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History Department Brag List, November 2020 - May 2021

M.A. student Jay Ball and his friend Mark Auslander wrote a piece for the History News Network entitled "Rally 'Round the Rune: Fascist Echoes of the CPAC Stage."

Carson Benn (Ph.D., May 2021) published “‘Signals to Every Dip and Hollow’: The Rise and Fall of the Appalachian Education Satellite Program and the Appalachian Community Service Network," in the latest issue of the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Carson was also featured on WEKU's Eastern Standard radio program, speaking with History alum Stephanie Lang

Eladio Bobadilla gave a talk in March at Bakersfield College, “We’re Still Here: Work, Hope, Dignity, and the Education of the Fields,” sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Parts of it were quoted by Miriam Pawel in The New York Times
Eladio was also named one of three finalists for the United Association for Labor Education’s New Generation Award, received a Rankin Inclusion Fellows grant to continue his work on graduate-student professional development and diversity, equity, and inclusion, and has been invited to contribute to a special issue of the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society that will deal with the history of Latinos in the Commonwealth.

Ph.D. student Cameron Boutin was hired by the Camp Nelson National Monument (National Park Service) to work as a paid intern during Summer 2021. He will work on a variety of tasks ranging from visitor services to assisting with interpretive programs. Cameron was also awarded the Mary B. Wright Environmental History Fellowship at the Massachusetts Historical Society to support his dissertation research for 2020-2021.

Nikki Brown gave a talk to the U.S. Embassy in Vienna on African American voter engagement and the election of Joe Biden: Nikki also lectured at Johns Hopkins University on Black Photography: Portraits and Contrasts, as a guest of the Billie Holiday Institute.  

Jane Calvert’s three-part Zoom seminar, John Dickinson and the Making of the U.S. Constitution, 1776-1787, hosted by the Library Company of Philadelphia, garnered a total of 541 registrants from the U.S., as well as Canada, Great Britain, France, Austria, Ukraine, and Japan. Jane and her team at the John Dickinson Writings Project completed Volume Two (1759–1763) of The Complete Writings and Selected Correspondence of John Dickinson (University of Delaware Press). She also received a third grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, for almost $104,000. Jane has now secured over $1 million in funding for the John Dickinson Project over 10 years!
South Georgia State College faculty member and Ph.D. alum Dana Caldemeyer's book, Union Renegades: Miners, Capitalism, and Organizing in the Gilded Age, was published by the University of Illinois Press.

Tracy Campbell won the New-York Historical Society's Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize for The Year of Peril: America in 1942 (Yale University Press, 2020).
See NYT article:
And UKnow article: Tracy also won "Book of the Year" from the World News Group in the "Accessible History" category. Previous winners include Robert Caro, Anne Applebaum, and Erik Larsen. Tracy also taped an interview with David Rubenstein for his new show, "History with David Rubenstein," which is scheduled to air on PBS this fall.

Francie Chassen-López published a new book, Mujer y poder en el siglo XIX: La vida extraordinaria de Juana Catarina Romero, Cacica of Tehuantepec (Women and Power in the 19th Century: The Extraordinary Life of Juana Catarina Romero, Cacica of Tehuantepec): Taurus/Penguin Random House, Mexico City, 520 pp. It is the biography of an amazing Mexican woman who rose from poverty and illiteracy to become the major entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political boss (cacica) of the city of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico. Francie has been interviewed by numerous radio and TV stations about the book, and has given many talks about it.

Ph.D. student Wei-Ting Chen received a Medieval Academy of America/Committee for Centers and Regional Associations Award for Summer Language Study at Princeton University.

Ph.D. Alum Jonathan Coleman published a piece in the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society special issue on Appalachia since 1970, the first LGBTQ history piece ever published in that journal: "'Old Kentucky Homo': Lige Clark's Gay Liberation":

Professor Emeritus Pat Cooper was inducted into the UK College of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in April.

Anastasia Curwood received the College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Service Award. She was prominently featured in an Inside Edition article on Shirley Chisholm’s pathbreaking 1972 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination:
She was likewise prominently featured in a mini-documentary on Shirley Chisholm for the History Channel: Anastasia also co-founded an organization that is bringing sorely-needed diversity, equity, and inclusion work to horse sports, and she has been named co-chair of the US Eventing Association’s DEI Committee. Among other things, Strides for Equality Equestrians publishes educational content, including some interesting equine history:

Professor Emeritus Ron Eller was inducted into the UK College of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in April.

Abigail Firey was nominated for UK’s Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award:

Professor Emeritus Ron Formisano published a new novel, Thorne's Hazards: A Kentucky Reporter's Fight Against Drug Trafficking (BookBaby, 2020).

