Talking History: Convo’s about Research with UMW Faculty

The History and American Studies Department is kicking off a new series this fall in which faculty members will share informal conversations about their research projects as works in progress. See below for further details. Talks this fall will be held in Monroe 233. All are welcome!

Dr. Allyson Poska Awarded Waple Professorship

Dr. Allyson Poska, Professor of History at UMW, has been awarded the Waple Professorship. The Waple Professorship is a new program supported by a generous gift from the Waple family. Three professorships have been awarded in this inaugural year, one to a leading faculty member from each of the three colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education) at our university.

Dr. Poska’s award was in recognition for her study, Gendered Crossings:  Transatlantic Migration in the Spanish Empire.

Primarily a social historian, she regularly teaches upper-level courses on the histories of Spain and Latin America and frequently offers seminars dealing with gender issues. Her most recent book is Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia (2006) which won the Roland H. Bainton Prize given by the Sixteenth Century Studies Association to the best book in early modern history or theology.

In addition to her work at the Department of History and American Studies, Dr. Poska is currently director of UMW’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.

New Book by Dr. Steven Harris: “Communism on Tomorrow Street”

The History and American Studies Department is happy to announce that Dr. Steven Harris’ book, Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life after Stalin, was recently published by the Woodrow Wilson Center Press and the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Book description:

This book examines how, beginning under Khrushchev in 1953, a generation of Soviet citizens moved from the overcrowded communal dwellings of the Stalin era to modern single-family apartments, later dubbed khrushchevka. Arguing that moving to a separate apartment allowed ordinary urban dwellers to experience Khrushchev’s thaw, Steven E. Harris fundamentally shifts interpretation of the thaw, conventionally understood as an elite phenomenon.

Harris focuses on the many participants eager to benefit from and influence the new way of life embodied by the khrushchevka, its furniture, and its associated consumer goods. He examines activities of national and local politicians, planners, enterprise managers, workers, furniture designers and architects, elite organizations (centrally involved in creating cooperative housing), and ordinary urban dwellers. Communism on Tomorrow Street also demonstrates the relationship of Soviet mass housing and urban planning to international efforts at resolving the “housing question” that had been studied since the nineteenth century and led to housing developments in Western Europe, the United States, and Latin America as well as the USSR.

Alum’s book reviewed

History alum (’94)  David Preston’s book was recently featured in a review essay in the William and Mary Quarterly, a leading journal of the colonial and early national period, on the cutting-edge works that have appeared on Iroquois history in the past few years.  See the essay at

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Prof. Mackintosh talks Vampires, Founding Fathers, and Pop Culture in a recent article

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Vampires

“Jefferson was a pretty cerebral guy,” says Will Mackintosh, assistant professor in the Department of History and American Studies at the University of Mary Washington.  Read the full article at

Recent Graduate, Joe Calpin, Featured in Local Paper

Joe Calpin of Dumfries found a love for the Chinese language through martial arts films and studying Kung Fu while in high school. Since then he has continued to pursue it within his undergraduate studies. While at UMW last year, he studied abroad in Harbin, China and this year is in Taiwan with the International Chinese Language Program.

He said, “Dr. Susan Fernsebner, professor of history at the University of Mary Washington, took my simple desire to study Chinese history and gave me the tools to dig deep into that history. It was actually through her that I became aware of the ICLP here in Taipei.”

Calpin recognizes the issue that “a number of people have their fair share of doubts about higher education, particularly in a depressed economy where everyone’s money is tight.”

But to him, it is quite worth it.

Calpin said, “If nothing else, I have received opportunities to study and do things that I would have never had outside of college. I couldn’t imagine where my life would be now without UMW providing the space for me to grow and ponder.”

According to Calpin, “You would expect that information given in a classroom stays within the confines of that room or even the campus, but I see the exact opposite. In taking part of the educational experience at Mary Washington, I soon discovered that with all of that knowledge I couldn’t help but open my eyes to issues that exist in our society today.”

Department Reps for 2012-2013 Announced

Congratulations to the new department representatives elected by our students and announced at our department banquet last week!

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