Professor Steven Harris Awarded NEH Summer Stipend

History Professor Steven E. Harris received a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to complete research on his book project, “Flying Aeroflot: A History of the Soviet Union in the Jet Age.” He will conduct this research in summer 2021.

Like many faculty here at UMW, Professor Harris draws upon his scholarly research to develop innovative courses—in this case, the upper-level seminar, “Empires of the Air: Histories of Aviation and Space in the Modern World.” To be taught again in spring 2021, this course examines the history of flight from ballooning in the 18th century to the privatization of space exploration in the 21st. Along the way, students explore the impact of aeronautics and astronautics on global politics and warfare; gender, class, and race relations; imperial and national identities; and popular culture, travel, and commerce.

Professor Harris’s ‘Flying Aeroflot’ project uses commercial aviation to rethink how Soviet state and society evolved from the end of World War II to the communist system’s collapse in 1991. Aeroflot’s dramatic growth from an undeveloped sector under Stalin to the ‘world’s largest airline’ under Brezhnev tells the broader but still little understood story of the Soviet Union’s postwar transformation from an inward-looking terror state focused on industrial production to a superpower that wagered its legitimacy on fulfilling consumer needs at home and establishing a formidable global presence abroad.

By examining Aeroflot as a microcosm of the Soviet system, Harris’s project explains the country’s broader, sustained growth in the postwar era as the result of the state’s successful attempts to create a consumer-oriented, but not consumer-driven economy, propelled by technological development, global expansion, and the legitimizing discourse of Marxist-Leninist ideology.

Image: “Time is What I Gain: A Day by Train or an Hour by Plane” (Aeroflot poster, 1961) Source: Gleb Kotov, ed., Istoriia v plakatakh Aeroflota: K 85-letiiu grazhdanskoi aviatsii Rossii—dniu Aeroflota (Moscow: Aeroflot, 2008), 87.

Dr. Will Mackintosh Named to Bright Institute Cohort

wmackint@umw.edu faculty photographDr. Will Mackintosh has been named to the inaugural class of scholars at the Bright Institute of Knox College. He will join fourteen liberal arts professors in receiving a $9,000 award of research support over three years. This honor will support his research on the Loomis Gang.

For more, see this link.

Book Reception: Remember Little Rock – Dr. Erin Krutko Devlin (2/21)

rlrPlease join the Department of History and American Studies to celebrate Dr. Devlin’s new book!

Reception with Refreshments

Wednesday, February 21

4:00 pm

Monroe 210

All are welcome!

Remember Little Rock explores public memories surrounding the iconic Arkansas school desegregation crisis of 1957 and shows how these memories were vigorously contested and sometimes deployed against the cause. Delving into a wide variety of sources, Erin Krutko Devlin reveals how many white moderates proclaimed Little Rock a victory for civil rights and educational equality even as segregation persisted. At the same time, African American activists, students, and their families asserted their own stories in the ongoing fight for racial justice.

Book Reception: Dr. Allyson Poska (Wed, 11/1)

bookcoverap Please join the Department of History and American Studies to celebrate Dr. Poska’s newest book! We will host a reception with refreshments on Wednesday, November 1, at 4 pm in Monroe 213.

The event celebrates the publication of Dr. Poska’s award-winning book, Gendered Crossings: Women and Migration in the Spanish Empire.

Between 1778 and 1784 the Spanish Crown transported more than 1,900 peasants, including 875 women and girls, from northern Spain to South America in an ill-fated scheme to colonize Patagonia. The story begins as the colonists trudge across northern Spain to volunteer for the project and follows them across the Atlantic to Montevideo. However, before the last ships reached the Americas, harsh weather, disease, and the prospect of mutiny on the Patagonian coast forced the Crown to abandon the project. Eventually, the peasant colonists were resettled in towns outside of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, where they raised families, bought slaves, and gradually integrated into colonial society. Gendered Crossings brings to life the diverse settings of the Iberian Atlantic and the transformations in the peasants’ gendered experiences as they moved around the Spanish Empire.

Allyson Poska Awarded Book Prize

bookcoverap Dr. Allyson Poska has been awarded the prize for best book of 2016 from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women for her work Gendered Crossings: Women and Migration in the Spanish Empire (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2016).

In its recognition of the work’s achievement, the award committee noted their appreciation for how this book “complicates our understandings of masculinity, femininity, honor and sexual norms in showing how Spain tried to use families and migration to advance its imperial goals.” At the same time, they praised Gendered Crossings as it also presents “a careful study of many different historical subjects — women as well as men, poor and rich, and enslaved and free — that offers a powerful example of how histories of the early modern Atlantic world are enriched by weaving gender together with class, race, and European and Colonial politics.”

For more information on this study, see the link above. The Department of History and American Studies is delighted to extend its congratulations to Dr. Allyson Poska on her award.

 

Dr. Allyson Poska Interviewed in USA Today

Poska_Allyson_170Dr. Allyson Poska, Professor of History and a specialist in the histories of Spain and Latin America, was interviewed recently for an article in USA Today. See “Study: Crew that Sailed with Columbus Suffered Scurvy” for a look at the challenges faced by colonizers in the Caribbean’s Spanish settlements of the 1490s.

Faculty News: Dr. Kimberly Kutz Wins Dissertation Award

kutz_photoDr. Kimberly Kutz of UMW’s History and American Studies Department recently won the 2014 Hay-Nicolay Award for the best dissertation about Abraham Lincoln’s life, career, or legacy, presented by the Abraham Lincoln Association and Abraham Lincoln Institute.  She’ll be accepting the award at the ALI Annual Symposium at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on March 22.

Dr. Kutz’s dissertation (“Lincoln’s Ghosts: The Posthumous Career of an American Icon” UNC-Chapel Hill, 2013) examines the perception that Abraham Lincoln’s “spirit” remained in the United States after his death through a range of representations in popular culture: spirit photographs, stage actors and Lincoln presenters, paintings, the Walt Disney Lincoln Audioanimatron, and pilgrimage sites.  She argues that these representations continued to debate whether the Civil War was about emancipation or saving the Union by attempting to solve the question of whether Lincoln would have approved of African American equality – by trying to “bring him to life” to give a definitive answer.