milam Hall, Room  319A

The CLA “Scholarship and Creativity Fair”
Thursday, May 30, 5:00 PM -8:00 PM
Reser Stadium, Club Level

The 1st annual SHPR “No-Ice-Cream” Social and Awards Presentation
Thursday, June 06, 2:00 PM -4:00 PM
Memorial Union, Journey Room

Commencement 2013
Saturday, June 15, 2013 12:00 PM


Upcoming Opportunities

Be a Mentor!

Project Social Justice

Project Social Justice (PSJ) is a nine-month mentoring program for individuals interested in becoming effective social change agents.  The vision of the program is to develop diverse leaders dedicated to creating a welcoming and inclusive society.  Participants will be expected to attend activities, meet independently, engage in authentic conversations, and provide reflections throughout the experience.  Mentees will create a culminating personal growth and social justice project.  It is our hope that mentors and mentees will build meaningful relationships with one another and within the cohort of participants.  The program begins during the Fall 2013 term and ends Spring 2014.  Undergraduate and graduate students can apply to be a mentee.  Staff, professional faculty, and teaching faculty can apply to be a mentor.  

The full program description can be found here.

While this is a free program for enrolled students and campus faculty and staff, spaces are limited.  To apply click here.

Application deadline is Thursday, May 23, 2013.


Aloha and E Komo Mai!

hawaii2014 Hawaii University International Conferences
On Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
January 4-6, 2014

Ala Moana Hotel
Honolulu, HI

Call for Papers/ Proposal /Abstracts/Submissions
Submission Deadline: July 31, 2013

Visit our website | Submit via online form | Contact Us


The Last Word

“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo;
I want to overthrow it.”

Niccolo Machiavelli (b. May 1469)



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