The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) accepted Cody Foster’s (Ph.D., May 2021) panel and paper proposal to its annual conference (June 2021). His panel is titled, “Human Rights Crises of the Cold War” and his paper is titled, “‘Against the Crime of Silence’: The International War Crimes Tribunal and Anti-Genocidal Rhetoric During the Vietnam War.” Cody has also been invited to speak about human rights crises during the Vietnam War at three separate conferences in June and August: the International Studies Association Joint Human Rights Conference in June, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Annual Meeting in June, and the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Annual Meeting in August.

Melanie Beals Goan was recently promoted to the rank of Full Professor with Tenure. She and her new book, A Simple Justice: Kentucky Women Fight for the Vote (University Press of Kentucky, 2020) were prominently featured in a UKnow article by History alum Danielle Donham:

This coming August, History alum Martha Groppo (Ph.D. Princeton, 2020) will begin her appointment as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the History Department at Eastern Kentucky University.

Vanessa Holden was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with Tenure.

Kathi Kern discussed “Teaching during the Pandemic” with Matt Wilson and Emily Croteau on Behind the Blue:

Emily Libecap (MA, May 2021) received the UK College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding TA Award.

Ph.D. alum Billy Mattingly is a maintainer of the Classical Language Toolkit (CLTK). Their Python library went into v. 1.0 today ( He will also be teaching machine learning and text analysis for ancient/medieval languages at the TAP institute this summer (

Ph.D. student Jillean McCommons received the UK College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding TA Award. She also received UK’s Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award for her “academic achievement and ability to positively impact the lives of others.” Jillian also participated in a discussion series: “Extraction, Disposability and Resistance: Black Ecologies.”

Emily Mokros’s book The Peking Gazette in Late Imperial China: State News and Political Authority was published this May by the University of Washington Press.
Her book received a subvention grant from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Emily also had an essay on the concept of “documentary authority” published in the volume, Information: A Historical Companion, edited by Ann Blair, Paul Duguid, Anja-Silvia Goeing, and Anthony Grafton (Princeton, 2021).

Francis Musoni presented at a Webinar event on Borders, Mobilities and Immobilities in Southern Africa, hosted by the Migration Policy Center.
Francis also gave a presentation entitled “The Covid-19 Pandemic and the History of Illegal[ized] Mobilities across the Zimbabwe-South Africa Border” at the South East Regional Seminar in African Studies’ 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on March 13.

Kathy Newfont's piece "Understory Environmental History: Learning from the Appalachian Commons" recently appeared in Environmental History as part of an invited roundtable on Appalachian environmental history. This is the first time the field's journal of record has focused attention specifically on the Appalachians. Kathy appeared on the Earth Day edition of WEKU's "Eastern Standard" radio program, which focused on mine reclamation through forest restoration in Eastern Kentucky. The "Eastern Standard" homepage features the full-length program, which includes contemporary efforts to restore minelands, as well as Kathy's background history synopsis:
Here is a link to Kathy's interview:
Kathy also interviewed with History alum Stephanie Lang on WEKU's "Eastern Standard." Their segment focused on the current special issue of the Register, "Beyond the War on Poverty: Appalachia since 1970," which Stephanie edited and Kathy guest-edited. The discussion included Carson Benn's article on distance-learning satellite television, Jonathan Coleman's piece on Lige Clark and gay liberation, Stephanie's interview with environmental attorney and Holocaust survivor John Rosenberg, and Kathy's "Bloodroot" introduction. Listeners have tuned in from as far away as India and Ukraine!

Joseph Pearson (B.A. UK History, Ph.D. Alabama) has been awarded tenure at Union College in Kentucky.

John Perry was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship for the 2021-22 academic year from New College of Florida. John was also awarded best graduate paper at the conference “History Across the Humanities” at Youngstown State University.  He presented a chapter of his dissertation, "The Muslim Brotherhood: A Fifth Column in Egyptian Politics."   

Karen Petrone was invited to be on the Plenary Panel at the Midwest Slavic Conference at Ohio State University. She presented on “War Memory as Entertainment in 21st Century Russia.”
Karen also presented her current research, “Gender and War Memory in Putin’s Russia,” to the University of Tennessee Knoxville AfterWars Seminar.   

Jeremy Popkin gave an on-line presentation about his recently published book, A New World Begins: The History of the French Revolution, to the American Library in Paris, which named it as one of their “coups de coeur” (special recommendations) for 2020. Jeremy’s article, “Port-au-Prince and the Collapse of French Imperial Authority, 1789-1793” appeared in the February 2021 issue of French Historical Studies. He has now had articles published in FHS in five different decades: the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and the 2020s. Jeremy also delivered a paper on “Le Défi d’Israel” (“The Challenge of Israel”) to a virtual meeting of the French research seminar of the Groupe Sociétés Religions Laïcités in Paris, France. The talk is part of Popkin’s book project on his grandmother, the journalist and novelist Zelda Popkin (1898–83). Her novel Quiet Street was the first work of fiction in any language about the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

Professor Emeritus Dan Rowland’s new book, God, Tsar, and People, was published by Northern Illinois University Press.

