Professor Allyson Poska Awarded Rapid Response Grant on Covid-19

Professor Allyson Poska portrait History Professor Allyson Poska has been awarded a Rapid Response Grant on Covid-19 and the Social Sciences for her project “Convincing the Masses: Global Public Health and Smallpox Vaccination in the Spanish Empire (1803-1810).”

Presented by the Social Science Research Council in partnership with the Henry Luce Foundation, this competitive grant is intended to “examine the wide-ranging impacts of Covid-19—including on education, the workplace, health care, and religious practices—from the perspectives of a range of disciplines, from anthropology to political science to psychology.”

Poska offers a rich project summary that describes both the history of the 1803 Spanish smallpox vaccine campaign and its current-day relevance, as she writes:

In 1803 Charles IV of Spain initiated a campaign against smallpox, opening vaccination rooms across the peninsula and sending the cowpox vaccine around the globe with the Royal Philanthropic Expedition. This global examination of Spain’s smallpox vaccination campaign analyzes the dynamic between the purveyors of the vaccine and the potential recipients. On both the peninsula and around the globe, the vaccination campaign engaged the diverse populations of the Spanish empire: men and women, rich and poor, Africans (both free and enslaved), Indigenous Americans, Filipinos, mixed-race peoples, and whites (both Spanish and American born). The campaign challenged deeply rooted race and gender hierarchies and asserted new claims to governmental authority.

I intend to examine how each of these groups asserted their own expectations about bodily authority and governmental control as they accepted or rejected the vaccine… This project relates directly to the current Covid-19 as public health authorities grapple with the challenge of encouraging hundreds of millions of people of all races, classes, and cultures to submit to a novel vaccine for a novel virus.

Professor Poska has also received grants for this book project from the American Philosophical Society, The Council of American Overseas Research Centers/NEH Senior Fellowship, and The American Council of Learned Societies. She recently presented work from the project to the Center for Disease Control’s Immunization Division.

Notes and Updates – Paige Hildebrand (’19) Receives Outstanding Leader Award

A celebratory note from last spring, as we look ahead to another graduation season. History major Paige Hildebrand received the 2019 Prince Woodard Outstanding Leader Award. This award is given to a graduating senior who has made a substantial impact on campus and beyond, while exemplifying honor, leadership, and service.

A critical member of the Students Helping Honduras Executive Board, Hildebrand served as treasurer for the organization. She was noted for reorganizing all the club’s funds and also planning the For the Kids 5K event.

Hildebrand also completed her senior thesis, “The Empress Matilda: Sex, Gender, and Leadership in Twelfth Century England,” in fall 2019 with Dr. Bruce O’Brien.

Original award image and story from UMW News (4/19/2019).

Dr. Krystyn Moon Winner of Brennan Archaeology Award

On October 2, Krystyn Moon, Professor of History and American Studies Program Director, was awarded the 2019 Brennan Archaeology Award as a member of the Fort Ward Interpretive Committee (together with Frank Cooling, Mary Furlong Minkoff, Carol Johnson, Frances Terrell, Adrienne Washington, and Charles Ziegler.)

The Alexandria Archaeological Commission announced the award, which was presented by Mayor Wilson and Councilmember Redella “Del” Pepper. Dr. Moon has volunteered for the past few years doing history research as part of the Fort Ward Interpretive Committee to provide an integrated narrative of the Fort Ward City Park, which was the site of a Union fort and an African American neighborhood from the 1860s through the 1960s. Dr. Moon has shared her work as both a professional historian and a city resident.

The Fort Ward Interpretive Committee was celebrated at the event”for their stalwart devotion to the ongoing interpretation of history at Fort Ward Park; for their leadership in guiding and directing the implementation of a new interpretive experience for visitors to the park, as a Civil War fort and then the center of an African American community; for their pursuit of and vision for a new and updated park history based on the theme, Bastions of Freedom, which charts the arc of history at the park from Civil War to Civil Rights; and for immeasurably enhancing the interpretation of the park with their knowledge, foresight, and dedication to one of Alexandria’s most treasured historical sites.”

For more, see Professor Moon’s own report on the history of Fort Ward City Park, entitled “Finding the Fort: A History of an African American Neighborhood in Northern Virginia, 1860s-1960s.”

Vance Award and Phi Alpha Theta Inductees

The Department of History and American Studies was very happy to celebrate the University of Mary Washington’s 2018 Commencement with seniors this past weekenDrew Mesa and Dr. Nabil Al-Tikriti at Commencement, sharing Vance Awardd, both at our departmental reception on Friday and at the grand event on Saturday. Congratulations to all!

We also were happy to announce this year’s Joseph Carroll Vance Award for Excellence in Historical Research, which was presented to Drew Mesa for composing the best senior thesis this past 2017-2018 academic year.

Our Department also recently celebrated the 2018 induction of new members to the History Honors Society, Phi Alpha Theta, including Marianne Brokaw, Jessie Cavolt, Lauren Frey, Claire Goode, Paige Hildebrand, Sarah Jones, Maggie Lewandowski, Andrew Snead, and Joshua Hunt. Officers Nicole Spreeman and Madeline Coughlin presided at the initiation at our April Department banquet.

UMW Phi Alpha Theta 2018 Initiates

Images:

Vance Award-Winner Drew Mesa and Dr. Nabil Al-Tikriti (above)

Phi Alpha Theta 2018 Initiates (right)

click photos for larger images