Anne Rubin, History, on WYPR’s Humanities Connection, Receives Wall Street Journal Book Review

On Thursday, November 20, History Associate Professor Anne Rubin appeared on WYPR’s Humanities Connection to discuss her research and digital humanities project, “Mapping Memory: Digitizing Sherman’s March to the Sea.” The project uses digital storytelling to explore Sherman’s historic 1864 March to the Sea during the Civil War. On December 2, Rubin will further discuss her research with Visual Arts Associate Professor Kelley Bell at the Humanities Forum at UMBC.

Through the Heart of Dixie

Earlier this year, Rubin published, 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, one of the most symbolically potent events of the Civil War, as a lens for examining how Americans’ ways of thinking about the Civil War have changed over time.

On November 14, the Wall Street Journal published a review of Rubin’s book. Written by author Fergus M. Bordewich, he states: “Anne Sarah Rubin…offers an engrossing exploration of the ways in which the march has been recounted and understood over the years. She notes that it ‘has come to stand for devastation and destruction, fire and brimstone, war against civilians, and for the Civil War in microcosm.'”

He later adds: “Ms. Rubin is more interested in the often contradictory ways in which white and black Southerners, and Union veterans, remembered the march…In essence, there is no single story of Sherman’s March but thousands, and though the Union forces wreaked havoc on the towns in Sherman’s path, their actions do not add up to the apocalyptic barbarism that plays such a role in Lost Cause mythology. That mythology, Ms. Rubin makes clear, was crafted by the Jim Crow politics and resurgent Southern chauvinism of the post-Reconstruction period.”

To read the complete review titled, “The Path to Power,” click here (subscription required).

Constantine Vaporis, Asian Studies, Presents Lecture on the Samurai in Japanese and World History

vaporisWhile on sabbatical this semester, Asian Studies Program Director and History Professor Constantine Vaporis recently presented a lecture at Leiden University in the Netherlands on the Samurai in Japanese and world history. A description of the event can be found below:

“It would be difficult to find any aspect of Japanese culture that has had as long and strong a hold on the popular imagination, both in Japan and abroad, than the samurai and the code of ethics and conventions associated with them, known asbushidô. Using literary works, print images, museum exhibitions, film and other elements of popular culture as sources, this lecture will focus on the theme of the samurai as metaphor or trope for Japan, as a symbol of national identity, and explore the uses to which the symbol has been put, in Japan and abroad.”

Vaporis has received numerous fellowships for research in Japanese history including a Fulbright Scholar’s Award and an NEH Fellowship for College Teachers. Earlier this year, Vaporis was named a Smithsonian Journeys expert for tours of Japan. As a director, the Smithsonian Journeys program will periodically ask Vaporis to lead tours in Japan, with the first one set for 2015.

For more information on the lecture at Leiden University, click here.

Anne Rubin, History, Publishes Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory

Through the Heart of DixieAnne Rubin, an associate professor of history, has been presenting a series of talks throughout the fall while on sabbatical. She has been discussing her new book, 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, one of the most symbolically potent events of the Civil War, as a lens for examining how Americans’ ways of thinking about the Civil War have changed over time.

Rubin is scheduled to appear on WYPR’s Humanities Connection on November 27 to discuss her interactive online storytelling project, “Mapping Memory: Digitizing Sherman’s March to the Sea.” She will also be presenting a Humanities Forum event at UMBC on December 2 discussing her work. For more information, click here. Earlier in the fall, Rubin was quoted in a Washington Post article about Sherman’s March and provided insight on Sherman’s strategy. To read the full article, click here.

A complete list of talks presented by Rubin can be found below:

18-21: Flair Symposium in Austin, TX
23: Atlanta History Center

12: Southern Festival of the Book
20: Talk at George Mason University
22: Talk at Villanova University

1: Reading at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.
7: Talk in Augusta, GA
12: Talk in Milledgeville, GA
13-16: Southern Historical Association in Atlanta

2: Talk at UMBC
9: Filson Historical Society, Louisville

21: Talk at UT Chattanooga

16-17: Conference on Sherman in Columbia, SC

George Derek Musgrove, History, in the New York Times

On October 30, the New York Times published an article about the Washington, D.C. mayoral election and how changing demographics in the District could affect the race. The article notes that a surge of roughly 80,000 new voters in the District in recent years could make the election outcome less certain than many expect.