Gerald Smith served as co-chair of the Mayor’s Commission for Racial Justice and Equality in Fayette County, which submitted its report to Mayor Linda Gorton. Gerald spoke with Interim Dean of Arts & Sciences Christian Brady about the challenges of working towards racial justice and equality in Lexington:
Gerald continues to host a series on Racial Justice and Equality on the “Eastern Standard” radio program on NPR Affiliate station WEKU 88.9. A link to his interviews can be found here.

Ph.D. student Abi Stephens has been offered the AIA-CKC Summer Architectural Fellowship at the Filson Historical Society, where she will learn about the Filson's methods of cataloguing and processing architectural collections. As part of this role, Abi will also participate in outreach to the architectural community and general public to help promote the Filson's work. Abi was invited to speak at the Spring 2021 Dean's Circle meeting for alumni donors to the College of Arts and Sciences in March. She spoke about her experiences as a graduate student and a Lipman Scholar as well as her Master's thesis research into the history of Kentucky's State Board of Health and their use of hard and soft power strategies to prevent disease in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Abi has also been elected to the Executive Board of the Graduate Student Congress. She will serve as the External Affairs Officer, and in that position will work in civic affairs and as a liaison to legislators in Frankfort and Washington.       

Mark Summers did a half-hour Facebook Live interview about the history of the filibuster for the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation, as part of their “Wake up with Ashland” series:
Mark also chaired and commented on a panel on "Electoral Politics in Nineteenth Century America" for the Ohio Academy of History conference.

In March, Akiko Takenaka presented “The War Against U.S. Military Base Chapter: The Korean War and Japan Association to Protect Children” at the Columbia University Modern Japan Workshop. This is chapter 3 of her book manuscript Mothers Against War: Gender, Motherhood, and Peace Activism in Postwar Japan. Akiko was also interviewed, along with Ueno Chizuko (the authority on gender studies in Japan) and Wakako Fukuda (a well-known feminist activist in Japan), for a special feature article on sexual violence that was published in The Japan Times, an English language newspaper with the widest circulation in Japan.
Akiko also became a Kentucky Colonel as a member of the Japan America Society of Kentucky (JASK) Translation Team, which has been translating and recording the governor’s messages since March 2020. Akiko recently finished her three-year term on the Northeast Asia Council (NEAC) at the Association for Asian Studies (AAS). During her third year, she served as Council chair and a member of the AAS Board of Directors. Akiko was among the board members who pushed for various changes at the organization to increase shared governance and transparency. Within NEAC, Akiko worked to move various events online to accommodate the pandemic. She also worked to address issues of racism within Asian Studies by creating a speakers’ series by minority scholars. In April, Akiko presented a talk entitled “The Asian Experience in America: A Cycle of Exclusion, Hate, and Violence” to the Asian American Club at UK, and a talk entitled “The Long Road to Atlanta: Placing Gender and Anti-Asian Hate in America into a Historical Context” at a webinar sponsored by the A&S Cooperative for Humanities and Social Sciences and A&S Diversity and Inclusivity Committee. The Webinar title was “Gender and Anti-Asian Hate in America: A Conversation Around the Atlanta Shootings of March 16, 2021.”

Amy Murrell Taylor, the UK College of Arts & Sciences’ Distinguished Professor for the 2020–21 academic year, gave her keynote address on April 13:
Amy was also elected to the Executive Council of the Southern Historical Association.

A paper that Scott Taylor presented in our works-in-progress series, “Coffee and the Body: From Exoticism to Wellness in Eighteenth-Century Europe,” was published in the Spring 2021 issue of Eighteenth Century Studies.

Ph.D. student CJ Werking received the UK’s Provost Award for Outstanding Teaching. She also received the People’s Choice Award at UK’s recent GradTeachLive! Competition, and was 2nd Place Finalist for the overall Competition.

In February, Derrick White presented Ohio University’s first annual Ted Rose Lecture on “College Sports, Social Justice, and Historical Memory,”:
Derrick’s essay on “Diversity, Inclusion, and Tenure” recently appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

George Wright was inducted into the UK College of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. George was also selected as the recipient of the Duke University Graduate School’s Distinguished Alumni Award.:
George was quoted and his book was cited in a Lexington Herald-Leader article concerning the unveiling in Shelbyville of the first set of historical markers in Kentucky, facilitated by the Equal Justice Initiative, to record publicly the racial injustice of lynchings:

MA student Shelley Zhou was awarded a Penn State University Graduate Fellowship to pursue Ph.D. Studies in Modern Chinese History. This competitive fellowship, awarded by the College of the Liberal Arts and the Graduate School to a small number of applicants across the University, includes a one-year, duty-free assistantship in the 3rd year.