Loyola University Maryland

Department of History

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The history major at Loyola combines rigorous study with close interaction between students and faculty. The focus of the history department is to teach not just the "facts" of history, but the patterns and interpretations as well.

The department emphasizes the skills of research, analysis, argument, and writing. In addition to classroom contacts, events such as departmental lectures and colloquia help to keep history majors, minors, and faculty current with each other's work and concerns.

Dr. Okoh and Dr. Sandler host a webinar with Dr. Tiffany Florvil

On April 13th, Dr. Tiffany Florvil presented "Afro-German Activism in International Context: May Ayim's Internationalism Near and Far". 

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Dr. Thomas Pegram consults on a new film about the Klu Klux Klan

Along with several other historians, Dr. Pegram provided on-screen commentary for a recently released Smithsonian Channel film entitled "The Klan Makes a Movie," which explores a mysterious 1920s movie made by the Ku Klux Klan. Documents in Pegram's possession provided critical evidence in the investigation.

Dr. Okoh's Collaboration with the Baltimore Museum of Art

This past Fall (’20) Dr. Okoh collaborated with the Baltimore Museum of Art to enhance her classes’ exploration of matriarchy and kinship in the course –Gender and Power in Modern Africa. It was perfect timing that the exhibit –A Perfect Power– debuted just as they began this unit in the course.

Here is Dr. Okoh’s reflection on the success of this collaboration: Having access to the wide variety of images and objects in the exhibit really enriched our discussion by engaging how concepts of matriarchy were actually symbolized in many West and West Central African societies. This worked beautifully with the readings I selected on this topic and made the discussions much more vibrant. Most enriching was the opportunity to have Dr. Kevin Tervala, the exhibit’s curator, guest lecture and engage with the students. Attached to our discussion was a visual assignment that asked them to situate selected objects from the exhibit in the historical context we were learning about. At Loyola, we pride ourselves in engaging high impact teaching and learning practices. This was an excellent engagement with this pedagogical mission. Students not only came away feeling enriched, many were excited to engage historical thinking through this visual medium, having it anchor the more abstract concepts of kinship and matriarchy in material culture. Incorporating A Perfect Power into this iteration of the course has expanded my own imagination for how to excite and challenge students in my history courses – courses that, on the surface, can be quite intimidating to prospective students. This was the most engaged iteration of this course, which I’ve taught three times in different settings. This is most surprising given the constraints of the current pandemic. I am most grateful for this experience.

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History Department's Inclusion and Equity Statement

Please see our official History Department Commitment to Anti-Racist and Inclusive Teaching and Practice.

History Department's Statement in Support of Racial Justice Protests

The History Department at Loyola University Maryland joins our community in mourning the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, only the most recent to have fallen victim to police brutality and racist violence. As historians, we recognize the role of the past in shaping these crimes and we acknowledge that the only way to truly understand the history of the United States – among many countries – is to recognize the role of systemic racism in shaping its society, politics, and culture. The rage of the protestors and the violence of the police are both wrapped up in the legacy of slavery, segregation, and racism that have so shaped our contemporary situation.

 

We affirm the recent message of Father Linnane, President of Loyola University Maryland, and commit to acting in solidarity against structures of racism and white supremacy on campus, in our community, state, nation, and world. We affirm that the only way to do so is to understand the past as it was, not as we wish it to have been. We affirm, finally, that Black Lives Matter.

2019-2020 Whiteford Medal & Whelan Medal

The History Department wishes to congratulate Jack Weeks for receiving the 2019-2020 Whiteford Medal in History. The Whiteford Medal is the greatest honor and most prestigious award of the History Department and is bestowed at graduation. It is granted to a graduating senior history major who achieved an outstanding grade point average and whose written work holds promise of noteworthy contributions to historical scholarship. In addition to the Whiteford Medal, Jack also was the recipient of the Whelan Medal, given to the graduating senior with the highest academic average.  Congratulations, Jack!

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2019-2020 History Essay Contest Winners

The History Department also would like to congratulate the winners of the 2019-2020 History Essay Contest. Congratulations to Nicholas, Kyra, Naylah, David, Vivian, Katie, Alexandra and Sam (twice)!

