Anne Sarah Rubin, History, in the Washington Post

Through the Heart of DixieAn article published September 13 in the Washington Post examines the legacy of Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea during the Civil War. Anne Sarah Rubin, an associate professor of history, was interviewed for the article and provided insight on Sherman’s strategy.

“It’s very much about saying, ‘Here’s the power of the Union army,’ ” said Rubin. Sherman’s purpose, she said, was to convey to the South that “you cannot stop us. You cannot resist us. You just need to give up.” She also commented on Sherman’s background, saying he was “a far cry from any kind of abolitionist.” To read the full article, click here.

Rubin is author of, Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory (UNC Press 2014). In the book, Rubin analyzes stories and myths about Sherman’s March as a lens for examining how Americans’ ways of thinking about the Civil War have changed over time. For more information, click here.

Kate Brown, History, Wins Heldt Prize and Western History Association’s Robert G. Athearn Prize

History Professor Kate Brown has won two additional awards for her book, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press 2013).

Kate Brown

Brown has been awarded the Heldt Prize in the category of Best Book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Studies from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies. More information about the award, including prior winners, can be found here. Brown won the same prize for her first book, A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland (Harvard 2004). The prize will be awarded in November.

In addition, Brown is the 2014 recipient of the Western History Association’s Robert G. Athearn Prize for her book Plutopia. This award is given biennially for the best published book on the twentieth century American West. On October 16, Brown is presenting the Robert. G Athearn Lecture at the University of Colorado, Boulder. More information can be found here.

Earlier this year, Brown was awarded the 2014 Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) for the best book-length historical study of the political economy, politics, or institutions of the United States, in its domestic or international affairs, from the Civil War to the present. She also received the American Society for Environmental History’s George Perkins Marsh Prize for the best book in environmental history.

Humanities Forum: Children of Rus': Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation (10/2)

On Thursday, October 2 at 4 p.m., Faith Hillis, an assistant professor of Russian history at the University of Chicago, will present the Humanities Forum and Webb Lecture, “Children of Rus': Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation. The event will take place in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery.

Webb LectureDuring the recent crisis in Ukraine, Russian national interests in Ukraine became front-page news. In this talk, Prof. Hillis places the struggle for control of Ukraine in a broader historical context. The nineteenth century saw a powerful and transformative Russian nationalist movement sweep across what is today central Ukraine. Claiming to restore the ancient customs of the East Slavs, the region’s Russian nationalists sought to empower local Orthodox residents and to diminish the influence of non-Orthodox minorities. By about 1910, Russian nationalism had become the preeminent political force in central Ukraine, dwarfing the influence of rival national movements; indeed, the region boasted the most politically successful Russian nationalist movement in the entire tsarist empire.

Reconstructing how and why Russian nationalism took hold on the empire’s southwestern periphery, Prof. Hillis puts forth a bold new interpretation of the relationship between state and society and between center and periphery under tsarism. By examining how intellectual developments in the nineteenth century created the architecture for the horrific violence of the twentieth, this discussion reflects on the causes of and offers potential solutions for the current crisis in Ukraine.

The event is sponsored by the History Department and by the Dresher Center for the Humanities. For more information, click here.

George Derek Musgrove, History, in The Philadelphia Tribune

An article published September 7 in The Philadelphia Tribune discusses the case of U.S. Rep. Chakka Fattah, a ten term representative from Philadelphia who is facing corruption allegations, charges and guilty pleas surrounding his family. George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, is quoted in the article and discusses the case of Fattah Sr. and his son, Fattah Jr., explaining that children of Black political families often go into businesses connected to their parents’ political power.

Derek Musgrove“There is a much higher percentage of white political families that produce their wealth from non-government related private businesses than there are Black ones,” Musgrove told The Tribune. “The children of many Black political families reproduce their class position by going into business[es] that are somehow connected to their parents’ political power. This may make them more susceptible to investigators looking for influence peddling.”

Musgrove added: “These young men grow up with the privileges associated with their parents’ status and take them for granted. Their children did not necessarily have an organic connection to these communities and that can sometimes lead them to use these communities for their own gain. They tend to have the same opportunities for graft afforded their white peers but not the same political protections.”

To read the full article in The Philadelphia Tribune titled, “Fattah not the first Black political family with money troubles,” click here.

Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, on WYPR’s Humanities Connection

Who are we and where have we been are questions fundamental to the human existence that are studied by UMBC students as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education. Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Professor of History, recently provided a commentary on WYPR’s Humanities Connection in which he advocated for studying the humanities as a way to prepare students for a thoughtful and civically engaged life.

Scott Casper

“In a world of polarized politics and cost-benefit analysis, our realm of possibilities is often cast as ‘either-or': Republican or Democratic, guns or butter, right or wrong. A liberal arts education encourages us to imagine another approach: not ‘either-or,’ but ‘both-and,’ a world of complexities rather than easy answers, interconnections rather than boundaries,” said Casper.

As part of his commentary, Casper outlined five distinct areas in which UMBC students encounter “both-and”: the global and the local, the changing and the timeless, the intellectual and the spiritual, the arts and the sciences, and thought and action.

“By asking questions that are fundamental to human existence and by encouraging ‘both-and,’ rather than simplistic ‘either-or,’ answers, the liberal arts prepare students at UMBC and elsewhere for a lifetime of reflection and purpose,” Casper said, adding, “the interplay of reflection and purpose is the bedrock of thoughtful citizenship, and the hallmark of a life well-lived.”

To listen to the full segment that aired on Humanities Connection, click here.

Kate Brown, History, To Speak at Baltimore Book Festival

History Professor Kate Brown will speak at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival, which runs from September 26-28. The festival features hundreds of appearances from local, celebrity and nationally-known authors. More than 100 exhibitors and booksellers will be on hand at the festival with readings, workshops and panel discussions also on the agenda.

Kate Brown

Brown is scheduled to present a talk on Friday, September 26 at 7 p.m. as part of the Ivy Bookshop author tent. She will be discussing her award-winning book, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013), in which she tells the stories of Hanford, Washington and Ozersk, Russia. The Soviet and American governments created these communities to produce the plutonium that fueled the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.

Earlier this year, Brown was awarded the 2014 Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) for the best book-length historical study of the political economy, politics, or institutions of the United States, in its domestic or international affairs, from the Civil War to the present. She also received the American Society for Environmental History’s George Perkins Marsh Prize for the best book in environmental history.

For more information on the Baltimore Book Festival, click here.

Anne Rubin, History, on C-SPAN

Anne RubinOn Saturday, May 31, C-SPAN 3 aired a talk given by History Associate Professor Anne Rubin at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. The talk was part of the 2014 Civil War Symposium held at the beginning of May.

Rubin discussed Union General William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea and the concept of “civilized war.” In 1864, General Sherman marched his troops from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia, and Rubin described the destruction along the way as setting the precedent for “total war” tactics in subsequent conflicts.

Rubin opens her talk by discussing basic Google and Internet searches of General Sherman and that many of them represent “a really popularly held view that William T. Sherman and the march through Georgia and the Carolinas in the final months of the Civil War have something to do with the creation of total war.”

You can watch the full talk on C-SPAN 3 by clicking here. Rubin’s book, A Shattered Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, 1861-1868, won the 2006 Avery O. Craven book prize for the best book in Civil War history