Derek Musgrove

George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, was interviewed for the article. The excerpt from the story can be found below:

“This race has a fascinating set of circumstances,” said George Derek Musgrove, a historian at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who is writing a book on race and democracy in the District of Columbia.

Chief among them, Professor Musgrove said, is the shrinking black population in this city of about 650,000 people. It declined 11 percent from 2001 to 2011, while the white population increased by 31 percent, and the Asian population increased, too.

“No one knows how many new residents will vote, or in what numbers,” Professor Musgrove said.

Further, he said, residents, particularly the poor, have looked at the record of the past three administrations on the key issues of education and affordable housing and seen little progress. “Folks don’t quite know if Muriel Bowser can deal with those two problems, so there is a critical mass of people who are willing to try something new.”

To read the complete article, click here.

Kate Brown, History, Wins the American Historical Association’s 2014 Albert J. Beveridge Award

History Professor Kate Brown has been selected as the winner of the American Historical Association’s 2014 Albert J. Beveridge Award for her book Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013). The recognition marks the sixth award Brown has received for Plutopia. The annual Albert J. Beveridge Award honors a distinguished book in English on the history of the United States, Latin America, or Canada, from 1492 to the present.


In a press release from the American Historical Association announcing the award, David Hollinger, the 2014 Beveridge Award Committee chair, commented that “[Brown’s book] counters dominant understandings of the Cold War couched in terms of divergent or separate paths. Deeply and multilingually researched in difficult conditions requiring perseverance in the face of official secrecy, courage in the face of personal exposure, and empathy in the presence of suffering, Plutopia adds to recent scholarship that emphasizes the costs of the Cold War in the places where it turned hot.”

The Albert J. Beveridge Award was initially established on a biennial basis in 1939, in honor of US Senator Albert J. Beveridge (Indiana, 1899-1911), a longtime member of the Association and an active supporter of history as both a lawyer and a senator. It has been awarded annually since 1945. The prize will be presented at the American Historical Association’s 129th Annual Meeting in New York City, January 2-5, 2015.

Brown’s new book, Disptaches from Dystopia: History of Places Not Yet Forgotten, will be published by University of Chicago Press in March 2015. For more information, click here.

For information on Brown’s prior awards, click below:
1.) Heldt Prize in the category of Best Book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Studies from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies
2.) Western History Association’s Robert G. Athearn Prize
3.) Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians
4.) American Society for Environmental History George Perkins Marsh Prize
5.) Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize sponsored by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the Center for Russian and East European Studies of Stanford University

George Derek Musgrove, History, in the Washington Post

Derek MusgroveAn article published October 18 in the Washington Post analyzed the Washington, D.C. mayoral election and the state of the race leading up to Election Day on November 4. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) is running against council member David Catania (I-At Large) and early voting is underway.

George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, is writing a book about race and democracy in the District and was interviewed for the article.

“There is not a great deal of policy difference between them,” said Musgrove when describing the two mayoral candidates. “They are, quite frankly, running on style,” Musgrove said. “Bowser is trying to portray Catania as a hothead, and Catania is trying to portray Bowser as a lightweight.”

To read the full article titled, “D.C. mayoral choice: Muriel Bowser’s caution or David Catania’s combativeness?” click here.

Scott Casper, CAHSS Dean, in Talking Points Memo

On October 9, Talking Points Memo (TPM) published a story analyzing the recent controversial College Board decision to release a revised framework on the way AP U.S. history is taught. Since the decision was released two years ago, it has drawn backlash from many who call the new framework unpatriotic and revisionist.

Scott Casper

Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of History, was quoted extensively in the story and commented on recent shifts in American history education. Casper, who edits the “Textbooks and Teaching” section of the Journal of American History, said the debate isn’t exactly new. He said the new framework reflects a shift in teaching history in that more colleges and high schools are emphasizing “historical thinking skills.” He also noted there’s been a shift in topics covered, including incorporating the stories of women, African-Americans and immigrants to a greater extent.

Commenting on the concept of revisionist history, Casper said: “Those who criticize the teaching of what they call revisionist history are certainly part of a long tradition because every time we learn more about the past, we are revising our understanding of the past,” he said. “So in a sense, history is always revisionist.”

To read the full article, click here.