Web newsletter available at http://www.history.emory.edu/newsletter01/News-07/
The Chair's Corner
by James L. Roark

Department Chair James L. RoarkFor this past year, I have had the privilege of serving as chair of this fine department. Beginning in August 2008, Kristin Mann will assume the chairís duties. As I take my leave, I would like to express my great appreciation to those colleagues who, in addition to their primary responsibilities as teachers and researchers, have also labored on behalf of the general good. This department has strong traditions, among them democratic governance, mutual respect, candor, civility, and, thankfully, colleagues who are willing to take on major departmental responsibilities.

        No one has been more conspicuous in their service than Cindy Patterson and Matt Payne (Directors of Undergraduate Studies) and Jonathan Prude (Director of Graduate Studies) and their hard-working committees (undergraduate: Tonio Andrade, Astrid Eckert, and Joe Crespino; graduate: Rob Desrochers, Jeff Lesser, Gyan Pandey, and Philippe Rosenberg). The undergraduate committee faced an extraordinarily busy year, most particularly because the College rewrote its General Education Requirements. In addition to helping formulate the new requirements, the Department began to contemplate what the new GERs mean for the history curriculum, a discussion that continues. The graduate committee has been equally busy, leading the Department in a major revision of field and examination requirements. Making the work of the committee especially interesting was the major reorganization of the Graduate School, which required alert and nimble responses.

        At a service in April, the Department celebrated the life of Kermit McKenzie, emeritus professor of Russian and Soviet history who retired in the mid-1990s. Fittingly, one of the eulogies was offered by Matt Payne, Kermitís successor. Modern British historian, Marcus Collins, on leave teaching at the University of Wales, decided to remain in Britain. Rosalyn Page, the Departmentís long-serving Department Administrator, announced her retirement, effective this summer. It is impossible to summarize what Rosalynís dedicated, caring service has meant to the department, but just let me say that while we have begun to search for Rosalynís successor, we know that she cannot be replaced. We are lucky to have such a strong and able staff Ė Patsy Stockbridge, Becky Herring, and Allison Rollins Ė to see us through the transition.

        The Department marked advances on a broad front. This year, we succeeded in luring Brian Vick, a nineteenth-century German and European historian, away from the University of Colorado. When he arrives in August 2008, he will join Jamie Melton and Astrid Eckert, giving the Department rare strength in Central European history. In addition, we received permission in January to search for the Betty Gage Holland Professor of Roman History. This new, endowed professorship is the most important single gift ever received by ancient history at Emory, and it will greatly strengthen our undergraduate and graduate programs in ancient history and help galvanize Emoryís interdisciplinary program in Mediterranean Studies. The Department also celebrated the tenure and promotion of two colleagues, Tonio Andrade in Chinese and world history and Joe Crespino in modern U.S. and southern history.

        History faculty distinguished themselves in a variety of ways. A raft of spectacular books appeared: Wally Adamson, Embattled Avant-gardes: Modernismís Resistance to Commodity Culture in Europe (University of California Press); Clifton Crais, with Pamela Scully, Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography (Princeton University Press); David Eltis, with David Richardson, Manolo Florentino, and Stephen D. Behrendt, The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database On-line (Emory University); Jeff Lesser, A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese-Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy (Duke University Press); Kristin Mann, Slavery and the Birth of an African City: Lagos, c. 1760-1900 (Indiana University Press); and Marina Rustow, Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate (Cornell University Press). Faculty also published numerous edited books and articles. Joe Crespinoís and Eric Goldsteinís recent books won prestigious prizes, as did a paper Judith Miller offered at the annual meeting of the Western Society for French History. Faculty won major grants, including the National Endowment for the Humanities awards that went to Marina Rustow and David Eltis. Faculty received national and international recognition: Susan Socolow was inducted into the Argentine National Academy of History; Earl Lewis was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; and Jeff Lesser was elected President of the Conference on Latin American History. Members of the Department served the university in important leadership positions: Mark Ravina served as Director, East Asian Studies; Matt Payne served as Director, Russian and East European Studies; Jeff Lesser was Director, Institute of Jewish Studies; and Leslie Harris served as Chair, Department of African American Studies. Despite the length of this paragraph, it doesnít begin to exhaust the achievements, honors, and awards of the history faculty. To find out more, check out the Department webpage (www.history.emory.edu).

        History students, as well as history faculty, covered themselves (and us) in glory this year.  Undergraduate students received prestigious awards and graduate students published articles, won grants, completed wonderful dissertations, and got jobs.  You will find their stories in the reports by the DGS and DUS in this Newsletter.

        In short, as individuals and as a Department, History at Emory is thriving.

—James L. Roark


Dr. Thomas S. Burns
Interview with Thomas S. Burns

Long-time professor Thomas Burns, retiring after more than three decades at Emory specializing in the 300-700 A.D. period in European history, reflects on his career, teaching and publications in an interview with Fraser Harbutt.
(continued . . .)

Emory historians discuss their recent books

Walter L. Adamson, Embattled Avant-gardes: Modernismís Resistance to Commodity Culture in Europe

Joseph Crespino, In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counter-revolution

Astrid M. Eckert, Institutions of Public Memory: The Legacies of German and American Politicians

Jeffrey Lesser, A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy, 1960-1980

Kristin Mann, Slavery and the Birth of an African city: Lagos, 1760-1900

GŁnther KronenbitterComparing American and German Universities
by Günther Kronenbitter, DAAD Professor

Günther Kronenbitter, our current DAAD Professor, contributes some impressions of the differences he observes in the contemporary German and American approach to university education.
(continued . . .)

Faculty Reports

A cross-section of the faculty report on their activities during the past year. (continued . . .)

Dr. Kermit E. McKenzieKermit E. McKenzie
1924-2008

Matthew Payne’s obituary recaptures the life, spirit and accomplishments of a cherished colleague, Kermit McKenzie.
(continued . . .)

James Zachary "Jack" Rabun
1909-2008

As this edition of the Newsletter went through its final production stage, we were saddened to learn than Jack Rabun (Professor Emeritus in American History) has passed away at the age of 98. A full appreciation of his long career at Emory will appear in the 2009 edition of the Newsletter.

The 2007/08 academic year saw a number of major accomplishments for our undergraduate program. While participating in the major revision of the Emory’s undergraduate General Education Requirements (and ensuring History’s continuing centrality in the Liberal Arts) we have overseen a very vibrant group of students. A total of 68 history majors and joint majors received BA or BS degrees in 2007/08, including two BA/MA degrees.
(more Undergraduate News . . .)
Two Outstanding Undergraduates
David Abraham and Ian Whittle each graduated this year with Highest Honors in history. The two talk about their experiences as Emory History undergraduates.
(read more . . .)
The past year has been a time of considerable change and success for the graduate program. Change came in the form of a significant transformation in the fields and testing format used for the General Examination. The revisions are detailed on the Department’s web page. But among the amendments put in place is a move away from a pre-existing menu of major and minor fields to an arrangement. . .
(continued . . .)
Recently Awarded Emory Ph.D.'s
Nine of our students were awarded their doctoral degrees in May (read list . . .)
Dana IrwinStatus Report of the Graduate History Society
Dana Irwin, GHS President

It has been another bustling year for the students of the Graduate History Society (GHS). We have faced a new policy regarding research funding from the Graduate School....
(continued . . .)

Newsletter Staff

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