HS 100-Level Essay:

  • First place: Nicholas Bosi, "Sex and Revolution in Rio De Janeiro: The Emerging Gay Community in Post-War Brazil." Written for HS 108D, The Making of Modern World: Latin America, Prof. Carey, Spring 2020. 
  • Second place: Kyra Atkinson, "The Call for Remembering the Forgotten." Written for HS 103, The Making of Modern World: The United States II, Prof. Pegram, Spring 2020.
  • Third place: Naylah Perodin, "The Struggle to Assimilate." Written for HS 103, The Making of Modern World: The United States II, Prof. Pegram, Spring 2020.

Upper-Division Short Essay

  • First place: David Traugott, “The Phillis Through the Eyes of the Slavers and Enslaved.” Written for HS 345, The Peoples of Early America, Prof. Mulcahy, Spring 2020.
  • Second place: Vivian Nguyen, "The Cultural Endurance of VapoRub: Theories and Application of Humoral Medicine." Written for HS 422, Health and Illness in Latin America, Prof. Carey, Spring 2020/

Upper-Division Long Essay

  • First place: Katie Metzger, "Betterment Planning: Destruction and Defiance." Written for HS 400, History Methods, Prof. Okoh, Fall 2019.
  • Second place: Samantha Burnett, "Tuberculosis: An Agent of Apartheid". Written for HS 400, History Methods, Prof. Okoh, Fall 2019

Seminar Paper

  • First place: Alexandra White, "About 'That' in Post-Communist Russia." Written for HS 478, Global Histories of Sexuality, Prof. Ross, Fall 2019.
  • Second place: Samantha Burnett, "'The Child that Went with the Fairies': The Victorian Folklore of Disability and the Living Changeling." Written for HS 498, Histories of Intellectual Disabilities, Prof. Scalenghe, Spring 2020.

 

Alumni News

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Two recent history majors know a thing or two about the history of disease and humanitarian outreach. While studying abroad in Ireland her junior year, Phoebe Labat (2019) became interested in a statue in the Irish countryside that commemorated a cash donation from the Choctaw Nation to help alleviate suffering during the potato famine. Thanks to a grant from Loyola’s Center for the Humanities, Phoebe spent a summer researching the history of the Native American-Irish connection and writing a paper which she presented on campus the following September. The subject of her research was in the news again this month, as the New York Times reported on Irish citizens repaying past kindness with donations to the different Native American nations as they struggle with Covid-19. “This kind of generosity is part of a larger history of reciprocation between Native American nations and Ireland,” Phoebe observed when we spoke with her recently. She noted that Irish citizens in Galway raised money for Choctaws in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. And activists from both sides of the Atlantic campaigned together for hunger relief in the 1990s. Phoebe is set to begin graduate work in history at Brown University next fall as a presidential fellow. Keenan Gibbons (2018) spent most of the year in Germany on a prestigious Fulbright scholarship exploring the history of medicine and infectious disease. Her interest in the topic began with her senior thesis at Loyola, which investigated the 1918-19 influenza epidemic in Baltimore. Among other issues, she traced the spread of the disease across the city by wards and explored how race factored in both the epidemic and its coverage in the press. “One does not need to look far to find similarities between the public health crisis in 1918 and the one outside our present doors,” Keenan told us. The newspapers are filled with similar stories, she noted: “Civilians sheltered in place, make-shift hospitals, public panic, and disparities in healthcare access. While the First World undeniably exacerbated the pandemic in 1918, I believe the lack of centralized federal public health infrastructure both then and now highlights a major obstacle we continue to face in the United States.” Although her Fulbright year was cut short by a few months, she spent seven great months in Berlin. Keenan will begin a Master’s in Public Health program in the fall. 

History is not a Useless major: Fighting Myths with Data

The American Historical Association has an article on the benefits of being a History Major. 

Stephen Kaiser
Students

Stephen

At Loyola, Stephen is able to complete academic research and write about subjects he is passionate about

History, Medieval Studies